Monday, May 8, 2017

Rocky start

We were trying to get to Aguanga, CA, but didn't make it.

It all started almost two months ago, when the GMC dealer said we needed all new hoses.  Which seemed likely, because they were the original equipment from 11 years and 170,000 miles ago.

Then about a month ago, we got a "low coolant" alarm from the computer.  So we added coolant, and the alarm went away.  It didn't register that when they changed out the radiator hoses all the coolant would have drained out and been replaced.  I figured maybe it was a slow leak, or normal losses to evaporation or something.

Friday, on the way up the mountain from Palm Springs, the engine overheated and the low coolant alarm came on again.  Luckily, there was a pullover only about 1/4 mile ahead, so we got off the narrow, winding, 2-lane road to safety.

We had a container of coolant in the RV, and began to pour it in, and it ran out from under the truck onto the ground.  I crawled under the truck and found a radiator hose disconnected from the thing it was supposed to attach to.  It had some sort of clamp that should hold it on, but I could only see one side of it and couldn't get it securely reattached.

Luckily again, there was an emergency call box, because there was no Verizon cell service on this mountain road.  Which I told everyone who could possibly need to know.  They all wanted my phone number, so I made sure they knew there was no service there.

The operator who answered the emergency phone transferred us to USAA, which includes roadside assistance in the auto insurance for the truck.  They sent a tow truck and took us and the truck to the local GMC dealer, leaving the RV in the pullover.  I figured they would be able to reattach the hose in 30 seconds, and we'd be able to continue on our way.  HAHAHA!

They needed a part, and couldn't get it until Saturday.  So we made a reservation at a nearby RV park, and I called Progressive, who provides the insurance for the RV, and also includes roadside assistance.  They agreed that we were covered, and said they would dispatch a tow vehicle to take the 5th wheel to the RV park.  The GM dealer had no loaners, and the Enterprise Rent-a-Car down the street had nothing to rent, so we got an Uber to take us back to the RV to meet the next tow company.

And then we waited.  After an hour, I used the emergency call box again, and got transferred to Progressive, and got a different agent who asked all the same questions again, and said she would try to find a tow service to come get us.

After another hour, I called again, same thing.  Oh, when Progressive puts you on hold to find a tow company, they drop the call after a while, so I had to call back to the emergency operator - a new one, who didn't have the info from my previous call - and get transferred to Progressive again - a new agent who didn't have the info from my previous call ...

Then a good Samaritan stopped by.  She is an Uber driver, and offered to go down the hill and use her cell phone to call Progressive and see what was going on.

After another hour, I was on the phone again holding for Progressive when she came back, and said she had convinced them to send a tow truck for us.  And, finally, after 4 hours, after dark, the tow truck showed up.  By then the RV battery was run down, and we had a hard time getting the jacks up so we could be towed, but finally we did, and then I remembered that the RV power cable was in the bed of the truck, which by now was locked in the GMC dealer's lot, because they were closed.  So when we got to the RV park we had no power.  The tow truck had a battery charger so we were able to get the jacks down and the slides open.  I did have cell service, and I had 6 messages from the tow company asking me to call them and confirm the information I had given to Progressive, so that they could dispatch a truck to tow us.

Saturday, GMC had their part, and did the repair under warranty, and we got the truck and the power cord back.

Sunday we rested.  I played golf today at the #94 best course you can play in the US, La Quinta Mountain Course.  Read about it here.  I'll play the #56 course tomorrow.  Vicki got her nails done, and became a hand model.  They took pictures of their work on her for their web site.

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