So, needed to head up to SMBw to have my two failed Marine solar panels replaced with one Kyocera solar panel. Decided I'd drive up Sunday to Millerton Lake and camp, and drive to SMBw early Monday morning. Prepaid for an RV spot with hookups.
First hint of trouble to come: connected to shore power Saturday afternoon so I could pre-cool the fridge. 24hrs later, the Norcold was never-cold. Broke out the 12V portable fridge.
Spotted a tan SMB on Highway 99 about 15 miles north of Bakersfield at 2:00pm (Aluminess bumper, tire carrier, large storage box) and Thule racks just as it was pulling off the highway.
Make great time driving towards Millerton. Probably could have made it in less than 4.5 hours from Ventura to Millerton. Stopped for fuel on Highway 41, no fire wood for sale unfortunately. About 4-5 miles after turning off Hiway 41, I was about to pass a truck and trailer and started accelerating. Decided I wasn't in any rush so let off the accelerator and suddenly noticed the engine had cut completely out. Coasted to the side of the road. Luckily it was a nice stretch of straight road with a decent shoulder. The engine cranked, but didn't start. After about 1 minute, a California Highway Patrol showed up to see if I needed help. He stuck around while I checked fuses, fuel cutoff switch, kicked the tires, cussed a little.
Chassis battery voltage 12.1V
House battery voltage 12.1V
Gave up after about 1/2 hours, and called GoodSam Emergency Response. Let them know what I was driving, including the approximate weight and length. They said it would be between 1-1.5 hours before they would be able to get a tow truck to show. I told the CHP officer he was welcome to leave. He called my location in to dispatch to have them check back later that day to make sure I had been taken care of. Nice guy and great support.
Here's the most impressive tow truck I've seen, let alone been towed by.
Got me towed to Freedom Ford in Fresno about 8:00pm. Dropped the SMB at the front gate, and then the driver was nice enough to drop me off at a hotel across the freeway about 1 mile away. Days Inn was OK, but the room smelled like old smoke.
Walked over to Freedom Ford Monday morning, took care of paperwork, hitched a ride with their shuttle driver to the local Avis (not very close). The local Avis system wouldn't permit a one-way rental, so the guy called the Avis at Fresno airport. They could rent me a one-way rental but neither the local Avis or the airport Avis had a shuttle service. The local Avis guy was cool in that he then transferred the airport Avis rental reservation to his own location and was then able to rent to me.
Stopped by SMBw to talk to Peter, explained the situation. Peter said they'd be able to pick up the van from Freedom Ford when they were done, and then do the solar panel work and check out my SMB fridge. Good customer service.
Here some pics of Alan Feld's latest showcase van. Notice the worklights are LED-based.
No word from Freedom Ford yet on the problem. I did notice a sign on their wall that they have 5 diesel techs with over 10 years experience, 3 with 5 years experience, and 1-2 with 3 years experience.