And It Was a Bad Travel Day

Bad I’m tellin’ ya…Bad with a capital B.

Everything started off so well though…

We got up, had breakfast, hitched up and hit the road about 0930 or so for our planned 240 mile trip up to Northern VA. Heading up I-64 and then US-460 we arrived at I-295 around Richmond right on schedule and  turned north. Stopped at the TA for fuel right north of Richmond and filled up BAT along with grabbing some lunch. So far…so good.

Continued up 95 to VA-234 and exited heading westward toward Centerville and then the fun began. After 10 miles or so we approached a red traffic light and NEIL DISCOVERED WE HAD NO BRAKES.

Yup, no trailer brakes at all. He was able to get stopped by downshifting BAT and using the truck brakes and we pulled over to check things out. Tested break controller…seemed to be working. Checked brake fluid…sure enough, empty. Looked under the rig at the brake calipers and discovered a leak on the center left brake assembly.

After a bit of discussion we decided to continue on to the campground as it was only another 10 miles or so. We kept the speed to about 35 mph max and Neil kept an eye out ahead to start slowing with engine braking and the truck brakes as necessary and we made it to Bull Run a little later than originally scheduled but without hitting anything.

Checked in and pulled into our site 113 (sorry, no picture as we were frazzled but 113 is the same site we were in last time so if you really want to know what it looks like look back around September or October last year and I’m sure there’s a shot in there). It turned out that we had parked a little too close to the power pole…we had plenty of clearance but that was a more steeply angled section of the site so we were unable to get the jacks to level us…it kept complaining about excessive angle. Sooooo…we ended up having to rehitch BAT and jockey forward and back to get into a flatter portion of the site and then used manual leveling instead of auto and finally got leveled.

Today we got up and called a local trailer maintenance place and they had an opening…so that meant hitching up and limping over to their location with no brakes. We left the hazards a’blinkin’ and got there fine. We spent a couple of hours there while they troubleshot the problem. Turned out that somehow the caliper had gotten stuck with the pads against the rotor. This wore the pad completely away and the pad metal backing plate gouged/grooved the heck out of the rotor…then the piston came out of the caliper and all the fluid ran out which meant no brakes. We need a new rotor, caliper and pads of course plus labor. They thought it might be covered under warranty and will call and check on Monday as well as ordering the parts.

The tech pulled the brake line off of the broken caliper and capped it…which meant that after he refilled the brake fluid reservoir we again had brakes on the rig…only on 5 out of the 6 wheels but 5 out of 6 is way, way, way better than 0 out of 6 I’m tellin’ ya.

We came back to the campground, got reset up which went pretty quick as we had marked where to park the rig in the site before we left and left all the hoses hooked up to the site utilities but out of the way. Came in, had a nap for a couple of hours, and went out for sushi for dinner…we had originally scheduled a visit to our favorite restaurant but Neil was feeling kinda down with the mechanical troubles and we decided that spending that much for dinner he wouldn’t enjoy was nuts…so went for the sushi instead which was cheaper and closer.

Looks like we have a plan though…it’s a couple hour repair job once the parts are in hand and we’ll adjust our schedule as necessary if we need to…but hopefully it won’t be necessary.

Tomorrow we’re off to Midlothian for Mother’s Day…Bryan and Jen invited us so we’re heading down to eat out with them.

Monday we’ll continue with our previously scheduled appointments here in the Fairfax area.


About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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2 Responses to And It Was a Bad Travel Day

  1. Mj Trainor says:

    Glad you made it safely! No brakes … yikes!

    • Neil Laubenthal says:

      It wasn’t exactly no brakes…just minimal as the ones on the truck still worked. The parts are getting here tomorrow and we’ll get it fixed before we leave; and the repair guy jury rigged it by capping the broke one’s brake line so the other 5 rig wheels have brakes again.


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