Saturday, September 26, 2015

a long story

So.....the simple, quick fix to Beluga's new "sound" turned out to be fairly simple, but not quick, nor easy for that matter.    By the end (11 p.m.) of our first day at the Kenworth truck repair shop the troublesome "sound" was correctly diagnosed as an exhaust manifold problem.    I say correctly because our in-house mechanic, Mr. David, agreed with this diagnosis.   He agreed that it was a fairly simple and straightforward problem to fix.   In order for the Kenworth mechanics to access the said exhaust manifold, Mr. David emptied our under bed storage, disassembled the bed and took up the floor boards.

In marched the two truck mechanics looking as if they had just finished a long shift in a coal mine.   They were black and filthy.   They were very friendly, professional and competent looking, but they were covered with grease and god knows what else.    After their first pass through Beluga's light colored and clean interior Mr. David sprang into action and covered our carpet and off white leather furniture with every available towel and scrap of plastic he could find.

Gritty electric cords snaked through Beluga, from front to back.   Tools spread out over the floor where Mr. David's towels didn't reach.....oh my, oh my.  

My freshly laundered bed clothes fluttered in the wind from an industrial strength shop fan.   My closet open and gaping.

A relatively benign and easily fixed problem became a little more difficult when the technician informed us they had no parts to fix this situation.    It was too late to overnight them......The earliest they would be in Grand Junction would be Monday, the latest Wednesday.     No, we couldn't stay in Beluga while we waited, regulations forbid anyone living inside the repair bays.   Hmmmmm.

So, we'll just get a pet friendly hotel room in the area and wait, right?  Another seemingly easy task that became very difficult.   Every place I called had no vacancies until Monday night.     Evidently  the Grand Valley Kennel Club's 50th anniversary 4 day dog show was in town.....

are we there yet?

Finally a lovely front desk manager at the LaQuinta took pity on us and found a room for the night.    Just that night, however.     Our sweet dogs had been in the jeep, with a few quick "get busy" breaks  for 12 hours at that point.    Such good dogs, such troopers they are.

3rd cutting and the Palisades colored by the setting sun

The only realistic alternative to sleeping in the jeep for the weekend was for us to drive from Grand Junction to Denver (a mere 520 miles round trip), pick up the needed parts, turn right around and drive back to Grand Junction.   Simple.
 Our mechanic, Kevin, assured us that if we did that he would put them in and we'd have Beluga back in our hands at the end of the day.

So, after a brief but sound night's sleep at LaQuinta (thanks Gabrielle) we loaded up the dogs in the jeep and off we went.    The ride was as beautiful going as coming.   We marveled, once again, at the beauty of the Palisades, Glen Canyon, the Great Hogback, Battlement Mountain, the Colorado River, the electric yellow of the Aspens and the blue blue sky.

 We won't talk about the periodic traffic jams that these beautiful fall colors caused along the way, or the squeeze down of lanes caused by road construction near the Eisenhower Tunnel, or the mass of Denverites (is that a word?) trying to get to the mountains for the weekend...

beauty everywhere you look,
even reflected in van windows ahead of you....

Luckily our crack Mechanic, Mr. David, is also a skilled negotiator because the woman in parts at Wagner Caterpillar Dealer in Denver was not inclined to give us the will call parts.      She said that they did not hand over valuable parts to the general public.    I won't go into it, but Mr. David came out with said parts and we headed back over the mountains to Kevin and Beluga.

We believe that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.   Instead of lemonade we had gin and tonics on our beach chairs under a shady tree between repair garage's parking lot and the road.   The dogs appreciated the cool grass and we were able to flag down a passing Domino's pizza delivery man.   Pizza by the roadside at dusk, does life get any better?

Kevin was true to his word and  Beluga was repaired to our satisfaction and pulled out of the repair bay at 1:30 a.m.  

  Dave and I were completely exhausted as we drove to a nearby rv park and tried to set up quietly.    I won't bore you with the embarrassing details of my complete mental breakdown when trying to find our site in the dark.   Needless to say Beluga's usually competent navigator was not......

We're staying at the pleasant RV Ranch in Grand Junction for a few days to recuperate from the busy Boulder wedding festivities and these crazy last days.


(Speaking of the wedding, I took no pictures at either the pre or post parties nor the Wedding itself.   I was busy enjoying myself and my family and friends.  As people send me photos, I'll show them to you)


  1. Wow, what an ordeal! So glad it is all over with and now you can rest.

  2. So happy this is all behind you.

  3. Simple is indeed not always easy! Can't believe they didn't have drop cloths for doing interior work.......but since they let you pick up the parts and worked until it was done, a little grease can be forgiven :-) I'm sure your lemonade stand out front was motivating! Love the pic of the mountain in the back of the van. What good furkids you have, sometimes they know we just can't make it better for a bit.

  4. Oh so much fun--especially when our dear patient furry kids have to endure long days in a car--and you get to stress out over debris and grime in your clean home. Ugh!! Our dogs are champions of car sitting too--but it's still a lot to ask of them. When you first posted that you went to the RV park late at night, I felt tremors of anxiety for you--that is probably my biggest, absolute, NO WAY will I do it...driving into the RV park in the dark. OMG!!! It's just too scary--thought we often leave pre-dawn when we are on the road--but then I have scoped out how I will drive out and made sure I know EXACTLY where I'm going. This is also why Mr. Ronald's House of Extreme LED Lighting installed some pretty slick exterior LED lights down the sides of our rig, with a separate switch so I can turn them on while he is messing around outside, or when I am leaving the park in the dark. Perhaps he is distantly related to the vast nation-wide enterprises of Mr. David? Glad you are through it all in one piece (unless there are some finer details you aren't sharing right now??) and have a chance to recover before you move on down the road. Isn't Colorado just stunning this time of year? I have lots of photos similar to yours, as we drove over the pass last fall, plus I lived in Glenwood Springs long ago and far away. It's a beautiful state.

  5. Even though I knew some of this, I was still so tense as I read this. I can just imagine your horror as those greasy guys walked into your home! I probably would have lost it then. You certainly deserved a little breakdown at 2:30 AM!! Thanks goodness we have strong men to hold us up and remain calm in all situations:) Bless those wonderful furry pals. Extra treats coming their way Friday:)

  6. The most epic repair day I've seen in a long time! And you handle it with such grace! I think I might have been just a tad more frazzled. You deserve a loooooong rest!

  7. Holy Cow!!!! Gin and tonic would sure be my answer and you deserved a breakdown after all that! Geez! So glad you are parked for a few restful days!