For the Road Warriors, there is always going to be that one, or more, breakdown at a most un-opportune time. We are no exception, especially with a truck that has over 395,000 miles on it.
We left for Death Valley fairly early Friday am and decided to make breakfast once we arrived and the RV was in place.
The road to Death Valley is mostly all 2 lane, with only a few areas of pull-outs. The shoulders are small, not enough for a broken down vehicle. The road is steep both uphill and downhill with places that are very curvy. There are 2 passes, both have long stretches on each side. Going is slow when towing another vehicle.
The valley is at the end of a long downhill stretch and Stovepipe Wells is close to the turn off to the highway going into the valley. There is a campground, motel, store, gas station and ranger station. The campground is basically a gravel lot with parking curbs to separate the campers. But the sites are easy to get into and, more importantly, there are always available spaces.
We made it into the campground and parked the RV. Dale got the RV set up and pulled the truck away. That is when I noticed a hissing sound. I told Dale and he listened. He put up the hood to find water droplets around the motor. He then found that the water was gone, it had leaked out.
Now Dale is a man who takes pride in working on our vehicles, he carries many of his tools along on trips. However, he laments that he left the ones he needs at home.
Dale thought it might be an o-ring so he got busy taking the part off to check the ring. The o-ring was fine and after putting the parts back together, he found that the leak was in a hose. This hose was small and behind electrical parts, among other things.
We discussed what to do and he was getting upset and it was more than he could repair. We came up with the solution that he’d work for one more hour and then if he could not repair the hose we’d call our middle son. We own a car trailer with our sons and our thought was that he could come and tow the truck home. It was either that or have the truck towed by AAA to Nevada. Either way, we’d be stuck until Monday.
Dale was so happy, he found a hose that appeared to be the right size and even found tools that he thought would work. But after an hour, he realized that he risked breaking other parts if he attempted to get to the hose.
Now part of being a Road Warrior is being in all sorts of locations. Death Valley is no different, but in a way, a world of difference. 1: it is warm, like hot warm, 2: there are few trees, just shrubs and the sun beats down, 3: there is NO cell service, no wifi, nothing. The challenge is to get help when there is no modern technology.
I thought to go to the motel across the street. The motel desk allowed me to use their landline (good old landlines) to call. Of course, our son did not answer and the call went to voice. I left him a detailed message along with the number of the landline. I then called a friend in the event we’d need her to come.
Justin called back and agreed to come get the truck and tow us back home.
We were concerned about the fact that we could not pay for our campsite for future days as we had no way to get our RV home. We found the camp host who already knew about our problem. He assured us that he would not only keep an eye out for our RV but wouldn’t even charge us for the nights we might need to store it there.
Poor Justin did not arrive until 7pm, a 4-1/2 drive. We had thought it would take between 3-4 hours. I say poor because he had to leave at 3am to work his farmers market. We didn’t make it home until 2am after helping him load his product.
So we are heading back to Death Valley in our smaller truck, where we will try to salvage the photo and champagne breakfast we’d planned for this morning. We will return tomorrow night, get our big truck into the shop, then back to Death Valley to pick up our trailer.
Such are the unwanted adventures of a Road Warrior.