West 'By God' Virginia! - Part I
This blog post is actually in danger of turning into a short novel, but Tony and I just have to thank the amazing folks who came to our rescue last Friday night. This US trip seems to have been one disaster after another and I won't bore readers with the long list of what has happened since we arrived in the US on the 23rd Feb, suffice it to say that we don't ever want to go through this again!
So back to the story…. a couple of days before we'd had the head gasket and associated bits replaced on our Ford 550 pickup truck in Kentucky (and that's another sorry tale) we'd only driven 220 miles, had pulled off the I-68 in West Virginia, and were heading for our overnight campground just two miles away, when suddenly the truck lost all power, stopped, and then refused to restart. So there we were, with a 40 foot RV hitched up behind, stuck on a really busy dangerous corner unable to move. To make matters worse the road turned out to be the exit route for a mandatory truck stop where all vehicles had to go to have their brakes checked, before going heading down the mountain> So every truck (including several oversize loads) had to negotiate around us - it was nerve wracking! Coopers Rock Mountain is known locally as the ‘truck killer’ because so many of them either overheat when climbing the mountain or burn out their brakes when descending as the mountain climb is approximately 5 miles long, a slow grinding climb with no let up!
I lost track of how many truckers and car drivers stopped and asked if they could help. Of course we had called the roadside breakdown service we belong to but they said they were very busy and it would be a long time before they could get to us, and even then they would only be able to send a tow truck to take us to a local garage. We were starting to really worry because the light was fading and it was becoming more dangerous by the minute, the breakdown service had told us they would inform the police, but we had been waiting for over an hour and there was no sign of them.
Just then a lady (Amanda) pulled over and asked if she could help. Tony explained he thought the problem was that some dirt from the diesel tanks had got into the fuel filter, (we had switched over onto another fuel tank about 1 mile before) and what we really needed was a diesel mechanic. Amanda said she would call her friend, Bryan, who was the chief mechanic in charge of all the diesel trucks for the local natural gas exploration company.
Within 40 minutes of her calling Bryan had arrived and started by towing the truck and RV off the corner and onto a wider verge on the side of the road and Tony and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. He quickly checked the engine and agreed that he thought it was a fuel-related problem and that possibly both the fuel filters were clogged. He had said he would drive ‘back down the mountain’ to the nearest town, get two new fuel filters, and then come back and fit them. Bear in mind that this guy didn't know us from Adam, it was 7pm on a Friday night! Can you believe the kindness of the guy? Not to mention his girlfriend, Brandi, who was with him and was probably looking forward to a nice Friday night at home in their house at the top of the mountains.
So there we were, waiting for Bryan and Brandi to come back, it is 8.30pm and we have no idea if we will make it to the campsite!