Thursday, October 20, 2016

Volkswagen Rialta

By Uncle Hans

Since this was originally conceived as an RV and camping blog, here is a blog entry on RV.  We were just pulling out of Dalhart, Texas on our trip to Show Low, when I went to turn the headlights on as the sun was going down.  The strangest thing happened.  The headlights went off instead.  The dash switch had malfunctioned and now, in the "off" position, the headlights were on and in the "on" position the running and taillights were on.  So I had to choose between the two.

  Not being suicidal, I chose the headlights.  I got as far as I-40 in Tucumcari when the highway patrol stopped me because I had no taillights.  I explained and demonstrated the problem, and he suggested I run the 4-way flashers until I could get the problem fixed, like at the next Volkswagen dealership.

  We pulled over in Albuquerque and slept a few hours at the dealership parking lot.  They opened at 0730 and suggested the other dealership in town, on the other side of town, in rush hour traffic.  We went there and were told they were "swamped" and he could not give me a time when they could look at it.

Rex, Mary, and unlimited cold beer were waiting a few hours away so I declined, drove away into rush hour traffic, and got on the phone to Rex.  I figured there is not much Rex and I and unlimited cold beer cannot solve.  And the sun was up so the problem was gone.

  The nearest dealer Rex found was in Flagstaff.  We were planning no nighttime running until the following Tuesday, when our motorcycle trip would have us in Flagstaff anyway.  We took the dash apart (beer-tainted decision) and found the defective part was a simple plug-in deal.


  We called the parts department, but there was, unbelievably, no part number.  I took this picture and tried to send it off my phone, but it would not send.  So we stopped at the dealer on our trip and the parts girl came out and looked at it.  She ordered the part and it would be in "tomorrow". We, however, would be in Show Low "tomorrow".  So we had her ship it to South Padre so it would catch up with us in a few days.....

.........but the trip to Padre involved driving at night.  So Rex and I went to Walmart and bought stick-up battery-powered lights wrapped in red cellophane.  But the cocky little Texas  highway patrolman with the fancy Dodge sports car "could not see"  them and gave me a 15 minute lecture and looked up my entire police record while I stood on the edge of the road at 0300.  I told him I would use the flashers and he roared off......


......the part did arrive a week later on Padre, just in time for us to leave.  And it worked just fine.  An hour on the road, however, and the RV sputtered and died......on a busy 8-lane freeway in south Texas.  We called AAA and almost two hours of sitting on a 9 foot wide shoulder later, help arrived.  Renee, as you can see, was not amused......


......Back to a Volkswagen dealership.  They put us up at the Hotel 6 next door, but I am not sure why.  They ordered a new alternator in the morning and told us it would be here "tomorrow" (What, is that their favorite word??.....Kinda like the sign many bars have: "Free Beer....Tomorrow!").    The poor thing sat on the hoist for almost 48 hours before we were underway again.


    Oh well.  We have put almost 65,000 mile on the thing and had little problems so I should not complain.....

.......and for 15,000 of those miles it has carried a motorcycle along to boot.  Here we are loading the bike at Show Low.


     And a good time was had by all, thanks to Rex and some good planning and good weather......

By Uncle Hans