Thursday, June 2, 2011

Grand Junction

Our plans for a leisurely drive from Moab to Torrey were dashed Tuesday morning. When we pulled out of our site, Paul noticed a puddle of dark, oily fluid where our front curbside tire had been. With Bullwinkle leaking vital bodily fluids, we delayed our departure to suss things out. Friends Susan and Mike provided help and moral support while we determined the fluid was the result of a leaky wheel bearing, called Freightliner (Yes, Paul has them on speed dial!) and figured out what to do. Mike took Paul into town to find some oil and filled up the leaking reservoir. Freightliner pointed us to the nearest service facility, about 100 miles away in Grand Junction, Colorado.

When we called to cancel our reservation in Torrey, the lovely woman who answered the phone suggested a park located less than two miles from the Freightliner service center. Junction West RV Park is a simple park run by wonderful folks who were so understanding of our situation. We checked the moose into the "hospital" early yesterday and spent most of the afternoon in the RV park's rec room keeping our cats and ourselves cool while we waited. Summer has definitely arrived in Grand Junction!

The Freightliner folks took care of the leaky wheel bearing in fairly short order. But, another problem that has plagued the moose proved to be more difficult to cure. We've had an intermittent issue with getting a false warning for a low coolant level. The problem had become more frequent. In fact, we got the warning several times before leaving Moab. To make matters worse, Freightliner has designed the moose to shut down the engine about a minute after sounding the alarm. Obviously, that's not good. And, it was time to get it fixed. But, the Freightliner center couldn't replicate the problem. Curses!

Since Freightliner can't fix a problem it can't find, we decided to hit the road for our return to Utah bright and early this morning. With high winds forecast to arrive in the area midday, we were up and ready to roll by 7:30 a.m. As soon as we fired up the moose, Bullwinkle presented the low coolant warning problem. The "check engine" light came on and the alarms sounded. Thirty seconds later, the "stop engine" light came on and our big ol' Cummins engine shut itself down.

If you're going to have an engine shutdown, we can't think of a better place! From the comfort and safety of our site within shouting distance of the service center, Paul hit the speed dial and reached Freightliner. An hour later a tech was on the scene. He diagnosed the problem and quickly went to work on the solution.

Here's the culprit! This credit card-sized gizmo is a Coolant Level Sensor Module. And, this one went bad. Within minutes, our mobile Freightliner tech mounted a new module on top of Bullwinkle's radiator. We fired up the moose and everything was fine. No alarms. No lights. No shutdown. Halleluiah!

We left Grand Junction more than two hours later than we planned. As expected, we hit some pretty nasty winds along the way. The last 60 miles of today's journey were along Utah's scenic Highway 24, which twists and turns its way through Capital Reef National Park. With sustained winds between 30 and 40 mph and two or three good gusts that topped 50 or 60 mph, this was one adrenaline-pumping drive. I took just one photo to help us remember the scenery along a drive we'll never forget.

Despite a little detour and some serious hair raising, we're happy to be here in Torrey with a healthy moose. We look forward to enjoying our shortened stay. One day, we'll spend a few days actually exploring Grand Junction. We didn't see much, but we understand it's a pretty great place.


Sue and Doug said...

glad Bullwinkle got fixed lickity split!..enjoy your stay!!

Jim and Sandie said...

Definitely a drive to remember. Glad the Moose is happily all better and that you are safely where you need to be.