Have you ever noticed? When you go on a trip, there will be some kind of non-vacation fun disaster associated with it. It happens every time. For us, there have been tornados, hurricanes, lightning strikes, floods, flat tires, failed RV batteries, blistering heat, unexpected cold...you name it. And yet, year after year we do it anyway. Pack up and head for the hills, or in my case, a track.
This year proved no difference. Not 90 miles from home, the truck made this funny squealing noise. Both of us looked at the dashboard and the worry worm started tightening our stomachs. The noise disappeared equally quickly. We sighed in relief. And then it came back. A squeal from somewhere beyond the firewall followed by a distant, "Pop."
We then discovered we had no power steering, no power assist for the brakes, idiot lights flashed, no fans. ACK! We pulled over and put up the hood. The serpentine belt failed, due to a frozen pulley. This we haven't experienced before--being stuck on the interstate and unable to fix the problem by ourselves. We clearly needed a tow truck...for a pickup pulling a fifth wheel. ACK!
Now, we can be cheap at times. We have always said we weren't going to pay for AAA because we'd never use it. We said the same thing for Good Sam's (the RV equivalent of the car rescue insurance.) Guess who I called? Good Sam's. Who I don't have an account with. But the nice lady on the phone still hunted down a truck stop nearby who could fix our truck and the number for the tow company that could get us there.
Meanwhile, we are convinced that our day is ruined. We're not going to get the part in time. If we leave the trailer on the highway, somebody will steal it. We'll never make it to our campground tonight. In short, the vacation is already shot. Amazing how quickly your day goes down the tubes.
But wait. Not only was there an incredibly helpful person from Good Sam's (who I didn't even pay to be nice,) the tow truck driver from Sturbridge Towing directed us to call a friend or family member with a AAA card so we wouldn't get charged for the tow. He gave us tips on how to deal with getting the truck fixed. In short, he was much more helpful and punctual than I expected. He dropped us at the truck stop within an hour of our disaster. You know, the day is improving.
New England Truck Stop is not like the Pilots or T/A stops we visit while on the road. No. This place belonged to another time. It reminded me a bit of the diner the truckers stopped to eat at in Nebraska. A young man made multiple calls to find the parts, got them delivered within an hour and called a mechanic to come in special to get the belt and pulley replaced. All this after the original statement that he probably couldn't look at the truck until later that night.
3 hours after the detonation of our vacation, we were back on the road. Fixed and ready to go for a price tag far below what we would've paid back at home. We still made it to our campground by 9pm and back on the road the following morning--where we are now enjoying the scenery of Pennsylvania with NO TRAFFIC.
Life is pretty good. I'm extremely grateful today for the kindness of strangers and you can bet we will be getting a Good Sam's membership. It already paid us back in gold.
Stay tuned for more travel blogs this week. :)