Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Experience is a teacher: day 2

We awoke at 6 and tried to start the RV. No luck. Scott from the local towing company gave us a jump and told us how to start the rig with the starter button using the house batteries. We left at 7 and headed north.

Highway 97 in Oregon is beautiful but there aren't many services along the way that are open when you need them. I noticed that the alternator didn't seem to be charging the battery. The engine started losing power and the gas gauge was reading empty. Fortunately, I saw a gas station on the left and managed to coast into it, stopping at the pumps. Then I noticed the large "For Sale" sign with a reference to the realty company. I was in front of the closed Sand Creek RV Park and gas station.
And I was out of gas. Now I needed gas and a jump. I called the road service and was beginning to think I should have their number on speed dial.

A nice gentleman with a tow truck showed up 90 minutes later with five gallons of gas for which he charged $21. The service call was free. We paid and he gave us a jump, showing me how to use the back-up starter button. He also recommended running the generator while I drove to keep the batteries charged. He told us where the next gas station was located and off we went.

We pulled up to a small store with gas pumps and two motorcyclists at the pump. I shut off the engine before one of them said, "They're closed. The guy didn't show up today." Great. Andrea went to the store next door to find someone to give us a jump.

I sat there frustrated and fuming, and thought, "Why not try that back-up button?" I did, it started and I pulled up to the store just as Andrea came out with a couple who were going to give us a jump. She climbed aboard and we continued to Chimult and a real service station with pumps that were open. In fact, people in Oregon pump gas for you. A gentleman filled the RV, I used the magic starter button and we were on the road again.

We made it as far as 27 miles south of La Pine when the engine started backfiring, the battery shut off and the engine died. I coasted to a wide spot on the side of the highway and pushed the brake pedal to the floor (no hydro boost when the engine isn't running). We stopped. I took a deep breath, looked at the side of the road disappearing into the valley floor, felt the buffeting from the trucks passing and dialed road service again.

A tow truck was sent from La Pine and we were towed to Central Oregon RV Parts and Service. We were within an hour of Redmond, our final destination, but the road service would only cover a tow to the nearest repair facility. We arrived around 5 and I told them what had happened. They could work on the rig--at 9 am.

We went to Gordy's Truck Stop next door and had a very tasty meal. They serve a "soup of the moment" which happened to be creamy potato. With real potatoes, real carrots and real cream. Andrea and I sent kudos to the chef. Gordy's also has the cleanest bathrooms we had ever seen. I found the free wi-fi, plugged in and set up in the laundry room (where I was assured of the best signal). Then I returned to the rig and we spent the night.

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