Just another average sunset in paradise!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Days 1 and 2 - Bakersfield

We left Huntington Beach Monday at 1:30 p.m. and arrived at my brother Rick's house about 5:00 p.m. after a drive of 127 miles.  Dod performed great including going over the "Grapevine".  The Grapevine is a portion of Highway 5 that climbs from the floor of the valley to a summit of 4,144 feet.  I only had to shift into 2nd gear twice.

Dod is Happy

Jesse is Happy

It was a nervous drive because Dod had been diagnosed with a major problem in his front suspension.  A mechanic in Huntington Beach told me that Dod needed to have the complete front suspension system and steering control replaced at a cost of $2,400.  He also told me that I needed all new belts, a tune-up, and new gaskets for the oil pan, transmission pan and differential.  Total cost would be around $3,000.00.  He said that if the work wasn't completed soon, I would most likely lose a wheel while driving!

My brother and I sat up until 1:30 a.m. reminiscing, solving the world's problems and getting reacquainted.  We also talked about Dod's problems and Rick has friends in town.  One friend manages a tire store that does suspension repairs; another closer friend and frequent house guest is a mechanic.

Tuesday morning we went to the tire shop to have an expert with 30 years experience check Dod's suspension.  This guy started doing suspension work about the time that Dod was new.  He performed a thorough inspection both visual and mechanical.  In just 15 minutes I had my second opinion.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with the suspension and in fact he said that it was amazingly tight for a motorhome that is 32 years old.

Later that morning Rick's friend Mike came by to look at the problems with the engine.  The belts did not need replacing, the gaskets were "good enough" for several thousand more miles and that the engine seemed to be running just fine.  While we were examining the engine, I found a loose wire just hanging down from the wiring harness.  After attaching it to the battery, my only other concern with Dod was fixed.  His clearance lights, back-up lights and flashers are now working!

It has always been my preference to give everyone the benefit of the doubt so I will just say that the shop manager in Huntington Beach probably just made a bad analysis and wasn't actually trying to take me for $3,000. worth of unnecessary repairs.

Rick and his wife Karen planned a big home-cooked meal for me that night with chicken fried steak, fried chicken, corn and mashed potatoes and gravy.  Some of my all time favorite foods!  When my brother's son Matt showed up for dinner Rick told me he was an electrician and he asked Matt to check my roof AC as it had no power.  One loose wire and one wrongly wired connection were located and within an hour I had full power going to the AC.  The roof air probably has not worked for several years as the wiring problems resulted in no power reaching the unit.  The roof air now blows ice cold!

Today, we are going back to the tire shop where an air conditioning specialist will be working today.  He will pressurize the AC system and test for leaks.  If there are no leaks, Rick has offered two cans of freon that have been sitting in his garage for years.

Boy, I sure picked the right place for my first stop!  Dave is Happy


  1. Best Friends/Family "campgrounds" are usually the best. Glad the first guy's diagnosis/lie were wrong. Those old Dodges run for a long time if maintained. You'll probably need that AC in Bakersfield.

  2. Dave should be happy. Your family and friends of your family sure saved you a bunch of bucks and trouble. Way to go, Rick!! Stay safe and have fun with your brother. These times are priceless..

  3. WOW! I bet your week was MADE with all that good news!

    Cyndi & Stumpy @ RVly Ever After

  4. Nice to read that.
    Reminds me of a time when I too had an old Dog, er Dodge that would hesitate a little after putting it into drive. I don't actually remember the vintage, but I think it was something like an 85?
    Doesn't matter.
    Took it to "Mister Transmission", since they had some sort of inspection on for very little money, and apparently there were ALL KINDS OF THINGS wrong with my transmission!
    Wow. Really?
    I just said to the guy, (without reminding him that I wasn't born the day before) that, "When I shift it into "D" and it doesn't move, I'll have it towed here first, how's that for a deal?"
    Of course, that never happened. I drove that van for another 10 years until I finally sold it to my mechanic, (the body simply rotted out from under me) and he used it for storage for another few years, and then started it up and DROVE IT TO THE WRECKERS for its final journey.
    But like you say, I'm SURE they weren't trying to rip me off or anything.
    Were they?

    Always good for a laugh I suppose. And a good story.

  5. I'll bet you're glad you stopped at your brother's and got Dod checked out. I wonder what the guy in Bakersfield was really up to?

  6. fantastic news... now pocket that 3k and use it when you really need it... in Mexico!

  7. What a rip-off artist that mechanic is - we all know he was scamming you. Karma, karma, karma for him.

    Sounds like you've having a great time, and your brother is a great guy. I'm glad you are visiting him, and that he's able to help out with Dod.

    Dod is going to end up being a great rig! :)

  8. sounds like a scam to me..aren't you glad you got a second opinion!!

  9. It's always great to hear good news. So glad you got a second opinion before caving to the mechanic in Huntington Beach. You are more generous in your opinion of him than I would be! You'll be glad you got the A/C working too. Sounds like you are going to have a lot of fun in Dod.