When Things Get Tough, The Tough Go Shopping

Our journey toward Flagstaff and Page became a challenge as the day progressed. As we approached Flagstaff, making the transition to Route 89 N I noticed that the truck brakes seemed to be doing the work to stop the trailer, and the brake controller was not showing the right light configuration. Something was definitely wrong.

I pulled into a pullout space seemingly made just for me to get off the road to assess the situation and decide the next step. As I looked around I saw that within only a short distance there was an RV service center! So I made my way there. It was located at the end of a shopping mall area, with very little maneuvering space. I pulled in and went inside.

The man at the desk said that it would probably be two hours before they could look at the trailer. I called the mobile RV service I’d been using to get my repairs done, and asked their opinion of what the problem might be – the trailer brakes or the brake controller. The consensus was that it was the brake controller. The technician had checked over the brakes in March when repairs were made, and he reported that they were fine. The trailer hadn’t been out but once for the driving course I took.

I told the man at the desk to make a ticket to check things out and do what was necessary. He said he would call me. It was almost 10:00 a.m. by the time we completed the paperwork. Liz and I headed over to the mall on foot to bide our time.

We found ourselves in Penney’s and noticed that there was quite a nice sale in progress. So for a while we perused the wares and eventually I found some dresses that appealed to me. Did I need a dress? No. But could I use a dress? Definitely! I found a ‘designer’ dress that I just couldn’t live without and it was over 50% off, for a sale price of just $30 – couldn’t pass it up. And it looked great on! I also found some jeans on sale – and I did need some new ones.

Liz found a couple of shirts and a pair of pants. So we headed to the cash register.

After making our purchases we decided it was almost lunchtime. So we went to the food court and ordered a Subway ‘foot-long’ sub to share. As we were sitting down to eat, I got the call that the trailer was ready. They had put a new brake controller in – cost $210. So after eating our food we headed back over to the service center.

I paid the bill with my charge card, and I asked the technician there to show me how to adjust the controller. He showed me how he had set it to the recommended settings. He said that the same company that made my old controller also made the new one, but the old one had had many problems (the driving course instructor had told me the same thing). He said that he’d had the new controller on his truck/trailer for over a year and a half and had only had to reset it three times. I thanked him for his help, and we drove away.

We were finally on our way again, to Page. This was a very arduous journey through steep climbs and a really BAD road. The road was ‘wavy’ so it felt like riding in a boat on a choppy sea. We were bounced and bounced. Because of all the climbing I didn’t run my air conditioner. So in addition to the bouncing, we had the ‘blowing’ of the wind through the windows. And it was HOT!!!

I was concerned that the last fill-up at the gas station would not get us to Page, and I made a comment about coasting into Page on fumes. Because of the climbing, the truck used a lot of gas, and I couldn’t count on the 100 miles per half tank that I’d been getting. So I became very concerned when the indicator dropped below ¾ and we had many more miles to go. As it turned out, the last few miles into Page are mostly down hill, so I did use coasting to help me get there. Luckily, I had about 1/8 tank when I arrived at the gas station. I filled it up and we headed into Utah.

We figured that we could make it to Zion National Park in time to settle for the night. We approached the park as the sun was dropping. Again, gas was a concern, but I felt we would be fine. When we got to the park entrance the ranger told us that all the camping sites were full, but if we wanted to drive through the park it would be $25, plus another $15 for taking the RV through the tunnel. He said there was an RV park at the junction where we had turned on the road to the park – I guess I didn’t see it – but he couldn’t tell me whether there were any spaces, as it wasn’t the park’s responsibility to keep up with that information. He was blunt and humorless.

I turned the rig around and headed back the 11 miles we’d come. We found the RV park near the corner of the intersection. There was a gas station there where I decided to fill up and inquire about the RV park. It turned out that the young man and woman who were running the station also ran the park. We could stay there for $16 – pull-throughs, water, electric. We had our pick of sites as there was no one else there.

As Liz needed a smoke break she walked over to the park that was old, and could be easily missed as an RV park – it looked like a vacant lot. She walked around to select the right site for us – one that had a working electrical box and water pump. I’d never been to a park where the water was turned on by pumping it first.

After filling up I drove over to the site Liz had selected and pulled in, hooked up, and set up for the night. It had been a long, hard day – still hot. I was glad to be able to turn on the AC in the trailer for a while before we went to bed. Then I opened the windows and turned on the fan. We noticed that there was a restaurant across the road that served breakfast, and we decided that we would eat there in the morning.

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