Updated: Aug 5, 2021
What a crazy past two weeks!
We arrived in Elkhart, Indiana on July 18th in our little (38') travel trailer, The Rainmaker.
We couldn't wait to get to Luxe on the 19th to see our new home which, we were told, would be in the "MAGIFICENT SHOWCASE BAY" along with other models of Luxe RVs to show customers. We were supposed to walk in, and at the end of the walk we would be presented with our magnificent, new home!
Except plans change all the time -- and when we arrived they told us our RV wasn't ready yet. "Come back at 1pm," they said. Then at 1pm they told us to come back at 3pm. At 3pm they told us they were sorry that our RV was not only NOT in the magnificent showcase bay, it wasn't even really ready yet 😂 The dinette wasn't installed because there was a labor shortage in the area so the makers of the dinette were super behind... we had no awnings over our slides.... there was no awning over the back patio... they asked us if we still wanted to see it - in its unfinished form.
HELL, YES, WE DID! We didn't care one iota that it didn't have the dinette yet. As long as before we left the state it arrived, we didn't care at all. And if we didn't have slide toppers and awnings for a bit and they sent a mobile technician to our home (NJ) to have them installed eventually, we were good with that too. We were just happy to be there.
Let's talk for a second about the NAME of our new Luxe home on wheels. As many of you know, we have names for everything. The Rainmaker was aptly named because in the five years we owned him, it rained on every trip the moment we arrived and had to hook up at campsites (in downpours, usually), and on the last day when we were packing up to leave and get back home. It rained more often than not on that cute travel trailer; the running joke with the kids was always, "I bet it's going to rain this trip... BECAUSE RAINMAKER." Mike's ruby red F450 is named Jarvis - after the hi-tech computer system "Jarvis" from Iron Man. Being that Iron Man's suit is the exact hue of ruby red as Mike's truck, and the truck having just about every hi-tech feature a truck can be equipped to have, Jarvis seemed fitting. Blue is my Jeep -- and sometimes Blue is a "he", as in "You're my boy, Blue" from the movie, Old School... and sometimes Blue is a "she" as in the "clever girl" raptor from Jurassic Park. It only seemed fitting that our super sci-fi cinephile family (with a red truck and a blue truck) would think of the movie The Matrix and name their new RV, MORPHEUS.
Back to the story:
A little taken aback by our enthusiasm, understanding, and no cares for unfinished work, they reluctantly and apologetically walked us through our new home. We ooooh'd and ahhh'd at everything, blown away at how beautifully everything was finished. The team of foremen began their own list of things to finish on Morpheus, and asked us if we felt comfortable spending the night (and hopefully the week) in the RV on their lot to help find any other issues that may pop up after using everything for the first time. We told them we had basically begun moving in as they were making their list and asked them what time tomorrow they wanted to come in and begin the work. They laughed, collectively, and said, "We get here at 4:30am. We could start as early as 5am, but no customer has ever let that happen. So let's just say we'll begin as soon as we see you pop your head in to the shop."
((our list over 5 days on The RV Factory lot))
The next morning at 5am we popped our heads into the shop. Aghast, they repeated they almost never have customers allow them to enter and begin work before 8am, making it difficult for them because their days end at 1:30pm -- and allowing them in at 5am meant they could have a team of people dedicated to Morpheus all day, if need be. Oh, and did we have a team of people!
On the second morning (and without notice to any of the workers) we were told we had to "PACK UP EVERYTHING IMMEDIATELY! WE NEED TO GET TO MORRYDE FOR ALIGNMENT RIGHT NOW!" And with the speed and frenzy of readying for an approaching tornado, we hurriedly packed up as best we could so that the team could bring Morpheus to MORryde to have it aligned at 8am. Without the time to get velcro from the team to keep the fridge contents contained, we rushed out of Morpheus and busied ourselves for the day until our baby came back to the factory around 2:30pm. When we opened the front door, our worst fears were confirmed: The fridge doors were open, and a broken grape jelly jar and a broken bottle of red wine were all over the kitchen floor, in the slides, and there were broken shards of glass and clumps of jelly EVERYWHERE. The foremen stood there, mouths open, and said to us, "Mr. and Mrs. Boyle, Patty in the office needs to see you about your paperwork...." Still in a cloud of concern, we went to visit Patty, leaving our mess in Morpheus.
When we returned, the entire kitchen had been cleaned, swept, and air blown into the slide mechanisms to make sure there weren't any stray, broken glass shards in the gears. The crew worked after hours to clean a mess of wine and sticky, grape jelly just so we didn't have to do it ourselves. Better, they left us an entire roll of velcro to secure the fridge for our next transit! They even noticed the refrigerator door was dented on the right, front door panel, and they had a guy out the next morning to repair the dent (or replace the entire right door entirely if the dent wouldn't come out).
Little did we know that the frenzied rush to alignment would alert us to potential catastrophes we were able to solve before we got on the road for realsies! We never would have known the desk drawers in the kids' room needed to be secured for transit, in addition to the refrigerator. A few D-brackets at the tops and bottom of each desk unit and some super long velcro, and we no longer had a desk catastrophe! Side note: the sorcerer who performed the dent removal on the 'fridge used a light, a heat gun of some kind, and an L shaped, long handled, tool that pushed the dent back out from the inside of the door panel!! It was FASCINATING. Pure magic.
We spent the week blown away by the Luxe crew's friendliness, precision, dedication to perfection, and how absolutely fun and personable everyone was to us and Morpheus. We made life long friends with both foreman (Joe and Jamie), their hardest worker (Matt), the go-to go and electrician (Steve), and the plumber (Billy), so much so, they would come over and visit with us when they had a moment to pause or take a break during the week we stayed on the lot. We would call each of these people friends for life, and would have them over for Thanksgiving dinner if they were ever in the area (that's an invitation, guys!).
Matt recommended sushi at his favorite local spot, The Chubby Trout, which we enjoyed immensely! On our "Five Point Rating Scale" of sushi, see how these rolls ranked!
Right around day 3 of our Luxe stay, Mike and I hitched up the RV to the truck, and went for a drive to dump the tanks at a local RV Campground, and practice driving and backing up the RV on abandoned streets. Prior to leaving our NJ campground, we measured (with counts of Mike's feet, toe-to-heel) how wide the street was, how narrow the site was... all to practice in Indiana how to communicate with one another effectively and back up with more and more confidence. Then we went back to the Luxe lot, plugged back in to water and electricity, and were ready again at 5am to greet the guys.
The guys were so appreciative of our kindness, they did jobs in our rig that we should have been billed labor hours to complete, I'm sure, but they did them without a care for the cost of time, parts, or labor. They made us a picture frame around our map of the US where we add stickers of each state we've spent the night in the RV.... they hung a TV in the boys' room, even though it wasn't on the list of things to do and we had brought the TV from our old camper.... they added a unique space in the "basement" storage, behind walls, with very specific fittings and quick disconnects, for the huge, 3-part water filtering systems we use, then rebuilt the basement walls to accommodate it... They spent time showing us how to sand spots on our hand-laid-tile floors so that as we traveled and used our RV and the floor got nicks in the tiles, how to make everything look beautiful again without replacing the tile. They gave us extra floor tiles, wall paint, touch up bottles, nail hole fill-in crayons... They overheard the kids say to one another, "Watch your step on the ladder, it's a little sharp on the steps" and they had a team of people come in immediately and add rounded edges to the ladder steps so it wouldn't be so sharp for the kids' feet. They added secured loft-ladder storage, gave us an entire roll of velcro that we could cut to size for every cabinet closure when we are in transit... they installed the dinette when it finally came in, and took slide toppers and the back awning for the patio from whatever source they found to make sure we left The RV Factory whole. The only job we added onto the build that was labor cost: adding rollers to the back frame for low dips in road travel.
We spent the next several days in Indiana at the local campground in case something popped up and needed to be fixed. For example, one morning we walked around to the front of the RV and saw water dripping from the hitch. Water was between the nose-cap and the outside, and we were freaking out the washer was leaking at an alarming rate. After contorting our bodies to eeek behind the washer in the tiny closet as best we could, snapping pictures with our phones to catch a glimpse of any leaks, we realized the leak wasn't coming from the inside of the trailer. When we performed our shake-down move, the clear seal between the exterior wall of the RV to the nose-cap had become ever so slightly separated, causing the rain from the night before to seep its way in and drip down to the lowest point: the hitch. After resealing it with clear caulk on our own and then hosing down the area to confirm that was the fix, we wiped our brow with the hand of relief and chuckled that we had the easiest fix on earth. There were no other issues on that maiden voyage.
Mike's parents came and met us at the Elkhart Campground to pick up a uhaul of furniture we brought along with us from New Jersey. They spent the few nights of their visit at a nearby hotel, and would spend the days sitting in Morpheus with us at the campground. Elkhart Campground was hosting a convention of retro campers and we would walk the lot in the evenings in amazement of the cuteness at each site. We left Indiana (Mike, in his truck pulling Morpheus, and me in the Jeep following behind him so I could grab lanes for lane changes, or spot him on turns to make sure he was clear of hitting trees or obstacles), and on the 27th we spent the night at a Harvest Host in Michigan (to get the Michigan sticker for our map!!).
Harvest Host is a gigantic community of breweries, wineries, farms, and local attractions who have enough space at their locations to allow a handful of RVs to spend the night (for free) as they transit to their next destination. You can spend one night in these participating locations, doing what's called Boondocking, which means staying somewhere without any hookups (no water, no sewer, no electricity). RVs who boondock at Harvest Host sites usually have already filled fresh their water tanks to some comfortable level, have a generator or solar to supply power, and then dump their tanks when they get to a destination with sewer hookups. Our Harvest Host spot in Michigan was called "Cherry Creek Cellars".
It was beautiful, had amazing, fresh sandwiches using all locally farmed veggies, and some delicious wines and ciders they made within the walls of the old schoolhouse from the early 1900s, that they also used as their tasting room. Morpheus was parked in a flat spot with grapevines close by, and the young owners were as friendly as can be. Our little generator ran all night in the "backpack" of Blue with the windows open for ventilation, and provided enough power to make sure we ran everything we wanted and were still able to rest comfortably all night.
The next morning we left around 10:00, and made the 5-hour drive to Ohio, to a KOA (popular brand of nationwide RV campgrounds) that was within minutes of the amusement park, Cedar Point.
We turned every head pulling into our site, as many people had never seen an RV like ours before. Some people would stop if we were outside and ask us what a Luxe was, or comment how much they loved the paint... It was pretty funny, as this was our first time going somewhere that we were in public NOT near the factory it was built! It was foreshadowing the rest of our trip, for sure!!
Two words: CEDAR POINT.
I had no idea, but Cedar Point is one of the most amazing, highly awarded, and most incredible amusement parks in the nation. Many of their rides have won various awards year after year for being the fastest, or most thrilling, or whatever award there could possibly be.... Finn, finally being tall enough to ride the most extreme roller coasters, had the time of his life -- and I'd be lying if I said that wasn't the case for the rest of us!! We rode almost every extreme ride they had and we had the most amazing time we've ever had an any amusement park from California to Boston. The best rides, the most fun, and perfect weather. For what else could you ask? We spent two days in Ohio, one of which was just getting there and getting set up... the other was riding roller coasters... and we left on the third morning.
Pro-Tip: Millennium Force is the best ride. Ever.
Sadly, the fun couldn't last forever, and after some mega-fun staring Death in the eyes, and a stuffing our bellies with bites from a delicious local brewery called Bait House Brewery, it was time to be on our merry way. If you're in the Cedar Point area, Bait House Brewery is worth the map pin!
We drove to Pennsylvania and stayed at another Harvest Host, this time a brewery called Appalachian Brewing Company. The parking lot was HUGE and several other gigantic RVs were there as well. Many of the owners got out of their RV to come over and say something about ours... how cool it was that both our trucks matched the paint on the RV, or that they loved the brand and congratulated us on our new home... it was nice ❤️ We had some huge portions of grub, some crisp and chilly beers, and slept beautifully that night with Blue gently humming the generator to life in his backpack.
We completed our trek from Elkhart, Indiana, to Cape May, NJ the next morning, leaving PA at about 7am, so that we would arrive back to our home base by 10am (on a Saturday!!), before all the people had the chance to clutter up the streets with golf carts and kids riding bikes. Not kidding: we had been living in fear since March considering the moment we were to arrive back to our RV Resort and had to navigate the uncomfortably narrow streets to get to our ridiculously difficult to back-in-to site. We were sick with nerves and anticipation the entire trip home. We pulled up to the gate of our resort and it was busier than we hoped it would be.... so busy, that people in golf carts stared, mouth agape, as we drove by. We made the first turn into the park, a tight left turn, with me behind Mike (on the phone with him) saying, "You've cleared that fence post; you're good to proceed." When I checked my rear-view mirror, there were already a handful of golf carts full of people following me. Brennan hopped out of the truck and pushed branches of low hanging leaves out of the way as we transited at a snail's pace down some of the roads, and eventually we made it to our street. Incredibly, Mike made maneuvering the snaking streets look like a walk in the park on a sunny day, as we passed walkers who were exclaiming," WHAT IS THAT MONSTER?!" and, "I BET HE DOESNT MAKE THAT TURN -- OHMYGOD HE DID!!!" People would stop Mike as he was inching down the roads, just to ask, "How big is this thing? You think you're going to make that turn? Where are you headed? Good luck, buddy... I can't wait to see this..." And by the time we got to our site and prepared to back in, we had about 20-25 onlookers circling our site. From walkers to joggers, golf carts to neighboring sites of RVs whose owners came out just to watch us park. There were people taking bets on whether we'd fit, how many times we'd have to attempt the back-in process, exclaiming it wasn't possible, and some just generally bewildered that we had even made it THIS FAR into the park on such narrow roads! I parked my jeep at my neighbor's spot (he was outside and ready to be of service) and I walked to our lot while on the phone with Mike. Here are the commands I told him: "You've got this. Cut hard to passenger side. Stop. Go forward and try again, this time cut harder earlier. BEAUTIFUL. Stop there. Now cut harder to the passenger side. PERFECT. Stop. There is a tree above us which is unavoidable. It does not appear as though it will damage the roof. You must stay at this trajectory to not hit the fence post behind the rig. Stay on this course and back up........ OUTSTANDING JOB.... cut harder to the passenger side..... watch your driver side mirror..... PERFECT... back up 10'...... 6'... 4'... 2'... stop. I think this is good." He got out of the truck and the crowd erupted in applause. I'm not even kidding. The entire crowd of people CHEERED, high-fived Mike, sang his praises, and couldn't believe that not only did we fit, but that we parked it on the first try. And just to be finicky, Mike jumped back into the truck, pulled forward 10', reversed, and moved the RV over to the left another 6" so we would have a little more patio space 😂
Behold, a (STILL) married couple, after having backed a 45' Toy Hauler into the smallest space you'd ever imagine, on the narrowest of all RV Resort streets:
We were so proud of ourselves, we celebrated with sushi at our favorite, local sushi joint just down the street: Momiji.
Since then we've had every passerby slow to a stop to take in the vision that is this RV... and if we are outside they'll stop and chat with us about it. It's been a great feeling, as Morpheus looks NOTHING like the sea of black, brown, and white RVs throughout the park, but it's even nicer to just be home and land and start living in our new home instead of constantly preparing it to move. I ordered a small, circular rug for the family room and hate it, so I'm returning it and getting a new one delivered some time next week (I hope!!) and when that arrives I'll do a video of the interior ❤️
We're learning silly things like: where we had the coffee pot was kind of a hassle to add coffee and water in the mornings, so we moved it to another counter and now it works out better.... And I hated the teal decor from the Rainmaker against the cobalt parts in the new backsplash, so now everything has to be a darker blue... I put up a hand towel holder in the bathroom, already reorganized some kitchen cabinets, and spent yesterday getting some boxes out of storage to start finding homes for our things in the cabinets of our new home. I went to the Dollar Tree yesterday and procured some bins that fit perfectly in the cabinets, and after spending 20 minutes this morning with some pretty, decorative sticker labels and a white marker, my cabinet bins of food now have meaning; RICE SIDES, PASTA, BROWN RICE, CUPS, BREADCRUMBS. Mike has begun to install the vent covers on the roof, and has already added all of our RING cameras and doorbell. He's worked tirelessly on making all the electronics work again (our cable boxes and all bluetooth speakers throughout, as well as DVD and DISH Network systems). We've added secure, grabby holders to the wall for the broom and Swiffer in the kids' room, organized the patio, and hung our kayaks on the trees at the back of the site. And still, poor Mike has a honey-do list of a million more things he and I hope to accomplish in the coming weeks, despite the fact that he works 5-6 days a week, and 8-12 hours per day. His next task: all things solar.
And that's the story of the last two weeks, which feels like a lifetime ago ❤️ Today is Tuesday and the RV Resort is near empty again, and we will relive the excitement again on Saturday when this place fills up with weekend vacationers who have never seen a Luxe "in the wild" or have never seen a GIGANTIC, 45', red, white, and blue toy hauler before! Have fun and safe travels, friends! Go have an adventure, and as my Grandpa would say, "Have a nice trip!"