Our summer travels have gotten off to a slow start, thanks to a few mechanical problems. Our blowout on the way to Twin Falls was certainly the most bothersome (read: scary) of these, but not the most costly!
As we left Wells, Nevada, on our way to Twin Falls, we noticed that our air tanks (for our air suspension brakes) were losing air whenever we stopped and turned off the engine – we could hear it escaping near the back of the motorhome. Of course, the tanks were losing air as we drove, too – but our compressor was able to keep up with the loss when the engine was running. We’ve experienced this same problem in years past, and knew it was likely to be a faulty ride height adjuster valve.
Though it was safe to drive, we didn’t want to tackle any mountain passes (especially the downhill slopes!) until we had it repaired. That meant a detour in our plans and, instead of heading to Missoula, Montana, from Twin Falls, we diverted towards the Cummins repair facility in Boise, Idaho.
Since we left Twin Falls on Saturday and didn’t have an appointment in Boise until Tuesday, we stopped along the way in tiny Glenns Ferry, where the Snake River posed a significant obstacle to travelers on the Oregon Trail at Three Island Crossing. Being a weekend, the pretty campground at the Three Island Crossing state park was completely full, as was the campground at Carmela winery, next door to the state park. Lucky for us, we settled in at RV Camp and Cabins (click here to read our review), a comfortable little campground that participates in Passport America.
Besides visiting the Three Island Crossing Interpretive Center and catching up on our laundry, we tackled yet another minor problem, our Brake Buddy. After over nine years of excellent service, this little auxiliary braking system needed a new 12 v. plug. Odel took care of that problem, and when we left Glenns Ferry on Monday, the Jeep and its braking system seemed back to normal.
Our campsite on Monday night was the parking lot of the Cummins repair facility just off the interstate south of Boise – where we were happy to have a 50 amp electric hookup to deal with the 85 degree sunshine! Scoopy was into the repair bay at 8 am on Tuesday, with a diagnosis around 10:30: new ride height valve needed; radiator steam cleaning recommended; update of our EMC (engine monitoring computer?) software recommended. We said yes to everything and pulled out of the repair lot around 2 pm, $500+ lighter and ready to roll!
From time to time, readers or email correspondents ask about budgeting for fulltime RV travel. My opinion? The budget item most likely to be underfunded is the kitty for RV repairs. Things break down all the time! It might be mechanical (like the ride height valve), a broken slide mechanism, wind/hail damage, or an air conditioner that poops out on the hottest day of summer. Minor things (the step cover motor quit working several years ago; we never DID fix that) or major things (replace the U joints; repair the refrigerator). There is always something that needs attention; we’re happy when the “something” doesn’t keep us from moving. :)
So here we are in Boise, staying once again at Hi Valley RV Park, where we first stayed last September (click here to read our updated review). We’ve enjoyed a few of the brewpubs in town, and today we visited the educational World Center for Birds of Prey (where they raise the California Condors that are released near the Grand Canyon). Odel fit in a round of golf, and we’ll stay long enough to visit Boise’s downtown farmer’s market on Saturday. Sunday, with all systems now functioning, we’re heading off into the mountains of central Idaho, the Sawtooths and the Bitterroots, through Stanley and Salmon, then north to Missoula. Now, that sounds like summer!