It's time to move on down the road again. Sometimes we eagerly pack up and look toward our new adventure but this time not so. We have met new friends and it seems a shame that we are on our way again so soon. It's these times that we lament – for a short while!
We traveled along I20 west and the roads are good except when going through the major centres of Atlanta and Birmingham then not so good, bumpy, pot holes and very busy. We make it to the Wal-Mart in Meridian Mississippi for the night.
When it comes time to pull in the bedroom slide, nothing happens! Great! We check the battery voltages and see we are very low (11.3V) so we hook up the truck and after a few minutes to charge, we have enough power to pull in the slide! Whew, one nervous issue settled – for now! As we're driving, what is that white stuff blowing along the roadway! Holy crap, it's snow! Where are we, in the northern USA? Where is the southern warmth?
As we're heading out from Wal-Mart we hear a loud screeching from the trailer. It sounds like a brake is hanging up and not releasing so we stop, back up and forward again. After a short (100 feet or so) drive, it's gone so on our way. We pull into a rest area to make lunch and after our experience in BC in 2007, we now check the hub temperatures on most stops. Ouch, the centre hub on the curb (entry) side is extremely hot! Great, another issue on the road. Is it wheel bearings again like we had in BC or is it just a brake problem? I also checked the batteries to see why we didn't have enough power to bring in the bedroom slide and find one of the four has low specific gravity and is degrading the whole bank so I disconnected it and we continued on our way. Wow, we just installed these batteries in June of '08, they should last longer than this! Is it the cold I wonder?
We pull into the Flying J for fuel in Shreveport, LA and when leaving. hear the same screeching sounds and again stop, back up and forward and still the screech continues for about another 100 feet or so then all is good. We're nervous – or should I say I'm nervous and Barbie is white knuckling it! We decide to try to get to Nacogdoches, Tx, (100 miles or 161 Kms) where there are several RV shops that can help us out. We pull into a truck stop 40 miles from Nacogdoches and the hub temperature is really, really hot so we decide Nacogdoches is too far and head to the WalMart in Center, Tx, just 5 miles down the road. We thought that if we got to WalMart, we could see if their Tire and Lube techs would pull the tire off so we could carry onto Nacogdoches on 5 wheels!
We get there safe and sound but their policy is if it doesn't go in the service bay, they can't work on it. They do offer to let us use their equipment to do it ourselves! That's great but they close shortly so we gotta 'get-r-done' now! So, Barb & I remove the tire and let the hub hang so if necessary we can continue off down the road to the nearest RV centre. The manager at WalMart invites us to stay the night in the back near the tire shop – wow, super quiet but it was really cold again last night – where is the wonderful southern heat?
Up early the next morning to contact our dealer to see about a warranty on the wheel bearings (they were just replaced in the fall of '07) and they took the ball and made arrangements with the bearing company (Dexter Axle) to get the problem diagnosed! After a few phone calls, all arrangements are made and it is only 9:30! A repair tech from Nacogdoches will come over and pull the wheel hub to determine if it is a brake or a bearing problem. That's great news and we're hoping for a bearing problem then the costs will be picked up by Dexter! On the other hand, if it's a brake problem, it's our bill!
The tech doesn't arrive until 1:15 PM! Nacogdoches is only 35 minutes away! He pulled the hub and a brake lining falls onto the pavement – Ouch now we pay! $170 bucks later and we now have a peace of mind that the bearings are good! The tech said it would be unlikely that we will find brake shoes our size anywhere around Center and he suggests just cut the brake wires and go with 5 brakes on the trailer and get the job repaired when we are in a larger area! We still had to put the tire back on and all that for $170 bucks!! The rig is 9 years old so maybe it's time I become a RV technician!
Before we left WalMart, we left a thank you card and a box of chocolates for the Tire and Lube staff for their generosity of their equipment and courtesy.
On our way to Livingston, we drive through Nacogdoches and the downtown streets are all red bricked – really quite quaint! We made it to Livingston Tx at 5:15PM and set up and settled by 6PM. It's good to be home! There was a time in our earlier life when we had a stix home and had similar problems, we would have pointed the car north and headed home!