The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #22 in ID,UT,CO,KS,MO,IL,IN,KY,WV,VA & MD
From Jeff & Alexis' place, Hi Everyone! First let me tell you some more about my travels in Canada. The speed limits are set about right and the drivers obey them most of the time (unlike in the U.S.). They have day time driving light on over 80% of the vehicles (the U.S. has them on only about 5%. When you come to a town or city there will be a sign telling you the frequency of the local radio stations, I like this, you know where to tune for weather information. When you are on a road with a double yellow line (no passing) when you come up behind them they will turn on the right turn signal and pull over and slow down telling you to pass them, I like this. I plan to do this in the U.S. but I tried it a few times and the car behind me would not pass. One thing I missed in Canada was the mile markers and the exit numbers, I also miss them in California.
This trip started Saturday morning 9/5/98. The weather was almost perfect, some partly cloudy to keep the sun out of my eyes and it would cool down when we got further south and picked up some rain. Made a pit stop at the first rest area and found free coffee, that made another pit stop necessary where I found more free coffee, that made another pit stop necessary. The coffee was free, but it was a fund raising gimmick so a donation was expected. A good cup of coffee is always worth a good donation. The day went well, I saw some dead deer on the side of the road in Utah so slowed down after dark and stopped at several rest areas for naps.
I stopped at Carbondale, CO early Sunday morning to visit my friends Les & Adell. Didn't find them home so will have to stop again the next time around. I went on over the divide where my friends Kevin & Sandy Curtis live near Idaho Springs, CO. They run the Pine Crest Trout Ranch where I saw lots of trout caught. The lake is only about ¾ acre, they keep it stocked with trout all season and a lot of kids from 3 years to 80 years come there to catch fish. They pay $2.00 to fish and $0.47 per inch for the fish they catch, if the fish is 15 inches or more in length they pay $5.50 per pound. The biggest fish caught the day I was there was 4.5 pounds, that, to me is pretty expensive fish. Kevin & Sandy will dress the fish for $1.00 per fish, or dress and filet the fish for $2.50 each. They do a lot of them and they have a helper for the real busy days. Kevin has been doing this for 11 years, he makes it look easy to filet a 13 inch fish (the average size). I timed him and it took him 1 minute 7 seconds to filet one. If you would like to fish here, they are four miles southeast of Idaho Springs on Rt. 103. I spent the night there after a delicious dinner including some of Kevin's world famous barbecued ribs. He has a snow plow and uses it in the winter to earn money when the lake is frozen, he said he prays for snow.
Sunday morning after the sun was high enough to be out of my eyes and the customers were starting to fill the place up I headed down the mountain. After I was on the level east of Denver my parking brake light came on, telling me that I had a problem with the Power Master brake system. I soon found a place where I could pull off the road and check it out. If this had happened coming down that mountain I would probably have cut an eight foot wide swath half way through Denver before getting her stopped. I found the relay that turns the pump on was defective. I figured out a way to turn the pump on to charge the accumulator that would give me 4 or 5 stops before the light would again come on. By using the tranny to slow down and keeping a good distance from the vehicle in front of me I was able to go on. I stopped at the first rest area in Kansas to recharge the accumulator and found some more free coffee, this was really free.
I figured that I would be better off to get to KC in the wee hours of the morning when the traffic would be light. After stopping several times to nap and charge the accumulator I got to my brother Gerald's place at 4:00 AM. The light came on after I turned the last corner and I had no power assist to stop at his house. I shut down and went to sleep. Got up and went to work cutting the old relay off the motor and wired a Radio Shack relay to it and got my power brakes back again.
After the above I figure I must be doing something right or I am the luckiest person alive. Also, when that old tire went flat last summer I was going slow and little damage was done, if it had gone flat earlier when I was running 75 MPH out west it would have raised hell. Earlier on this trip in WA on I 82 there was a long, steep grade, the sign said turn the air conditioner off and overheating was a possibility. The ambient Temp. was 95, they had several turn off places with water barrels and they were being used. I maintained 35 to 45 MPH in high gear and made it all the way to the top without stopping and the temps. were a little above normal. I counted five places were the asphalt had been melted and there were glass shards indicating to me that a car had burned there, from what, I do not know. I know that I was proud of my old GMC for going all the way to the top with no overheating.
The weather on this trip has been perfect, so far every night has had a full moon. Now with this brake problem fixed I wonder what will be next.
The what will be next question was answered in KY just about 50 yards from the WV line. It was a little after 4:00 AM in a single lane in a construction zone going up a grade with a lot of traffic behind me. The lights went dim and the engine shut down (I have electric fuel pumps, no electricity no fuel). There was no way for the traffic to get around me. I could just see a long wait for a tow truck to get to me in this construction zone. The guy that was right behind me ran up to the WV line and came back and said there was an 8 ft. shoulder up there and he would try to push me up there. He had a full sized Chevy Van, he had no trouble and I was soon on the shoulder and the traffic was moving again. I figured the alternator had quit so I started the Generator and soon had the batteries charged and I was on my way into Huntington, WV. Talk about good luck, I sure do have it. I ate breakfast while I waited for the stores to open, then took my morning pills. This was a mistake, one of the pills is Furosemide also known as Lasix. Those of you who have taken this know that it gets rid of excess water in you body by making you empty your bladder ever 5 minuets for the next few hours. So while I was removing the old alternator I would have to take a break every 5 minuets. This wasn't too bad till I had to get under the coach. In my old age it takes me awhile to get under and in position to work and it takes me longer to get out from under so I spent more time getting under and getting out from under than I did in working.
Finally got the alternator off and took it into the Advantage Auto Parts Store and they tested it and said it was bad. Sold me a new one and a new belt as the old one was stretched, by now the excess water was about gone so I soon had it on. However, when I started the engine the new belt screeched, I got a longer lever and tightened it as tight as I could and it still screeched. Checked for short circuits and found none so I figured the battery isolator was defective. I bypassed it and went on. By the time I got to Charleston, WV the alternator was no longer putting out so I went to another Advantage Auto parts Store, Took the alternator off and the belt I had bought and they replaced them but said the alternator tested OK. This time I left the generator running to fully charge the batteries and when I got the new alternator on every thing was back to normal with the isolator bypassed. However every time I shut the engine off and started it again the belt would screech unless I let the engine idle till the volt meter showed 14 volts, then I could go on. I blame the belts they sold me. I have replaced it with a Gates belt and I think this will fix every thing. Now I'm pretty sure if in the beginning I had just replaced the Gates belt with another one, in other words I don't think may alternator was defective. Live and learn, Advantage Auto Parts took advantage of me. I'll let you know in my next letter.
Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits. 9/15/98

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