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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How do we start this part of the blog? 

Well it actually all started a couple of days before arriving in Sedona, a place we have been
so looking forward to seeing. 

Let's turn the clock back to the day we left Albuquerque......Up early, RV prepared, hot water in the flask, everything secure, and on our way for an easy day of driving, as we have 2 days to travel just 350 miles (563kms) We drove across the countryside of New Mexico, heading to
Arizona, on the freeway which is parallel to the famous Route 66 - the highway that goes from Chicago to Los Angeles - 2451miles (3945kms). 

To start with the day was SO windy,  that the van was  blown round quite a bit.  Tumbleweeds blew  across the highway and  dust swirled around making visibility poor.  To add to that, we came to road works, which went for at least 8 miles (13kms), the road was very narrow with a
cement bollard down the middle.  By the  time we got to the end of it, a huge line up of traffic trailed behind us. Mikes knuckles were white, gripping the steering wheel, the van is quite
high, so on days like this, it catches the wind.    I felt slightly nervous, as there was no
room for error!  Apparently it sometimes gets so bad, that trucks, RV's, etc., have to pull over & stop.  He did very well at keeping the RV on the road, and as steady as was possible.

After a couple of hours, the conditions were not any better, and  it continued into the afternoon.   We were traveling at a speed of about 60mph (100kmh), and every time a semi trailer passed us, and there were  many, it made it even more difficult.  Some of the drivers would  crib into our lane,  and I would breathe in hoping that would help!!   I usually get a coffee round morning tea time but it was too rocky to get one while we were going along. 

We finally found a truck stop so Mike could take a break,  and got out to take some photos.  It was freezing!  There was a lot of snow, and the wind chill was high.   We didn't last long, and got back in the warm van, made a coffee, and enjoyed some fruit cake sent over to us by our good friend Beth,  then we went to leave.  Mike started the RV and all the dash board lights & gauges had stopped working. He  went outside to check the fuses.  No blown fuses, that he could see, it was all a bit strange.

So now we don't have a speed indicator, but fortunately the GPS tells us that.    We don't have any gauges to tell oil pressure, air pressure, no tacho, no temperature,  no amp gauge, no brake gauge-don't have blinkers (they were working outside though) and also have no fuel gauge.  He made a few phone calls as we drove to Winslow, a very small town, where we decided to stay the night for free in the Walmart carpark. There was no-one here that would be able to check it for us.    Mike checked everything again while I went in to Walmart.   

Late that night, a scary looking man with a hoodie knocked on the door saying he and his family had run out of fuel, and could we help.  Hmmm ..... running out of fuel, what normal, sensible, sane intelligent person would do ever do that? Anyway Mike gave him $5, so we wouldn't get our tyres slashed or something worse!!  I really don't think there was any stranded family though, probably just a pocket full of knives or guns!! ... Mike was very friendly to him and likewise the man was as well, especially after getting the $5 ... probably a good move on our part!   

Next morning, all the dashboard lights & gauges seemed to be working again, so Mike cancelled Good SAMs Club, (RAA eqiv) who he had arranged to come out to check  the RV.   He had just made the phone call, then started the van,  all dash lights & gauges had ceased working again. Great!!  We decided to go on, as the van seemed ok, just no gauges.

We drove to Meteor Crater, a huge crater,  which was carved out when a meteor hit the earth 50,000 years ago.  It is a massive hole,  one mile across, and very interesting, together with the film & exhibits. When we paid for our ticket, we were given a discount voucher for fuel at the Mobil station down the road, which was easy to get into, and not real busy.  For whatever
reason, Mike decided not to get fuel there, confident we would have enough to get to Sedona
, but just to be sure, and to make me happy, we would fill up in Flagstaff, the town before Sedona.   We couldn't find a fuel station that our van could easily drive into, and as it was so busy in Flagstaff on we went to Sedona.  

Now is when things start getting ugly! ... We came to a road with a sign, ''Scenic route, No trucks over 50ft'.   Our RV with the car is about 54ft, but as we are not a truck, Mike figures, it obviously does not refer to us!!!  We deliberated whether to go down or not, then he, who loves to live life on the edge, decided that we would "give it a go".  Cautiously we commenced our descent down the narrow winding road. If our grandkids were with us ... they would call this "The road of no return" ... after one of Mike's scary story's he told them when we were last with them up in Darwin!!

 It was not long before our trepidation  turned to amazement at the beauty that surrounded us. 
Trees on either side of the road, the branches with a dusting of late winter snow,  glistened in the afternoon sunlight, then round the next corner the scenery would change as red cliffs
stood high on one side of the road while on the other a deep chasm,  with more trees & snow descending down in the valley.   The massive mountains of deep red colored rocks of different shapes & sizes stood as sentinels against the beautiful cloudless blue sky, and the sun rays brought out the beautiful golden hues.   We were overawed at the  ever changing vista spread out before us on every side.

This is what we had been looking forward to, we were just overawed with the contrast and such beauty............then it happened!!!

Half way down the scenic route, (on a section called "the intestines") everything suddenly 
stops, all goes very quiet in the van, no sound of a motor, Michael has gone rather pale, not only have the gauges stopped working, now everything  has ceased working and we are just rolling, ever downwards, unsure what was the best thing to do.  Slowly he wrestled the big 15 ton rig & car to a halt in the snow on the side of the road.  He suspects it is lack of fuel, (really? ....  Amazing!!) but not totally sure.  He tries starting it again, and it fires up, so thinks maybe he could roll into Sedona, (14 miles downhill to go!)   He then thinks, maybe that might not be a good idea, too risky as the brakes may not continue to work for that long down
the steep & winding road.  Fortunately  we came to a stop where the traffic could get past us without too much trouble. There were not many areas like this to accommodate a 54ft outfit, especially in the 'intestines' section!!!

OK, what do we do now, do we unhook the car, and Mike go into Sedona to get diesel, leaving me in RV, or does he make a phone call?   He picked up the phone to ring Good SAMs  club, and of course, no phone signal.   This is getting better by the minute!!   For the next hour he uses the computer to ring via gmail,  but keeps getting kicked out, which means he had to go through all the prompts about 5 times....... "if this is a breakdown, press2".... " if this is a
life threatening emergency, press 911" ......hmmm it nearly was a life threatening emergency, as I was ready to strangle him!  (with respect of course!!)  He was put through to different people, who were trying to find out, to the nearest snowflake, what our position was.  'Sir, where are you, 'What are your co- ordinates, What is the nearest cross street?, his reply, "I have a cross wife, but no cross street'. Ha, funny man, aren't we.   Wow! 

In the mean time, I opened the cupboard to get the kettle out, and a plastic bag fell out on the
bench. (The RV was on a bit of a lean due to where we had stopped)    Unfortunately in that plastic bag was a  bottle of 'red cordial',  and of course it smashed and  dark colored liquid poured down the cupboard, in the drawer, on the floor & carpet.    A certain person looked up
& said, "well, that was a little bit silly"..........Hmmm....OK.....I remained calm, not a cross word was heard, as we grabbed serviettes, paper towel and tea towels &  calmly cleaned up the liquid still pouring into every crevice it could find! 
Absolutely no angry words spoken!!!!...... Just  "the look".......I think Mike was
close to ringing  9 1 1. !!!
as he had interpreted by "the look" that a potential life threatening situation was immanent. 

Then Michael came to the brilliant conclusion that really it was a good thing that this had happened, as now we could get some work done...emails etc, while waiting for help to arrive.,  WOW!  It never ceases to amaze me how his mind works.    He always somehow manages to
turn a mess that HE has caused into a positive, and...'it is all good'!!

We waited for an hour till someone arrived with 10 gallons (40 litres) of diesel, and only had to pay for half, as the call out & first 5 gallons were covered by  "Good SAMs club".    The man who came told us, that once you run out of fuel, if we had tried to go any further, eventually
the air would deplete from the brakes, and they would have failed.  Not a good thought, considering our circumstances. 

Michael figured that now he is in front, as the cost of "Good SAMs Club" is $100 for the year.  Apparently the man that came out was paid $250 by Good SAMs, and so not only had he got his money's worth from Good SAMs,  he had also helped this man & his family.  So a negative was made into a positive  AGAIN!   

Anyway  the scenery was just as magnificent all the way down, rather icy outside,  and just a bit inside, (Ha!)  and we finally got to the RV park at 5pm, instead of 3pm. 

We sat back, and just relaxed after a very eventful few days.   No work or emails to do, I wonder
why!!!! But we did laugh a lot later and yet again it just ads to the experiences of life! 

Tomorrow will be better, more about the beautiful Sedona in the next episode. 

Anyway thats all, Bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and for your comments,   keep safe and well,  God bless....Miss you all.  

Mikes Notation: ... Every wife has "The Look" but to get it twice within the space of 30 minutes impelled my fingers towards the digits 911 on the phone ... Ha!! 
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David on

So glad you got things back in order with the Kountry Star!

Mum on

Wonderful reading lovely photos but a bit scary a typical Mike journey you would
have loved it Mike

Glenys on

Sooooo glad James not there,...he would have loved the challenge and 'excitement'....and I would probably have got out and walked !! xx

The Wards on

Ruth you are a great example to us ladies - keeping your cool under duress - well done!! It's a bit like when one NEVER ask for directions even when it's totally obvious that we're in part of the planet we've never seen before - I speak from numerous experiences. Such an entertaining read! Stay safe God Bless xx

Ruth steele on

So I am not the only one with a husband that WON'T ask for directions. I am not sure if all husbands are the same, but Mike even questions the GPS, when we are in a place we have never been before!! Ha! Then when we get lost, he blames the lady talking to us, when he didn't follow her directions in the first place! What the!! It makes a trip interesting though.

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