Honestly, I just wanted to see how fast it would go.
Not very, was the answer. I’d got up to 60 mph and was just seeing if it would go any quicker when suddenly there was a very expensive sounding clattering and banging from the noisy cupboard at the back.
I was on quite a busy fast road and didn’t want to risk getting hit from behind so I quickly knocked it into neutral and switched the engine off to save what was left of it.
Luckily I was able to coast far enough along the road to reach a handy lay-by and gratefully rolled in away from the traffic and stopped.
I couldn’t resist the urge to restart the engine to see if it had suddenly got better.
Unluckily it hadn’t, in fact it sounded even worse the second time around. It sounded so bad that it was obvious, even to me, that poor old Skippy wasn’t going any further today under his own steam. I phoned a knowledgeable friend of mine and let him have a listen, his years of experience with air-cooled motors enabled him to tell me that, “It sounds as if its broken”.
A Breakdown in a Campervan can be a very relaxed and comfortable affair and this one was no different. I climbed into the back and put the kettle on for coffee, checked that I had enough milk and a good book to read while I waited and then phoned for the AA.
Mr nice AA man’s diagnosis was the same as mine, “It’s knackered”, he said. “I’ll have to relay you home”, he said. “Are you OK with me towing you because it’ll be quicker than waiting for a lorry to come and pick you up”?
I said “Yes, a tow would be fine”. Ohhh how wrong can a person be? It was terrifying, the tow bar on the picture looks like a reasonable length doesn’t it? Trust me, it isn’t, especially if your AA driver wanted to get you back home as quickly as mine did.
The next 30 minutes must have aged me by 10 years. Speeding along 5 feet behind the AA van without being able to see anything ahead, but still needing to control the steering was an experience that I’m hoping I’ll not need to repeat any time soon. Each time he drove around a bend the solid towbar tried to steer me out alongside him, straight into the path of oncoming traffic. By the time I’d appreciated the danger and wrenched the wheel over to correct it, he was hurtling around the next bend which now meant that not only was the towbar swinging me towards the kerb, I was actually steering that way as well. There are several pedestrians, one postman and two dogs who have no idea how lucky they were to reach home safely that morning.
After I’d gone inside and the nervous twitches in my hands had decreased enough to hold a mug of coffee without spilling it, I set about taking the engine to pieces to find out what I’d broken.