There is no horror like the cold horror of being in the dark, on a mountain road, in the middle of nowhere, and the RV engine is dead.
Do we need a Good Sam membership?
That's the question I asked myself during my research in prepping to collect our used motorhome from a British Columbia dealership.
As RV owners for the very first time, we were completely clueless as to driving a motorhome, propane usage, generators, solar power, holding tank dumps, and club memberships. We had heard of Good Sam, and we had seen the Good Sam sign on campgrounds, but we have AMA coverage. Did we really need Good Sam, too?
Luckily, for us, I decided that we did need a membership. And bought one online. Ironically, we used that membership almost immediately on a lonely stretch of highway, in the mountains, in the dark, between Revelstoke and Golden, B.C. (within hours of pulling away from the dealership in Salmon Arm).
Here is how it went:
After a night and a morning at Country Camping, we felt we had had enough tutoring to comfortably hit the road. We pulled out, the very definition of "happy campers," innocent of the shock that was to come.
We ambled for a few hours, enjoying the freedom that comes with a motorhome: making tea, exploring tourist spots, taking photographs, and finally stopping to take a much needed rest.
We pulled over late afternoon in a trucker turnout. I laid down to catch a nap. My husband, David, decided to catch up on some computer work and treat himself to tunes on our new stereo. But he made a wee mistake. It could have been a devastating mistake were it not for Good Sam.
I awoke a couple of hours later, refreshed and happy. David wore a big smile. He nodded. We silently agreed that we had found the good life.
We decided to get back on the road. It was chilly outside and the gloom was deepening. We wanted to get closer to Alberta where we would be getting the rig safety-checked and registered since we had bought her out-of-province.
We settled into our seats and David turned the ignition key. Nothing. Just clicks. Oh, dear God. He tried again. Clicks.
We stared at each other in horror. Had we bought a lemon? We were still clueless as to how much power we had to stay warm. And we had no idea what to do for an engine that would not turn over.
Our first thought was to call the dealership, but it was closed. No help there. We began to panic. That's when I remembered.
Only a day before, something had arrived in the mail: our Good Sam paperwork and tiny key tag that we had slipped onto our key ring. I examined it and discovered a number. Honestly, I did not expect much help, not way up in the mountains, and not at night. But...
David called the Good Sam number and a young man answered. Fear had made David short on patience and he fairly growled at the man, but the Good Sam rep calmed him down, got our membership number, our GPS coordinates, and then he began to work his magic.
Within a few minutes, we were assured that a tow truck (one big enough to tow our rig, should that be necessary) had been dispatched and would reach us within 45 minutes.
David and I looked at each other, still in shock. Really? Was it that easy? One call and help was on the way? I was still skeptical.
Sure enough, about 45 minutes later, through the gloom, we saw a huge tow truck, headlights blazing. The friendliest man, Bill with Columbia Towing, jumped out and came over to assess our situation. He convinced us to try a jump start first and while he hooked up, he regaled us with a story about a man with a brand new BMW, a dead battery, and a happy ending.
My heart leapt as our engine rumbled to life. Bill disconnected the cables and continued to chatter. We asked what we owed him for the visit and the boost. His answer made our jaws drop: Nothing. Not a cent.
David and I said good-bye and clambered back into our rig. Bill had advised us to keep driving for at least an hour to charge the battery. We were only too happy to oblige. From then on, it was smooth sailing, not a single issue.
Are you wondering about our dead battery?
David would rather I don't tell, but there is a key position on the steering column that is meant for playing a stereo when the vehicle is not running: Accessories. David did not use that setting; he had 1/2 turned the key instead. It took only a couple of hours of grooving to tunes to completely deplete the chassis battery. It is something that will NEVER happen again.
But there is something that will happen again. We will pay for a Good Same membership every year for as long as we own a motorhome.
Thank you, Good Sam!
Oh, and the good times? We are headed to our very first Alberta "Samboree" in a week. We have heard nothing but good things about these get-togethers.
BTW, with huge kudos to the folks at Country Camping, our rig amazed the Alberta safety service technicians. It was perfect. Our 2005 Travelaire has been an absolute joy to own and use.
- Good Sam has mobile apps for Blackberry, Android, and iPhone
- Good Sam offers 20 emergency medial and travel services
- Good Sam will bring emergency fuel, do battery jumps, change flat tires, or tow your rig
- Good Sam offers assistance in Canada, the U.S, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Mexico
- Good Sam benefits include discounts at Camping World
- Good Sam is on FACEBOOK