The Joy of Breaking Down – Horizons Unlimited Virginia 2015


One thing I was struggling with, traveling as a family in an RV, was the tendency to get on the road around noon. I’m not a crazy early riser, but am used to having more time moving than we were getting. This meant I had a slight pressure to keep moving, since there was minimum number of miles we had to manage each day to reach HU Virginia. Since we also wanted to stop before dark, the late starts meant we had to keep moving, once we were on the road.

I was driving as Cliff started to sputter going up a mountain. There was a truck lane, and I was already in it, so as our speed dropped I turned on the hazards, then shifted into a lower gear. This seemed to correct whatever was wrong, and we crested the pass feeling pretty good about ourselves.

The next mountain was steeper, and down shifting didn’t actually help. Just short (I mean, a hundref feet or so) of the summit, Cliff died. There was no shoulder, so I pulled over as far as I could and tried to get the engine restarted. The battery issue wasc back, the starter not even turning over, and as Sue got on the phone for AAA, I started to disconnect the main engine battery, hooking up the two house batteries instead to see if that would get the engine running. Those batteries were new, and while house batteries aren’t the same as engine batteries, they should be able to start us moving again – at least to get into a less exposed area.

They didn’t

AAA said it would be 45 minutes to an hour, so with nothing else to do we made lunch. Important for keeping spirits up. We were still assembling sandwiches when a rescue truck pulled up behind us, lights blinking. It was the local DOT version, not able to help something like Cliff, but he did find out that the tow service AAA had called was more than an hour away, just drive time. He called the closer, local company, and (after confirming they also did AAA), a tow truck was there in minutes. With all of us still in Cliff, he towed us to the next exit with services.

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