Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
We only had to drive 40 miles today. Easy peasy, right?? WRONG!! We left Santa Rosa on 101 south and just north of Petaluma, we heard a very loud bang, we knew, immediately, we have just had a blow out on one of the tires. It was loud enough that it scared my half deaf dogs. It sounded like someone shot a shot gun off in the back seat. There was NO doubt what had happened.
Man had been driving in the right lane, pulled over quickly, got way off the road as you can see, in what must have been the widest shoulder all along 101. You can barely see the black streak the tire left on 101, it was probably about 1/4 mile or more longer. Man took the photos, he was more interested in the tire and the damage to Tana so he did not get a good photo of the black streak we left for all those who drive 101 to enjoy.
Damage, tire a total loss, of course. It took out part of the compartment that we store the sewer hoses and parts in.
The compartment used to have an end piece, no longer, Man found it down the road a piece. We seem to have lost at least one part to the sewer system that Man could not found along the roadside and several broken parts that were on the sewer extension.
That white siding did not used to be that shape, and that black discharge pipe is the the sewer, there were several other small parts connected that got torn off and destroyed when the "gater" from the shredded tired ripped them off.
There is the tire, the belts ripped apart:
Man found this part, which is part of the sewer system, but there are at least 3 pieces, tabs and such, broken, it will be replaced.
Now, this was not a fun event, but, we were WAY off of 101 and the damage, is in reality, nominal. Here are the mitigating factors:
Man was confident in his tires, he replaced them with American made, they held air well, hardly have any tread wear even tho we have put on quite a few miles. His confidence took a bit of a hit today too. Too bad, as that was something he did not worry about.
We have a towing and roadside service from a RV specialty company, Good Sam. We have been members for over 23 years. We have been hearing some snarky reports on their declining service, and after today, we know why.
We called Good Sam via their new iPhone app, the glory of this is, that it is supposed to be able to find you via the GPS on your phone. Immediate FAIL. It could not locate us. Man was on the phone for probably 15 minutes with them, thankfully my GPS on my iPad did NOT fail. It had us exactly where we were on two apps, and I was able to tell them everything except an exit number. Exit numbers seem to be rather difficult here in California. But, I could tell them we were headed south on 101 just past "this" road. After a lot of chatter, we were told they would locate a service provider to come out and change the tire. At this point we told them we were safe. We were and felt that way, for a while. Please note again, at this point we felt safe and told them we were, that does make a difference in how your call is supposed to be handled.
Quite a bit later, Good Sam called us back. Beginning of the massive FAIL. They cannot locate a provider to come change the tire. Now, we are not out in the boonies people, we are within striking distance of 805,235 Americans that live in San Francisco (2010 census numbers) and Petaluma which had 57,941 citizens as of 2010.
I believe it was the second call from Good Sam that told us that it would be well over 3 hours, maybe 4 before they could get a service provider out to help us. We had already been on the side of the road for over an hour when that joyous call came in. By now, the shaking of Jolly and Tana by the traffic zooming by was starting to make me uncomfy.
While Man was collecting sewer parts from up and down the freeway and taking photos and taking the spare tire down from underneath Tana I was on Facebook and texting with friends. Lots of great information and support, some teasing for a bit of humor and giggles and the calming effect such chatter creates. One of our California friends gave me a bit of advice on what to say and do to effectively get Good Sam off their doofus.
SOO, when this guy from Good Sam calls us and says, it will be at least 3 to 4 more hours, this became unacceptable and my Demon driven snarky personality came streaming forth with a vengeance. (You may call it that B*^%$ word, cause, it was!)
So, I did what my California friend suggested I do. I told Good Sam that I was calling CHP (California Highway Patrol) because I no longer felt safe and that this was totally unacceptable. I repeated this statement several times and asked, do you understand this is NOT unacceptable and that I am calling the CHP?? And, then, I hung up on him. All he was doing was making lame excuses, a lot of which was that big rigs required big tow trucks. MMMM, noooo, we were not getting towed, we only needed the tire changed. Man carries jacks and equipment that would never lift a Motorhome, but, would lift Tana. Man could have changed that tire. Good Sam's employee had no idea what we needed. They know what we drive and what we are toting around, but, their employee could not figure out what we needed. That IS his job. FAIL!
So, I immediately dialed 911. The dispatcher that answered was efficient, calm, very sweet, and informative. Nope, she agreed 3 to 4 more hours was way too long. Nope, we should not try to change the tire ourselves. She called in the notice that we were stranded on the side of 101, and guess what, the same phone we used earlier that would not report our position to Good Sam reported it to the CHP in less than 30 seconds! Amazing. She explained how they could call a tow truck for us, but, we would have to pay the bill. She was very clear and concise.
In just a few more minutes the Good Sam employee called us back, miracle of miracles, they found a tow service that actually had an opening and they could be here in 30 minutes to 45 minutes. 30 minutes was marginally acceptable to me, 45 was not! I informed them it better be 30 minutes or I was calling CHP back and get them to send me a tow truck. Less than 1 minute after that call the tow truck driver called me, verified our location (he know right where we were) and said it would be 30 minutes. I said 20 would be better!
He showed up in less than 20! WOOT! He knew how to change a tire, he had jacks (a bit smallish, but they worked) and he had an air compressor to drive the impact wrench. He helped Man load the blown tire into Tana. Good service! Oh, and he was born and raised in Michigan. Bonus!
So, here is the bottom line, a blown tire is a hassle. We were not hurt. Jolly is fine. Tana took a bit of some cosmetic beating. It could have been MUCH worse, we could have lost large hunks of the sewer system, we did not. Man was able to bang most of the bent siding back and cobbled in some wood so that he can use the storage area for the sewer stuff.
The FAIL was on the part of Good Sam. First their app failed. Then, they failed. A 3 to 4 hour delay at the side of an expressway in a populated area is a fail. I would expect such a delay in some of the remote areas we have been toting Tana through, I would not even be upset. Really, I would not. But, this to us, was an epic fail.
And, when we got to camp, finally, the site was uneven, we won that battle. Man found hydraulic fluid leaking in the front storage compartment (a repeat issue, thought we had that one fixed) and Man cannot get the satellite to connect properly for his telie.
Longest 40 mile day we have ever had.
I repeat, Good Sam = Fail
We are FINE, and always were, and were not that upset until that 3 to 4 hour thingy came up.
Then there was more banging out there on the 101 than a tire, eh?? I was banging my head out of frustration. No wonder I have a headache tonight!