Monday, August 24, 2009

Uh oh, not again.......

Sunday, August 23, 2009
Well, this was one of those days which will be fast to write about, but was long to live through. We left Shelburne with a plan to drive toward Bar Harbor, Maine, which is adjacent to Acadia National Park. All in all, it’s about an 8 hour drive, including stops for lunch etc. But I figured we could actually do it in two days—stop someplace in Maine early in the day to relax, and get to Bar Harbor on Monday morning.

They say “man plans, God laughs”, and if RVs had hands, they’d add to that saying, “And RVs give you the finger.” Mo pulled another fast on one us just as we were driving up the hill into St. Johnsbury, Vermont. The engine stopped without any warning or explanation. We had driven all of 90 minutes for about 75 miles—it was a little before noon.

So here is why we were lucky. 1) We were on our way up a hill, but the place we rolled to a stop in was LEVEL! (This is important because our refrigerator only works right when it is level.) Actually, as it turned out, we were on top of a hill. 2) Just where we stopped, the road had widened out to include a left-hand turn lane. There was no shoulder. So we were stopped in the road at the curb—but traffic had the extra left-hand turn lane to pass us by. 3) St. Johnsbury is what passes for a decent sized town in Vermont (we could have had this happen on a two lane road in the woods with no town of ANY sort for 20 miles in either direction.) 4) We weren’t in a huge hurry to get someplace.

We assumed that this was the same recurring vapor-lock problem which we last saw one time only during our 2-week 2008 trip. We waited for 5 minutes and tried to start the engine, but it didn’t work. So we put out our two bright orange traffic cones to warn traffic coming up behind us (not that it wasn’t painfully obvious that a large tan vehicle was sitting in the roadway!) and we tried to relax for 30 minutes so we could try again. Unfortunately, Mo refused to start. At all. Ever. We had a visit from a policeman who was very nice and gave us the phone number for the local station in case we wanted them. We had several people stop to see if they could help—one of them giving us the name of a good mobile mechanic. At about 3 pm we decided that Mo was NOT going to start, and we needed help. We got the number of a local towing/mechanic guy (Roland) from the police, and the Roland came out to see if he could fix us. He couldn’t. He has the only tow truck in town large enough to tow us, but it was out someplace, so he said he’d be back in about an hour. Meanwhile we also had our Good Sam Club trying to help us, but frankly they were basically useless this time.

At about 5 pm, Roland came back with his tow truck. At this point we discussed where we should get towed tomorrow, and where we could spend the night. Roland’s recommendation, which we followed, was that he push us forward and we would roll down the hill a little way to a service station which had a small lot where we could turn around. Then, he pushed us back UP the hill toward where we’d been, because at the bottom of the side we’d come from was a park-and-ride area (we were literally just past the interstate exit when we lost power.) So this was what we did, and we rolled down to the park-and-ride, which was an unpaved area just off the access road to I-93. Miracle of miracles, the spot we rolled to a stop in was again 100% level! There were about a half-dozen cars also parked there, and that was it. (We did have a beautiful wildflower field outside the window on the non-roadway side.)

At this point it was about 6 pm on Sunday night, and there was nothing to do but be philosophical. We made ourselves some dinner, read our books by lantern-light (we didn’t want to burden the already weakened battery), and finally we went to sleep. We were also lucky that the place was not a residential area, so we felt perfectly fine running our generator when we did want something electric, like the water pump. All in all, we’ve slept in less attractive places (Flying J parking lots come to mind), and that was how our day ended.

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