After spending the winter bouncing down bumpy back roads, the Gumbos needed to spend some time (and money) repairing the damage they did to The Dude and Gumbo. So, the month of April was spent fixing stuff and upgrading items that didn’t work as well as originally planned.
First on the list was replacing the damaged front spoiler on The Dude. This piece of plastic was pretty well destroyed when Duwayne ran over the wooden post (also damaging the steering gear). Not only was the spoiler damaged by the post but, in order to get at the steering gear, Duwayne and Beau had to rip the spoiler off, making it impossible to re-attach. You’d think that this part would be expensive but Duwayne was able to find a new one on eBay for $44 (no tax and free shipping!). After the part arrived, it took about an hour to get it installed. The Dude is happy!
Next on the list was the propane regulator. The Gumbos had problems with this during the latter part of their winter trip. Sometimes there wasn’t enough propane pressure to run the heater (and when the temps were in the 20’s, this was a serious problem!). And the automatic change-over from one propane tank to another didn’t seem to work. So, this meant ordering a new unit.
Then there was the faulty fresh water inlet. RVs have the option of pumping fresh water from the onboard water tank or, when parked in a site with fresh water available, hooking a hose up directly from the spigot to the RV’s water system. This second option didn’t work on Gumbo because the built-in check valve (that prevents water from coming out the inlet when using the onboard pump) leaked and couldn’t be replaced without replacing the entire water inlet. So, a new part was ordered and installed.
Next on the list was the ladder on the rear of the rig. One of the upright posts was bent when Duwayne managed to catch the seat of his bike (which was hanging on the ladder) on a road sign. It turns out that mounting the bikes on the ladder was a dumb idea – bouncing down rugged roads and going over unannounced speed bumps in Mexico caused the bikes to loosen the ladder fittings.
Duwayne had planned on ordering a replacement section of tubing to repair the ladder but, when he climbed up the ladder to inspect the area, the entire bottom rung of the ladder broke off!
This meant that the ladder could no longer be repaired – it needed to be replaced. Unfortunately, Gumbo is an 18 year-old fifth wheel and the custom ladder (that has the unique bends that you see midway up the ladder) is no longer available. And having a custom one fabricated was not in the budget. So, Duwayne ordered a ladder that could be retro-fitted to any RV (or so the literature stated). This ladder has a hinge at the midpoint, allowing the ladder to fit RVs that have unique shapes.
Obviously, the Gumbos were NOT going to hang their bikes on THIS ladder! This meant figuring out a new way of carrying the bikes. Usually, you can attach a bike rack to the rear bumper or frame of the fifth wheel. Unfortunately, Gumbo HAS no rear bumper and the frame was not set up well for welding on a fitting for a bike rack.
So, Duwayne ordered a new bike rack and hitch receiver and then had the receiver modified (welded) to allow it to support the bike rack at a height that would clear the sides of the truck. He then attached the whole enchilada on the FRONT of the fifth wheel.
This bike rack holds 2 bikes in a very secure fashion and it is BEEFY! Bumpy Mexican roads – the Gumbos are ready for you!