Saturday, August 6, 2011

False Start

I would have to say that we both were not excited about a long driving trip to Florida. We were excited to see the kids and of course new Grandbaby, Jacob. But the ride was not giving us happy thoughts.

Last fall we had a wonderful time on our 6-week adventure, but when we got home we were really glad. And I think we may have overdone our travels last year with several weeks over July 4th to meet up with the Florida kids in Greensboro, NC. The heat then was just about unbearable.

I remember years ago travelling through Nebraska or South Dakota in the summer with our other motorhomes without any air conditioning. We had the windows and roof vents open. We never had an awning on our older units, so if it was an open site were had no relief from the scorching sun. How we managed I just don’t know. We were a little younger then too.

Here, at home July, was super hot and we pretty much hunkered down in the air conditioned house only venturing out when we had to. So perhaps that was why we were dreading the long drive in the heat. Also there was no relief in site heading south as they have had oppressive heat this summer.

So when we headed out Wednesday morning it was not with our usual enthusiasm. We headed to our usual first stop, Corp of Engineers Campground in Carlyle, IL. Fridge troubles began not long after we left home. In our driveway it was down to 32 degrees and all seemed well but as we travelled the temperature rose and rose. The freezer was working fine but the refrigerator section definitely was not working properly. How were we going to continue without proper refrigeration.

The motorhome was running like a champ until we got off the Interstate. We had about 60 miles on a 2-lane, dotted with small burbs along the way. Well it was at this point things started to go bad with the motor. After we would stop the motor would bog, sputter and pop. As we went along the problem seemed to worsen. We continued on as we knew there was a Ford dealer just outside the park and we hoped we could get service.

Well we sputtered into the Ford lot and Tom talked to the service guy and he would not even be able to look at it until Monday! Now what. We could sit until Monday but really didn’t want to, but at this point we weren’t going to get far so we sputtered and popped our way the 1/2 mile or so to the park. At the office it died. We got it going for a little bit then it died again and we had to resort to our old trick—pushing our 14,000 motorhome with our Suzuki. (see 9-20-10 posting, Rocks-Painted, Wooden and Fallen)

After getting into our campsite, we had supper and then unhooked the car, took the laptop and went to McDonalds to use the Internet to find automotive services. We made a list and returned “home.” We turned in early as we were both exhausted from heat and stress.

In the morning we called the Ford dealer in Breeze about 10 miles away and were told if we could be there between 9:30 and 10 they could take a look. Of course we didn’t know if we would get there but we had to try. We decided not to hook the car up so we wouldn’t put additional strain on the motorhome’s engine. The motorhome ran like a champ. The service guy and Tom took it out to see if they could make it act up again. It ran perfectly. But the service guy poked around until he figured out what was wrong. He found a loose vacuum line. He removed the line, gave it the gas and it sputtered, popped and died just as it had for us. Apparently the already loose tube expanded in the extreme heat and lost vacuum causing the problem. While all this was going on I was waiting with the dogs in the hot shop. A very nice lady took pity on us and invited inside the showroom.

The total bill was $80 for diagnosing the problem, replacing the vacuum tube and air cleaner. Everyone at Breese Ford in Breese, IL were so wonderful.

We decided we couldn’t continue without a working refrigerator so we headed home postponing our trip till cooler weather and fridge replacement.

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