Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Day in Phoenix and ….the truck problem wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

It rained over night and continued on this morning.  There was major flooding around the city.  Eric was off in the truck for his 8am appt and I waited to hear the news. 

He returned before 10am and it turns out the problem is the water pump.  It will cost $1500 US to replace it and change all the coolant fluid.  We consider ourselves lucky that it isn’t the head gasket which would have cost almost as much as the truck is worth to repair.  Eric didn’t know how he was going to get home as the dealership had said he could just take an Uber which we know nothing about.  Turns out they call and pay for Uber so that is a good thing.  The truck will be ready by 6pm tonight but Eric will wait till morning to pick it up.  He said it is a huge shop with about 30 mechanics working so they push a lot of vehicles through.


By late morning the rain had eased off leaving great big puddles.  However I don’t think the storm is done with us yet.


Our windows were filthy from all the dust of travelling and now they will be clean but it didn’t clean bugs off the front of the RV that we picked up in Idaho.  


Looking in at the park …that’s us just to the left of Jim’s red car.


The 5th wheel will be safe and sound until we get back on Halloween day. 

Monday, October 1, 2018

Quartzite to Phoenix


> Mainmap

Only 149 miles on the final leg of our journey south to Phoenix before we fly home on Thursday.  We went into Phoenix on I10 and took the 101 loop to get our destination.    When we stayed in Mesa for the winter back in 2008/2009 we were new to all of the freeways and didn’t use them.  Now we do as they make travel around the city so much easier.  The country mice are gradually getting used to being city mice!


As we left Quail Run I took a picture of a Palo Verde tree.  Even the trunk is green!


The weather was cloudy in Quartzite and there was a little rain in Phoenix but no wind so it all looked good.

We stopped at a rest stop 30 miles out and the truck coolant level was down a touch.  Then we stopped 30 miles past that and it was the same.  We’ll be glad when we get the problem diagnosed. 


Straight open highway and the traffic wasn’t too bad.  As we only do 60mph we are usually on our own as the cars and trucks blast by us.


Coming into Phoenix and we left I10 and took the 101 loop north around the city to 51 where we got off on East Bell road.


Coming onto the 101. 


The State Farm Football Stadium in Glendale.  It features the first fully retractable natural grass playing field on top of an Airfield drainage system.  The stadium opens on one side and the whole grass floor rolls outside to get sunlight and then the floor of the stadium can be used for concerts etc.  It cost 454 million to build. 


Here highway 17 to Flagstaff was rolling over top of us and the vehicles were whizzing on and off the ramps.  This morning the underpass was flooded from all the rain.

We arrived at our destination (Frank & Sandi’s small RV park) by lunch time.   We went over to say hi to Jim the park manager and he told us where we could park which is the same spot as two years ago.  All good. 

After lunch we were off to find a GMC dealer to have a look at the truck and get RV parts such as fuses, seals for the dump valve and a new friction plate for the 5th wheel hitch.  Eric got an appointment at a dealer for the truck to be looked at tomorrow morning at 8am and then we were off to Al’s RV parts for what we needed. 

All in all a  decent day and hopefully what is wrong with the truck is not huge.  As long as it’s not a head gasket which would cost thousands of dollars to repair all will be fine. 

Hope for the best! 

A Day in Quartzite.

It started out as a cloudy day on Sunday.   I did laundry while Eric crawled under the truck to check the sewer valve and then…


Around 11:30am Eric could see the dust coming and then it started to blow…hard.  Shortly after that…it rained heavily for a short time.


By 5:30 it was hot and steamy and we sat outside to have happy hour.  Eric looks a little glum and will stay that way until we find out what is wrong with the truck.


As the sun started to set we got a glorious sunset.




The sky is on fire.


All over…time to go in and have dinner.  Tomorrow off to Phoenix.  We’re hoping the remnants of hurrican Rosa will hold off as we travel.  There, the first order of business will be RV parts and booking an appointment for a dealer to look at the truck. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Plan for the worst….hope for the best!

The last few days have been stressful.  The truck has been losing coolant fluid and it has been sporadic and uncertain as to what has actually been going on.  The worry is of course that it will get worse and we will end up dead at the edge of the highway….the truck I mean, not us!  Eric has a good knowledge of engines but it could be anything from a bad head gasket to a leaking waterpump to a failed radiator cap. Eric stocked up on coolant at the grocery store to add as we travel.  The good news is that the truck has not been overheating since Cabbage Hill in Oregon when it wasn’t in tow haul.   


A 308 mile day.


It’s always easier to stay put than to travel.


We set out and it was a pretty day.  Eric was keeping a close eye on the engine and transmission temps.  We started out at an outside temperature of 14C just before 8am and by 9am it was 28C. 


First the Love’s station at the junction of Hwy93 and I 15.


Hood up and the coolant is down a bit so we waited 20 min for the truck to cool down so Eric could add some more and then onward.


There is massive road construction at the junction of 93 and I15 and also north for a few miles.  Some sort of huge industrial development going in called the Garnet Design-built project.  There is talk about creating more lanes heading north due to the heavy truck traffic but time will tell.  Right now it just all looks like overkill!


Coming into Las Vegas.  I just hate travelling through Las Vegas!  The drivers are agressive and spend all their time bobbing and weaving from lane to lane.  We use exit 42 to head south and it is a tricky one.  You have to be in the left lane as you enter the exit or you’ll be forced to go right to somewhere you don’t want to go downtown. From that point on we just pick a middle lane and stay there while everyone rages past. 


Four and sometimes five lanes.  Luckily today the traffic is light and there isn’t much wind.  However it is 36C at this point so again a worry for overheating but….so far so good.


We are at about 1500ft as we turn onto Hwy95 to head south to Searchlight which is a steady 27 mile climb to 3500ft.  At this point the air temperature is about 36C.  We maintain a 60mph speed in towhaul with high gear locked out and the truck’s temperature stays right in the normal range.


Heading up.


We do not want this to be us!  Every hundred feet or so you see a mark where someone has overheated and burned up their vehicle. 


Coming into Searchlight and all is well with the truck. 


Last year when we came north there were cones in the northbound lane.  This year there are cones blocking the slow lane south all the way from Searchlight to the turn-off to Laughlin.  Did we see anyone working….of course not.  This is the fourth state we have travelled through that has had construction road signs out and no one to be seen.  There are so many cones here you’d need a semi truck trailer to carry them all


We stopped at the Chevron at the turn-off to Laughlin to have lunch, fuel up and….check the coolant.  It was down a bit but not much and no leaking.   What the heck is going on?


We leave the fuel stop and head south to I40 and we are now in California where the road is a bit rougher than Nevada. 


Turn left to get onto I40.  A bit of overkill with the signs since it’s a dead end. 


It looks a little dusty up ahead. 


Off the freeway and a right turn back onto 95 South to Vidal Junction, Parker and then Quartzite. 


Lots of hills on this road and the temp is now…. 


….39C.  If the truck isn’t overheating pulling the behemoth up and down big hills at this temperature there can’t be too much wrong with it…..right?  Plan for the worst….hope for the best!


The ribbon candy highway.


We’re in Parker, Az now….lots of flags and places selling Jerky.  What is the fascination with Jerky?


Fuel is cheaper here in Parker but we’ll fuel up in Quartzite before we head to Phoenix.  

We are parked at Quail Run RV park where we stayed last April.  $27 a night off season.  There are lots of sights well off the highway with paved roads and gravel so there is not a huge amount of dust unless there is a huge dust storm like there was this afternoon.  Hurricane Rosa is sending her remnants our way and there will be thunder storms and rain over the next couple of days.  We plan to be in Phoenix by noon tomorrow so hopefully it won’t be too bad.  You know….hope for the best etc. etc.


Coolant level still okay and now after much reading Eric thinks it could be the coolant cap that is malfunctioning.  Just to add to all the fun our sewer valve is now leaking and needs to be replaced. 


Eric crawled under the rig and removed the belly pan to have a look.  Since it’s Sunday he can’t get parts and it will just have to leak until he can fix it.  Never a dull moment but there is no doubt that at some point you just can’t take any more.  It has not been a fun trip with both of us sick with colds, truck overheating, truck losing coolant, keys locked in the truck and now a leaking sewer valve.  We fly home on Thursday so we need to get the truck looked at in Phoenix to see what is going on with it and get parts for the RV. 

Wish us luck. 

P.S. -  It was 35C this morning at 10am and now it’s raining in Quartzite where it hardly ever does. 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Valley View RV, Ely to Pickett’s RV, Alamo, NV

Ely to Alamo would be a short day on the road and so another late start.  Had a nice chat with some Nevada people, Jim and Linda who live between Carson City and Reno.  Jim spied Eric’s satellite mount on the 5th wheel hitch and came over to chat about it.  Eric designed and built it himself which is why Jim had never seen one!  It works great.  Nice chat with nice people.  They are not winter travellers but RV whenever the mood strikes them. 


Heading out of town and this is what is left of the Prospector Hotel/Casino RV park.  It is gone and not to be rebuilt as something else is going in on the spot.  


Heading out of town.


Heading down from Ely before we head up to the pass.


This is a high one.


And….down we go.  It is a beautiful, warm day and one of the prettiest times we’ve ever come through the area.


We’re down and heading left towards Lund, Hiko, Ash Springs and Alamo. 


It’s green in Lund and they are making lots of hay for the winter.


Mowed, raked and ready to bale.


Lund and the trees start to appear.  Real deciduous trees!


We just love this drive and today it’s pretty.


So many interesting stark mountains.


Hey….remember those Idaho onions….well here they are on a truck heading south. 


Hard to see but all those little white spots have a fresh dug mound on top of them.  I’ve never seen a critter but maybe someone has an idea. Ground squirrels, burrowing owls….who knows. 


White River narrows…one of my favorite places. 


I know I take the same pictures every year but…. I just can’t help myself.


Looks like it’s been extruded from a pasta machine.


Now like it’s been sliced with a cleaver.


Now like the inside of of a chocolate bar. 


Out and heading south and the oversized load and big trucks that were behind us have blown by.  We travel at 60mph…not 70.


More interesting hills that would make a stunning painting.


Coming into Hiko where it is green and lovely in sharp contrast to the grey, treeless hills.


Lots of ranching here as well.


Just before the right turn to Alamo we stop for lunch under the big ash trees.


There must be water under these plants because they are very green.


Amazing shade from these huge trees.  They remind me of the monstrous Cottonwood trees at home.  We had one fallen that was a hundred and thrity feet tall and when it went down it shook the earth and created a huge wind.  Sad, but it was too close to our barns and in a big wind…which we frequently get, it would have caused huge damage. 


I just love the bark.


There we are.


Is that interesting or what.


Up close…not so big but….


….far away it’s huge. 


Turn right for Alamo.  To the left you can climb up to Ely as well but it’s a more difficult route that we’ve never taken.


Pretty and green.


Here we are parked at Pickett’s RV park that is now not owned by…Pickett’s.  The new owners are very nice and decided to leave the name as is.  This picture was taken this morning and we are the only ones left.  We’ll head out to Quartzite tomorrow where we’ll park at Quail Run and I can do some laundry before heading to Phoenix on Monday.  We are having some leaking coolant issues and the truck will need to go to a dealer in Phoenix to see what’s going on.  Eric thinks it might be the water pump but it needs to be up on a hoist to tell.  Never a dull moment!