Grapevine troubles

Feeling in an auspicious mood, hubby and I set out on the road early, anxious to make our way through to Northern California, escaping the chaos of Los Angeles. The views of the surrounding mountains were breathtaking, but I could sense the impending stormy weather, The temperature was slowly dropping and rolling clouds were moving in, ready to stand fortress over Southern California. As we made our way north from Santa Clarita, we entered the Angeles National Forest. I could smell the damp mildew of the forest fires from past summer. SO much devastation, and the area remained in drought since then. However, the welcome reprieve of the past month’s rains have mingled with the fallen ash in the mountains, and so follows the smells of the ravaged forests surrounding the southern basin of California.

IMG_2531As we strode up the mountain, shining in glory and strength, we climbed from 1500 to 4100 feet with no issues or worries. However, nearing the crest of the highest peak, the Turbo sighed in release and with a lunge, we lost all power to the truck. Engine lights blazed in glory as the temperatures climbed to an alarming and dangerous temperature. Uh oh. What to do?? Neither slaDE or myself are very savvy on the mechanics of our truck’s engine. So, like our overheating issue on the Mercury Cougar that we had this past summer in Montana’s Glacier National Park, we pulled over to the pitted asphalt shoulder and waited for an hour, hoping the  engine cool down would relieve us of the flashing lights and worries which had crept into our California adventure.  Although the engine did turn over with a roar, the engine light remained alight, and I was questioning whether a continuance would be a smart move as we still had unknown mountainous terrain ahead of us. Being the safety miser that I am, I suggested to slaDE that we bank in to our CAA RV Plus towing coverage, and find a location to have service and inspection of our glorious (albeit whimpering and stoic) 1994 Dodge Ram truck. My theory: why not use our membership when we were in need? Although the truck may have carried forward with no more issues, why chance it when the outcome is unknown and potentially harmful and hazardous?

Thus began the adventures of our first towing experience (and fingers crossed, our last!). We had to use our Canadian phone for the first time in our journey. Ouch! At $3 + per minute, we were making some pretty pricey phone calls to orchestrate the necessary tow service. And that’s on a toll-free number. Egads. It’s time to get ourselves a US phone number.

Ron from Golden State Towing arrived like a hero on his white stallion. However, his initial work horse wasn’t quite up to the task of towing BOTH our truck and Airstream. We weren’t leaving our trailer behind. NOT an option. So we waited for Ron to turn around and fetch his Trojan Goliath horse. Even though he was back within half an hour, the hook up time with the rear tail lights for the trailer and the connecting of the truck (whilst deactivating the drive train) was over 3 hours. Add that to the 1.5 hours of sitting on the bustling highway, and we were ready to escape the wind and cold afternoon drizzle.IMG_2534

To say that I was neither a bit scared or stressed as we made our way through the Grapevine Pass would be an understatement. The roads were in horrible condition (concrete highways that are pitted and rattled) and although travelling at slower speeds in our steed-like Peterbuilt tow truck, the trailer jumped around like a fly on a hot plate. The swerving of the Dodge  truck did little to dampen my fright, but Ron handled the job of carrying us safely to Bakersfield with utmost skill, safety and confidence. I was extremely grateful for his professionalism! With a my nervous husband by my side, we found our way to a Dodge dealership safely in one piece and with no apparent damage beyond our roadside conundrum.

Our white chariot tow truckI actually breathed a sigh of relief once we were out of the storm and in to the flat valleys east of the Rockies.  I’m happy that I found a lucky penny on that mountain. Every bit of luck was needed on a rainy day like today.

After finding the Dodge dealership, we dropped off our Airstream trailer at the neighbouring Camping World parking lot and lucked out in establishing a free parking spot with electric for the night! With managing that, I am certain lady fortune was on our side today, oddly enough.

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