Sunday, August 11, 2013


Catching up with our final escapade in South Dakota will have to wait.  I wanted to share with you what happened to us on our way back to North Carolina and perhaps get a little feedback on what you would've done.  This is sort of long, so please bear with me.
We left South Dakota last Monday.  We normally don't drive for days without stopping for at least a couple of days, but this time we just kept driving.  We wanted to stay out of the heavy rains and flooding happening in Colorado, Arkansas, Missouri and Tennessee.  So, we decided to head East until we reached I-75 in Lexington, Kentucky, and then go South to Knoxville, Tennessee. 

The first thing that happened was on Thursday (8/8), I accidentally hit the monitor for our motorhome camera with the vacuum cleaner handle.  It did not appear the monitor was hurt, but when we turned it on, you could see the insides were scrambled.  We had just replaced the monitor two months ago when the old one died.  I was sick!  That replacement cost over $300.  I called RV Cams -- who by the way is an awesome company.  "Tim" said he had just purchased several refurbished monitors and would sell us one at his cost of $129.  I gave him the address of the RV park where we would be stopping for the night and also paid for delivery before 10:30 the following morning.  Promptly, at 9:30 Friday morning, we had the replacement monitor, which Alan installed and we were again on our way.

On Saturday (yesterday 8/10), we found ourselves on I-64, about 50 mi West of Louisville, Kentucky, when we heard a pop.  Alan said maybe it was the 18-wheeler in front of us, but it definitely sounded like it came from us -- on my side of the motorhome.  So, he pulled over on the shoulder and sure enough, the right, inside tire had blown out.  I immediately called Coach-Net, our roadside service.  It was 3 o'clock on a Saturday afternoon.  Alan crawled under the motorhome and did not see any damage caused by the blown tire.  We sat for a couple of hours before "Robert" called us and said he was having a hard time finding our size tire.  He had one possibility but the company's service tech was out on a call and would check his warehouse when he returned from that call.  We told him we would like to have Michelin but a comparable tire would do.  We bought six new Michelin tires last September, so the tire should still be under warranty.  We continued to wait.  In the meantime, Coach-Net called to check on us and we informed them of the problem the service tech was having in finding a replacement tire.  They said they would do some checking and get back to us.  We could see the next exit, so Alan decided to walk and see if he could perhaps drive to a more level location and get us off the interstate.  When he returned, he said there was a gas station -- he could see the sign but couldn't see the station itself because it was on a hill obscured by trees. We unhooked the car and Dalton and I drove to the station -- there was enough room so I called Alan and told him to come on.  He slowly drove the Motorhome approximately two miles to the station's parking lot.  In the meantime Coach-Net called again and said they had not been successful in finding a tire.

Finally, around 7:00 pm -- 4 hours after hearing the pop -- Robert called and said he found a Michelin tire.  He explained that Coach-Net only pays for him to reach us and the tire's location was approximately 50 miles from us -- in essence, in Louisville.  He also told us he was approximately 40 miles from us in the opposite direction, so therefore it would be an additional $181 for him to drive and pick up the tire and then come to our location.  After further discussion, we finally said "tell us where to go and we'll go pick up the tire."  He went on to tell us that the company that had the tire wanted a credit card number with a $900 allowance on the card for the tire, that the company charged $200 after hours to go to their warehouse for the tire.  OH MY, it gets worse.  It was $600 (a markup from the cost of the tire of $429) for the tire, plus the $200 after hours fee, plus applicable taxes, and that they would settle up the account on Monday and reimburse any money due us.  At first, we were like "you go get the tire and use your CC."  After further discussion, he got the after hours service center for the tire company on the phone and I gave her the necessary information.  I was very leery about doing so, but what were we to do?  I asked where this company was and she gave me the address and said she would have the service tech call us with directions.

We got in the car and off we went.  "John," the service tech called with directions.  He said he had placed the tire on the right side of the building, that we couldn't drive through the gate because it was locked, but we could get through it -- we just couldn't drive through it.  I asked him if he was going to be waiting for us and his response was, "if you pay me $500."  I was FURIOUS.  Talk about taking advantage of stranded folks -- I told him he was nuts and would not be getting another nickel out of us.  We didn't even have a receipt for this tire.  We found our way to RABEN TIRE in LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, parked the car outside the gate and Alan and Dalton rolled the tire from the side of the building to the car and loaded it in the back of the car.  I again called the service center and told "Anna" we had nothing showing we bought this tire -- no receipt, no nothing.  She said she understood and informed us that all our phone calls had been recorded.  She told me John was the Manager of the Service Department.

We called Robert when we were 40 miles from our motorhome, as he instructed, so he could meet us there.  By the time we made it back to our motorhome, it was around 9:30.  We hadn't had anything to eat -- the gas station made pizzas so we ordered one, set up our chairs and waited for Robert.  After waiting another 45 minutes, I called him to ask if he was coming and he showed up about 15 minutes later.  By the time, he got the tire changed it was almost midnight.  We were hot, tired and still concerned about what had transpired. 

They say things happen in 3s -- well, the third thing was the toilet broke.  We ended up driving the motorhome 13 miles down the road to a hotel.  It was not a pretty hotel, but it was cool and the water was hot -- we all three had showers and hit the bed, but neither Alan or I slept very well.

My question for you is how would you have handled the situation -- especially the money and the fact that the tire was left outside a locked building/gate for us just to pick up with no receipt, no nothing?

I will be calling RABEN TIRE first thing in the morning.  I also will be calling FMCA about the blown tire.  We bought the tires through FMCA's Michelin Program and I will be calling Snider Tire in Fletcher, North Carolina, who installed the tires.

We are currently in Clinton, Tennessee, just North of Knoxville.

Once we are back in North Carolina and I have my wits about me, I hope to blog the rest of our time in South Dakota.  We did have a great time and Dalton really seemed to enjoy his time with Nana and Papa.

God bless!


  1. Wow-that is an awful experience. We have blown one inside rear tire in our travels. It was along I10 in hill country of Texas. We called coachnet and they arranged for a correct new tire to be delivered. It took a coupe of hours all together. But he came with the correct new tire and charged us the actual price of the tire only. Our experience was actually much better than I had expected. Those folks you had to deal with were nothing more or less than crooks.

  2. Bummer. It really seems sad that in emergency after hours situations, gouging seems to be the norm. Not sure what I would have done differently. Perhaps hunker down until Monday if that was even possible.
    No reason to rehash what has already transpired. Hopefully you got a satisfactory reimbursement from coachnet.

  3. As almost new full timers I worry about having that kind of experience. The best that can be said is no one was hurt in the blow out. Anything else can be dealt with in the long run.

    1. Absolutely Merikay -- and we kept saying one was hurt and there was no damage to our MH. For that, we are very thankful. I spoke with a complaint person in the corp office this morn -- the $200 for opening the warehouse outside of hrs will be reimbursed and he is investigating John for not meeting us & providing us with a receipt & making the statement about the $500 to meet us. He was very surprised, said he had never heard of anything like that happening. I am waiting for a return call or email.