This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (http://rbmartiniv.smugmug.com).

Friday, June 7, 2013

Please, Tell Me That This is Not Turning into the Mexico Trip!

Yesterday, after driving a little over 200 miles from New Holland, PA we pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot in Norwalk, CT.  Carol Ann has a niece who recently moved to Greenwich, about 7 miles away and we planned to drive to her home and visit for a few hours and then return to the Wal-Mart parking lot to spend the night.  We parked the RV in the far corner of the parking lot and both of us got out to unhitch the car.  I walked back to the RV door and pulled on the handle only to discover that the door was locked.  How could the door be locked?  All we did was walk out and close it behind us.  But the "how" was the least of our worries at this time.  We were both locked out of the RV without wallets, cell phones, IDs, or money.  I checked every window in the motorhome but all were closed and locked.  At least we had the car keys. 

There was no way to get into the RV without breaking something.  Carol Ann had a jar of loose change that she kept in the car so we got it and went into Wal-Mart to find a pay phone to call for help.  Carol Ann approached one of the Wal-Mart employees, Michael according to his employee ID badge, and asked about a pay phone. I was at the Customer Service Counter making sure it was OK to park overnight (what if they said “NO”?).  They did allow RV parking for up to 48 hours! Hopefully, we would not need it all.  I went back to where Carol Ann was asking Michael about a pay phone.  Pay phone?  Have you seen any pay phones anywhere lately? 

Michael was now our new best friend.  He began calling locksmiths for us but none of the 3 or 4 he called was able or willing to help.  We have Good Sam Emergency Roadside Assistance (Platinum), but didn’t know their phone number nor our Good Same member number.  We couldn’t contact Carol Ann’s niece because we didn’t have her phone number or address. 

Michael allowed Carol Ann cell to use his phone to call her sister back in Texas. After three attempts with no answer we were stumped.  Michael and I went out to the RV where we both tried all of the windows again and pulled on the door handle just in case it might somehow open by magic or a miracle.  No luck. It was still locked up tight. 

Now, if you have been following this blog you may be thinking, “What about their 3 cats?”  They were inside of the motorhome without food or water.  Hopefully, they would be OK.  But, wait a minute.  The cats?  You don’t suppose……, no……, you don’t really think that one of the cats could have locked the door, do you?  The automatic door lock rocker switch does happen to be located on the arm rest next to the passenger seat.  I remember that "She Kitty" was in the passenger seat and when we went outside she was standing in the window watching us.  Could she have stepped on the switch while she was watching us!  Maybe.  And if she could lock it, maybe she could unlock it!  I began tapping on the window and calling to her.  I couldn’t see inside so I put a foot on the front tire, grabbed the door handle and pulled myself up to the window.  There she was, sitting in the seat, but I must have startled her because she jumped down and ran towards the rear of the motorhome.  She was not going to unlock it for us.

I was becoming a little unhinged and decided I was going to break a window in order to get inside and unlock the door.  To hell with the cost!  One of the storage bays just happened to be unlocked.  It was the one in which I kept my tools.  I rummaged around and came out with a drill.  I figured I could drill a hole through the glass and push the latch open.  I put in the hardest bit I had and began drilling away.  After a few minutes I realized this wasn’t going to work.  The drill bit had not even scratched the glass!  Back to the toolbox.  This time I came up with a Phillips screwdriver and a BFH (Big F’ing Hammer)!  I placed the tip of the screwdriver against the glass and gave it a tap.  Nothing.  I hit it harder, harder, and harder.  The glass didn’t even crack!  I figured that I was not meant to break the glass so I gave up on that idea.

Carol Ann then tried again to call her sister with Michael’s phone and this time she got an answer.  She asked her sister to call her daughter (Carol Ann’s niece) in Greenwich, tell her where we were, and have her come to Wal-Mart.  It was 4:30 PM, Michael had been helping us for over an hour, we were no closer to getting the door open, and it was beginning to rain.  We would go to Chelsea’s house so we could use her phone and computer to get in touch with Good Sam and let them handle it. After all, that's why we were paying them an annual premium.

I was too stressed out to talk on the phone so Carol Ann agreed to talk with the Good Sam people.  They were very polite but were not a lot of help.  It took them a long time to find someone that could help us. When I spoke with the guy on the phone I knew at once he would not do.  He knew nothing about RV doors or windows, was an auto body shop worker, and his plan was to pry the door open enough to place a rod through the opening and unlock the door.  That would ruin the door.  Carol Ann spoke with Good Sam a couple of more times before it was time for bed.  They would continue to search and promised to have someone meet us in the morning and unlock the motorhome.  I didn’t want to depend on Good Sam so I Googled “locksmith” in Norwalk, CT.  There was a listing for Norwalk Locksmith with emergency service 24/7.  I called them but it turned out to be some kind of national agency that would then arrange for a local locksmith.  I was told it would be no problem.  Someone would be there at 9:00 AM.  I didn’t really think it would work that easily but we went on to bed with fingers crossed.

I only slept about 2 hours all night because I couldn’t help but worry.  Carol Ann called Good Sam again this morning and told them if had now become an emergency because my heart medicine was locked in the coach and I needed it badly (it was actually just my blood pressure medicine).  Carol Ann asked that they please make sure that whoever came would be a licensed locksmith familiar with motorhomes.

About an hour later we got a call from Good Sam informing us that someone was already at the motorhome so we jumped in the car and hurried back to Wal-Mart.  I was overjoyed to see this guy waiting at the RV!  He looked at the door and then said, “I think you need a locksmith.”  

I said, “I thought you WERE a locksmith.”  

He answered in the negative and told me he was a heavy equipment technician.  Well, a motorhome IS heavy equipment I suppose.  He asked me how the window locks worked.  I explained the latch to him and he retrieved a pouch and a ladder from his truck.  He opened the pouch to reveal an assortment of “car thief” tools, from which he selected a hard rubber wedge and a steel rod with about half a dozen bends in it.  I figured, what the hell.  Let him do his thing.  Within 5 minutes he had one of the windows open without any damage to it.  I climbed the ladder, slipped through the window, and unlocked the door!  It was almost 10:00 AM by this time.  It had taken almost 18 hours, but Good Sam had at last managed to find someone to open the motorhome.  Now, why was I required to pay $142 to the Heavy Equipment Company?  I thought that was why I paid over $100 a year for my Good Sam Emergency Road Assistance (Platinum membership).  Turns out that Good Sam pays for “the call” and the customer pays for the time, mileage, material, labor, etc.   How much did “the call” cost Good Sam?  Only about $15!!!!!!  By the way, the Norwalk Locksmith 24/7 that I called last night never showed or called.


Once we calmed down a bit, I went back into Wal-Mart, found Michael, and gave him a generous tip before we hitched up the car and left.  It was now pouring rain, windy, light fog, cold, traffic was extremely heavy, I was very tired, and we had over 200 miles to drive.  Also, I now hate Connecticut highways and our Rand McNally RV GPS!  Why?  This is the frosting on the cake.  The GPS directed us to Connecticut State Highway 15 North.  It looked like a nice four-lane divided highway.  But as I was driving in the right lane I began to notice that a lot of tree limbs were hanging quite low above the lane.  All of a sudden the roof of the RV came under attack from tree limbs.  The traffic was heavy so I was stuck in the right lane.  I slowed down and watched the rear view camera and did not see anything falling into the roadway but I knew something had to have been damaged.  I mentioned that there must not be much truck traffic on this highway or the limbs would not be such a problem.  That’s when Carol Ann said she had seen a sign saying, "No Commercial Vehicles Allowed" on this highway.  Somebody should tell Rand McNally WHY no commercial vehicles are allowed on Connecticut State Highway 15.  The state likes having the trees hanging over the highway because they’re pretty, I suppose.  So I bullied myself into the left lane and camped out there until we were off of that highway.  A short while later a truck pulled up beside me with the driver making a lot hand motions and pointing upward.    Great.  This could not be good.  I took the next exit, pulled into a parking lot and got out to take a look.  Hanging from the rear ladder was my newly installed JACK HD TV Antenna.  The limbs had torn it from the roof, screws and silicone sealant along with it, and it was hanging from the rear ladder by the still attached TV cable.  I removed it from the tangle, tied the TV cable securely to the ladder, and continued the trip.  It was still pouring rain. At least the roof wasn’t leaking and what could I do out there on the highway anyway?  We arrived at the Field and Stream RV Park in Brookline, NH about 4:30 PM and crashed (us, not the RV).  The rain is forecast only to get harder during the night before clearing tomorrow.  That’s when I will worry about the TV antenna and roof.  What can go wrong next?

1 comment :

Croft Randle said...

Oh Boy! Check the roof very carefully for tiny cuts, you will be amazed how much water can come through a 1/4 inch cut! If you do not have a roll of Eternabond, find a plumbing supply store and buy one.