One thing that is awesome about having an old rig like ours (1992 Mallard Sprinter, dubbed “Fezzik”) is that he stands out in a crowd. Most parks will be filled with these shiny black/tan/chrome monstrosities with various slide-outs, antennae, and satellite dish protrusions, while Fezzik sits quietly in their shadow, not really taking up much space, clear coat peeling off his sun-damaged storage bays. We love him, and he’s family.
All vehicles require regular maintenance, RVs included. There are some particularly specific things that you have to do with RVs that you don’t have to do with other vehicles, and that is just part of the adventure. The less fun instances are when you have an actual damage-causing incident, and you have to replace an impossible-to-find part.
Since I’ve beaten around the bush enough, and I’m not getting paid by the word, I’ll just tell you: I had to buy a replacement mirror. That may not seem like a big deal, and the whole story would take much longer to tell, so I’ll distill it down to the highlights.
We had a close call with a passing semi, where we actually bumped mirrors! Scared everybody in the coach, and probably shaved a few years of off my life. Nothing seemed permanently damaged, and we moved on. The driver’s side view mirror needed adjusting, so we pulled over to do that. It was loose in its cradle, but a few cranks with the trusty allen wrench and we were good. As it turns out, we weren’t good, and the collar that held the mirror in its socket within the cradle had cracked and the mirror wouldn’t stay in the position that was necessary to provide assistance to the driver. If you have ever tried driving without a mirror, it can be really scary. We tried various “fixes” but it was obvious that the collar needed to be replaced.
This collar is an inch-and-a-half tall, two-inch diameter cylinder, split vertically for ease of installation. There is a hole in the top that allows the post for the mirror, and it hold the ball at the end of the post snugly in the cradle. Ours was in six pieces, which I quickly determined was not ideal. Since my last resort (duct tape) couldn’t hold the mirror in place well enough for highway speeds, it was decided that we needed to get a replacement for this little piece of plastic. We asked the front office at the resort on the day that we were leaving if she could recommend a service place nearby, and that’s how we ended up in Alamo, Tx.
If you are ever in Alamo, and you require RV service, I highly recommend RV Services Center. It’s actually the only place in town, and the only place in about a 30-mile radius, but it’s a great little shop. The pack a lot of parts into a very small storefront, and anything they don’t have can be ordered. I showed the guy what I needed, and he pulled out his catalog. The little part that I wanted wasn’t sold individually, I had to buy an entire mirror assembly.
And they come in packs of two.
So $322 later, they ordered my mirrors for delivery the next day. It took me less than five minutes to put the new collar in, and fifteen minutes to figure out where to store this giant box with extra mirrors. The important thing is that we can safely operate the RV. I’m also happy that we only lost one travel day, which we spent in the parking lot of the Walmart six blocks away.
Now, we head back toward Dallas, via Livingston, to see Star Wars on the 18th!