Like a good Boy Scout, Bill spent a couple of weeks preparing meticulously for his big trip to Colville, Washington, and the Society of American Foresters Convention. He planned his driving route for our new-old motor home to include geocache locations and good fishing holes during free fishing day in Washington. He made appointments for the RV's servicing and for a tune-up. The servicing went well, and the mechanics suggested some items that could use attention in the near future.
He took the RV to the same shop for its tune-up, which was scheduled for last Tuesday, just two days before his Colville departure. For some reason, the tune-up could not be done on Tuesday, but he received assurance it would be complete by Wednesday afternoon. On Wednesday afternoon, he received a call vaguely explaining that something was harder to get to than the mechanics had anticipated.
Bill, the Boy Scout, had planned to leave for Colville Thursday morning. In spite of his disappointment, he patiently waited until noon Thursday and received a call that the motor home was ready to go. So, Annie and I dropped him off and headed out to Hope for lunch at the Ice House Pizza.
Just as we'd finished our pizza and calzone, my cell phone rang. It was Bill.
"You aren't broken down on the side of the road, are you?" I asked.
By this call, it was the third time the motor home had broken down in the middle of the road----once near Wal Mart as he left the shop, once near home and once near Peak Paving on Baldy Road. The Baldy Road motor sputter occurred on his way BACK to the shop.
"Do you want us to come and pick you up? I asked.
Bill said that wasn't necessary, but when we said we'd be there, he didn't argue. He said he'd be at the shop if he could get the thing back there. So, we agreed to meet him there in a few minutes. I bought Bill an Ice House brownie to soothe his sad situation. While driving back to Sandpoint, Annie told me wanted to get some movies before picking Dad up so we turned off the Kootenai Cutoff Road and headed for Yoke's. The phone rang again.
"No hurry," Bill said. "It broke down again in front of the sheriff's office and some guys helped me push it to the fairgrounds driveway. I'm waiting for a tow truck." When Bill had bought insurance for the motor home, the agent told him that towing insurance would be just $10 extra, so, of course, he signed up.
Knowing we had plenty of time to pick up movies, we went to Yoke's and selected three or four. I walked back to the car early and in time to see Kiwi finishing off the last of the three cookies we'd purchased, including Bill's brownie.
"This just isn't Bill's day," I said to Annie. The tow truck had just arrived when we got to the fairgrounds. I took pictures to document the event. After all, we'd just been to the movie RV, and I knew our adventures with our new-old motor home would either rival or top Robin Williams', so visual documentation was important. It was a sad moment but hard not to laugh.
We followed the tow truck to the shop and then took Bill home to his pickup. He'd had plenty of time in between motor home deaths to use his cell phone and reserve a room at Benny's Motel in Colville. He headed out the driveway at 3:45, approximately 7 hours and 45 minutes later than his meticulous plan had projected for a trip which would include geocaching and leisurely fishing along the way.
Bill did not fish. He did not geocache. He did reach the SAF convention in time to take in a few programs, but even that wasn't going so well. When I called him to report that the motor home needed a new carburetor, brake work and a suggested compression test to see if it was all worth it in the first place (tab $700), he said it was okay to talk for a while because the power point presentation he was attending had an equipment meltdown.
"Go ahead and get the compression test and if it's a go, have 'em do the carburetor and brakes," he said. "It's going to have to be done sometime." Then, came the wait. Did I purchase a 30-year-old lemon? Would we have a motor home which wouldn't motor? The hours went by, and nobody called. Finally, just before closing time, the mechanic called and said the motor home had passed its compression test with about a B+, high enough to proceed with repairs.
The news got better a few days later when he called again and said the carburetor didn't need replacing after all. It just had a few screws loose, literally.
We picked it up last night, and it does drive much better than before. The good news is that the bill amounted to just over $400. The bad news is that Bill's meticulously planned trip to Colville, especially the fun side excursions on the itinerary, was a bust.
So, now he must find a new excellent adventure for the motor home and formulate a new excellent plan. And, in so doing, that guarantees me yet another chapter in the continuing saga of our new-old motor home.
By the way, I know now that the common belief that chocolate will kill dogs is a myth. Kiwi never skipped a beat after devouring Bill's brownie.