Saturday, July 14, 2012

Journey Into The Bowels Of The US Mid-West

Or, as Ward would say: "Adventures In The Bible Belt".

We left at the beginning of June, just as soon as we could get the trailer hooked up, and make sure the lights were all working on it. We had a connector at the back of the RV for a trailer, but it was the wrong end. So, we removed that one, and got the correct connector installed. After a bit of experimenting, all wires were connected correctly, and the trailer lights worked as they should.
Sunday morning we headed south. The border presented no problems this time. They asked the last time we crossed, and the nature of our visit. "About a month ago, and we were looking to buy some motorcycles to bring home."

Back in the U.S.A. Don't know how lucky we are! We're back, back in the U.S.A.

The Rv had been acting up a bit. Every now and again it would run out of fuel. The gas tank wasn't empty, but it acted like it was. We were thinking the electric fuel pump might be packing it in. So, we were planning on buying one in the States and saving a bit of money on the purchase. Ward said he could install it himself. The plan was to pick it up in Grand Forks and have it on hand if needed.
As it turned out, the RV was giving us a bit of trouble as we were nearing Grand Forks. We made it to the Walmart without incident, and the next morning we stopped in at O'Reilly's and got the fuel pump.
The trip from Grand Forks to Fargo ended up taking about 6 hours. The RV ran out of fuel every 20 miles. We would sit on the side of the highway for 20 minutes, and it would be ready to go again. This went on for most of the journey into Fargo. But as we got closer, the RV got worse. By the time we were pulling into the city limits the RV was barely going 40 MPH and was stopping with greater frequency. It got us to the Walmart, though.
We found a nice place to park, under a tree with a patch of grass. It was almost park like. And there we changed the fuel pump. But it didn't fix the issue. Something else was causing this. We ended up taking it to Tuffy's Auto Service Center. It was just around the corner from the Walmart. Ward and I walked over and talked to the guys. We explained what was happening and asked if they would be able to take care of it and see what was going on. We even suggested a few tests they might do to see if the issue was with the carb, or with the fuel pressure. And we mentioned that the fuel guage didn't work. So, if they were dropping the tank, we would get the fuel guage fixed at the same time. We were asked how much we were wanting to spend. Not a good sign. But I said to go up to $200 for diagnostics, then call. And that is exactly what they did. I am not sure what diagnostics they did, and the work order didn't explain that either. But the charge was listed. They did drop the tank. They fixed the hose inside so it took fuel from the bottom of the tank. (Apparently it was sticking up and wasn't accessing the bottom of the tank, or some such thing). And they changed the fuel float. Oh, and they charged us $750. They took it for a test drive around town, and said all was well.
We made it 20 miles outside of town, and the RV died. No, really. It died. Ward complained that his backside hurt from the transaction that took place at Tuffy's, and I said we were not going back there. Not now to complain, and not ever.
We made it as far as Park Rapids and found a real mechanic. Within minutes, maybe even seconds, he said it was the carb. He said the float was sticking and gas was running back into the gas tank. We needed to get the carb re-built. Whitey lent us his car, and let us sleep in the RV at the back of his shop until the job was done. We found a great mechanic in that town, and had an RV that would actually run when he was finished with it. We were back on track again.
It had taken ten days from the time we first entered America, until the RV was finally running properly. We were in no hurry, and had no real deadlines, so the time was not a real bother. And while we were in Park Rapids, we had a courtesy car, so we could get around, go to the beach, and whatever else we wanted to do. But it was nice to have the freedom of the open road again, knowing we could head down the highway and not worry about our house breaking down.
Our plan to hit the Walnecks swap meet in Woodstock, Illinois was back on track. We had four days to get there, so I checked the map and planned our route. I planned the route to take us down county roads and of course through Blue Earth, MN because I wanted to see the Jolly Green Giant.
Stay tuned for more, and a picture of the big green guy, coming soon to a computer near you.

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