It is a good thing that our first impression of Maryland was positive, because our last week in that state was completely frustrating. We needed repairs to the interior and to the engine. We had to move out for the work to be done and the logistics became very convoluted as time passed.
We left the KOA on Sunday, July 6th, and drove the Monaco to the front parking lot of the Custom Coach location. We stayed there overnight because we wanted be there when they opened at 8:00 AM, without battling morning rush hour traffic. It wasn’t in the nicest neighborhood, so we stayed inside with the door locked and window shades drawn. We only went outside a few times when the dogs needed a potty break.
Since we were displaced while the work on the coach was completed, we rented a carriage house through vrbo.com. The location was in a suburb north of Washington D.C., and the online description and photos made it seem like a quaint option for us. However, words and photos can be deceiving. The place was a total pit. I think they furnished it with pieces they pulled out of a dumpster. The air conditioning control was in the main house, so we had no control of our own interior climate. The weather temperatures were very mild that week, but since there were no screens on the windows, we could not even open them for fresh air. The bed was so soft, it was like sleeping in a hammock. Even though they said the kitchen was fully equipped, there wasn’t even a coffee maker. The only redeeming factor was that we could watch deer graze in the yard each evening. We were there from Monday until Friday.
We spent most of our time during the vrbo stay waiting on the shop to call (or not call), and let us know when the repairs would be complete. We did get out one day and take the metro into D.C. so we could visit the National Air & Space Museum.
My absolute favorite thing in the museum was this record that went up in each of the Voyager flights. It was something that could be shared with any other possible alien civilizations to tell them about Planet Earth and its inhabitants. The scientists were so smart, they even included instructions on how to build a phonograph in order to play the record. Brilliant!
Since I tend to drag Mikey to every imaginable botanical garden we encounter, I figured he would appreciate spending an afternoon learning about a subject he is actually interested in!
It is funny to me that a sophisticated scientific tool like the Hubble Telescope looks like it is covered in Reynolds Wrap.
We finally got the Monaco out of the Custom Coach location, and decided we should have an oil leak in the engine examined while we were already displaced. We picked it up from the first shop and drove it a few miles down the road to deliver it to a Cummins repair shop. Our reservation at the VRBO location had expired, and we could not extend our stay because they had already booked their next guests. We packed up all our gear (including the contents of our fridge and freezer), and moved into the Marriott Towne Suites down the street from the NSA complex in Annapolis Junction.
A taqueria inside of a Shell Gas Station that was featured on Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives happened to be just down the road from our hotel room. You can bet I picked up dinner for us while we were so close.
We stayed in the hotel for about 4 nights before the manager informed us we would have to check out because they were fully booked. The folks at Cummins gave us different progress reports each day. First them would tell us that they had ordered the part they needed and were waiting for it to be shipped. The next day they would tell us they were waiting for Monaco to call they back so we could order the part… What? I thought the part was already ordered. It is a Cummins engine that is leaking, why on earth do you need a part from Monaco? After we were checked out of our second hotel, we just went to the Cummins lounge and parked ourselves in the Customer Lounge until we got a straight answer.
After almost one week at Cummins, a competent Manager dialed into our case, and facilitated what needed to happen for the repairs to take place. When we were set to go, they realized how terrible the service had been and comped the repairs with a simple handshake. Since the original estimate had been over $700, we felt like we were treated fairly in the end. We did not leave Cummins until after 5:00 PM with strong thunderstorms approaching, so we drove about 3 miles down the road and boon docked in a Walmart parking lot. Travel to Pennsylvania would come the next day after the traffic and weather cleared, and after we finally got a good night’s rest.
I was so happy to be back in our own space that I celebrated by cleaning my fridge and freezer before reloading it with all the frozen and cold items we had been schlepping all over the Baltimore/ D.C. metro areas.