Friday, March 24, 2017 (Travel to Barstow/Calico KOA, Yermo, CA)

It was a beautiful morning as we pulled out of Indian Waters RV Resort and made our way over to the I-10.
We headed west towards all of the wind turbines...
And then took the exit to highway 62...
The desert is alive with yellow flowers!


We have a bit of a climb ahead...

We were going up a fairly steep hill when I opened the window to take pictures and noticed a new sound...in addition to the familiar "squeal/whistle", there was now a loud hissing sound, like a leak in an air compressor hose. Well, isn't that just great...and it only got worse! Our usual squealing sound is now graduating to something that sounds much more serious.

It's amazing where some people will build...
But we continued on...although the beautiful views were marred by the sound the truck was making...
You can tell we've climbed to a higher elevation as we started seeing Joshua Trees...

A ridge of boulders...
Looks like a dry lake bed...

Our destination today was Sawtooth Canyon BLM Campground off highway 247, about 30 miles south of Barstow, CA. When we reached what our GPS said was the turnoff, there were no signs indicating we were at the right spot...and when you have a big rig like ours, we are always cautious about embarking on a narrow, gravel road. Luckily, our friend Deb was available on messenger, so I texted her. She and Ray have been here before and I just wanted to confirm that we were in the right location. Thanks for your help, Deb...so we started down the wash boardy gravel road....

About a mile in, we arrived at the campground...now, why could they not have put a direction sign at the highway?
We drove in but with roads going every which way, we stopped and got out to walk. Unfortunately all of the campsites were occupied. This is a popular spot for rock climbers so we noticed many of the sites seemed to be used only for parking! We didn't take any pictures of the campsites...totally didn't think about it! I guess we were more concerned about finding an empty spot. I did get this picture, though, as I waited in the truck for Steve to return from checking out an exit road for us to take...
We made our way back out to the highway, stopping just before the pavement to have lunch and get on the internet to check out where to go next. Steve was very concerned about the truck so checked out Barstow to see if there was anyplace there to go. It looked like the TA Truck Stop was the place, so we headed off there.

Once there, Steve decided to first call Gold Key Isuzu in Langley where we bought our truck ...he wanted to talk to Dave about our situation first. Unfortunately, Dave wasn't in today, so he explained the problem to his colleague and told her that we needed to have it checked out now. Steve went into the service department at TA only to find out that they don't work on Isuzu engines...but he gave us the name and phone number of a company in Barstow that does work on diesel engines. Steve called American Towing and Recovery and after talking to David, we were on our way there.

We had to unhitch and leave the fifth-wheel on the street out front and then take the truck inside one of the bays.
Steve dismantling the boat loader mounting bolts so the cab can be tilted forward...










Our mechanic David...


Our dealer back home has been trying anything to prevent the mounting bolts from backing out, so they welded tabs onto them. They still managed to become loose!
New gasket installed between the EGR cooler and exhaust manifold...
It's now been about 4 years of constantly blown gaskets and no less than 20 visits between the Isuzu dealers in Langley and Phoenix and nobody can figure this out. We've had 3 EGR coolers and finally an exhaust manifold installed in case there was some warping on a mounting surface all to no avail! On our last visit with our dealer at Gold Key, Isuzu in L.A. told them to get a copper gasket custom cut. Apparently they are used on race cars, so they installed that and left me with a spare one. This is all that's left of it!
David had us back on the road just before 5 p.m., however as we got onto the highway the squeal returned when accelerating and when the exhaust brake engaged! And it was loud! We phoned them back and were told to return and they would grab David before he left for the weekend. Once back David said he suspects that the missing pieces of the old gasket have gone into the turbo and they can't do anything for us until they open again on Monday. Great! He recommended a KOA to stay at and unfortunately that was about our only acceptable choice in these parts. We don't like KOA's as they are over priced...$50.89/night, crazy! At least they gave us a 10% discount (when asked if we were military, Steve jokingly said "just Air Cadets" and the fellow gave us the discount!)

It was well after 6:30 by the time we pulled into our site (#33) at Barstow/Calico KOA. And here we thought we would be all set up at Sawtooth Canyon by noon!
David recommended that we drive the truck as little as possible, so we will sit here for the weekend. Apparently  the Calico Ghost Town is close by and we noticed a sign in the KOA office offering a free shuttle there...so we'll probably check that out.





12 comments:

  1. So sorry for you guys. That truck is a pain in the ass. Too bad you could not return it for another one but I know that time is long past. Maybe a toy hauler in the form of a motorhome????? :) lol

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    1. Yes, Steve is sick and tired of the problem! It would be nice to get it fixed once and for all!

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  2. At least you had an extra gasket but man, that sucks!

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    1. Yes, they had an extra made up. Gee, I wonder if they knew we'd probably need it?!

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  3. So sorry to read about your truck problem and not being able to get a campsite. KOA's are quite pricey, for sure. Glad you did have a place to stay to wait for Monday.

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    1. Thanks, guys. Fingers crossed all goes well Monday!

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  4. So frustrating with repeat problems of the same piece! Hopefully you get fixed up again without a massive bill. Isuzu should step up and replace that motor with new or at least a factory refurbished engine, that one is obviously flawed. Absolutely hate recurring problems.Sorry to hear about this and hope you get a resolution soon.

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    1. Thanks guys.I am way beyond my extended warranty even though this started 2 years before that expired. We just might finally have a solution but time will tell.

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  5. Sorry to hear of the recurring problems. Doesn't seem to matter the make or model of truck....they all seem to have their issues. Hope it gets resolved once and for all.
    I do have a question. A few weeks back you guys swapped out your older flooded batteries for new AGM's. I'm about to spring for new ones as well and wondered your reasons for going with AGM this time. (Sorry if I missed the reasons in a previous post).
    Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Dave. In our almost 7 years of fulltiming most people we have met with solar have gone to the AGM's. When we first started out I didn't know that was an option when we had our solar system installed. They are maintenance free and don't require equalization, can be mounted in any position, and apparently last longer. I did get almost 7 years out of our old Interstate flooded batteries. My preference would have been the Lifeline batteries but with the poor Canadian exchange rate they are too expensive for me. We went with the Fullriver which are suppose to be almost as good. Go onto amsolar.com and type in batteries in the search function for a better description of battery types than I could ever explain.

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  6. That's rough. I hope it'll be something quick and easy. At least you have the car to get around.

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    1. Thanks Debbie. Lemonade out of lemons...right!

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