What all RVers dread, a breakdown on the road.
We have all seen someone at one time or another sitting on the side of the road broke down. Lets face it, life happens sometimes. But what about when we break down and we are driving or pulling our houses. Cool turn on the TV and wait for help right? Well most of us don’t feel like watching re-runs of, All in the Family” when we are stranded on the side of an interstate. RVers know a breakdown on the road when you are traveling with your house can be a nightmare.
We were in Texas. We had just left our park and was heading out west to the Tombstone, Arizona area. We did all our checks the night before, fluids, tires, lights all that good stuff. So on the road again we go.
Now first off you have to know that Jeff an I have different ideas about places where we can pull into when we have the rig hooked up. We both share in driving. When Jeff is driving his theory is you just pull in places. No big deal, as long as we can swing the turns your are fine. By the way we are about 64 foot hooked up. When I am driving, well lets just say I would rather pull into a football field size parking lot with no other vehicles around. So as you can imagine I am always nervous when he is driving.
So we are headed out west and have gotten about 20 miles from the park we just left. We are going to stop for some last-minute road food at a truck stop before hitting interstate 10 to head west. Jeff goes right past the truck stop entrance. I think he did it on purpose. There is a Bucee’s gas station on the opposite side of the interstate. If you haven’t been to a Bucee’s gas station yet, make sure to stop when you see one. Talk about a gas station on steroids! But that is a story for another day.
Jeff’s plan is to go into Bucee’s and I am having no part of it. I mean it is a big parking lot but it has a lot of cars in it. Bucee’s is a moving and grooving place. So I do what any reasonable minded person does and freak out! No way can we navigate around this parking lot. And like a good husband Jeff drives on by but of course he is aggravated because we have now passed the on ramp and gas stations and it is 15 miles to the next town with no place to turn around in between. So he is aggravated but of course it is not my fault. He should not have listened to me! Life is full of choices right? He might not have really agreed with that analogy.
We found out just a few miles down the road that I apparently have some sort of superior intuition that he would do well not to question in the future. We were between Luling, TX and Gonzales, TX and we smell it. That smell of brakes. Not a good thing, especially when you are not even using them. We get into Gonzales and pull into a gas station. A really small one by the way, little parking area with like 4 pumps. Bucee’s probably had a lot more room to navigate around.
We check the brakes and find the problem. Our front brake caliper has locked up. That will need fixed before we pass go and collect 200 dollars. We talked to the owner of the gas station who was very nice and let us back up our rig behind his building and drop it. This was really nice because it was concrete and flat. The owner also allowed us to fix the brake problem right there on his lot. We also got lucky that there was an Auto Zone less than a block down the road that happened to have one brake caliper in stock for our truck.
Since we were only 30 miles from our last park and had some very good friends there. We called a friend who has a generator in the back of his truck. We had all the tools necessary to fix the problem with us but an air impact would sure be nice in this instance. Our good friends Mel and Sandra come to our rescue, we get the caliper and get it changed. We were back on the road within about a 4 hours.
So I bet you are wondering what the moral of the story is right? Well there isn’t really one. But, I do hope you will all take a look at the tools you carry on board. Make sure you have the basics. We could have sat and waited for a tow, been delayed an entire day instead of a few hours. This happened on a Sunday so there would have been no shops open to fix the problem. It is easy to forget to do the simple checks on our rigs and tow vehicles before hitting the road. As most RVers know moving around becomes second nature after you have done it for a while. Check your lights, tire pressure, fluids, etc. Sure, there was no way for us to have known the brake caliper would lock up but there are many things we can check to avoid unnecessary breakdowns.
Of course lets not forget my superior intuition. For those of you who have gone through west Texas you know how non exciting that drive is. The west Texas drive gave me over 500 mile of time to explain to Jeff how I really actually saved the day. We could have sat on the side of interstate 10 waiting for a tow. Lets face it changing out a brake caliper on the side of the interstate was just not happening. Had he not listened to me and drove past Bucee’s interstate 10 is exactly where we would have been when we started smelling the brakes. I mean, it couldn’t have been a coincidence, right?
Safe travels all!