Friday, October 30, 2015


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.



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. 








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.





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:))



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.




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.


  1. Oh Al, what a big stressful day. Glad all is well. We, on the other hand, towed our new to us Jeep about 30 miles until someone stopped us because the Jeep had smoke coming out of the inside. Lots of smoke. Guess that one inch paragraph was important in the Jeep manual. Put the Jeep in gear when towing so the fluid can flow. Oops, we did the same thing we did for over 10 years with our old Jeep...put it in neutral, NOT! 1800 bucks later we learned another life lesson.

  2. Good old American hospitality toward our neighbors to the north. So glad it all worked out. Forget and enjoy the remainder of your journey.

  3. Its always nice to see some 'good' news come from bad glad everyone was helpful and your on your way without your pockets being empty!!!!! It can happen to anyone..and thankfully it wasn't any worse than it travels!!

  4. I know not to interrupt people when they are getting ready to leave, all the hooking up and checklists, etc. But sometimes it can't be helped. I don't know - maybe start from step one and go through the whole thing again? I don't tow and have a motor home, so I don't have to do that hooking up, but it sure looks complicated to me. I'm like you - I worry, worry, worry. By the time I find out everything is okay, I'm exhausted. So glad everything worked out. All good things from here, right? Enjoy your drive to Congress - I'm looking forward to your posts about the house. :)

  5. I'm happy you made it through another trial and the damages were mostly emotional. It seems to be that way when we travel and are in unfamiliar grounds. Even when it does cost some money there is always that silver lining. Many good people out there help you along the way. Safe travels the remainder of your trip south.

  6. I am a firm believer that good things come from bad things!!!!!!

  7. Oh by Golly, what an adventure again. Turns out even after years and years of RVing there is always more stuff to learn. You got lucky this time that there was no damage on Libby! Now, try to stay out of trouble the rest of the way.

  8. Wow you god lucky and another experience you can chalk up. And lesson learned.
    Glad all worked out in the long run. We are like you no real schedule to keep just go with the flow.
    We have found out in over our 9 years , that don't get side tracked and if we do we both double check everything. It sure pays in the long run.
    Enjoy the rest of your journey.

  9. Oh by Golly, what an adventure again. Turns out even after years and years of RVing there is always more stuff to learn. You got lucky this time that there was no damage on Libby! Now, try to stay out of trouble the rest of the way.

  10. Literally, tears of joy flowing....kinda emotional today.

  11. So happy to find out all worked out well for you! I am looking forward to reading about and seeing pictures of your time at Capital Reef. You deserve to have a great time there..

  12. You were lucky in the end except for lost time. Enjoy Capitol Reef. Toot if you go through Kanab.

  13. I forgot to unlock the steering wheel on our Jeep one time and drove quite a few miles until a trucker kept pointing back. I had been watching the toad in the rear camera and all looked OK but when I pulled over and walked back I could see there was a problem. The front wheels were at an angle and the right side of both front tires was worn down into the chords. Of course, only had one spare, but put it on the worst one, turned around, and limped home. Another time the front tire blew in a construction zone and tore up my fender and fender liner. That tire was in shreds. The joys of RVing.

  14. Isn't it wonderful to know there are really nice people out there willing to help when things go bad. It seems some days all we hear are bad things about people. Glad everything turned out in the end. Enjoy the rest of your trip and stay safe.

    Deb & Tom
    Celebrating the Dance

  15. You've got good karma, enjoy!

  16. Glad to hear You, Kelly, Pheebs, Libby and Big EEE are just fine --Enjoy the rest of your trip!!

  17. Great news Al and Kelly! We always double checked each other when it came to the jeep. So easy to overlook something. Put this in your rear view mirror and enjoy the rest of the season!

  18. So glad it all worked out for you.It's hard not to beat yourself up when a mistake like that happens.
    Sorry you missed San Rafael.

  19. OMG!!! THAT brought up horrid memories, I totaled my 1st pick up... stuff happens, glad it worked for the best for u guys, relax, have a good drive, safe travels and take care.... All that stuff you know :)

  20. I think we've all had one incident or another that we'd like to forget. Now you should just forget this one and get ready to enjoy your time in the southwest. Glad you ran into so many helpful folks and everything turned out OK.

  21. Oh Al, I know the feeling. First time I forgot to put our HHR in neutral after turning on the key and hitting our kill switch was as I was pulling out on Highway 101 just south of Crescent City in NorCal. Hit the pavement and even I could hear the SKREETCHING as I hit the pavement over the noise of our Diesel Engine. First did I say??? Yep, did it again the following year, shorter distance, but same thing. BOTH times something had got my attention. Feeling was bad, but it went away...and I a am more attentive now.

  22. Glad it all worked out. I certainly know the feeling. Safe travels the rest of the trip.

  23. What a day, you guys! :-( I have a horse that is colicking and may not make it, so my day was stressful yesterday. It's wait and see...sigh...

  24. So, so glad all is well!! Enjoy your boondocking!!

  25. Glad everything worked out okay. By coincidence on Friday, my 20 year old van wouldn't start after I stopped at the bank. Thought it was the battery. Called AAA. After a 45 minute wait, he arrived. And, had me fixed and on my way in about 5 minutes. It wasn't the battery. I had turned the wheel to lock when I parked in the tight spot and left it like that. It screwed the interlock up; he dropped it into neutral vs park, turned the wheel and it started. LOL

  26. In September when we were leaving from our home here in Apple Valley, Ca., heading out on a month long road trip thru Utah and Colorado, we did the same exact key thing with OUR Jeep Liberty. Fortunately, we were still in our neighborhood, having just pulled off our property. After getting it unhooked, I thought initially that there was a problem, but it seemed to self correct after driving it around for awhile. We hooked back up and towed to Colorado without incident.

  27. Been there done that sorta kinda. Ours was over a speed bump it knocked our transmission into gear. We "thought" we felt something funny and heard a clunk. Well, a ruined engine and $2,400 later we learned to trust our "thought" and get out and double check!!! OUCH!