May 152009

We spent Wednesday night dry camping in the designated RV parking area at the Route 66 Casino, and thought we might have a problem with our Onan 5500 generator.

We fired it up to run our rooftop air conditioner and all was going along fine, with the generator putting out 123 volts according to the meter on our Progressive Industries EMS system. Suddenly the voltage dropped to 104 volts and the EMS cut out, as it is designed to do in low voltage situations. We turned off the air conditioner and the reading was still 104 volts. With the EMS not engaged, which allows no power to come through, and thus no load on the genset, we were still reading 104 volts.

I let the generator sit for about an hour and fired it up, and it was putting out 123 volts again. But soon it did the same thing, dropping to 104 volts and staying. The AC was not on this time, and all we were using was 9 amps according to the EMS. We had last used the genset about three weeks ago and it was working fine then.

Yesterday morning we left the casino about 9:30 a.m., after waiting for rush hour traffic in Albuquerque to calm down, and headed east on Interstate 40. I think rush hour is actually 24/7 in Albuquerque, and construction zones with lane closures are just a fact of life there, but we managed to thread our way through it all and began to long uphill climb out of the valley. We were in the right hand lane, radiator misters going and moving slow, but we made it okay.

Terry fired the generator up again and we ran the rooftop air conditioner for about four hours with no problems, so I guess the gremlins who were causing problems the night before were taking the day off.

We traveled 190 miles to Tucumcari, where we left the interstate and took U.S. Highway 54 northeast. Add the depressing little town of Logan, New Mexico to your list of places to avoid. There were signs posted  all along the highway through the rundown downtown (what there is of it) saying “No Overnight Parking” and one sad looking RV park next to the railroad tracks. As we were coming into town a group of about nine young men were in an altercation alongside the road that looked like it was going to get violent very quickly.

We crossed into Texas, and tried to hold our breath as we drove past the huge cattle feeding operations near Dalhart. I like the aroma of beef sizzling on the grill a lot more than I do when it’s on the hoof in the muck.

I was looking forward to passing through Hooker, Oklahoma, home of the Hooker Horny Toads ball team. The last time we visited Hooker, I got a giggle out of the sign in front of a building identified as the Hooker Chamber of Commerce. I had no idea they were that organized!

There was a lot of road construction in Hooker, and one sign I really wanted to stop and get a picture of said “We’re building a better Hooker for you” but there was no place to pull over. I wonder if they take custom orders…..?

Before long we crossed into Kansas at Liberal, home of the fantastic Mid-America Air Museum, which we did a feature on a few years ago. Liberal is also home of the Dorothy’s House Museum and an annual Wizard of Oz celebration.

I knew that one of my ex-wives was back in Arizona, but that left one still unaccounted for, so I kept a sharp eye out for witches until we were out of town. One can’t be too careful.

A half hour or so after we left Liberal, we came to Meade, home of the Dalton Gang Hideout, which we will visit tomorrow. We are parked for the night in the Meade city park, which allows free RV parking. There are a few water bibs scattered about, and the park has a dump station. We are sharing the park with a couple from South Dakota in a small fifth wheel, who stopped by to say hello, and a tiny Toyota camper from California.

We covered 456 miles yesterday, which was more than we had planned to drive, but it was a good day, the bus was running smooth, and traffic was light, so we just kept on rolling. It’s good to be back on the road again!

Thought For The Day – No one ever achieved worthwhile success who did not find themselves with at least one foot hanging over the brink of failure.

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Nick Russell

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  5 Responses to “Covering Lots Of Miles”

  1. Might the generator issue have something to do with altitude? Our (older) genset has an adjustment for altitude.
    I tend to agree with the “gremlin” idea.

  2. Sorry to hear your assessment of Logan, NM. It is our one stop when traveling SW on 54. There is a fuel station/restaurant on the main highway into town which welcomes RV and truck parking. We always ask and are always welcomed. The food is good in the restaurant too. A branch of our family lives there and we have always had good reception in that little town.

    Sorry you are not headed our way, just a little north, but maybe you can visit the progressive, innovative, friendly small rural community of Tribune, KS at another time:-)

  3. Hey, friends – while you are in Kansas: the little town of Paxico (pop 211) has a huge old Catholic Church, now called the Cathedral of the Flint Hills, built in 1922. Today it sits virtually surrounded by corn fields. It make a good little side story by itself.

    And in Victoria (near Hays) sits the “Cathedral of the Plains,” founded by Volga-German immigrants in 1876 (the present structure was completed in 1911). The Cathedral of the Plains moniker was given to it by William Jennings Bryan during his presidential campaign in 1912.

    Are they must-sees? For us they were, ’cause we’re traveling Catholics of the old school. We love beautiful stained glass windows and the elegance of the gothic arches.

    Oh – if you stop in Paxico (there’s a very nice Passport America park there) go to the little antique store / deli for a Paxico Sausage sandwich! Deilcious.

  4. And don’t forget about Coffeyville KS (not far from Liberal), where the Dalton Gang tried to rob two banks in one day and got killed in a shootout with the sheriff et al. The bank building is an attractive example of what I call Plains Gothic.

  5. Hi Nick,

    I find it interesting that my wife and I are about 1 day behind you, Thursday AM we left Havasu Arizona and spent the night at Grants, New Mexico and tonight we are spending lin Gaymon, Ok. Just an FYI we are driving a 2001 38′ Dutchstar with Cummins ISC 330HP with 6 speed automatic and our mileage has been 8.8 first tank and 9.3 on second tank yes there was a tail wind normal mileage is 8.25 to 8.5. The slowest we have gone up any of the hills are 45 MPH and the temperature peaked one time at 205 most of the time about 185 to 195.

    Please feel free to call if you would like more information or feel free to contact by email.

    Looking forward to meeting you one of these days.

    We are presently on a tight schedule to visit with a very sick brother in Toledo, Ohio

    Ray Mc

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