A Wee Bit of Trouble Getting Out of Campbell River

I have to salute the three heros who got me to Nanaimo today!

As is normal for me on the night before departure, I hardly slept a wink. After tossing and turning for what felt like hours, I got up around seven and finished prepping the inside. I was shocked by how quickly everything came together even if there are lots of things that still need to be properly organized. I finished putting away everything outside and then joined Croft and Norma for coffee before starting the Great Big Vehicle Ballet–we had two cars, two motorhomes, and a dolly to move!

Hero no. 1, Croft, made sure I hit the road with some breakfast and was quick to solve my first motorhome issue today: the stairs would not fold up! He found a bottle of a miracle product called ‘Moovit’ and that did the trick. Impressive stuff!

Getting out of the driveway was a piece of cake. First, I drove my car to the gas station to get it out of the way and then Croft guided me back onto the front lawn and forward into the laneway. So, obviously, Miranda started without any problems. I did trickle charge the battery yesterday, but it wasn’t really necessary. Croft’s latest post reminded me that the new brakes squealed something awful as I left the house, but they were silent by the time I reached my first stop.

I headed to the gas station to dump and ended up taking a shower. There’s a water hose there for cleaning up and it is super high pressure. I started it and it flew out of my hands soaking me with water! Pfft, pfft!

Next, I took on 150L of fuel (three quarters of a tank) and then hooked up the car. Everything was good and all my lights and blinkers and whatnot were working.

The oil change place is called Lube-X and is located on Ironwood Street. I’m glad I used my knowledge of Campbell River to get there instead of the GPS because it would have had me climb a steep hill for no good reason. I parked, went up to confirm what bays I should be in, unhooked the car, and brought it up to Bay 1.

I went back to move Miranda which is where, at first glance, my day went to hell:

I could not move her out of park.

Hero no. 2, the gang at Lube-X, moved heaven and earth to get me back on the road. I called Croft at one point to see if he’d encountered this issue with his rig at some point (our motorhomes have the same truck chassis), but no.

After doing a few things, like moving the steering wheel to unlock it, a call was placed to an expert who suggested that unhooking the toad might have tugged Miranda back enough after she was parked to make something stick. It was suggested we nudge her forward with another vehicle to unjam the thingamabob. It took a few tries, but Shawn, the Owner/Proprietor, finally got me into gear! I was advised to keep her in neutral with the parking brake on until we figured out what was going on.

That excitement must have taken an hour and I was finally able to move Miranda up into the bay for her oil change. That didn’t happen. Bob would not allow it, saying that my oil was still pristine (it had been changed in Pemberton and I’d only done a couple hundred kilometres). He doesn’t buy into the whole ‘do it every few months no matter how much it’s been driven’ rule. He also said that I hadn’t driven enough since my last differential fluid change to make that worth checking.

However, my transmission fluid was a bit thick and cloudy and it was pretty evident that one service was missed. Miranda has about 78,000km on the odo, which means that this was something the previous owners should have had done. I’ve since gone over my notes from the inspection and discovered that I had been advised to have the transmission fluid changed within a year or so and it was also mentioned on the Pemberton paperwork that I was coming due for a transmission service.  I could have probably waited a bit longer, but why? I really believe in doing things before they absolutely need to be done, brakes notwithstanding. 🙂 Megan took charge of my transmission fluid exchange and I was so impressed by the machine I took a picture!

Meanwhile, Bob called a nearby repair place to ask them if they could look at my steering column issue. I was told that they couldn’t do any work today, but I managed to get them to agree to just take a look at the problem to determine my next move.

Both vehicles still had the exact same tire pressure they had when I parked six months ago. I’m going to assume this is a good thing!

Finally, Shawn went way above and beyond and took it upon himself to derust and grease my towbar pins!

Oil change and filter for the toad + transmission fluid change and new wipers for Miranda: $349. Hardly noteworthy and a lot less pricey than the maintenance done on Miranda alone last spring.

All was going so well until I pulled out of the bay, parked Miranda in preparation for toad hook up, and moved the gear into park. I can be such a dumb blonde sometimes!

Shawn came and worked his magic again, very quickly, and discovered something very odd: I could not shift into gear with the truck started and my foot on the brake, but I could with the truck off and the key moved just one notch past off. Armed with that knowledge, I was able to head off to the repair place.

If you need an oil change done in Campbell River, Lube-X is definitely the place to go!

The repair place, Seymour Services, just north of town, is where I met today’s hero no. 3, Loren, who came out to look things over. He jiggled a few things and then asked me an odd question: did I have a brake light? I replied that I did when I left the gas station and hadn’t even thought to check it at Lube-X.

Well, I didn’t. The gang at Lube-X and I were so focused on getting the gear changer moving that we missed that completely!

My heart sank. This was getting to be a bigger and bigger problem! I could just envision the wiring job I was going to need in addition to a new steering column! And what if there was a problem with the transmission?! As someone who favourites manual transmissions, I am very suspicious of automatic ones and whenever something goes wrong I assume I need a new transmission. 🙂

Loren grabbed a multi-metre and checked all my fuses, spending an inordinate amount of time with the ones under the dash inside the cockpit. He came up for air holding a very corroded fuse, the very fuse the feeds the brake light.

He had some bad news for me: the dampness this winter caused some condensation in the fuse box and it will need to be replaced in the nearish future. It’s something that can wait till the fall, but not indefinitely.

He also had some good news for me: the problem with my gear lever was not mechanical, it was electrical! Turns out this was a very clever safety feature: the truck was telling me that it couldn’t go because there was a problem with a vital system, but still gave me a way to shift into neutral for towing. Loren replaced the fuse and both problems were fixed, just like that!

Of course, I had to pay for the help, which amounted to a grand total of 1,000… pennies. Yup, just ten bucks, hardly worth the multiple heart attacks I had! 😀 Thank you so much, Loren!!!

After that, it was fairly smooth sailing to Nanaimo, departing at about 3:30 with an arrival around 5. The day had started off hot and sunny but slowly turned to rainy, overcast, and windy to the point that I considered pulling off the highway after one nasty gust just about blew me into a ditch!

I’d set the GPS to take me to the Walmart, but it obviously has older information because it took me right by the Walmart telling me I still had 13km to go! I caught the sign announcing the mall, so I was able to turn in. I had wanted to get propane tonight; I’m completely out, but I was exhausted There’s nothing in the fridge or freezer that’ll go bad by tomorrow, I can do without a shower for one night, and I have enough blankets to make up for not being able to turn on the furnace.

This is a good Walmart for overnighting as it is very roomy. I am tucked away near the road and not blocking anyone.

For dinner, I was looking forward to going to a Japanese restaurant at the food court, but it was closed so I instead had some yummy Greek food. I then went into the Walmart to get a new water pressure regulator and decided to treat myself to some new pyjamas. It was either that or cheesecake and I decided the jammies would be better for me. 😀

It’s been a pretty good day back on the road and I feel I can relax now that I know that both vehicles are in top mechanical shape.

Tomorrow, I will get up and going when I do and I don’t care at what time I catch the ferry, although the 10:30 would be ideal. I’m heading up to the Chasm, so a mid-afternoon start from Coquitlam would be just fine, but I could go a little later if necessary.

I’m writing this post while sitting in my new recliner and it it is SO comfy and superior to the bucket chairs! I put a tray on my lap for the computer and I may never move from this position. 😀

Finally, here’s another shot of the blue water jug resting on the counter. It pours beautifully, but it drips for a short moment after turning off the tap, so it’s important to not pull away your glass too soon.

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  • I hate it when things go wrong right at the beginning. I’m glad everything came out ok in the end, and now you can get on with your travels with confidence. Have a safe one.

  • I like it when things go wrong at the beginning; I get the nastiness sorted out at the beginning while I’m still on my toes! 😀

  • Well, all’s well that ends well… Next time you have the transmission serviced have the filter replaced as well. This involved removing the pan from underneath to get at the internal filter. Changing the fluid is good but the filter also has to be changed periodically.

    After I had time to think about it, I remembered having the Honda’s transmission lock into Park when it was pointed down a steep hill without the parking brake on. The Honda has a hidden switch for use at times like these. You push the ignition key into a slot and it magically releases it. This however was not your problem so I am glad you found someone to remedy it! I will have to remember Seymour Services.

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  • And Lube-X! These guys went way above and beyond and charged me nothing extra.

    Thanks for the heads up about the filter. I hate automatic transmissions. 🙂

    Your Honda is strange. Mine never did crazy things like that! 😀

  • Having things go wrong before you left town is ever so much better than having a breakdown out in the middle of no where. Glad you got everything solved in good time and are underway. Drive safe, stay warm.

  • WD-40 replaces water so it would not hurt anything to spray the heck out of the fuse panel under the dash. Taking the fuses out and spraying would be even better and that would give you a chance to replace any more corroded fuses.

  • I know this is an unnecessary comment but make sure you mark down what fuses go where and replace any fuses with the same amperage fuse.

  • Moovit is not a lubricant so you will have to lubricate the stairs with a suitable grease/lubricant. it did work pretty slick though, didn’t it?

  • I loved this post, but sorry for all the worried you had to go through on this day! I really did feel like I was with you through all these events, fun writing. My laptop got a nasty dose of something on Friday and I haven’t been able to check your progress since Thursday night, so glad that your first couple days have been good and not horribly expensive. 🙂

  • Merikay, I really did luck out on this one. I’d driven across town before this problem happened. Imagine if I was out in the middle of the Alaska highway and woke up at a turn out to this problem!

    Croft, the Ford manual has excellent diagrams for the fuse panels, but could not be bothered to give me a heads up about the whole locking down the gear shifter thing that is apparently a signature move by them! Remember this story because the same thing is going to happen with the Tioga one day!

    You’re right about the WD-40, I’ll try that. Thanks!

    As for Moovit, I don’t care if it’s a lubricant or not, I’m still impressed!

    Nicole, it was really just all routine maintenance. I could have done without the heart attack, though, and really wish that information was in my owner manual!

    The last few days have cost a lot, but it’s all par for the course. Gas is expensive this spring! 🙂

    Sorry to hear about your computer; these things don’t happen with Macs. 😉

  • […] my cars, I’ve always gone to Canadian Tire, where they install them at no charge. When I had service done on the vehicles in Campbell River, I let the service tech replace Miranda’s windshield wipers for […]

  • […] when I left Campbell River, my house stairs refused to budge. All I had on hand to lubricate them was was WD-40, so I’ll […]

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