I was not entirely honest about the success of our trip across the barren CR-140 from Winnemuca. We did not roll into Lakeview completely unscathed. Mounting problems force us to divert to Junction City, rather than heading straight to the Oregon coast and our next volunteer job. The whole fiasco begins about midway of the 179 mile no services zone on CR-140 with the following conversation.
After a LOUD bang from under the coach near our seats:
Me: “What was that noise, a rock right?” (Whenever I ask the noise question it is always a rock according to Storm)
Storm: “Maybe. Stop worrying so much.” (What, not a rock? NOW I am worried!!)
On the next leg of our trip to Crater Lake, we hear an even LOUDER bang near the same part of the coach.
Me: “A really BIG rock, right?”
Storm: “I don’t think so. The steering is acting funny.”
Me: “Do we need to pull off (on this shoulder-less, narrow, two-lane road in the middle of nowhere)?”
Storm: “No, I think we will be OK for a while. Stop worrying so much.”
We reach Klamath Falls and park beside a mega mall like grocery store called Fred Meyers. This store has its own separate jewelry and electronic stores inside for goodness sake. Storm crawls under the coach. Inside Fred Meyers, I bypass the produce and make a beeline for the fermented fruit (aka wine) section so I can more hastily “stop worrying.” When I return to the coach with with my purchases, Storm delivers the dismal news. The other sway bar bracket is broken. He replaced the right one in Moab last year. Now the left one is broken, PLUS part of the bracket cracked and must be welded. For welding we need professional help.
We are headed toward the Oregon coast to volunteer at Cape Blanco lighthouse. Our coach was originally built in Junction City about 150 miles NW of our planned destination. Junction City is the mecca of west coach RV repairs. Many shops there are operated by former Country Coach employees. Storm believes we can find someone there to repair the sway bar who actually knows the idiosyncrasies of our coach. After a thorough internet search, he selects a shop that has excellent reviews. The owner, Kevin, responds immediately to our Sunday sent email. Kevin informs Storm that he has the parts in stock and has added us to his schedule.
We do not discover the full extent of our latest RV repair woes until the morning that we leave Klamath Falls. We move the coach to a conveniently located Casino parking lot overnight preparing to get on the road early while it is still cool. The next morning Storm checks the engine before our 6am departure toward Junction City. The radiator has left a spreading pool of coolant on the pavement – BAD radiator!! In spite of some steep climbs, the radiator never boils over making our way to Junction City. I can’t say the same about Storm when he saw that puddle!
Hwy 99 into Junction City on Sunday is lined with RV sales and repair shops most of which have their service bays open with wounded motorhomes nosed in receiving treatment for their ailments. In spite of the fact that it is Sunday, Brian is waiting for us when we snake into the crowded lot at the shop Storm selected for our repairs. Brian is planning to quickly fix the sway bar and send us on our way. That plan disintegrates when Storm tells him about the leak. Brian decides an inspection underneath our coach is in order. After a speedy repair and weld to the sway bar, we now find ourselves parked half in and half out of a shop door, our rear wheels on ramps, a huge gaping maw where our radiator belongs and our coach nose pointed downhill.
Being so out of level is kind of like living in a carnival fun house. I have to hold Storm in bed so he does not roll over the edge, on to the floor and down to the front of the coach each night. Every time I open the fridge I wind up juggling bottles that try to roll out. Our interior doors keep rolling closed if we don’t refasten them open each time we use them. On the up side, I build up my thigh muscles on every hike up to the back of the coach.
After his inspection, Brian presents us with the following list of needed repairs. Some of the required parts will take 2 weeks to build, but the people who originally made parts for this coach are all still located within a few miles from Junction City. Good news for us as we won’t have to pay for or wait for shipping on the parts.
Junction City Repair List
Exhaust manifold is cracked
Charge air cooler is leaking like a sieve
Radiator leak is caused by a defective transmission cooler tank which needs to be replaced
Rear air bags are “iffy” so with the wheels off we will replace them now (so much easier than in a parking lot in Texas)
Crack in the right side radius arm needs welding
Radiator fan is only operating at one speed instead of at variable speeds as it should. The electric temperature sensor for the thermal cooling fan needs to be replaced with a thermal wax controller.
These repairs should get us in great shape for our future travels. Brian says that the new sensor will allow the radiator fan to work variably and at high speed, when we are climbing steep grades, will sound like a 747 is landing on the back of the bus. Wow, I so love unexpected loud noises – now I will never “stop worrying.”