Often my wife and I will take the RV on overnight trips. If we are looking to just get away for a night, or even spend a day somewhere and we want to get an early start, we jump in the RV after work and go spend the night close to where we want to be.

Usually it’s a good time. But not every trip goes according to plan.

Recently, we took the RV to Crooked Lake near Lake Wales. Before we left, we ran through our normal checklist. One of those items is to make sure we have water in the RV. Since we aren’t able to hook up to a water supply on these trips, we use the internal water storage. I filled the storage supply up — only to find out that the water pump, which moves the water inside the RV, wasn’t working. After reading the manual and calling the RV dealership, we discovered the water pump had failed and needed to be replaced.

My wife and I live in Lakeland, not far from I-4. But the dealership is located in Ocala, which means it’s a 90-minute drive to get the RV up there to get anything done. Naturally, no dealership is going to work on your timeframe — so to make this happen, I need to take a day off of work. In order to go up there for my 9:30 a.m. appointment, I have to leave the house at 7. If all goes well and they get me in and out, the best I would be able to leave by is 11. That assumes the parts are there and they aren’t backed up from the day before. Yeah, right!

Fortunately, my wife is a stickler for extended warranties so the repair itself won’t cost us anything. However, the time it takes me to go up, then wait for the repairs to be done, costs me a full day of work. That’s a bit of a bummer. No one wants to take a vacation day simply to get the RV fixed. But that’s what I’m doing.

What this means is that our next RV purchase will be done at a dealership closer to home. Fortunately, the unit we have been considering is at a dealership considerably closer to our house. That’s a good thing. Once we do this, if anything goes wrong, it will only cost me a half-day off work instead of a full day.

A water pump is not a big issue. It doesn’t require me to leave the vehicle overnight. Had that been the case, one of two things would be happening. I would either be looking for a hotel to stay in or I would ask to park the RV outside the gates and stay in it. For this particular dealership, I don’t think any hotels are close to their facility, so I’d have to get creative. The only other alternative is to have someone follow me up to Ocala, bring me back, and then go back and get it once it is done. That sounds awfully inconvenient.

When we purchased the RV, the dealership location was never a concern. I guess I never thought that I would need to take the RV in for anything. But as long as we have the extended warranty, we’ll have them repair it so I don’t mess anything up. All in all, a day away from work isn’t bad — but I would much rather be enjoying the RV, not fixing it.

What it comes down to: When you’re in the market for an RV, your first consideration should always be finding a model you’re happy with. But with what I’ve learned from this experience, my second priority is now making sure the dealership is a good bit closer than the one I have today.

Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes, golfs and shares RV travels with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.

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