Summer 2012 – Final Update #3

It always seems like the last blog entry of the summer travels always takes the longest to get out the door since we get so busy when we return home, so here ’tis.

We left Montrose, Colorado on September 4th and headed a couple of hours north to Grand Junction, Colorado to our appointment with the Cummins/Onan dealer to get our coach engine cooling system looked over (we had overheating as we headed west on I-70 over Vail Pass six weeks earlier) and to get our balky diesel Onan generator repaired.

The coach engine was checked out with no trouble found, basically we have to go slower in hot weather on long steep grades to reduce the load on the engine.  The generator was diagnosed with a bad inverter again.  This expensive part ($1500) failed a couple of years earlier but thank goodness it was still in warranty at that time.  This time we had to pay 🙁  and of course it was our luck the part had to be ordered, so we had to wait for two days.  The generator has to be significantly disassembled to replace the inverter so we had a ‘nice’ labor expense added to the parts bill.

Finally we left Grand Junction and made the fairly short run to Moab, Utah to get a few days (we thought) of running

Moab overlook from Seven-mile trail

Moab overlook from Seven-mile trail

the most excellent trails in the area. When we arrived at the campground in Moab, our generator shut down again, Grrrrr (we use the generator for the coach air conditioning – it was hot weather.)  We only stayed in Moab for three days and then headed back to Grand Junction to have the generator looked at once again.

After some head-scratching and a call from the dealer to Onan tech support, they came up with the diagnosis – it was good news and sort of bad news.  The generator was fine, the shutdown was caused by our battery charger/inverter interfering with the generator.  It’s a complicated situation but fortunately there is a workaround available which is to shut down the battery charger part of the inverter while the engine is running.  So we spoiled our plans to hang around in Moab for several days.  Bummer.

From Grand Junction we headed north to Spearfish, South Dakota to participate in the Black Hills Jeep Jamboree held near the end of September every year.  This was a new Jamboree for us and we enjoyed it very much.  We qualified for

Black Hills Jamboree - broken U-joint on the rear drive shaft

Black Hills Jamboree – broken U-joint on the rear drive shaft on an older Jeep Cherokee

the group (Black Group) that ran the hardest trails so we found ourselves doing some challenging rock crawling.  (“Membership” for the Black group required at least 35″ tall tires, locking differentials and trail experience.)

We started the first day with 12 Jeeps and only eight finished, four dropped out due to mechanical problems.  We did fine and nothing broke 🙂 .  The second day we only had seven Jeeps which made for a great group considering the trail difficulty, everybody was well skilled and there were very few problems for that entire second day.

Another benefit of being in South Dakota in late September was to admire the gorgeous fall colors.  The trees were in the middle of turning from green to all shades of red, yellow, and orange and it immensely added  to our overall experience.

After our Jeep Jamboree fete, it was time to point the bus south and make a beeline for home.  We were only going to

Black Hills Jamboree - he's rock crawling

Black Hills Jamboree – one guy in our Black Group rock crawling

be home for about six weeks (we are heading to Arizona November 8 for more off-roading), so we decided to keep living in the coach instead of moving a bunch of stuff back and forth between the coach and house.  Our house sitter agreed to keep living in the house until our return from Arizona (early December) – then we’ll move back into the house for the winter/spring.

We drove an average number of miles this summer, 6,059.7, burned through 814.5 gallons of diesel fuel for an average miles per gallon of 7.44.  It is interesting to note that since we now pull a car hauler trailer (the Jeep rides in style) which weighs 1,400 pounds, our miles per gallon has only decreased about 0.25-0.3 mpg.  One major factor I suspect is the Jeep with its large tires has quite a bit of rolling resistance (when we tow it on its own tires) compared to the relatively skinny trailer tires aired up to 65 psi – much less rolling resistance.

Thanks for riding along with us and as always, may God richly bless you!


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