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 (

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"LA Freeway"

We "dragged" our car behind the motorhome for over 1,600 miles. A red light, indicating the car’s brakes were being applied, stayed lit on the dash of the motorhome for the entire trip. I first noticed it after hitching the car to the motorhome at our home in Texas. I checked and double-checked all connections and came to the conclusion that nothing was wrong. The brakes were not actually being applied in the car as the red light indicated, therefore, the red light had to be malfunctioning. The car remained hitched to the motorhome for the entire trip and no problems were detected.

The phone woke me sometime around 6:00 this morning. My son, Rob, was calling to tell us that Kasey’s water had broken and they were headed to the hospital. Carol Ann and I left the RV park in Quartzite by 8:30 AM and drove the last 230 miles to the RV park in Orange, CA, where we will be staying for the next two weeks. LA freeway traffic is no fun when driving a motorhome with a car attached.

After settling in at the RV park and taking a nap, we began getting ready for the drive to the hospital. With all of the stuff we brought with us, the only jeans and shoes I could find were the ones I had worn every day of the trip. It appears that we left a bag of my clothes at home. Thank goodness I brought some khakis! We were finally ready and jumped in the car for the 25-minute drive to Hoag Presbyterian Medical Center in Newport Beach. The car seemed to “feel” a little different from what I remembered, but I decided to ignore it. After driving the motorhome for 1,600 miles I was sure that it was simply the difference between driving a motorhome and driving a small car. I didn’t think anymore about it. We got on I-5 (“the 5” as they call it out here), which was wall to wall cars leaving LA at rush hour for the suburbs. That is when the car began to have a seizure. Luckily we were in the right-most lane and able to pull off onto the shoulder, a very narrow shoulder on an overpass. Cars were zipping by only a foot or two from our car. If I opened my car door it would have been knocked off. To say that I was somewhat stressed at this point would have been a gross understatement.

Not knowing what else to do, we called our son, and while on the phone with him, a tow truck magically appeared in front of the car. I swear. I didn't even see it pull over in front of us. What are the odds of that happening? I just looked up and there it was! It was an Orange County Transportation Authority rescue/tow vehicle that had been patrolling the freeway and just happened to come by at the right time. The driver said we were in a very dangerous place and would tow us off of the freeway. I asked if he took AAA and was surprised to learn that it was a free service.  All four of the car wheels were locked up, so he put dollies under the rear wheels in order to tow it. Carol Ann and I got in the back seat of the tow truck and I began thinking about the new supplemental braking cable system and the red light on the dash of the motorhome. There were too many coincidences not to suspect this might be the source of the problem.

The tow truck driver towed us off of the freeway for about a mile to what he referred to as a “drop zone.” It was across the street from the Angels’ baseball stadium in Anaheim. It was already dark and I began imagining gang-bangers in every passing car. Still suspicious of the brake cable, I asked the tow truck driver if he had any wire cutters.  He managed to come up with a pair of needle nose pliers and I used them to cut the cable to the brake peddle and, just like that, we were back on the road! The next letter I write will be to the Blue Ox people about their Auto-Stop supplemental braking system.

To make a long story short, we made it to the hospital in plenty of time to be there when baby Siena was born a little after 9:00 PM PST. All is well.

1 comment :

Bill said...

The LA freeway looks like a survival test. Luckily I have no plans to drive it. Ever.