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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Broke Down Already - Visiting Colaws RV Boneyard

Of course.... we just happened to break down. When traveling in an 18 year old motorhome, anything can happen.

Our recently replaced Pac Brake (to the tune of $750) hung up and we were smoking!!!!  A Pac Brake is an engine exhaust brake system.   Pulled over, Steve determined that it wasn't the Pac Brake itself, instead it was the solenoid in line before it.  Easy to adapt by releasing the air pressure and the pac brake released. Ahhh we weren't smokin' anymore!

Now, as our good luck would have it, we broke down ONE exit away from the largest RV Salvage yard in the whole USA....  Colaws RV at Carthage MO on I-44.

They were already closing for the night when our mishap happened, so we boondocked it overnight at the Sam's Club lot in Joplin.  We had stayed there before and knew it was safe and quiet.  We were the only RV in the lot.

(side note here---- our little Binney FINALLY released the dam backup of potty in her stubborn little body and went while on leash in the green grass of the parking lot! YAY!!!!  plus she woke me up at 5:30 a.m. to go out again!  Good girl--- we will make an RVing Dogger out of you yet!) 

Morning dawned and we looked on line for the part we needed, which is $125.00 plus shipping from a place out east. When you randomly travel on the road for 6 weeks, it's kinda hard to have a part shipped to you en route? So we drove over to Colaws, if not for the part, but just to look around.

Wowzers.. what a place!   There are hundreds of new and used RV's for sale, a huge parts showroom of new parts, many many rows of used parts, a whole section of used RV furniture to swap out, and then.....   I think if they don't have it, you didn't really need it in the first place!  LOL

We went outside to view many acres of hundreds and hundreds of broken, wrecked, burned, ruined old trailers, fifthwheels, gas motorhomes and big diesel rigs like ours.  We knew for sure there were two like ours, because someone on our Safari motorhome group had been there once and took pics of the wrecks.

Steve and I walked through the entire "bone yard" of these sad old broken rv's.  Just think, at one time someone loved them, bought them new, eager with anticipation of the roads to travel.  And now.... sad and broken, they are lined up to be stripped of usable parts, and later become scrap metal.  It's sobering to see the burned up units from tragic situations.

While we walked through, we happened to find two intact sceen frames for our front driver  and passenger side windows!  One had a ripped screen portion, but the frame is good.  The person who owned the motorhome before us removed them, and we wished he hadn't.  Yes, they are in the way and an extra step to slide them forward when opening for a toll booth or whatever.  But often when parked it's nice to open those two front windows for air circulation in the cab area and not have bugs come in!  Frames were only $5 each.  Sold! 

We checked diesel rigs, one after another... most of them already had the engines and pac brakes removed. Then we found one rig that still had the part on that we needed...  the solenoid for the Pac Brake assembly!!!!

Yup, that is Steveio's leg sticking out there ....  and he did find a strange white skunk!!!!  It was white with thin black stripes on it's back.  A worker there later commented that they are strange sick skunks that come out in the daytime and they have to shoot them from time to time!   We got outta there in a hurry!

We went back to the counter and the guy sent out a tech with Steveio to remove the part for purchase.  Steve gave him a $2 for the quick removal.  Hey.. enough to buy a soda and chips at the vending machine out front.  LOL  

The part we needed was only $25 and comes with a 6 mo guarantee.  We gladly checked out and went back to the parking lot.  Steve hoisted up the bed and went to work removing our old one.  I handed tools and took pics.

Soon it was in place, and we were ready to roll!
We took a trial run up the road up to speed, hit the pac brake... 
yes... it compressed. ... 
then the letting go part... YES! 


My Steveio is my hero! 


  1. Is there anything that man can't fix? Hopefully no more problems and smooth sailing for the duration!

  2. So glad to hear about your trip...and Colaws, and the repair! Extra glad and a BIG YIPPEE_E_E_E that Binney has figured out that peeing and pooping while on the road is okay!

  3. Wow, I could wander around an RV boneyard like that for quite a while. I wonder if Sherman has any relatives there...?


  4. Glad to hear Binney is doing better. So, did you sing "Let it Go" to her??

    1. Yup! Been singing her that song for three days now! My grand tots would be proud of me that I know the words!

    2. What luck! And skill on your husbands part. Good for Binney, she's getting it! Hope the rest of your trip goes well!

  5. Serendipity to have a malfunction right by one of the few places that you could get parts. Great news about Binney too.

  6. Sorry you broke down but sure glad you found the part you needed right there. Way to go Binney!!! Everybody is relieved now.

  7. I doubt there is anything that man can't fix! You are a lucky woman, and of course he is a lucky guy!

  8. You guys were lucky. Steve saves a lot of money having the ability to fix things. I am glad to know about this place since it is fairly close to home and I'm sure I will pass that way on the way home. I will make a note to stop and look for a few parts I need.

    Glad your furry travelers are working out okay.

    Glad you're on your way again. This next week is going to be a warm one out here in the southwest. so hurry.

  9. That is an amazing boneyard, we wandered around there for a few hours last year and planned to stop by again this year, but plans changed.
    Nice that you found the part you needed.

  10. We wondered about the doggie yesterday. How many dogs have people from coast to coast waiting for her to go potty? if you and Steve lived close to that place he could build Reserected RVs as a sideline.


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