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Author Topic: 3000 miles; two weeks; 6 people; a 21 year old RV and a tour of the southwest  (Read 14739 times)

swinn

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This was really the kind of trip that I bought my used Pace Arrow for.  A long summer vacation with 3 kids, mom and dad, and grandma riding along.  The rig would be 21 years old, built 1990 and only 86K miles 'new'.  I spent the early part of the summer fixing it up to meet our needs and getting it ready for a big trip.  Lots of misc repairs to jacks, electrical items, loose doors, new mattresses, curtain upgrades, and some major mechanical work like new front brakes and ball joints, as well as replacing all the batteries and undoing some 'repairs' made by previous owners.  34' of class A fun.

The trip would cover about 3000 miles and include a highlight of national parks, starting out in San Diego county and traveling on a southerly route to colorado springs.  The return trip would use a northerly route back to San Diego county stopping at national parks along the way both directions.  Family lives in Colorado springs and a marriage was taking place so our destination was determined by life events.

I had several concerns in the back of my mind.  First of all was tire age.  I had read all of the recommendations on tires and had planned to replace at least a couple of them but hadn't gotten to it, they are so expensive!  Also on my mind was the potential for transmission problems and cooling system issues.  We would be traveling up and over some very high passes and putting the engine and transmission through it's paces.

With these things on my mind, we spent a week slowly loading the RV with everything we needed to set out on our journey.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

Conquest aka Robert

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  • 1996 gulfstream conquest ultra 102
Sounds like a blast of a trip 8) As far as the tires FIRST find the date codes and go from there. I would start with the fronts IF you need to change them. Also make sure you have some kind of roadside plan since you will be a long way from home. Also after you get loaded take it to a set of scales and get a weight to make sure you are not overloaded that will cause you the most trouble. Do you have tools on board to do basic repairs?
1996 GulfStream Conquest Ultra 102  04-19-2011.
2009 Honda Ruckus
1984 Southwind for 6 years.
1 Wife
6 Children who needs pets

swinn

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Our departure day was a Saturday.  I had fueled up the night before (ouch) and the propane tank was full, water and holding tanks serviced.  An early morning departure with 6 on board is tough. especially with 3 young children in the picture but we managed to get rolling an hour after the planned time.  Our drive from San Diego to Grand Canyon should take about 9 hours.

The route I had layed out took us up the I-15 nortth to I-10, then jump across the 177 and 95 north to I-40.  I chose 60 mph for interstate driving which seemed like a good compromise on speed, fuel consumption and handling.  We had done a couple of smaller trips in the new to us Pace Arrow including a trip to Desert hot springs earlier in the summer.  Entering palm springs on the 10 it is very hot and we have all the windows open with a blast of dry summer 105 degree heat drying us out like kindling.  Water consumption by the occupants is very high and ice is flying out of the freezer at an alarming rate.

Driving long distances dulls your senses and lulls you into a false feeling of security.  I can maintain alertness but something out of the ordinary still snaps the senses.  The air temp is extreme and the pavement temp is higher than I care to think about.  My concerns of tire age seem like distant memory, I am driving through the hottest desert and 16,000 pounds of 60 mph force doesn't seem to be any problem.  Then all of a sudden BANG, like a shotgun an explosion on the left side of the rig and a very slight pull to the left.  Slap slap slap.  It was so loud I am convinced I had a blowout on the front left.  Over to the shoulder, off the side and stopped, my heart rate doubled from seconds ago.  Visual inspection finds a rear outside dually blowout.  12" of tread missing, a 6" long hole and a 8" flap of tread hanging loose.

Back in the rig I am only 1/4 mile from an offramp directly into palm springs.  10 mph limp it on the shoulder and see a discount tire on the right, right off the freeway.  Quite sure they can't handle 19.5s but try them anyhow, maybe they can recommend someone.  As expected the service advisor tells me they can't help.  Recommends Parkhouse truck tire only 3 miles away.  I ask him how to get there.  'Take the 10 one exit down, get off, turn left it will be on your left'.  Sir, how do you get there without getting on the freeway.  'You can't, the freeway is the only way to go'.  really?  'yes sir'.

So, I had to consult my own map.  Didn't believe that the freeway was the only way to go and certainly did not want to do 15 mph on the shoulder of the I-10 for even one exit.  Map confirmed it, easy to go around just about a mile farther when using the sidestreets.  Does that guy live here?

Arrive at parkhouse tire and they are closed up tight, it's saturday, surprised my discount service advisor hadn't known there were closed.  They are right next door to a truck wash/service center but they don't do tires.  hmm. what next?  On the cel phones find a mobile tire guy who will come out.  He has no new tires, but has some excellent used ones he tells me.  $160 mounted and installed and he would bring them out for me to choose the one I like.  He can get new ones but wants $250 /ea and he has to charge an extra $100 to go to banning to get them.

After 30 minutes he shows up with three very old, very sad looking tires, DOT codes are pre new style so they are really old.  I'm not paying anything for those dinosaurs!  I send him away.  Didn't he tell me he could get new ones in banning?  If he could, why couldn't I?  Thats only 24 miles away.

On the cel phones again.  Find a truck tire shop that has 8 double coin 19.5s in stock, brand new.  I'll go buy two.  Need to put the spare on to get the 24 miles.  Dig it out of the hold and realize I don't want to change the tire in 110 degree heat with basic tools and no easy way to air up the spare which was low of course.  Sure I could have done it I have a bottle jack and a tire iron, but thats what I bought AAA RV service for right? While I am waiting for him to show up I see a parkhouse service truck show up with a semi truck and is doing some tire work.  Maybe he can help?  I walk over and ask him.  "Sir, can you sell me a tire today to get me going?".  He looks at me with, with a tire sales invoice in his hand, in the middle of selling a tire to the big rig owner and says 'No, we are closed, come back on Monday'.  OK, nice to know buddy, odd how you sell tires to big rig guy on a Saturday and your truck says 24/7 service on the side.  On my walk back to the RV I ask the guy at the big rig oil change/detailing shop if he could put my spare on for me, he says he can do it for $10.  While I ask him, the AAA guy shows up to do it with a service truck compressor and a 1" impact wrench has the tire changed out and aired up for me in 10 minutes.  Nice.

I go slowly, the spare is causing the rig to vibrate.  It is really old.  I make it to the tire shop with no issue and I check out these double coin tires.  Made in china. hmmph.  Anything else available in 19.5 today?  No.  Anything else would be on monday.  OK, I'll take two, put them on the front and put the fronts on the back.  The rears had 4 11 year old discount tire brand tires.  The 'new' ones and my best tires were up front at 8 years old.  The double coins are the same load rating, but are all steel belts as opposed to my poly belted discount tires.  That seems like a good thing to me.  110 PSI for max load on the front.

After they remove the 'good tires' from the front I inspect them.  I had done so before we left, but now each tire has a good crack between each row of tread that wasn't there before.  Only 6000 miles and these 8 year old tires are shot.  I fear more blowouts.  Which is worse, brand new chinese tires or 8 year old cracked tires?  I talk to the manager, what kind of deal can he make me on 6 tires?  $1230 out the door.  My entire 'emergency' bugdet plus a bit more.  Banning is cooler than palm springs but still plenty hot.  I agree and one coke, two quarts of water and three hours later I am riding on brand new tires with balance bead balancing which I have never heard of.  The double coins squat a lot less than the discount brand did.  The ride is firmer and much more solid feeling. The rig is affected by wind and other rigs windblast more than before but otherwise it handles a lot better.  The balance beads seem to work fine and 60 MPH interstate driving is nice and quite a bit smoother than before.

I drive on into what is now the late afternoon on the I-10.  Turn off as planned at the 177 towards the 95 junction.  Wow, this is a remote highway!  Sure glad I have new tires.   Very little traffic and easy going.  Much better than the constant blast of 18 wheelers flying by at 75 mph passing me every few seconds on the I-10.  Lots of water on board for the occupants just incase, there is NOTHING out here.  It is becoming obvious that we aren't going to make it to grand canyon today, the 5 hour tire delay put that out of reach.  20 miles into the 177 I see a lot of police lights ahead.  As they get closer I see 3 CHP driving like they are drunk down the highway swerving from side to side at 45 mph.  I pull as close as I dare to the shoulder as I pass 'soft shoulder' signs and see the soft desert sand.  The CHP loudspeaker says 'get off the highway, wide load coming through'.  The first patrolman comes up beside me and I protest the sand entry and tell him I will probably get stuck.  He says I have no choice.  I ask if they will pull me out if I get stuck, and he says they will make sure I get out.  I pull into the sand, all 16,000 pounds.  I complain to a company lead truck driver as he goes by, he assures me they'll help me if I can't get out.  The 19' wide load flies by at 50 mph.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 01:18:09 PM by swinn »
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

1joester2

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  • Apeo - forever in our hearts. New dog: Duh Kooky
Dude, you write like I do in my "Camper Chronicles" that I maintain with every trip!


Now that you fed us that much....????
Common sense to many of us is, unfortunately, the higher education some strive to attain.

Joe and Carol
2001 Coachmen 220RK W/GM 7.4 Vortec

carson

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  • memories of yore
Wow... Sounds like a novel that should be called "Our trip to Hell and back" followed by a movie in your theaters soon.

  Or, "What not to do with an old RV, too many people and and too many expectations".

Nothing a big wallet with lots of Credit cards won't fix. Sure destroys the time planning o

f the trip. Planning is great but not if the plans are impossible.

   I will probably regret writing this post. But....

Hope all works out for you "somehow" in the end.

Respectfully, Carson FL


Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

Luca1369

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    • Seaworthy.com, Your Bahamas and Caribbean Cruising Advisory
I'm dying to know, did you get stuck?
Steve
1990 Fleetwood Southwind 36'
http://seaworthy.com

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.
I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.
Lao Tsu (570-490 BC)

Gary RV_Wizard

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Did swinn get stuck in the desert? Will they make it to the Grand Canyon while Gramma is still alive?  Tune in next week, same time, same station...  8)
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

Gary RV_Wizard

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Great tale - can't wait to hear the rest. You have a warm and friendly writing style and obviously a great attitude toward those bumps in the road of life.

And what a terrific advertisement for the advice we give here. Some people think we are too much too conservative, but your tale illustrates why we say  harp on these things
Gary
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Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

swinn

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I start to pull out and light throttle gets me a tiny amount of forward motion and a lot of wheelspin.  Slowly moving forward, the sand is sucking me further off the road.  More throttle.  More spin.  moving. slowly.  More throttle, pace is increasing, rear end is sliding away from the road.  Trying to turn left back onto the road,  powersliding a 16K pound vehicle through the sand is foreign to me.  My front left catches the pavement and the slide angle increases as I cut it over a bit more.  The extra hardness of the new all steel tires aren't helping in my battle against the sand.  The final chase car flies by.  Is he even looking back to see if I get it back on the road? The speedometer says 10 mph but I know I am not going that fast.  Finally the left rear catches the pavement, spinning starting to decrease, sliding stops.  All six back on the pavement, wow that was close. 

Dark is closing and the 177 flows by mile after mile.  At the junction for the 95 I stop for a bit of gas, I know I have enough but decide to put 10 gallons in anyways even though it is $5/gallon.  It makes me feel better, I have no idea what the actual range or MPG of the rig is, planned for 6 MPG and from that estimate know I have enought to make it as far as kingman with a 200 mile reserve.  The gas gauge reads under 3/4  but yet I am nervous.  It is dark and over 100 degrees are in the air.  A lone gas station, small mini mart, an abandoned diner and an agricultural inspection station brightly lit make up the entirety of this place.

I pull out at the empty parking lot of the abandoned diner and we make some dinner.  Gen set fired up and A/C running. I dont realize at this point that we can run both A/Cs when on gen power, the single A/C can't keep up with the heat.  Spend about 20 minutes making and eating dinner for all 6.  A knock at the door.  A tall lanky guy in spandex is there.  "how long you going to run that generator, we are trying to camp over here".  I look out the window and 15+ heat tolerant bicyclists have shown up and are pitching tents in an aging 2x4 lean-to hanging off the back of the gas station lit by a lone old dusk to dawn lamp.  We are in the dead center of nowhere and our genset is bothering people. Amazing what people do for fun, maybe he thinks the same of us.  I tell him we'll be moving on in a few minutes.  'thanks' he says.

Back on the road, 95 north.  It is getting pretty late and I am thinking of places to stop.  I want to get out of the heat before we stop for the night, but that is out of the question now.  At least get out of california and reach some cheaper gasoline.  I had planned on reaching grand canyon where it would be cooler but the tire issue has put that out of reach.  I decide to hit the 40 and then try to find some place with a decent campground so we will have power and can run the A/C all night.

Thunderstorms light up the dark desert night sky.  Flashes of emptiness filled with scrub and sand.  We drive through patches of rain, sometimes heavy, sometimes light.  The 95 is in pretty bad shape, the RV rattles and shakes over the heaves of decades old tarmac.  I wish I had replaced the headlights, they don't do much.  I drive with the brights on so i can see, the dims don't seem to do much at all.  Only one guy flashes me, even my brights aren't enough to bother anyone.  I-40 in california is in better shape than the 95, but the truckers have increased to warp speed as soon as we cross into arizona.  They fly by me at 80 mph.  They seemed to drive at 55-60 in california.  When we cross into Arizona the gas gets cheaper and the quality of the roads improve.  I can see the physical change in the paving when we cross into arizona.  I would think federal interstates should get the same level of maintenance in all states?  I see signs for kingman and select it as my stopping point.  I fuel up in Kingman and ask the station attendant if there are any campgrounds nearby.  'not sure, think there is one a couple miles down the road.'  Which way? 'I think down to the right a couple of lights and then left' Do you have a map?  'no'.  Does anyone know anything about the places they live?

Back to the phones, and GPS.  I try to use the GPS/nav unit I put together with Microsoft Streets and Trips.  It is useless I don't know how to use it well enough and it is useless without keyboard which I have but isn't currently plugged in.  My verizon phone won't connect, no service.  Grandmas sprint phone brings up a map and a list of campgrounds.  A KOA 4 miles away.  Navigate google maps.  An odd route on abandoned looking side streets, a short dark tour of a route 66 old town, a wrong turn, a dirt road.  On the final road we pass a drunken party spilling out of suburbia.  A drunk runs beside the RV and yells 'I think I can catch it, they are gonig to the KOA!'.   I speed up and lose the drunk.  We finally arrival at the KOA.  $55 for a night?  wow.  Was supposed to be boondocking in Kaibob naitonal forest for free.  I drive into the campground, try to find a space and pull into the first one I can navigate into.  Midnight.  Try to hook up.  Pulled into the space backwards, oops.  I plug in AC, drop the jacks and we all hit the sack.

The A/C barely cools the RV, I can only run one on shore power.  Fitful sleep.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 02:22:03 PM by swinn »
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

Tom and Margi

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I am really enjoying this!  Love the way you write.  It's like sitting around a campfire relating road stories.
 
Margi

swinn

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Strong sunshine awakens me.  7 AM.  Grandma and I try to sneak out of the RV without waking mom and the kids.  Let them sleep.  Impossible to be silent in a small space and the RV rocks some even on the jacks and everything seems to squeak.  We slip out and the morning air is cool and refreshing.  The KOA is nice.  I decide to throw the schedule out the window at this point.  For $55 we are going to use these facilities, mother says that the kids will like this better than the grand canyon anyways.  She is of course right.  A morning walk reveals a pool, a sad mainly broken mini golf, clean showers, and a rec room.  Our rig is one of the oldest in the park.  A brand new looking prevost dominates a 50 amp space.   A collection of mobile homes lines one street of the park, all single wides.  A bright white pomeranian barks furiously from his steel fencing at our rig all morning.  After a while I get the children up and suited up for a morning swim.  I forgot my trunks.  I put my feet in the water while the children (6, 8, and 10 years old) frolic in the pool.  Foreigners dominate the facilities and I feel like a minority.  A large percentage of the campers are class C rental units filled with foreign tourists.  I appreciate thier presence and the dollars they are spending in our country.  I wonder how they came to end up in Kingman.

We use every facility available.  Showers aplenty, an unofficial round of mini golf, foosball, air hockey and table tennis in the rec room.  Time is passing and I feel the need to be moving again.  Brunch is on at the RV and I prepare for a shower.  I forgot my flip flops.  Everyone else has what they need.  I shower anyways and try to use a towel to keep my feet off the floor that I feel is probably infested with fungus and athletes foot. I could have turned around and hooked up the RV and used its shower but it's not worth it.  We gather up ourselves, I use the dump station for good measure.

With a much shorter distance to the grand canyon I dial up my route in the streets and trips PC mounted to my dash.  It directs me to the I-40 west.  Seems odd.  I am disoriented from our late night arrival so i follow it's direction.  One exit is enough to know it is screwy.  We flip a u-turn and get back on the eastbound.  I ignore the microsoft abomination as it implores me to get off the freeway and use some side streets.  Why is it doing that?  I look at the map on screen and confirm I am going the right way.  We enjoy the scenery as we go up the I-40.  The big 454 works hard up the hills.  Why isn't there a tachometer?  It sounds like it is reaching ludicrous RPM on the slow grades in second.  Wonder how hot the transmission is getting?  What pathetic instrumentation!  The coolant temp climbs slowly from less than half to more than half and I hear the fan clutch engage from time to time as the temp goes up.  All is working well.

The microsoft mapper directs me to an exit number that doesn't exist.  I drive until I see signs but am unclear which exit will take me north to the grand canyon.  I pull one turn around and choose an exit.  Apparently any of them will work.  A short tour of Williams with small 50s and 60s style diners, pleasantly kept and shiny.  RVs are everywhere now and the tractor/trailer traffic doesn't reach this place.  A tourist in a car drives 10 mph through williams making unannounced stops for nothing and then carries on.  I pass them.  We head north out of williams towards the grand canyon.  Beautiful scenery passes by as we approach the grand canyon.  video games capture the eyes of young ones as we go.  Our national park year pass gets us into the park. 

We find the grand canyon and park, view the rim and see the sights.  I see a california condor but everyone else misses it.  I managed to get binoculars on it but could not see it's number clearly.  We see elk on the road in the park.

We have no reservations as I intend to boondock in the forest.  It's getting a little late and we head south to Long Jim Loop road to boondock.   This road was recommended by Sielerbird (sp?) and it is an excellent choice.  Only a couple of spots are flat and accesible enough for the 34' rig but one of them is available.  It looks like a dry camping campground that hasn't been maintained in 10 years.  I set jacks and the start to make dinner. The three day old salmon is bad. I wash it and cook it hoping to save it.  It tastes bad so I have to chuck it.  The fridge doesn't seem very cold.  We make a backup meal of leftover fried brats.  It is much cooler here and the sleeping is better.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 03:24:50 PM by swinn »
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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Thanks for the comments.  My expectation was to have problems with the equipment and it didn't dissapoint!  More to come.  I really came to apprecite the many bits of advice I got here, but had to learn some of it for myself.  I really went back and forth on the tires before I started the trip but with the blowout realized it was too important to take a chance on.  I tried to cover all the possible bases before i started out but unforeseen things happen!  The double coins never gave me any trouble and seem to perform really well.  I couldn't find much about aside from a few positive reviews around the web.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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Morning time again, this time in a lush, green, damp forest.  As has quickly become routine grandma and I sneak out best we can while the others sleep.  On a long walk down long jim loop I see a lone travel trailer with a lone camper standing and leaning on his truck.  I wave hi, and receive a glare in respose.  I look for Seilerbird's rig so I can thank him for the recommendation but he is not here.  We scout out the rest of the dirt road and figure the easiest way back to the pavement which is no problem.

After a light breakfast we hit the road again, taking the rim road east.  We stop at various lookouts and view the canyon from many angles.  The children are interested but cannot appreciate the enormity of what they are seeing.  The scenery is a passing diversion from the glare of 3" screens of nintendo and apple distractions.  I too remember being too young to enjoy the wonders of the world.  Someday they may return with their families driven by the memory of this visit, after all I remember faintly my visit as a child.

We see the charred remains of a large RV on the ground at the east visitor center.  A huge custom built class A+ rig with a liftgate toyhauler garage dominates the parking area.  We park our lowly, ugly, ancient monstrosity in it's shadow.  A few more sights and then back to serious driving.

We pass through reservations.  Navajo, Hopi, Ute.  Mile after mile of bleak emptiness.  Human settlements scattered across the landscape.  A dead horse decorates the side of the road.  We travel the 160 east and north as we head for Colorado.  The 160 is well kept and relatively smooth in arizona.   I stop for fuel somewhere along the 160 in a very small town with decent gas prices.  Going through one canyon, a scrawny adult dog runs into the road in front of me followed by several small pups.  I brake fairly hard and avoid them.

According to my moving map we cross briefly into new mexico and then into colorado on the 160 but there are no signs to indicate the visit to new mexico.  I see a turn off for the four corners monument.  They want $3/head to see a collection of flags and a marker.  I decide to pass, an arbitrary point in the ground doesn't seem worth $18 to me.

Carrying on the 160 into colorado brings thundershowers.  I am glad that I fixed the windshield wipers well before I left, I use them often.  We pass through Cortez CO and then make the climb up into Mesa Verde national park.  I have reservations tonight at the ARAMARK managed Morefield campground.  Even though it is a national park campground the access card does not get me a discount as the national park service does not manage the campground.  It is dry camping but they have a good dump facility and fresh water available.  It is nearly dark when we arrive and everyone wants a shower at the bath house which is too far to walk from a campsite.  I step out of the RV to register as a thunder shower pelts me.  the rain continues while I service the RV.  It stops when I am done and back inside.  Everyone else attempts to shower and I go to service the tanks of the RV and fill up the fresh water for our planned two days of dry camping.  It rains while I service the RV and stops while I drive back to the bathhouse.  I return and it is basically dark.   The reservation is not space specific.  I buy firewood at the camp store and we set off to find a nice space.  It is now completely dark and I have to back into a pitch black space and setup in the dark.  I manage to get into a nice space and step out of the RV to set jacks and ramps and generally level the rig.  It starts raining again as soon as I step out.  It pours.  I finish setting up and geting it level and climb onboard again.  The rain stops.  We make spagetti, eat and head for bed.  It is cool and pleasant here.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 04:10:52 PM by swinn »
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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In the AM grandma and I rise for a morning walk.  We see deer all over within the campground.  Does and their fauns are grazing and playing.  One doe approaches us and munches grass within 20 feet.   After breakfast I get the rig ready for movement and we drive into mesa verde to see the sights.

Mesa verde has a large number of native american cliff dwellings and other artifacts.  They are really interesting and many are easy to access.  The largest ones require paid guided tours by park rangers which are scheduled throughout the day.  We chose to see many of the free sites.  Parking for the class A at the attractions within the park was adequate.  A longer rig might have trouble in a few spots.  A guy in a class 'C' kept the sounds of silence at bay for us as he ran his genset all day at every attraction we stopped at.  Not sure how he got ahold of our schedule since we were unplanned, but he managed to find us at almost every stop.  The children found the indian ruins and cliff dwellings pretty interesting, especially when we got to climb down a a ladder into a pit called a Kiva.  The thunderstorms started and we headed back to the bathhouse so I could get a shower.  Our 50 gallon fresh water tank just isn't enough for 6 showers so we either did spritz style showers or found a bathhouse while dry camping.  It rained as I walked to my shower and back so I got an extra rinse.  The rain stopped when I got back into the RV.

We made a modest campfire and roasted hotdogs, grilled burgers and made smores.  I had to make kindling with a large kitchen knife and the firewood we had purchased.  Add a hatchet to my list of things to put onboard.  And some newspaper too!

Grandma announced that her overhead compartment was wet and we feared a roof leak.  I had sealed the roof with eternabond well in advance of the trip.  Turns out it was just her coffee pot dripping out some water during storage.  She is the only coffee drinker on board so she brought a french press to be able to make coffee without electricity.

While I was setting up, the wind broke off the latch that holds my primary ramp/chock storage bay open for me so now I need three hands there.  No extra latches to replace it with on board, another item for the list.

As far as electricity is concerned, we are being very conservative of our usage while dry camping. I don't like to disturb the peace of these places with the genset if I can avoid it.  I put two brand new marine/deep cycles with a claimed 230 AH on the house battery system just before we started since I had them on hand and the batts that came with the rig when I purchased it were shot.  We seem to have plenty of power but there is no measurement of usage aside from using it, letting the batteries rest and checking their voltage.  Some kind of usage indicator would sure be nice.

We saw more deer in the campground including more does, fauns and a buck.  Everybody got to see deer.  Evening entertainment consisted of a light helping of handheld videos games, table games and lots of sleep.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

ArdraF

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I'm enjoying your travelogue, but that rain cloud over your head also seems to know your schedule!  ;)  Will look forward to the next installment.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

swinn

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Our last morning in Morefield brought some more deer, a morning walk and news that the family we expected to meet in CO later that day would be delayed a day.  Our plan was to dry camp at a remote land site owned by the relatives but did not want to go try finding it by ourselves.  I started searching and we found both a KOA and a state park near the area.  The state park was my first choice due to the cost of the KOA.

We left Mesa verde and paid a visit to the wal mart in cortez to restock on food and other supplies.  Our refer doesn't seem to stay very cold on propane even though the freezer is solid.  I activated a tiny fan that was in the refer when I got the unit with two 'D' batteries.  We'll see if that helps.

Wal mart had everything we needed and I bought some flip flops for future showers.  $2 corona cerveza flip flops, classy.  Showering in a bath house in your socks isn't really pleasant.  I got some trunks for future swimming opportunities too. I figured I could use them for setting up too since it always started raining as soon as I stepped out the door.  After spending way too much at wal mart we fueled up.  Or should I say we tried to fuel up.  I pulled into a station and swiped my card.  As usual the pump stopped at $90 or $100.  I tried to reswipe my card.  The pump computer was so slow it took a LONG time before i could swipe it again.  finally it allowed me to swipe it and it said to 'call card issuer'.  Great.  I called my bank already knowing they had locked the card due to the unusual usage.  I had forgotten to call them and let them know I would be traveling.  They told me it would be reactivated in 20-30 minutes.  I told them I was standing at a gas pump waiting and the cust service guy put me on hole and said he would walk the request over to the department that does that right away.  After completing that 15 minute phone call I swiped the card again and got a 'pay inside' message.   Inside the card worked OK.  Out to the pump and the buttons wouldn't work.  back inside.  She reset something.  Back outside, finally get the pump to work after 45 minutes of messing around with cards, calls and station attendants.  It took $8 more and was full.  During all of this, two delivery trucks had blocked out all exits except the one behind me so i got to back out of the station.  Someone was trying my patience and I had a dr. pepper which seemed to help.  The children bickered and wanted 12V outlets for their devices.  A man at a used car tent sale offered to sell us a better RV.  I smiled and drove on.

On the 160 east I saw an El Monte rv rental rig broken down on the side of the road.

Following the 160 east through the san juan national forest east of cortez is absolutely beautiful.  We crossed the continental divide and stopped for a rest at a beautiful waterfall.  the waterfalls beauty was surpassed by the hordes of chipmunks which fascinated the children more than the waterfall.  Chipmunks are not something we see in southern california.

Our route on the 160 contained a climb through wolf creek pass.  This pass with 7 and 8% grades presented a true test of our cooling capacity and transmission endurance.  As we engaged the steep climb I got into the right lane, placed the trans selector in '2' and maintained 35 for a while.  As the grade steepened I dropped into '1' and maintained 20.  The fan cycled and temps remained within range.  tractor trailers passed us at 35 mph or so, with their turbo diesel engines outperforming our altitude anemic gasoline engine.  We crested the summit at something over 10,000 feet and started down the other side with low gears to minimize brake usage.

Several 'motor coach resorts' with coach age restricted entrance rules set the tone of the place with their spaces full of multi hundred thousand dollar rigs.  We tucked our awning between our tails and drove on.  After emerging from the pass into some plains, we found ourselves crossing through Alamosa.  Alamosa reminded me of El Centro in southern california, bleak, remote and desolate.  I saw another El Monte rental RV being repaired at a shop.

After a few hours of driving we arrived at my first choice for a stop, Lathrop State park.  They had spaces so we stopped.  This little park has a campground with electrical, several small lakes, dump stations, fishing and bathhouses.  If you have a boat, they have ramps.  the spaces are paved which is good because the ground is very soft.  For some reason I decided to pull off onto a place that looked like common pull off to pay my after hours camp fee.  I sunk 4" and thankfully kept rolling as i realized how soft it was.  Disaster averted.

The bathhouses charge by the minute via a coin op shower.  A bill changer is provided if you want a shower but dont have quarters.  A shower cost $0.50 for 4 minutes, and the price was linear up to 20 minutes.  Plenty of sites were available during the week but it was sold out for the weekend.  One night here was in our plan.  Hot water and clean facilities awaited us.  I grilled ribs on my portable grill (in the rain) and we watched 'The last starfighter' after night fell courtesy of our campsite electricity.  The old movie was new to the children.  Finally, sleep.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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The next morning we prepared for travel again, following our usual routine.  Grandma and I up earlier, kids and mom sleeping a bit later.  The camp host had a pace arrow almost identical in age to ours so we felt at home.  Fishing is on the agenda for today so we packed up the beds into tables and couches and headed over to the recreation area of the lake.  The visitor center sells fishing permits so I got one for myself and the kids were free.

The lake is pretty small and I have never fished before.  I bought some powerbait (yellow) at the visitor center and parked at the spot recommended by the visitor center attendant.  He said it was a good spot for trout.  I made pancakes and then got to rigging up the fishing poles and bait.  Having never done it before I took a guess at a rig to catch some trout and grandma and I made a couple of them.  Mom entertained the kids at the swim beach on the lakeshore.

We spent a good part of the afternoon fishing but did not catch anything.  I sought out a local who gave me a tip on the rig setup.  I modified my stuff but still no bites.  They hadn't caught much either.  The time came to move on and we headed into Walsenburg to meet family.

After a brief stop in walsenburg we headed out to some remote private land.  Access is by dirt road and the surface was firm and fairly smooth.  It was pretty steep in places but had no significant trouble getting to it.  Dry camping in the wilderness is pretty nice and we were careful with our water usage for our three day stay.   We spent one day fishing at another lake and caught 2 trout which we fried and ate. Another day the kids went to a waterpark in walsenburg and the adults took some ATV tours of the area on family provided ATVs.  We saw bears, bear cubs, antelope and a mountain lion.  At one point I was on a motorcycle on a remote wilderness road traveling through a meadow and a large antelope buck (is that what they are called?) emerged from the forest and ran parallel to the road.  He was pacing me and running 20 yards off my left.  I accelerated and he matched my new speed.  He followed and we were racing!  He managed 40 mph and then after 1/2 mile or so he veered off into the forest.  What a beautiful animal, I had no idea they were so fast! 

The rig gave us no trouble during this time although one more storage bay latch broke off in the wind.  I used two harbor freight solar panels to help keep our coach batteries up to snuff.

After a very pleasant three day stay with family we moved on.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 05:52:46 PM by swinn »
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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After the remote stay we headed to Colorado Springs where we would again spend time with family.  After a couple hours of uneventful driving we arrived.  I drove past 'the wrangler' rv park and decided it wasn't for us.  I decided to stay at Cheyyene Mountain state park.  The state park has full hookup sites in the shadow of NORAD near fort carson.  20 minutes from colorado springs put us close to where we wanted to be.  Full hookups for the first time in our whole trip.  The spaces at the park are all concrete with new looking streets and very nice facilities.  I was able to get a space there for 2 nights, and then I would have to go back to the office and ask for more nights.  They only do 2 nights at a time without reservations.

At this point we had reached maximum capacity on dirty laundry.  (I mean actual dirty clothes)  The campground had a laundry facility so I got up 30 minutes before it opened and headed up with a carload of laundry (family loaned us a car while we were in town).  5 tent campers beat me to it and were already there.

I went down into colorado springs to find a laundry mat and left mom and the kids to sleep.  grandma was staying with family while we were there.   I found a laundromat somewhere on the 115 north.  It looked good on the outside, but was pretty poor on the inside.  I did 6 loads of laundry and deeply offended the attendant when I asked for my money back on a 75 cent snack out of their vending machine that had expired a year ago.  She refused to give the money back.  I got the laundry done as quickly as possible and got out of there since inner-tubing on a river somewhere was on the agenda for the day.

We met family and headed to some portion of the platte river.  They knew some folks that went tubing a lot and was familiar with the area.  They brought the tubes and shared with us as we spent the day floating down the river.  We set up a safe tube area for the kids and they floated within sight of the adults with a bunch of us out sitting in the river to catch the stragglers.  A good time was had by all, and I think this was the favorite day for the kids of the whole trip.  The rest of our stay in colorado springs was taken up by a wedding and other family activities.  We spent three nights at the cheyyene mountain state park.

I discovered that the state park system in colorado keeps their site fees low by adding on lots of extra fees.  The basic fee is for a campsite, but you also have to have a daily pass for your vehicle.  if you have a motorhome, your motorhome has to have a pass.  If you have a car as well it also needs a seperate pass. If you arrive with your vehicle being towed and physically attached it is included with your motorhome pass, but a car that isn't attached is charged seperate.  All in all, the $7 day passes for vehicles is something to remember when you are comparing to private campgrounds that typically include an extra vehicle. The full hookups were nice and free usage of the shower and power was very nice.  After our three day stay it was time to move on.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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On the appointed day we headed out of colorado springs via costco fuel up.  Our destination is arches national park which consists of a 400+ mile drive over some of the highest passes we could find.  North to denver and then west through vail pass.  The RV was performing admirably with no real issues since the tire replacement.

We climbed the pass with no issues, reaching a peak altitude of 11,118 feet.  The 454 was pretty weak at this elevation but we motored past several similarly sized class 'A' rigs sporting triton V10 engines.  The tractor trailers were still passing up.  The V10 guys flew down the downgrades riding the brakes the whole way.  I used a lower gear and an on/off cycle on the brakes to keep them cool.  I don't like to take chances on driving style when it comes to heavy vehicles.  The scenery through the pass was some of the most beautiful of the whole trip.  The colorado river flowing through the gorge, crossing the continental divide, river rafters starting and ending their journeys, it is all just beautiful.   Several tunnels bore through the mountains and make for an impressive distance through mountains.  Trains travel up and through the pass hauling coal and natural gas.  After the pass we settled into the plains cruising at 55-60 mph on cruise control.  The cruise control worked really well and I made liberal use of it.  About 60 miles from arches on a slight down grade I noticed we were slowing down, passing through 45.  It seemed odd that we should be slowing down on a downgrade.  I though the cruise control had disengaged so I hit the accelerator.  The sound changed but no acceleration.   hmmm.  Oooh, check engine light is on.  OHHH.  engine isn't running.  Thats not good, it took me a little bit to realize what had happened.  I pumped the accelerator and it sprang back to life and the check engine light went out.  I looked at the other adults riding with me and we exchanged concerns without saying anything.  I pressed on as we were in the middle of absolutely nowhere.

For 30 miles no more trouble or even an indication of trouble.  Then on a slight upgrade I felt the power loss and knew engine wasn't running anymore.  I pumped the accelerator pedal but nothing.  check engine light came on again.  we were decelerating fairly quickly and I felt the steering go heavy.  The brake pedal became ineffective as we slowed further.  I muscled the wheel and got it to the shoulder.  I shut off the ignition and tried to start it.  It restarted like normal, but then after a couple of seconds started sputtering and died.  I repeated this exercise a couple of times and then it would not start at all.  I had a bout a half tank of gas.  I checked the oil, it was a bit low so I topped it up.  I looked under the hood and around the rv and found nothing out of the ordinary.  I got back in, cranked it and it fired right up.  Ran like normal.  We pressed on towards moab, the closest 'city' around.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

Wendy

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I'm enjoying reading of your travels. When you were at the Cortez Walmart, you were 2 blocks from my house !! Sounds like you're having a great trip and you're traveling thru some of the most exciting parts of the country.
 
Enjoy your travels
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

34footer

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The engine trouble may be a simple fuel filter. Did you change it during the time you serviced the MH?
J
1988 Pace Arrow, 34 feet, Chevy 454
                       So Cal

rhmahoney

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Battery tip. To check it under load, use 11.7 V as an indication of 50% charge. Try to not let it get below 50% to maximize the life of the battery.
Green Flash seeker
Country Coach Magna
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swinn

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Things ran like normal the rest of the way into moab.  I fueled up again, been doing that often!  Averaging 8.2 mpg for the trip.  Searched out parts stores in moab and they were all closed.  Everything seemed OK so we drove on out to the campground in arches where I had a reservation for two nights.  The camp host read the rule sheet to me and I setup in the dark.  Thankfully my personal raincloud was gone so I was able to setup dry for a change.  The trouble with the engine quitting, the heat, the late hour and the broken latches on my primary chock storage bin tried my patience.  I seemed to lack the ability to properly set my ramps up and had to try three times.  The spaces are not very level in arches so I used 4 of my specially made 2x6 ramps to level it up.  They consist of 3', 2' and 1' 2x6 bolted to each other with angles cut at each level and a chock bolted to the top level.  They stack up on each other and store compactly.  I try to get the rig as level as possible with ramps first and then use the HWH jack system for stabilizing and small adjustments. Arches was the most challenging leveling job of the whole trip.

After getting setup and level as I could (still ended up 2 degrees nose down) I did a final walkaround the rig and heard an odd noise coming from the rear of the rig.  I had never heard anything that far back on it before and I realized it was coming from the fuel tank.  It was running continuously and changing pitch slightly up and down.  Obviously it was the fuel pump, still engaged even though I had shut the ignition off 30 minutes ago.  I went and cycled the ignition on and off and the pump kept running.  I used the battery disconnect and that got it to stop.  Re-engaging the battery did not bring it back online so I figured the fuel pump relay had been stuck and was hoping it was the source of my troubles.  It was hot in arches, but cooled off some that night.  Dinner was meager it was so late and so hot that by the time I got done setting up that no one felt like making anything much.  Sleep was challenging in the heat and the sites are completely dry with no services.  They have some toilets and washing facilities.  We all turned in for the night and I pondered the unfolding fuel issues as I tried to sleep.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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The next morning in arches we fell into our usual routine again with early morning coffee for grandma and tea for me.  The views of arches from the campground are really nice.  The early morning air was cool and refreshing after the frustration of the day before.  I decided to get back into moab and get a fuel pump relay installed, I already knew where the parts stores were.  After breakfast I loaded up my ramps and everything was running just fine.   We stopped by the delicate arch overlook on the way out and saw that sight.  We saw several other nice views and got to a checkers in moab. 

Checkers had the fuel pump relay in stock and after seeing what it looked like I went out to find it.  After a fruitless 30 minute search I inquired if there were any truck/rv repair shops around.  The only game in town was just down the street.  I pulled in and the man on duty was working on a broken El Monte rental class A rig.  That was the fourth broken El Monte rig I had seen, one being towed, one on the side of the road, one at another shop and now this one. Wonder what is up with that?  The repairman told me he was tracing a short in the electrical system and would be with me in 10 minutes.  I went back to the RV to have lunch with the family.  I made the discovery that my 6000 watt onan would run both AC units at the same time.  We battened down the hatches and fired it all up and enjoyed the cool air.  After 30 mintues lunch was over and still no sign from the mechanic.  I went out to inquire and the boss had shown up and they were chatting.  They told me another 10 minutes.  I waited 10 and then went out to tell them I needed to move on and he said he was almost done and ready to help me look for the thing.

After a few more minutes he finally came out and started searching.  I got my flashlight and now that the engine was a bit cooler was able to look a little more closely.  I found two relays that looked exactly like the new one.  The mechanic told me he was pretty sure the aft relay was the fuel pump.  I wanted to positively identify it so I unplugged it and turned the key on.  The fuel pump still ran with the ignition on.  I unplugged the other one and the same test proved that neither relay was for the fuel pump.  We searched for a while longer and could not find it.  He told me the other RV was unfixable and I got the impression that I needed to go somewhere else for help.  I packed it up and headed out.  We decided to go back out to arches and spend the night at the campground.  I have no idea what those two relays do or where the fuel pump relay is located.

We drove back out to arches and I still had a full tank of gas.  I ran the genny while driving and both ACs full blast to battle the heat.  As I slowed down into arches campground the engine cut off and we coasted to a stop in the middle of the entry to the campground.  People were able to get around us and thankfully no more RVs came while we were stuck there. It would restart for only a few seconds.  I let it cool down as I was now thinking it was heat related. Running the genny probably didn't help with its exhaust and other heat blowing around down there by the fuel tank.  I had my wife start it while I listened to the fuel pump and it pulsed and sputtered and the engine died.  It never stopped running completely but was erratic in it's sound.  I was beginning to face the reality that I had a fuel pump dieing.  We let it cool for about 15 minutes and then with two starts got it into the campground and parked in front of the first restroom.  I decided to take a hike and let it cool and then get it into the space.  I would use the hike to think about the situation and decide what to do.  I got the family together and we started out towards the devils garden hiking area.  I met the camp host along the way and explained to him that I needed to let it sit there for an hour or so to cool and then I would eitehr have it towed if it wouldn't run right or move it out of the common parking area.  The host protested and complained that I was using up valuable bathroom parking.  He insisted that I do something.  I told him my only option was to leave it or attempt to move it right now and end up blocking the entire campground with it's stuck bulk.  He told me he didn't like it and walked away.  We went off to hike the landscape arch trail which is about an hour out and back.

Landscape arch is huge, over 300 foot span with a very small amount of rock making up the span.  Very impressive.  During the hike I decided that I needed to drive when it was as cool as possible and try to get to a bigger city for repair.  We finished the hike and the big 454 started and ran like normal.  I got it into the space and cooked chicken over a wood and charcoal fire along with potatoes wrapped in tin foil that I set in the coals to bake.  Nothing like campfire food!  Still tough to sleep and had the alarm setup early to get started while it was cool.  I figured I could always call the AAA for a tow with my handy RV grade of membership if I got into a jam during the next days travels.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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The next morning everyone was up for an early departure.  I decided to forgo our final destination of bryce and head on the interstates back towards home on the most direct route possible.  I refilled at moab to have as much fuel as possible and bought several gallons of extra drinking water in case we has an extended wait on the shoulder somewhere.  I drove at a bit faster clip than usual up to the I-70 to get off of the road from moab/arches with no shoulder as quickly as possible.  On the 70 I set the cruise and started pulling down the miles at 62 mph.  750 to get home.  I stopped in mesquite for fuel and filled up from a half tank in the beginnings of the desert heat.

We descended on into the valley and came into las vegas.  I had a nagging feeling that slowing down would cause me to lose the engine again, just like happened in arches the day before.   I hit traffic near the Sahara exit and had to slow down.  As soon as I did, the engine cut out.  We had done more than 400 miles.  I was two lanes from the shoulder trying to avoid traffic.  I signaled to get over and no one would have any part of letting me over so i started cutting it anyways as my momentum kept me moving.  People honked and flipped me off, but they let me in.  I got to the shoulder and stopped it.  It was the same deal, restart for a few seconds.  I didn't care for being on the shoulder of the I-15.  we were stuck between a concrete wall taller than the RV and the first lane of traffic.  Nevada DOT stopped by and put out flares for us. (triangles or flares are another thing to add on board).  I called AAA and they took all my info for a tow.  After 30 minutes on the phone with them they told me I had already used the 1 RV service I got with my RV membership back when I had them put the spare on.  They offered to connect me to a tow company.  Hadn't read the fine print very closely.  I decided to wait it out, we had been there for 45 minutes by then already anyways.  Another 15 and I fired it up, floored it and booked it for the next exit which was only a few hundred yards away.  I took it and headed AWAY from the strip.  It started stumbling me and I fought the accelerator for more distance.  I made it to the stop light and it died while the light was red.  I saw an empty lot to my right so when it was green and the  coast was clear I fired it up again and managed to get around the corner and into the empty lot.  it died again.  Things were stacking up against me but I felt fortunate to have made it this far.  I evaluated my options and concluded I either would have to store it in vegas and get my family home or get it fixed on the spot.  It was friday at 4 PM and the air was 105 degrees.  We sat sweltering in the vegas sun until a tall building across the street offered shade in the late afternoon.  I called around to motorhome repair shops and none were up to the job, it was a bigger rig than they could handle.  I then decided to try calling truck repair shops and found a place called J&S diesel service.  He agreed to leave his yard open for me so I could limp it over the 3 miles to his shop.  After almost 2 hours of cool down the rig started and drove normally again.  I used side streets and my wife guided me with the map on her phone.  We found the yard, parked it and hoofed it down to a motel 6 that was conveniently only a few hundred yards away and was nearly the cheapest game in town.  I didn't want to sleep in the RV with the genset running all night long in a truck repair yard in the vegas heat with no showers for everyone.  We all slept pretty well.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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I woke up at 7:30 the next morning, a Saturday.  The truck repair shop was open at 8 so I grabbed a vending machine snack and walked over to the shop.  They were open until noon so there was only 4 hours to find out what would happen.  I talked with the owner and he already had a fuel pump, inlet screen and fuel filter on the way.  His tech put the RV up on a massive lift and started working on it while I made payment arrangements and signed off on the quote.  I waited in the lobby mostly since they didn't want me out in the yard.  I would have liked to have seen how they wrangled the 700 pound tank nearly full of fuel off without draining it!  He told me he had two techs on it to try and get it done by closing time.  If it wasn't done we were going to have to spend the rest of the weekend in vegas and wait until monday.  At 12:05 the owner came out and told me they were done and it was just being test driven.  He had actually reduced the labor and the parts cost a bit less than the original quote so it came out to a few hundred less than I had been expecting.  He used OEM parts.  The new pump had a completely different tone to it and ran at a different, steady pitch.

We boarded and prepared for the final push to San Diego.  2700 miles down, 300 to go.  The big block chevy ran smoother and seemed to have a bit more power.  The idle was noticeably improved.  I spooled it up to my usual 62 mph and headed south on I-15.   I followed a trucker for a while that was swerving from lane to lane, onto the shoulder and generally driving like a drunk.  I got on the CB and told him I was going to report him to nevada highway patrol.  He stopped swerving for a minute or so and then went back to it.  He nearly hit several cars passing him on the left lane.  I called 911 and reported him as drunk.  He got off on an exit, came to a stop and was last seen hanging off the side of his rig, maybe he was throwing up, I don't know.

After crossing into CA and the late afternoon coming on I decided to stop for some more ice and some bread to make a late lunch.  I had been hearing a bit of an odd sound but with the wind noise and other motorhome noises couldn't place it.  As I slowed down I began to hear a screeching sound.  The sound got louder as the other noises subsided and seemed to be following my wheel speed.  I thought of the new front bearings I had put in and was thinking one of them had gone bad.  I gave it some gas and the pitch increased with throttle, not speed.  Then I realized it was a fan belt issue. I finished pulling over and shut off the motor, preparing myself for a frozen item on the fan belt circuit.  I had seen the voltage before I shutdown so I knew it wasn't the alternator and figured it might be and idler or tensioner.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

swinn

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Gary, the tire advice given here is right on.  Unfortunately I had to learn it myself first hand to really believe it.  An explosion that sounds like a shotgun going off next to your head is enough to smack some sense into a person.  I am thankful it was a rear and not the front.  I can't imagine how violent a front blowout would be.

Believe me a blowout on these big trucks is NOT a pleasant experience even on the rear, and that is not including the time and inconvenience of dealing with it in a location far from home. I am certain that if I had replaced only two tires I would have left a string of blown tires across my path and delayed my journey by days as I scrambled to find more tires of the right size.  I was fortunate that the thing blew only 24 miles from a shop with enough 19.5s in stock to outfit my entire rig on a Saturday.  I may replace the two front double coins with a better known brand just for peace of mind, but I am not sure.  I have no idea how to tell if those tires are decent quality or not.  They have 3000 miles on them already and their DOT code dates them as only 6 months old. I like the all steel belt construction and am willing to trade a little ride comfort for strength.  The balance beads seem to work really well, it may be my imagination but it seems like when you first start out you get a bit of vibration and it smooths out as you roll along.   I assume they are just rolling around in there dynamically balancing as I go.

Thanks for the other tips and the battery advice everyone.  I bought some digital volt meters to install on the wall so I will have more than the 'good/bad' dummy light that came with the RV.  The 11.7 under load will come in real handy.  I had not changed the fuel filter during my servicing I should have done that, but the fuel pump was certainly on it's last leg.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

mike eddleman

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I am really enjoying the story. Sounds like you have a bit of the same luck I have. I have a 99 Bounder, It seams like us with the older rv's have none of the luck. I had a older Pace Arrow with the same engine as yours and the fuel pump left me the same way. I thought it was having battery troubles because it would not turn over again. Found the Alternator bad, the battery bad and still had to replace the fuel pump. I found the wires going to the old tank pump and installed a inline pump and got it off the road. It ran great with the pump like that.

swinn

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My pulloff was at a tow company. A large wrecker and several disabled large vehicles already occupied the large paved lot that I joined.  With the engine off I surveyed my situation and thoughts of serpentine belt replacement inside a miserable doghouse area filled my mind.  Finding parts in this tiny little town would not be easy.  I looked over the dash and noticed that one of the dash A/C buttons was depressed.  A light went off in my head and I realized I had bumped the dash A/C controls when I got on the CB many miles back.  I placed it back in the 'off' position and restarted the engine.  The squeal was gone.  The dash A/C does not work and I had never turned it on before since owning the rig.  Problem solved.

The final issue was finding some bread to make sandwiches with.  I stopped at a gas stations with a 'food mart' sign.  Inside the store was the typical fare, minus the 'food'.  Seems they had forgotten to put the work 'Junk' in front of their food mart sign as any basics one might require such as bread were soreley missing from their inventory.  I grabbed a bag of ice from the freezer and a few liquid treats for the other inhabitants of the motorhome.  At the counter a tip jar was labeled 'help me get out of this town'.  I couldn't have said it better myself.  I considered putting a dollar in his jar but thought better of it since I might need that dollar for an RV problem down the road.  Breadless I loaded myself back in the motorhome and fired it up.  Rejoining the I-15 southbound we travelled on mile after mile.  Soon familiar exits and sights began to appear and we were home free.

Our journey had come to and end, but the repairs, enhancements and updates have not.  My list of to-dos has grown while some items have been checked off.  As I look over the envelope full of repairs past and trips taken by PO I wonder if a newer rig would really bring much more reliability.  Seeing newer Class A DPs on tow trucks along our journey makes me think that no matter what equipment you utilize there is always a chance that problems will be encountered and repairs will be necessary.

My concerns of cooling system failures and transmission problems never materialized into reality.  Hopefully preventative maintenance and better instrumentation can hold those concerns at bay for future trips.  Considering this was really the maiden voyage of a new to us motorhome I feel that we did pretty well with only two real problems.  The tires could have, and should have been avoided in the first place, and better instrumentation (like a fuel pressure gauge) would probably have foreseen the fuel pump issue.  My to do list includes adding some real gauges to monitor vital signs with useful information and probably include TPMS as well.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

Tony_Alberta

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Thank you very much for your story.   I quite enjoyed reading it.   

Also nice to see you figured out the squealing yourself from the indash A/C.   I suspect you sat there thinking about things a bit rather than just panicking and "gotta do something right now!"  Which is a very good thing.

1joester2

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  • Apeo - forever in our hearts. New dog: Duh Kooky
You know, J.K.Rowling was destitute before she visited the publisher...


I think you have a spectacular ability to write, and I look forward to future posts from you.


Joe
Common sense to many of us is, unfortunately, the higher education some strive to attain.

Joe and Carol
2001 Coachmen 220RK W/GM 7.4 Vortec

Conquest aka Robert

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  • Posts: 614
  • 1996 gulfstream conquest ultra 102
GREAT STORY ;D You should become a writer!! You make me want to write my story from IL to TX going in a 1984 and returning in a 1996. ::)
1996 GulfStream Conquest Ultra 102  04-19-2011.
2009 Honda Ruckus
1984 Southwind for 6 years.
1 Wife
6 Children who needs pets

ruthandken CDN

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  • Posts: 824
    • Five - Just Rolling Down the Road
Gosh, that was as good as a novel.  Thank you so much for writing it.  I really, really enjoyed reading it AND made me appreciate that the problem we had last year in Flagstaff was not such a big deal after reading what you've been through.
Thanks.

Ruth
Ken & Ruth,
fur kid, Jackson(golden retriever)
2013 Jayco Pinnacle 36 REQS
2011 F350 Ford Super Duty Dually with crew cub
Dogs are not my whole life but they made my life whole.
http://fivejustrolling.blogspot.com/

ArdraF

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I agree - you're definitely a good writer.  I'm just happy you all made it back home safely, albeit a little poorer than expected.  ;)

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

carson

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  • Posts: 4925
  • memories of yore
Quote
You know, J.K.Rowling was destitute before she visited the publisher...

A Star is born, again... would make a great personal blog. Maybe a Novel..

  Good reading, nevertheless, Thank you.  8)

Carson FL
Carson, 
 West Central Florida
Ex RV'er. (1995 Winnebago Adventurer)
2007 Buick Rendezvous, SUV / CROSSOVER

...Logic works like a charm...

Tony_Alberta

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Speaking of writing I quite like the stories at Spearfish Lake Tales.  No murders, no science fiction or fantasy, no politics just reasonably regular folks, with a few quirks, going about their lives.  He posts a chapter three times a week.   One or two novels are set around rafting trips down the Grand Canyon.

My point being that he is selling these books online.  Is he making a living?  I don't know.  But I do spread the word when I can.

(Ok, so there are a few serious quirks in some of the stories.   :) Like Jennlyn who owns her own jet.)

mike eddleman

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Don't guess you are taking another vacation anytime soon are you. I hate to Wait until next year for another story

Betty Brewer

  • Forum Staff
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  • Posts: 4586
Scott,

I find you to be a true RVer.  You are able  to think on your feet and you don't let  the issues of the road get you down.  Your reporting is  exceptional, informative, entertaining and a very  good read.  I will follow your stories anywhere.  Keep on telling us like it is and  find a rally to join.  You would be a hoot around a campfire.  I'm glad you  made it home  safely!  Looks like  you are a fast learner!



Betty
Betty Brewer

see where we are

swinn

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Thanks for all the positive comments!  I enjoyed writing about it almost as much as experiencing it.  Everyone had a good time in spite of the challenges.
Scott
1990 Pace Arrow 34L class 'A'

Wendy

  • Forum Staff
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  • Posts: 12481
Thanks for all the positive comments!  I enjoyed writing about it almost as much as experiencing it.  Everyone had a good time in spite of the challenges.

You remember the trips that are "eventful" a lot more than the ones where nothing happens. But I'm wishing a nice uneventful trip for your next outing :)
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Tom and Margi

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Life interrupted so I just now finished reading your travel tales.  Just have to tell you again how much I enjoyed reading your narrative.  I hope you continue RVing and continue writing about your trips.
 
Margi

diehard

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Gary, the tire advice given here is right on.  Unfortunately I had to learn it myself first hand to really believe it.  An explosion that sounds like a shotgun going off next to your head is enough to smack some sense into a person.  I am thankful it was a rear and not the front.  I can't imagine how violent a front blowout would be.

I really enjoyed your travel log.

Trust me... a front blowout isn't fun at all.  You felt a slight pull when one of the rears blow... it's not 'slight' in the least for the front.  What you need to do in the case of a front blowout is quite the opposite as your instinct might tell you.  You need to get ON the gas a bit to get it back under control, and then ease it over.  You instincts want you to slam your foot on the brake as firmly as you can without locking it up, which, in this scenario, will probably cause more trouble than help.
1999 Itasca Sunrise
2010 HHR frog
Travels with DW, DD and a Boston Terrier

Barryn514

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Scott,

Really enjoyed reading about your adventure and can't wait to read another one soon.

I also live in the San Diego area, East County and it sure has been hot here.

Cheers,

Barry
2013 Fleetwood Bounder
El Cajon, CA

micd111

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Great writing style! Loved reading about your adventures. We also lost our fuel pump after going through the south/west CO area. Mechanic who replaced it indicated City Market in the area had bad gas and he had lots of fuel pump failures. Don't know if that is where you got yours but we got some at the City Market in Cortez going to the Grand Canyon and again at the City Market in Cortez coming from the Grand Canyon. He recommended only getting fuel from Conoco, Shell etc when in an unfamiliar area. Basically the big brand names.

You should consider starting a blog to chronicle all your RV adventures. You and your family will really enjoy going back to read them in the future. Especially the kids.

Cheers!
Michelle
http://1994brave29rqrv.blogspot.com/
1994 29RQ Winnebago Brave
P30 chassis with Chevy 454 engine
http://1994brave29rqrv.blogspot.com/

Wendy

  • Forum Staff
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Mechanic who replaced it indicated City Market in the area had bad gas and he had lots of fuel pump failures. Don't know if that is where you got yours but we got some at the City Market in Cortez going to the Grand Canyon and again at the City Market in Cortez coming from the Grand Canyon. He recommended only getting fuel from Conoco, Shell etc when in an unfamiliar area. Basically the big brand names.

I think someone was telling you a story. We live in Cortez. We buy almost all our gas at the City Market there. And we have never had a single fuel problem in any of our vehicles, not the motorhome or the VW or the Ford or the Pontiac or even the lawn mower.
 
In fact, nearly all the gas in the area comes from Western Refinery and that includes Shell, Conoco, Mobil and all the rest. They use different additives but they get their gas from the same place.
 
Oh, and one more thing, City Market is part of King Sooper which is part of Kroger so it is a "big brand."
 
Wendy
 
 
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 09:36:05 PM by Wendy »
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

nothing suss

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Re: 3000 miles; two weeks; 6 people; a 21 year old RV and a tour of the southwest
« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2011, 04:41:00 AM »
That was a fantastic read,thanks for sharing.

Lorna

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    • Our itinerary
Re: 3000 miles; two weeks; 6 people; a 21 year old RV and a tour of the southwest
« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2011, 01:13:51 PM »
You are an excellent writer and enjoyed it very much.  Glad everyone had a great trip, excluding the mechanical problems.  You and the family arrived home safely and that is all that matters.
Lorna
Better to drive thy closet than pack thy suitcase
Want to know where we are?
http://whereis.nedreiter.com
Follow our trip of the USA at http://blog.usabyrv.us

PatrioticStabilist

  • Guest
I started reading this thread last night and couldn't stop.  The writing was so good, I found myself hoping that you kept writing the next installment, sort of a cliffhanger.

But sounds like you had a great trip even with all your "adventures" Hope to read more of your adventures in the future.

PancakeBill

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  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
I am sitting in a repair facility waiting foor my fuel piump to be delivered and installed in the morning.  No AC problems, the snow on the roof is keeping us cool.  Furnaces running fine.

I missed this thread back when it started, read it all the way thru tinight.  I had a tow of about 120 miles yesterday.  Not fun.

This was the start of it.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 08:59:16 PM by PancakeBill »
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Jim Godward

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Bill,

Glad you are safe and sound even with all the $$$$$$$$$$$ involved.  We are hoping you get a quick repair and can head south tomorrow.
Jim
Jim & Pat Godward
AC7PO & KD7ZDM
Hillsboro, Oregon

KarenS144

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I missed this thread too so thanks to PancakeBill for bumping it up.  I have literally Laughed Out Loud while reading about your trip.  DH kept asking what I was laughing at!  I love your writing style and your courage for completing a trip with 6 people in a MH.  There's not much doubt that this trip will be remembered and become legendary.

Soo..when is the next trip??
Karen
"Traveling" with 1 DH and 2 boxers
2011 Georgetown 280DS

 

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