Monday, March 21, 2011 (Travel Day to Phoenix, Oregon)

I got up at about 6:20 this morning and as I was crawling out of bed to put the coffee on, Steve says...”you can have your shower first”...huh? Oh gee...don’t I get a cup of coffee first? Or at least check out the highway conditions before we decide we have to get going? But nope, we gotta get going this morning. As it turned out, there were no restrictions on the I-5 over the mountain passes, so yes, time to get moving!

We were on the road at 8:30 heading north...our destination today was DSU Peterbilt & GMC Truck Centre in Phoenix, Oregon. The roads were fine as we drove past Lake Shasta and started climbing into the mountains. Then it started raining...okay...that’s fine... just let us get through here before it starts snowing.

Well...then it started snowing...but thats okay’s not sticking to the road.

Then it started to snow heavily...
we both got a little concerned at that point, but we made it to the summit and through it all without any problems. Whew!

This is a picture taken from a rest stop...

What we didn’t realize, though, was that there was still one more mountain pass to get was just across the border into Oregon.

At the base of this mountain pass in the opposite lanes there were emergency vehicles attending to a small SUV in the ditch with his travel trailer jack knifed and laying on its side. Not a good start to the day! There was one final long climb and as we reached the top we were in thick there was a 9 mile, 6% downhill grade to contend with. There were the usual warning signs for trucks to check their brakes and signs indicating where the truck run-away lanes were. As we are heading down, we saw some red warning flares coming up along side of the road...a U-Haul cube van was crunched against the guard rail and just a little further down, a cop was pulled over with a semi. We don’t know whether the semi cut the truck off, or what happened but it’s likely because the fog was so dense up there. We were lucky there wasn’t any traffic beside us because Steve only had a split second to change lanes before running over the flares...or worse.

We arrived at DSU Peterbilt & GMC Truck around 11:30 and after getting the rig parked, we went into the service department. Robert (Bob) said that we could off load the 5th wheel in the empty lot across the road. We got all set up and the boat unloaded too...they would need to tilt the cab to do the service. Just as we got all that done, Steve, the mechanic came over to take the truck over for its’ were both surprised that they were able to do it right away. They are open until midnight.

We spent the afternoon reading. Just before 4pm Steve went over to see how work was progressing on our truck. It was all done. Unfortunately, they were unable to do the airbag installation on the front-end because they could not find a kit for our truck. They suggested we try a shop specializing in airbag installations. The other ongoing issue we have had since January when in Tampa was in cold weather under 40F. When starting the truck the steering column would vibrate and the steering and brakes would make a hell of a noise until the truck warmed up. Steve (the mechanic) found a GM bulletin that indicated that a rubber seal in the steering pump is too stiff in cold weather and that allowed air from the compressor into the lines making the fluid foam up. The brakes and steering share the same plumbing. Unfortunately it would take about 10 days to get one so we will wait until we get back to Victoria. We tried to get this taken care of when we had the truck in for the second faulty flow switch in Lake Charles Louisiana. The mechanic there gave Steve a B.S. story about him putting a call into GM and that their call centres must be very busy as he never did get a return call. Ya right! Apparently one of the locations where they located a pump was in Louisiana where we spent 3 days camped out at Martin Truck Centre waiting for a flow switch. Well, okay...sheesh!

After we paid for the service, we headed across the street to fuel up...we were on fumes. The best price we could find on diesel was at the Petro $4.06/gallon. We spent so much filling up that the fellow offered us each a complementary drink from the fountain bar...I took a cappuccino and Steve a hot chocolate. That was a first!

We spent the rest of the evening inside watching taped wasn’t exactly a choice camping spot! But hey...we were boondocking...and it was free!

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