May 5, 2017 5 things you don’t want on a 1200 mile road trip

Remember the article I mentioned about how people like articles that have lists? Here’s my list of what we had happen in 4 days:

2 flat tires, 
Only 1 spare tire,
1 blown fuse,
1 malfunctioning furnace,
200 extra miles of driving.

Like I said, I taught all of my classes right up to April 28. I also had a doctor appointment that afternoon, but we decided we could be ready to go that afternoon, at least get away even if it was only 30 miles. So we finally left our house with the 5th wheel at about 6:30. We had to unhook, go get our 20’ utility trailer and put it back in our storage lot, pick up the 10’ utility trailer, aka ‘the pup’, go get the 5th wheel and hook the pup up behind the 5th wheel and finally get out of Green Valley about 7:00. We headed east and the wide spot we had picked out happened to be on the road to the fairgrounds. It’s fair week, it’s Friday night, and there’s a grandstand show that starts at 8:00 and there is a line of traffic all the way to Tucson. We park, have a light supper and go to bed. Of course at midnight after the grandstand show is over and the fair is closing up for the night, all of those cars that were headed south, are now headed north, past the trailer.

After a fitful nights sleep, we get an early start and head east on I-10. Our rear view camera is working fine, the pup is towing fine, everything is fine. After about 100 miles, we heard the noise you don’t want to hear, a loud pop, like an oversized balloon exploding, only it was a tire on the 5th wheel. Driver’s side. Fortunately, there is a pretty wide shoulder and most of the traffic moves over like they are supposed to. Still not a comfortable place to be. Jay manages to get it changed pretty quick and we are on our way again.

We make it to Elephant Butte Lake State Park in New Mexico. We figure we’ll stay here two nights, get some tires ordered in Albuquerque, and rest. We drop the pup and get the 5th wheel backed in to a nice spot with a view of the lake. As I press the switch for the landing gear I get no response. No power to the switch. After troubleshooting that for about 30 minutes, we figured out it was a blown in-line fuse. Easy fix, thankfully.

It was a bit cooler there, supposed to get down in the 40’s overnight so we thought we would fire up the furnace to take the chill off. That doesn’t work. The furnace doesn’t want to light. Well, we are tired after all the excitement of the day so we decide to wait until morning to try to figure out what’s wrong with that.

We spent about 2 hours troubleshooting and taking apart the furnace, checking the wiring, the power to the relays, the switches etc. Can’t find anything obviously wrong so we put it all back together and try one more time to start it and it fires right off. That’s a good thing, because it’s Sunday and it’s going to take us 3 hours to get to Albuquerque and we already have to stop to get the new tires I didn’t really want to spend most of a day in an RV repair shop getting the furnace fixed. 

We were able to enjoy the rest of Sunday afternoon, took a drive in the RZR around the shoreline and get ready for Monday’s long day.

It took us two hours to get going on Monday. Had to load the RZR and my bike back on the pup, hook up the 5th wheel, hook up the pup, and dump the tanks. We were heading north on I-25 just 30 miles from Truth or Consequences and what do we hear? That horrible popping sound again. I’m driving and I’m already tired from the mornings antics. We are heading down a 6% grade with the potential for gusty winds and now we have another flat tire on the 5th wheel. With Jay’s fine coaching I manage to get the whole works safely to the shoulder and then I melt down. 

Jay holds us together and decides we will call the Big O tire store in Los Lunas to see if they can get the tires for us today. I explain to him what happened and that we don’t have a spare as it is already in use. He assures me that he can get us the tires that afternoon, which is fine because it’s going to take me about 2 hours to get there, which is an hour shorter than going all the way to Albuquerque. So we move down the hill to a more level spot and I take off to get us some tires. I was only in town about an hour, getting the tires, fuel and back on the road. We drove about 30 miles to a nice level rest area and called it a day. I did call the nice guy at the Big O store in Albuquerque and cancel the order. I’m not sure he believed my story, but he was nice about it

We were parked very close to Camino de Suenos, an historic trail from Mexico City to Santa Fe. I can’t imagine what it must have been like for people before cars. The trials we had pale in comparison to what hardships they must have endured on their way. But they are our trials and we managed to find a way to cope and keep going. Ganesha must be with us, he is a Hindu god, the remover of obstacles. This past week has been a good test for me to dig deep within and find the strength I have to overcome difficult situations. Just like what I talk about in my yoga classes and meditation practice, come back to the breath. Take 3 deep breaths and see if there is more ease to be able to move through the challenge. It’s hard, but what else can I do?

We made our way to Trinidad in the hills of southern Colorado. It was cool there, at about 6.000 feet, but we had a working furnace so that was fine. We found a nifty little diner in town, Bob and Earl’s, for dinner. I had chili fries that were absolutely delicious. It was nice not to cook dinner.

I spent the evening looking for other places we might stop along the way. There really isn’t much in the high desert plateau, the narrow highways are surrounded by farmland. It didn’t seem like we would be able to get Crawford, Nebraska, our unplanned delays ate up a lot of our drive time. I found a state recreation area, Wildcat, just south of Scottsbluff, with primitive camping. We made it there by 5:00 and decided it was close enough we could stay a couple of nights instead of moving north to Crawford. It was only 3-1/2 hours south of our final destination.


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