We had originally planned to go “out west” in the summer of 2020, but thanks to COVID-19 we didn’t do the trip. The plan was to do a giant loop around the west half of the USA, visit the 4 remaining states (excluding Hawaii) we haven’t been to as a family, and visit a couple of new Canadian provinces also. With COVID-19, most of the national parks we’re closed, or at least a visitor centers were, and some states had quarantine periods. Just not worth the hassle and to have to miss out on seeing some things. So we postponed the trip to this year.
Last December, while we were in Florida, we bought a new tow vehicle (a Jeep Gladiator Rubicon), and have been preparing it for overlanding trips. We have been thinking about selling the motorhome and traveling in just the Gladiator once in a while, since our traveling will have to slow down for several reasons (we found a church we like, kids want to go to a school, Carla‘s antique booth, Avin wants to get a job and also attend youth group every Wednesday night, etc.).
We listed the motorhome in one of the Facebook groups we are members of, but the more we thought about this big trip the more we thought we should probably take the motorhome on one more big trip and tow the Gladiator. And that’s what we did!
Just a few weeks before heading out, I had to get the Gladiator ready to tow, which meant installing the very involved brake system and also the wiring for the tail lights and turn signals. There were tons of other things to do as well to prepare for a 6000 mile road trip (which will include some off-roading and camping) in just a few weeks. We had quite the to do list!
All loaded up, jeep connected, and ready to hit the road!
About 40 minutes into the drive, we started smelling a burning kind of smell. It continued to get more intense so we pulled over on the side of the highway. Carla noticed smoke coming out from the rear wheels! I grabbed the fire extinguisher and ran to the back of the RV. Something was definitely about to burst into flames, so it seemed. I can only tell the smoke coming from duly wheels
There was a tractor repair shop with a nice big parking lot about 300’ from where we were parked. We decided to unhook the Jeep and drive to the parking lot. So….When I disconnected the air brake coil hose going from the RV to the Jeep, the end just fell off, like it had been cracked.
This is the air hose that engages the brakes on the Jeep when you apply the brake sin the motorhome. And if it’s cracked and leaking air, the RV’s brake system can’t maintain air pressure and compressed air is what keeps the brakes from engaging in an air brake system until you press the brake pedal (safety design so a leaking air hose will cause you to stop instead of losing your brakes).
It’s not an easy hose to find locally, just like when I could find a replacement after I accidentally ripped one off in Albuquerque a few years ago.
The online stores who carry it said they couldn’t get one to us quickly (about 5 days or more). We were starting to think our whole trip was about to be canceled or drastically rearranged (all those RV park reservations we made…).
Fortunately, Lowe’s had a fitting that we needed to make the hose usable again! We were SO glad!
We arrived at the El Reno West KOA just west of OKC around 11pm. It’s a great park for an overnight stay! What a day!
We woke up to great weather and headed toward Amarillo.
We stopped off at a Texas rest stop and it was a nice break! The rest stop building is designed so that after you go through the building, you come out on the other side and it’s super quiet because the building blocks all the freeway noise. It’s a really nice panoramic view of the valley.
We then drove around on some country roads, which was really peaceful! There have been some storms forming in this area, but everything is slipping past where we are located.
We headed back to the RV park and played at the playground. It was so nice outside! Really windy, and we could see storms in the distance.
It’s super windy tonight, and the whole RV is shaking. Supposed to do this all night, so we probably won’t get a ton of sleep.
The wind wasn’t too bad last night, or else we slept through it. Woke up to beautiful weather and headed toward Albuquerque.
We are staying at the American RV Resort in Albuquerque. Really nice place! We would definitely stay here again.
Carla did some thrift shopping, and then we ate barbecue at Rudy’s BBQ, which wasn’t as good as it usually is.
We had a huge cup of sweet tea spill in the back seat, but fortunately the camping water tank in the truck bed was full of water and I had a rag with me as well. We were able to wash out everything right there on the spot! That was nice to have.
Then we checked out some trails in the Sandia Mountains! That was definitely the highlight of the day for me. It was a lot of fun! The truck did amazing! Tripp and Avin had fun walking alongside the jeep at times, and Tripp had fun taking videos for me. He loved to be running around near the woods. Had to watch out for cactus!
We headed toward Sedona, AZ today, and while we were on the road the engine light came on the dashboard of the RV. We pulled over at a truck stop, and we found the trouble code.
We called Freightliner to ask them if it’s something to worry about or if we can keep driving. Fortunately, we were able to keep driving and it actually went away eventually. If it comes back on with the word “check “under the engine symbol, then we have something to worry about.
We arrived at Distant Drums RV Resort in Camp Verde, AZ. It’s a really nice place!
As I was starting the jeep so we could head into the town of Sedona, I noticed the rear locking differential kept engaging and would not disengage. We called the jeep helpline, but they couldn’t do much. We ended up driving on the highway to see if it would disengage, and eventually it did, but it kept re-engaging frequently.
When we got into the outskirts of Sedona, we ate some REALLY good pizza at Peago’s Pizza. While we were there, I called a Jeep dealer in Flagstaff to ask if I could just remove the fuse that powers the locker relay, and they suggested disconnecting the wire going to the rear differential (removing the fuse would have also disabled 4WD). That did the trick! Another disaster had been overcome!
We headed north toward downtown Sedona, and happened to see a sign for the Church of the Holy Cross, so we drove over to see it up close. Really neat!
Today was an awesome day! We knocked out a bucket list item for me…off-roading in Sedona! We started off by eating a great breakfast at Randall’s Restaurant in Cottonwood, although I had a Reuben (They seem to be popular in the southwest. I remember an awesome one I had in Moab).
We then headed back to the RV to get ready to hit the trails! We started on the Loy Butte Road off Highway 89A. It’s an 11 mile road that is not too bad if you air down your tires. We were in a hurry to get to the ancient Indian ruins before they locked the gates so I didn’t take the time to air down until we we’re done there, which made for a pretty jarring ride!