Mesa Winter Camp

Jagger playing with the new family puppy

Jagger playing with the new family puppy

Last night my daughter and her two boys met at my “Coach” for a hot dog barbecue.  They brought Jagger’s friend, their new puppy Jax.

The boys love hot dogs and the family time is always wonderful.  Also, I was celebrating being ‘off-the grid’ for one week using my new portable solar panel.  I will report on the new solar package in a separate blog at a later time.  We had a nice visit in the outdoors and a beautiful sunset to boot.

This morning I woke early to a visitor, Aiden, feeding Romeo, the family horse.



Sometimes Seth has the duty, but a routine that happens every morning and afternoon here, near my camp.

Today is moving day for Jagger and I, as the “Coach” is approaching the capacity limit on the storage tanks.

Camp Mesa

Camp Mesa

I do have a great shaded spot to park and 50 amp service, but no sewer connection.  So once a week I travel to the local dump and return.  A process that takes several hours, but well worth the premium site for me.

Occasionally during my trip to dump the storage tanks, I camp for a day or two locally.  Like the time recently I stayed at the Lost Dutchman State Park and another at Usery State Park.

Arizona has some nice facilities, state and local.  As a bonus the family comes out to visit and go for hikes.  It’s only a short thirty minute drive at the most.

I digress, back to my morning move to empty my storage tanks. I have partially prepared to travel the night before. I continue this morning as I am having my morning coffee.  In come the slides, up come the stabilizers.  All hatches, cabinets and vents closed and secured.  I move the Workhorse into position and a catastrophic failure happens.

Well maybe not catastrophic, but indeed a failure.  My switch to raise the Coach’s front landing gear fails.  I cannot move without this working properly. True, I could get out the directions and crank it manually or use a jack, that I don’t currently have, but I need to get this fixed no matter what.

I sit down and think it through and I try to stay positive.  I am NOT a mechanic!  My last career mostly dealt with data, computers and IT.

One of the things I noted mentally when I took delivery of the Coach, was this switch and another for the stabilizers in the rear. It seemed to be a plastic material and could be a problem.  Of course, it could have broken when I was out dry camping in the middle of nowhere in just a few short weeks.  I am thankful it happened here.  Only a minor inconvenience and I will learn how to repair it myself, in my own time.

So the first thing I do is take the switch apart and disconnect it.  Then I drive to “Camping World” which is just a few miles away.  They don’t have one in stock, but they could order it for me.  I decide to call Orangewood RV, where I have had other warranty issues fixed.  They are a service center for “Grand Design”, the manufacturer of my Reflection fifth wheel (The Coach).   I thank Mike and say goodbye and go back to my truck to call Orangewood RV.

Colleen asks me to send a photo of the part I needed.

30 Amp Switch - Exterior

30 Amp Switch – Exterior

30 Amp Switch - Interior

30 Amp Switch – Interior

She matches it to a similar part they have in stock for only $25.00.

I take off on my way to Surprise (90 mile RT) to see if the switch they had was a match.  Unfortunately it was close, but I didn’t want to get away from a standard part and it just didn’t match 100%.  Colleen said she could order it, but I could deal directly with the manufacturer.  I agree, and said I would get back with her as I say my goodbyes.

I know, I should have called Grand Design first.  Knowing they have excellent service and reputation. I went back to my truck with Jagger impatiently waiting for me.

Jagger patiently waiting in Workhorse

Jagger patiently waiting in Workhorse

There I called Grand Design in Indiana from the parking lot.  Jerry in their parts department answered promptly and queried my problem.  He then walked outside to New Reflection’s that were finished and awaiting shipment.  There he searched for the part I was referring too.  This only took a few minutes.  He confirmed the part, and told me my name and information was already in their system.  I asked him not to ship it to my home in Montana as I was “snow birding” in Mesa, Arizona.  No problem he said, “I will see that it is shipped first thing tomorrow”.

Not to be unthankful with his efforts, I explained my predicament with the storage tanks and that I was currently living in my coach.  He then said that he would ship it that afternoon, priority next day. Not to mention it’s free, the part and shipping. I should have it tomorrow so I can dump the tanks and continue my routine lifestyle here in Mesa.

I, as always, feel blessed to be living this lifestyle, retired.  My new hobby, repairing my Coach and maintaining it for my future travels down the road.  Today’s trouble, only an inconvenient change of plans and the opportunity to interact with some very nice, helpful people.

 Safe Travels…Gary

10 replies

  1. With a back allergic to cranking, spare switches for landing gears and slides are part of my spares kit. They are available online for less than retail, have no etching on the switch for in/out or up/down but that isn’t important when you are far away from UPS, FedEx or the USPS. Once out of warranty, I suggest you start your own spares kit.


  2. I always carry wire and alligator clips to jump a switch “just in case” I’ve had 2 switches go out when out in the boonies.


  3. Hey Gary, Good luck with the switch fix.

    There may be something here to help you with the dump the tanks problem. You can also get a 12 volt macerator kit already put together. Check it out.


  4. Sounds like you are learning a lot this first year. Keep up the postings. Hopefully one day I will get out to see you.


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