Year One Recap –The Adventure Continues . . .
First, I’ve finally got a date and a time for our Seminar “Oil Field Gate Guarding for Fun? and Profit” at the upcoming 57th Escapade starting March 19th in Tucson.
It’s going to be Wednesday, March 22, at 11:30am in Old Pueblo Rm 4. That’s really a great time for us since it backs up into the lunch period, and people can hang around and ask more questions without us having to vacate the room for the next speaker.
Since I had so many positive comments about yesterday’s blog about our first year on the road, I thought I’d continue on with it.
After finishing lunch at Monterey’s and resolving our airbag issue, we hit the road for real, heading back to the Canyon Trail RV Park in New Braunfels once again. We wanted to visit our now-late long-time friend Gina Ellis who lived nearby and show her our new RV.
Our next stop was the KOA in Junction, TX, and then on to Las Cruces, NM. The trip from Junction to Las Cruces was 487 miles, a distance that we drove regularly in our first few years. But we’ve slowed down over the years, and now try to limit our daily trips to around 250 miles or so. After Las Cruces, our next stop was the Pinal County Fairgrounds in Casa Grande, AZ to attend our now-good friend’s Nick and Terry Russell’s Gypsy Journal RV Rally.
We had actually met Nick and Terry the year before when we rented a CruiseAmerica Class C and attended a Life On Wheels seminar in Tucson in March 2007. Although we had already started working toward full-time RV’ing, we did the Class C thing to be sure that we really liked it, since we had never done it before. Turns out we were hooked. And, of course, still are.
After learning an amazing amount about RV’ing, making a lot of new friends, and Nick making Jan cry in his The Reluctant RV’er seminar, our next travels took us through a stop in Gila Bend and finally onto the Chula Vista RV Resort where we stayed right on the Pacific Ocean, our fanciest (and most expensive) RV park so far.
At this point our next ‘hard’ date was back in Tucson around the middle of March for our 2nd (and unfortunately, last) Life On Wheels seminar. So we spent a lot of time in the San Diego/Los Angeles area, taking in the San Diego Zoo and Wildlife parks, the Queen Mary, the Aquarium, and many other sights, and staying in places like Escondido, Temecula, and Tucalota Springs.
Finally, by the first week in March, we were at the Boulder Oaks RV Park in Boulder City, NV, overlooking Lake Meade, which was our base to do Las Vegas and the Boulder Dam. Then on March 11th, leaving Boulder City and heading for the Meteor Crater RV about 40 miles east of Flagstaff, we encountered our first major breakdown.
Cruising along on I-40 about 40 miles or so west of Flagstaff, I hear, and feel, a large ‘WHOOMP!”. Quickly pulling over, and assuming I’d had a blow-out (on brand-new tires??), I got out to check. And found nothing wrong.
Both the rig and toad tires were just fine, and the engine, which I had left running, sounded fine, so what caused the noise? Well, getting back into the rig, and starting to pull out again, I then saw the problem. In the few minutes I had been sitting there, the engine coolant temperature was creeping in the red.
Turning off the engine and going back outside, I opened the engine compartment and took a look. The radiator on our Cummins 350 ISC is on the driver’s side of the coach, and looking to the left at the radiator fan, I said to myself, “I’m sure there used to be blades on that fan.”
But the 24” diameter fan had been reduced a few jagged stumps sticking up from the hub. And even worse I could now see antifreeze leaking from a gash in the radiator. So we weren’t going any further today. At least not under our own power.
Before I came inside I went ahead and unhooked the truck to get ready to be towed. Then back inside, and through the miracles of cellphones, GPS, and the Internet, I got busy.
My first call of course was to Good Sam Emergency Road Service to tell them I needed a tow into Flagstaff. The GPS told me exactly where I was, so I was able to give Good Sam the mile marker where we were, and the exit they would need to turn around at to get back to us.
Next was a hotel reservation in Flagstaff, and with that information I was on the phone to Spartan, our Eagle’s chassis manufacturer, to have a new fan blade overnighted to the hotel. They said it would go out that afternoon.
I love it when a plan comes together.
A little research on the Internet gave me an idea of where I wanted the coach taken, but I thought I’d check with the tow driver first. And he showed up a little over an hour after I called Good Sam. Great response time
With the driver confirming my choice of repair places, and that that was where he was planning to take us, I put in a call to them to let me know we were coming, what the problem was, and that I would have a new fan for them tomorrow morning.
The driver spent about an hour prepping the coach, disconnecting and securing the driveshaft, and then plugging his truck’s compressor into our rig to supply air pressure to release the brakes. And we were off.
From the time I called Good Sam, it was about four hours until we were parked in the shop’s yard. They let us plug into 120v to keep the fridge running and a heater going to keep rig cat’s Mister and Emma warm.
By time I got over there the next morning, they almost had the radiator out. I told them while they were at it to see if it needed cleaning.(it didn’t). They called the next afternoon and said it was ready to go, so I went over and settled up, and told them we’d pick the rig up the morning.
The only thing anyone could figure is that a rock got kicked up by the rear wheels and cracked a fan blade. This unbalanced the entire hub and caused the rest of the blades to shear off, one of the pieces hitting the radiator.
This is what it looked like.
By now we were running up on the start of the Life On Wheels, so we headed south, first to Pioneer RV Park north of Phoenix and then Rincon West in Tucson.
Meteor Crater would have to wait until another time.
While we were at the LOW, and knowing a smart husband never tries to teach his wife to drive, Jan took the 4 hour course from The RV Driving School. The gentleman was very patient, and by the end of the course, Jan was comfortable handling the rig, and still drives regularly.
Very Highly Recommended!
Of course a week later, Jan almost ran me over while driving the rig, but that’s another story for another blog.
Thought for the Day:
The Truth Is Out There.