Sunday, June 6, 2010

Brakes? We Don’t Need No Stinking Brakes!

As you may have read, the brakes in the Trek failed just as we were leaving the park on day two of our visit to Yosemite. I pulled over, shut the engine off and waited a couple minutes. Then when I restarted the Trek, the brakes seemed to be working OK.

Considering that the drive back to the RV park in Oakhurst is across very mountainous terrain, Lynda and I agreed that it was not worth the risk to try to drive the Trek back to the campground. So, I parked the RV just outside the Yosemite entrance on highway 120 and went back to talk to the rangers - I needed to borrow a phone because there was no Verizon cell coverage in that area. The rangers were extremely nice and gave me access to their cordless phone, which worked great as long as I did not move too far away from their station.

I won’t bore you or myself with detailing out the numerous phone calls between me and the Coach-Net customer service representative, a man who was obviously not hired for his technical or people skills. Let me just say that I had to stand around outside the ranger station at the entrance for almost two hours, waiting for Mr. Personality to call me several times to ask questions that were irrelevant to the situation. It took several phone calls before he finally called to say that a tow service was on its way to get us.

And so one of my nightmares was about to come true – the Trek would be hitched up to a truck, the front end would be hiked up in the air, and then the RV would be pulled along for miles to some auto shop.

As it turned out, the tow truck driver (Jason) was very nice and he pulled the Trek slowly and carefully for about 30 miles to the auto shop in Big Oak Flat. He told us that we made the right decision not to drive the Trek because the terrain around there is much too mountainous to drive an RV with faulty brakes. Some good news was that they would work on the Trek the next day, although it was a Saturday. Also, the auto shop owner was setting us up with electrical power and access to water so we could stay in the Trek overnight. This was really good… we thought we would have to pack a bag and go to a hotel.

So Jason hooked up the Trek while the dogs walked all over the dashboard; Barley even stretched out and laid down while looking at me through the windshield. Those naughty dogs know they are not allowed to do this but, as Lynda has often said, they are Opportunists!

In talking to Jason, we found out his boss, Mike had talked to the same Coach-Net customer service representative I had dealt with. Mike found him to be rude and thought he did not seem to know what he was doing. I will probably call Coach-Net this coming week and talk to a manager about the bad experience.  They are a good company and such poor quality of service is not up to Coach-Net’s normally high standards.

So we spent the night in the yard of an auto shop in the little town of Big Oak Flat. We ate at a restaurant just down the road, cleaned up the inside of the Trek and then went to sleep, really tired after a stressful afternoon.

The next day, the mechanic bled the brakes. There was a lot of air in the brakes lines which, according to Mike is caused by the brakes overheating. Unfortunately, Mike’s shop does not have diagnostic equipment that works with the Trek and they were unable to clear the ABS light on the dashboard. Mike explained to me about making use of the lowest gear in the Trek so I hardly need to apply the brakes on the steep downhills. We went for a test drive and the brakes worked fine. 

With Mike's warning that we must be sure to get the ABS light checked out as soon as possible, we headed back to Oakhurst to retrieve the scooter. This meant a long drive over very steep, mountainous roads, some stretches of which are very narrow with tight switchbacks. It was a nerve-racking drive because we are still not sure the brakes are reliable. I used low gear much of the time and kept my foot off the brake as much as I could. It took almost three hours to drive the 70 miles back to the RV park in Oakhurst.

We loaded up the scooter and then went online to find a place that could work on the Trek. We found a Chevy dealer not far from Stockton, California that works on big vehicles, such as the Trek. Stockton is 150 miles from Oakhurst but I told Lynda that most of this drive would be up the valley floor (flat land) and I felt comfortable about making the drive. So off we went.

We arrived at the military campground (Sharpe RV Park) at the San Joquin Defense Distribution Department in Stockton around 9 PM last night and spent today just hanging out and relaxing.

Hopefully, the Chevy service place can fix the ABS issue tomorrow and we can continue our travels to drive along the California and Oregon coasts on our way to Washington and British Columbia.

1 comment:

RognCath said...

Hey y'all: I hope all is resolved with the brakes by now. I'll give you a call this weekend. Love, C.

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