Monthly Archives: September 2017


Our plan was to park the bus for 4 months at local County park campgrounds while we moved in, finished up with work, and got ready to go. Hurricane Irma threw quite a monkey wrench into those best-laid plans!

Hurricane Irma is a big, bad storm. As it worked its way west in the Caribbean toward us, the projected path put South Florida directly in the crosshairs.  We received an email from our campground, notifying us that they would close if the area was put under a Hurricane Warning status and we would have to evacuate the motorhome. So, we starting making plans to leave.  There was no freakin’ way we were going to risk our brand shiny new home in a storm if we could avoid it.

I had essentially moved our belongings into the bus anyway, so I moved over everything else of importance and stocked the pantry and fridge. The only thing we couldn’t take was our brand new F-150 truck. Our tow set up wasn’t installed yet and driving separately would be complicated. So, we just parked our vehicles as safely as we could and hoped for the best. That was when we discovered that our engine cover was broken and wouldn’t open (thank you Dixie RV!). We couldn’t deal with it then, so had to hope that all fluids were still OK for the trip.

We had been notified that we were required to evacuate the campground at 10 am on Thursday, so pulled out around 9 am and headed for points north. Our plan was to head west to the Florida Panhandle, continuing to the storm, adjusting if needed to stay out of its path.

Traffic on Florida’s Turnpike was gridlock. It was fortunate that we had nearly a full tank of diesel because lines to get into the toll plazas were back up for miles. It took us until nearly midnight to reach I-10. Rest stops were mobbed. We found one lone parking spot at a rest stop and grabbed it to hunker down for some much-needed rest.

It is lovely to have a generator, refrigerator, and king size bed while on the road! We slept in comfort, despite the circumstances. The next morning we continued heading west. We managed to get a service appointment at a Dixie RV dealership in Defuniak Springs to assess our engine cover problem. They worked us in right away and diagnosed the issue, but unfortunately were unable to fix it.  We got back on the road and stopped early in the evening at another rest stop to relax and monitor storm coverage. Based on the projected path, we felt safe stopping around Pensacola to wait out the hurricane. Campgrounds were packed with other refugees, but I managed to find one lone spot at a little, quiet campground just outside of Pensacola.

So, as of this writing, we are tucked away in the campground, waiting for the storm to pass by us. After a couple of boondocking nights, we really appreciate full hookups and the slides out! The bus has performed admirably.  Our family members are fine and Irma has moved away from the southeast Florida coast, so all is well at the moment.

We are indeed blessed.

Our Dixie RV delivery experience

We flew one-way out to Dixie RV Superstore in Hammond Louisiana on July 25. Our salesman picked us up at the New Orleans airport and drove us back to the dealership. Our experience there was …. mixed.

Even though we had made our appointment a month ahead (and our flight was an hour late!), our bus was not ready for our pre-purchase walkthrough. We cooled our heels for at least an hour in the lobby, killing time in the attached Camping World, while the rig was in “detailing”. Finally, they rolled out the bus and we started going over her stem to stern. The bus was supposed to have been thoroughly checked in advance, but the tech was candid in confessing that (contrary to what he had been told) the rig had never undergone a pre-delivery inspection. Apparently it was in the Spartan shop for quite a while getting necessary recalls addressed, shortening the time available to do the PDI. So, instead of 8 hours to do a complete inspection, the tech had about 4 hours to rush it through. He found a few things and we found a few more, mostly minor, defect, as we inspected all of the systems.

After our walkthrough, the salesman took us on a test drive and Jeff got a 15 minute driving lesson. We had watched a number of You-Tube driving tutorials, which helped. We parked the rig and went to the office to sign all of the paperwork. By this time it was closing time, so we Uber-ed into town for a much needed dinner. It was a long day! The dealership had us on electrical hookup and provided a full tank of fresh water, so we slept overnight in the bus, trying that night to check as many systems as possible.

The next morning, we presented our punchlist to the tech and waited around for them to get to it. I know we weren’t their only clients, but we wanted to get on the road for our 900  mile trek home, so it was annoying to be kept waiting for hours (again). We picked a Tuesday for our purchase, hoping they wouldn’t be so busy. Finally after lunch they pulled the bus back to the service bay to address our issues. Here’s a sampling:

  • We needed them to re-set the factory numeric key pad master code to one we selected. Otherwise, anyone with an Entegra bus could access our bus and re-program all of our entry codes. At the first attempt, the tech simply programmed an entry code (which is different) and tried to convince us that reprogramming the master code wasn’t necessary! We insisted, and finally that was done properly.
  • We had some lighting issues – one exterior light wouldn’t turn on and the motion sensor light in the rear closet wouldn’t turn off. They hooked up the exterior light and seemed to fix the closet light. But later, gremlins returned, so as of this writing, it is turning on unpredictably, probably due to a bad sensor.
  • The biggest issue involved the engine cover at the rear of the bus, which is motorized on our model. It was going up extremely slowly, and the tech spotted the reason; a missing actuator on the right side of the cover bracket. They installed a replacement actuator and all seemed well – until much later. Turns out, they installed the wrong actuator which caused the hatch to raise unevenly and torque. BIG problem, because there is no manual work-around, and as of this writing, we can’t access our engine at all. The cover raises a few inches and hangs up. This is a major screw up, caused by the dealership, which we are now going to have to have addressed under warranty.
  • Dixie RV also applied for our Florida Title. Nearly two months later, we still haven’t received it and the Florida DMV has no record of it.

We finally got the bus around 3 pm and headed out toward home. Despite our inexperience, we managed to get the bus back safely with no incident. We tried different accommodations on the trip home including boondocking at a WalMart, staying at an inexpensive no-frills campground right off the interstate, and staying at a fluffy KOA. Finally, we settled the rig at a County campground near our apartment to start our move-in.

Dixie RV is a volume dealer. They were nice and it seemed they were doing our best to make us happy and deliver a quality rig. But even though they had a full month’s warning, the bus wasn’t ready for delivery. Granted, there were 2 recalls, 2 tech service bulletins and generator servicing that had to be done at local shops which required lead time. But when they got the bus back, they didn’t allow adequate time for a proper and comprehensive pre-delivery inspection which would have allowed them to fix some of the issues before we got there. Fortunately, Entegra builds such good quality rigs, there were few real problems.

I expect that any motorhome purchase will have glitches and identified issues, because it is such a complex machine.  But, the engine cover actuator replacement was simply a huge screw up on Dixie’s part. They threw on whatever they had without regard to whether it was the RIGHT part, and ended up causing us a big problem.  It would have been better to simply leave it the way it was than put on the wrong part. And since Dixie is so far from us, we’ll have to take it elsewhere to get it addressed.

So, our experience was mixed. We bought the bus at a super-duper discount price. It’s a great motorhome and we are, overall, delighted with it. But the service/support could be improved. They rushed through the fixes to get us out the door and some of it simply was done improperly.