Saturday, December 21, 2013

Greetings From Sunny, Warm Florida and Our Window Repair Report

Today is the first day of Winter. Here in Crystal River, FL our high is expected to be 82. Our low, 65. We have experienced several different areas in the state of Florida in the last 2 months. We’ve been far south in the Keys, on the East coast at Port St Lucie, in the south central at Ortona COE park, on the west central coast north of Tampa and now in the Crystal River area, a little further north on the west coast. With few exceptions, it’s been warm and sunny :) That’s hard to take if you’re from just about anywhere else. The weather this month has been a mixed bag to say the least. It seems to be unseasonably cold way too early in much of the country. Not to mention that frozen precipitation!  I’m sorry for those of you who cannot escape that weather and grateful that we chose Florida for our winter home this year.  Sorry Texas, but you were a bit chilly too :)

We started our month at Ortona COE park west of Lake Okeechobee, 8 miles east of LaBelle, FL. We really like this park. It was immaculate, very pretty and right on the canal system for the Okeechobee waterway.

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Our site backed up to the canal so Rick was able to walk over to the fishing pier practically right behind us. He had a little luck and caught a few of these little guys.

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There was no lack of wildlife there either. Along with the birds, there were 3 otters that would run down the road and keep us entertained.

Ortona COE

We met Elaine & Rick for lunch one day and for Happy Hour another. It was great spending time with them and I’m sure we’ll run into each other again.

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Another day we met up with Jim & Dee along with Jim & Judy for lunch. We drove north and they drove south and we met in the middle. Well almost. There is pretty much absolutely nothing in between places in central Florida. I always thought the entire state was congested but that is not the case.

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We also drove into Fort Myers and joined my cousin Tony and his wife, Jan, for lunch and a visit back at their new home. It was great reconnecting and hope to be able to do it again sooner rather than later.

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Along with all the socializing and fishing going on, Lucy got a new windshield while we were there. She developed a crack on the drivers side from the very top to the very bottom. Darren Thomas Glass out of Sebring FL came right to us with a new humongous windshield. We’ve had car windshields replaced by a mobile service but never dreamed they could do that with a motorhome windshield. It was a 3 man job but they made it happen and they did a good job!

New Windshield

We left Ortona on Monday, Dec. 9 and headed to Suncoast Designers in Hudson, FL. We arrived Monday afternoon for our 6:45 AM Tuesday appointment. The have several water/electric spots for their clients while having work done. We chose 1 of the last 2 available spots and settled in till morning.

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Suncoast Designers specializes in repairing foggy dual pane windows. They remove the windows from the coach, take them apart, clean them, put them back together, seal them and then re-install them.  They give a 10 year guarantee prorated at a 10% decrease each year. If the window fails after 1 year, you pay 10%, after 9 years, you pay 90%. This problem affects all brands of motorhomes. We were surrounded by Tiffin, Monaco, Newmar, Winnebago, Fleetwood, Country Coach, even Prevost. The insulation factor remains but the aesthetic value is really what becomes compromised. If you can’t see out of your windows due to the cloudiness, it becomes not only an eyesore but, depending on window location, a safety issue. Most all of Lucy’s windows have become compromised over time. Due to the safety aspect, we had both the driver and co-pilot cockpit windows completely replaced in April.

Motorhome windows are not inexpensive, so we thought we’d try to save many dollars by having some of the others repaired rather than replacing them. We started out with 5 on our list but ended up adding a 6th when that one started clouding while we were there :(  Rick filled out all our paperwork at 6:45 Tuesday morning. We were told to plan on 2-3 days total but we were guaranteed to be out by 3 PM Friday when they closed up shop for the weekend. By noon our original 5 windows were out, delivered to the factory and we had cardboard in place of them.

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On Wednesday, crossing our fingers for a quick turn-around, we left and headed to Lazy Days to visit Gin and Syl who are hanging out there having warranty work done. We got the Lazy Days tour and were treated to lunch at the Crown Club. Thanks guys! After lunch the 4 of us took off for Costco where we managed to fill up their Suzuki and dent both our wallets :) We then enjoyed Happy Hour/heavy hors d’oeuvres/light dinner, also at the Crown Club. Thanks again guys! We spent the whole day together and I forgot to take even 1 picture.

It was disappointing that nothing had been done while we were gone but not unexpected. We stuck around on Thursday and that’s when we noticed window #6 fogging. Rick went into the office to ask if it could be added on and was told no. No add-ons. Our appointment was for 5 windows. OK. That seemed fair. We didn’t want to cut into someone else’s time. After all, everyone had to be completed by 3 PM Friday.

By the end of the day on Thursday, we noticed that several people that had arrived after us were already done and gone. That seemed a bit strange. When Friday arrived and more people were leaving and we were still sitting there with our cardboard windows Rick went to see what was up. He was told that our windows had been put in the wrong rack and hadn’t even been started yet. Along with us, there were 2 other couples left to wait out the weekend but for different reasons. To compensate us for the delay, we were allowed to then add on the 6th window and  2 of the 6 were done free of charge. It was a nice discount and one we gladly accepted.

They did complete our work by 4:00 on Monday afternoon and we left the facility Tuesday morning and travelled to Crystal River. We washed our newly fixed windows inside and out and are now making arrangements to go back to Suncoast Designers when we leave here to have them fix some of them all over again :( Some have spots/water runs inside the glass where it appears they weren’t totally dry before resealing them. One has razor or knife cuts inside the glass and 3 of them are so hard to open that it takes both of us to get them to slide. I trust they will address these problems quickly and efficiently when we return. I think the window repair concept is great, but I think the execution needs work.

If you are entertaining having this done, I suggest having no more than 2 windows done at a time. It became apparent to us that 1-2 windows were given priority. It was an easy way to turnover RV spots quickly and increase the number of customers in and out in a week.

I don’t like to complain on this blog and I hope it didn’t come across as a whine. It’s just what happened to us. Maybe it will help someone else trying to make a decision.

I apologize for the length of this post. I prefer short and sweet :) It is doubtful that I’ll blog again before the end of the year, so I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle