Saturday, October 17, 2020

Not the kind of day we were expecting...

We got an early start from Harrisonburg, VA after lot-docking in a Walmart parking lot. We made good progress and stopped for breakfast at a DD and took a nap. We worked our way out of Virginia, through West Virginia and into North Carolina. An awful lot of trucks on the road and most of them were passing me. Just as I-71 merges with US-22, traffic came to a halt due to major construction. As I am breaking, I hear a loud pop, followed by many more... in tune with the engine speed. We were right at an exit, so I pulled into the triangle between the exit ramp and the highway. I jumped out and checked the front tires, but they were fine. So I limped up the exit ramp and into another Walmart parking lot. Welcome to the RV life.

Having owned a Ford Excursion with the Triton V10, I had a suspicion that the motor just threw a spark plug. The early years of that motor were notorious for the problem. So I cleaned off the console on the dog house (that's the cover over the motor in van) and opened it up. Sure enough the fourth plug on the right is laying out of the motor.

I realize that a Saturday afternoon is not a good time for a major breakdown. But being the pragmatist, I call AAA. We have had a Premier membership for more than a decade and added RV coverage when we first bought it. The lady asked the details about the vehicle and the problem and she dispatches a tow to the local Ford dealer. About an hour later a very nice young guy shows up with a ramp truck. We both realize that this will not work. He calls back AAA and tries to explain that this is a 31 foot motor home weighing about 8 tons. I receive a call from a second tow operator asking me to send him a picture of the vehicle.

About 90 minutes later here comes a real tow truck! This was a heavy-duty lift boom truck made for towing tractor-trailers. Within five minutes he is ready to move. We arrive at the Ford dealer and I'm thinking.... we are in trouble. This appears to be an old fashioned family-owned dealership in a building that looks to be from the 1960's. Out front are about 25 cars and only two trucks. None of the bay doors are tall enough for the coach. I suspect that come Monday we will be moving the motor home to another mechanic.

After buttoning up the coach, we head to Zaxby's Chicken for dinner. Let's just say that we won't be back. Now it is time to find a place to sleep. A nearby Marriott property is full. They suggest the next exit. Basically, there was no room at the inn.... any inn! The last stop was a small family-owned place run by the Shah family. They had one reservation that was a few hours past their designated arrival time, and they gave that to us. We got the last room in town. Tomorrow is Courtney's birthday. I will use part of the day to research another mechanic in case we need it. In the mean time, I suspect that we are spending the next 3-4 days in Elkin, NC. 

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