AmeriCanada 2015

NOTE:  When Sharon adds comments, they will be in {curly brackets}. 

Day 2. Sunday, July 26, 2015. I'll have a Wheels on the Rocks please. Episode 2. The Boulders.

Up fairly early, changed the built-in electric trailer brake gain between the truck and trailer from 4.0 to 3.5. We will see what affect this has on the wobbling.

We gear up for travel, and are ready to go. I pull forward from our diagonal site, make a gentle right turn, carefully avoiding hitting the truck on the road, then suddenly ...{Actually, the sites here are very close together and the roads are narrow, so Bob has to swing rather tightly to the right out of our site to not hit trailers across the road from us. None of us noticed the boulders lining the driveway of our site.}


I slam on the brakes and yell something like "What the Front Door..?. {I say "Stop, there are rocks", which Shirley says later "those are not rocks, they're boulders!!"} I jump out of the truck, run to the back, around to the right side, and see that I have jammed the front right trailer wheel and the fold down step casing to get into the trailer into two gigantic boulders, placed there by the RV Park to keep people from cutting across the flowerbed or lawn.

I tell Sharon to call AAA while I call the RV park office, to see if they can help. I leave a message, and it's exactly 8 o'clock, the time the office is supposed to open. But it's Sunday, and who knows what they do on Sundays. Though the weekend is their busiest time, so I'm hopeful. I tell Sharon and Shirley what I'm doing, and began the long walk to the office. I see a park pickup driving this way, and cut them off. It's an employee named Sue {Actually the manager who has been here 32 years she says},

who picks me up and we both go to our rig. She studies it, and says confidently, "Don't call AAA. We can handle this here," which is music to my ears, because we are now on a tight schedule to get to northern Minnesota in time to do the normal sequence of events to get into Canada and to our fishing lodge. We do NOT want to be late for this.

Another employee named Greg shows up, and is clearly working under Sue. They go get a moderately impressive backhoe and some chain, and begin the process of dragging the boulders straight away from the trailer without scraping it or doing more damage.{WE had tried backing up at first but could see it would pull off, or damage the steps} After two times of not quite getting the chain set right, and watching the chain pop off, they get it right, and drag the main culprit boulder away, then do the same to the second one.

The pair of tires look odd, with the front one angling inward from top to bottom and the rear one angling outward. Sue thinks there has been damage to the axle, and after verifying availability, says we can stay here tonight, and connect with the local garage Monday (closed Sundays), who can inspect it, and figure out what it will take and how long it will take to do the repair. Sharon gets video of ALL this.

I have the odd thought that sometimes the trailer tires do this odd angling thing when I'm backing up, get almost to a right angle with the truck, then pull forward again. Sharon and I decide to drive forward and see what happens. We do, and the tire angles straighten out. From our experience last year driving to and back from Alaska, I have a long length of cardboard I carry in the forward cargo hold. I get this out, slide it under the trailer, wriggle under, and inspect the underside of the trailer, especially the axles and the tire that hit the rocks. I can see no damage, no oil or liquid leaks, no radically bent equipment of any kind. Sharon and I decide to drive slowly out of here, and make our way into Reno, where we will decide what to do. {We try the steps in and out and they also work and seem not to have been damaged in any way. Whew!}

Sue allows that it certainly up to us, and we absolve her of any responsibility for any future accident caused by unseen damage to the trailer. Sort of checking out of the hospital against medical advice. That is my idea. I give her a nice tip to share with Greg, and we bid her adieu.

Shirley reports that while I'm talking with Sue, Greg shows up, and since Shirley is surprised to see the two boulders not just moved, but gone, asks Greg, "What happened to the boulders?" and Greg says, "They're in timeout." Heh heh.

We slowly leave, making the downgrade towards Reno slowly (like 50-55), and two things become evident. One, there seems to be no damage from the boulder attack, and two, the steering wheel wobble is gone. Yaaay! But we will keep an eye out for any sudden problem appearing in those areas.

We cross into Nevada and gas up near Reno, after which we hit a Walmart. We load up on groceries and have a rather normal (e.g. fantastic!) trip, stopping for lunch and trading drivers as follows:

Beginning of the day - I drive, Sharon in shotgun, Shirley behind me so she can have line-of-sight with Sharon.
Once in the morning and once in the afternoon, I take a break and have a nap in the back seat while Sharon drives, and Shirley moves up to shotgun.

In the afternoon when I wake up, I find an email message from Shirley. It reads:
"Just passed a sign for a girlie joint. It said, 'Girls, Girls, Girls! Truckers welcome. Get off now!' "

We make it to the Iron Horse RV Park in Elko, where Sharon called for a reservation this morning. The weather is perfect.

I attend to little bugs that have been discovered. One is the exhaust (actually reversible) fan over the master bedroom. It would not turn on. I take the fuse out (which I did yesterday, without success), but this time I take the fuse out, pull it out of its holder, reinsert it, and put the assembly back into its position. Voila, or Wal-ah, depending on whether you're French or Walmart - it works!

Now for the satellite dish - since, unlike last night, there are no trees around. The Dish installation fellow gave me a lesson when I picked up the trailer at Camping World, and with the included instruction manuals, I have everything I need. With one push-button, the dish locks onto three satellites, as it is supposed to.

I call the indicated phone number to establish a password, and which level of programming we want.

We have a TV and receiver in the bedroom, and in the living area, and both work. We watch the last half of the movie "Gravity" on HBO. Outstanding. You can get Direct TV or Dish, and we have chosen Dish because they allow you to sign up for service, and get it in 30-day-at-a-time chunks, and turn it off when you are not traveling. Direct TV has no such program. We sign up for the top entertainment package, but add HBO and Showtime. I arrange for auto pay, so we'll likely have this for 60 or 90 days, making that choice near the end of the 60, depending on whether we're still on the road. Best guess is that 60 will be enough.

Oh, and while I was waiting for the dish to do its initialization, I lock the truck and call Onstar, and ask them to open the car door, simulating the case of locking the keys in the car. It works perfectly, and I write down all the necessary codes, passwords and phone numbers to do it in the future, if needed.

We play Rummikub, and laugh a lot, feeling the tension of the morning melt into nothing.

I like the look of the moon over our trailer.


Began: Truckee, CA
End: Elko, NV
Pass Through: Reno, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain
Miles Today: 329
Miles for Trip: 569
Stay at the Iron Horse RV Park again? Yes

Previous Report 1. From Home to Truckee, California. We're On Our Way!
Next Report 3. Elko to West Yellowstone, Montana. The Big Bridge
Next STAR Report (4). West Yellowstone to Hardin, Montana. Yellowstone National Park

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