Brand: Thor Motor Coach
Model: 2018 Compass 23TR
Learning curve just got steep...
Since purchasing our Thor Compass 23TR in March, 2018, we have had so very many learning opportunities! Thought I would share our latest, in the hopes others could glean something from our experience.
We live in Michiganís Upper Peninsula, where winters can be hard. Our original intent was to find inside storage for our new baby, but we also wanted to be able to access our RV in March for a spring trip. That turned out to be an almost-impossible task for us (and we should have started looking much sooner), as most storage facilities in our area were either already booked, or would not guarantee year round access. We finally found an RV storage facility about an hour away which had plans to build a new storage building, and we secured a spot. The owner promised year round access, and the place was fenced and had gated access, so we thought we were golden!
Thatís when the drama started...construction of the new building was delayed, and delayed again, as winter was fast approaching. They finally started construction in late October, and in early November, just after some of the trusses went up, we had a huge windstorm with 60 mph wind gusts and most of the trusses were blown down. The whole project was halted as the contractor began wrangling with his insurance company, and then winter set in. The owner of the storage facility offered us outside parking for our RV, and at that point we really had no other choice. So we agreed, and made the commitment that we would visit once a month to check on our baby, keep her shoveled out, run the engine, and (as another poster on this forum so aptly put it) give our baby a hug now and then. We were parking on graded gravel, on top of rubber tire mats, and backed up to the security fence.
There was no way to predict that this would be one of our worst winters on record, or that we would keep every flake of snow that fell from November through March, because temperatures would be too cold to allow any significant melting. On two separate occasions, we shoveled through 3 feet of snow to get into the RV, and the first time we did this we realized that there had been some freeze/thaw cycles before it began snowing in earnest, and that the tires of the RV were locked in about 3 inches of ice (despite the fact that we had parked the RV on inch thick tire mats). The mats, the tire covers, and the bottom 2-3 inches of the tires themselves were firmly encased in ice. Thought about trying to bust it out of the ice, but we couldnít get the tire covers off, and were afraid we might damage the tires or wheels. Nothing to do but wait for a thaw, right?
Well, this week we had 36 continuous hours of above freezing temperatures, and we drove down to check on our RV with the hope that there had been enough thawing to release it from the ice. BE careful what you ask for...The pictures give some idea what we found. The streets of the RV storage facility were mostly flooded, with anywhere from 3-8 inches of water on top of ice. The owner had a crew working with a front-end loader and dump truck to remove snow from the facility, and they were dumping it across the street, uphill from the storage facility. Thatís right, UPHILL from the storage facility. When we got to our RV, the water was just a few inches from the bottom of our rig. Did I mention that it was raining, and that the forecast called for continued rain through the evening?
We waded through 8 inches of water to find that the tires (and tire covers) were still iced in. Thatís when panic set in. After I recovered from the momentary loss of my mind, I called the owner of the storage facility, and he came with one of his crew and a front-end loader to try and help. Managed to cut away the tire covers, and to chisel the tires free from the ice, but the rig was sitting in icy trenches, lubricated by ice water, and was going nowhere. I learned from this part of the experience that the front end of the Compass is all plastic, and there is no place to attach a tow strap. Brilliant design, Ford! Tried rocking back and forth, pushing, putting sand under the tires, mats under the tires...nothing worked. Meanwhile, the water level is continuing to rise...
Finally, the owner of the facility got the idea to have the front-end loader clear a path from the street to the back of our RV, just outside the security fence. They put a tow ball in the hitch of the Compass, threaded the tow strap through the chain link security fence, and attached it to the hitch. The front-end loader was able to pull the RV back a few inches toward the security fence, just enough to get it out of the icy trenches, and that gave us just enough traction to drive the RV forward out of itís icy tomb.
Though the owner of the facility graciously offered us parking in another site (which he plowed out), as we stood in the new site and looked around, all we could see was mountains of snow, mostly uphill, waiting to melt...We decided to bring our baby home and park her in the driveway for the rest of winter. And maybe in the near future take her someplace warm...Weíve all earned it!
Sorry this ran so long, and thanks for listening...