Tuesday morning 21st Feb we departed Rancho Colina at 7:00 am to make our way to Dyers RV Repair in San Luis Obispo. Kathy and Rick Howe followed us in their car just to make sure we had support if anything unpleasant happened along the way; like that bolt finally falling out and the camper body being set somewhat adrift from the chassis. However no disasters ensued and we arrived at Dyers a little before they opened.
Not long after checking in with Dusty the manageress, Mike the shop technician, and Andy a conscript from Dyers Diesel Shop (a related business across the road) started the task of dropping the rear winch and rear fuel tank out of the vehicle in order to access both ends of the problematic bolt. That task proved frustrating as a number of stubborn connections had to be removed and fuel pumped out of the FULL rear tank. But by the end of lunch the subject of the effort, the problematic bolt was fully exposed. The rear of the camper body was lifted a little with a fork lift and that allowed the offending bolt to be removed which immediately revealed that the bolt had broken at the start of the thread and hence the thread part of the bolt was still screwed into the nut which was welded to the front part of the mount.
From that point the plan was to weld a smaller nut to the face of the bolt that was visible inside the nut in the hope of screwing the thread remnant out of the bolt. But this plan was postponed by a failure of the shops electrical system (partly a result of all the wet weather California has been having).
At that point it was clear that the job would not be finished in one day so Nina and I got a lift from one of the shop guys to a nearby cheap motel.
Next morning (Wed 22nd) a call to Dusty revealed that power was back on and some progress was achieved after we left the previous afternoon. We stayed at the motel until about 11:00 am and then walked via Starbucks to Dyers arriving there just after lunch.
We discovered that the new bolt had been successfully installed and Andy was in the process of installing the rear fuel tank.
The guys relayed to us that the original plan to weld a smaller nut onto the face of the bolt did not work and in the end the nut was cut off the front of the mount with a die grinder. Along the way they had to find an alternative way of lifting the back of the camper and this required a nice new set of wooden blocks from the local hardware store.
It also transpired that the new bolt was too long and interfered with the re-installation of the fuel tank. Thus the tank had to be removed from under the vehicle yet again and 1/2 inch cut from the end of the bolt.
Thereafter the tank re-install went smoothly
The one remaining task that I had asked of Dyers was to remove the bolts holding the rear bumper to the chassis and add some spacers so that the bumper was farther back from the camper body. The bump from the semi trailer had distorted the bumper and on one side the bumper was only 1/8 inch from the camper body.
By 4:00 pm the whole job was complete, we had paid the bill and were on our way back to Ranch Colina to say goodbye to Rick and Kathy
Nina and I were very impressed by the Dyer's team. Dusty the manageress was clearly focused on helping us solve our problem even to the extend of having another shop lined up if her guys could not handle the job. Mike and Andy however needed no help and attacked the issue calmly and thoughtfully. They all left us feeling we were in good hands and we would go there again if we ever found ourselves with a problem in that area. We even thought the price was reasonable.
To the guys at Dyer's we say thank you.
On the way back to Rancho Colina we decided we would stay there one more night, say goodbye to Kathy and Rick and hit the road the next morning. We were pleasantly surprised when Natasha (the manageress) told us the night was free as we had paid for a week but so far had only stayed 6 nights. Thank you - we will take that.
After that latest problem with the RV we decided we should head back to WA to deliver the vehicle to the Wescraft guys so that they could start on the repairs rather than keep driving it around.
The drive north through California was blessed with pleasant weather (which somewhat offset the tediousness of I5).
Our first night on the northerly journey was spent in a Walmart in the town of Salinas. Our Over night in Walmart App told us that this was OK despite the signs saying "no overnight parking". Then we saw the following vehicles and concluded that the management of this particular Walmart was really very lenient in regard to RV parking.
In the Shasta Lake area we were lucky enough to discover a small state recreation area. We have driven through this region previously and have always struggled to find a suitable overnight stop as there are few towns and the rest areas are scarce and small. We were more than pleased to pay the $10 for a place away from the highway and the picturesque lake was simply a bonus.
What more is there to say.
The struggle continues.
Progressive have agreed to reimburse the money we spent in California to fix the bolt in the rear mount.
It seems they (Progressive) will also cover the leaking roof hatch but not the leaking front windows.
The vinyl wrap or decal that covers a large portion of both sides of the ER camper became a problem. The drivers side wrap/decal was damaged in the collision with the truck and so it (the decal) needs to be replaced on that side of the vehicle. But the Earthroamer guys were not able to supply a replacement. Eventually they found the photograph from which the wrap was made and Wescraft seem to be able to find a local business that can make a replacement from the photograph. And we have been told that Progressive will cover the replacement for the drivers side.
I also asked Wescraft to fit the replacement camper door that I had ordered through Earthroamer. But when the door arrived at Wescraft it had been damaged in shipping and at this point in time it is not clear whether the new door will be replaced or whether Wescraft will repair the new door. Also it seems that there may be a problem with the fitting of the new door.
So as you can see the saga of the damaged Earthroamer is still unfolding. Will write another entry when I know more ..
To be continued .....