So far outside the box you can't even see the box from here.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
The long road to Texas
Our time in St. Augustine was coming to an end. We were supposed to be off our campsite by 1 p. m.. Only problem, the van would not start. It kicked over, but would not keep running. That puzzled the heck out of me until I noticed a switch on the dash.
It looks like that while the dog was jumping around the cab of the van she tripped the veggie switch. In normal operation we only switch to veggie once the tank is good and hot. Cold veggie was sucked into the engine and plugged everything up.
The clock was running. I tried to clear the lines using a 12 volt compressor. I even switched out the diesel filter and sponged the waste veggie out of the filter housing. The van ran a bit then died completely. At that point no veggie at all was being fed by the fuel pump so I got the idea that maybe I lost another fuel pump.
In the mean time the park Rangers were trying to find a garage that could take the van. Cell phone connections in the park were terrible so they were using a land line at the Ranger Station. The garage that the park normally used was swamped by all the college kids on spring break. Finally ABC towing was able to take the van to a garage.
. . . which shall remain nameless. They agreed to take the van but once we got there we were told they could not work on it. ABC sent another tow truck. The driver suggested Karr Doctor in St. Augustine. I'm glad he did. They guys there really know their stuff. They quickly discovered the fuel pump was fine. I'd let too much air in the fuel system while changing the fuel filter. He was able to clear the system and start the van right up. They didn't even charge me. In fact, they wouldn't let me give them beer money. How's that for service?
By the time we took care of business we didn't leave St. Augustine until 6:30 p. m.. We only got as far as Tallahassee where we spent the night camped in a truck stop.
We got up early in the morning and continued out journey. There we were, driving down Route 10 in the dark. Suddenly I saw sparks behind the van. I assumed that one of my safety chains came loose and was dragging in the road. Imagine my surprise to see the trailer was completely missing. The receiver hitch had slide out and the bolt that held the safety chains on the trailer had snapped off.
My lovely wife called 911 to report a missing trailer. We assumed there might be a debris field all over the highway somewhere behind us. We had to drive 8 miles up the highway to the next exit then another 8 miles back. By the time we got there a sheriff had found the trailer off the road in a ditch.
The trailer was right side up on its wheels. A rope and a strap had snapped. Some wiring was broken. I made one more trip up the road to an auto parts store for some parts. It took about a half hour to do emergency repairs. The ditch off the side of the highway looked too soft to drive the van to the trailer so I tied a long rope and pulled it out that way.
Things were going pretty well until the afternoon when the trailer blew a tire. My spare tire was somewhere under a snowbank back in New Hampshire. A gas station let me leave the trailer there until I was able to pick up a couple of new tires at a Tractor Supply.
Eventually we made it to my wife's parent's place in East Texas.
Today I noticed a badly cracked steel beam under the trailer. My father-in-law and I were able to bolt a reinforcing beam to stiffen up the trailer. There's a short somewhere in the trailer light system. Before we head down the road I'm going to replace the trailer lights with LED submersible lights.
We've had some travel issues, but we've been incredibly lucky. No one's gotten hurt. Damage is limited. Repairs have been relatively inexpensive. In the end the problems are fixed and we have some cool travel tales.
I live in an area of NH known as the Great North Woods. I'm in my dome-i-cile out in the county with my lovely wife and a varying number of family and friends
-part red neck, part hippie but all country. Experimenting and enjoying the adventure of life.