For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Prov 2:6-8 esv
Oh the people we meet.
We pulled out of the driveway in VA and headed for TX. All systems were go! We had a reservation for a KOA near Nashville. It was a rainy and breezy day but for the most part it looked like it should be good driving. It was only about an hour into the trip and we saw the sun peak through the clouds.
We pulled in to our first fuel stop, topped off the fuel and checked/added air to the tires and grabbed some lunch. As we pulled out of the fuel stop, we realized the Excursion had developed some sort of issue, It was running rough and didn’t want to idle! We pulled off the bottom of the exit ramp and after a bit of time it smoothed out a bit and we pulled out and continued on. It seemed to pull ok but something still wasn’t quite right. We thought it was possibly bad fuel.
We hadn’t crossed out of Va and suddenly J said…. Oh we have a blowout on the Trailer! We eased off the edge of the highway and put on the hazards. That didn’t seem to matter much to the drivers passing us just inches away from the Trailer. I told the boys they HAD to stay buckled. I was very thankful that the flat was on the guardrail side of the trailer and we had a bit of protection. We called roadside assistance but started working at changing it ourselves. Just as we were finishing the guy showed up. He wasn’t quite sure what to do or if he should even charge us for the call since he didn’t need to do anything. We asked him for a recommendation for getting a new tire and headed to the closest Walmart with a tire center.
The excursion was really starting to act worse and J was on his phone and talking/messaging his network of Diesel Pro’s. After we got the tire fixed at Walmart we decided to keep going toward our Nashville KOA and hope we make it. Relief doesn’t quite describe the feeling when we arrived at the KOA in Nashville and pulled into our spot! We quickly stabilized the trailer, slid out the slides, unloaded the bunks, found a quick snack for everyone, and fell into bed.
Morning came very quickly, we ate some breakfast and showered. The boys and I began the process of getting the slides in and the stabilizers up. As we were doing this J was texting and calling contacts that the DPN (Diesel Pro Network) had sent him. A couple of the guys were willing to help but were not close to our location, but there was one guy who was on our path about 40 min up the road!! We pulled out of the campground and gingerly headed towards the Flying J where we were to meet up with him. He said he would put a computer on it and tell us what he found and then we could decide what to do!
We had to wait about 2 hrs. at the flying J until the guy could come, we didn’t complain because he was sacrificing his free Saturday to come help us. We just relaxed and people watched. After a while a dark minivan pulled up and a red bearded guy walked over with a water bottle and a computer. RB (Red Beard) got right to work eliminating possible causes, finally after checking for water or gasoline in the fuel and running through codes on the computer, he came to a conclusion. It was most likely a sensor. The issue was that the sensor was in a hard to reach location and the engine was hot. After thinking a bit RB decided to have us follow him 7/10ths of a mile to his shop, and then bring his minivan back to Flying J and eat lunch there at the Dennys. We followed him and pulled into a parking lot down the rd. He opened a gate and we followed him into an unmarked lot behind another business. He climbed into his service truck so he could bring his family back with him. ( unbeknownst to us, his family was eating lunch at the Dennys, while he was diagnosing our issue.) We got into his minivan and headed back up to the flying J. He sat down with his family and ate the food she had ordered for him, (who knows if it was even still warm) We ordered and ate our food then headed back to RB’s secret ford mechanic shop. By the time we pulled in RB had already dismantled the air box and coolant overflow tank and drained the coolant and was waist deep under the hood working at getting the sensor out. While the guys were working, I visited just a bit with his wife, and the boys payed with his two boys. RB replaced the sensor (he just happened to have one in stock) and J and he reassembled everything and cranked it up. It worked perfectly!!! RB and J took it for a test run and he pronounced it ready to run for another 100,000 miles! We paid our bill, thanked him and shook hands. We pulled back out onto the highway and continued our westward journey!
We arrived very late at our OK. KOA, but because we had reserved our spot there was an envelope with our name and spot marked on it at the office! We pulled in, and went through the steps of getting everything ready to go to bed. We slept very well and woke to a beautiful Sunday morning in OK.
We didn’t hurry to pull out, we ate breakfast , washed a couple loads of laundry, and straightened up some stuff in the camper. As we were working in the camper, the KOA owner walked up and introduced himself. He had noticed our state and last name and wanted to meet us, turns out he had spent time at EMU!
Around lunchtime we headed west, enjoying the changing scenery! We were going through Oklahoma City when we had the second blowout on the trailer! This time we were near an exit and able to pull off the road much further and were under an overpass, which gave us shade! We didn’t even call roadside assistance, in less than a half hr we were back on the rd.
Google maps came in handy again in finding a Walmart outside of OK city limits with a tire center. We pulled into the Walmart and the boys and I went in to get some supper and use the restrooms. When we came back through the tire center we discovered that we had chosen a very competent and friendly tire center. They were already finished and had even helped J swap a couple tires around so that the two new tires would be in the rear. The friendliness of strangers had once again helped us on our westward way!
The scenery was very beautiful and we were enjoying our adventure, but it wasn’t over yet. The turbo on the excursion started to malfunction, (this is a very necessary part of a diesel engine)and the engine was starting to get to hot. We pulled into a Loves parking lot and J again started to tap into the knowledge of the DPN.
We were not sure what it was, maybe a bad turbo, cracked up-pipes, or just stuck turbo vanes. Since it was Sunday eve we decided to just “make camp”. There was a motel right beside the Loves and we noticed a large RV parked there and decided to join them. The boys rode bike, scooter & rip stick, we ate supper and got the camper set for the night. J had made contact with a mechanic that could come out around noon on Monday, so we just settled in for the evening.
We all slept well and woke to a beautiful sunny but windy monday. When we stepped out of the camper we noticed the RV beside us had the front open and it wasn’t long before a Ford dealership service truck pulled in and a couple tech’s were checking something out. The owner of the RV introduced herself to us and asked where we were from. Turns out we both came from the same area of Va, Elkton to be exact!! The ford tech’s couldn’t figure out her problem, so she called another mechanic that was recommended by her RV place. As we visited, J started checking out the issue on her RV and was able to narrow it down to a control box.
When the Wise ol mechanic showed up, he concurred with J. diagnosis and put a band-aid fix on it to get her to his shop. Then he looked over at our rig with the hood up and asked what was wrong with it. J. gave him the rundown and WM had J start the Excursion. The engine and turbo sounded fine, but he gave us directions to his shop and told us to see what it did while we drove there. The WM’s shop was along the highway in the direction we were headed! J contacted the other mechanic that was going to come and found out he hadn’t even started our way yet. He was good with us having the other, closer mechanic, help us. Quickly we got the camper ready to travel and headed toward WM’s shop. The Excursion ran perfectly, no turbo issue! We pulled into his shop in line behind the RV. We told him that it ran fine and his expert advice was “put it in the wind and continue”! So we took the Wise ol mechanic’s advice and proceeded west once again.
It was pretty amazing to see the changing landscape as we continued west. The Texas border came into view and we pulled over and took pictures and rejoiced at arriving in TX safely!
As the journey continued we were wide eyed with wonder at the unique landscape and took pictures like tourists! There were so many unique things that we noticed (more on that in another post) but it was a wonderful feeling to see our destination come into view.
Praise be to the Lord for the many details large and small that were solved and his able grace and protection as we traveled.
Dorcas For the Heatwole’s #familyadventure #harvest2017 #ohthepeoplewemeet
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