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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Dust and Flat Tires

~Thursday, October 1, 2020~

Day 109 (Travel Day)

The price you pay for RV’ing in the secluded wilderness for 6 days. Boulders and lots of dust. The perfect recipe for Sadie. The whole trip here she reminded me of Pig-Pen in the Charlie Brown series. Everywhere she went, she was covered head to toe with the fine powdery stuff which was nearly impossible to keep out of the trailer. Oh well.

Saying goodbye to this beautiful valley of Markagunt and on to Colorado. Where in Colorado, we don’t know at the moment. We were exiting the area in the direction of Brian Head until we got to the sign that read “downgrade of 13% -trailers not recommended” in which we immediately turned the opposite direction.

We’re carrying alot of weight with both the gray and black tanks maxed out (Jeff thought it was an added 1,000 lbs.) and noticed the truck revving more than usual on the 6-7% grades we were descending on. Unfortunately, we were in a unique situation where we were too high and too remote to empty the tanks until we got to Cedar City which is about 5,000 feet lower than where we were. We do have a cool little device on our truck that allows you to adjust the trailer brake amount, so we increased it from the generic 6 setting to a 7. The highest it will go is 10. We need to do a little more research on how the trailer brake assist works, but assume you don’t want to be too aggressive in the settings since when you descend, the truck is wanting to still pull the trailer with it and would imagine if you chose an 8, 9, or 10, you’d kill the trailer brakes in no time.

When we arrived to the LOVE’s station in Cedar City, it was the perfect spot to take care of all of our tasks.

  1. Empty Gray/Black Tanks

  2. Rinse Black Tank

  3. Grab Subway Sandwiches and Corn Nuts…...don’t forget those Corn Nuts!!

  4. Walk Sadie

  5. Fill up with Diesel

  6. Fill up with DEF (diesel exhaust fluid)....the truck won’t run without it (emission control). Many gas stations/truck stops won’t let joshmo truck owners fill up. Yes, there is truck stop etiquette. So it’s good to inquire before getting in line. You do save a lot filling up with DEF at the pump as opposed to buying it at automotive stores

Now we’re off and on to new territory. Traveling mostly via Highway 70 to Grand Junction, Colorado, we passed some amazing, rugged scenery in the Book Cliffs/Desolation Canyon region. The Book Cliffs is the longest continuous escarpment in the world (we drove about 170 miles of it today). I will equate this to about 3 hours void of cell coverage. 🙄 Going 6 days without internet/cell service was challenging. I can’t imagine breaking down out here. You’d have to wait hours for any type of rescue. Jeff did most of the driving today until we pulled over at a spot called Castle Valley and were stunned at the unexpected beauty here. There were a few native Americans selling handmade jewelry and pottery, all very beautiful.

When it was my turn to drive, Jeff tried to find us a “free” place to stay for the night, as we were arriving around 6:30. Since we are Harvest Host members, he called about 3 wineries on their list, located in Grand Junction. All were booked. But then he found a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) spot just outside of Grand Junction called Rabbit Valley. It didn’t look that great in photos but got great reviews. So we had to check it out and it’s right off the highway. So no harm in looking Even more intriguing were the signs near the turnoff for drug checkpoints along with 3 or 4 sheriff vehicles. A strange location but we continued on. As we drove on the long gravely road, the area was signed very well, and very organized in terms of designated sites. The funny thing was the sites are huge (you can easily fit 3 trailers on a site), but 1 firepit, which kind of tells you, each site is meant for 1. You also don’t see too many fire pits at BLM areas. Every site appeared to be taken except for 1 area. Before driving to it, we made sure we could get the trailer back there. A.O.K. A little dodgy, but we did it. And the best part, it’s a completely level site in a beautiful desert/plateau like setting, very different from our last dry camping experience.

AND A LOT WARMER!! As I was going outside to enjoy the sunset, I heard a hissing sound…, it wasn’t a snake. It was the sound of a leaking tire. Sure enough, the back driver’s side tire had a bolt in it, and appeared to be leaking rapidly.

At least we were on a flat surface and at our campsite instead of on the side of a highway. We decided to change the tire tonight, to avoid a flattened tire resting on the rim by morning. So if I was ever going to have a course in changing the truck tires, now was the time. And I learned a lot. I found out that the jack stand and wrench are under the backseat, and most importantly learned how to get the spare tire down from underneath the truck. The truck tires weigh a ton, so I’m not sure if I ever had to change one on my own, if I could even get it up on the rim. But, hopefully I’ll never be in that situation. 😜And I never knew that when you tighten lug nuts screws, they have to be done in a certain order and that you never fully tighten them until all of the weight is back on the tire. About an hour later, we were sitting in our chairs, with much deserved margaritas in hand, enjoying the full moonlit landscape around us. Ya just gotta roll with what comes. It’s all part or the adventure.

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