When Axles Go Bad
At this moment I am about half way finished two posts, I’m working on details about my trip since I left Delaware on June 16, and the second about… The. Black. Tank.
I’m starting this new post to tell you about my day. You may recall Sylvia went in to get new axles. I dropped her off in April before I took my trip to the east, and picked her up mid June; since then we’ve traveled about 5000 +/- miles.
Today I want to tell you about that funny feeling you get when you look in the rear view mirror after you hear a clunk, and you see a wheel rolling away from you. You know the answer before you ask the question, “Is that my wheel?”
Yup, it was my wheel.
It was a bit of a rough road between West Yellowstone and Bozeman, there is also a bit of a wrong turn situation where went up this road thinking, “I’ll just make a left turn somewhere up the road” and connect with where I really wanted to go.
The road turn into a dirt road and I got a sinking feeling. I wondered [freaked out about] where I was going turnaround. A good Samaritan stopped, as I waved him down, and told me that there was a place to turn around up ahead. And so I turned around, which is one of the most nerve-racking things for the 26 foot trailer, [this exact situation has been what nightmares are made of the last year].
So on my merry way I went, and got to the campground a few miles away. In fact, it was so close that I could see it on the hill, but I just couldn’t figure out how to get to it.
My left rear tire looked little funny. By the next morning it was flat. As one does when one works on the weekend, I figured I deal with that on Monday morning. Which I did: I called the insurance company, got emergency roadside service to come and change the flat. I was then off, headed back south to home territory. I should also mention the rough road made the glass carafe of my blender to bounce out of my cabinet, hit my kitchen faucet, and cause it to become unseated and leak. That was also fixed by a mobile RV repair man on Monday morning. I got a lot accomplished Monday before hitting the road.
Which brings us to now, Thursday night. About 150 hundred miles north of my destination, a new light came on in the truck: Wiring fault on the Trailer. I got off at the first rest stop, walked around, did a test of the blinkers, detached the wiring, blew into the end like I was blowing the end of an old Nintendo cartridge and found no issues. At 60 miles from my destination, a Ford truck came up to me on my left-hand side, and frantically waved; I rolled down the window, they yelled “You’re smoking!” I immediately pulled over.
So, I’ve got a guy. His my been my go to guy about car and mechanical stuff for the last 40 years. I called him up, and we made a plan about getting to my destination. My destination was the Tire shop, these were brand new tires when I left Colorado two weeks ago. I figured it was their duty to deal with the flat. And we figured that they could assess the situation with the smoking business when I arrived. Every 20 miles, I stopped, let things cool, the smoking – to the extent of when I was flagged to pullover – didn’t happen at all. I felt pretty confident about getting to the tire shop. I got off the highway, was 4 miles from the shop; and then it was the clunk heard around… just my truck. Not the world.
Yes, that wheel was my wheel rolling the opposite direction down the road. I pulled over, called my dad, went for a little walk to retrieve that wheel, then I called my RV repair man. The tire place was still 4 miles away, but I came to realize that the RV repair man, Don, was only just 10 miles away. Don dispatched Stan to come and assess the situation. Stan arrived, took a look around, and his initial assessment was that this is a potential defect in the axle that was installed in April/May. He was able to lift the front axle a little with wood blocks to give a little bit more clearance on that rear axle as to not drag, so that we could drive the distance to the RV repair shop. (As a side note, this is the right side, rear wheel.)
Stan was a champ. A 74-year-old stoic fellow, that was what I needed to help me keep it together in that situation. I drove at 10 miles an about 25 miles per hour, and made it in at around four or five PM. The time gets a little jumbled.
I gathered stuff for the furry children, laundry, clean clothes, random food sundries, a litter box, the computer, and the bourbon. I also grabbed the crock pot, and some frozen chicken – Yup, I’m cooking it right now in my hotel room. Then had a cry. Checked into a motel, washed the dog (because at this point, why the fuck not), and started in on some dinner.
Going to try to get the hotel stay to be covered by the manufacturer at the very least. What really hurts, is that I had the next two weeks planned out perfectly. It’s my vacation, my parents are coming in on Wednesday, and I had two awesome campsites booked out at Golden Gate Canyon State Park and Rocky Mount National Park. At this point, I’m resigned canceling them, it’s not like my parents and I, along with the cat and the dog, can stay in my four-person tent.
Don indicated that my rough roading and the flat tire have no ties to the current situation. So I still have to get that frikken flat tire dealt with.
I know things will fall in place, and I am also thanking my lucky stars that I made it to Colorado, that I did break down so close to my repair shop (This could have happened in the middle of nowhere Wyoming), there is only a small bit of plastic trim that is bent out of shape, and that the tire didn’t blow up and damaged the whole underside of my RV, and thankful that no one was hurt. The repair should take 2 to 3 weeks, and in the grand scheme of things it will be over on the blink of an eye. I have two minor shows scheduled, I don’t have large distances to travel and I have friends to support me, and parents coming in a few days for a big hug. And no matter where we are going, we’ll have a great time.