Sunday, May 29, 2016

Breakdown, 5/25-26/2016

Forewarned about the road construction along our route from Redding to Trinidad, CA, we left Mountain Gate RV Park around 9:15 am looking forward to our stay on the northern coast of California. We had reservations at Azalea Glen RV Park near Patrick's Point State Park. 

As always, I checked in at the RV office, paid for our planned week's stay, etc., while John waited in the motor coach. He restated the engine and drove the short distance around the loop to our drive-through site. Just as he was making the turn to pull in, the engine of the RV stalled. He tried again, again, again, and yet again to start it, to no avail.

This is our site and this is where the motor coach was broken down. (in the middle of the road in the RV park)

What the heck?? We purchased our Monaco Monarch in 2013 and it has only 18,000 miles on it. We have been full-time RVing since February, 2014, and have spent every day and night in it since. 

And the phone calls began. First I called our extended warranty service, and promptly learned that out three-year warranty expired anuary, 2016 (three years after we purchased our new RV). Are you kidding me? I cannot tell you how diligent I am about maintaining all of our records. I asked if they even sent us notification about extended warranty options...oh well, does not matter at this point! Nonetheless, they were very helpful in making phone calls to locate roadside mechanical services in this somewhat remote area.

They found only one mobile mechanic that was willing to come check it out. I agreed to the rate of $150/hour. At this point, we were hoping for a simple fix. He arrived about 4 hours later. He was not sure why the engine would not start but thought that it could be the starter (as the battery appeared to be okay). He left for about 1.5 hours to find a starter for the engine (Ford V10 6.2 liter), replaced it, same result. The engine would not start. With no resolution in sight, we paid him (fortunately he only charged us $100 for labor plus the cost of the part $138). 

Meanwhile, I had checked the insurance policy on our RV. Yes, we have a roadside emergency benefit that will cover a towing expense of $1,500. But we needed to find a place that could work on the engine. This was not an easy task here in Trinidad. 

Leon's Care Center (in Eureka, 30 miles south of out location) agreed to accept the vehicle and could look at it in a week (June 1). Another place only worked on Diesel engines, but they recommended Pro Pacific The guy at there was very knowledge, but we could not have it towed there until June 8 (2 weeks). We decided to have it towed to Leon's. What else could we do?

There is only one tow company in the area, Humboldt's Towing, that has the equipment to tow a 25,000 pound vehicle. Our insurance company made the arrangements at around 9:15 am the next day and after lots of delays (caused by payment from our insurance company plus their job towing a fire truck from the highway) arrived around 3:30 pm. 

John was a huge help in getting the RV hooked up to the tow truck (LOL). Yes, we are trying to maintain a sense of humor. 

Throughout the day, John was doing research and discussing our problem with lots of different sources, including our brother-in-law, John, on-line, mechanically-inclined folks at the RV park who knew our predicament, and the guy at Pro Pacific. 

I started researching where we could stay. Because we had fully stocked our RV with food knowing we would be in somewhat remote areas for the next few weeks, I wanted to find a cabin where we would stay. Of course, being Memorial Day Weekend, everything was sold out in this coastal town. The folks at Azalea Glen came to the rescue! They had a park unit that had been recently purchased and was not in use. The owners promptly did a thorough cleaning of the place, and we made arrangements to stay here. The PERFECT solution for us! It has a full kitchen (I was able to move our food to it while waiting for the tow truck) and they are dog-friendly. Staying in a hotel room would have been sooooo difficult for us! Again, our full-timer insurance policy pays covers emergency lodging expenses, but not meal expenses. At this point, I must say if you ever break down, Azalea Glen is the best possible place for it to happen. 

After Humboldt's got the motor coach ready to tow, we drove to Leon's (as we knew they were closing at 5 pm) but didn't get there until about 5:15. They were still open and we had a chance to talk to them. They assured us they would look at it the earliest opportunity. The tow truck arrived 30 minutes later and parked the motor coach on the street. Yikes! This was very disconcerting to us, but what could we do (other than lock the bays, Windows, and door)!? 

I asked the tow truck drivers (who were professional and nice guys!) if they could recommend a good, casual place to grab a bite to eat. The driver immediately suggested Gallagher's. So that's where we went.

It was a delightful Irish pub/restaurant with great food and two guys performing Irish tunes. We had a really good dinner, I had a glass of wine, and we drove back to the rental unit at Azalea Glen for the night. Wow, that was a stressful 24+ hours. 

An status update on the root cause of our engine problems will be provided shortly. We are homeless but doing just fine. We've had other RV problems (steps, door lock, etc.) but nothing that required a tow of our 25,000 pound vehicle. At least we have a lot of flexibility in our schedule! 


  1. we have been towed once and there is nothing more disconcerting than not knowing what the problem is...

  2. WOW what a bummer. We had to put our rig on a flat bed once and follow it over Teton Pass. I would recommend Coach Net in addition to towing they have technical support who will talk you through issues. They also find and make arrangements for the service to be done. Hope all turns out well.

  3. Thanks for the tip about Coach Net. I'll be providing an update when we know more.