First Problems on the Road!
Well I always knew we would have problems on the road, whether it was wear and tear to the trailer, a puncture, a cracked windscreen, a silly mistake of ours that set us back. But I never expected what happened to us as we pulled out of Anthony Chabot Park and headed off to Lake Solano. A problem with our truck. Given that it was just 5 weeks old and everyone told us that RAM 2500 is an unbreakable beast; it was surprising that it let us down with only 2,000 miles on the clock. It was very scary, as we had a brake assist failure on a busy freeway. Fortunately we kept calm and as the truck brakes lost power, we still managed to slow down to a stop, meaning we didn't have to emergency brake. We could see fluid all over the shoulder after the truck was towed away. (It turned out to be power steering fluid)
Once we got to a stop with the parking brake fully on, Iain quickly checked the wheels and trailer and then we got on the other side of the safety barrier and called for help. It was really quite a scary spot to be at the side of 8 lanes of very busy freeway. I am normally pretty calm but it was quite unsettling to be there.
I am pretty unhappy with how long it took the tow recovery vehicle to get us. We have Good Sam Roadside Assistance and they know about RV's and definitely were helpful. But we specifically told them we were in a pretty unsafe spot, and yet it took two and a half hours to get us. We were right in the middle of a busy metropolitan area and the tow vehicle only came from a few miles away. The problem is they needed to know where to tow us to before they were willing to send help, and of course that takes time. The Dodge dealer had to agree to service us, and because they wouldn't get to it until the next day we had to secure somewhere for the trailer to be overnight. To be fair Good Sam did try and call the RV park we identified as a parking spot,. They didn't get through, but they at least tried. All in all though, the tow vehicle was not dispatched to us for a least 90 minutes after we made the first call, saying we were in an unsafe spot. That doesn't seem right. I will be following up with them to ask why they delayed the recovery.
Eventually the tow truck came and the guy who helped us from Save Tow was excellent. I was extremely confident that he would tow us, our truck and our Airstream to safety quickly, and he did. We parked up in our old town of Pleasanton at the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Not the prettiest spot, but convenient, flat and with full hookups. After sitting at the dusty side of the 580 freeway for two and a half hours, I wanted a long shower. No Navy showers, I wanted to use 100% of the gray tank just for me.
The truck was fixed the next morning, it turned out to be a clamp in the power steering line that was out of place, apparently the lack of power steering fluid also means the power assisted brake failed. We had some big questions for the dealer - why did this happen to a brand new truck (answer: error at the factory), how do we know it won't happen again (answer: because they are confident they fixed it properly), and why were their no warning lights at all on the instrument panel (answer: this kind of failure doesn't trigger a light. Not happy with this one). So I am not sure I am entirely happy with the answers and we will be following up with Dodge. We will also get the truck checked out again in the next few weeks to make sure everything is hunky dory.
We decided to hang out another day to make sure we were happy everything was fixed, and that gave us a chance to do two important things! Laundry and watching the unbelievable first semi-final of the World Cup. Bye Bye Brazil. We leave early tomorrow to get to see the second semi, and hope for better luck on the road.