Friday, September 25, 2015

Feeling Minnesota

For you non-Minnesotan’s "Feeling Minnesota" is defined as “Feeling Depressed, Humdrum and you can now add frustrated to this definition. When we started our RV’ing adventure we wanted a truck and 5th wheel that we could rely on and hopefully have few and minor mechanical issues which is why we bought both of them new. Over the past 18 months we have only had minor issues with the 5th wheel and no issues with the truck……that is until recently. Over the past few months Barb has taken two trips down to Minnesota to visit friends each time she had truck problems. Warning lights came on indicating the Diesel Exhaust system needed service. When this happens the system limits the trucks speed and warns you the message 99 Miles to 65mph Max Speed. After 99 miles the message changes to 75 Miles to 55mph Max Speed. This is usually taken care of by adding DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) but this did not take care of the problem.  Luckily Barb was close to her destination both times this happened and she was able to get the truck into the dealer and have it worked on. In both cases they replaced sensors and glow plugs and took care of the problem……or so we thought.

With everything packed up we left Pasha Lake when a few miles down the road…bam Service Diesel Exhaust System 99 Miles to 65mph Max Speed. Oh crap, here we are on a 400+ mile journey in Canada with truck problems. We made it to Thunder Bay with several miles left on the first warning and decided to keep going. Soon the 55mph hour max speed warning came on but we were committed and kept on truck'in hoping to get back into the U.S. and find a GMC dealer. We had never seen the warning after the 55mph one…..until now. 75 Miles to 4mph Max Speed. Luckily we were only a couple miles outside of Two Harbors Minnesota and there was a GM dealer in town. We pulled the rig into the dealership, unhooked and they took the truck into the garage. A couple hours later they told us they took care of the issues by “Regenerating the system” and clearing the codes. After hooking back up Barb was driving through the parking lot when…..70 miles to 4mph Max Speed. Ugh!!!! Since it was already late in the day, we found a campground, unhooked and headed back to the dealer and dropped off the truck. Since it was Wednesday we hoped they could fix it before the weekend as we had plans to visit friends and family.
Our Pasha Lake home.....see you in '17!
Thursday morning we received a call from the dealer saying they think it is the glow plug monitor and have ordered one which will arrive in 3-5 days…..unless we wanted to pay $35 for overnight shipping…..ah yeah!
We had driven through Two Harbors dozens of times but never stopped so we figured we may as well do a little exploring. It is really a cool little town!  We drove down to the harbor, as luck would have it there was a huge freighter pulling. The Cason J. Callaway was built in 1952 and is 767 feet long. It was very impressive to see this behemoth pull into port and the way they maneuvered it into the dock. I don’t know what they were picking up but my guess is taconite which seems to be the prevalent industry in the area. There were piles (hills really) of taconite pellets along the shore way which and is used to make iron.

About 2:00 on Friday we received a call from the dealer saying that the part had arrived, we should be on the road within the hour and it is again covered under the emissions warranty. Great news! A little after 3:00 we were hooked up and pulling out of the campground when…..yup ….99 Miles to 65mph Max Speed… have got to be freaking kidding me!!!!! Well if everything holds true we should be able to make it to the 160 miles to my brothers in Taylors Falls without hitting the 4mph limit. On the drive down Barb called the GMC dealer in Stillwater to get an appointment for Monday morning while I called our favorite car dealer to see what it would take to get us into a new truck.

We arrived at my brothers without incident and got set up in his cul-de-sac, said a quick hello and retired to our trailer. Barb did some research on diesel exhaust issues with GMC trucks and found 135 pages of people having the same issues that we are….none of which had a definitive solution…..great (now feeling even more Minnesota).

There are certainly worse places to be stranded!

With the truck in the shop we spent a few days visiting friends/family as well as dentist, doctor, hair (Barb) appointments and our financial guy. Good news, we can keep on truck’in! One of the highlights was meeting our friends Kevin and Cathy at the Wolf Creek Bar in Cushing, WI. They were on a trail ride and met us at the bar with their horses. When we were done with lunch Barb and Cathy rode the horses back the hour and a half back to their trailer while Kevin and I had a few more beers.

Finally we received the call we had been waiting for….the truck is ready. This time rather than replacing the glow plug monitor they replaced the connector pins and wiring harness, all covered under the warranty. This is really the first vehicle issues we have had while on the road learning how it can stop you dead in your tracks and bringing on a new level of frustration. Hopefully this does the trick! So with our fingers crossed and no longer feeling Minnesota, pointed the truck NW and headed to North Dakota but not before stopping along the way to see our good friends Tom and Shelly who live on the western edge of the Twin Cities. We had a great visit with them with some killer ribeye’s and ended up spending the night in their guestroom.

The next morning we were off to ND with vision of ducking hunting in our heads! About 20 minutes down the road all of those dreams fell from the sky when the display on the truck read “Transitioning to 65mph Max Speed”. We had made it about 100 miles since picking it up from the dealer….so we turn around, head back to my brothers and Barb gets on the phone with the dealer. They cannot see the truck until Monday, 4 days…. To be continued…….

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Farewell to Canada

Our Ontario adventure has come to an end and we are back on the road! Actually it is bittersweet, we really enjoyed our summer at Pasha Lake Cabins and will truly miss Chad, Michelle and all our other local and “weekly” friends up there.

Bear season ended on a high note going 8 for 9 and 9 for 9 the last two weeks, one of which was a monster topping the scale at 513#’s! Needless to say there were a lot of late nights skinning and processing bears. One of the last groups was the Herman crew from Illinois. They are a great group of guys who own a resort/campground and produce the TV show LakeLife on the DIY network. Everyone in their group got a bear but in my opinion the highlight was Norm who shot his out of a ground blind at 3 yards. He did not even know it was there until he heard it breathing 6’ away from him!
Barb even got in on the action! 
 We had to track a couple of bears that the hunters did not find right away, this can be both scary and dangerous. I can tell you from experience you do not want to walk up on an angry black bear after dark armed only with a flashlight! I had suggested to Barb that we could use Daisy as a tracking dog, we could just put her on the scent trail and if she came back we knew the bear was dead and if she doesn’t come back…….well, you get the picture. Barb failed to see the humor….

Before we left, my friend Joe and Greg came up for a few days of fishing. Joe has been up several times while this is Greg’s first time to the area. They spent their first day on Onaman Lake, I was not able to join them as I was fishing with a group from Toronto. When they got back to camp the smile on Greg’s face said it all. The first words out of his mouth were “I have never caught so many walleye’s over 20”’s!”. Day two of their visit was spent on Northwind Lake, although we did not catch a lot of big fish, the numbers were there. The next day we booked the “Pasha Lake Dream Trip”. This takes place on Lake Nipigon for monster walleyes and northern pike. Lake Nipigon is huge, 70 miles long and 50 miles wide! This is not a lake you take a 16 fishing boat with a 15hp motor so we chartered with one of the local guides. After a 40 minute boat ride we arrived at our first location on the Jackfish River. I am not exaggerating when I say you caught 18” - 20”walleye as fast as you could get your jig in the water. Too be honest it gets a little boring after a while as there is no challenge so when Gus asked if we wanted to move and try for some trophies we were all in!
We moved to the mouth of the river where the walleyes were not only bigger they had a beautiful blue tint to them. If fact, Greg caught his personal best at 27 ½ “’s! Next it was time for big pike! Being guys we had to try and outdo each other and see who could catch the biggest fish. Joe started it off with three in a row all over 36”’s. Greg took the lead with a nice 37 and then it was my turn with a 39 ½ . We each caught several more fish between 35 and 38 and it looked like I was going to have bragging right until Joe boated at 40 ½ ! Oh well, even if I don’t have bragging rights we still had a great day on the water.
Greg with a 27 1/2
Check out the blue tint on Joe's walleye
I had the lead for a while with this 39 1/2
So with our adventures behind, us Barb and I spent our last day there packing up while Joe and Greg went fishing. It is amazing how much stuff you amass when you are in one spot for several months.

Next up…. Ducks, bucks and working the farm fields of  North Dakota…..