As you use your motorhome —and when you see all the bells and whistles on newer models— you start to develop a list of things to fix, add, or change if you have the chance. After four years with Serena, our wish list was getting pretty long, so we decided that this was the summer to head to the Leisure Travel Van factory in Winkler, Manitoba for some work.
Steve Harder, the service manager, fit us in on the exact dates we asked for and we were able to spend each night in one of the sites that LTV generously provides next to the service department. I find this particularly amazing as it means that every day the crew has to remove their tools, clean up, and put your motor home back in order so that you can sleep in it, saving you the cost of a hotel. The sites are supplied with electric and water, and there are even leveling blocks for additional comfort. During the day, a large waiting area is available with WiFi, plenty of tables to do computer work, and lots of overstuffed furniture to relax in.
After only four days, everything possible on our lengthy list was accomplished. We are now able to dance under the stars while listening to music from the waterproof speakers we had installed or relax under our awning retrofitted with a long string of tiny LED lights, like the newer models. Manny’s life is a whole lot easier now that he can flush the holding tank from the outside via the black water flush system we brought and they put in. All scrapes and scratches inside and out were touched up, and a large red ink stain was miraculously cleaned from our cream colored upholstery. Our bathroom is prettier than ever with a stainless steel splash guard and our medicine cabinet more useful turned 180 degrees so it opens into the aisle. Surprisingly, even parts we thought would have to be ordered like our cracked outside signal light, refrigerator shelf and damaged macerator pump were in stock. They were even able to recover our captain’s chair arms that were badly worn. We are more comfortable now that our air conditioner makes less noise and even without electric hookups, we are able to plug our fans into a small inverter cleverly placed inside one of the cupboards. Our lighting is now superb and more energy efficient as we had all fluorescents changed to LEDs and we can read and cook better with the swivel-on/off LED lights installed throughout.
From all the work that was done in such a short time, we thought a swarm of people had been responsible. When we asked to meet the crew that had transformed our Serena, we were astonished that there were only four: Pete, Mary, Jason and the foreman Benji. Thanks to these four and manager Steve, our Serena is better than ever.
Leisure Travel Van people are a certain breed. We’d like to think of ourselves as fun-loving, easy-going, adventurous, and friendly. And to prove my point, who should walk in the door but Kathie and David Mead, two fun-loving, easy-going, adventurous and friendly people! They were hitting the road for Alaska for the third time in their Free Spirit, stopping at the factory for some minor repairs. In just twenty-four hours we made fast friends and a bond that we hope will last a lifetime. We’re keeping touch while we are traveling, hoping to cross paths and spend some time on the road together before we all head home.
On our last day, two old acquaintances popped in for some work on their Free Spirit. We had met Lanna and son Tait three years ago at the LTV rally. At the time Tait was only seven and if memory serves was a bit of a handful. What a difference three years makes. He is positively charming. We don’t have much opportunity to be around ten year olds, but I am pretty sure Tait is a cut above the norm.
He entertained us with magic, his specialty card tricks, which he did with ease and grace, all the while chit chatting comfortably as he dazzled us with his misdirection. We enjoyed hearing his well-thought out opinions, and were amazed at his positive and mature attitude towards life. Tait has already carved out a niche for himself in the entertainment world, having won several local magic competitions, and was recently interviewed on a radio station in Manitoba. We are going to keep watching because some day, I am sure we will see on a Las Vegas marquee, “Appearing tonight, “the beguiling, the mysterious, the handsome T8, the Gr8!”