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Expired Warranties, Tumors, and Chocolate. Oh My!

Posted by on March 23, 2010

Roadside art or a nuisance? What do you think of the Airstream Ranch?

Last week was an eventful, expensive and monumental week in our lives.  First, we realized that our Airstream warranty was expiring on March 17th.  Yikes!  This date became known to us about week before when I came across the paperwork and thankfully we were somewhat close to Bates RV, an Airstream service center.  Chris and I sat down and made a list of all of the items we wanted checked or repaired.  It included minor items such as a faulty latch on a cabinet, resulting in the cabinet opening during travel, to more involved items, such as an inoperable sewer flush and electric jack.  We also wanted our tires checked (to confirm how many new tires we needed), our battery checked, and a propane leak test performed.

You are now entering the Vintage Airstream Village

I called Bates and the soonest they could see the Airstream was March 16th, one day before expiration.  Phew! We dropped the Airstream off with our list of requests and said goodbye to our cute little aluminum home for the week.  We enjoyed our brief tour of Bates RV – a location that is well-known among Airstreamers for the “Airstream Ranch,” a roadside attraction along I-4.  In addition to the Ranch, they also have the Airstream Village at the front entrance.  The village, a setup of four or five vintage Airstreams, is actually part of the Sales Department.  Each vintage Airstream is an office.  It was quite awesome.

We recently learned that the Ranch was the subject of a lawsuit.  While many supporters of the Ranch consider it roadside art, some neighbors regard it as an eyesore and the County deemed it a nuisance, fining Mr. Bates $100 per day.  In February, a panel of judges considered the Ranch to be legal…not necessarily artwork…but legal, nonetheless, stating “county officials had not produced substantial, competent evidence establishing that the display created a nuisance, was a commercial sign or constituted an open storage of the vehicles.”  So, the Airstream Ranch lives on! (Here’s a link to an article re: the lawsuit.)

One of the "Sales Offices" in the Vintage Airstream Village.

Thankfully, when we picked our home up on Friday, we learned that our requested repairs were covered by warranty.  We learned that we need to have our roof resealed but it was going to be a very expensive task and by Friday, we couldn’t go forward with that expense or the time it took to have it done.  We’d also like to say a special “Thanks” to Pat of the Bates Service department.  Due to an unexpected staff shortage, they had a crazy week at Bates and by Friday, we were really hoping to have our home back.  When we had not received a call by 4:00 and were having difficulty reaching an actual person, we hopped in the car and made our way to Dover to inquire.  We were able to get in touch with someone on our way there and they confirmed that we could pick up the Airstream before 5:00.  Unfortunately, traffic was terrible.  So, thanks to Pat and a very nice woman working the desk (whose name we did not get) for staying past 5:00 on a beautiful Friday and waiting for us to pick up our home. We really appreciate it that they stuck around, answered our questions, and went over the paperwork with us!  (Hope everyone is feeling better!)

More "offices".

As I mentioned, it was an expensive week.  On Thursday, our dog, A.J. had surgery.  What began as a simple cleaning routine with a reasonable estimate turned into a tooth extraction and tumor removal procedure with a not-so-reasonable final, confirmed price tag.  I hope A.J. appreciates his pretty teeth and slimmer leg now.  I know he doesn’t appreciate the Elizabethan collar that he is forced to wear.  I do feel sorry for him with that hideous collar around his neck.  He bumps into things and looks at me with those big bug eyes that say, “please, what did I do to you? Why must you torture me?”.   I do remove it when I take him for a walk so others won’t laugh at him.  And, I take it off when he needs to eat.  But, when I try to put it back on, his resistance is growing more violent.  He’s not a happy camper right now.

An unhappy (and somewhat drugged) camper.

Lastly, it was a monumental week.  Yes, there’s the passing of the health care bill which is significant in our country’s history.  But, that’s not what I’m referring to.  And, while I have felt many baby kicks, last week we actually saw my belly move when the baby was kicking.  That was pretty exciting, too.  But, that’s not the event I am referring to either.  On February 12th, while we were in Savannah, Chris and I both purchased a Ghirardelli chocolate bar.  I finished mine approximately three days after purchase. (And, I was quite proud that it lasted that long.)  On Sunday, March 21st, Chris finally finished his chocolate bar.  He would only take a little nibble of the bar every few days and, at one point, he actually forgot he had the chocolate.  Meanwhile, every time I opened the cabinet, I swear the chocolate bar got up and danced and taunted me.  So, it’s finally gone.  I no longer have to look at the gold wrapper covering a hazelnut chocolate bar and test my willpower every time I open my cabinet.  It may seem so insignificant to you, I know.  But, trust me, the moment is totally worth an entire paragraph of a blog entry.

This week, we are back on the road in our super clean and nicely repaired home with two new tires.  It feels good.  We landed a great first-come, first-served spot at a fabulous Florida State Park and I look forward to telling you all about it…in my next entry.

6 Responses to Expired Warranties, Tumors, and Chocolate. Oh My!

  1. James Schipper

    We never considered it an eyesore. I went there right after they planted them to do some research anyway :-)

    http://fierynomad.smugmug.com/Travel/Dinosaur-World-01-20-2008/IMG7502/366185516_SBQ39-M.jpg

    Here’s the site from the back: http://fierynomad.smugmug.com/Travel/Dinosaur-World-01-20-2008/IMG7515/366189321_FnESX-M.jpg

  2. RG Coleman

    Fun stories. I didn’t know the Airstream Ranch was near a service center. Of course it’s art! ; )

  3. Lani

    Thanks for the comment! Yep…Bates RV is an Airstream service center. It is also where we toured our first Airstream just over a year ago! The Airstream Ranch is owned by Mr. Bates and is just next to the service center. You can get a closer look of the ranch – I think they will actually take you out to it on a golf cart. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to get a closer look. My brief click of the camera on the crazy I-4 was all I could do. Exciting nonetheless!

  4. Lani

    James, great pictures! Thanks for sharing! I rather like the Airstream Ranch as well.

  5. lotus

    How fun – the moving, shaking belly! It’s a baby in there! Glad you felt that and glad your other baby is fine and also glad you got that big baby cleaned and repaired! What a great week. Except the chocolate, which I really think you should have just finished off yourself. Hazelnut? How could you resist?!? :)

  6. Lani

    Hi Lotus! Yep! There’s a baby in there! I get excited every time I feel and see a kick. So crazy. So miraculous. So incredible! And, I have no idea how I resisted the hazelnut. I do confess to snacking on chocolate chips during this torture but it’s not the same as Ghirardelli Hazelnut Chocolate. It was really, really tempting. (Perhaps it was also the fact that he didn’t seem to care about it like I cared about it. That bothered me.) Hope you are doing well!!! :-)

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