We were up way too early again yesterday morning, a habit that I am going to start working very hard to break. But we had reservations at the Thousand Trails in Las Vegas, and the person I spoke to on the telephone there advised us to try to arrive mid to late morning for the best selection of RV sites, because the campground is pretty full.
We pulled out of the hilltop RV dry camping area provided by the River Palms Casino in Laughlin at 8:30 a.m. and began the seventeen mile long uphill climb from the Colorado River to U.S. Highway 95.
I was curious to see what our Winnebago would do on a hill like that from a standing start, so I just left it in high (sixth) gear and let the Allison automatic transmission do its thing, instead of manually downshifting. We averaged between 38 and 40 miles per hour on the steepest sections of the road. I can live with that.
Greg and Jan White followed along behind us in their 1999 American Eagle motorhome, and since their coach has the same Spartan chassis and 350 horsepower Cummins diesel engine that ours does, and we both run with the Silverleaf VMSpc engine monitoring system on, I was on the radio comparing notes with Greg. On the steepest inclines, the computer showed I was getting about 2.7 miles per gallon, while Greg reported back that his was showing about 3.5. Once we got onto U.S. 95, we had a long, gradual climb toward Searchlight. On that, I was averaging about 6.7 miles per gallon,and Greg reported just over 7. Since our odometer just turned over 40,000 miles, and Greg’s rig has about 91,000 miles on it, I don’t know if his is more broken in or what. Of course, the 3/4 ton Ford extended length cargo van we tow probably weighs a little more than Greg’s Dodge Dakota pickup, so that may be a factor too.
We arrived in Las Vegas about 10:30, and Greg and Jan dropped off to stay at another nearby RV park. Our GPS steered us wrong, telling me to take Exit 70, instead of 69, where Greg got off. This resulted in us coming back toward the Thousand Trails from the wrong direction on busy, divided Boulder Highway. But I got lucky and managed to make a U-turn at a traffic light with no problems, and got back to the campground.
About 1/4 mile or so from our destination, our PressurePro tire monitor suddenly started beeping, telling us that we were down to only six pounds of pressure in the left rear tire of our van, and then the display dropped to zero. I thought that we must have had a blowout, but once I could stop and check the tire, it was fine, and my tire gauge said it was right where it should be. I have no idea what set it off and gave us the wrong reading, but I seem to recall that Mike McFall from PressurePro once told me that they will sometimes pick up stray radio signals and send a false report, so I assume that’s what happened.
The sites here at the Thousand Trails are pretty tight, but we got our 40 foot motorhome backed in, and confirmed that our HWH leveling jacks and slide-out rooms still would not work. I called my friend Phil Botnick, one of the best RV techs around, and even though I am known for my lack of mechanical skills, he patiently talked me through troubleshooting the system. Phil’s diagnosis, based upon his experience with the coach last week in Yuma, and what I was telling him as I tried the things he suggested, was that the motor was shot. He suggested that I call HWH in Moscow, Iowa and get their input.
Phone calls to both the Winnebago factory and HWH confirmed what we already suspected. One motor runs both the jacks and slide-outs, and it was kaput. The nice lady at HWH gave me the part number for the motor, and suggested a couple of local shops to call. I did, and nobody in Las Vegas had the motor in stock. I was going to order it directly from HWH, when I remembered that our friend Mike Loscher had suggested 3Ts RV Service in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. They have worked on Mike’s jacks, and he was very pleased with them. Shoot, we were just in Lake Havasu City on Tuesday!
I called and they had two of the motors in stock, so I gave the lady there my credit card number, and she promised to have one to me by UPS today. I hope so, because with both slides in, it is pretty cramped living in our motorhome. And because we can’t use our jacks either, we’re sitting at an angle that makes life interesting at times.
Thought For The Day – Don’t dream your life, live your dream.