Monday, January 11, 2016

Oliver Twist Heads East

     Unfortunately we continue to have issues with our truck and the "check engine" light.  Once again in Mesa we had the oil, filter/air filter changed and serviced and came to learn that our DEF tank sensor is faulty.  They did reset it, but informed us that our truck (and this part) is now in recall and that there is a national backorder for the DEF tanks and included sensor.  The dealer in Mesa informed us there is no way they would get it in the next two weeks.  We called ahead to Duncan, OK to the closest dealer to our grandson's place and explained our situation.  He did put it on order for us NOW and explained that he is currently waiting on 7 other tanks after two weeks.  We already planned on arriving in OK the 14th and staying through the 24th so I am praying advanced planning will pay off.  The truck is running very nicely and they explained that we can continue to reset the sensor when needed, but when the sensor does completely fail the truck computer will automatically govern our engine speed accordingly.  If this sounds familiar refer back to April 2015....towing at a maximum speed of 20 mph.  Our truck is still very much within warranty, but who needs the headache? 
      We have decided to head directly to Oklahoma via (not the most direct route) a route on major highways overnighting at locations with readily available dealers or Auto Zone locations (as they can also reset it).  So our route should look something like Mesa-Tucson-Las Cruces-Odessa-Wichita Falls-Marlow.....we may be camped there for an extended period to get this resolved, but what are our choices?  I love this truck, but after several maintenance issues I find myself much like the young character in the classic novel Oliver Twist with his famous banter....."please sir, may I have some more?"
     Leaving Mesa we headed SE to Tucson and another familiar boondocking site .   This is about 7 miles SW of South Tucson on the Ajo Highway (#86).  There is a free RV dump and water spigot at the TTT Truck stop (Mr. T's Gas Station) next to the Pilot Travel Center on I-10 exit 268 which we visited prior to setting up camp.

       We were here to visit a very dear USAF buddy Mark Page who resides here.  Another veteran of the AWACS wars around the world, Mark and I have kept in touch over the years. Mark retired 10 years ago and is very happy playing Mr. Mom to his beautiful 10 year old daughter as well as restoring custom motorcycles, including a vintage model Triumph. His wife, Shadica, is a Major in the USAF and has 3 years left till retirement for which she can't wait!  He and his wife were wonderful hosts as we all reminisced about the good old USAF days and the south.  It sure was so good to see Mark again. 
      From Tucson we headed east once again ending up in Las Cruces, NM.  So far the truck is running fine with no other indications.  For the 2nd year we stayed at the Siesta RV Park in Las Cruces.  Reasonable prices ($30) for full hookups, WiFi, and Cable TV.  We decided to spend a couple of days to visit a friend and restock our eclectic cooking include frozen green chile peppers, dried green chile powder, a ristra, and dine on some of the best Green Chile Cheeseburgers to be found anywhere!   Diesel was a delightful $2.01.
      Our first day back on the road took us across West Texas.  If you've never been here this drive is one of perseverance.  335 miles the first day took us to Odessa on I-20.   

There is a whole lot of HORIZON out here, but allows for some pretty good gas mileage if nothing else.  We averaged a record 17.1 mpg for the day!  Gas enroute at truck stops was an incredible $1.93 a gallon for diesel, but I didn't need it.  We boondocked at the Wal Mart parking lot on the West 338 loop.  I have also been battling a pinched nerve in my upper back that is torturing my left arm.  These usually only last a day or three, but this has been going on now for about 2 weeks.  Barb is ready to shoot me for obvious (and less than obvious) reasons.  I will have to see the doc in Oklahoma once we arrive there.  The truck is still running beautifully with no "check engine" light yet. 
      Day #2 in West Texas took us another 303 miles into Wichita Falls as we left the interstate and traveled US 277 NE towards Oklahoma.  Mileage again was a good 13.5 mpg with no "check engine" light, but even better was the $1.73 per gallon price for diesel here!  Once again we graced Wal Mart with our overnight stay.  We were not able to 'water up' before setting up so we used our 'last resort'......bottled water for minimal usage.  The next morning we crossed the Red River into Oklahoma, only 87 miles to go. 
      We rolled into Marlow, OK early afternoon to find that the RV Park we had reservations for was no longer business.  We did some quick backtracking and found space in Town & Country RV Park which was even closer for us. 

In fact there was plenty of room.  We came to find out that although everyone loves the lowering gas prices it plays hell on the local economies of oil country towns.  We did not know how long we would be here awaiting our truck part so we got the monthly rate, which was a great deal at $300!  Our arrival also coincided with a cold snap rolling through with 2" of snow and temps that fell into the teens our first couple of nights there.  We do have a heated water hose that we got last year when were here and surprisingly hadn't used since then.  Always good to be prepared "Down South".  We still have not had a "Check Engine" light and diesel is $1.85 here. 
      So we await news of our truck part.  I called today and it is still on backorder, but the dealer knows we're here.  We can still wait here as long as February 2nd and still make our Mardi Gras reservations in NOLA.  We will thoroughly enjoy visiting with our grandson, our peer grandparents, and eating some pretty delicious local cuisine (yes, I've already had some gizzards).  Pray for success! 


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