Hazard Protect, roadside assistance, RV Camping, RV Life, RV Roadside Assistance, RV Safety, RV Tires
“What was that?” The explosion was loud enough to hear over the rumbling of frost heaves and potholes under our wheels. We only had a second to process what we had just heard, when the piercing alarm of our tire pressure monitoring system alerted us to trouble. Big trouble.
In less than five minutes our Alaska-bound journey went from a peaceful morning driving through the Yukon wilderness to one of the worst roadside emergencies we’ve experienced during 11 years of full-time RVing. It was so bad that the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) was the only thing that saved our rig and possibly our lives. The unit allowed Jim to pull over fast enough to see that it wasn’t just a blown tire that had stopped us in our tracks, but other damage so extensive that it rendered our Arctic Fox fifth wheel un-towable for the first time ever.
People warned us ahead of time about the perils of the Alaska Highway. So we listened. For several months before departing, we invested in the necessary preparations for safe passage. From new 10-ply Maxxis trailer tires to thorough servicing on all the mechanics that would get us from California to Fairbanks and back, we thought we covered it all. But there was one critical inspection that we overlooked. During our many years of full-timing, nobody had ever mentioned the importance of having our leaf springs and suspension components inspected on a bi-annual basis. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and our failure to obtain this information landed us in one of the worst spots on the Alcan to get stuck.
We had a flat tire, but the damage went way beyond. One leaf spring set was broken, and two shock absorber mounts had sheared off. As the final insult, our hydraulic brake line had been severed. Our home sat precariously lopsided and immobile as the rain trickled down and mosquitoes moved in to greet us.
Brake fluid leaked out onto the gravel surface while we tried to keep calm and figure out what to do. Stuck in an area without cell service for 35 miles in either direction, we attempted to get online with our RV satellite internet system, but the topography of driving above 60-degrees on the planet makes getting online tricky. With too many trees on the low horizon interfering with our connectivity, we unhitched the truck and RV, and drove twenty minutes to call for help.
“Thank you for calling Coach-Net. Are you in a safe area?”
I let out a sigh of relief hearing those words on the other end of the line. When you’ve just escaped a frightening incident, there is nothing more reassuring than hearing another person inquire about your safety. But this wasn’t just a stranger, this was Mary, a Coach-Net agent who was ready to help. We threw her for a loop when we described our location, but that didn’t stop her from doing everything within her power to reassure us that Coach-Net would come to the rescue.
Little did Mary know the challenge ahead of her. We were almost five hours from any kind of real city, and it was Friday morning on Canada Day weekend, which meant lots of places would be closed until Tuesday. But within minutes she put a plan in place to dispatch the oversized tow truck necessary to get us to a shop. She also pinpointed the most reputable place in Whitehorse for RV suspension work. Mary even got approval from the shop owner to allow us to stay overnight on the property until they re-opened after the long weekend.
Bad roads in the Yukon make for slow driving, so we weren’t surprised that the towing company couldn’t reach us until the next day. When they did, we were off the highway and back to civilization within hours. Situated alongside the welding and springs shop, we caught our breath and celebrated with gratitude for all that Mary and Coach-Net did to help us through one of the worst times in our road-tripping life.
People often ask us for advice about full-time RVing, and the most valuable tip we can share is this: get a Coach-Net roadside assistance plan, and Hazard Protect for tires. No other providers match this level of service and expertise. Thank you to everyone at Coach-Net for saving the day, and getting us back on the road with peace of mind.
About the Author:
Rene Agredano, a Coach-Net member since 2015, is a self-employed full-time RVer who enjoys writing, jewelry design and animal advocacy. Her adventures with a three-legged dog and husband Jim are chronicled at LiveWorkDream.com
Al Schuetz said:
Thank you for writing up your unpleasant experience in the Yukon. And it was reassuring to read your great experience with Mary of Coach Net. It helps be in getting over our less than stellar experience in British Columbia and getting a flat on a deserted section of road from Watson Lake to Hyder, Alaska.
We were 150 km from Watson Lake and near the same distance from Steward, BC and have an inside dually tire fail. Also being aware of the difficulties you can have with tires, had both a mounted spare and an unmounted new tire. But our problems were made more difficult because the road is in a river gully/valley with heavy woods going up both sides of the road. So definitely no phone communication.
Another Rv’er stopped and offered to help. I gave them our Coach Net Premier account information and phone numbers and they drove off to find a phone. After a few hours, another RV’er stopped and also offered assistance. I told them about trying to contact Coach Net for a tire change, but no way of knowing if anything was set up. They had a bottle jack and a really long torque wrench. So I decided to try to change it myself. Of course it was raining and there I had my near 70 year old body laying in the dirt under the coach positioning the jack and trying to break the lug nuts free. Long story a little shorter, I finally got it changed myself.
When I got miles further, there was a hunting lodge and I was able to get on a phone to call Coach Net. I was worried that they had taken some action to help us. I didn’t need to worry, as I was told that they were waiting for me to call in and hadn’t done any more than call a service in Walton Lake. That mechanic told them he would not start the multi hour trip without half paid up front. So Coach Net didn’t do anything.
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Oh Al I’m so glad that everything turned out OK. We know that exact stretch where you got stuck on the Cassiar. We actually got a second flat there too, at Boya Lake. Really rattled our nerves, we are so happy to put gravel behind us.
Stay safe out there.
Paul S Goldberg said:
Just a brief note with a happy ending thanks to Coach-net. Shortly after a harrowing stop at a rest area on I 5 where some truckers did not care for the political sticker on my Jeep my TST TPMS sounded an alarm. I had a slow leak in the right front Jeep tire. Using my onboard air source I inflated the tire and made it a campground where I called Coach-net, greeted by the wonderful, “Are you in a safe place?” I was able to report that yes I was. I provided the details of need and location and hung up expecting a return call. Little did I know my phone had decided not to accept ANY incoming calls. My first notice that Coach-net had reached help was a knock on the door an hour later. the roadside service pulled a brad from the tread and plugged the tire and we were ready for the road in the morning. We have been members since our first dealer gave us a free year in 2001! We won’t move the coach without it.
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Paul, your longevity as a customer is saying something, that’s great to hear. Happy travels!
We also love coach-net who came to our rescue when we had a wheelbearing and axel problem on our toy hauler RV while traveling in Alaska for 8 weeks. Don’t know what we would have done without their help. We had everything checked/greased etc. before we left too. Some roads are great traveling through Canada and Alaska but some will definitely take its toll on your rig.
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Fran we agree, the roads up on the Alcan are really hard on our moving homes. Glad you made it safely through the adventure. Thanks for reading and sharing your story.
N Wallace said:
Sounds good! We already also have coach net.
Now if we could just find a good insurance company also that doesn’t lie or try
to mislead us by trying to tell us we can save 500 by switching to their company.
Not only don’t you save it also cost more.
Liars liars pants on fire.
Jeffery Hickman said:
As an Alaskan with an RV I can say the same for coach net services. I lost a transmission 50 miles or so from Tok headed back to Anchorage, towing a mostly disabled car with a broken radiator coolant tank hose (just my luck, a $40.00 part not available in Tok). I had to hitch a ride back to a road house and use a payphone to call coach net since of course cell phone don’t work in the middle of nowhere. It also was of course labor day, so nothing was open. But first thing Tuesday morning the tow truck came down, I cobbled my car back together and coach net got it back to Tok where they replaced my transmission in about 3 weeks… I’m glad I was able to nurse my car back home.
Coach net came through when I needed it and I probably have paid for years of premiums with just that one 50 mile tow.
Oh wow we feel your pain Jeffery. How awesome that everything worked out.
Linda M Dickson said:
We purchased our RV after retirement 2 years ago. Coach net was purchased before the RV ever left our driveway.The best thing we ever did!
Our very first trip we broke down in the middle of the Cherokee National Forest in TN. The exhaust brake (actuator) broke off and we were unable to fix it temporarily in the middle of the mountains. One call to Coach net and we had a tow after a several hour wait. Unfortunately, the repair shop we were towed to was not the best. Luckily my husband knew to call Monaco (our rig), get the part number and where we could get the new part. He passed that on to the repair shop . After a couple more days waiting they ordered the wrong part and then lost the part then jerry rigged the wrong part on when it finally came in. It was enough to get us home and have our mechanic install the correct part.
I called Coach Net after we got home. The rep was very understanding and took all the information about this repair facility. I passed on our experience with them and the rep said they would look into recommending (or not) this facility in the future
Since that first trip we have visited 47 of the 48 Contiguous states and have not needed Coach Net again.We travel now, knowing that Coach Net is just a call away. As someone once said, it is not a matter of ‘if’ , it is a matter of ‘when’ you will break down. We highly recommend them to any friends with RVs.
Totally new to this world with my first trailer purchase. Haven’t need Coach Net but glad I have it after reading this story and all these comments. Stu (the trailer) and my little family have many adventures ahead. IG @shineshaun Glad to know CN has our back!!
David Matthews said:
Decent lessons being given. Everyone should learn to do these, just in case.
Alfred Anderson said:
I’ve been a CoachNet member since 2005 and have needed CoachNet twice when our motorhome became incapacitated…. and once when my automobile needed help. Each time I was greeted with the Are you in a safe place question (which I appreciated). Each time I was speaking with a knowledgable technican in a few minutes who diagnosed my problem. Each time an appropriate tow truck was sent to me promptly. Each time the shop doing the work had been contacted in advance and was expecting to receive the motorhome. Each time I was not asked to pay anything – all a part of my membership. Think I’ll renew again next year? You’re darn Tooting I will! They have treated me well.
Rene Agredano said:
Alfred thanks for sharing. That’s a long time to be with a company and in this world of ours where customer service seems to be a thing of the past, it’s comforting to know that CoachNet’s assistance is as great as ever. Happy travels!