Wednesday, July 19, 2017

And we're off! Sort of...

We handed over the house to her new owners on Monday.  I still don't feel anything about it except relief.  On the way out of town as we drove by we said our goodbyes to this restaurant, that hardware store, and before long our goodbyes turned to "goodbye neverending construction, goodbye helicopters, goodbye K-rails, goodbye crazy traffic"... we never, ever, ever want to drive in LA again.

I expect the full force that I've left friends and family behind will hit me later.  When it does I will come and visit them then but it will be by plane and train and not by RV or motorcycle.

And... we're gone!

Our first stop: a Harvest Host location in Paso Robles called Tobin James Cellars.  Once we settled the bus into the dirt lot at the winery nestled against the oak tree-covered hill we wandered across the road for some wine tasting.  The people were friendly and the wine was tasty, an excellent first night to be sure.  We watched the sun go down over the hill and sipped more wine before bedtime, and both cats and the dog got a kick out of watching the bunnies in the field at sunset.
Harvest Host boondocking at Tobin James Cellars
Stewie, Chloe and Starfish bunny watching

The next morning was supposed to be an easy and short run to Moss Landing.  Then just 11 miles north of Paso Robles on Highway 101 the gas pedal fell all the way to the floor and Lance coasted her to the shoulder, it was just before 10am, less than a full day since we pulled away from the house, not even one full day as full-timers. Fortunately it happened in a very wide shoulder spot.  Further investigation revealed a bracket on the engine (throttle linkage Lance says with a sigh) had broken and required a weld.  Of course our welding equipment was let go with the rest of the house purge so we will have to buy something, the day is windy and we are adjacent to a dry grassy field. Not to mention whatever flammables are under the bus in that region, and the fact that Lance would be wedged under the bus at a strange angle to do the work.  So we decided we needed professional help.  I called Coach Net,  one of the two tow services we bought a few months ago. It was 10:30.
Roadside on Hwy 101

First they tried to find a mobile mechanic to come out and do the weld on location.  Everyone's feeling on the matter was the same as ours... dangerous. A controlled environment and a big lift are what's needed here.  So, next they set out to find us a tow and a garage.  Here's where I learned a few things that I hadn't really thought through before:

-Class A coaches are heavy.  Fully loaded we think ours weighs just under 20k lbs, we will stop and get it measured when we find a truck stop that isn't crazy crowded with trucks trying to do their jobs.  So we're not an easy tow requiring specialized heavy equipment and the drive shaft must be disconnected first, not a job many want to undertake. If we had owned a truck and 5th wheel or travel trailer we would have been under way in a matter of minutes.

- Class A coaches need a roomy and strong lift for any work to be done on them.  Facilities like that aren't too common.

-The trailer is a separate tow and requires a separate vehicle.  With Coach Net this is all considered one "tow event", with AAA it counts against your annual limit as two separate events.

-My cell phone has a "send a location" button which I can send by text to anyone.  Didn't know that before.  My phone is an Android but apparently this is an iPhone thing too.  To do this with an Android phone open a text message and select your recipient, then click the plus sign at the bottom left of the screen and select location. So easy.  The tow truck driver came right to us.

All in all it was almost 7:00 before all 3 pets and Lance and I were all settled together in a hotel in Paso Robles, the trailer in a secure facility and the RV safe at the garage and drive line re-connected.

On the bright side:
- It's good that we had thought through this scenario and already had a ditch bag pre-planned for the pets.

-Smart phones are invaluable. I was able to pull together the hotel, the mechanic, and the tow efficiently from the relative comfort of my dinette.

-I learned a cool new Location feature on my cell phone which is now my new favorite cell phone thing.

-If you find yourself sitting on the roadside for 8 hours, having your own bathroom and kitchen is very convenient.

We did ask for an adventure, right?  To quote a traveling friend, "this is what we signed up for".

Also... we discovered the town of Paso Robles, which we have been through many times but never really slowed down to get to know. What a great little town.  We might just stay another day just because. We got lucky and got a room at the historic Paso Robles Inn and they are pet friendly, in fact this whole town is pretty pet friendly so Chloe is getting in lots of downtown sniffing and table scraps.

The Courtyard at the Paso Robles Inn

The bus will probably be ready to go today, or maybe not, either way it's all part of our adventure.


  1. Pass Robles Inn sure has a nice courtyard.I hope you're back on the road again. Christy

  2. Yep, back on the road just a couple of days later and back on track.