Many of you know how much I like to fish. And, of course, along with fishing comes fish stories. And if you can’t stretch a fish with a story, how are you supposed to catch the big ones? But some stories, as much as they sound stretched, are simply hard to fathom. Pun intended. This is one of them.
We recently spent a week visiting family in San Diego, and then made the transit up to LA to spend a month visiting more family. And we’re also getting ready for a big Western States tour that would lead up to Rachel and Greg’s wedding at the end of July on the Oregon Coast. If any of you have ever driven Interstate 5 from San Diego to the San Fernando Valley, you would know that there is a giant stretch of that beast that goes through the heart of LA, and that this stretch has fallen into horrible disrepair because the Governor keeps “borrowing” from the highway maintenance fund to cover budget shortfalls in the state. We know this well because we used this same ugly stretch of road to get down to San Diego in the first place. So we have recently traveled it TWICE.
This road isn’t (yet) a toll road, but it sure has taken its toll on the rig. We weren’t aware, but all the bouncing and shaking from the very rough pavement caused a structural cross member on the chassis to break loose. When this broke loose, it let other parts of the chassis shake and bend even more, and that caused 2 other braces to break loose and fall completely off. I only hope they didn’t end up in someone’s grill.
Some of the damage was done on the way TO San Diego, but not enough that we really noticed it. There was a lot more done on trip back to LA, enough so that when we pulled into the RV park registration area the landscape maintenance man pointed out that our side trim was coming off.
Upon further examination, it was REAL obvious what was going on. The wheels on the bus go round-and-round, but they sure shouldn’t go back-and-forth, and that was exactly what was happening. The lack of structural bracing had allowed the axles to drift back and forth, which caused the main frame rails along the length of the rig to flex and bend. Not good. We’re actually quite lucky the whole thing didn’t just snap off and send the rig flying across lanes on the freeway. God only knows what that would have done to the truck.
Not knowing exactly how to handle this, we consulted our notes. We keep very good notes on our travels about RV parts stores and service companies. So we called one we really like in Agoura Hills, Coast RV (this IS a big plug for them, they are great folks and have a TON of great parts). They couldn’t help us, but their owner, Susan, referred us to their most trusted Mobile Welding service, Brent Eckhardt, in Simi Valley. We gave Brent a call, and on Tuesday he will come out to see what it takes to weld this all together again. I’m going to ask him to put some extra “beef” in the frame while he’s at it.
All’s well that ends well. And all good fish stories come to an end sooner or later (sometimes much later in the Mudd family). And we’re glad this story is at least on pause with all of us safe. Personally, I’d like THIS story to be as short as possible. Stay tuned!