Sunday, August 19, 2012

We had a plan, but the truck had other ideas

We decided to make August 12 our last day at Indian Hills Resort.  It's a great place for walleye fishing and the people and scenery are wonderful.  But 30 miles to the nearest grocery store, 80 miles to Walmart and no cell, internet or tv reception takes it's toll after a while.  And then we had the opportunity to start at Amazon a month early than we originally planned.  So August 13th we headed out.
Our plan was to spend a couple of days in Velva, North Dakota with my brother and sis-in-law, stop Fargo, North Dakota on Thursday to have dinner with my nieces and then head to Missouri arriving on Saturday to visit Kevin's family for week.  Unfortunately one niece had to work so we would have to miss visiting her this time through.
So after a few days visiting with John and Dorothy and taking care of some minor RV repairs (replaced some trim strips on the outside and cleaned water heater tubes), we headed to Fargo on Thursday.  We stopped in Carrington, North Dakota to have a bite of lunch and take a phone call from a research assistant at Rock Center with Brian Williams on NBC.  They are looking at doing a report on people who travel in RVs and work.  It was an interesting conversation and we agreed to talk more with them if they go further with the show.  It also took a bit longer than we planned, but we were finally back on the road for dinner with niece Amanda in Fargo.
We got about 30 miles outside of Fargo when the engine suddenly started revving erratically.  We pulled over and hit the OnStar button.  They ran a diagnostic and said the transmission had an problem reading but that we should be fine to drive the rest of the way and take it to the dealer for service on Friday.  We headed out and about 2 more miles down the road the check engine light came on.  Another call to OnStar with another diagnostic test and they were able to tell us that the electronic part that regulates fluid flow and therefore shifting in the transmission was stuck in the off position (they said what the part was but I've apparently blocked that information out.)  Again we were advised to take it easy, get where we were going and call for directions to the nearest dealer in the morning.  At this point I just have to say that it's completely amazing to me that they can tell me what is wrong with my truck as I'm sitting on the side of Interstate 94 in the middle of North Dakota!
We headed out again at 45 mph with the flashers going.  Now that's a lot of fun on the interstate!  We got about 5 more miles down the road when we saw an exit sign that indicated camping.  At this point our nerves were pretty shot, so we took the exit and pulled into a little campground next to the Days Inn in Casselton.  Full hookup, free internet and access to the hotel pool.  Sold!  We got set up and called Amanda who being the good niece she is drove out 20 miles to pick us up and take us in to Fargo where we had excellent pizza and a nice visit at Rhombus Guys Pizza.  Amanda brought us back to the trailer and we called it a night.
On Friday we got up, called OnStar who connected us with GM Roadside Assistance for a tow into the dealer.  Less than 15 minutes later the rollback truck was here to take us the last 20 miles to Gateway Chevrolet in Fargo.  They were great.  Got the truck right in and checked out the transmission.  Determined that it was a warranty repair and so hooked us up with a rental car.  They had to tear it down to the point of failure to determine whether repair or replacement of the transmission was called for.  
They ultimately decided to replace it.  Bad news was they didn't think they could get the new transmission in until Monday.  This was the point where we decided the truck had other plans for us.  You see my other niece, Alicia, had to work every day until Monday, so unless we were to stay until Monday we would not have seen her.  Apparently the truck decided we needed to see Alicia!  So we decided we might as well just go with it and stay till Tuesday morning.  We will have a shorter visit with Kevin's family, but we'll only be a few hours down the road for 4 months while we are at Amazon so we will have other chances to visit with them.
So we are chilling in Fargo, North Dakota.  The very good news is that since the transmission is under warranty there is no cost for the repairs or the rental car.  And since we have GM Roadside Assistance as a part of the $8 a month we pay for OnStar, the towing was covered as well.  So while we are sitting someplace different than we planned, it's not costing us anything extra.  The only thing we have to decide is if we want a 36 month / 100K mile warranty on the transmission instead of 12 month / 12K miles.  If so, we need to come up with $200.  The question there is do we think we will keep this truck longer than 1 more year.  Hopefully the answer is no since we really need to find a larger RV and that means a bigger truck.  But you never know.  Oh well, we have until Monday to decide that.
We got a call Saturday afternoon that the truck was actually done, but we decided to stick with our revised plan and stay until Tuesday morning.  Had a relaxing evening watching the Hunger Games and taking a dip in the hotel jacuzzi.  
Really cannot say enough good things about OnStar, GM Roadside Assistance or the great folks at Gateway Chevrolet.  They have made what could've been a very stressful situation as easy as possible.   Besides, I get to have more time with the nieces! 


  1. Amazing! Glad things really worked out for you two.

  2. Hi Carol and Kevin!

    I replied to your comment on our blog, but I don't think you saw it. We are staying at the Buckeye RV Park in Coffeyville also. Our start date is Monday, September 10th. When do you guys start? Jerry and I would love to get together beforehand, perhaps for drinks and/or dinner? We are arriving in Coffeyville on the 5th, a few days early to get settled in, since we are "newbies."

    Here is my email

  3. Great way to chill a bit. Seems to me $200 for an extra 2 years and 98,000 miles is a pretty good deal. Even if you don't keep the truck, it should be transferable.
    Travel safe.