Full-time RVing, like all lifestyles, has its ups and downs. Since we began our new lives two years ago, most of our our experiences have been ups.
A couple of days ago we had a down. I am ready to share it now, since everything turned out to be OK.
Soon after leaving the campground in our Toyota Matrix on our way to Temecula to see my brother, we stopped for gas. The gas station was in a somewhat seedy area and adjacent to a huge swap meet with hundreds of parked cars. About twenty of the men from the swap meet were loitering around the gas station. It looked to be the last station on the outside of the town before entering the desert, so we needed to fill up. I wasn't overly concerned, but Dianne quipped, "I think I'll let you pump the gas this time."
As I pulled out of the station, another car swung much too quickly around the lot to claim the pump I had just vacated. When I pulled into the street, because I was watching the errant car and all the pedestrians, I missed the exit and drove over the curb. The curb was not painted and was the same color as the road. The noise we heard was.... Thump, then THUMP. I am sure the swap meet guys enjoyed the show. (Actually "thump" doesn't do the noise justice. My usually "helpful" passenger-seat driving [remember Roger's blinders quip a few blogs back] didn't come through this time, because I didn't see it coming either) -- D)
There was an immediate (loud) rattle under the car. After clearing the intersection, I was able to pull over to the side of the road so we could check the damage.
At first, it looked as if the entire bumper had been unhinged (and ready to fall off), but after a few fretful moments and a little bit of force we were able to lock it back into place. We heaved a sigh of relief, got back in the car, and started the engine. The rattling noise was still there. Crap.
I got out of the car and laid on the dirt to see if I could locate the problem. I was able to see that the metal splash pan had jarred loose and was possibly broken. The engine vibration was causing it to rattle against the exhaust pipes. Crap. At the time I thought that we would have to cancel our visit. Crap.
Dianne then had a brilliant idea. (She usually does.) Duct Tape! We had some in the car. I laid back down on the ground while Dianne tore off and handed me strips of tape. I taped the splash shield to the gas tank and the rattling stopped. It must have been quite a sight for the passing motorists.
We decided to continue on the two-hour drive hoping that the duct tape would hold. IT DID. I have now joined the club that believes you can fix anything with duct tape.
My brother has an engineering degree and has worked most of his life in the automotive field. He looked at the masterful taping job and confirmed that it would probably be OK until we had it repaired. Whew!
Today, I took the car to the Toyota dealership in Palmdale. It was due for an oil change anyway, and it made sense to have the mechanics give me the bad news about what needed to be done about the splash plate during the same visit. I was expecting that an expensive new part would need to be ordered and that a second lengthy appointment would need to be made.
The reason I can now talk about this is that the total charge for the visit was only $31.89, including the needed oil change. They were able to reattach the plate and did not charge for the labor. As with most people, car problems always seem to be expensive with us. This is our second good experience at a Toyota dealership service department this year. (I believe good customer experiences deserve a shout-out: Thank you to Sierra Toyota in Lancaster/Palmdale and Andy Michaelis, the service advisor. --D) Back to Roger....
I am in such a good mood :-)
The Whippet Picture of the Day is of Jasper playing with Tyler (another whippet) at the Bentsen Palm Village dog park in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. The picture was taken last winter. Hopefully, Tyler will be there again when we return in a few weeks.