Some (More) Time in Southeast Kansas
As we were planning our route south after our stop in St. Louis, there were several interesting places which Betsy and I had never visited before. Places like Memphis, New Orleans and Houston. The tourist in us was pulling us that way, but practicality set in and, well, my desire to maybe baby our truck, the Big Tow’er, a little bit and have a company well versed in the RV Hauler world take a look at him. The leak in the engine exhaust manifold which we thought we had addressed in Maine before heading south had reared its’ ugly head again. Ok, not a trip-stopping type of problem, but one that needed to be addressed. I would periodically get exhaust fumes in the cab of the truck in slower traffic, but at highway speeds the fumes were not a problem. In addition to that repair, I was interested in someone with more experience and knowledge than me on this type of truck to take a look at him.
With all of that being said, we made the decision to head more west than south out of St. Louis, traverse the state of Missouri, with a destination of Southeast Kansas. More specifically, Parsons, KS, the home of RVH Lifestyles. RVH Lifestyles is the joint collaboration of three men (Gregg, Jack and Marc) with many years of experience in the RV hauler, full-time RV lifestyle, who offer several services related to locating, building, enhancing and repairing RV haulers. Having called them only about a week earlier to see if they could fit us in on short notice, they were kind enough to squeeze us in. RVH Lifestyles is in the process of building a small campground for customers in the area having work done on their RV hauler. Unfortunately we were a week or two early to take advantage of their campground in the making. They did, however, offer us a great campground recommendation in the area. Idle Hour Lake Campground is a city-owned campground in Altamont, KS that has full-hookups, pull-thru sites, good wi-fi, and a lake, all for the daily rate of $10. Sounded like our kind of place. When we called for a reservation we were initially given a site in one of the two loops, but when we arrived and surveyed our options we opted to take a site in the other loop. Our loop of choice had a row of pull-thru sites with no other RV’s there during our stay. We picked site #3 and settled in. Now, as I said earlier this is a city-owned campground, not your typical campground. There was no office to check into and nobody on site to speak to, or for that matter, make payment. As we had been told in advance, the task of collecting payment would be handled by the local police. Yes, the Altamont Police Department stopped by the evening we arrived to collect our $30 payment for three nights.
We were up bright and early on Monday morning to take the Big Tow’er for the 30 minute ride to the home of RVH Lifestyles in Parsons, KS. We arrived at their shop which was primarily their bed fabrication shop. We had a good time peaking in on some of the projects that were in progress. We talked to Jack and Marc about the repair that was needed and we also chatted about more long term ideas for the Big Tow’er; options for the bed on the truck, paint, upgrades, etc. After that we drove over to their repair shop where we left the Big Tow’er in good hands. Betsy and I headed back to the campground to settle in for some quiet time and a little blogging. As promised, the work on our truck was completed Tuesday afternoon and Jack and Marc actually delivered the Big Tow’er to us at the campground. Right on schedule, time to head south Wednesday morning.
Or so we thought . . . the Big Tow’er had other plans! We were all packed up the next morning, jacks up, slides in, when I pulled the truck around to hitch up. But alas, when I put the truck in reverse to back up towards the pin, the Big Tow’er refused to go into gear. Yep, diagonal across the campground road, unable to go forward and backward. Yep, we had a problem! Time to get on the phone and seek advice from RVH Lifestyles. They sent out their mechanic and his diagnosis was the clutch slave cylinder. (Whatever that might be!) Nothing that could be done on site, the truck had to be towed back to their shop. So the Big Tow’er was about to have his first trip “on the hook”! Betsy dealt with Good Sam Roadside Assistance (thanks Mom & Dad!) and less than an hour later they towed him away. It was a little sad seeing him towed away, but when we thought about all of the bad places this could have happened we were very grateful. We put the jacks back down, the slides back out and called to extend our stay another two nights. Another $20 for the Altamont Police to collect that evening.
Once again, as promised, Jack and his wife delivered the truck to us at the campground on Thursday afternoon. Clutch slave cylinder replaced, back on track. Friday morning we did it all again, just like deja vu, only this time we hitched and were able to pull out of the campground. We lost a couple of days, but definitely a minor speed bump. When life gives you lemons...
We would now have a couple of one night stops to make it to our destination by Sunday, but we were up for it. Thanks for everything RVH Lifestyles, our paths may cross again in the future. And if you’re ever in the market for a capable RV hauler or need service or upgrades to your existing HDT RV hauler, make the effort to visit southeast Kansas and visit RVH Lifestyles.