Fulltiming Since January 2008 travel blog

Just doesn't look right... we miss Grumbles!

There we were cruising down the road and feeling relieved for having driven Tiny through the middle of Houston and mix-mastering our way onto highway 59 north when we decided to stop for a lunch break in New Caney, Texas. We ate lunch, stretched our legs, got back into Grumbles, started him back up and we accelerated to pull Tiny out of the parking area onto the on ramp to get back onto highway 59. Something didn’t sound or feel right! No power! Grumbles can’t seem to get enough “oomph” to shift out of third gear (regardless of me having the gas pedal on the floor). This isn’t good… what to do? “Oh look! Across the highway! A Ford dealer!” So limping at 30 miles per hour in third gear I maneuver us across all lanes, make the turn, and plump us down on the grassy median next to a very busy highway 59.

Since it is Sunday afternoon the dealership is not open. This particular Ford dealership also looks as if it is a small dealership with a small service department. We seem to see many more cars than trucks on the lot. Hmmmm, are they going to be able to deal with our F-550? There is a storm coming in, too, lots of gray clouds and wind. We are not hooked up to electricity or water and we are sitting on a median next to a busy highway. This isn’t looking good.

Willis gets the “ah-ha!” look (I start to worry) and Blayde is increasingly restless as the storm starts to produce a bit of thunder. Willis remembers seeing a RV park about 11 miles back towards Houston. Do you think we could drive the service road going 30 miles an hour until we get to the RV park and then we can unhitch Grumbles and get him worked on? Well, it is probably better than sitting on a grassy median in a storm, let’s try…

So, we all pile back into Grumbles, start him up (now he really doesn’t sound happy) and groaningly pull Tiny back onto the service road with our hazards flashing and driving 30 miles per hour. People are zipping past me at 65 miles per hour or greater. About eight miles along this painfully slow and worrisome ordeal Grumbles really starts to sputter and hiccup. Another mile and he dies completely… on a bridge… in the middle of the right lane.

I look in my rearview mirror and people are coming up on us way too fast, not realizing we are not moving, and doing crazy swerve maneuvers to avoid us. Willis is trying to place our neon orange emergency triangles out behind us as the wind is picking up and the sky is getting grayer. Blayde is pacing and fretting in the back seat. I am dialing 911 as fast as my fingers can work. The 911 operator promises me they will get assistance to us as fast as she can to divert traffic.

While waiting for help I call our Good Sam Emergency Roadside Service. They are pleasant and want to be helpful, but it is Sunday… we will be lucky to see a tow truck in less than an hour. An hour! Sitting in the middle of the road? It starts to rain.

The officers pull up behind us and turn on their lights. The rushed drivers swerving and dodging at insane speeds behind us start to slow. Two tow trucks pull in behind the officers. The nice officers explain to us that it is too dangerous to wait for our Good Sam tow so they had called in the tow trucks to get us to safety. As it turns out, neither tow truck is big enough to pull Grumbles and Tiny. So they call in their “boss” to bring the big tow truck.

Once the big tow truck arrived he hooked up Grumbles/Tiny and off we went. Since we were only about two miles from the RV park Dave (“the boss” of the tow company) agreed to take us into the RV park with the hopes that a pull-through spot would be available. Thankfully there was a large pull-through available so he towed Grumbles/Tiny straight into the spot and dropped us off. The sky then opened and the real thunder/lightening storm began and lasted through the night and all day yesterday.

So here we sit at Forest Retreat RV Park in New Caney on this sunny and calm Tuesday. Although we had to pay for the tow to the RV park our Good Sam Emergency Roadside Service paid to tow Grumbles to the diesel repair shop.

After spending the entire day at the repair shop yesterday (Monday), we have learned that Grumbles needs a new fuel pump and two of his fuel injectors need to be replaced. This might take a day or two so we rented an economy car.

Although we are anxious to get back on the road and see my parents, I am so grateful that we are safely settled into an RV park and not stuck out on the road’s edge. I am also grateful for all the nice emergency professionals who helped us get safely to this point. The 911 operator was efficient, the deputies were all so calm and helpful, and the various tow truck drivers were all polite and treated Grumbles and Tiny as gently as possible.

Hopefully we will get Grumbles back today and be on the road tomorrow but who knows?

Happy Travels,


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