Sunday, July 7
The crew and I pull out of Camp Aspen around ten in the morning, eager for our next adventure.
To reach Ephraim in the valley one negotiates about seven miles of hairpin turns down Badger Mountain. Fortunately the gravel road is wide and well-maintained. The windows are down. I’m listening for any strange sounds. Why do I have this feeling something bad is going to happen?
At the first place where I can pull off the road, I do so. I get out and once again check the hitch, the chains, and the cords. I walk-around looking for a problem about to happen. Well, everything looks good . . .
I continue down the mountain in second gear.
At last the sign “Leaving Manti-La Sal National Forest” appears. The gravel road becomes paved and I enter a neighborhood on the edge of Ephraim. At a four-way stop I apply the brakes. My foot goes way down, almost to the floor, before any stopping pressure is applied. WHAT is this?
I move slowly toward the next four-way stop.
I put my foot to the floor and it takes about three van lengths before we come to a complete stop. Oh, man. This is bad. Real bad.
No one is on Main Street. Well, the good thing about it being Sunday is no jaywalker is going to jump out in front of me because everybody is in church. The bad thing about it being Sunday is everybody is in church and nobody is around to fix my brakes.
My goal is Wal-Mart on the other side of town.
I’ll stop there and figure out what to do. By the time I creep into the Wal-Mart parking lot I barely have any brakes at all. Bridget and Spike know something’s up and pitch a fit.
“Okay, okay. C’mon. You can have a little walk.”
I put them in their suits and walk them around the perimeter of the lot. My mind processes the situation as we walk.
Well, isn’t this a fine mess.
Sunday morning with no brakes. I guess we wait until tomorrow to find a repair shop open. I wonder if we can spend the night here in this parking lot. Thank God we made it down that mountain okay. I should check to see how much brake fluid is in the reservoir.
As I’m walking the crew back to the PTV, a sixtyish man comes out of the garden center pushing a cart loaded with shrubs. Hmm . . . looks like a local.
“Hi! Excuse me . . . That’s my van over there. I came in here with no brakes. Do you know if anything’s open today?”
“Oh, I doubt it. Not in THIS town,” he replies. “Let’s go take a look at it. I’m no mechanic, but let’s pop the hood and we’ll see.”
The fluid level is above the minimum line and there’s no sign of leaks.
We exchange names. He tells me his name is Kay “without an e.” He says he’s sorry he can’t help. I thank him and he goes back to his Toyota to load his shrubs.
Inside Wal-Mart I explain my situation to the manager and ask if I can spend the night in the parking lot. He says that’s fine, that “people camp here all the time.” After a pause he adds, “You know, the guy across the highway might be working today (Five Star Automotive). I don’t know if he does brakes, but you could walk over there and see.”
As I come out of the store I’m surprised to see a man lying on his back on the pavement under the PTV.
A woman stands nearby. Both look to be in their thirties.
Puzzled, I shout a friendly “Hey!” and wave as I approach.
Turns out that Kay drove across the highway and reported my situation to the repair guy. The guy, whose name I learn is Brien (with an e), and his wife Desiree, drove right over to help me. Brien is energetic and efficient, jumping in and out of the driver’s seat, looking under the hood, and asking me rapid-fire questions.
Somehow, while Brien is a flurry of activity, Desiree notices the license plate on the PTV and reveals that she has two teenagers who live in South Dakota. She and Brien have a little girl.
“What about your trailer brakes?” Brien asks.
I tell him I have a brake controller. He immediately finds that the controller is off.
“With your controller off, the brakes on your van probably overheated coming down off the mountain because they were doing all the work.” For heaven’s sake, why didn’t I think to check the brake controller!
Brien continues. “Here’s what we can do. We’ll go back over to the shop. You drive over there and when you get there, you tell me how the brakes are working.”
Brien pauses for the first time since I met him.
“Only one thing though. I’ve got a guy over there . . . I’m working on his RV and he’s really grouchy. He doesn’t think I’m getting the job done fast enough. You may have to wait a while . . .”
“That’s okay,” I interrupt. “Take as long as you need. Without your help I’ll be waiting anyway, all day and all night in this parking lot.”
On the way to Brien’s shop the brakes work great!
I pull into the back of Brien’s shop and before I can get out of the PTV, he comes running out. I give him the good news. “I can’t thank you enough, Brien. And here I come along right when you’re so busy . . . “
I glance over at the grouchy guy sitting in a chair by the door of the shop. I offer to pay Brien for his time and, of course, he refuses.
“I knew you wouldn’t take any money.”
I start to thank Brien again when he asks me where I’m going.
“Ponderosa Campground up by Nephi.”
At that point Brien tells me to “hold on a sec.” He runs into the shop and returns a moment later, paper in his hand which he passes to me through the window. It has his name and phone number on it.
“That’s my cell phone. I live about twenty minutes from Nephi. I want you to call me if you have any problems. I’ll come out to the campground and work on it tonight.”
At that moment Brien’s helpfulness and sincere concern for my welfare, plus the thoughtfulness of Kay to seek help for me, along with my immense relief that the crew and I are back on the road, is more than I can bear. My eyes well up with tears.
“Brien,” I stammer. “If you do one more nice thing for me, I’m going to break down and sob.”
“Oh, don’t do that. Remember now . . . Call me. If I don’t hear from you, I’ll know you’re all right.”
I thank him again and add a “God bless you.”
He hurries back to his customer’s RV. I start up the PTV and make a tight circle to exit, passing Brien’s wife, Desiree, who is sitting outside reading a magazine. She looks up.
“I think he’s a keeper!” I call out with a big smile. She shouts back, “I KNOW he is!” and the smile on her face says more than her words.
To be continued . . .
NOTE: The day’s adventure does not end here! I’m sorry for the delay in posting and the lack of photos. Our present camp has no signal for internet. I’m posting this in the parking lot of a Flying J.
I LOVE YOU, RVSUE SHOPPERS! You can shop anywhere and yet you shop here. Thank you! Here are a few recent purchases:
Sunday Afternoons Field Hat
Novatel Wireless MiFi2200 Battery
Triple Strength Omega-3 950 mg, 100 Softgels
Health Valley Black Bean Soup No Salt Added, 15 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12)
Fan-Tastic Vent Smoke Ultra Breeze Vent Cover
Hoover Windtunnel Air Bagless Upright