Thursday, April 1, 2010

Reposted with corrections: Hello from Mile Marker 117 South of Colorado Springs

Hello from Mile Marker 117 South of Colorado Springs
Subtitled:  I think the light is a train.

Started Wednesday Morning  March 31, 2010  finished Thursday evening April 1, 2010 (Fifth travelogue of this trip).

The information relating the subtitle will become a bit more obvious as you read through this lengthly post

I am starting this post at a location that was an unplanned stop on this trip.  We are having Internet issues, so I am not sure when we will upload this post.

We decided to stay over Sunday night at the Hollywood Casino so that we could watch several race programs (NASCAR, IRL and NHRA).  Turns out that they were all rained out.  However, we enjoyed the laid back day and the weather was pretty nice.  Monday we drove to Trinidad, CO and stayed at the Wal Mart.  We have stayed there several times as it is a nice driving distance to/from Evergreen.

Yesterday, as we drove through Pueblo, we noted that the transmission did not down shift as we slowed down.  We made it through town OK in tenth gear and then continued on to this rest stop.  I did quite a bit of trouble shooting and determined that the transmission computer had failed.  I had a backup computer, but it was at home.  I have been carrying the replacement parts with us for the past several trips, but in the rush to get on the road for this trip, we left them home.  We were a bit over 100 miles from the house so we decided to unhook the service truck and drive to the house to get the computer.  We left at 12:30 and arrived back about 5:30 after taking a detour to for a stop to get a backup disc from our printer who is going out of business.

I was able to switch the computer and we everything looked OK.   All of the issues I  had seen on the computer reader were gone and the transmission went in gear correctly.  It was getting late, so we decided to stay in the rest stop. 

Well, it is now early afternoon and we made it all the way to MM 116 – all of one mile.  The transmission has gone into limp mode where it will not shift.  I did quite a bit of diagnostic work with my computer reader with the help of the Eaton transmission representative – a great resource.  We are both very puzzled as to what is going on, but we have no alternative but to be towed home.  I do not think this a huge, costly problem.  However, it needs to be addressed at home where I can pick away at the troubleshooting process.

The first tow truck that showed up was big enough (capable of hauling semis), but did not have the reach to hook onto the suspension.  The second  tow truck has been dispatched from Colorado Springs.  Supposedly they have the correct equipment.  I will update this post as we learn more and then try to post it later today.  {note: we got home quite late and had Internet problems (see below), so the actual posting will be delayed.

The new tow truck showed up and had the correct equipment.  It took at least an hour to hook up and pull the axles.  We left for Evergreen about 3:30.  We followed them to the weigh station where the DOT folks made them put on an “oversize load” banner on the back of the bus and the front of the truck (they were 85 feet total length).  That was not a huge issue, since the towing company had the proper approvals.

The trip to Evergreen was quite slow.  We had to take a route that allowed wide turns.  We arrived at the entry to the Highlands about 7:00 PM.  We unhooked there because we still have a lot of snow/mud in the yard and the area we would normally pull into was not available. The trip to our house was quite short which was a good thing since I was locked in second gear and that is about 5 MPH (recall that this is a 10 speed truck transmission).  Besides, I was at least able to show that the bus was still drivable (small grin}.

As if all of that is not enough, we have a major Internet issue.  We use Hughes Satellite for both the bus and the house.  For the past several days we have not been able to connect with the satellite.  We had been told that we had a problem with the satellite controller on the bus.  We accepted that, as it is a fairly complex system and there are lots of things that can go wrong with the software/hardware.  However when we got home, we still could not connect using our fixed dish.  Lots of troubleshooting determined that our modem and/or power supply has gone bad.  We have one on order, but it will be a few days before it gets here.  I have been using the library to do some posting, but that is a real hassle. 

Today we finally decided to get a Verizon Air Card.  This will back up our normal system and give us options for connecting to the Internet when we travel without the bus.  It seems a bit slow here, but we are pretty much off the beaten path for these kinds of services.

Now lets discuss the my reference to the light.  Many of our recent posts discussed the fact that the past several months have been very difficult for us.  I have made reference to being in a tunnel and seeing a light in the distance.  We were not sure if it was daylight or a freight train.  Well, our latest setback suggests that it could be a train {grin}.  We can only hope that things get better.

BTW, Pat commented that I had handled the very stressful bus situation rather well.  We were both pretty stressed, but we took the attitude “what can you do?”.  We can only hope that things get better (they can't get much worse).

That is all for now.  I will update the blog after I figure out what is causing our bus transmission problem. 

Hello from Mile Marker 117 South of Colorado Springs (text deleted)

This post had significant problems due to a file corruption problem.  I have re-posted it with corrections in a new post.

Sorry for the confusion.