The Adventures of Me & My Shadow #53 in ID,UT,WY,NE,IA,MO,IL,KY,WV,VA & MD
10/21/00 2535 miles this trip, odometer now 73,179 total, miles this year 21,005.
From MD, Hi Everyone!
I’m taking you back to the rally at Mount Hood, as I ran out of room in my last letter. I always enjoy visiting my many friends at GMC rallies and now that I have been giving seminars it is even more fun. I have been giving seminars on GPS systems with Gertrude, Gus & Keith and I always learn more from the other drivers and co-pilots now using GPS Systems. I have just ordered an update to the Delorme software that will allow me to talk to Gus as I now talk to Keith. I don’t think Gertrude would listen to me if I were allowed to talk to her, she is just too pig headed.
I have a few things to say to Gus after the disastrous trip from Mount Hood to Boise and he won’t like what I have to say. The first problem was the price of fuel on the Indian reservation. The last time I was out here, the Indians had a much better price than the white man, I expected more of the same. It was not to be, the Indian like the white man, has gotten greedy. Instead of being a dime cheaper, it was 8 cents higher on the reservation. This was not Gus’ fault but instead of staying on US 26 all the way to Boise. He found a shortcut that got me in big trouble. I ended up back tracking and taking US 26 all the way, but not till after tearing up the GMC on his shortcut that ended up being impassable. In trying to get back to civilization I ran over a rock. I felt the front cross-member hit it and I thought it might have busted the transmission open. I stopped and looked under the coach, the tranny wasn’t leaking but the left hand muffler was no longer connected to the header. I can replace the muffler when I get to Boise so I kept going but I’m getting low on fuel. At the first civilization I came to I stopped and asked directions to the nearest Gas station. I was informed that it was 17 miles and to be sure to stay on the main road. The main road was a little better than Gus’ shortcut and it would take me to US 26 and a filling station “if” I had enough fuel to get there. Both tanks were on empty. The main road went up and down and twisted back and forth. And for reasons unknown to me, I did not run out of fuel before arriving at this filling station. There is no self service in Oregon, I see the price on the pump was $1.96 and a little voice was telling me not to fill it up, so I asked the gal how far it was to cheaper fuel. She informed me that I should find some for $1.69 at the next station so I told her to stop at $20. It turned out to be about 11 gallons. I made it to the next station and the little voice was telling me to wait and fill it up at a Flying J truck stop in Boise. I put 15 gallons in and went in to pay for it. When I came back out and around to the right side of the coach I see a river of gas running from under the coach. I ducted down and looked at Niagara Falls coming from one of the fuel tanks. The thought crossed my mind that I better get underway and burn some of that expensive fuel before it all runs out. I thought it was coming from the front tank so I turned on the pump to the front tank that showed less than a quarter full, the rear tank showed just over a quarter full. I drove very carefully to prevent fuel from moving from the rear tank to the front tank. I made it to Rita & Dave’s house after dark, with the rear tank still showing a quarter full and the front tank showing empty. No one was home but Rita told me she would leave the back door open. I shut down and went to bed. The next morning I see the rear tire on the left side was flat, I had noticed it looked a little low when I took on fuel the last time but I sure didn’t have time to mess with it. The rear tire was a little lower when I shut down but I was surprised to see it flat. I was also surprised when I got the coach jacked up and crawled under it and see a big hole in the front left corner of the rear tank. The rock had evidently rolled under the coach and bent the bottom of the tank up away before it ruptured. I’m sure glad that little voice kept telling me not to fill my tanks, if I had tried to fill them I don’t think I or the GMC would be here today.
After surveying the damage to the coach. I went shopping for a muffler and some JB Weld to repair the fuel tank. I took the flat tire to be repaired, it just happened to be a Goodyear tire store and when I went back to get it, I was informed that because it was a Goodyear tire there was no charge. This made my day, I needed that. The fuel tank was a major disaster, the hole was in a crescent shape about 2 inches long and wide enough that I could almost stick my little finger through it. Click Here for a look at the hole. I removed the paint from around the hole and found a very large washer and a toggle bolt. I had to enlarge the hole a little to get the toggle through it. I mixed the JB Weld and let it setup some while I took the damaged muffler off. I knew that gravity would be my worst enemy and I wanted the epoxy to be pretty stiff when I put it on the tank. When I finished, it looked like a work of art, I was happy with it. I had read in the instructions that I could speedup the curing process with some heat. The temp. at night was getting down in the 30s so I put some heat on it. I should have removed the Gas cap to prevent the air pressure in the tank from fluctuating. I see the next morning that the fluctuating pressure in the tank caused a hole in the epoxy at a place where the tank had a sharp bend in it and the washer did not seal it. I had to mix up some more JB Weld to fill the hole and this time I removed the tank cap. Click Here to see the repair.
Back to the muffler, I see the end of the header had been pushed outward when the rock took out the muffler. With my foot against it I was able to push it back to about where it should be but it must be cracked as I now hear an exhaust leak. I’ll have to weld it when I get back up to Jeff’s.
Now for a little bad news. For about a month I had been feeling some discomfort in my right groin area, while at the rallies out west it had been getting worse. I thought it could be the return of cancer. It was the wrong time of the year to end up in a hospital west of the divide and in a snow zone so I headed east and south at 75 MPH with Gus doing the navigating. The weather was perfect, we had a good stiff west wind and I was getting over 10 miles per gal. The price of gas went lower as we came east and south. We made it to Va. Beach in four days, I was in pain when I got here so my nephew Jimmy took me to the emergency room at the Portsmouth Naval Hospital. While waiting to be seen the pain went away and Dr. Matt Robinson knew right away that it wasn’t cancer but a hernia that was causing my pain. That was good news to me but I would need surgery, the earliest I could get an appointment was 10/18/00. Now that I know what it is, I can control the pain so I’ll head up to Jeff’s and get started on repairing the rest of the damage to the coach. I need to have it ready to head to Florida in December. If it had been Testicle cancer I could just see me losing my family jewels and I would end up a soprano and I don’t even sing. A few years ago a friend of mine lost his family jewels to cancer and died a short time later. I count my blessings every day.
I Headed north to Jenny’s and I gave the gal at the toll gate $13 she rang up $18. I asked her if she thought my Motorhome was a ten wheeled truck, she then rang up $16. I told her she was only going to get $13 and she finally rang up $13 and I was on my way. I wonder how long it will take to get them all trained.
Had lunch with Mark, spent the night at Jenny’s then headed up to Jeff’s and backed it in the shed and went to work. The header was not repairable so ordered a new set.
Jenny got a call from the hospital to tell me my appointment had been changed to the 19th. I drove down to VA Beach on the 18th, spent the night at Virginia’s and arrived at the hospital and was informed that because of the sailors from the USS Cole arriving my appointment was again set back to the 24th so I headed back up the road. I picked up the mail on the way and stopped at Jenny’s to drop off her mail. After dark I headed on up to Jeff’s and before I got over to route US13 (I was going a little over the speed limit), I see this rotating blue light and I knew I was in trouble. I pulled over and this officer informed me I was stopped for a left tail light not working. He asked for drivers license and registration. He read aloud my name and then informed me that I had a son David, I admitted that I did, he informed me I had a son Mark, I admitted that I did, and I was wondering how he knew this and what difference it made. He then told me that his
name was Keith Marshall and he and Dave both made music in the “Sands of Time”, a music group from several years ago. I thanked him for telling me about the tail light and was on my way. The next morning I replaced a smoked bulb and the light now works.
You’ll have to wait till next time to find out how my surgery went.

Till next time, Dallas or Dad if it fits.

 

Me & My Shadow, with Gertrude, Gus & Keith on the road.

 

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