We arrived at my brother’s house for what was supposed to be a 4 day stay leaving on 3/12. The weather was great as it warmed up into the 50’s and even mid-60’s. Less than a week before it had been below zero so of course Barb and I took full credit to bringing a 70+ degree temperature change!
|Our nice quite spot at the end of Bob's driveway|
First course of business was to see what the fluid leaking from the Jeep was. In addition to the fluid, I noticed a strange vibration on the drive over as well. I would feel it between 40-50mph but if I put the clutch in it disappeared. I assumed that this too was probably related to the fluid leak. I lifted the hood and did not see anything, I looked under it and did not see anything. So I crawled under it and sure enough there was fluid leaking from the front differential. I topped of the fluid and drove it to the garage telling them about the leak, the vibration and asked if they could look at the steering as well as there was a lot of play in the steering wheel.They called back a few hours later and said I needed a front differential pinion seal (fluid leak), a rear U-Joint (vibration) as well as a new steering gearbox and steering shaft. I told them to go ahead and fix everything as I was leaving town in a couple days. I received a call the next day saying that the pinion seal and U-Joint were done ($105…gotta love small town garages!) But he called everywhere in the Twin Cities and cannot find the steering gear box. He called dealers, junkyards and looked on line. He said he did find a few on EBay but it would take a few days to get them. So I spent the afternoon looking as well and there was none to be found locally. I ended up buying the gearbox and steering shaft on EBay for a little over $1,000 with an arrival date of the 17th. Looks like we are staying a few extra days!
At least the weather was good and it will give Barb and I a chance to see a few more people than we otherwise would have. We had a get together with my family as well as several good friends. It is really good to see everyone and is a reminder of the hardest part of being on the road….missing your friends and family. This trip is especially hard as our travel plans do not bring us back here for well over a year.
We also completed our other appointments, doctors, taxes…….remember when Barb hurt her ankle last December in Lake Havasu? Well, it has still been bothering her so she had it looked at while she was at the doctor. No fracture but she did tear some tendons which he said will take a long time to heal. Taxes did not turn out as bad as I thought it would. We got a $3,000 credit from our solar installation which helped immensely. We are actually getting a small refund this year!
We had planned on a leisurely drive out to Moab Utah but with the delay with the Jeep repairs we needed to motor out there as soon as we could. The first day’s drive ~320 miles brought us just east of Omaha. Day two and another 400 miles later we arrived in North Platte Nebraska. Now, I have been watching/admiring Barb’s rear end for many years but now that we were in two different vehicles, it brought it to an entirely new meaning. Staring at the back of the rig for 23 hours over 4 days…… well…. It sucks. Barb is very adept at driving the rig and the Jeep…it is great from small trips and off-roading but definitely not comfortable during these 6+ hour stinks so I drove the Jeep the entire time while Barb and Daisy rode in comfort. On the up side this should be the only time we take a long road trip like this and our future moves will only be 3-5 hours which is much more bearable. Plus, it is also going to be great to have the Jeep and 4 wheeler with us for off-roading and other exploring!
|My view of Barb's rear end!|
Day Three (450 miles) took us through Denver and through the mountains on I70. The weather was great and even though it was interstate, the sights and views were spectacular. Even though the Jeep is a 6 cylinder it struggled over the mountain and we were in 2nd gear, down to 35 mph pulling the trailer up some of the steeper slopes. We summited at 10,600 feet and had over 20 miles downhill to our resting place for the night at the Walmart in Rifle Colorado. Over the past three days we stayed in one rest area and two Walmart’s. Not the nicest accommodations but we pulled in after 5:00 each day and pulled out before 9:00 each morning. Not worth finding a campground, setting up and paying for a few hours a sleep.
|Barb and Daisy at the summit|
|Our little caravan|
Tomorrow is just a short 3 hour day to our next destination, the OK RV Campground in Moab Utah where we are going to meet up with some friends we met at the RV boondocking rally in Florida last month!