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Saturday, July 16, 2011

North Platte

     Again, no picture, just a quick recount of our trip from Estes Park to North Platte.  It incorporated the extremes of driving a motorhome: steep mountain descents, narrow city streets and the arrow-straight ribbons of concrete across the great plains.  In the first hour we went 30 miles and dropped over 3,000 feet.  Interestingly, my mileage on the computer at that point said 12.6!  I was using the engine brake the whole way.  The city driving was before the descent.  Estes Park has places that are pretty cramped for maneuvering a 'big rig'.  In the center of the shop district oncoming traffic prevented me from taking a right hand turn wide enough to avoid clipping the corner of the curbing with my right rear.  As I completed the turn, I heard squealing tires.  Immediately ahead was an empty bus stop.  I pulled in to check on things.  The jolt to the Jeep's steering locked the wheels in an off-center position.  After I "unloaded" the steering wheel and reset the key, everything was fine and no harm done.  So the Jeep was dragged against its will at a VERY LOW speed for a VERY SHORT distance.  It would not have taken long in that mode to have lost a couple of tires or worse.
     When we left the temperature was 50 degrees, and last night we had to run both air conditioners.  When we pulled in yesterday afternoon, we went through the usual drill for a one night stand.  We had a pull-through so there was no need to unhook.  I didn't even need to connect to the sewer.  I stopped, turned off the engine, moved the key to the accessory position, hit the switch to activate the automatic leveling jacks and got out to connect power, water, and the cable.  At that point, Durelle was walking the dog, and she announced, "We're not level, and the right side wheels are off the ground."  The jacks on the right side had gone to their maximum extension and stopped.  I went back inside to retract the jacks and start over.  Although the HWH control panel was lit, none of the buttons responded.  I 'rebooted' the ignition and turned the control panel off and on again.  Still no luck.  I tried recycling again with the same result, then called a local RV service center.  They came within a half hour and tried unsuccessfully to find a manual release valve.  Then one of the went inside to try the controls.  Everything worked both using the manual and automatic modes.  The only explanation we could come up with was that there may have been a thermal cutout that had been activated, and normal operation resumed after the strained mechanism cooled down.  Although I have made screw-ups before, I'm absolutely certain that this was not "pilot error".  We'll see what happens when I retract them to leave.
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