First a quick re-cap of Thursday. It was somewhere around 8 a.m. when we rolled out of Meeker Colorado under cloudy skies. Nice drive enjoying the morning scenery all the way to Rifle Colorado. Lots of twists & turns on the sometimes narrow road between Meeker & Rifle. Kelly had forgot a few things at Walmart Wednesday so in Grand Junction Colorado we temporarily got ourselves a little lost looking for one. Back on I-80 & after checking weather reports ahead we decided not to head for Moab but by-pass it & motor on through Green River to GOBLIN VALLEY STATE PARK about 40 miles south of the Interstate. Goblin was right on our way to Capital Reef anyway.
ARE WE SOON GONNA BE SOMEWHERE WARMER MOM & DA
We knew of some boondocking spots just off Goblin Valley Road but took a wrong turn & ended up at the gate to the camping area. Large turn around paved parking lot so I pulled the rig over to the right & shut it down. Plan was for me to un-hook the Jeep while Kelly went inside the Visitor Center to see if they knew where the boondocking spots outside of the Park were located. I walked back to the Jeep & turned the key ‘off’ from it’s straight up driving/towing position in the ignition. Walked back to Jeep to begin un-hooking. Then I made a mistake by interrupting my un-hooking routine. Decided to take photo of the rig & Jeep first & that’s the photo below. As I’m walking back to the Jeep to begin un-hooking Kelly walked out of the Visitor Center saying, ‘hey we don’t have to un-hook yet.’ We then had a little disagreement about whether to let Pheebe out right there at the Visitor Center or wait till we found a boon docking spot later. And it was this short conversation that totally took my mind of what I was doing & it is exactly the same type of disruption in one’s thought process I have blogged about several time before in my posts. More about that later but in the meantime ‘remember that ignition key I had turned off? Yep you can see what is about to happen. We climbed into the Motorhome & I made a wide sweeping U-turn to the left & just started to step on the gas to head on down the road when the rig felt sluggish to me as if we were dragging something. And dragging something we were…..the Jeep. With the key improperly aligned in the ignition the wheels could not straighten out & were being dragged. I instantly new what had happened & stopped the Motorhome. Luckily we had only gone about 300 feet. But that 300 feet was enough. The key in the ignition would not start the Jeep because something was jammed. Front wheels were askew & because we had started down a slight grade the the hitch pins were totally unmovable with all the pressure on them. We were stuck in place & could go no further.
I can’t even begin to tell you how we were feeling at this point & I felt just sick inside at my mistake. Felt I had just totally ruined our entire trip & also knew we could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs depending on the extent of the damage. The ignition, the steering column, are the wheels bent?? Of course I imagined the worst of everything. We had no cell phone or internet service. While Kelly walked back a couple hundred yards to the Visitor Center to see if they had a phone I set about trying to get the ‘jammed’ Jeep un-hooked from the rig. I even tried jacking the front end of the Jeep up to level out the hitch but no luck, those pins were not budging. Managed to get the main pin out out of the hitch itself & figured by doing that I could just drive forward & at least separate the Jeep & hitch from the rig. Nope, that didn’t work either.
ENTERING RIFLE COLORADO FROM THE NORTH
Meanwhile back in the Visitor Center Kelly using the Parks ifffy satellite phone was able to contact our road-side service provider, COACHNET. Or I should say the Park Ranger was able to get the call through. This fella’s name was Jim & he was soooooo helpful in making calls & looking up addresses for us. He was able to help Kelly contact Coachnet as well as a mechanic in Green River & the Chrysler/Jeep dealer in Price Utah. The fella in Green River said our problem was not something he was equipped to deal with so it was decided to have the Jeep taken to Price. Coachnet called back to say a tow truck would be dispatched from Price shortly. Price was a hundred miles away. Kelly said the dispatcher at Coachnet was very helpful & calming. Twice they called back on the Park’s satellite phone to give us a tow truck update & twice Jim the helpful ranger walked out to our Motorhome to give us the message.
Kelly made supper but neither one of us had much of an appetite for anything & I added to my own misery by beating myself up pretty bad for making a ‘key’ mistake in the first place. I think it was somewhere shortly after 6 p.m. when we saw a AJ's Tow Truck winding it’s way along Goblin Valley road toward us. It had been around 3:30 when our ‘incident’ had occurred. I had figured correctly that a tow truck driver would have a lot more smarts than me when it came to getting the jammed Jeep unhooked from the Motorhome. And more smarts this young fella certainly did have. He had me do one simple thing which I had actually thought of earlier but afraid I might cause more damage. He had me put the Motorhome in reverse & back up slightly therefore easing the pressure on the two hitch pins. Before I even got out the side door of the rig he had the hitch off & totally disconnected already. The Jeep was free. WHAT!!!! He then got into the Jeep & started it & WHAT again!!!! It had been jammed before but he said that normally happens in a case like this & all he did was turn the steering back & forth to unjam it. With that he engaged the crankcase, put the Jeep in reverse & backed up. Another WHAT!!!! How could everything possibly be working when I had just spent 3 hours convincing myself of the worst. He as well as we figured it would still be a good idea to have the Jeep taken to a dealership to be checked over anyway in case of possible hidden damage or wheel alignment problems. With that he drove the Jeep across the parking lot & aligned it with his tow truck & proceeded to load it up. Did I mention it had started raining by this time.
SITTING IN THE RIG WAITING FOR THE TOW TRUCK….THE WEATHER MATCHED OUR MOOD
Light was fading as we followed the tow truck about 40 miles back up to I-70 then headed east towards Green River. Tow truck driver had said he was low on fuel & would head into Green River to tank up & we were to just go ahead & drive to the Chrysler dealership in Price Utah. And that’s what we did. We were so tired & the night seemed so dark as we steadily pushed north up & down many grades with many of them long & steep enough to have their own passing lanes. I was so glad to finally see the lights of Price ahead. Think it was somewhere just before 8 when we rolled into town. Garmin Gertie our GPS led us to the wrong address & we had to stop at an ice cream place on the main street to ask where the Chrysler dealership was. Turned out it was located just a few blocks south. Found it & pulled in but no Jeep or tow truck driver there. We waited, & waited, & waited. Walked all around the lot looking for the Jeep. Tried phoning the towing company but no answer. We knew the towing company was just down the street so I walked down to see if the Jeep had been taken there. All closed up & nobody around.
Had been about 40 minutes now & still no Jeep or tow truck. Walking back to the rig I spotted a police car patrolling a commercial parking lot. When the cruiser stopped I headed in it’s direction across the parking lot. Being night time in a deserted lot & with the recent shootings & nervousness not only in police officers but the public as well I made sure not to approach the cruiser with my hands in pockets. I’ve watched enough of the ‘Cops’ TV show to know what to do & what not to do. Worried about where our Jeep was I figured I would ask the officer if there had been an accident or anything south of Price. Really nice fella in the cruiser & I also made sure not to come right up to the cruiser posing myself as a threat. A couple minutes later after explaining our situation he knew I wasn’t a threat & got on his radio to dispatch to see if they could contact AJ’s Towing about the whereabouts of our Jeep. Just as he was doing this he pointed behind me & said “do you know that dog.” Turning around I saw Pheebs racing towards me about 300 mph with Kelly further back headed our way. She had found the Jeep. Turns out the tow truck driver had already been to the dealership & unloaded the Jeep behind the dealership where we had failed to find it in our previous search . Kelly & Pheebs had decided to have another look & that’s when they found it.
The Police Officer was really nice & when Kelly inquired about us overnighting in the very lot we were standing in the Officer said sure he didn’t think it would be a problem & besides he knew the store manager anyway. So, that’s what we did. Walked back to the dealership next door, retrieved the rig & brought it over to SUTHERLANDS HOME IMPROVEMENT & BUILDING SUPPLIES & shut er down for the night. What a past 6 hours it had been. We’ll be glad to reach Congress early next week, close the the gate behind us, lock the door , pull the curtains, & totally de-stress for a couple days.
In conclusion let me some up some thoughts about our incident Thursday. It was a case of 1 bad thing happening then a bunch of good things happening. Bad thing of course was the mistake but here’s the good stuff. Although this happened in place with no internet or cell phone service it did happed just a couple hundred yards from a place with a satellite phone. The 2 Rangers at the Park’s Visitor center were very helpful & especially Jim in putting us in contact with the people we needed to be in contact with. Coachnet was helpful & courteous on the phone. Impressed with the young friendly tow truck driver who was able to detach Libby from the Big EEE in a matter of seconds. And a nice police officer checking to see where our Jeep might be. Like I said, one bad happening followed by a good bunch of happenings:))
THIS IS WHERE LIBBY SPENT THE NIGHT
OKay that brings me up to today. I wrote the above Thursday re-cap about 6 a.m. this morning & happy to say we woke up under clear sunny skies. Re-positioned the rig out of the way in Sutherland’s parking lot & walked over to the Jeep dealer at 8 o’clock. Checked in with the service department & luckily they had a cancellation for 8 so took it right in. We walked back to the rig & awaited the good or bad news about our Jeep.
WE SPENT THE NIGHT RIGHT ABOUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS BIG PARKING LOT
It was 9:40 when our cell phone rang. It was the Jeep dealership next door saying they checked the Jeep out & everything appeared fine & no damage. Started OK & no pulling when they drove it. That was good news for sure & here’s the second chunk of good news……………no charge for checking out the Jeep. A great big Paul Bunyan two thumbs up for AUTO FARM the Chrysler/Jeep dealership in Price Utah. A big thank you folks:)))))
QUICK UPDATE:: We are heading back to Capital Reef & if you don’t hear from us for a couple days it is because we do not have an internet connection…………….Thanks for all the concerned comments & a special thanks to Chinle from SPOTTED DOG RANCH for her helpful email:))
No time for Groaner’s Corner……gotta get the Jeep hooked up.