RV Life

There’s a Reset Button Here Somewhere

Cary8 comments1336 views

I’m writing from a small carriage house in Rosemary Beach, FL. That might seem odd considering we’re committed to living in a camper for the next year, but it’ll all make sense in a minute.

Let me catch you up first.

Last time we spoke, Doug the RV repairman was set to come out on Thursday to fix our slide. For those just tuning in, a slide is essentially a room in an RV that expands to give you more living space and/or access to parts of the camper otherwise inaccessible. The broken slide in question contains our kitchen and living room, which make up about two-thirds of the entire camper.

Anyway, the part Doug needed came in late on Thursday, delaying him until Friday morning. Not a big deal, since we didn’t have to leave the campground until 1PM. Twenty minutes into the repair, things seemed to be going smoothly. Doug replaced the gear thingy, tightened everything up, and sent me inside to hit the button that extends the slide. I obliged, silently praying the damn thing would work and we’d soon be on our way.

But as Burgess Meredith so tactfully put it…

A properly operating slide should extend slow and smooth like Bruno Mars. As I pressed the button, our slide lurched and stuttered its way out like a drunken pirate with one leg. Beyond the cacophony of clanks and bangs, I could hear Doug yelling for me to stop. Obviously, things weren’t as they should be.

Doug spent the next two hours tweaking and tightening various metallic objects until finally conceding defeat about ten minutes to 1PM. After some discussion, we agreed it was time to take the rig to a service center that could diagnose the bigger problem. Doug recommended Camping World in Lake City, which was good enough for us. We set out immediately, hoping beyond hope we’d make it before the service department closed.

We arrived with just minutes to spare. Normally they would have told such a late arrival to come back the following day, but because we were full-timers, the service manager took pity on us and had one of his technicians give the rig a quick once-over. Turns out the entire slide mechanism needs to be replaced. To give you an idea of the gravity of that diagnosis, it’s the equivalent of replacing the entire transmission in your car two weeks after driving it off the lot.

Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do for us at closing time on a Friday evening, as there is a process to these types of repairs. First, the warranty company has to approve the repair (which was already closed). Second, they have to order the parts (which we’ve previously covered can take forever). Finally, they must find an open service window to install the new parts, as repairs are scheduled out weeks in advance.

To make matters worse, they wouldn’t be able to start the process until Monday, giving us the entire weekend to reflect on our situation. So we did the only thing we could do. We found an RV park around 20 minutes away, parked, and climbed inside the bedroom (the only room in the RV we could access) to make a plan. The repairs were going to take at least a week to complete, which meant come Monday we’d essentially be homeless.

Thoreau once said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” In that moment, I don’t think anyone would have faulted us for wallowing in our own self pity, which is a good thing, because that first night, we both hated life. Fortunately, after a good night’s sleep, we were able to see the situation from a different perspective.

We had an entire week to kill…without the RV.

A week of freedom from malfunctioning slides, broken windows, and storing our own poo. A week to recharge, to refresh, to wipe the dust from our feet and slip on some clean socks. We didn’t have to look at this week as a setback. We could choose to see it for what it really is: an opportunity to reset.

So yesterday morning, we dropped the RV off at Camping World, found a small carriage house for rent in Rosemary Beach, and made our way to the coast.

Tons of questions still remain: Will the warranty cover the repair? How long will it take? What does this mean for our long-term plans?

But I’m good with letting those questions answer themselves. In the meantime, I think I’ll hit the reset button.

Husband, writer, retro game enthusiast. Traveling the world with my wife Christy and Wonder Dog Layla in search of decent WIFI and a few zinger lines for my obituary. Current high score in Galaga is 762,470.


  1. When you DO hit the reset button, be sure to close the cabinet first. Sorry for your troubles, but this WILL be a huge part of your story in years to come. Keep onward. So pumped for y’all.

  2. We just did a year and a half on our camper. It gets easier and it’s so worth it. If you come further south in FL (Sarasota) and run into any problems our home is open. This is a long way from our tent camping days Christy! Best of luck. -Melissa (Ball) Grossenkemper

    1. Thanks Melissa for the generous offer and well wishes. While we were at Henry Horton we walked by the primitive sites that we camped at several years ago. So many fun memories!

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