I was a little concerned as I went up the pass leaving Salt Lake City, but soon felt relief as the RV was running very well. In fact, It drove all the way through Utah and into Wyoming without issue. Unfortunately after about 400 miles it did the same thing it had previously done on this venture Eastward. At this point I am almost to Laramie, WY. (roughly 55 miles west). I get on the bull horn with the insurance company and play the fifty questions. It takes about 35 minutes before she tells me it’ll be 4 hrs before anyone can get to me. My reply, “if it’s all I got, it’s all I got”. I heard her start to say something and then the line went dead. Oh well she has my location and has someone lined up to provide the tow. Now, what to do in my spare time? I pass the rest of the sunlight hours throwing discs at the portable disc golf basket and reading by headlamp for the after sunlight time. At 9:30 PM I decided I should call the insurance as the tow in 45 minutes late. This is when they informed me they didn’t complete the request for a tow because the line was disconnected and they needed my verbal acknowledgement to provide service. I asked a series of questions, e.g., “I called you because I needed a tow. What’s logical about stating you were unsure if I still needed it?”, always receiving the same robotic response, “Sorry for the inconvenience, Mr. Dilts.” At this point I saw red and just hung up the phone. No one was willing to answer any questions I asked, l felt disappointed, and I was just plain angry. I can’t talk to robotic surfs when I’m in this mood. I called Monique for some emotional support because she’s pretty good at calming me down. Her soft, gentle voice has a way of dissolving all stress and concern. She was disappointed with the insurance, but encouraged me to see if it would start. I had no faith in the insurance so I figured it was worth a shot. When I turned the key the RV roared to life. In an instant I put it in gear and I was off, making my way up the rest of the mountain.
“Keep going, baby. Keep going” was the mantra I repeated to the RV. At the crest of the mountain I took my foot off the gas to start the descent, but when I released pressure on the gas pedal it failed to spring up with my foot. I was gaining speed at too quick a rate. At this point my internal guide took over and decided it was time to just mash the brake pedal and see what happened; I did just have all new brakes installed, might as well test them. The vehicle quickly came to an almost complete stop as I pulled it to the side of the road. Almost instantly I understood here was an opportunity. There was plenty of room to be off the road and it was a flat, grassy surface that assured I wouldn’t be endangering myself or any other motorist. I turned the key off and placed the gear shift in Drive with a very shaky hand. It took about five minutes before I could do anything beyond cry and shake. After I regained what composure I could muster I called Monique. She knew immediately from the tone of my voice something was wrong; I could hear and sense the concern in hers. I explained to her what had just happened and refused to drive any further. (I was ready to walk away from the RV at this moment). I found no contestation from her on this, but did find sympathetic understanding. She was just as concerned with the gas pedal as I was and emphasized if it couldn’t be fixed then we will sell it. She had also been in contact with our insurance agency trying to figure out what and why they were doing what they’re doing. Her magic didn’t stop there; she informed me she had talked to the tow truck driver they had originally said they were going to dispatch. He was currently on his way to me. (Monique is a gift from the universe and shines like an everlasting star. She is everything anyone could ever desire in a partner. I am truly fortunate)
I pass the time waiting on the tow driver by attempting to meditate. I felt this was the most beneficial thing I could do given my current emotional, psychological, and spiritual state. I never made it to the stillness, but I did manage to slow my heart rate, lower my anxiety, stress, tension, and acquire a more relaxed mode of thought. I consider this successes gift. And just like that the tow driver has arrived.
The driver, a middle aged man who is roughly six foot, 280 lbs, and looks like he has been doing this type of work for some time, was friendly, considerate, and compassionate. He had the RV locked and ready to tow in a matter of minutes; the whole while showing and explaining to my curiosity the entire process of hooking up. It only took a quarter of an hour to complete the process from start to finish. With the RV now hooked I climb in the cab.
The tow truck is surprisingly high for its size and I am required to use the running board, steps, and hand bar. The seat is rather comfortable and the truck is exceptionally clean, inside and out. As Brandon enters he continues the conversation we had started out side of the truck (insurance companies and policies). He then asked if I wanted it towed to the nearest Ford dealership as it was the insurances request to do so. I gave a little chuckle and replied, “absolutely not”. Do you know of a local shop with honest, working folk that would work on it?” I asked. He smiled a smile that only gave reassurance and said he did. He informed me that I would be able to stay in the RV for the night as the shop owner was understanding and had a good moral ethic behind him. I was oober stoked to hear this wonderful news. Any way I can save money is a plus as mechanical bills are rather expensive. We arrived at the shop a little before one in the morning and it took all of seven minutes for Brandon to have the RV off the wrecker. I thanked him one last thank you and with a warm smile bid him farewell.
I must also mention that throughout this ordeal, the continuous breakdowns, I have been in contact with a number of friends and relatives discussing the symptoms of the RV. Each having a unique perspective and each giving similar advice. They all seemed to have a few things in mind. One was the fuel pump, the other was a sending unit, and the third was a bad engine. Of these I was hoping it would be the fuel pump as it would be the most cost effective.
I woke at 7:45 AM and was in Laramie Automotive and Diesel at 8:00 AM. I explained my situation and the problems the RV was giving me. Jason, the mechanic and owner, was very straightforward with me and explained that they were booked solid for two days and if I wanted him to diagnose it I would need to wait. He was confident he could figure it out, but the timing of my visit wasn’t the best. We discussed my options and he offered to look at a few things as he was finishing up a job and had a free moment. After he gave it a once over he said it looked good underneath and had no leaks, nor did anything look out of the ordinary. He noted the fuel pump as being an original part, but couldn’t say if it was bad or not. I thanked him and after a few more minutes asked if he would be willing to skip the diagnostic and just replace the fuel pump. I was on a time crunch and needed to be in Ohio by the 24th. My time was ticking away and these breakdowns had me well behind schedule. Jason explained to me that the fuel pump could be fine and might not be the problem, but if I wanted him to do it he would squeeze it in as his appointment had just called and informed he was going to be a little late. Let us do it I said. I figured if it wasn’t the fuel pump I would at least not have to worry about future issues concerning it and if it was the engine, well, I wanted to drive it as far East as I could. My reasoning was: the closer to Ohio I got the more opportunity I had to receive help from friends and family. I also knew I had four tows left from the insurance company before I would have to pay out of pocket.
As Jason replaced the fuel pump I walked about a mile away to a pilot truck stop to have a coffee and use the wifi. This would allow me to check/send emails, research some more about the RV and potential problems, and make some phone calls. I was at the pilot for an hour when my phone rang. It was Laramie Auto. They said Jason had finished replacing the pump, was out test driving it to ensure it functioned properly, and asked if I would like to be picked up. I accepted with much thanks and then went outside to wait. Within two minutes Jason was pulling in to pick me up. As we made the short ride back to the shop he explained to me that the engine model I have is notorious for throwing rods and cracking blocks, so I should be vigilant of it. This was not the news I wanted to hear, but it was a beautiful piece of advice. I inquired how he thought it drove and he said smooth. He was surprised it’s condition on the inside and under the hood was clean and well maintained. We arrived back at the shop and I payed for the service provided, gave a warm thanks. As I left Laramie I still had an uneasy feeling in my gut. Something just gnawed at me saying I didn’t fix the correct problem. I acknowledged this feeling with acceptance, but knew I needed to press on.
In no time at all I was up the last pass and heading down into Nebraska. I was very joyous at this point. It meant I was now closer to Ohio than to California and I was over half way. Not only that, but it was nothing but rolling hills and flat land ahead of me. I hoped this would put less strain on the RV and maybe it would drive a little better. I made it to about 90 miles outside of LIncoln, Nebraska and parked at rest area that night as a rainstorm came in. The RV ran like a champ and I had considered trying to make it further, but that little voice told me to stop so I listened. I asleep to the patter of rain on the roof and enjoying the smell of it’s fresh fall. The following morning I woke at about 4:00 AM to get an early start and avoid the rush hour traffic in Lincoln and Omaha.
The drive through the rest of Nebraska was uneventful and rather pleasant. I managed to avoid all the traffic and was conquering the hills of Iowa with a nice pace. The scenery, early fall, was beautiful and I found myself enjoying the colors of orange, yellow red, pink, and green as I passed. Then, out of nowhere, the RV lost power and started making some noises that I had never heard a vehicle make before. I managed to pull it over to the shoulder, which wasn’t very big, and get out of the way of the traffic before it stalled. Guess it wasn’t the fuel pump I thought. Oh well. I will call the insurance and hopefully have a better result. It was now eight in the morning and the traffic was becoming heavy. I checked my map with the mile marker directly in front of me and noticed I was only 20 miles from Des Moines, the largest city in Iowa. At least it shouldn’t be difficult to get a tow I thought to myself.
I got on the bullhorn with the Insurance company and gave them my location. After our 35 minute conversation of repetitious questioning they said they had a driver dispatched and he would be there in an hour. I thanked them and got off the phone. I was feeling good about the situation and hoping the new problem was not going to be overly expensive. What to do for the next hour though. I know, I will practice this ukulele and see if I can’t make some progress on a couple songs I was attempting to learn. My dexterity isn’t the best and my movements could be considered choppy and clumsy by many. Good thing I didn’t have an audience that would be critiquing me. When I stopped playing I realized it had been an hour and a half since I started. This meant the tow truck was late. I decided to give the insurance another call to ensure everything was still scheduled. It’s a good thing I did this because they informed me the tow company had cancelled the tow and they had not found a replacement yet. I inquired as to why they did not call and notify me to which I got the same robotic answer, “our mistake, sorry for the inconvenience”. I asked a few more questions and we ended the conversation with them saying they will call me when they find someone willing to tow the RV. How many times must I hear “sorry for the inconvenience” before they stop providing the inconvenience? I was now wondering if this was something I could come to expect from them, and if so, is it worth the struggle. I was also wondering why it was so difficult to get a tow when I’m only 20 miles from the largest and most populated city in the state. Oh, well. Life happens and best not to get to upset or emotional over circumstances which develop unexpectedly.
I spent the next hour and a half meditating, mainly to regain the state of calm I have become familiar with, and reading Might Of The Thoughts By Billy Eduard Albert Meier. All I can say of the material contained within this book is WOW. This really helped the time pass quick. I know how long I spent on them because I checked the time of when I last spoke with the insurance company to when they called back to inform me they found a company willing to assist. I was so tickled they called back that I thanked the insurance agent with renewed enthusiasm. I then requested if they knew when I could expect the tow company to arrive. I was told it would be within the hour and if they did not show up by the end of an hour to call the agent back and we would figure out what is going on. Awesome sauce, I hope I don’t have to give you guys a call back was my reply. With that out of the way I returned to my book. Rereading what I had already read. I did this because the material can be difficult and I want to make sure I give it the attention it deserves. Plus I’m motivated to continuously improve myself. Not the most fascinating of topics in the culture of today, but one I enjoy nonetheless. By the time I finish reading I realize it has been an hour and a quarter since I got off the phone with the insurance company. Sweet baby Jeebus, please tell me this isn’t happening I thought. Oh well, back on the phone I go.
I get through to an agent for the third time and find out that this new company cancelled too. “Why do they keep canceling?, I inquire. The agent informed they didn’t give any information other than to say they were cancelling the service. He told me not to worry he would see if he could find another company, but I would have to wait on hold. “No problem, I’m not going anywhere.” I said with a slight laugh in my tone. After twenty minutes he returned to tell me he couldn’t find anyone who would tow me and I would have to pay for a tow out of pocket by calling around to the local companies, but not to worry they would reimburse me within 14-21 days of receiving a receipt. I made a sarcastic comment that went somewhere along the lines of: if that’s how long it takes you to compensate for services, no wonder you can’t find anyone willing to work with you. In hindsight this was me letting out some frustration in a less than productive way. The comment wasn’t going to make the situation better. I then informed him that I had no data on my phone and no way of searching for a tow company. His advice. And you can’t make this kind of stuff up, “Well, Mr. Dilts you’re going to have to call 911 for a tow”. I laughed for a good twenty seconds until I realized he was serious. “So you want me to tie up the local emergency line with a tow problem, correct?” I asked. The one word reply I got, yes, left me baffled. I immediately informed him needing a tow is not what the 911 service is for and, as a former EMT, I found this recommendation incompetent and abhorrent. I also tried to find a more constructive solution by asking if he could look up numbers of local tow companies and provide them to me. This would, in my mind, be a perfect solution. He would be helping me, which is a motto I thought insurance companies operated under, and we wouldn’t tie up the emergency service line. I was flabbergasted when he refused stating policy prevented him from doing such a thing. This was almost the straw that broke the camel’s back, but I held my temper and chose to question his actions instead. To every question came the same, mundane robotic response, “I am sorry for the inconvenience Mr. Dilts”. He showed no moral compass, no compassion, no understanding, nor did he seem to care. He just simply stated it’s policy and that was that. I ended the conversation without even a simple good-bye or have a nice day.
I have said this once before and I will say it again, hoping a seed may find root somewhere in this beautiful world. “One does not have to follow an order because it is demanded of them. Fear oppresses freedom, obedience oppresses free will, and oppressed liberty is slavery’s welcome”. To be continued, again…..
“Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution” ~Albert Einstein~