Thursday, April 30, 2015

Disaster Kitty Bites a Fuel Injector

We now find ourselves parked in the back lot of Little's Diesel Service in Kanab, UT.  We have excellent 4G LTE, power and water.  Here are pictures of how we arrived here.

This is called a landoll, which is a traveling axle trailer.  Landoll is like "kleenex" in that it refers to any traveling axle trailer, but is actually a brand name.  Ours was a Trail-Eze.

The motor home must be backed up onto the landoll, which is not much wider than the RV's wheels.  That would be Jim backing up the bus.  I, personally, can not believe that they let the owners do the backing.  Jim did a really good job of it.

It required backing onto a 6 by 6 to keep the bottom of the RV from hitting the deck.  The tow bar hitch receiver dragged a little, but it was ok.

The trailer wheels move backwards, lifting up the deck.

Jake then chained the bus to the deck.  He had a really long bar providing a lot of leverage on the chain binders.

Here is our home, driving away.  Jake had to exit through the entrance.  He approached the exit at a slightly bad angle and brushed a tree.  Backing up and going left was the good way to go.

That's Mike Little on the left and Jim.  Mike has the Caterpillar diagnostics up on his lap top.  We now know that we have a bad injector.  Hopefully that's all we have, but that won't be known until the engine is taken apart.  Engine work is such a pain, do you know where the access is?  From the bedroom closet. 

Our road side assistance was through Coach Net.  I shall now provide a brief summary of how that went.  Their goal is not to tow, because it's expensive.  The first thing they did was call a local diesel guy.  Coach Net had us call him to set up an appointment.  Local diesel guy told us that he could do nothing for us, and that he had told Coach Net the same thing.  Diesel engines can not be fixed in a RV campground.  Then Coach Net proposed towing us front wheels up.  They were pretty hard over on it.  We kept pushing back asking for all wheels up, and they kept saying no.  We finally told them we'd pay the difference between the cost to tow on a flat bed and front wheels up.  The picture below is NOT what you want.  This requires disconnecting the drive shaft and can cause great damage to your RV.  You can read more on the subject here and here.

After giving up on the idea of fixing the engine in the campground, Coach Net called several towing companies, all of whom said that they would not tow front wheels up, that all wheels had to be up.  This was good for us, since Coach Net agreed to cover the full cost of towing.  Ultimately it all worked out, and the nearest repair shop to Page appears to be a good one. 

It's going to be awhile.  We've decided to replace all 6 injectors.  If one is bad, who knows what the rest of them are doing.  This could have been so much worse.  The day after the engine failure, we were heading out to Bluff, UT.  There is absolutely nothing out there - nothing!  At least it happened in an area where there was some cell coverage and we were able to get the RV off the road and into safe harbor.

The six injectors are coming from three different states.  I don't expect to see them until Tuesday.  After they arrive, the cylinder head comes off, a tiny camera goes into each cylinder to inspect the pistons for any damage.  Cross your fingers that the pistons are unharmed.

So - here we are and here we be for the next while. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

More Disaster Kitty Strikes Again

We're in the Wahweap RV park on beautiful Lake Powell.  The force of the internet is anemic at best.  Anyway.....  when we were closing in on Wahweap, the engine started losing power and vibrating.  Something very bad has happened in the engine compartment.
We called Coach Net for assistance, who informed us that we were "inactive".  Turns out to be an internal error in the billing department.  Phone calls are being made, allegedly we'll be covered, in time.
So no pictures for you.  Not enough bandwidth.  At this point we don't know if a mobile guy can fix it, or if we'll all be riding on a lowboy to Flagstaff for repair.  I'll report in as the force of the internet allows.
That is all.

OK, one picture got through the internet.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Willow Wind RV Park

In the past, when we have visited Zion National Park, we stayed at Zion River RV Resort. This year we stayed at Willow Wind RV Park in Hurricane.  It puts you 10.8 miles further away from the main entrance to Zion.  The park is right in downtown Hurricane, about one block off Hwy 9.  For us the extra distance was worth it.
The park has an older demographic.  I think we saw 2 children while we were here.  No one burned any wood.
There were 3 to 4 bars on the Verizon Jetpack.  However, sometimes speeds would just tank, it was like watching your hair grow to load a page.  RV park wifi is not usable.  The power is very good.  Water pressure is good.  The water tastes terrible, and occasionally smells funny.  The Brita is able to compensate for this.
The laundry is good sized and clean; wash and dry are both $2.   They don't have laundry carts and the folding table is too low.  No data on the rest rooms.
Sites are concrete pads, and are fairly level.  There is grass between the sites.  No picnic tables are provided, and there are no fire rings.  Interior roads are paved and are wide.  No trees touched our rig.  It's an RV park, you're close to your neighbors.
We waited too long to reserve here, wrongly believing that because school is in session that we would have no issues.  Our site was the last one available site for our dates.  It's a pull through and it is heavily treed.  Forget satellite in all of the pull throughs!  There is cable, and there are a fair number of channels. So all was not lost.  I was able to see the episode of Gray's Anatomy when they killed off McDreamy.  Notice the gigantic trees below.

Some of the sites backing up to the front wall have tiny trees and good access to the southern sky.  Street noise might be a little worse than an interior site, but it's pretty quiet here over all.

Many of the interior sides are also good for satellite.

The park has a fairly draconian refund policy.  You must cancel prior to 30 days of the start of your stay.  They charge your credit card immediately when you book.  Since we booked less than 30 days before arriving, there would be no reservation changes.
It's a nice park and we would come back here.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Kolob Canyon

Last night wunderground was issuing flash flood alerts for Zion.  Apparently it snowed on the mountains as well.  This is what we saw this morning on the way to Kolob Canyon.  It was a cold, windy day.  Kolob Canyon is off I15 at exit 40.

This drive completely exceeded expectations.  Look how gorgeous this place is.

We decided to do the Taylor Creek Trail.  It's a 5 mile-ish out and back trail.  It was a nice hike with beautiful scenery.  You do cross the Taylor Creek many times.  Toward the end you must walk in the creek bed.  Water levels were low today, so it was all good.
This is a cedar tree, I think.  Anybody have any thoughts on what the yellow goo on the branches is?

Pretty rock walls.

This was interesting.  A large chunk of rock had fallen across the trail and broken into smaller bits.  We will see the other side of it later.

Farther back on the trail.

This is the Double Arch Alcove.  Look at the top and you see the second arch.  I couldn't get a good picture of the alcove and the arch.  The alcove is at the bottom.  This is the official end of the trail.  We walked farther up the creek for a bit, and then turned around.

This is the other side of that broken rock.  It just sheared off from the section on the left. 

More canyon walls.

This is the view from the parking lot at the trail head.

We drove up to the top of the canyon drive.

There were very few people in this part of Zion.  Given that it was a Sunday, we had elected not to go into the main part of Zion - too many bodies!  There are several hikes in Kolob Canyon, if you haven't been there, you should go.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Colorado City, Pipe Springs National Monument and More Rain

The onslaught of pictures of red rocks has been interrupted by rain.  I feel so bad for the tent campers in Zion.  Yesterday they had torrential rain and hail.  It has rained off and on all day today.  The roof of the RV is now covered in leaves from the over hanging trees.  I hate trees.

Anyway, with the weather being so terrible, we went for a drive.  We drove out towards Colorado City because, well, because we are nosy.  We see many sister wives in the grocery store in Hurricane. They are recognizable because they dress like this.  They're also wearing pants underneath those dresses.  That's gotta be hot in the summer.

Colorado City and Hilldale are both home to the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, who are polygamists.  Both towns are poor and look bad.  What really struck me is how many houses have fences like this.  It's probably because of people like me pointing cameras at them.  Most of the houses are owned by the FLDS church, and if you're not suitably subservient to what ever Jeffs brother is in charge, you can be ousted.  Due to the fact that about half the people in the two towns are descended from one of the two founders, there is a lot of cousin marriage.  This has resulted in a high incidence of fumarase deficiency, which leads to developmental disorders and death.  There are no dogs, the FLDS banned them. 

Why do they dress like that?  The dresses were instituted in 1953 after a raid on Colorado City.  Prior to that women could wear pants.  Every aspect of what women wear or do is controlled by the men.  They don't cut their hair (ever) because when they are in heaven, they'll be washing their husband's feet with it. 

If you're interested, here is an interesting piece on why they dress like that.  And HERE is an article on the community in general.
The Salt Lake City local news carried a piece the other night about the legal wife of Lyle Jeffs petitioning the courts for custody of their two youngest children.  In her brief she said that things were even worse under the rule of Lyle than under Warren.  The courts denied her requests.  You can read about it HERE.  Warren Jeffs, the current prophet, is serving life plus 20 for child rape.  The fact that underage girls are given to elderly men in marriage is not a secret.  Why the Justice Department does not arrest these people for human trafficking is beyond me.

After Colorado City, we drove out to the Pipe Springs National Monument.  This is a very interesting stop, and explains why the FLDS is in the area.   In the 1800s the Mormons moved in to the area around Pipe Springs.  They were heading west to escape the boundaries of the United States so they could have multiple wives.  Apparently Brigham Young had huge goals for the church; extending it into Mexico, to the west coast, and eventually the world.  The Mormon church built the Winsor Castle to sequester water and to be a way station for Mormons heading west.  This is a photo of a photo of the castle taken on a much nicer day.

After the US and Mexico signed a treaty, the land from sea to shining sea came under US rule.  The Eastern media equated polygamy with slavery, and consequently public sentiment was very much against it.  In response, the US government sent 2/3 of the standing army to Utah to put a stop to it.  Many sister wives ended up living in the Castle in secret so that the marshals would not put their husbands in jail. 

Like every encounter between the whites and the Native Americans, the local Paiutes lost, big time.  After measles and small pox had killed off 80% of the Native Americans; the sequestration of water, and the running of cattle on Paiute land killed their way of life.

There are some preserved old buildings and a little bit of live stock on the grounds.

There are ranger tours on the half hour of the castle.  If you're driving AZ 389, this is worth a stop.  There is a 20 minute video that discusses the history of the area that we thought was very well done.

It's now raining so hard it's bouncing.  Jim is wearing socks.  This almost never happens.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

West Rim Trail and Temple of Sinawava

We were up and out early again today so we could park at the visitor's center, rather than take the shuttle in from Springdale. We got the last legal parking spot in overflow.  Today's first route was toward Scout's Lookout and then on to the West Rim trail.  The scenery is just beautiful.  The trail seems to have gotten steeper since we were last here....
This is taken from the middle of the climb up to Scout's Lookout.

Flowers are growing out of the cracks of the rocks - we were on Walter's Wiggles by then.  Did you know that the Wiggles are on the National Register of Historic Places?  The trail was put in place by the first superintendent of the park so that people would be able to get up to Angel's Landing.

Here we are on the West Rim Trail.  It's also gorgeous up there.  Parts of the trail are rocky, and parts are not.

The scenery is also magnificent from this trail.  It was windy and chilly up there.  Apparently weather is headed our way, with falling temperatures and perhaps rain.  Rain!  It is not supposed to rain in my presence.

When we were heading back we walked over to an overlook that gives a good view of Angel's Landing.  That is the pointy rock on the left.

I've zoomed and cropped so you can see the right edge of the rock.  That's where people walk to get to the top.  Jim and I have decided that we can be fully self actualized people without ever doing that hike.

We saw these two on the way back down.  I wish I could have gotten a picture of their faces.  Both of them had multiple piercings in the lips and eye brows, and he was wearing black lipstick.  I am totally loving the entire outfit, including the backpack and the tails.  It's good that they found each other, they appear to be really well matched as a couple.

We took the shuttle up to the Temple of Sinawava.  I walked right up to this Golden Mantled squirrel for his picture.

The squirrels have no fear of people.  We saw one walking up to a man having a snack, I think he would have run up his arm for the food if the man didn't swat at him.  On the trail they would walk along side of people, evaluating whether or not there might be food.

This is the Virgin river closer to the temple.  The water is really clear and really blue.

People come here to wade/hike the Narrows.  Most people rent neoprene socks, river shoes and water proof pants.  That water is unbelievably cold.  The whole canyon is cold because it's shaded by the canyon walls.

It was a good day.  We got about 8 miles on our feet with not too much discomfort.  My hip did not actually complain until we got off the shuttle after returning to the visitor's center.

In other park news, Kolob Terrace road is under construction. There are significant closure times during the day through the end of October.  Click on the link HERE for the details. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Hike to Observation Point

Today we drove to and through Zion to get to the other side.  We were able to drive to the trail head of the East Mesa Trail.  Most of the dirt road was in really good shape.  As predicted, the last half mile deteriorates some, but our Chevy half ton 4x4 was not challenged by it.  This section of road would be impassable if wet.  Someone has been out installing signage pointing to the Observation Point trail which was very nice.  The climate was perfect, it's so nice to be out of the heat and in the upper 70s.
The trail itself is not that visually entertaining.  Much of it is through the trees, some of it is down a water course, and much of it is through loose rock that I always call rubble.  However, it's much less difficult than coming up from the bottom of the trail.

As you approach the end, it becomes more interesting out in the distance.  I think this is Mystery Canyon.  The description of it is that it is a technical rappel to enter and permits are required.

After enough slogging, you get to see this.  It's an amazing sight.  Angel's Landing (on the right foreground) had people on it, but I don't have enough zoom so pull them in.

These are growing alongside the trail.  They're very pretty.

Driving back on the dirt road we saw three wild turkeys.  They're really big.  Unfortunately they wouldn't pose, so I have only this terrible picture of this one running away from me.

When we re-entered Zion we saw this.  I think this is the biggest Airstream I have ever seen.

The east side of the park is just beautiful.  I never get tired of looking at the rocks.

No one was behind us when going through the tunnel, so we were able to stop and take pictures through the cut outs in the wall.

So scenic.

It was a good day.  We walked seven miles with minimal discomfort.  My hip was yipping a little towards the end, but it was all tolerable.  I am not sure what we are doing tomorrow.