Los Angeles, California

7/16/2018 to 7/19/2018

Wheel bearing problems with the trailer (bad), Brake problems with the truck (bad)

and visiting Danny at SCI Arc (good!)

Monday 7/16/2018     We left Pio Pico around 10 am this morning and should have been to our next campground around 2 pm. However, about an hour away from our destination I happened to look in my rearview mirror and saw smoke coming out of the back left tire area. I pulled over to the side of the busy, four-lane highway and went back to look at it. It was smoking quite heavily by then so I got the fire extinguisher from inside the trailer just in case I needed it. After it cooled down, I took a look and decided it must be the wheel bearings. I have roadside assistance through a company called Coachnet so I called them and spoke to a man who said he would investigate service companies and have someone call me. A half hour later he returned the call and said someone would be coming but it would be 60 to 90 minutes before he arrived. We waited either sitting in the leaning trailer or in the truck for two hours before receiving an automated call from Coachnet asking if our situation was taken care of. I pressed 2 for no as they instructed but then remained on hold for ten minutes until I gave up and called them back. They immediately put me on hold again for a long time and when someone finally answered and was checking the computer, I was disconnected. I called back again and waited a long time. When they answered this time, they said they would call the service company. The service company said they were another 45 minutes away because there was heavy traffic. I asked the name of the service company this time. In the meantime, I did some research on the internet and called another mobile service company and he said he would get the parts he needed and come as soon as he could. I called the first service company and cancelled and also called Coachnet and told them I was through with their company. This was the second time (first time was the battery in West Virginia) I needed roadside assistance and neither time did they help. The new mobile service man showed up pretty quickly and got to work and fixed it in around 90 minutes. I think we spent about five hours on the side of the highway in the heat before we continued on with the last hour of travel to the campground. We arrived just before dark and this was another Thousand Trails park that we had to drive around and chose our own site. This is a huge park and by the time we found a spot it was dark and we had to use flashlights to get set up. All in all, it was a very, very frustrating, rough day.

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Tuesday 7/17/2018     We are staying at a campground named Soledad Canyon RV Resort. The closest big town is Santa Clarita, CA which is 20 miles away. Danny's school, SCI Arc, is 50 miles away. We found a back-in site near a big tree but it's close to the road and railroad tracks. It didn't take us long to get used to the noise.   

Because of yesterday’s trailer problems I want to have the rest of the trailer’s wheel bearings checked out. I called a shop the mobile repairman suggested and was able to make an appointment for 8:30 Friday morning. This shop is on the way to our next campground so we’ll be able to stop on the way.

I’ve also started to hear grinding noises from the front truck brakes so I researched brake repair shops in a nearby town, close to Santa Clarita, CA. It was about a 30-minute drive but the shop was too busy to check my brakes. They referred me to another shop right around the corner. They were too busy today too but he said if I came back tomorrow morning at 7 am they could look at them.

After this, we found a nice Italian restaurant called Chi Chi’s down the street and stopped for an early dinner. The service was great and we enjoyed the pasta.

Next, we drove to the Santa Clarita public library and Rose bought some used books from the Friends of the Library. They sell their hardbacks for $2.00 and the paperbacks for $1.00. Other libraries have been even less expensive but these are still a bargain. The last trip was to a Walmart for some supplies and then back to the campground for the evening.

Wednesday 7/18/2018     I got up before 6 am today so I could be at the repair shop at 7 am. Rose stayed at the campground. There was a fence across the opening of their parking lot so I had to park on the street. As soon as someone showed up I went in and dropped off my keys. The name of this place is Bohan’s Automotive and they don’t even have a waiting room so I just walked around for a while. I searched on my phone and found a Walmart about a mile away so I walked there to hang out a while. After about an hour I started to walk back near the repair shop. The truck was still sitting on the road. For the next three hours I walked around and visited Home Depot, 7-Eleven, and a small strip plaza, sitting around on every bench I could find. Every once and a while I would look down the street and see the truck just sitting there. At 11:00 I went back in and asked what was going on. They said they were still working on vehicles that were there from yesterday and couldn’t give me a definite time. After I told them I had been hanging around for four hours they suggested I try the tire shop down the street saying that they had more mechanics there than they did here.

So I got in the truck and drove about a mile down the street to a place called Mike’s. This place is mainly a tire and oil change shop but they also do brakes, shocks, and alignments. After talking to the guy at the counter he said they could probably look at the brakes in an hour or an hour and a half. At least this place had a waiting room so I gave him the keys and waited. And waited, and waited. Every so often I would walk out to see if they moved the truck. After about 2 ½ hours they had the front end jacked up but weren’t doing anything. I think they only had a couple mechanics that were trained to do mechanical work but six or eight that were doing tires and oil changes. At around 3:00 they finally told me I needed new pads on the front of the truck and it would cost me $280.00. I got to take a look at them and yes they were almost gone. I can't believe that the brakes are worn out already. I had them done in June of 2016 while we visiting Michael. I have about 17,000 miles on them. I guess stopping the truck and trailer wears them out pretty fast.

This place was really busy and my entertainment while waiting was the owner, Mike. He was like a crazy man with a bad temper. He was consistently yelling and swearing at his employees. Everyone from the cashier to the mechanics. I really don’t understand how anyone would want to work there. At 4:30 the truck was done. The mechanic gave the owner my paperwork and he looked at the time written on the receipt, 11:20. He started again yelling and swearing at his staff telling them that this is such poor customer service. I thought he was going to have a heart attack. He wrote on my receipt Paid in Full and gave it to me and told me to go. I said: Mike it’s OK, I’m not upset, I’m just glad to get this done. I need to pay you. He said: You need to get out of my shop. So I walked out and drove away. I just got a $280.00 brake job for free!

Thursday 7/19/2018     Yesterday was Danny’s 31st birthday. We were staying about an hour away from his apartment and wanted to see him on his birthday. He had a lot of school work to do and wanted to be able to spend more time with us so we decided to wait until today to visit. We left the campground around 10:30 am and arrived at Danny’s college which is called SCI Arc around noon. We decided to go to a barbecue restaurant a few miles away for lunch. We had a very nice conversation over lunch and afterward we went for a drive on the very scenic Mulholland Drive in the Hollywood Hills. Next on the agenda was a visit to the art museum opened by J. Paul Getty in 1997 on a hilltop in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. We parked in a parking deck which costs $10 to $15 depending on when you arrived but entry into the museum is free to the public. Everyone’s bags are checked and then you board a tram (similar to Disney’s monorail) which takes you up the hill to the museum. The museum has a grand collection of artwork from the middle ages to the early twentieth century. The paintings are beautifully displayed in fancy wood carved frames that are just as spectacular as the artwork itself. The museum also displays a collection of ancient furniture and sculptures. You can also stroll around outside and see a great view of the city below. Our final stop before they kicked us out at 5:30 was the garden area. We rode the tram back down the hill to begin the wait in the freeway traffic jam. It took us over an hour to travel about 19 miles. When we got back to SciArc, Danny gave us the grand tour. It was nice to see the building and his desk area where he spends a great deal of time. We were able to see some end of the year projects the students were working on, too. We ended the day with a delicious ice cream cone and a short visit to Danny’s apartment before we had to say our sad goodbyes. We probably won’t see him again for a long time as he leaves for his new teaching job in Bangkok, Thailand on August 9th for at least a year.

Friday 7/20/2018     Today we got up a little early to leave. We are taking the trailer in for service in Lancaster, CA at 8:00 am. They are going to inspect and if necessary replace the bearings and brakes. Then we are headed to Lemon Cove, California which is near Sequoia National Park.  

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