Author Archives: Heather Gebbia

About Heather Gebbia

We are a family of 4 that have decided to simplify our life, sell our home and all of our possessions to live and travel around America in an RV.

Skiing at Beaver Creek and Vail

Beaver Creek and Vail Mountains were a little further away from where we were staying in Breckenridge so we only went to each of those one time. We loved Beaver Creek and wished we had made time to go there more than once. We didn’t love Vail as much but that was because we went the day before they closed for the season when the snow conditions were not the greatest and it was pretty hot for skiing that day in late April. Anyway, we would like to go back and ski at both of those areas another time.

20190330_095425

It was snowing the day we went to Beaver Creek. The visibility in the morning was pretty bad and there was so much new powder that it was challenging to ski on, although I love skiing on fresh powder.

20190330_095020

By late morning it cleared up and the views were incredible!

20190330_103219

20190330_112503

They had some fun Kids’ Adventure Zones that we loved like this one.

20190330_102751

20190330_102851

I knew once Jake saw this double-black diamond sign that I was in trouble!

20190330_103654_HDR

I should have said, “4 Get About It!”

This trail was so hard, but the kids kept saying how much fun it was. I just don’t get it, are we on the same trail here?? I mean, I don’t think I’d say this was fun. I was just happy to make it down alive.

20190330_103826

The beginning of 4 Get About It

20190330_104205_HDR

Me trying not to run into too many trees on 4 Get About It

20190330_142257_HDR

Chris going over a jump at the end of 4 Get About It

20190330_142302_HDR

And the result of Chris’s attempt at the jump at the end of 4 Get About It 😉

I took so many pictures that day because the views were so beautiful!

20190330_112236

20190330_113808

Doesn’t it look like a painting in the background? The mountains almost didn’t look real!

20190330_113814

20190330_135045_HDR

The views from Vail were also very beautiful, I just wish we had gone earlier in the season because the snow was so slushy the day we went it was very hard to ski.

20190420_095949_HDR

Well, I should clarify that last statement and say that it was hard for me to ski, not the kids. Here is Jake going down something so steep I could barely see over the edge.

20190420_094527_HDR

I had heard the Legendary Back Bowls were the best but most of them were closed for the season. We did get to experience some of it though, which only made us want to come back again someday when it’s not springtime.

20190420_102648_HDR

20190420_104733_HDR

20190420_104913_HDR

20190420_112802_HDR

20190420_114529_HDR

We had gotten so spoiled with the soft, powdery snow at Breck all season that I found this so tiring. Slushy snow is very different and I was so sore the next day! I guess I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a little more tiring to ski on this type of snow.

20190420_123816_HDR

Just taking a little rest.

That wraps up my posts about our winter ski adventures in Colorado. If you missed the first 3 posts you can see them here: An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2 and Skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.

What an amazing winter it was! In our 4+ years of traveling I think I can safely say that this was our favorite thing we’ve ever done.

I’ll end this with some fun statistics. With my Epic Local Pass I was tracked all season and can see my stats on the Epic Mix app. In 3 months we spent a total of 38 days skiing, rode 347 lifts and went 466,736 vertical feet. The # of lifts and vertical feet do not include A-Basin since they are not included in the app, but I did include that resort in the # of days skied. I’d say we got our money’s worth out of our Epic passes. 🙂

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone

Besides Breckenridge, we did a lot of skiing at Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. A-Basin is where the kids took lessons. We took a Monday off work for their lessons in the hopes that it would not be crowded and they would have a smaller class. I was also praying that they would not need to take too many lessons because the lessons are expensive, and I wanted them to be ready to ski with us as soon as possible. Chris and I had our own ski date for the whole day while the kids were in lessons.

20190204_110049_HDR

It turned out they had a private lesson that day since it wasn’t crowded at all, and I was thrilled at the end of the day when their instructor told me they are naturals. By the end of the day she was taking them up on the lift and they were going down green (easy) slopes. We still had about 30 minutes before the lifts closed, and Chris & I were able to ski with them for a little while to see just how well they were doing. I couldn’t believe it! In one day they learned to ski so well!

20190204_154803 (2)

20190204_154855

Their instructor was so awesome and the kids couldn’t stop talking about her and how much they loved skiing. My prayers were answered!

Arapahoe Basin is the highest elevation of the 5 ski areas we went to and had some amazing views!

20190327_133506

20190305_091158

20190305_095521

20190305_100945

20190217_135524_HDR

We eventually started getting brave enough to try some tougher terrain like this trail through the woods complete with lots of moguls. I may or may not have run into a tree or two skiing through here. 😉

20190305_095623_HDR

Eureka was the kids’ favorite. I tried it once and hated it. So the other times they wanted to go down this one I told them to go ahead and I would see them at the bottom. However, by late April after Jake had challenged me with lots of double-black diamonds at Breck, I started going down Eureka with them and I no longer hated it.

20190324_131513

20190217_141906_HDR

20190224_121647

20190327_135503

The boys loved the jumps at the terrain parks. This is Jake going over a jump. I did not get a good picture of Jesse doing it, but I did get him on video at least.

20190305_140346_Burst02 (2)

I don’t have nearly as many pictures from Keystone because most of the time we skied there at night. They are the only resort that has night skiing which we loved! Most of the time we skied on weekends except for a few days here and there when we took a day off work. But with Keystone having night skiing we were able to go there after work to ski several times. That was awesome, but the pictures don’t always come out great in the dark.

20190208_155510

Keystone has a super long easy green trail… 3.5 miles.

20190213_180703~3 (2)

Night skiing is so beautiful and peaceful!

We had a great time skiing at Keystone with the Biles family.

received_648597195595778~2

received_827584340925281

You know what’s funny is I used to love when Daylight Savings Time started, but I did not this year. Once the time changed, night skiing at Keystone just wasn’t the same. It didn’t get dark early enough! 😉 Also, Keystone’s night skiing ended for the season by late March so we had to find something else to do in the evenings, which is when we took up sledding.

Breck was my favorite ski area, but with the Epic Pass it was really nice to be able to go to these other mountains to ski sometimes. If you missed my first 2 posts about wintering in Colorado you can see them here: An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1 and An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 2

As much as we loved staying at Tiger Run RV Resort in our own comfy home on wheels, sometimes it’s nice to stay even closer to the slopes. I’m talking ski-in/ski-out type of close. We had the chance to do that twice during our time in Breckenridge.

First, we stayed in a slope-side condo at the base of Peak 7 in Crystal Peak Lodge. We did this to celebrate my birthday. Not just any birthday mind you, but the big one. The big 50! Believe it or not, I turned a half a century in March. I can’t imagine a better way to celebrate that milestone than to spend it at a slope-side condo and ski as much as my heart desired.

20190427_113049_HDR

Crystal Peak Lodge at the base of Peak 7

In addition, I had the pleasure of a friend from New England come out to stay with us. Unfortunately her original flight was canceled because there was a huge “bomb cyclone” blizzard going on in Denver that day (Google it, I had never heard of a bomb cyclone). Anyway, she was persistent and thankfully made it to our rental place at 1am on the morning of my birthday.

Like me, she grew up skiing in the northeast and really wanted to try out some Colorado skiing. I don’t think she was disappointed!

20190315_091703

20190315_101804_HDR

20190315_101835_HDR

While Lauren was with us we enjoyed the best weather and surprisingly light crowds, especially considering it was spring break. Maybe the canceled flights to Denver had something to do with that.

We also got more adventurous while she was with us and went up to the highest point, Imperial Express which is also the highest lift in North America.

20190315_121408_HDR

Top of Peak 8

20190316_140739

Top of Peak 6

One of the expert lifts at Breck is the T-Bar. We hadn’t tried that previously either, but with Lauren we must have felt braver for some reason. The funny thing is that back in New England the T-Bar was on the easy slopes, typically called the “bunny slopes”. It was funny to see that the T-Bar here at Breck is for experts only and goes up to some very advanced trails.

20190407_115419

T-Bar

We have a very funny story about riding up this T-Bar. Jake and I were riding up together and Lauren was behind us by a bit. Jake and I noticed some people a few T-Bars ahead of us fell off (that is not unusual on the T-Bar, it’s difficult to stay on that thing the whole way up). There are signs all over the side instructing you to move off to the side quickly if you fall off. So Jake and I assumed they had plenty of time to get out of the way before we caught up to them. Wrong! They started rolling down the hill towards us! They took out the people in front of us, then continued rolling and crashed into us as well. Once we finally got ourselves under control and got out of the way of the other oncoming T-Bar riders, Lauren rode by and saw a mess of people and skis all over the place. I so wish I had that on video! It was really quite funny and we laughed about it for a long time afterwards.

20190323_115713

Jake started to get really brave when Lauren was visiting and that’s when he wanted to start trying some double-black diamond trails. Lauren pointed out some interesting sounding trail names on the map like Devil’s Crotch and Pergatory. None of those sounded even remotely like something I wanted to try, but we did try a couple of double-blacks with names like Cucumber Bowl and Southern Cross. Those names don’t sound nearly so intimidating, right? About a week after Lauren left though, Chris and Jake found Devil’s Crotch and decided to give it a try. Not me though!

You know, turning 50 is not so bad. I can honestly say that was one of my best birthdays ever!

IMG_2321

A few weeks later we had the opportunity to spend a whole week at another ski-in/ski-out lodge. I joined an RV club called RVillage a few years ago. They gave out gift certificates to some of us who joined way back when they first started. The gift certificates were for a Dream Vacation Week at certain hotels around the country for a greatly reduced price. I thought it was a scam or too good to be true when I first received it, so I discarded it and forgot about it. I received a reminder that it was about to expire in April, so out of curiosity I checked to see if there were any hotels in Breckenridge included in this deal. There were a couple, but I still thought it was a scam so I contacted someone at RVillage to confirm it was legitimate. It turns out it was for real and we enjoyed a fantastic week at Grand Timber Lodge.

20190406_182055_HDR

Heated outdoor pool at Grand Timber Lodge

20190407_200745

One of the indoor/outdoor pools at Grand Timber Lodge

The pools were awesome! You could swim under the flap to go to the outdoor part of the pool, and even though it was cold and snowing outside, the pool was so warm. They also had several hot tubs to enjoy!

20190410_201323

Swimming outside while it was snowing!

The lodge has private family movie theaters so we reserved one for an evening and watched The Greatest Showman. What a great movie, and also a great time having this theater all to ourselves!

20190412_182330

20190406_195227

We also enjoyed playing some pool.

There were 2 moose hanging out at the lodge that we saw often. Once they were hanging out right outside our window!

20190407_162454_HDR

20190407_162754_HDR

I could have reached out the window to touch this cutie, but of course I did not.

20190407_183035_HDR

20190407_205758

Sadly, they were taken away by wildlife control while we were there. Apparently there was an incident between the moose and a guest staying at the lodge. I was sad to see them go. They didn’t seem to be bothering anyone as far as I could tell.

I did a lot of skiing with Jake that week and he really challenged me on the double-black diamond trails. By the end of the week I think my skills had improved.

20190412_141050

This trail was so steep! It’s hard to see how steep it is in this picture, but trust me!

20190409_135204_HDR

We had a snow storm that week also which was pretty cool to see in April!

20190410_143120

I mentioned in my previous post that we skied at 5 ski areas included on our season pass. We bought the Epic Local Pass which includes the ski areas we went to as well as several others that were too far away including Park City, Whistler and even a ski area in Vermont and Japan! The Epic Local Pass was perfect for us since we were planning to be in the area for 3 months.

I will write about the other ski areas in my next 2 posts, but first a few helpful hints for anyone planning to winter in Breck at some point.

The town of Breckenridge is at 9600 feet. Some people can be affected by altitude sickness. It’s important to drink plenty of water before heading to Breck and while you’re there. We didn’t suffer from altitude sickness, but I did feel out of breath frequently. Sometimes just walking from the truck to the slopes carrying skis felt like such a workout! Everything seems harder at that altitude.

Another way to help prevent altitude sickness besides staying well hydrated is to climb to that elevation slowly if at all possible. If you are flying to Denver and heading straight to Breck you wouldn’t have that option, but if you are driving or RV’ing, take your time with the climb. We stopped in Denver for 3 nights before continuing on to Breckenridge which I think helped a lot.

20190427_093245_HDR

It was also nice to stay in Denver for a few days to take care of getting all of our ski equipment. Epic Mountain Sports sells inexpensive kids equipment on a buy-back program. We were able to get the kids skis and boots for $99/each and at the end of the season trade it back in for 50% store credit. Chris and I got seasonal rentals from Breeze Rentals. It was about $225/person for the season which was a lot less expensive than buying equipment, and we were able to return the rentals to the store in Breckenridge rather than take them back to Denver. We really don’t have room to carry around ski equipment year-round, so rentals and the kid’s trade-ins worked perfectly. Also, we learned that by the time we were heading to Breckenridge they no longer had any seasonal rentals so it was good to get them in Denver. Another tip: if you need any other equipment like helmets, goggles, etc., get them in Denver. Everything is more expensive in Breck.

20190129_165742_HDR-EFFECTS

A small preview of snow in Denver at Cherry Creek State Park

Incidentally, while staying in Denver we met the nicest couple! It just so happens they were dealing with cracks in their RV just like we dealt with last year. We were able to share our story with them about how Heartless Heartland refused to help us. Thankfully their story had a better ending. Their RV was manufactured by Forest River who apparently cares more about their customers than Heartland does because Forest River took the RV back to Indiana and repaired everything for them. It didn’t hurt that they also had a lot of help from their dealer, unlike our dealer (Dick Gore’s RV World in Jacksonville) who did not help us at all. This is my shameless reminder to you to not buy a Heartland RV and be very careful about the dealer you purchase from. It’s so important to have a dealer who will back you up if you need it.

One last tip for getting to Breckenridge. This website was very helpful in planning our travel days: https://cotrip.org/home.htm. We watched the weather and the road conditions to make sure we traveled on a day when the roads would be clear.

I hope you find these tips helpful if you ever plan to make the trip. I’m also happy to answer any questions so feel free to email me.

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

An Epic Winter in Breckenridge Part 1

It has been a long time since I posted anything here, I think it’s about time I catch up on what we’ve been up to lately. We just spent a fabulous 3 months in Breckenridge, Colorado skiing and playing in the snow. RV’ing in the snow is a novelty to us being from Florida. We weren’t quite sure what to expect and if we would be warm enough in the RV. I am happy to report that our Grand Design RV was plenty warm enough and we had the most amazing 3 months ever!

20190209_101136_HDR

20190223_093457_HDR

Chris and I have skied before, but it had been 11 years since we last skied. Also, we have only ever skied in New England so skiing in Colorado was a totally new experience. The kids have never skied so they took lessons the first day. I’ll talk more about their lessons in a later post, but suffice it to say they had an excellent instructor. By the end of the season they were taking us down double-black diamond trails (if you’re not familiar with ski terminology, those are the hardest for sure!)

20190304_090352

20190304_090953

We skied at 5 ski areas that were all included on our season pass (more about that later as well). After 3 months of skiing, I’m sure you can imagine I had tons of pictures to sort through. I can’t possibly fit everything into one post as that would be way too long, so I’ll try to organize this into a few smaller posts. This first post is about skiing at Breckenridge and also includes where we stayed.

20190304_095704

20190304_084832

The Breckenridge ski area is huge! There are 5 peaks and so many lifts and trails, it was several visits before we had explored most of it. At first we stuck to the easier green (beginner) and blue (intermediate) trails, but eventually our kids wanted to venture onto the black (expert) trails.

20190304_103744_HDR

20190304_084521

I’m glad they advanced in their skills and enjoyed it so much, but I have to admit there were times I wish they would have stuck to the greens and blues. Those black trails were quite challenging for me. I got better as the season went on, but there were times I was praying I would make it down alive! 😉

20190304_103753_HDR

20190304_100337

There were some trails called Kid’s Adventure Zones which were basically trails through the woods with fun props along the way. We loved those! I was glad we had kids with us because the sign states adults must be accompanied by a child. 🙂 At Breck our favorites were the Haunted Forest and Ripperoos Forest.

20190209_102527_HDR

20190216_115914_HDR

We stayed at Tiger Run RV Resort. It was a great place to call home for 3 months. It was a 10 minute drive to Breck, 15 minutes to Keystone, 25 minutes to Arapahoe Basin and about 40-50 minutes to Vail and Beaver Creek. I’ll write about those other ski areas in a later post. There were several other Fulltime Families staying at Tiger Run. In fact, we learned all about how to winter RV in the snow from a family that we had previously met at a couple of FtF rallies. That family was staying at Tiger Run also, and we had so much fun hanging out with them.

20190303_084329 (2)

Home Sweet Home

Fat Cat was not crazy about this snow thing. She loves to go outside, but she did NOT love it here. I think she was mad at us for staying so long in a place where she did not enjoy going outside. By late April however, most of the snow at our site had melted and she was happy to be back outside again.

20190303_084206~2 (3)

20190303_084221 (3)

The kids loved playing outside in the snow with their friend Jacob.

20190303_150553 (2)

20190303_151310 (2)

I also loved playing in the snow! The snow was so soft and there was so much of it!

20190303_152123 (2)

The whole bottom half of my body is buried in snow!

The RV park has a really nice indoor pool and hot tub which we enjoyed frequently.

20190303_194312

20190303_200539

Not all Fulltime Families fly south for the winter!

One day we even saw a moose wandering through the campground!

20190306_134250(2)

Another fun thing to do in Breckenridge is sledding at Carter Park.

20190328_183538_HDR

20190328_184223_HDR

20190328_191223_HDR

Chris being his usual silly self. 😉

20190328_192913

View of the ski slopes at Breck from the sledding hill.

I can’t even describe what an incredible 3 months this was, it was a season I wish could have lasted forever. However, I don’t want to give the impression that life is always perfect like social media tends to portray. We had our share of challenges — RV’ing in the snow is not the easiest thing to do.

There are a lot of preparations necessary for RV’ing in the cold and snow. We had to put up foam board skirting along the outside of the RV to keep the underneath part of the RV from getting too cold. We had to use heated hoses and heat tape to keep the outside water and sewer hoses from freezing, but that didn’t always work which is why we sometimes had no water in the morning.

20190307_095007 (2)

In addition to the preparations, it seemed like our RV home was in a constant state of chaos and mess for 3 months. We were always tracking snow into the house when we came inside, and there were jackets, boots, ski pants, hats, gloves, etc. always taking up space because there is just no extra space for that kind of stuff in an RV. I am one of those people that is very organized and likes everything neat and in it’s place. The mess of those 3 months could have driven me crazy if I let it, but I had to remind myself that it was worth it, the memories we were making far outweighed any of the inconveniences!

20190427_094030_HDR

I’ll admit we were nervous about how we would survive spending 3 months in an RV in the cold and snow. Many times we came close to canceling and going someplace warmer. But I’ve come to realize that if we didn’t do things because of fear of the unknown, we would have missed out on some amazing experiences. This is one of those amazing experiences I’m so glad we didn’t miss out on due to fear of trying something new.

So, is there something in your life that you want to try but are letting fear hold you back? Please allow me to encourage you to give it a try. Don’t let fear prevent you from experiencing something new. It’s possible it may turn out to be a mistake, but it’s also possible it may turn out to be something amazing and incredible. You’ll never know until you give it a try. 🙂

 

Categories: Colorado | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Fourth Nomadiversary

Today we celebrate 4 years since we left our home in Fernandina Beach, FL to travel the country in an RV. Four years ago I never imagined we would make it this long, but this lifestyle seems to agree with us so we keep going.

Most of you know this was not exactly our best year since we hit the road. The first half of the year was good, and then on July 8th everything fell apart, literally. We made it to Calais, Maine on the Canadian border where we ended up leaving the worthless Heartland RV and continuing our journey to Canada with just our truck. Eventually we made our way back down south where we purchased our new Grand Design RV.

I wasn’t sure if I would bother with a Nomadiversary video this year, but with the help of my super-talented brother-in-law, we put together a great video which tells the story of our year, the good, the bad and the ugly. I love how it turned out and I hope you do too.

Our first 3 years of travel consisted of visiting lots of national parks, this year we visited lots of friends and family as I’m sure you can see by all the people in our pictures.

Each year I put a lot of thought into the song I choose for the video. This year I chose 2 songs, 1 for each half of the year and my brother-in-law came up with some great sound effects for the scary intermission part. 😉

In the first song (Home by Phillip Phillips), I love the phrase about not paying attention to the demons that will fill you with fear. I thought that was so appropriate as I was filled with a lot of fear and anxiety this year when our RV fell apart. I had so many worries about what we were going to do and where we were going to live. God is so good to us and He is our Provider. I hope I learned this year to rely on Him more and not to fear. The second song (There’s a Light by Todd Smith) perfectly sums up how I feel now at the end of the year. Yes, there was a light at the end of the troubles and there definitely is hope for those who believe.

TravelMap

Green = 2015; Red = 2016; Blue = 2017; Purple = 2018

We had to get a new state sticker map since the old one was still stuck on the Heartland. No we did not visit all these states yet in the new RV, but we decided we did not need to start over on the sticker map.

20190116_165506_hdr

We are so excited to be back on the road and ready to continue traveling this beautiful country and making memories with our family! Lord willing, we are trying something different this year… instead of flying south for the winter like most RVers do (including us usually), this year we are headed west for some snow skiing.

If you would like to see our Nomadiversary videos from the first 3 years you can see them here: One Year NomadiversarySecond Nomadiversary and Third Nomadiversary.

 

 

Categories: Our Travels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Heartland Stands by Ludicrous Lippert Report

There is a famous quote by Mark Twain that says something like “Tragedy + Time = Humor”. Now that 6 months have passed since our Heartland RV fell apart (The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless), we are finally able to find some humor in the whole thing, thanks to a silly inspection report we received from Heartland and Lippert (the frame manufacturer).

We found this report so ridiculous that it gave us something to laugh about in this otherwise sad situation. It doesn’t seem like Lippert was able to find a root cause for the RV frame failure, so instead they pointed out ways in which they think we didn’t maintain it very well. Considering we spent a lot of money every year having the annual maintenance and inspections performed I was surprised to hear we didn’t maintain it. It sort of seemed like they were just looking for a reason to blame us like the previous Heartland inspector did.

What do you think? Are these valid reasons for an RV to fall apart?

  • Lippert pointed out that the surface of the couch fabric was worn. Well, we do have a cat who has left scratches on it at times, and we also like to sit on it. We didn’t realize the couch is only for show and we shouldn’t sit on it. By the way, what does that have to do with the RV frame falling apart?
0606172152a_HDR

Don’t let your cat sit on the couch — the RV might fall apart.

0403152135a

Don’t let kids lounge around on the couch — the RV might fall apart.

0327152126

Don’t let cats or people use the couch — the RV might fall apart.

Hopefully using the couch in our new RV won’t lead to a disaster like this, but unfortunately Lippert made that frame as well! Sadly, RVers have very little choice when it comes to the frame manufacturer of RVs we purchase. Most are made by Lippert.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Who knew using the couch could lead to this?

Crack-Rear Passenger Inside 3

  • Lippert noticed that the driver’s side fender had evidence of being taped at one time. One day while driving down the road Chris noticed the fender coming loose. Instead of taping it back on until we could have it repaired, I guess we should have let it fly off and hit the car next to us? And what does that have to do with the RV falling apart? By the way, they also mentioned there was evidence that the large hole in the wall had been taped and re-taped repeatedly. That would be because this unit has been inspected several times and every time someone needs to take pictures, the tape has to be removed. But since we didn’t want water to get inside, it was necessary to re-tape it. Not sure why I need to explain that piece of information, but I guess it’s not obvious to the folks at Lippert.
Crack-Rear Passenger 8

Taping the fender led to this hole in the wall by the roof?

  • Lippert mentioned that some of the interior trim had been glued back on. I think most RVers can relate to this — trim and molding tends to come loose on travel days since they don’t build these things well enough to stay together driving down the road. What else are we supposed to do with these loose pieces besides glue them back on? Again, what does that have to do with the whole RV falling apart?
Crack Rear Drivers Side 1

Re-attaching the interior trim led to this crack near the roof?

  • Lippert mentioned they were unable to climb the ladder due to safety concerns. Really? Chris and I as well as other inspectors climbed the ladder to take pictures. We didn’t know we weren’t supposed to climb the ladder. Is that just there for show?
Drivers Side Bunkhouse Slide 1 (2)

Don’t climb the ladder — that’s just for show.

  • Lippert mentioned that we used the RV to travel back and forth across the country. Isn’t that what RVs are for… Traveling? We didn’t know this RV was intended to remain stationary. Why does it have wheels?
0121181212a_HDR

Lots of RVers have these sticker maps — just don’t use this if you have a Heartland. That shows proof that you traveled in the RV and you’re not supposed to do that.

  • Lippert mentioned the RV looks worn. The pictures below were taken the last day we were at the RV before we left it in Maine. My definition of “worn” must be different from theirs because I honestly thought it still looked beautiful (except for the holes and cracks in the walls of course).
Living and Kitchen 6

Maybe I’m biased since this was my home, but I always thought it looked really nice.

Living and Kitchen 4

Living and Kitchen 1

So, in summary if you buy a Heartland RV make sure you don’t sit on the couch, don’t travel with a cat that might scratch the couch, don’t tape or glue anything that falls off, don’t climb the ladder and don’t travel across the country. Heartland RVs are not made for that sort of thing.

Chris sent an email to the folks at Heartland to let them know just how ridiculous we found this Lippert report. We didn’t expect a reply but we did receive one from Heartland’s General Counsel. She said: “I would like to discuss with you potential resolutions to this situation. As Heartland’s general counsel, I am in a position to assist resolving this matter amicably.”

Based on that, I naively got my hopes up that finally Heartland was going to do something to rectify this. Once again I was wrong, but I shouldn’t have been surprised because this is so typical of how Heartland has treated us from the beginning. Telling us one thing only to turn around and disappoint us time and again. We were told that Heartland has decided to stand behind this Lippert report and the Heartland report that claimed we hit a tree.

You know, this all could have had a much better ending if Heartland had only cared about a customer needing help. I’ve said before how I used to speak highly of our experience with them. Early in 2018 we had discussed upgrading to a toy hauler by the end of the year, and we were seriously considering a Heartland Cyclone. However, when our Heartland Gateway fell apart and we reached out to them for help, all we got were lies and excuses. Instead of maintaining good customer relations with us and keeping us in the Heartland family, they showed us why we should never own another Heartland. They have also turned us into consumer advocates who will let others know why they should never own a Heartland.

Based on the hundreds of comments and emails I have received in response to our story, I can say for certain that we have spared others from purchasing from this heartless company. Those responses have also opened my eyes to the fact that we are not the only ones to have such a terrible experience with Heartland. Many who reached out to me mentioned how they also have had major issues such as frames cracking, and their rigs are newer than ours. Since Heartland won’t help them, why would I think they would help us?

Remember when American automobile manufacturers had to step up their game once consumers started purchasing Japanese-made vehicles because they were selling a higher quality product? Maybe it’s time someone from Japan started building RVs. Perhaps that would convince American RV manufacturers to step up and build a better quality product. We can only hope!

 

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

On the Road Again

We have big news! We have a new RV and we are so excited to be back on the road. First I will assure you that our new RV is definitely NOT a Heartland. After our Heartless Heartland disaster we did lots of research and listened to lots of feedback. We decided to go with Grand Design, a company that I know is not perfect because nobody is, but from what I hear they are a company that stands behind their product. So far we are very happy with our choice.

So please allow me to introduce you to our new home on wheels… umm, I don’t really have a name to call this RV. You know what? We never named our old Heartland either (at this point I think we would call the old one “the big rolling turd” — a joke from the Robin Williams’ movie ‘RV’). 😉

I think the new one needs a name; I’m open to suggestions, so please feel free to send any name ideas along. I will do another post later with a tour of our new home.

20181109_151317_HDR

Grand Design Momentum

After moving into our new home we headed back to our home state of Florida. We still had annual passes to Disney so we went back to our favorite campground Ft. Wilderness before the passes expired.

Then we went to a new-to-us location, the Florida Keys. Even though we lived in Florida for many years we had never been to the Keys. It was so amazing and beautiful and such a wonderful place to reconnect as a family and de-stress after all of the stress we went through with the stupid Heartland experience.

20181014_121449_HDR

Key West

It’s very difficult to get a campground reservation at any of the state parks in the Keys, which is why we hadn’t made it there until now. I was blessed to come across a cancellation for a week long stay at Curry Hammock State Park. Our campsite backed up to the water and it was a beautiful place to spend the week.

20180930_163411_HDR

20180930_175055_HDR

20181004_173543

Boys playing ball in the water behind our campsite

20181004_173625

Next we moved to Fiesta Key which is included in our Thousand Trails (Trails Collection) membership. We loved it there! The pool was fun, the onsite restaurant had delicious seafood, and the sunsets were glorious.

20181008_175816

Fiesta Key

20181008_164629

Walking to dinner at the campground.

20181008_165210_HDR

Cute Tiki huts for dinner.

20181014_192407

But those sunsets!

We thought it was so cool to see so many iguanas roaming around the campground!

20181015_152949

20181015_153051

One day we even got to see 2 manatees swimming in the marina.

20181016_160458

One evening we went to the Sunset Grille for dinner. They have a pool at the restaurant which our kids enjoyed while waiting for our dinner.

20181002_172641

Sunset Grille

20181002_172727_HDR

20181002_185954_HDR

Sunset over the Seven Mile Bridge from the Sunset Grille

We drove down to Key West to do some sightseeing one day.

20181014_110258_HDR

20181014_120632_HDR

20181014_140620

Seven Mile Bridge

Jake and I went snorkeling at Sombrero Reef with Spirit Snorkeling. That was lots of fun!

1020181025d

1020181110c

We loved visiting the Keys and hope to return again someday.

But more than that we are so happy to be back on the road. After our Heartland fell apart we talked about whether we should settle down and buy another house. All 4 of us agreed that we are not ready to stop traveling. We love this lifestyle so much and we were not about to let a bad RV experience stop us from living our dream.

I will have another post to share about Heartland. Unfortunately they have been horrible and absolutely refuse to help us in any way. Since many people reading this might buy RVs I feel I have an obligation to share our experience to hopefully educate others on the dangers of buying from Heartland. In my next post I will share with you the results of Heartland and Lippert’s latest inspection report. It has actually given us a reason to find humor in this otherwise awful situation. The inspection report is so ridiculous that it’s actually funny. It’s hard to believe it was written by “experts”. I’ll share it with you soon and give you a good laugh.

Until then, we’ll be enjoying time with family for the holidays. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 

Categories: Florida, Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Heartless Heartland RVs

I thought it was time to write an update on our RV resolution, or lack thereof. I think Heartland RVs should change their name to Heartless.

If you missed our interview on the RV Show USA you can watch a commercial-free version here:

After listening to that you might think that Heartland would have finally decided to step up and do the right thing. Well, you would be wrong. They absolutely refuse to do anything to help us and for that reason I think they are the most Heartless company I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.

Since my initial post about our Heartland woes: The Day our Heartland RV Left us Homeless I was quite overwhelmed by the response and number of comments and emails I received from people expressing their support, encouragement and also their own stories of Heartland’s lack of customer service. I want to thank all of you that took the time to comment and/or share our story as well as sending emails to Heartland on our behalf. We are so appreciative of all of you!

I am sorry I was not able to respond to every comment, but I’d like to highlight some here. I was just appalled at all of the people that let me know how they have experienced similar issues with Heartland.

Quote1

Another one where Heartland wants an RV towed to Indiana which is unsafe to tow.

Quote2

Yes I posted on their Facebook page until they blocked me from posting further.

Quote3

We tried contacting Thor and received no response.

Side note: Thor owns Heartland as well as several other RV companies. My advice would be to stay away from any company owned by Thor.

Quote5

I’m seeing a trend here.

Quote6

Ditto to my last comment.

Quote7

Another who agrees that they are Heartless.

This is just a small sampling and does not even include comments from all the Facebook shares. There seems to be more than just a few unhappy Heartland Heartless customers.

Since my initial post our insurance company re-opened our claim and sent a forensic engineer to inspect the unit. He proved it was not the road but was frame failure due to a broken weld and mis-aligned slide. I can’t elaborate on that at this time in case we take legal action.

Incidentally, Heartland still blames us. Just the other day I received a letter from Trailer Life Magazine. I took some of your advice that I should send them our story. They received a response from Anthony Roberts at Heartland explaining why this is not their problem. By the way, Anthony Roberts (anthony.roberts@heartlandrvs.com) was the guy I mentioned in my first blog post who lied to us about sending an inspector from Lippert. His letter was quite long so I won’t quote the whole thing, but he did say this: “It was determined that this was related to impact damage causing the twisting of the frame. One conclusion we gave was possible the unit went off the road twisting the frame and in conjunction impacting a tree limb causing the damage to the side of the unit.

Wow! Still blaming us… sad.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Heartland’s inspector didn’t even notice the issue that the forensic engineer discovered. Could it be because he was sent there for the sole purpose of coming up with a conclusion as to why this is not Heartland’s responsibility? All he could come up with is that we went off the road and hit a tree?

Quote4

I agree, what kind of business sense is there in letting this get so public?

Crack-Rear Passenger 8

Believe me, I wish we had hit a tree! What possible motive would we have to deny that? An insurance claim would have been much simpler if we had had an actual incident on the road that caused this. We are honest people though and are not about to lie to an insurance company and claim we hit a tree when we didn’t.

But the good news is that on 9/20/2018 Heartland said they’re launching an initiative to boost quality and service. You can read all about it here: Heartland RV launches initiatives to boost quality, service. When I read that I thought “oh good, they can start by helping us, right?” Wrong!

Here is a snippet of some of the quotes from the article:

article

Isn’t that nice? Heartland President Chris Hermon says he recognizes the need to be accessible to customers. I wonder why he hasn’t bothered to respond to any of my countless emails to him. If you feel like sending him a note here is his email, but don’t expect an answer: chris.hermon@heartlandrvs.com.

And Jim Fenner was quoted in the article about having an obligation to stand out and be leaders in the areas of customer service. Hmm, we haven’t noticed any of that “customer service”. His email is fennerj@heartlandrvs.com if you feel like reaching out.

They posted that article on their Facebook page and I decided to comment on it, but guess what? My comment was deleted and I was blocked from posting anymore on their page. A friend of mine who also owns a Heartland did the same thing and her comments were also deleted and she was blocked. We decided to let some friends know how we had been blocked from Heartland’s Facebook page, so several of them decided to comment on our behalf. I’m sure you see where this is headed… yup their comments were also deleted.

So if you are relying on Heartland’s Facebook page to find out if their customers are happy, you’re only getting one side of the story. Negative comments are deleted.

In addition to their article claiming quality and customer service, their website advertises this:

LongevityQuote

Their definition of “longevity” must differ from mine because an RV that only lasts 3.5 years does not meet that standard.

Crack Rear Drivers Side 1

Several people commented to say we should contact Lippert since they make the frame. Below is the response we got.

Lippert

Email reply from Lippert.

We have no idea what is meant by “the course of action that is to take place”, but notice who is in the Cc: line? Our good friend Anthony Roberts is at it again!

Some have asked if we have an extended warranty. The answer is yes we do. Our dealer in Jacksonville, FL, Dick Gore’s RV World sold it to us. However, we regret purchasing that because it has been useless. They don’t cover much of anything, and especially not something like frame failure.

Thank you to everyone who offered other pieces of advice like hire a lawyer, file complaints with the attorney general, BBB, NHTSA, Trailer Life, etc. We did all of that so far except hire a lawyer. We have consulted with a couple of lawyers and are still undecided about whether or not to move forward with that. There would be a lot of time and expense involved which is probably why so many people don’t bother. That means the big companies such as this one get away with this nonsense because it’s so difficult for the little guys to fight them.

These past 3+ months have been so stressful and have really taken a toll on our family. I have had so many sleepless nights and felt sick over this for too long. There is a huge part of me that just wants to “let it go” and move on with our lives. I’m so tired of the emotional energy this is taking.

comment1

comment3

comment2

If we choose not to pursue legal action this RV will most likely be hauled off to a junk yard in the near future. If any of you would like to go pick it up and put it on a lowboy trailer as suggested in the comments above, please feel free. While you’re at it, please take it to the Tampa RV Show in January. It would be an effective advertisement on the shoddy workmanship of Heartless RVs at one of the biggest RV shows in the country.

If we do decide to just let this go and move on, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep sharing our story. We want to warn as many people as possible against purchasing from this Heartless company or anything made by their parent company Thor. My first blog post was seen by well over 30K viewers. Please do me a favor and share this one too. Let’s get the word out to stay away from this company.

In closing, I don’t want all of my blog posts to be about this negative experience we are having with Heartland. Recently the 4 of us watched our Nomadiversary videos from our 3 years on the road and reminisced about why we live this way. We love the RV lifestyle and we love seeing this beautiful country we live in. We have had a temporary setback. This video right here shows the good stuff. This right here is why we do this, why it’s worth it and why we’re anxious to continue on with this incredible lifestyle. I also love the song If Today Was Your Last Day. I got to thinking, if today was my last day I certainly wouldn’t be wasting any more time on this Heartless company. I hope you enjoy this video of our 3rd year on the road and let it be a reminder that the RV lifestyle really is good in spite of bad companies.

Thank you for watching and listening. I hope to resume posts about our travels again very soon. 🙂

UPDATE: an update to this post can be viewed here: Heartland Stands by Ludicrous Lippert Report

Categories: Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

We’re Going to be on a Radio Show

This is just a quick post for anyone who is interested in updates about our RV disaster. We still have no resolution from Heartland, but we are being heard by the RV community. The RV Show USA invited us to be on their show to tell our story. RV consumers are getting pretty tired of the poor quality of RVs that are being manufactured these days and the lack of customer service. This show is calling the manufacturers out on that.

If you feel like tuning in to listen to the show, here are the details. The show airs live Wednesday night, October 10th at 8pm EST. It’s a 2 hour show and we will be on during the 2nd hour which starts around 9pm EST. It will also be recorded so you can listen at another time if you would like. To watch the show visit the RV Show USA Facebook page or the RV Show USA website  or the RV Show USA YouTube Channel.

This is a quick video promo for the show.

 

Categories: Fulltime RV'ing, Our Rig | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Prince Edward Island

We love books and I like to try to have family story time in the evenings as often as possible. Several months ago we began reading Anne of Green Gables which is based on the fictional town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island. The real name of the town is Cavendish and if you visit that town you will have the pleasure of seeing many attractions all based on the book.

Naturally we went to visit the Green Gables house.

SavedImage_20180725_134905_13~2

20180725_134553

If you are familiar with the story you might recognize the names of these walking trails around the house: Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane.

20180725_140853_HDR

Haunted Wood

20180725_141645.jpg

They even had characters from the book dressed up in costume walking around playing their parts.

20180725_142610_HDR

Anne, Gilbert Blythe and Diana

We also went to visit the cute little Avonlea Village.

20180725_150613_HDR

20180725_145958

20180725_150404_HDR

Cow’s Creamery has been voted the best ice cream in Canada. Of course we had to try it out to make sure, and we all agreed it’s quite good, maybe it really is the best in Canada.

20180726_111741

20180726_105955_HDR

While in PEI we stayed at a beautiful VRBO vacation rental. It was right on the water and had an amazing deck!

20180722_165116

20180722_191741~2

We all loved hanging out on this deck and enjoying the view. Jake enjoyed some Raspberry Cordial (another treat based on Anne of Green Gables).

20180725_183132_HDR

That wraps up my posts about our visit to Canada.

Soon I hope to post an update on the RV situation. We’re still dealing with that 3 months later. Sigh!

Categories: canada | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at WordPress.com.