Towing Problem - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-29-2002, 01:38 PM   #1
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Towing Problem

On Wednesday we started out on a 165 mile trip up north with our two dogs safely in their wire kennels and us in our GMC Vandura 2500 pulling the 2000 FD. We had reservations at a campground at Mormon Lake. About 100 miles out of Phoenix after climbing a pretty steep grade, the van just died. We were able to pull over to the side and call AAA. They agreed to tow the van (which was covered by them) to Flagstaff, but would do nothing about the Casita. We had a real dilemma, AAA suggested we call another tow truck for the Casita. We did. Bill would go into Flagstaff with the van on the flat bed and I would go on to the campground with the Casita on the flat bed. Problem, the kennels would not fit in the Casita. We put the dogs in the Casita, put the kennels in the van and off we went to different places. The dogs were terrified. The tow truck driver tried for at least 30 minutes to get the Casita off the flatbed. The rear dug into the gravel and I was beside myself with fear that the undercarriage would be ruined, the dogs pitched against the rear window and tried to get out.
What could we have done differently and how can we avoid this in the future?
Darline
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Old 09-29-2002, 02:30 PM   #2
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AAA-not for RVs

Sorry for your misadventure.

Good Sams or Camping Worlds roadside service might've been a help. The stories I've heard is that the communication is understood about RVs and their unique problems. When they come out, they are prepared to tow whats there, ALL of it.

============

And AAA 'plus' wouldn't have helped. We looked into this two years ago and couldn't get anything in writing concerning nationwide RV roadside service. Just a local agent who said they were just a phone call away (with what?). Horror stories abound about AAA RV service!
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Old 09-29-2002, 03:14 PM   #3
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Towing Problem

We have AAA Plus and although we were prepared to pay extra for the Casita tow, we didn't expect to have to be towed by 2 different tow trucks. It was a nightmare experience. Bill didn't want to leave me beside the road with the dogs and if we went with him we would have had to leave the Casita, which I would not allow. We are all home safe, but it was a very expensive experience.
Darline
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Old 09-29-2002, 04:52 PM   #4
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Towing Problem

George, I tried to respond to your message, but didn't know how.
To answer your question, "Was the second truck also sent by AAA?"
No, we were given the phone number of another tow company who was capable of hauling the Casita. We made our own arrangements.
Had to pay $45.00 for tow charge, $74.00 for extra passenger (me, I guess or could it have been for the dogs) and $2.50 per mile for 64 miles. The grand total was $279.00
We have been told that AAA will start towing RVs on October 1st.
Too bad, we were with the wrong company at the wrong time.
Good to hear from you George, where have you been?
Darline
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Old 09-29-2002, 05:10 PM   #5
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Where have I been?

Well, I'll tell you where I will be this week, at least part of the time--down at my local AAA office raising h--l. And I hope you are doing the same thing in Phoenix--I'd demand that they pay every dime. Extra passenger? Wow!

"Going to start towing RV's in October" they say? Then what have they been doing with the extra money we all with the "AAA RV Plus" have paid?

I hope that others chime in here, because I want to print this thread and take it to AAA. We all should.

And this is the kind of thing that warrants a "help" letter to Trailer Life magazine. I'll bet they'd love to publicize this whole debacle.

At least you're all home safe. Are we going to see you this weekend in Albuquerque?

Charles, as an extremely high mileage Casitan, I'm looking for your take on this when you dock this week. AAA? Good Sams? Other?:weep
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Old 09-29-2002, 05:42 PM   #6
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Towing Problem

To George.
Bill tells me we have AAA Plus and not RV Plus. Perhaps it's the RV Plus that starts in October. I was dumbfounded when they charged for extra passenger, must have been the dogs. How else could one get from a break-down site, if not in the tow truck?
Sorry, we won't be seeing you in Albuquerque. Time to stay home and get some work done. It's beginning to cool off here, only 88 today.
Darline
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Old 09-29-2002, 06:26 PM   #7
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RV Plus

Ok, so we back off a notch or two. You're right, ''RV Plus'' and ''Plus'' are two different products and both are upgrades from the standard AAA membership, which, before owning a trailer, was always satisfactory for us.

As I recall, ''Plus'' gets you something more than 4 tows or jump-starts a year which the base AAA membership limits you to, but only on your base vehicles. I think they will tow you a little farther too. In all the years I've had AAA, the upgrade ''Plus'' would have been an unnecessary expense.

"RV Plus" (which I have had since we got our Casita a year ago) is a further upgrade from "Plus" and is supposed to cover your RV or trailer as well as any motor vehicles. (Triple A is good even if you're in someone else's vehicle.)

I have always had a gut feeling that Good Sams might have better sources than AAA for RV towing, but have avoided Sams because of their obnoxious volume of email and snail mail. We belong to Sams only because we like their local club. With AAA statements like "going to start RV tow service in October" have me thinking it's time to reconsider using Good Sam. When we're camped way out in BLM land in the middle of Utah, I don't want to have somebody tell me there's no truck available.

I hope we get some feedback from others who have had actual towing experience with Good Sams, AAA RV Plus, or other reputable outfits. The one option that I wouldn't even consider is the "tow" option on your (my) car insurance policy. Everyone I know who has used that, was forced to find a tow truck in the yellow pages, pay direct, then try to get a ''limited'' reimbursement from his insurance company.

In any case, thanks for bringing up the topic. I think it's something that should be of concern to everyone who has a trailer or RV--what is the best reputable source throughout the U.S. and Canada for this service?
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Old 09-29-2002, 06:57 PM   #8
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towing

We have emergency road service that is offered through Escapees. It is the same service that is offered by camping world, and the same company offers service (Affinity) for Good Sam.

The service from camping world/Escapees is $10 cheaper than the service from Good Sam. Inquiring of the Affinity folks, we learned that the Good Sam contract covers all of your vehicles, while the Escapees/Camping World service covers only your tow vehicle (and RV) and you can add others for $10. We only needed the more basic service as we only have one vehicle.

We had been happy for years with AAA. In recent years, though, we had noticed that their hotel ratings were not as consistent as they once were; we had tried to stay in several highly rated AAA places, and they were awful. Additionally, their maps are not as good (in our opinion) as Rand McNally's or (better, when you can find them) Exxon gas station maps. We dropped the AAA over the RV issue as we read that even if you carried the RV plus, you often did not have adequate RV towing capabilities.

One difference between the Affinity service and AAA is that AAA will tow you anywhere you ask them to (within reason), but the Affinity service tows you to an authorized service center - probably the tow truck's origin. Since we would probalby only need to call them if we were desperate, this didn't matter as much for us. Besides, what's "within reason" for towing? If you're in the middle of nowhere, any place that can work on your car is great. With Affinity's service, you can be on a dirt road in Alaska, 200 miles from a town, and they will tow you there - at no additional cost. Or so they claim, but we tend to believe them as many fulltimers have indicated in their books and other writings that this is true.

Hope this is of some help.
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Old 09-29-2002, 08:05 PM   #9
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The Rest of The Story!

I didn't mention this before because it really had nothing to do with the towing. But, when the service center in Flagstaff took Bill to Enterprise to rent a car (so he could join me at Mormon Lake) it was discovered that his license had expired and they could not rent him a car. He was in Flag without wheels, and I was at Mormon Lake without wheels and two medium sized dogs (not well behaved) without their kennels. Oh my God! We called friends who rescued Bill and brought him to the camp site, picked up the dogs and I and took us all to their cabin where we were treated like visiting royalty.
Vizsla breeders (especially ours) are saints.
Now you know the whole story.
Darline
Tomorrow, first thing, to DMV to take care of that little problem.
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Old 09-30-2002, 06:57 AM   #10
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Everyone's nightmare

Wow Bill and Darline! Sounds like you experienced every RV'er nightmare! And I agree with George, I'd complain like crazy to AAA ... not that the first guy wouldn't tow your trailer ... just that AAA didn't help (on your dollar) you obtain needed service to safeguard your trailer.

Having said that, I dropped AAA quite a while ago after learning that AAA would not tow a trailer under regular/plus memberships ... as you unfortunately found out!

I joined Good Sam's years before we even got a trailer (I think the monthly magazine is worth the price of the annual membership ... not to mention the "lost pet" provision)(more on this later) ... so when I dropped AAA, I added Good Sam's Emergency Road Service ($89 a year) after being assured that they would tow both my vehicle and trailer "as far as they have to go."

Because we're often in very remote places, I felt this was necessary ... and I felt AAA mileage limits and "drop your trailer on the side of the road" policy was rediculous.

We've only had one occasion to use ERS ... our trailer was in a campground at Fundy National Park in New Brunswick ... we were off site-seeing near Cape Fear when my mini-van's transmission (or so I thought) went out. A nice lady picked us up, drove us to the nearest gas station (about 25 miles) where we contacted ERS. The tow truck driver had to come from Moncton, NB, (about 50 miles away) drive over out of his way to the gas station to pick us up ... then drove over to pick up the van (complete with two dogs) ... took the van, dogs and Pam back to the trailer inside Fundy National Park ... then turned around and pulled the van and I to a dealer back in Moncton ... (all this took several hours) ... net cost to us: $0 canadian (which is US$0).

I won't leave home without Good Sam's ERS. They say if your tow vehicle breaks down, they'll tow it to where it needs to go, and they'll tow your trailer to the nearest campground.

Nathan's right that technically, the tow truck is supposed to tow you to the nearest facility where the vehicle can be fixed ... but I believe if you get to the facility, and don't feel comfortable with it, you can call Good Sam's and they'll tow you to another.

Nathan's also right that the same $89 ERS contract covers all your vehicles and trailers (in our case, at one point, our ERS covered five vehicles and one trailer)(when our son was still in school).

But, guys, I really feel sorry for you! Car troubles ... even with good towing ... is a nightmare.

How's the van now?
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Old 09-30-2002, 07:59 AM   #11
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Towing Problem

Hi Charles, glad you're home safe. The van is home as are we. The alternater froze up and the van just died. The bill for that repair was $489.00. Of course, the tow by AAA cost us nothing, but as I stated in a prior post, it cost us $279.00 to tow the dogs and I to the campground.
The service center in Flagstaff was very accomodating to Bill and had the van fixed by the next day. This trip was a real eye-opener for us. We'd just never thought that far ahead. And the license expiration was just the icing on the cake. Poor Bill, he had no idea his license had expired. You know, when we used to renew every year on our birthday, we knew we had to have a new license, now they give you so many years you forget to check. OK, now, everyone, pull out your wallet and check that date.
Thanks to all of you who have responded, we really appreciate your concern.
Darline and Bill
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Old 09-30-2002, 10:55 AM   #12
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Alaska

My dad, who tows a 32' fifth-wheel, took a trip to Alaska. Half way up there his truck caught fire in the engine compartment. It turned out to be an electrical fire.

He called Good Sam, they towed his truck & fifth-wheel 200 miles to Alaska, set up the trailer in a campground and took his truck to a mechanic shop to be fixed. My dad rented a car for a couple of weeks while his truck was rewired.

First thing he told me when I got my Casita was, “go get Good Sam Towing”.

I didn't do it yet. I have AAA with a 62 year membership and have always been happy with their service. Last night I printed this thread out and told Lori we need to revisit this.

Thanks
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Old 09-30-2002, 11:42 AM   #13
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Good Idea, Michael

Even though Bill and Dar unfortunately didn't have RV coverage, it gives thought to what any of us might do. Thank God it has never yet happened to us, but I think about the places (remote) where we have camped and expect to camp. Like you, we've had Triple A for many years, first in CA, and now in CO. The few times I have used them for dead battery or lockout, I always was pleasantly surprised at how fast a truck was out to help me. But, after all, this was in town, whether it was San Diego, Orange County or Durango. AAA probably had a franchisee a few blocks away. Seventy five (or two hundred) miles from the nearest burg in the mountains or desert is where most of us love to camp.

Yes, it's time we all consider whether we've got adequate coverage or even coverage at all. (I'm going to guess that a few owners have not even considered coverage.) Then, do you have the right coverage and is it with the right company?

And Michael, you have a 62-year AAA card? Wow, your parents gave that to you before you were born?:inbox
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Old 09-30-2002, 11:52 AM   #14
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AAA

The company gives the children the years of the parents when they register as associates first starting out. Then when you get your own they keep the number of years.

They didn't do that at first or mine would be much higher from my grandfather's membership.
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