*Note: I started this post three weeks ago, and am now just finishing it, so the dates may be confusing. Sorry.
About a week ago, we left Oroville, and made our way to Santa Barbara. We anticipated we'd make the seven hour drive in one or two days. We planned on pulling out sometime between 10 am and 12 noon the first day. At 5:00 pm, we finally pulled out (we've since discovered a pattern of grossly underestimating our time needed for departure. At this point, we plan on never being ready to leave before noon).
As we were cruising down the 5 freeway, we mapped out a Rest Stop where we could stop to sleep for the night. At about midnight, we knew we were just 20 miles away. We could make it! Keep those eyelids peeled!!
Then we lost a wheel.
No, not got a flat, like you're thinking. LOST A WHEEL!
Rolled right off the trailer, into the center of the freeway. The sparks The Hot Contractor saw in the side mirror told him something was wrong. He pulled over quickly.
He went to assess the situation, while I stayed in the truck with our three sleeping cherubs. He realized that the wheel was entirely gone (it was pitch black out, and we had no idea where it had gone). He then discovered that the bolts holding the hub on had completely broken. All five of them.
So, we called AAA for some "Roadside Assistance". We learned that our RV was not covered under our plan (which was not the story I got from the lady at the AAA office just weeks before, but I won't go into that here...). They told us they could recommend a mechanic that could help us. Mark was trying to fix it, but we were on the skinny little shoulder of this major highway, with semi trucks barreling by us. And the missing wheel was on the driver's side, so not so safe.
We called the recommended mechanic, and asked him to come help us. He later told me that the only reason he agreed to getting out of bed at O'-Dark-Thirty, was that he could hear The Hot Contractor talking to me while on the phone with him, so he knew there was a woman, and possibly children, who also needed to be rescued. If it were a single male, he would have left him to fend for himself. Thank goodness The Hot Contractor asked me a question while he was on the phone!
So, this nice man, Kevin came to rescue us. Oh, and the CHP came too. We called 9-1-1 at some point between realizing that AAA wouldn't help us, and hearing about Kevin. They came out to help us get to safety.
Kevin tried to find replacement bolts (we had an extra wheel) for our trailer. He spent until 2:30 am trying figure out something, and hunt for the bolts. But we were out of luck. We had to wait until the morning, when the auto parts store opened.
Kevin did, however, require payment for his services. One of us had to get in his tow truck with him, and drive about 20 minutes to his shop to pay with a credit card. I didn't want to sit on the side of the freeway alone with three kids at 2 am, so I told The Hot Contractor I'd rather he stay, and I go. Let's just say, I had the scariest ride of my life! Kevin drives an average speed of about 95mph. He smokes while he does it, and is obviously gluten intolerant, if you know what I mean. If you don't, then I won't go there right now, but it's gross.
So, we unhitched from the trailer, and left it on the side of I-5. We called the CHP, and told them we had no other option but to leave it there, and to please not tow it away. They told us "they couldn't guarantee anything", but they would make a note of it.
We then called all three motels that were at the nearest exit. The first two were completely booked up. The third one had only smoking rooms available, and one room with a king size mattress. I told them I'd take it!
At 3:00 am, we all snuggled into a big bed together. We even smuggled Sugar in with us. (Shhhhh....)
The next morning, Kevin fixed our wheel, and told us to come back to his shop so he could check a few other things. Thank God for Kevin!! He discovered that one of the brakes on the trailer was not working properly, and one of the wheels was not rotating like it should. It could have been bad if we would have tried to drive it that way! He showed The Hot Contractor how to check the wheels, which he has done diligently since then.
We finally made it to Santa Barbara (only two days behind schedule) the next day. The Hot Contractor kept saying along the way, "This deserves a blog post!". So, there you have it.