I'd enjoyed the tranquility of solitude for a couple of days, and ridden my new Kalkhoff that I've just bought up and down the beach path a bit more. So with the Buddleia all chopped down, chipped up, and bagged I was ready to load up the rest of my stuff, and head back to BelongaClint so that I could take my garden waste to my local tip.
Out onto the motorway and for about 30 miles it seemed good, but then four miles from the Welcome Break services at Sarn park I smoked the motorway out and everyone behind me dissappeared in a huge cloud of thick black smoke, it's seemed that the Navara had turned into a VW. Worse than that I now had no power but managed to keep it running, and crawled along the hard shoulder at about ten miles per hour to the service station four miles away. Luckily for me it was mostly downhill. Once safely in the carpark that was it, it just gave up and as the car park was slightly uphill, it wouldn't climb it. It sounded like really bad rod knock, and knowing the Navara is famous for destroying the bottom end of their engines I thought it was game over for my lovely little truck.
By this time I was starving, and when I'm hungry I'm really not what you might call a barrell of laughs. So knowing this, and knowing that I didn't want to be a proper grumpy shit when the recovery driver did eventually get to me I thought I'd better do something about feeding my belly, so I did something I've not done for just over two years...
Finally, at 00:40hrs I got collected by a recovery lorry, finally I was on my way home, but no. Once I was perched in the back of the recovery lorry and heading along the M4 with a driver who was coughing his lungs up he told me, inbetween coughing fits that he was only the first leg, he was taking me 30 miles down the road to the next motrway services where I would be loaded onto another truck which would take me home. Well I wasn't thrilled, but atleast I was going home.
When we arrived at Severn View services on the M48 it turned out that it was not 24
hours, and so was closed, locked up, and dark! Worse still, no recovery
lorry waiting to take me home in sight. Still, I was swiftly unloaded into the
dark car park and the recovery lorry driver told me not to worry, the
next one would be along soon! This was at about 01:20hrs! So I sat there
in the dark, freezing cold waiting. At about 02:00hrs three cars pulled
into the car park, each containing four of five black guys, they got
out of their cars and started looking at my truck from across the car park. This worried me
somewhat, and so, as it was dark I tried to sneak out of the passenger
door and into the bushes without being detected. I got a fair distance away
and watched from the bushes as they wandered over to my truck and
started walking around it, and looking into it. After about 20 minutes
they went back to their cars and left, I can't tell you how worried I
was, but frankly my underwear was ruined! By now it was getting on for
02:00hrs, I called the RAC yet again, and I was furious. They told me
that they were trying to get me recovered but they didn't have any
drivers who were willing to drive 90 odd miles at night? What do you mean you have no recovery drivers who wanted to take me 90 odd miles at night? When I was working for someone else I didn't get a choce of what jobs I could do, it was a case of you get paid to do whatever job you're asked to do, and no matter if I wanted to do it or not, I had to do it. Anyway...
I got home just after 07:00hrs, and I was flipping grumpy! But atleast I was home. 15 hours after calling the RAC to get me. I do find myself wondering what I am paying for. In Episode 8 I described how my first encounter with using the RAC wasn't exactly great when my Trailer broke, and needed recovery. The RAC really did try everything they could to not recover me, They left Me, my Wife and our two little kids on the side of the road in the snow and cold for over ten hours, and in the end I had to drive back out to Germany, and recover the car that was on my trailer myeslf. The RAC promised the trailer would arrive home in 14 days, and it never did, they then promised to re-imburse me for the trailer, but again they never did. Then in Episode 190 I talked about breaking down in my Vauxhall Omega, again in Germany with my Wife and children but this time it took them 13 hours to get me recovered, and sitting by the side of the autobahn for 13 hours with a grumpy hungry wife and children is no fun I can tell you. However, time heals a little, and I guessed that as we were in Germany although I was pretty unhappy about the length of time it took to get recovered I figured we were in a foreign country, with a different language so maybe they had an excuse. But this time I was in Wales, oh wait, that is a foreign country with a different language, but even so this time I'd originally broken down just 60 miles from their HQ in Bristol, and was now less than 20 miles from it, what was the problem? Anyway at 11:00hrs, and on it's third truck in 24 hours...
My mechanic works faster than the RAC, and pretty quickly loaded the Navara onto his trailer, and was heading home to diagnose the problem. It turned out that the problem was that the EGR valve had packed up which just flooded the intake with exhaust gas, choking the engine and causing it to make an awful knocking sound, and have no power. After searching for a few days for a new one I wasn't able to get another EGR valve brand new, only second hand, so as I didn't fancy fitting another one that would pack up sometime soon my mechaninc just blanked it off, and frankly it's running fine again now. Alls well that ends well I guess.
Except, now trying to convince her worshipfulness that the Navara is the truck for her would appear to be out of the question. When we collected my Navara from my mechanincs worskshop I asked her if she would like to drive her new Navara home, and she just said, "You are joking surely? There's no way I'm having that!" Normally I think I'd try to carry on in my dictatorship ways, and she'd just have to go along with whatever it is I've decided to do, but this time I don't think I'm going to get away with it, she just point blank refuses. Still, I guess if there is any silver lining to this cloud it is that it broke down with me, and just me in the cab, if I'd have convinced her to take the Navara on, and it did it to her I'd never ever hear the end of it, so I'm going to take that as a win, small as it is. So I reckon I'm sticking with the Navara for a while, and actually I think thats just fine, despite breaking down, it's been repaired now, and running well, so I'm happy with it.
I've got to say though that the treatment of a so-called professional outfit like the RAC was extremely shoddy, are the RAC flippin useless or what? I do genuinely wonder what kind of service I'm paying for here. I find myself wondering if all recovery companies are the same? I can't help feeling that if they are how do they stay in business? I wonder if I just keep getting extremely unlucky when I need my car to be recovered, or is this just how it is? I find myself wondering who other people use. I can only hope that I don't breakdown again any time soon.