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!