KARE Project Update – Waiting on Winnebago!!
After a great summer in Minnesota it was time to head south. During our stay in Minnesota we endured a number of thunderstorms with lots of heavy rain and to our dismay we learned that the leak in “Homey” had not been fixed, so our first stop was Forest City, IA, were the Winnebago factory is located.
We had called Winnebago in August to get an appointment for sometime in September but were told the earliest appointment we could get was in November 🙁 . We were told that we could come to the factory and sign in for a stand by appointment where they would fit us in when there were techs available. Being there was no way that we’d be anywhere North of the Mason-Dixon line come November we decided to give that a shot. Forest City, IA is only a days drive from Minneapolis so Sunday morning (Sept. 13th) we waved goodbye to our family and friends and headed to Winnebago. Finding a place to stay in Forest City was a bit challenging . . . not a very large “City”. We had been told by Winnebago that they had places to stay on their grounds but they only had electric and water hookups and it was first come first serve. Being we didn’t know how long we would have to wait for an “available tech” or how long it would take to fix our problems once we did get in I found a nice RV park only 3 miles from the factory with full hookups . . . Three Fingers Campground. We pulled into the campground Sunday afternoon and paid for a week stay with the option to extend if necessary.
Bright and early on Monday morning we headed off to Winnebago Customer Service to check in at 7 am.
When we arrived we wished this (above picture) was the scene we encountered but instead it looked like there was to be a sale for the newest iPhone outside of Best Buy. Must have been 50+ people waiting for the doors to open. We asked a lot of the people waiting if they had appointments . . . most said “No . . . want to sign in for a walk-In appointment”. 🙁 Well, we signed in and gave them a list of our issues which now included a problem with the large slide-out that wouldn’t close all they way. After completing the issues form we were told to wait in the waiting area until they got the schedule complete and to check the schedule board behind the front desk around 9-10 am. We waited and finally we saw our name on the board which said “To check back Thursday at 2pm”. I asked if that was when I should bring the coach back in and was told “No . . . just come back and check the board to see if you are scheduled to “Bring-In coach” 🙁 . So back to the campground we went.
Not a lot to do around Forest City . . . the first few days we walked around the campground which was mostly a “Seasonal park”. . . only about 20 or so sites for “transients” like us. Seemed like the wind was always blowing and almost every evening there were thunderstorms . . . luckily most of them passed by us.
On Wednesday afternoon I got a call from Winnebago to “Bring coach in” at 7 am Thursday . . . Great, maybe this won’t take that long after all 🙂 Not knowing how long they would be keeping “Homey” we emptied the frig and freezer because we thought they wouldn’t always be able to keep it plugged into shore power. We gave a lot of the food away to neighbors at the campground and threw away what was left. We also were looking for a place to stay with the “Kids” for a few days. Thursday morning came and we were there with Bells on our Toes 🙂 They took the coach in and within an hour they had found the leak 🙂 There was a 1-2 inch crack in the shower skylight. They replaced the skylight and fixed a few other minor issues we had listed but they were not going to be able to fix the slide until “possibly next week” 🙁 So our name went back on the schedule board and we got the coach back and were told to “Check Back” on Tuesday. 🙁 . . . Great!! So now we would be waiting for who knows how many more days and we have no food!!! Well, it was nice that we didn’t have to find a place to stay but did go right out and do grocery shopping 🙁 🙂 .
With a weekend to kill we looked around for things to do and found that the boyhood home of “The Music Man” (Meredith Willson) was in Mason City about 20-30 miles away so on Saturday off we went.
It was very interesting and fun to tour the house and the museum next door. On our way out of Mason City we stopped by a small music festival and nearby we found the historic Park Inn Hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
On Sunday Lisa found another place to visit that was recommended called the Shrine of the “Grotto of Redemption” about 40-50 miles away in West Bend. IA so off we went. The Shrine is a conglomeration of nine grottos depicting scenes in the life of Jesus, the Grotto contains a large collection of minerals and petrifications and is believed to be the largest grotto in the world. It is also “considered to be the world’s most complete man-made collection of minerals, fossils, shells, and petrifications in one place.” The total value of all the rocks and minerals which make up the Grotto is over $4,308,000. Over 100,000 people visit the Grotto each year.
Look at the size of some of these Agates !!!!
We had a very fun time wandering around the Shrine and the museum and learned a lot but alas it was time to head back to “Homey” so we waved goodbye and headed back.
Well, back at the campground we waited for Tuesday to come . . . it came . . . I went and checked the schedule board and found that we were now scheduled to “Check Back” on Friday 🙁 this was getting to be a pain!!! Lucky for us Paula the manager of the campground was very willing to extend our stay a couple of days at a time. She did mention a time or two that “We do close at the end of October”. We did not want to be in Iowa in October!!!!
So we hunkered down for possibly another week and even a weekend in northern Iowa 🙁 Lisa was pretty busy with work for the week but for me it was laundry in town (one of the few campgrounds we’ve stayed at where there wasn’t a laundry 🙁 ), killing flies outside the coach and doing my walks. Not a lot of places to walk around here what with all the corn fields and soybean fields and wind turbines.
But the campground was pretty big so I did manage to get my 6-7 miles a day in if I walked 3+ times around.
On one of my walks I was walking along a soybean field when I saw a couple of deer walking through the field so I went to the corner of the road and waited for them to cross.
Well, that was about as much excitement as I encountered on my walks. It’s been very exciting here in Iowa 🙂
On Wednesday late afternoon we got a call from Winnebago to “Bring the coach in” Thursday at 7 am 🙂 Well, we were there right on time and hoping for good news.
Most of the issue with getting the slide fixed was they only had a couple of “Slide Techs” and the lead tech was not on site most of the time and 80% of the people there were there for “slide issues”. They got us in right away but we ended up spending the whole day there but at the end of the day “Homey” was finally fixed . . . Yippee!!!!
After almost two weeks of “Waiting on Winnebago” we were ready to Rock & Roll!!! We stayed over through Friday and left Saturday morning for points further south. Stayed tuned for the next KARE update as we head through the rest of Iowa and Missouri to St. Louis coming soon!!