What a day. This is one of those days that we will remember for many, many years, because it epitomizes what it is like to travel in this way. A big challenge, and then a big reward.
We woke up relatively early and rolled out of the campground to make our way to the truck repair facility on the other side of Salem. They seemed quite nice and had very good reviews online, so I was hopeful this would be the last time we would be faced with this nagging repair. I had the official hub seal shipped from an RV supply warehouse in California to this location, hoping that the shipping costs would be well worth solving the enigma of the seal that continued to fail. I pulled in and they told us to be “flexible” with our time. The good news is that, of course, we had our car with us so we went out to explore Salem while they began the repair. First stop was the laundromat to take care all of our dirty clothes (we do have a washer/dryer in Marty but it is small and takes a lot of loads to get everything clean). Afterwards we went back to Winter Island for a while to let the kids play on the playground and enjoy the views. After that, we drove into Salem and grabbed some lunch (I had some great Boston Clam Chowder) before strolling through the downtown area. We checked out a lot of the shops, many of which were “witch” themed due to the Salem Witch Trials. We really like Salem a lot and it has a lot of cool shops and restaurants, along with lots of really old homes that are steeped with history.
At this point we were just killing time because the repair was taking a little while, so we went and found a city park for the kids to play before finally just returning to the shop to hang out and perhaps encourage them to wrap things up. In retrospect, the shop was great, but they weren’t particularly rushed. The mechanic working on Marty didn’t speak much English, but he did indicate what was causing the leak. BOTH of the previous mechanics left behind a piece of the original seal, and installed the replacement seal on top of it. I can forgive the first mechanic, but I read online that this was a common mistake and told the second mechanic two different times to watch out for this piece and make sure it was removed. He didn’t do it though, because here in Salem the mechanic showed me the culprit of ALL of our problems. This tiny piece of metal was keeping all of the replacement seals from functioning correctly. The good news is that I have contacted both of the previous shops and they are refunding my money, so the final cost for getting this seal repaired isn’t too bad.
The mechanic installed the new OEM seal, put everything back together, filled it with fresh oil, and we were finally on our way (or so we thought). At this point it was 4:30 PM and traffic was starting to get heavy, but we had already paid for a campground in Maine so we decided to get on the road and hope the new seal was going to take care of this frustrating problem. I backed out of the repair shop with the guidance of the owner and heard a loud clunk from the rear. Everyone screamed for me to stop, and I quickly realized that a live electrical wire had snagged on one of the vent openings on Marty’s roof. I ripped the thing clear off the side of the business across the street, and it was still live! At this point things were comical and I could see Val filming the whole thing, ensuring that this memory would never be forgotten. I was completely across both lanes of traffic, so nobody could pass by, and the wire was dangling off the back of the motorhome. A few minutes later, the same mechanic that did the repairs to our motorhome was walking out of the shop with a broom and then proceeded to climb on the roof of the motorhome. He picked up the wire with the broom and had me drive forward so he could take it up and over our air conditioners, and then he finally dropped it on the ground. When it hit it made a loud pop and sparks went everywhere. Totally crazy, and I am glad that he was ok, as well as the entire electrical system in the RV.
So we pulled out of Salem and proceeded to get stuck in heavy traffic. Val followed behind me as I made my way through small city streets towards the interstate. And, unfortunately, just like after the first repair in Florida, the ABS was going crazy because the mechanic likely bumped the ABS sensor on the wheel. Every time I came to a stop the ABS kicked in and the pedal vibrated like crazy. We pulled off into a shopping center to hook up the CR-V into the tow harness and I crawled underneath to wiggle the ABS sensor and push it firmly back into its mount.
At this point it was after 5:00 and we were finally on the road north out of Salem. We drove for about 2.5 hours, finally crossing into Maine (yay!) and into the Portland area before heading north. The good news is that 1) the ABS is working fine again and 2) the seal appears to be fixed as it isn’t leaking everywhere. We got to the state park and were about 1/2 mile from the campground when we got to a bridge with a sign that said “Warning: No trucks over 6 tons”. Well we weigh about 22,000 lbs so this was not a welcome sign. We unhooked the CR-V so I could turn around, then circled back about 10 miles to come in a different entrance to avoid the bridge.
Let me tell you, pulling into this campsite felt REALLY good. It was 8:00 now and the day was definitely a long one. We got set up, poured a lot of wine, and relaxed outside in the fresh air. This was our first night in Maine and what a great first night it was. There was no humidity, it was about 70 degrees, we were right across from a huge beautiful lake, and the campground was incredibly quiet and peaceful.
The next day we woke up and explored the park and lake. We kayaked out to a beautiful island and saw multiple Bald Eagles, including a nest of young ones that had not developed the white head just yet. The lake is amazingly clear; it was carved by glaciers millions of years ago and has no silt or dirt in it, just a rocky bottom. The result is incredible clarity as well as a depth of over 350 feet. We loved our time in this park as we were able to relax, paddle around on the lake, ride bikes all over the park, sit on the beach and drink some good Maine craft beer, and eat some fresh Maine scallops. Coupled with the *knock on wood* realization that our seal is finally repaired, we were able to really settle in and look forward to our time here in Maine.
Next up: the coast of Maine.