Nov 26, 2021

The Que Pasa of Our Breakdown

Last Saturday somewhere in the last nine miles on I-40 before turning south to Lake Havasu there is a small section of ripple like rough pavement showing many black marks where others have bottomed out. Fortunately as always we were only driving 55mph. We did do a bit of a jump in the air, my description, Colin says that it wasn’t that bad. As we drove through Parker we heard some small bouncy squishy noises. As we turned into Running Man fuel south of Parker the sounds were much more noticeable especially when we turned the wheel. After fuelling I drove the RV in circles, fast and slow while Colin tried to find the source of the sound. Finally we carried on to our night stop in the BLM lands just before Quartzsite.

In the morning we left enroute to Amado, Arizona, our last stop before crossing into Mexico. Today would have been our second full day on the Isla, perhaps if all goes well we will be there next Friday. As we turned onto the highway we looked at each other and said that does not sound good. We proceeded to the RV Pit Stop to fill with propane. We decided from there to check with Love’s as they have helped us with advice in the past. Not friendly at all so we went to the Pilot. A young fellow came out to listen to the noise and said that it sounded like a ball joint problem and that we should not drive more than another ten minutes or we could lose control of the RV and to definitely not take it out on the highway. Our only choice was to park in the empty lot across from Best Auto and RV Repair.

Parked in the empty dirty and dusty lot. First thing was to set up a fence pen area for the girls. It was 9:30AM Sunday.

Colin soon had the dish and the generator set up. It was sunny but too windy and chilly to sit outside.

For young puppies the girls have been extremely good. They have adapted to every situation. They are to be commended for dealing with us ignoring them for the next two days as we made our hundreds of phone calls.

I really can’t remember what we did that day. At one point the owner drove in late Sunday morning and Colin ran to speak with him. He told Colin that they would see us at 8AM on Monday. I do know that we discussed options, re organized the car, took the girls for a walk. Dinner that night was a Goliath ( 20″ ) Italian Bruschetta pizza from Silly Al’s. Huge and yummy. The left overs were lunch for the next two days. No one was wearing masks at Silly Al’s. We soon discovered that no one does here in Quartzsite. We were invited to the parks Thanksgiving meal yesterday but because it was inside and no one wore masks we declined. Actually it is too soon to leave the girls alone in the RV as all they would do is bark.

We got up early Monday morning, fed the girls, pulled the slides in and were ready for whatever the day would bring. Colin was standing at the Best Auto door at 7:30AM wanting to be first in line for service. 8AM came and he was told that we did not have an appointment and that they might be able to see us in a few days. That the owner had no right telling us that we would be seen that day. If they got a break we were first inline to be checked. We were deflated, we were trapped there until we saw a mechanic. About forty minutes later I went in to see if there was anyway that they could see us even for ten minutes, to please come and listen to the noise. We just wanted to know if we could drive somewhere else, safely. Rules were rules I was told and there was no guarantee when our RV would be looked at as we had no appointment. Nothing we could do but sit and wait. We understood that others had appointments but we only needed 10 minutes to know if we could carry on. So we sat and waited and waited and watched others come and go.

Not a large office and they also run a U – Haul business.  The work takes place outside on the right.

Closer to 11AM I went back to the office and stood and waited to speak to the lady behind the counter. Someone in came behind me and was waiting as well. Finally he came beside me and lifted the counter to go in behind. Ahh he worked there, a mechanic? He asked me how he could help me. I told him that I was wondering if we could get the password for the internet – she looked up from dealing with her customer and said no as it was too slow even for just her. He lifted his hands in gesture of “I’m sorry”. Was there anything else he could help me with? Oh yeah! So I went into my spiel and he said, ‘I’ll be over in a minute to listen to the sound’. I quickly ran back to our RV and told Colin that he was coming. We had the engine on and the air building by the time Greg came along. Next thing we knew he was in the RV in his dirty greasy clothes with his shoes on sitting in the drivers seat. We thought he was just going to drive it a few feet or in a circle. He did more than that. At the end of his test drive he moved the RV into the yard and called someone else on his phone to come have a quick look. Suddenly the owner showed up as well. Long story short we had worn out ball joints and they needed to be replaced. The earliest they could see us would be December 2nd, providing they could get parts, which they would order from Freightliner in Phoenix. They did not think that we would make it to Feightliner ourselves but we could give it a try. We re parked the RV in the dirt lot and sat stunned. I was thankful that I somehow was in the right place at the right time to connect with Greg.

Out came the phone and the first of dozens and dozens of calls began. Freightliner told us that just to see if they could get the parts would take three days as things moved slowly in that department. We called other shops in Blythe which was only 25 miles away and again the parts problem. They would get back to us in a few days. Finally Colin called Spartan Chassis and their parts department. It took several attempts to get through. Eventually he spoke with Jeff ( whose name was pencilled in our manual ), we had dealt with him many years ago. It was a long, over an hour, phone call. Jeff was ever so patient. Long story short they had the parts for the lower ball joints ( one on each side ). The parts for the upper balls joints were not expected until February of 2022 😯  Jeff and Colin went at it and then Jeff had an aha moment 💡 If we didn’t mind spending the extra money we could buy two kits from a different Spartan Chassis and just use those ball joints as they would fit our rig. So a wish list was put together and Colin said he would call back to order. He wanted to see if anyone else had the parts in stock.

Another long long story short, no one has the parts and no one could do the repairs until the end of January at the earliest. Well we are not going to spend the winter here in Quartzsite. Jeff had given us hope. Next step was to confirm that Best Auto could actually do the installation of the ball joints. In effect we would be putting in a new front end. Best Auto assured us that it might be done in a day or by midday the next day.  Yes we could stay in the RV during the work and overnight if need be in their locked yard.

Colin is very analytical and thorough and detailed and so he checked and rechecked and asked more questions. He then proceeded to call Frieghtliner who could only do the lower joints  ( those are the only parts they could get ) and then we would have to wait nearby until February???  Other places returned our calls and basically no one could get parts and some said they were not capable of doing the job. It was now after 3PM Monday and we had been told that it would be okay to move to the Scenic Road RV Park directly across the road. We did that and did a full set up, after all we would be here for almost two weeks.

We are parked next to this RV who has a cat on the leash. Needless to say this critter has been driving the girls to bark by parading in front our our patio ( dog pen area ) and the front of the RV.

Colin kept thinking about the que pasa of our situation. First thing Tuesday morning Colin ordered the parts to be sent on a two day air, based on the Thanksgiving weekend. Who knew when they would arrive. Turns out they were not picked up until Wednesday morning. We are to get them today, hopefully.

Ciela hunting for a bothersome fly.

On Wednesday we found out that we would need an alignment after the install. Best Auto could not do it. So that set us off on another few dozen calls. December 2nd was a Thursday and if the repairs went into day two, the only people who could to the alignment were in Buckeye ( closest to us, surprisingly no one in Blythe  ) but not until Monday, December 6th, another long delay. Colin was rather concerned about this small shop being able to do the install for us. He spoke to someone in the Spartan warranty department and was told that a specialized tool was required and the only company that he would recommend was Rush Tire Center in Yuma and he said that should probably be able to get there. So were were back to square one. Only thing is Rush could not do the alignment plus we would have to move into a motel for one night as it was a two day install. They recommended another company down the road to do the alignment. Hmm, would they be able to do the install as well, Rush said yes.

Tuesday we were treated to a 360 degree sunset. All around us, in a compete circle, we could see the sunset.

Hopefully you see the pattern of all the phones calls, the unsettledness of the situation and how things kept changing.  Mid afternoon Wednesday Colin spoke with Purcell Tire and Service Centre in Yuma on Gila Ridge. He spoke with the manager as well as the actual mechanic and was reassured that they could do the job and if they ran into any difficulties they could get tools from Rush Tire Center.  Best of all they could do the alignment and if necessary would work overtime to complete the job the same day. If by some chance the job had to go into day two we could stay inside the RV that night. So ends the phone calls and we are booked for 8AM Monday, November 29th. We are to proceed slowly, with caution and to not get airborne. We have the names and phone numbers of a few tow companies recommended to us by Purcell.

Stunning. So looking forward to the Isla sunsets.

Life returned to a slower pace. I took a nap and Colin walked the pups. Suddenly he was back in a panic about the possible poisoning situation. Thank goodness Carlie remains in perfect health. We have only used the phone twice since Wednesday.

The three kibble that caused all the double. The orange in her regular kibble is carrot.

Our RV is twenty years old and has been well maintained. Based on research we have done very well to have come this far with no ball joint issues. Over the course of the past few days we have discovered that the main causes of ball joints failing is because of extreme heat ( remember that heat dome we experienced this past summer, although we live in heat during the summer normally, it is not that bad ) and not lubricating the ball joints. Normally we drive to Mexico which we did not do because of COVID and we did not use the RV from March of 2020 until June of 2021. Our ball joints self lubricate, perhaps they dried out. This RV has been driven for close to twenty years to Mexico, further south than Acapulco ( plus we wintered there for a few years ) and of course those gravel bumpy roads along with pot holes as big as bathtubs have taken their toll. We are thankful that this happened before we entered Mexico this year. It has been a challenge and we aren’t done yet but hopefully the worst is over.

The girls like to follow the sun as it moves from window to window.

Yersterday was a normal day for us, cleaning and laundry. I just loved being able to hang everything outside. It has been around 70F most days but is cool because of the wind.

UPS came through for us just after 1:00PM, well I would have hoped so for $581.19 in shipping costs. The parts were 108 pounds in total. Good thing Colin was outside as he was delivering to the RV beside us. Funny thing is that the girls never even barked at him.






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18 responses so far

18 Responses to “The Que Pasa of Our Breakdown”

  1. KenB says:

    OMG what a rough and tough journey to get just here. It is the 26th as I write, what on earth can happen to you in the next 3 days to your install date. Best of luck! Just as well you are carrying sufficient wine to drown your sorrows. Good luck Ken

  2. Carol says:

    so glad to hear that things are lining up for you. will keep fingers crossed until all is done and you are safely on the road again.

  3. CIndy says:

    Good morning read your blog yesterday …wow what a trip but also how resourceful you both are in a time of crisis! Good luck with the drive tomorrow to Yuma…will be praying all goes well for you…and then Monday it can get fixed! Then on your way to Mexico! Love and hugs

    • contessa says:

      Thank you for your comment. Sometimes I with I wasn’t so resourceful, it takes a good deal of energy. Thank you for your continued prayers. Ahh Mexico, we are so hopefull.

  4. ferne says:

    oh, my you guys, pretty devastating, but hopefully helpful this week to get you on the road again. See you on the Isla, cant wait to hugg the girls. and you both of course. the trials & tribulations of RVing.

  5. SandyM says:

    So many problems that you have overcome in the last few days – that is what you do! I just cannot believe the outright meanness of those that put poison out where there are pet so close by. So sorry your girl had to go through that as well as the two of you. Traveling mercies especially for tomorrow and the rest of the way to the Isla.

  6. Karen says:

    Hello Contessa,
    My god my heart aches for you two! I’ve been following your blog and I have to say you are a extremely controlled person. I would have lost my mind by now, we probably would have left the rig found the nearest airport and the quickest flight in either direction either tequila or home for wine. You are definitely the strongest person I know! I wish you luck in the coming weeks and fingers crossed!

    • contessa says:

      So good to hear from you. It has been very difficult. I did tell Colin that we should just leave the RV and go home and come back in the spring. As you say fingers crossed that we get to the truck tire repair shop tomorrow. I appreciate the comments. Sometimes I wish thatI didn’t have the quality to sort things out. It is exhausting.

      Hugs to you both,

      • Karen says:

        Well that’s what I love about you,you’re so organized and detailed orientated, I must admit sometimes it’s exhausting just listening to what you organize. I wish I could be more like that, less surprises on the way and with the girls you have to be. I’ll hold my breath and cross my fingers wishing you safe travels

  7. Contessa Jewall says:

    You are too kind. I wish that I was more laid back so that I could enjoy life more like you do. Hugs back.

  8. Croft says:

    Oh Contessa! I know exactly how you feel! We have gone through the frustration of trying to coordinate parts and repair shops who can “fit us in before April” several times. Luckily never as expensive and crippling a problem as you are having although we once almost wore out the two front tires getting to a place that could do an alignment. Just relax and take it as it comes, not that you have any other choice. This too shall pass! I know if it were me I would be taking a good look at staying exactly where I was for the winter but I do understand the financial commitments you have with your spot on the beach in Mexico and your need to get down there. I won’t say “Good Luck” because I know everything will work out and you will soon be on your way south although with a slightly smaller bank account!

    • contessa says:

      I knew that you would get it. We have come so far and put so much into it that we will go to the Isla but if things don’t feel right we will return pronto. We left a good deal of stuff behind and this time will bring when we need back with us. We left things behind by accident as we were in such a rush to return to Canada as requested of us by our government.

  9. Kim Scheller says:

    I am confused, how did you know the kibble was poison?

    • contessa says:

      We didn’t know for certain. But who leaves food like that out in the middle of a road. We only suspected poison and ourvet agreed that it was safest to make Carlie empty her stomach. Someone later told us that folks were trying to poison the coyotes in the area. Glad we did the right thing.

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