After three months in Alabama—one month by choice and two as part of the shelter-in-place orders—I decided to attempt my second slow travel road trip to my next destination. It came with lots of bumps along the way. But that is next week’s tale. Before I left the south, I needed to take Quill to the Oliver facility for some regular work. Yep, a visit to the mother nest for Oliver maintenance. You might remember the term mother nest from my post on molded fiberglass trailers.
But in case you don’t want to go look at that post. What do you typically think as belonging in a nest? Eggs. And what’s another term for a molded fiberglass trailer? Yep, an egg. Get it? My trailer needed to go home to mom, home to the nest.
Down the Rabbit Hole
After writing the above paragraphs, mother nest made me think of mothership, figuring that mother nest had something to do with the term mothership. Then I started wondering where the term mothership came from. Many of us probably associate it with science fiction. I certainly did.
Turns out, it comes from ships. Literal ships. Marine ships. It makes perfect sense despite the fact that it never occurred to me. It also applies to aircraft and spacecraft. A mothership is a larger vessel that services smaller ones. One source said the word was first used in 1885.
Okay, sometimes I complain about how much time I spent working on the blog and website each week. Then I dive headlong into a rabbit hole that, let’s face it, really has nothing to do with today’s topic. Seriously, is it any wonder it can take longer than it should to produce a post? Still, rabbit holes can be so interesting.
Did you think when you started this RV-related post that you would learn about a boat term?
I left Lake Guntersville and drove three hours north to Hohenwald. I left on a Monday but my scheduled service day for the Oliver maintenance was Wednesday. So, I had two nights where I needed to find a place to park.
The plan was to go to Meriwhether Lewis Park for a free night’s stay. It’s just outside Hohenwald. I’ve been several times and really like the small free campground. They have a bathroom and water spigots but it is dry camping (boondocking). Plus, with tons of trees I thought I’d be okay for temperature with all that shade. The plan was to stay there Monday night.
Then the second day, I’d go to the Oliver office where they have six 30-amp power posts and stay Tuesday night. I wanted to be there to enjoy being plugged in and to make it easy to get up Wednesday morning and drive the couple miles to the Oliver service center.
The Plan Goes Sideways
What actually happened was I drove the familiar road into the Meriwether Lewis area to find the campground barricaded off. I didn’t understand because just that morning I got a notice from the Tennessee Parks system that state parks and campgrounds were open.
Turns out—duh—that Meriwether Lewis Historical Site and Campground is part of the Natchez Parkway which is one of four parkways run by National Parks. National, not State. And National Parks opened only to day-use at that point.
So, off to the Oliver office I went. A pretty easy solution. Thankfully, as I really didn’t have another plan in place. Hook-ups at the Oliver office are on a first come, first serve basis but there was only one other trailer there that first night. They also intended to drop of their trailer in the morning for Oliver maintenance and service. Actually, each of the three nights I overnighted there, I shared the parking area with only one other Oliver.
I worked all day on Tuesday in the comfort of AC. Then spent a second night at the Oliver office.
I planned on my rig being with the service department all day Wednesday, which is exactly what happened. I drove to a few nearby towns. It was so hot, I really couldn’t leave my cat in the van for more than a few minutes at a time. So, mostly we just drove around all day.
After my rig was serviced, I overnighted a third night at the Oliver office parking so that I could get up early and begin my slow travel road trip.
Each of the three nights, I told myself to take a photo of parking at the Oliver office. And each of three nights, I forgot. This post is short on photos. My apologies. The feature photo is from Lake Guntersville where the deer came to eat by my trailer two, sometimes, three, times each day.
Two Cool Things, Two More Fun Interactions
Oliver Maintenance Office Parking Buddies
Okay, this has nothing to do with my road trip or my Oliver maintenance but two nice coincidences happened in the parking lot at Oliver. On the first night I talked with the couple as we were parking and figuring out the best place for each of our rigs. It took me about 15 minutes to realize I had met them the year before at the Oliver Rally.
They were the “ladderball couple.” Leslie and her partner were in charge of the Ladderball Tournament at the 2019 Oliver Rally. And Leslie taught me how to play the game. This also has nothing to do with the subject, but I feel compelled to say I won second place in that tournament with my partner, Janie, who had also just learned to play ladderball minutes before the tournament began. So fun. And we were so impressed with ourselves. A year later and I’m still impressed with us.
On my last night, I pulled into the office lot after my Oliver maintenance and another Oliver was already set up. I walked around to where the man was reading (his wife was inside napping) and said hello. Turns out our trailers are siblings! Our trailers came into this world one after the other on the Oliver manufacturing line. I’m hull 249 and they were 248. So, our hulls spent about 10 weeks next to each other during their build.
The two trailers had a nice time seeing each other again. And I had a lovely conversation with the my trailer’s sibling’s owners.
In addition to connecting with current Oliver owners, I met three people arriving at the office to pick up their brand-new trailer and get their Oliver orientation.
Craig from Vermont I met in the parking lot after my first overnight. Craig and I had a great conversation and when he returned home to Vermont, his best friend emailed me. And subscribed to the blog.
Then, on the second morning as I was getting organized to take Quill over to the service center, I saw a car pull up to the office. A couple from Maine got out and they immediately started walking toward me. They recognized my trailer!
The interaction was quick but they told me they particularly enjoyed the gear posts as they planned their upcoming RV adventures. I told them I’ve heard so many nice things about Maine from other RVers and that I looked forward to visiting their state.
Oliver owners are the best. And when you are at Oliver sales or service, you are treated like a friend. Truly, I doubt there is another RV manufacturer out there quite like Oliver.
Oliver Maintenance Service Work
In case you are wondering or are interested, I’ll share the work I had done at Oliver. Most of it was simply checking to see if things were okay. A lot of components require annual inspection if you following the maintenance guidelines. And, while I can certainly look at things, I don’t really have any idea of what I’m look at or looking for. So, if I’m having service, I always add this to the list.
I asked them to inspect my AC, refrigerator, roof fans and water heater. I also asked them to check my tires for the tire pressure and the torque on the lug nuts because, while learning how to use a torque wrench was on my list of firsts last year, I still don’t actually own one yet.
The two big projects I asked them to do were to reseal everything (more on that in a second) and to fix the constant buzzing sound that started up every single evening when the solar went to sleep (even when plugged in) as it drove me nutty.
The buzzing came from the converter which is located under the dinette seat. They replaced the charger. Now my RV no longer drives me crazy at night. I’m not entirely sure what the converter and charger are or do but it does have to do with the power and electrical system.
The majority of my final bill came from having them scrap off the old sealant, clean and reseal everything. Most people do this themselves and I might try it next time it’s needed but sometimes I like having others do it. This included the windows, outside lights and all the roof components.
Finally, and the main reason I wanted service while in the vicinity of the mother nest was because there was a component recall on the Dexter axle. Dexter covered that expense.
I’m curious, if you own an RV do you have a place you regularly take your RV for service or do you find the nearest place in your travels?
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Hey Debbie, we met at the rally last year and I have been following your blog ever since. My grandson and I have been doing all of the maintenance and the repairs on the Oliver I bought used (hull 267). It has been a learning experience for both of us. But, I live close to Savannah and it would be a trip to take it to Tennessee for the annual work. Good traveling to you!!
That’s fantastic that you guys are learning maintenance and repair on the Oliver. Saves a lot of money and headache with trying to get back to Tennessee. Savannah is a place I really want to visit. Heard very nice things about it and my college roommate lives there. Someday!
Debbie. I’m like you. I go every year to the mothership and have them do all the maintenance like getting all 5 tires rotated, recalking the windows lights etc and check for recalls. Yes it cost money but it’s done professionally and they usually find items that could be an issue. Especially anything having to do with the tires and axels.And brakes. All other issues are secondary but if your tires or axles or springs go bad, you are in trouble immediately. Been there before
So true Miguel. I’m so glad you commented because it never occurred to me to have them rotate the tires, including the spare. Now it’s on my list for next year. Thank you.
It is great that you have made so many friends along the way.
I too thought a mothership had something to do with a spaceship.
I enjoyed the mothership history.
Enjoy your week.