Tag Archive: When things go wrong


You wouldn’t think putting new tires on an old motorhome would cause a crumbling of the vehicle’s foundation, would you? Or new brake pads? Vehicles of infinite sizes, shapes and purposes have this done and they zoom off, owners pay, service rendered, everyone’s happy. But what happens when you have a vehicle serviced and other components clamor to get in on the fix-me, replace-me bandwagon? The weakest gets replaced and the domino effect begins: bing-bang-clang…. things fail, need to be redone; mechanics can’t agree, dollars go flying and the weary RV’er gets headaches.  Sure, of course, there are many potentially worse outcomes than being at home, one could be camped in a dive in the grasp of greedy rip-off mechanics waiting to drain every penny; or in the path of a tornado, hurricane, mosquitoes, alligators, snakes, floods, fires, all kinds of things can happen; this is why it’s important to avoid being stranded wondering how long your food and water will last and how much confinement the dogs can take. I am counting my blessings and “trying”to be patient. . . hint-hint. . . I’m fed up sitting at the rim of the road wondering when my little RV will feel like traveling.

 

This is what I think is going on, the old tires which I replaced were “grooved” into the system.  They had settled into the suspension.  The ride, while not perfect was sufficient. I’d fought a battle back 6 years ago when I’d replaced the cracked tries. What I went through to get the RV road worthy took a long time. Not everything was optimal and there were many frustrations, eventually however; after thousands of miles and adventures, all was manageable. Changing tires once again stirred everything up. New tires can be a nightmare, I didn’t realize that. In fact Tru Line has advised that the best fix now is to drive for a good 3,000 miles and let all the new stuff settle i; if I’m still not happy with the steering gearbox they will replace it again!  You see, last week Tru Line replaced the factory refurbished steering box they had installed as a gesture of goodwill, no charge. So now the LT is on its second new steering gear box. It does seem the steering wheel is straight now, but handling is not great, it’s just different, a challenge. (Of course the mechanic at Fairview Brake and Motor had told me the 1st replaced steering gear box had to replaced again as it was no good!  I don’t think he would approve of the this second “new” one either.  Oh and to add to the confusion Bruce had told me it wasn’t worth replacing the steering gear box as that rarely fixes the trouble anyway….   everyone has a different opinion and I thought mechanics was straight forward!) 

I’ve ordered what may either be worse than useless or may be a wonder, depending on which mechanic I talk to: Bill at Tru-Line says it will solve everything and Eric at Fairview says it will make everything worse although neither of these mechanics were familiar with this product until I showed it to them.  Dodge Ram Steering Gear Box Stabilizer.  This device is intended to eliminate steering box play and reduce steering wander. It will go on in a few days.

When it was at Tru-Line they discovered a brake pull. This is something new….  it’s significant at freeway speeds and I need to have that checked out. Of course when it was previously (only a few days before going back to Tru-Line) checked at Fairview there was no brake pull at all.

For some good news, the air seems to be completely out of the front brakes…  I absolutely DO NOT recommend allowing Tire-Pros to work on your brakes, they are fine for buying tires but nothing else!  The reason Tire Pro’s allowed air into the front brakes while they were changing the front brake pads was because as they said, “Your vehicle is old.”  No kidding that’s what they said! Tire Pro’s also said, when I took it back for the second time scared out of my wits when the brake pedal hit the floor, “Well, your vehicle is heavy, you can’t expect it to stop like a normal car.”  OH MY!!!!   I repeat Tire Pros, fine buy your tires there, but PLEASE never let them touch your brakes.  They also missed an extremely obvious item, the rotors!  I’d only taken the vehicle to Tire Pro’s to have the front tires switched and I should have stuck to that and had someone else look at the brake pads…. When I took it back to Fairview Brake and Motors to find out what was going on with the new brake pads I learned that Tire Pros completely missed the vital fact that the rotors are worn, too thin, shiny and past due and need to be replaced.

 

Okay if this is confusing I don’t blame you….  back and forth and back and forth…. I think the score is something like, 3 or 4 times  to Tire Pro, 2 times to Fairview Brake and Motor, 3 times to Tru Line (out-of-town) and now I’m going full circle and will be going back to Bruce for the 3rd time.  And this doesn’t include the visits to Costco and anywhere else I left out.

How I spent my Summer Vacation….  Ok so it’s not summer yet.  Can You Believe it!!!  Ring Around the Mechanics…  over and over….  Still asking, Why!   Will be on the road with a bunch of muddy paws soooooooooon ….  maybe?

 

One last comment, I weighed the RV and fully loaded with me and my dogs and all my gear, a full tank of gas and water, it is close but still under, maximum load. This is great news however I am certain having personal knowledge of the prior owners that they overloaded the RV on a regular basis. I don’t know how one would check for something like this in purchasing a used RV…  maybe just ask how many people travel in the vehicle. These little motorhomes with single rear wheels are only meant for 2 people of normal weight.  Newer Class B’s have dual wheels in the rear but I have read of others, esp Sprinters having handling problems.

Soul Coughing- “Circles”

I had a lot of fun planning this trip, had a lot of fun too modifying my RV and sprucing up my ride, getting the dogs ready for their Big Show but it seems I’m on one of those labyrinth type mazes with inner islands. I need to find something to leave on the path so I won’t keep getting stuck in dead-end loops. Need to find the path that doesn’t have the dead ends, but it’s not simple as the way I’m heading is hard to see and all too often virtually invisible until it’s behind me. Given enough time the route fuzzes into a distant memory that is almost forgotten until that untimely moment of recurrence. That’s where I am now, again.  My recalcitrant RV is not going anywhere, not just yet at least.  I had to cancel attending the Lagotto Romagnolo National Specialty. When I canceled of course I realized how much I was really looking forward to the experience; the event is not only a first for my breed but a first for me, or would have been. I love to be part of things, esp something special but I’ve been on this path before as well and it leads to an even larger dead-end, a sink hole with pangs of feeling bad and an inner voice that starts criticizing my own failings (real or imagined) and blaming unknown forces, so I have to get off and backtrack to the last non-dead end  , then turn and go in another direction, preferably one I’ve not traveled before.  So, what comes next?   Here’s Jeana thinking about this for me.

Flying Curls Jeana, Lagotto Romagnolo

Flying Curls Jeana on the bench after a muddy run in the rain.

 

However just for kicks or to indulge me ….  I want to do something with the plans I drafted even though this trip is cancelled. (This is the 1st time I’d done this complete with overnight spots and not just a general direction) Below is what part one of my roadtrip was to have been ….  remember the object was my renewal, finding the Specialty was a stop along the way. I wanted to be in places I’d never experienced and let the environment, the creatures, the people, whatever occurred wash over me. In case I never mention it again part two was a big loop around Florida, including the Everglades and down to Key West and part three was heading north from the Keys and eventually back to home.

There are a ton of planning tools out there including Map ‘N Go which a friend recommends.  I tried a lot of  the free ones and one available to me because I’m a member of different groups but finally settled on these main three…  all of which are free and can be assessed from both my desktop or laptop computer and my cellphone.

  1. Roadtrippers
  2. Free Campsites
  3. RV Parks Review

Part 1:  Santa Barbara to Perry, Georgia

Screenshot of Part 1 of my trip (Santa Barbara, CA to Perry Georgia) on Roadtrippers

Screenshot of Part 1 of my trip (Santa Barbara, CA to Perry Georgia) on Roadtrippers

OK, you get the idea, can’t seem to make this sharp or any larger. Roadtrippers allows the user to plug in stops …  what to see, where to camp, what kinds of attractions you’re interested in, points of interest, where to eat even; it also allows specific searches near your route, in my case dog parks.
I think this link will work to demonstrate Part 1   and the stops and sites to see including the Center of the World…  someday I’ll make it to that sign!. There is a limit on how many points you can save, so I found it best to make several separate trips or trip sections.
Here’s an overview of the day to day overnights with the use of the 2 campsite links provided above and Roadtrippers

Day 1
Leave from Santa Barbara and stop to visit with my Mom
Continue on I-5, to the 805 to CA 8. (I’d not been this way before)
I’d planned to fee camp at the Sycuan Casino in El Cajon. Just check in with security and park on the hill.

Day 2
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument …  kind of long drive but looked like a fun place with space to walk the dogs and a great deal with a Senior Federal Park Pass.

Day 3
Tour the Park, then AZ- 86 E to 10 to Butterfield RV Resort And Observatory

Day 4
I didn’t see anywhere in Las Cruces and definitely not El Paso that seemed safe to spend the night but I found a place half-way in between: El Paso West RV Park,  $28

Something to see of interest if you like history as I do, in the area: San Elizario, Texas  El Paso also has an art museum, actually several and a transportation museum I would have liked to visit … well, there seem to be a lot of interesting things there…  even a National Border Patrol Museum and the Hotel where Pancho Villa, President Taft, and “Blackjack Pershing stayed.  Of course I like Mexico and I think this town would be a fun hit of Mexico without crossing the border.

Day 5
Marathon Motel & RV Park  for bird and butterfly viewing, astronomy and their adobe courtyard. $35 minus discount.   If one planned far enough ahead they could stay at Seminole Canyon State Park …  seems you’d need to watch a video to stay here about not destroying the Indian rock Art, takes advanced reservations.  Maybe when I can do this kinda of trip I could do that, $20.

Day 6
Check out Lake Amistad..  then maybe Quiet Texas RV Park, in Hondo for the night…  shade, quiet and lots of songbirds.

Day 7 – 8
San Antonio and Austin
I had a few places in mind including some free boondocking, but likely I would have shopped around.
All kinds of things to see and adventures to be had and a great off leash area to run with the dogs.

Day 9
Check out Lake Charles, Louisiana …  another long drive boondock or stay in the  Pioneer Acadian Village Campground and RV Park $32 minus Good Sam Discount.

Day 10
Baton Rouge and Gulfport

Day 11
Montgomery, AL  another long day of driving
Sherling Lake Park   maybe or Montgomery South RV Park

Day 12
Arrive in Perry Georgia
Room reserved for one night at the host hotel and campgrounds in the area.

Interestingly there are lots of videos on Youtube of touring locations and driving on roads, those are fun to check out.  I did quite a bit of that looking at bridges and choices of smaller highways and scenic byways, those are the roads I prefer; take it easy and see what’s away from the interstates.

And that was it folks!  Originally I planned to take 14 days to arrive for the dog show but as time kept ticking and the RV kept snarling I had to shorten…    Thanks for briefly imagining this trip with me. When I go this way I will remember  this virtual trip but for now I don’t know what will be next.

 

Long Way From Georgia

This trip has been the focus of my energy and hopes for well over a year; actually longer, much longer as I first saw Alaska on a family trip in the late 1960s. My Mom likes to remind me how she rented a cabin for both me and my brother on the Alaska Ferry and neither of us used it! I remember that very well as I was being flirted by a handsome blond stranger and I happily accepted the invitation to sleep on the deck with the other seasoned crew. I longed to see the perfectly formed miniature trees again, the huge humpy bears and the surprisingly warm at 60 deg everlasting light days. When I was young I thought Alaska was a fairy play ground, nature shaping her creatures and plants with a creative flare best suited to mystical beings. I felt at home there and I wanted to return.

After loosing several days travel time to RV repairs and rescheduled flights, I was more than anxious. So much to think about, would my dogs behave, would my 20 year old LT be able to handle the long grind, would my heart be big enough to take in and keep memories, images and dreams to refuel my future? I wanted to know the folk-lore, the history and the mystery of what makes Alaska so special and abundant with her volcanoes, earthquakes, glaciers, powerful wildlife, abundance of birds, high waves, huge forests and her native people. I am a kinesthetic learner; first hand experience is my pandemic, ok not a disease but a driving force.

I am not in Alaska as I write this but in the US struggling with wifi, my air conditioner is going and heavy drops of rain are making music on my RV. How can it be so hot and still rain with this thick heavy wetness like clumps of normal raindrops glued together? This is love to me, the air electric, the unexpected half clear sky, sun, puffy clouds and me in the center of the concert hall.

The first night was a quick sleep at a rest stop near Red Bluff and the next day a stop at Mount Shasta for shopping at the Berryville Natural Grocery and nice little lunch after I’d mistakenly taken the turn up the mountain for the town of Shasta. Not at all the same thing. The second night landed in an RV Park in Salem, the Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort owned and operated by the Siletz tribe, the name means, “A Fun Place to BE,” very cool. I badly needed the hot tub as my Thoracic Outlet Syndrome had flared badly and the pain was nauseating and intense. The jets weren’t working I wanted them to but you know how that goes.

Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort in Salem, Oregon

Hee Hee Illahee RV Resort in Salem, Oregon

Passed this gorgeous lake in OR; there used to be an RV campground nearby… sigh, it is no more. So Beautiful.

A beautiful lake in Oregon

A beautiful lake in Oregon

Had a lunch stop the next day in Olympia. I’d liked this town last time I visited and I still like it.

Olympia, WA

Olympia, WA

 

 

The End of the Oregon Trail

The End of the Oregon Trail

Desert

Camp that night was at the Cedars in Ferndale, A Holiday Trails Resort.

I asked for a quiet and dark spot and got it!  :)

I asked for a quiet and dark spot and got it! 🙂

A Little Friend

A Little Friend

Saw this on my walk

Saw this on my walk

 

Passing though Seattle, just no time to stop.

Passing though Seattle, just no time to stop.

Passing Seattle in a hurry

Passing Seattle in a hurry

 

Then it happened, the first big event!!! The Border! It was early and the line went quickly. I had to give away my half-carton of expensive organic eggs I’d just bought from Whole Foods as a precaution against the Bird Flu. I thought that was ridiculous but I wasn’t going to argue.

The Canadian Border

The Canadian Border

In all places that Pines grow many were dead or dying, rivers were running low, mountain snow was either absent or way too high up for early May. I saw this everywhere, it didn’t matter if the grasses were brown or green, the diminishing effects of water and ice, the alteration of weather patterns of air currents and reflected heat were screaming to anyone listening.

Next up: First Days in Canada

Terrified Dogs

Never got to the test drive. Took the dogs for a run at City College then pulled out to do some testing of the steering. I was looking for a nice flat spot to determine which way the drift is taking the LT. Was thinking at this point to alter the tire pressure to eliminate the drift and/or have more tires (like the spare rotated and or in the extreme consider new tires.)  First I needed to check — maybe I’d be lucky and the drift would be gone or too minimal to worry about. I thought I’d try the upper parking lot which seemed flat. That parking lot has an archway, and as luck would have it there was a tree with heavy branch protruding below the archway. I can’t say for sure what I hit but it tore the dome lid of the Fantastic Fan and ripped away the HAM radio antenna, left some nasty scratches and bent the end of the luggage rack. The dogs panicked, climbing onto the dashboard and almost knocking me out of my seat, they scratched my already scratched glasses leaving a dead spot in the center of my field of vision and tore the electronics from their mounts.

Their terror did not abate just because the noise stopped. They didn’t believe me that they were okay. I attempted to drive home with dogs now on the floor looking green.  Olympia hunched over with her face to the wall and Mason trying to scramble to my lap. My head hurt and my vision was odd. I felt very discouraged. Mason couldn’t settle, deciding if he couldn’t ride in my lap he’d squeeze himself under my feet. We were moving  quickly down the road when he did this;  grasping him with one hand, the other on the steering wheel he let out a murderous squeal panting heavily as I pulled him out and pushed him back to his seat making Olympia cower even more. Couldn’t they see that the noise now was from the torn vent cover? That they were safe had no meaning to them, my encouragements to be valiant was falling on unbelieving warriors.  What goes through a dogs mind when there is a commotion from above?

A much newer model than mine. Hope they still have a lid that will work.

I’m beginning to think this van is cursed. I can see a For Sale sign plastered in its windshield but maybe what it really needs is an exorcism.

No more testing for today. Frans kindly got out a ladder and ducked taped the vent. Tomorrow I will try for a replacement. Hope I can accustom myself to the blurry spot in my glasses. Not sure I’ll have those pictures of Santa Barbara either….  too much stress.