Nashville, TN to Frankfort, KY
Frankfort, KY - Events of Friday, July 27 to Wednesday, August 1, 2012
On Friday, we got moving relatively early because, not only did we have drive of over 4 hours to our next destination in Frankfort, KY, we would also lose an hour going from the Central Time Zone to Eastern. In addition to all that, we also had to hook up the car and then stop at the dump station on our way out of Lock A Campground.
By the time we hitched up, corrected a minor problem with one of the turn signals on the toad and dumped, it was after 9:30 when we got on the road. We didn't pull into Still Waters Campground in Frankfort until almost 3:00 PM by the time we also stopped for gas.
We stayed at Still Waters when we visited the Frankfort/Lexington, KY area back in 2010. Located about 10 miles north of Frankfort and about 30 miles from Lexington, Still Waters is a little out of the way; but it is a nice, quiet campground with full hookups on the RV sites, and with water and electric only on a couple dozen tent sites. The RV sites on the eastern side of the campground where we were located had 30/50-amp electric, but we think the sites on the western side have just 30 amps. The roads are gravel, and the RV pads are grass and gravel. The RV sites are all back ins, and they are fairly widely spaced.
There are quite a few permanents at Still Waters, but most of the sites are neatly kept.
Still Waters is located on the Kentucky River, which is a smaller river that is suitable for fishing and canoeing. The campground has canoe rentals and a van that will take paddlers and their canoes upstream.
For the last few times we have been traveling (at least since we left Memphis), we have been hearing a noise from the engine of the motor home that sounded like an exhaust leak. Paul suspected a broken exhaust manifold stud, which not uncommon on the 8.1 liter gas engine we have. Paul had been under the motor home several times, but was unable to track the leak down. At Lock A with a relatively clean, paved pad, he was able to climb underneath and get a good look, and he finally found the broken bolt.
The engine used in our motor home was also used on some GM pickup trucks. Although a few Chevrolet and GMC dealers work on motor homes, most do not. Only those dealers who also sold GM medium duty trucks have the heavy-duty jacks, lifts and tools that are required for a lot of the work on larger vehicles. Therefore, Paul decided a Workhorse repair shop would be our best option for repair since Workhorse manufactured the chassis of our motor home. We found Bluegrass International Trucks in Georgetown, KY about 45 minutes from Still Waters was listed as a Workhorse repair facility, so we decided to bite the bullet and get the repair done while we were in Frankfort. Navistar, the parent company of International Trucks, apparently signed up some of their truck dealers to help expand the service network for Workhorse motor home chassis when they bought Workhorse a few years ago.
Before we left Nashville, we made an appointment at Bluegrass International Trucks for the Tuesday after we arrived in Frankfort. We got up early on Tuesday morning and drove to Georgetown. Unfortunately, when we got to the repair shop at 8:00 AM, they had no record of our appointment. They were backed up, but agreed to squeeze us in.
They pulled us into a service bay in fairly short order. As you can see in the photo below, there were school buses on both sides of us. There were about two dozen more school buses parked all around the lot. Most were new and were being prepped for delivery to the various school districts. There were also some older buses that were being serviced to get ready for the upcoming school year, which starts in just a few weeks here in the South. All those school buses was the reason Bluegrass Trucks was so busy.
In order to remove a broken exhaust manifold stud, you first have to remove the entire exhaust manifold. Unfortunately, additional studs usually break when you try to remove the manifold because the studs and nuts get quite rusted because of all the heat. We knew getting the motor home repair completed in one day was iffy, but we were hoping they would allow us to stay in the motor home in the parking lot if they had to keep the rig overnight.
Unfortunately, it wasn't getting the old studs out that was the biggest problem. The 8.1 liter GM engine used on the Workhorse chassis uses longer manifold studs than those used in the GM pickup trucks, and no one in the area had a new stud kit for the motor home version of the engine in stock. The shop couldn't get the parts until the following morning. And once they got the old manifold off, they couldn't move the motor home out of the service bay, so we weren't able to stay in it.
There are numerous motels in the area, but after watching episodes of the Travel Channel's Hotel Impossible, we have become really wary of staying in a motel. The program features Anthony Melchiorri, known as "The Hotel Fixer," who helps struggling hotels and motels uncover their problems in order to become more competitive and improve their businesses. The TV program is an excellent marketing resource for RV sales because of all the hidden problems and behind the scenes deficiencies it reveals in many hotels and motels!
We did some checking online at Hotels Guides and searched for pet-friendly accommodations. We decided on the Best Western a few miles away. We could have gotten a less expensive room, but we chose a motel that was rated very high by verified guests and at a price point we could manage.
We stopped in the motor home and packed our overnight bags and grabbed computers and reading material. By the time we left the repair shop a little after noon, they had not only removed the old manifold, but they had gotten all but one of the old studs out. That one had not broken, and they were probably waiting for the penetrating oil to do its work.
Except for going out for a quick dinner, we spent the afternoon and evening at the motel. We watched the Olympics, read and played on the computer. We took along our Verizon modem, but the motel had free Wi-Fi, and it was pretty fast. Freeway adapted well and not only enjoyed all the new smells, but didn't find anything objectionable under the bed. LOL
The motel turned out to be very nice. The room was clean and up to date, and the bed was fairly comfortable. They had cookies and popcorn from 6:00 to 8:00 in the evening (the chocolate chip cookies were excellent), and they had a hot breakfast buffet in the morning. The breakfast buffet wasn't nearly as good as the one at Der Dutchman in Berlin, OH; but it wasn't bad, and it certainly was convenient. There were scrambled eggs (they weren't even rubbery), sausage patties, sausage gravy and biscuits, cereal (hot and cold), fresh waffles, sweet rolls, muffins and fresh fruit (bananas and apples).
When we called Bluegrass Trucks on Wednesday morning, they told us the parts had come in as scheduled, and they were busy putting things back together. We checked out of the motel a little before the 11:00 AM check out time and headed a few miles up the road to Bluegrass Trucks to wait. A little before noon, we saw the motor home being pulled out of the shop for its test drive. It took about 45 minutes to get the paperwork squared away. Apparently, someone with the authority to add up all the charges must have been at lunch. The price was around $600, which, according to one of the RV forums Paul participates in, was very reasonable. After we paid the bill, we were were finally on our way.
We commend Bluegrass Trucks for their excellent service. Even though our appointment somehow got lost, they bent over backwards to accommodate us. They made every effort to meet our needs and were pleasant and professional. We highly recommend them.
It was great driving the motor home with a quiet engine again. We got back to Still Waters and got set up in time to finally have lunch in the middle of the afternoon.
We love our home on wheels, but we didn't realize how much until we had to spend a night without it. We really enjoy being home again. We're taking it easy for a couple of days. Margery isn't feeling her best, but we're sure to get into a little something. Stay tuned.