You never know where it is that life is going to take you.
Here is another one, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
I am sorry, but I don’t remember who it was that said that. It could have been A Tale Of Two Cities
which was a novel by Charles Dickens, set in London during the French Revolution if memory serves me well?
So I am home, my trip was aborted early because of bad roads and equipment failure. I am out another two grand and I am not a happy camper. You know when your old bus is running right, and the highway before you, is in reasonably good shape, all is well in the universe. When all these items are not in sync, it is one miserable, lousy, experience. Something akin to being an Alzheimer patient in a whore house, you know you have been take care of, but you really do not understand who, what, where and why.
So with all we say and do, there is always something called the “take away.” You learn, you live, you move on. So here it is in a nutshell, where the rubber meets the road. I hit some really bad road in Arizona, the bus bottomed out, and I shelled out my air bag mounts, one air bag and lunched a brand new tire. After discovering the problem, I did two things. I called Van Hagan (who we had just visited with) and Coachnet.
If you have Coachnet, you might want to rethink it.
Coachnet is about “towing you somewhere and that is about it.” After conferring with them during my emergency, they made the determination that it was “an accident” so therefore, they were not responsible. They had no qualms about my paying for the entire ordeal and there attitude was less than stellar, their service the same.
First I was bombarded with unnecessary questions about my coach, my engine, my chassis and other “non related items.” In order to update their files. I sat in the Nevada sun baking like an Idaho potato in a gas-oven on slow broil for over four hours before someone actually appeared to render me assistance.
I had to pay for a service truck, a welder, a tire man and a RV Specialist
. This was to make temporary repairs necessary to get me back to Oklahoma. My only saving grace thru all of this was Van Hagan, who rolled up his sleeves and got down and dirty and helped me line out these people while I was running down parts in a strange city, with high volume traffic, and parts that were some 28 miles away (one way). I had to run them down, because the service specialist
that Coachnet sent me, had a broken down service truck, and was “really in a bind” at the time, as he put it.
One last thing: (As I am not into vendor bashing and it is not allowed on most sites) “After diagnosing my problem as an accident, and being fully assured that I would pay for all services, Coachnet dispatched this bozo that arrived four hours later, and NEVER even checked back to see if he arrived or if we were still in need of assistance.”
Wait it gets even better .... Take a lot of cash, this guy they sent didn’t take VISA the service call was $110 and he charged $125 per hour, he was a little over 4 hours doing the work.
Speed was not a factor, it was rough road. South of Hoover Dam we bottomed out violently, and the weight issue and the down force of bus body on the suspension led to metal fatigue and our problem. When you get all of this heavy structure bouncing around on the road, it will lead to problems, such is the case was here.
The roads in Arizona and I suspect other places are in terrible condition and there is more ... we discovered more of it eastbound outside of Holbrook, Arizona. Roads in the Flagstaff area are beautifully maintained and in good shape. I suspect this is because the majority of foreign visitors to Arizona travel in this area, and we want to put our best face on it, so they are okay.
The rest of it, can be real bad in spots, be advised.
I weighed my coach, how many of you have done that? Surprisingly I found out, my coach, much like myself, “needs to go on a diet and thin down some.” So that is in the works. I have stopped clearing trucks and truckers, they seldom say thanks, it just puts strain on my equipment to do them a favor which they do not return and that is now history.
I usually drive 5 to 10 mph below the posted limit, but occasionally I can hang a truck out there and they cannot get back in. One thing I am changing, this is new. I am also not backing out of it anymore, “if they get their dumb ___ out in the hammer lane and cannot get around me, that is their problem.”
Some of 'em need to learn this Rule of thumb, “high rpm’s do not necessarily mean high mph.” It doesn’t work that way.
They clear the truck in front of me, but they do not clear me, bus people are not truckers friends and this new breed of trucker leaves a lot to be desired. The CB radio is now virtually useless and you can live without it. Just a few nuggets that I found sprinkled on the path, and here is the take away:
Like I said: “If you have Coachnet, you might want to rethink it.“ Call Van Hagan instead.
A friend of mine yesterday asked me how it was and I said: “Y’know, when it is running right, and the roads are okay, it is the greatest thing in the world. When a bus is operating in a correct fashion, and all of your hard work is paying off, well, it is like flyin’ to Paris for breakfast on a Learjet. When it isn’t working, it is like the loss of your first bicycle at school from the bike rack or a really bad case of the flu.”
So that is the way it was. Not much fun.
It is now home, parked in the shop, I am sick of it, it has once again “ate me out of house and home” because it is old and the roads are in lousy shape. Once again I was forced to pay thru the nose in order to enjoy my hobby. Needless to say, “I am not a happy kamper.”