While we were in the area, Mike had wanted to get the Monaco’s engine serviced at Cummins Northwest in Spokane. It was time for a seventeen-point check, he wanted to have the chassis lubed, the transmission fluid needed to be flushed and replaced, and we had a leaky gasket somewhere. This particular Cummins shop had electric and water hookups for the coach clients, so it would be convenient to park in their lot while we waited for our service.
We pulled out of the Blackwell Island RV Resort in Coeur d’Alene around 11AM on Thursday September 15th and made the 45 minute drive on I-90 west to the Cummins location. We found an available spot on the end and Mike plugged us in. We were set up in no time. He checked in with the service desk and was told to be ready to hand over the coach at 7AM on Friday morning. The work was only expected to take part of one day, but we asked if it was okay if we stayed in their lot through the weekend. The shop was closed on Saturday and Sunday, so we didn’t feel like we would be in the way.
The reason we wanted to stay for a couple of extra days is because my Aunt Sharon had made plans to drive up to Spokane from the Portland area for the weekend. She was going to stay with her son John and crew, and we wanted to spend family time together while we had the chance. Staying at Cummins gave us the opportunity to stay in the area without paying a campground fee! That was good for our annual “rental average” since Blackwell Island was pretty expensive.
Everything went fine in the shop. They took our rig into the Coach Care Bay first thing in the morning as promised. Mike and I went to have a big breakfast at a place called Chaps Coffee Co., and then drove to downtown so we could explore the heart of the city while we walked the dogs. Once we were all tired, we drove back to Cummins and waited in their customer lounge until the maintenance was complete. We got the rig back around 3PM and moved it to another good spot on the opposite end of their lot. We hooked up and got situated again, then left and went to my cousin’s for a DELICIOUS brisket dinner.
Saturday afternoon was dedicated to watching football and grazing on more food back at John and Katie’s house. We returned to the Monaco in the evening and as we were preparing to go to bed, Mike noticed the fridge was not working. One good thing about the full-time RV community is the enormous online network available for trouble-shooting problems and issues related to big rigs. Before Mike was half-way through his first cup of Sunday morning coffee, he was online with someone at www.norcoldguy.com – diagnosing the fridge problem. It turned out to be a control panel that had gone bad. As Mike continued to investigate repair options, he decided he could replace the panel himself. We just needed to order one. If we got in the car and drove to a warehouse to buy the panel locally, it would have been $400. If he ordered it online and waited for a 2-day shipping delivery, it would only be $200. Go figure. We decided we could easily save $200 and wait around for the part to come in the shipment. He marched back into the Cummins service office and asked it we could stay a couple of extra days while we waited for the part to arrive. They said no problem and we really appreciated that!
As it turns out, we were at Cummins in Spokane for a full week. My aunt drove back to Portland on Monday, and we spent our remaining days exploring the “Lilac City”. The downtown area had lots going on. The dogs got good walks along trails in the community each day. We ate at a couple of other DDD restaurants around town, and spent one afternoon throwing away our money at the Northernquest Casino. (After a couple of cocktails Mike and I split up like we usually do in a casino, I go to the Pai Gow Poker Table and he shoots craps. When one of us runs out of money or nerve, we go find the other person and call it quits). By the time we left town our engine was running smoothly and our refrigerator was working just like new. We felt like we had won some sort of prize since we hadn’t paid rent for a full week! Of course, our costs associated with the engine maintenance and fridge repairs off-set the savings… but we didn’t dwell on that. We just looked at the bright side!