Saturday, January 5, 2013

Unlucky 2013 Reared Its Ugly Head... Once Again!!!

Only a few days ago, we were held up in Red Bluff, northern California, due to a jack switch electrical / battery problem.  We could not get the jacks up.  That necessitated an extra 36 hour stay and a mobile RV tech to solve the problem.  Once done, we rolled out early the next day - Thursday.
Durango RV Resort - northern California - Wednesday last.
Only 10 miles from exiting I-5 onto Highway 46 to Bakersfield - near Lost Hills, CA - some shards of steel - on the highway - destroyed one of our brand new 5th wheel tires, on the passenger side.  "Thump....thump....thump...and stuff was flying out of the back of the fiver.  Now what?  The ditches along I-5 are riddled with metal and other garbage.  One piece, of many, on the highway... caught our tire.  SHEESH!
The power of the blast destroyed the wiring and undercarriage.
The tire is completely shredded
I knew this was not going to be a good day! A brand new 14 ply tire - with less than 2,000 miles - had completely shredded and destroyed the wiring under the wheel well.  It also caused a fair bit of body damage.

We phoned AAA (through our BCAA RV Plus policy) to request road side assistance.  I have a jack, a spare tire and the tools to do the job....but rather than get all dirty, and risk death from speedy drivers, I called for the assistance we pay for with our AAA premiums.

When AAA answered the call, I was transferred to a location closer to our spot.  Sadly, I was connected to a bumbling idiot....and that term is used lightly in this regard.  I was repeatedly asked if I was towing a horse trailer.  This is fact?  I explained our 5th wheel and the woman was completely clueless to what I was talking about.  She asked how the trailer was hitched and I explained the hitch pin system.  She immediately stated that I was towing a horse trailer.  IDIOT!  I was not in the right frame of mind to play nice.  I stated I was towing a 40' travel trailer with a 5th wheel hitch pin.  She could not make neither head nor tails of that!!!!!!  I finally yelled at her to just send me a BIG truck with BIG tools to change out a BIG tire.  She could not imagine that I was not towing a horse trailer. To think that people like this are allowed to breed!  OK....I am ranting big time here!

UNBELIEVABLE?  YES! It was impossible for me to remain pleasant and convivial.  She then stated that from the exit 288 I was near, she would have to transfer me to northern California! NO!....don't do that yelled I!  Do not do that!  I am on the I-5 shoulder, directly west from Bakersfield, CA.  Send me a support vehicle from either Lost Hills, Wasco, Kettlemen City or even Bakersfield.  Finally, she said a truck would be dispatched and that it could arrive within the hour. 

That telephone call took 27 minutes.  Impossible for you readers to believe?  STUPID does not come close to describing the idiot I had to deal with.
The truck and operator arrived within 40 minutes.
Gary - the AAA - rep/tech was a really nice fella.  When he saw our rig, he mentioned that his truck is for automobile recovery and that his compressor could only pump up to 60lbs of  air - not the 100 required for my tires.  He did have a reasonably good jack so that worked.  When the spare was installed, he could not check the tire pressure because his gauge was only good to 80lbs. WHOA!
He made good work of it though.
While he was doing that, I fired up the generator, brought out my air gauge and my compressor to pump up the spare to 100 lbs.  The spare tire was a bit low and needed some air.  He marveled at my set up and wished his truck was so equipped.  I suggested he speak with dispatch to let them know how badly they screwed up.  He laughed!

He did say that he kept very busy repairing tires and that I-5 was a 'tire deadly place' for blowouts.  Well......we knew that!  We saw a few others who had incurred tire problems.
Some progress....
There was so  much wiring damage underneath and my concern was on whether my trailer brakes would work or not.  I knew that my clearance lights were out on the passenger side.  No big deal....but brakes is a big deal.  AAA Gary could not help me.  I sensed that my breaks on the passenger side were out....and some wires hanging down seemed to confirm it. 
This fender skirt was so damaged....and it flop in the wind and likely break right off so I removed it.
With the spare tire installed, I removed the fender skirt....and we proceeded to drive ten miles to a tire shop in Lost Hills, CA.
Once at the tire shop, an attendant came out to address our needs, checked the tire size and informed me that he had the right tire.  "Mount it on", said I.  They did just that.  When I went to ask what air pressure he was putting into the new tire, I was told the maximum was 80 lbs.  WHAT?  The other tires take a maximum of 110 lbs.  So, I check the tire and, not only was it the wrong series, it was a 10 ply tire and my other tires are all 14 ply.  Well.......STUPID reared its ugly head once again.....and only within a few hours from the previous STUPID experience with AAA.

I asked how it was that he could make such a mistake....and he sheepishly avoided giving me an answer.  It was clear that the only care they had was to make a sale at any cost.  My temper got the best of me!  They paid attention to me, let me tell you!  I had them re-mount my spare - which is a 14 ply tire - and because they had so totally tried to pull the wool over my eyes, they offered me the inferior tire - as a temporary spare tire - for a very good low cash price.  I had their attention, let me tell you!  SCUM BAGS!
At the tire shop in Lost Hills, CA.
So....with a quick brake check (realizing that I was likely operating with only one of the two brake axles), we headed for Bakersfield on Highway 46, east.

We made short time getting to Orange Grove RV - just east of Bakersfield - and once set up, I called our insurance company to file a claim.  That done, it was too late to contact any RV dealer/repair facility.  We settled in for a nice evening - without a furnace nor a water heater.  The electrical wires seen in earlier photograph were evidence to no heat or hot water. 
Setting up in Orange Grove, CA.
The harvest of oranges was quick and Jeanette had her quota.  Diane and Hector got into the action too and swiftly had their quota.There are oranges here.....and the picking is easy.  RVers are eagerly invited to pick, pick, pick!  What a great RV spot.

Hector and Diane graciously hosted dinner and we then settled into our 5th wheel early.  I was online to source out RV repair facilities to call first thing this (Saturday) morning.  

I slept OK but was wide awake by 5:30 am.  Following a long but brisk walk in the park - in the dark - I got back to our 5th wheel to enjoy coffee while catching up on the news.  I was on the phone at 8:00am and, within 20 minutes, I got a booking for 9:15 am at the Bakersfield RV Repair shop.  All other shops would only consider the repair on Monday morning.

We buttoned up the 5th wheel and, while Jeanette stayed back with Hector and Diane, I drove to the RV repair shop at 9:15am. 
Mike, the technician on duty, was quick with diagnostic tools and, after examination, he said a few hours would take care of the problem. 
Mike was a gift!  He knew his business.  While he commented on the severity of damage, I knew he had the skills to re-wire the brakes, furnace, water heater and the running lights.  He also had the skills to do a bit of body work.
Shortly after my arrival at the RV repair shop.
Two hours after arriving at the shop, the job was done and I was already making my way back to Orange Grove RV Park.  We opted to stay another night.  We needed to relax....or I certainly did.  Technician Mike was the saving grace to a previous day of ugly STUPID HUMAN TRICKS! Although a salaried employee, I handed Mike a cash side stipend for his diligence and good work. He did not want to accept it but I convinced him otherwise.  He dropped his other service work to handle my emergency and I truly appreciated that.  Our insurance company looked after the actual emergency repair -  labour and materials. Once back home in British Columbia, the insurance company will oversee all the other repairs and body work.  

Tomorrow we will continue our journey east towards our Colorado River RV spot for the month of January.  Moabi Regional Park will be a nice respite from the I-5 tire carnage and traffic, AAA fools and tire shop shysters.

Onwards and forward....but I sure don't like how 2013 has reared it unlucky head on us so far.  Sure hoping for smoother roads ahead.....let me tell you!!!  

OK.....the rant is over with.

Thanks for dropping by.


  1. Wow. I think you might like to go out and buy a lottery ticket. You're definitely due for a change of fortunes.

  2. It's still early in 2013, Rene, but I think you just might win the award for the best RV rant of 2013 - and, I might add, a well deserved rant!

    A horse trailer? Idiot is too kind a word for that woman.

    It sure sounds like you struck gold with the RV tech in Bakersfield though as getting all that wiring done in just 2 hours or so is nothing short of a miracle.

    Here's hoping you have a safe and uneventful drive to the Colorado River and a peaceful, fun stay.

  3. my goodness, Rene..there are no words to say! quite the couple of days and Jeannette had to endure complete with 'stupidity'
    hope the next leg of your trip goes much better!
    and Rick is right..the best rant of 2013 thus far!

  4. if only we could invent a medication to cure stupid wouldn't we be rich...what bad luck...but am glad to see it wasn't worse than it were blessed with the RV technician for that is all out of the way!!!!

  5. if only we could invent a medication to cure stupid wouldn't we be rich...what bad luck...but am glad to see it wasn't worse than it were blessed with the RV technician for that is all out of the way!!!!

  6. How frustration. You deserved a rant!!! I bet you felt like bopping that guy.
    Nice when you do find someone who knows what they're doing.

  7. Oh MY GOSH!!!! That's it, nothing else bad can happen to you guys--enough is enough! Safe travels for you guys tomorrow!

  8. Wow...too bad. At least you got it fixed and are back on the road. Hope the rest of the year improves... Tomorrow is another day!

  9. Wow what a great rant, I almost had to wash my ears out with soap. I had a tire let go like that a few years back,it took out the wiring, plus the main sewer and grey water valve and pipes,plus the skirt, and put a hole in the bathroom floor. That and the tire was shredded and the rim bent due to it slamming down against the highway.Luckily I was on my way home and I managed to repipe and fix everything right here at the ranch including the wiring and hole in the floor, the worst part was I had to take three tries to get the correct manifold valve for the black and grey water pipes. But in the end I got about 5 more years out the the fiver, until I traded it for the one I have now.I think now I would let the pro's fix it like you did. Less hastle. Hope the rest of your journey to Desert Sands is uneventfull. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna..

  10. Awesome rant. Haven't read a good one in a while.
    Maybe you should have told the lady idiot, "YES, it's a 50,000 lb. horse trailer. Send the BIGGEST truck you can find!"
    Then maybe the guy would have had a big enough compressor?
    I mean, you can't fix stupid, so sometimes you just have to go along?
    Not that you need more work or anything, but all of this experience really should be shared on rv
    Both the good and the bad. Might help someone else some day.

    At least there were some oranges to be had.

  11. This will be a trip to remember Rene'! It will be the source of many campfire stories. Hopefully your insurance will cover most of the costs. It is always an adventure to read your Blog!

  12. Glad to hear that the AAA folks are focussing on horse trailers now. Your experience with them was the polar opposite of our last spring. Just goes to show you that it really comes down to people, we were lucky, everyone we dealt was professional and courteous, and asked all the right questions. Even though it was just Brenda's Jeep they figured out we were traveling with two rigs one of which had horses and were going to start looking for a place to keep the horses while they fixed the other outfit.
    A month watching the Colorado meander by will make all this into great campfire stories.

  13. Wow, why are those people even working in the trailer business... they don’t even know what they’re doing! Kudos to AAA Gary, though. At least he knows what goes where.

    The Orange Grove RV spot looks great! Gonna look for that stop the next time I’m in near Bakersfield.

    Liza Pilon