Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Tale of a Dead Lucy and our First Encounter with Coachnet

We rolled out of bed on Monday morning ready for the day ahead of us. We were leaving Iroquois Campground and heading further west. We had our coffee, read our email and blogs, jumped in the shower and by 10:00 we were both done with our respective checklists and it was time to leave. I always start Lucy and bring up the jacks while Rick disconnects us from shore power. We want  the alternator to be charging the house batteries before cutting power from the pedestal.

I turned the key and she turned over a couple slow, sluggish turns but didn’t start. Hmmm, that didn’t sound good. A second try proved even more futile. We both thought we must have a very low battery. Our coach is set up so that we can jump the chassis batteries with the house batteries, in an emergency, by holding down a switch while turning the key. When I tried that, I got absolutely nothing at all! Not even a click! We knew our house batteries had a full charge so they should have jumped the chassis batteries easily if that had been the problem. Further investigation showed that our chassis batteries also had a full charge. There was no battery issue. But, we did have a BIG issue of some kind! Lucy was dead :(


While I notified the campground that we’d be leaving a bit late, Rick called Coachnet, our RV Road Service and explained our situation. After 20 questions, they connected him to Tech Support. A few more questions and they determined we needed to be towed to a Cummins Service Facility. Then the fun began :)  There was a Cummins authorized Peterbilt facility in Champlain, about 25 miles north of us. That was the easy part. There are no wreckers large enough to tow us anywhere in this area. They had to bring one in from Colchester, VT! Kudos to Coachnet for working with us until help could be found. It took a couple of hours for them to get to us, including a ferry ride over Lake Champlain. Then more fun :)  The coach suspension had to be aired up to raise it high enough to tow. We couldn’t air it up because we couldn’t start the engine. The driver crawled underneath and manually inflated the tanks with his compressor. There was much maneuvering going on at our camp site and we even drew a few bystanders  watching all the action :)


Finally, at 4:00 PM Lucy was towed out of our site and taken to the shop. Of course, by the time we got there, it was almost 5:00 and they were all ready to leave for the day. They gave us a place to park where we could boondock for the night (for those unfamiliar with the term, boondocking is going without any hookups relying only on your batteries and generator for power) and said they’d see us in the morning :) Luckily for us, this is also a truck stop with a 24 hour restaurant and we were hungry. All that sitting around waiting all day worked up an appetite! Well, that and the fact we hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast. Burgers, fries and onion rings really hit the spot! :)


Tuesday morning they pulled us into the garage at 8:00 AM and it was determined that the starter was dead. (We had already figured that part out but they confirmed it) They removed the starter, but they didn’t have a replacement. They called around locally but no one had one in stock. They finally found one, I’m not sure where, and it was to be over-nighted and installed on Wednesday. That meant one more night boondocking in their parking lot. As we’d never boondocked before, this wasn’t such a bad thing. It gave us a much better idea how long our batteries would last and how long we needed to run the generator to recharge them. We found it wasn’t so hard to make do without hookups in a pinch. We might even try it again on purpose :)


If you’re going to breakdown and be stuck at a service center for a couple of days, you could do worse than being stuck in the same town your brother and sister-in-law happen to live in :)  Linda had us over for dinner that night which was such a nice thing for her to do. She’s a teacher and Tuesday was her last teaching day of the year. Instead of coming home, putting her feet up and celebrating, she cooked for us! How nice was that? Thanks, Linda!

Wednesday morning, the waiting game started. One of the mechanics told Rick that the overnight deliveries usually get in around 11:00 or 12:00. So, we made ourselves comfortable and read our Kindles all morning. About 11:30 we felt a thump and then some shaking. They were working on us! Yay! By 11:50, the new starter was installed. We turned the key and Lucy came right to life :) Actually, Lucy had never come to life that quickly before. This was instantaneous. Maybe the starter was going out for awhile and we just didn’t know it. After settling the bill, filling up with diesel and hitching the Jeep, we were back on the road at 12:40.

And that is the story of a dead Lucy…now reborn and better than ever! :) Not to mention her 2 very happy occupants!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Sorry to hear about Lucy but glad to hear she is feeling like travelling again

  2. Nothing like a good kick by the starter to get this going!!!

  3. Sorry you were out of commission for a day or so. But watching how you just went with the flow is a good lesson for all of us. If you fulltime in an RV, at some point, something is going to break. We were very impressed with the positive way to handle the situation!! Now get back out there and have some fun for us;o))

  4. Glad to hear Lucy has been raised from the dead. Lucky that you were in the campground when it happened.

  5. Oh nooooo! Poor Lucy. Sorry to hear that she was under the weather the past couple days, but very happy to hear that she's back to new again! Especially happy to hear that if it had to happen, that it happened near Rick's brother.

    Safe travels.

  6. That's great to know about coachnet, that's who we have. I hope you get to Colden and check it out. Safe travels.

  7. Always a shock when something like the starter fails, but glad to hear Coachnet came thru (we have them also). We have had good luck with them so far.

    Very handy to have relatives in the place where the service takes place.

  8. Wow, I was worried. This sounds like a BIG ordeal. You 3 handled it very well. Not sure I would have been as composed. Glad it was nothing worse. Everyone can use a new starter every once in a while. I know I could!

  9. I've heard good comments from several other bloggers about Coachnet. I'll have to get them when we make that leap sometime this Fall. It sure was nice to have family nearby. Safe travels.


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