Oct 242013

Yesterday morning Miss Terry woke me up at 6:30, and she’d already been up for an hour or so. Now, I don’t care what all you worm eating early birds say, morning sucks. Especially cold mornings where my nice warm bed calls out and says, “Please don’t leave me!” But alas, I had to. We had places to go and people to see.

Terry had put most everything away the night before, so it was a simple matter of checking e-mail for any important messages that needed to be dealt with, unhooking our campground utilities, pulling the slides in and the jacks up, and we were ready to go.

We arrived at Hansen Enterprises Fleet Repair (HEFR) right on time for our 8 o’clock appointment and Dave had the bay doors open and was waiting for us. I pulled the motorhome in and he went right to work on it.

Apparently on some Winnebago Ultimate Advantage motorhomes the fuel filter is easy to access and change, but not ours. It’s located between the frame and the starter, and the only way to get it out is to first remove the cables to the starter, and even then it’s a tight fit to get the old one out and the new one in. But Dave was able to get the job done pretty quickly and then he spent some time checking the engine out to see if he could find anything else that might have been causing the check engine light to come on. Finding nothing, he buttoned things back up and we paid our bill (which was very reasonable) and were ready to hit the road. If you are in the Verde Valley area of central Arizona and need any kind of mechanical service on your RV or tow vehicle, I can highly recommend HEFR. Dave is honest, knows what he’s doing, and will treat you right.

The fuel filter was apparently the culprit, because on the steep 55 mile uphill climb to Flagstaff the motorhome ran fine and the Cummins diesel had plenty of power. In Flagstaff we got on Interstate 40 eastbound and had an easy drive to Holbrook, with a stop along the way at the Flying J in Winslow to top off our fuel tank. We had plenty of diesel on board but since we’re going to be in cold weather for the next few days, I wanted the tank as full as possible to prevent any condensation.

We left the interstate in Holbrook, an ugly, dying town whose only claims to fame are the Route 66 icon Wigwam Motel, a petrified wood shop with some fiberglass dinosaurs out front, and the fact that it’s the gateway to the Petrified Forest.

Tipi Motel

Dinosaur 2

But back in the days of the Wild West, Holbrook was a real hellhole and a favorite haunt of outlaws and gunslingers. It was here in September, 1887, that Sheriff Commodore Perry Owens got into a shootout with a family of outlaws, killing three of them and wounding a third in less than a minute. The story of the gun battle is included in my book Highway History And Back Road Mystery II, along with over 50 other fascinating tales we’ve found exploring America’s hinterlands.

We took State Route 77 south another 30 miles into Taylor, making good time on the nice two lane road, and arrived at my daughter Tiffany’s house about 2 p.m. Son-in-law Scott had installed a 50 amp electric outlet on the side of the garage for us, we have water available if we need it, and we’re using Tiffany’s super fast WiFi. All that and it’s free too! Life is good.

Winnie at Tiffany house

Of course, the best thing about it is those beautiful little granddaughters of ours, who smothered us with hugs and kisses as soon as they got home from school a couple of hours later. We spent the afternoon and evening enjoying time with Tiffany and her family, finally retiring to our motorhome about 9:30, worn out from our early morning wake up and long day.

We’ll be here a few days before we head down to Mesa and then on to Tucson for medical appointments and hopefully some warm weather. It’s going to be down in the 30s every night while we’re here, which is about 20 degrees colder than I prefer for sleeping. I’m sure glad Scott installed the 50 amp outlet, because I plan to give their electric bill a workout keeping warm while we’re here!

Thought For The Day – Whenever someone says "I’m not book smart, but I’m street smart", all I hear is "I’m not real smart, but I’m imaginary smart".

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  9 Responses to “Morning Comes Way Too Early”

  1. We encountered the same problems with a dirty fuel filter, luckily we had bought both filters several years prior. We were on Interstate 95 heading north in Georgia when the problem stated and we did an on board test that pointed to the filters. We pulled in to a truck stop and parked at the rear of the lot and we changed the filters there. One side note is that the time it took to change the filters (Less than 1/2 hour) the price of fuel dropped 8 cents a gallon. A win win situation.

  2. those are some pretty great digs. . .free, and with hugs from the grands thrown in. . .can’t beat that deal!

  3. Wow 50 amp service! That’s a great son in law you have. Enjoy your visit!
    Oh, and thanks for the replacement copy of the Gypsy Journal. Maggie the Labrador promised me not to eat this one.

  4. I stayed at that Wig Wam motel when I was 10 years old. Memories…..

  5. happy the repairs were what you thought it might be and that you found an honest mechanic who does a super job.

  6. Hi Nick I hope u don’t mind me takeing you way off topic
    So here go,s
    Would u please in lite me on something
    I’m lost (but making good time ) as to why someone would sell there house and chuck it all to live FT on the road
    Now doing that I see pro- young and no cares have cash (some in the bank) in your pocket no job or free work as u like move all over the USA

    Now we come to mid age still no cares still no job moving around the USA how much cash is still in your (bank ?) pocket

    Then we have old age now SSI and med-care kicks in let’s stop heres
    the point
    At some point,,, some folks not all will need a home base whether its the wife or your health or it’s time to come in off the road an put the atlas away or any number of things
    Now what,,,, most don’t have the cash to start over and buy a SB home even if one down sizes ,,,what now
    Seeings as how ones not worked in a lot of years your SSI will be way down
    As for someone’s IRA or 401k that’s down or flat
    I just don’t understand the thinking here we are going to get old an in poor health at some point in life
    Please don’t get me wrong here im all for FT-ing on the road for as long as one pleases
    My Con- is no backup plan
    In all the blogs I read most( 95%) don’t have a backup plan (OR there not saying )is this the case
    Now like yourself and a select few that are fortunate to to have means of support that can be utilized anywhere one put your hat
    I’m betting there’s some kind of backup plan or is there not (care to buy my home in port st John were next to Titusville u love so much and not far from Dixie Crossroad )
    I,m planning to do about the same thing in Jan, for who knows how long ?. but my master plan is to sell my home and buy a real small one and down size big time this has a lot to do with age fixed income no bills and no kids
    So please in-lite me why do most RVers not have a backup plan

  7. Ed,
    I can’t speak for other fulltime RVers, but in our case we were wiped out after the insurance company refused to cover Terry’s cancer and we have spent the last 12 years rebuilding our lives. We are fortunate in that we run our own business and are now starting to look toward the future. We will have small social security benefits, but enough to get by on if we live very frugally. Especially since I have small royalties that come in from my books and audio books, which I continue to add to. There are places (like Titusville) where one can buy a decent small house, which we will probably do when the time comes. Others buy a park model in the Sunbelt somewhere.

  8. Early bird gets the worm. 2nd mouse gets the cheese. sleep on.

  9. Mister Ed…..We are planning this in a year and a half….We will be 65….Medicare is what we are waiting for….We are buying all your needs now and paying cash….MotorHome….Trailor…Pickup to Pull…even a Golf Cart…anything we might want..Paying off all bills….Were selling the house….Its our time to enjoy….We plan on doing some workcamping and other things to help with SSI…as well as small pensions….We do have a back up plan….We have a small rental house…about 650 square feet…small but good enough for us….with double car garage also…(important) lol…so I think most rvers might have a backup plan, or have family that will help if medically they need help at that time….Also, you can rent a small apt anyway, if you want to be sefl sufficient still in your elderly age….Their is really no sense in worrying about the future if you want to enjoy the present….

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