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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Today's Yard July 23. 2011

RV with awning out & table & chairs ready

I stay in the parking lots at work, and stop over places in transit, but I really feel at home when my awning is out and my furniture is set up under it. I got to do this this weekend, visiting my friends Phylis & Jim. I'm here for the weekend and don't have to go anywhere in the rig. Phylis cooked me a birthday breakfast, eggs and biscuits and sausage gravy - yum - then later on Younger Daughter, Son-in-Law, Grandson, came and kidnapped me. We went out for sushi lunch and took the Grandson to see Cars 2. Or maybe he was an excuse for us to see it - there was lots of stuff in it that was in there for the grownups and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

It is still hot as blazes, so the Callicat is still staying here with Aunt Phylis. She's become friends with Phylis' cat and is quite happy with the arrangement.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Repairs and Divine Intervention

Onion: a bulb with many layers and when you peel them, it brings tears to your eyes. Lately, the Holiday Rambler has been like an onion, with layers of "issues". What I have done since the last post is deal with vehicle repairs. I have been blessed with Logistical Assistance from the Powers That Be. While I am significantly poorer, life is otherwise good.

I was en route to work 2 weeks ago when I heard a horrible noise and my power steering was no longer power steering. I smelled a hot/burning fluid smell and promptly pulled over to the side of the highway. The burning smell lessened, so instead of grabbing the Callicat and running like mad, I went out and looked under the rig - where I saw fluid dripping down. There IS a reason I renew my road service annually. This year it has paid for itself.

Being Sunday evening, it took them a bit of time to find help but they sent me a mechanic in hopes that it would be fixable on site. No such luck: power steering fluid had leaked and caught fire and melted wires and sensors. And gone out on its own! TG! We contacted Road Service and then I waited for the tow truck.

Waiting for a tow truck is much more pleasant in a motor home than in any other sort of vehicle - I was, after all, at home. I had dinner, read, petted the cat... and finally the tow truck arrived.

A P-30 chassis has an Automatic Parking Brake, which must be released before towing. It wouldn't release. That was because it uses the power steering system to function and when there's no fluid, the brake stays on. (The P-30 used this system instead of a parking pawl (see post from several years ago) because it's such a heavy vehicle.) The tow truck drivers therefore disconnected the drive shaft and towed us away.

My Callicat HATES tow truck rides. The lights freak her out.

Advice to drivers: when you talk to your Road Service, make sure they tell you to where you will be towed. Apparently, something was lost in the relay and when we arrived at where the driver had been told to take me, I realized it was not the right place. I called Road Service again and got the correct address and off we went again.

They reattached the drive shaft and left me in a level spot in the parking lot of the Fleet Service company, about midnight. I slept.

In the morning, I drove into a service bay and let me say that I NEVER want to drive that thing again without power steering. If you've been reading this blog from the beginning, you know that I bought my last rig up in NJ and drove it back to Virginia without power steering. That was nothing compared to a 32-foot class A without power steering.

Here's the Divine Intervention part (besides the part about the fire going out and not burning my house up): The following week my team was scheduled to work near Savannah GA - where I know no one! But I wasn't there when this happened, I was in NC - 15 miles from a good friend who came to collect me and put me up while my rig was in the shop and is still cat-sitting my Callicat - and not horribly far from my Son-in-Law who just got a new position, telecommutes, and was able and willing to lend me his car. I only missed one day of work.

When the work week was over, I picked up the motor home, paid for the repairs (ouch, that was one expensive leaky hose!) and drove it back to my friends' house. My original plan was to drive my SIL's car to the kids' house, visit with them (my other daughter was also visiting), and get a ride back. The more I thought about it, I realized that while I had his car was a good time to check out the "something loose and hitting" noise I'd had for a little while, which seemed to be getting worse. I spent the weekend with the kids anyway and kept the car another week. My company, understanding that I didn't trust the newly repaired rig to go to Savannah, found me an assignment in the area where I already was, Tuesday through Friday due to the Fourth. After work Tuesday I did the vehicle shuffle with my friend so that both vehicles were at the shop and I could leave from there for work Wednesday morning.

At the shop, they were busy and did not get to my rig on Wednesday, my project was overstaffed and my work was cancelled for Thursday and Friday, and I returned to the shop Wednesday night, being there when they opened Thursday. This was financially painful but otherwise more of that Divine Intervention stuff. I really needed to be with the rig more than I needed to be at work, it turned out. I took the mechanic for a ride, as it's much easier to say "that noise, there" than to try to describe it in a note. Yes, it was something loose and hitting. A front brake. Oh, joy.

That afternoon, I left with new front brakes, got almost to my friends' house, turned around and went back to the shop. It still isn't right.

Turns out the rotors were warped and not playing nicely with the new, thicker, not-worn-out pads. Welcome to the Hotel California Garage. ("You can check out any time you like but you can never leave.") As they had the previous week, they let me plug into the electricity and I spent another night.

I have, in the past, encountered garages where you can't stay with your vehicle. Fortunately, at those times I was able to drive away and find a more motor home friendly garage. I am always relieved when the folks at the shop are able and willing to accomodate the fact that the vehicle they're working on is also my HOME.

Friday, the wheels came off again, the rotors went off to be turned if possible - it wasn't - new rotors were ordered and arrived and were the wrong part and a second pair were fetched and installed and we test drove and everything was working ok and I wrote yet another check and called to arrange the weekend.

Here's more of that Divine Intervention stuff. My older daughter, who had originally planned to go back to Virginia on Wednesday, had stayed through Friday. And had been delayed in her planned Friday a.m. departure. And was just loading her car when I called. She would be driving past the shop on her way home so I could take the motor home to the kids', ride with her as far as the shop, and bring my SIL's car back without anyone having to make an extra shuffle run.
(45 miles one way, not a quickie run!) The kids were all going out to dinner before she'd be leaving, and as it worked out I could just make it by the time they were meeting for dinner. Woohoo! So dinner with my family, a no-imposition ride back for the other vehicle, and all the vehicles where they were supposed to be.

I'd love to say everything is fixed, but I still have a brake light that comes on when I'm in gear... It's a side-effect of the towing or PS pump replacement - happened the other time too - but we don't know how to make it go away. The brake itself is not on, just the light. And I found out my headlights don't play nice with my signal lights, so I am only able to drive in daylight until I get THAT figured out. (It's not the relay.) Have I mentioned I'm tired of doing repairs? Nevertheless, I am very grateful to be neither a crispy critter nor stranded in some unfamiliar area without resources. Now maybe I can get on with the business of finding interesting stuff and reporting on motor home life. Please?

My thanks to G!, my kids, my friends, the mechanics, for all the assistance.