[Note: I’m skipping ahead here. I’m currently in Denver and Mike has already come and gone.]
Before Mike left, we did a thorough check of ‘Ol Betty’s fluids and tire pressure. She was running a little low on power steering fluid and coolant, so we filled those. When I left the RV park this morning, I felt good that everything had been checked. I was ready to roll. With a half tank of gas, I headed out around 10am. I got onto the Interstate and drove about five miles when I saw the exit coming up for the junction I needed to take to get onto another Interstate, which happened to be on the left side of the freeway. I was about to start making my way over to the left when I noticed I was no longer accelerating even though I was pushing on the gas. Ummmm… I didn’t seem to be going up a hill. Baffled, I continued to punch the gas, but I just watched the speedometer slowly drop and the RPMs went down to 1000. I was now down from 65mph to 50mph. The check engine light wasn’t on. What the hell is going on?! My heart was pounding and about to rip out my chest at this point. I put my flashers on and started making my way onto the shoulder. Coasting along I saw an exit coming up to get off the freeway. The shoulder on the off-ramp wasn’t quite as wide as the shoulder on the freeway, but at least I was off the freeway. Then, there was a spot just big enough I could pull into and get off the road. As I came to a crawl, I no longer had power steering. The check engine light and a “check gauge” light finally lit up on the dash. I turned off the engine and tried turning it back on. It started up with no problem. What the shit? At this point, I wasn’t about to get back on the freeway and hope for the best. I saw there were a bunch of business right around the corner, so I got back on the road and pulled into a hotel parking lot.
This was as close to my worst nightmare as it could come. My worst nightmare would be breaking down on the side of a highway or interstate in the middle of nowhere. The fact that I was able to coast off onto an exit and get the RV started again made this whole ordeal a slightly better scenario. Before I left on this road trip, I often thought about how I would deal with a situation like this where I may need to take the RV in for service and may not have access to it for several days. If it were just me, there would be no issue. But the fact that I have my cat with me makes things much more complicated. My solution was to just get a hotel room and bring kitty with me. I soon found out this is easier said than done.
After calling Mike and releasing a load of stress and anxiety onto him (have I mentioned I don’t deal with stress well?), I began my search for an RV repair shop. Thank my lucky stars, there was one just about five miles away that had good reviews, and I didn’t even have to get back on the freeway. Next, I began making calls to the handful of hotels and motels around me. One after another, they either had no availability, didn’t allow pets, or specifically didn’t allow cats. It was becoming clear this idea of getting a hotel room was not going to work out so easily. I realized that I may need to sneak my cat into a room. Though, before I went that route, I decided to try driving over to the RV repair shop to see if there were any hotels closer to the shop.
Thankfully, I had no issues driving over there, and when I arrived at Best Auto & RV Service, I saw there were clearly no hotels nearby. Rather than continuing my hotel hunt, I decided to go into the shop to see if they could even help me. I was welcomed by the shop’s owner, Jack, a chatty fellow. I explained to him what happened. About 20 minutes later, one of his technicians came out to scan the RV’s computer. Three issues were found: A fuel pressure sensor circuit issue, a random cylinder misfire and a misfire on cylinder #1. Fortunately, when Jack was informed of these issues, he said it wasn’t as bad as he thought. Whew! He couldn’t get to it today but would be able to tomorrow – I knew this was a good bargain since he had mentioned he was backed up for about three months. And since this is my house, I can stay in it overnight!
While we put my information into the system, I got to know Jack a little better. Like I mentioned earlier, he’s a chatty one. I learned that he was high up in the corporate world. He apparently knows Bill Gates and has met Warren Buffett. At some point in his life he decided to do something he’d always wanted to do: open a repair shop. He also has some sort of security business – Denver Broncos being one of his clients. He rents out part of his repair shop space to the local Police K-9 unit. Jokingly, he said if I hear lots of dogs barking, stay in my RV! His mother’s maiden name was Schwartz and she came from a family who had a huge cattle farming business in Germany (my dad’s family’s roots are from Germany and my grandmother was raised on a farm in Wyoming). He’s also a cat lover. He gushed about his three-year old-cat, “RV”. It seems Jack and I are very much the same in that our cats come first. When our cats are happy, we’re happy!
After about 30 minutes of chatting and getting to know his life story, he got my information put into their system and had me pull my RV into an open bay. When I walked out of my RV, I spotted a gray and white raggedy looking cat mingling just outside the shop. As Jack came outside, “RV” saw Jack and as if on cue, “RV” butted the ground with his head and rolled around on his back.
So, anyway, here I sit in my RV at the repair shop waiting for them to fix it tomorrow. The good news is, I have a free place to stay tonight and I can catch up on my posts!