We are seriously traveling west now, as we leave Michigans Upper Peninsula on Sunday, August 13. We stop at the KOA in Cloquet, MN, (nice… now that it’s not a lake as it was when we were heading east in May), Trails RV Campground in Walker, MN. I like it, and they aren’t kidding, it’s surrounded by trails.
This is called the Heartland Trail and it connects to the RV park. Nicely paved!
Next is Days In RV Park in Casselton, ND (eh…)
Finally, the KOA in Bismarck, ND, where we plan to stay 2 days and unhook for the first time since leaving MI. (A wonderful place, I’ll tell you more in a minute).
Here we are excited about meeting up with Colleen and Fred, and their sweet dog Daisy. These are the friends I met at Caballo Loco Ranch, south west of Tucson, and who also let me stay at their home/farm last spring for a couple of weeks, about 80-90 miles from Bismarck. It just so happens that Thursday is their 45th wedding anniversary and we get to celebrate together with carry-out Italian at my picnic table.
No this isn’t the carry- out Italian!) It’s fresh garden root veggies.
They bring me veggies from their garden and I’ve written them a 45th anniversary poem…”Ode To Fred And Colleen.” ☺️
We talk for hours, and for awhile their daughter Holly joins us. She brings me a bag of CJ Box books to borrow. Fred and Colleen got me started on those!
One of the things we talk about is my increasing concern about JR (my truck, named Joy Ride). Awhile back…months ago actually…you might remember I wrote about how it was ‘knocking’. Now what I’ve learned is that it was ‘misfiring’ and it has continued to do it from time to time. It happens when I’m towing and driving up hill. The engine light hasn’t come on again but it doesn’t sound healthy, and we are about to drive into the mountains. I’ve made an appointment at the Ford dealership in Ronan, MT where we are heading, but there is a lot of elevation between here and there and my concern has been growing. Fred brings me some Gumout and later as I research Gumout on line, one thing leads to another and pretty soon I’m reading about the Ford Ecoboost engine and some of the problems it’s been having. Umm. That would be me…
The more I read the more I realize I need to have this checked out BEFORE I head into the mountains. I gradually come to terms with the fact that I may need to stay here longer than my 2 planned days, which would mean changing future reservations, and besides, this RV park is very busy, and would they even have a space for me to extend my stay? I continue on my IPad checking out the 2 local Ford dealerships, and other Campgrounds in case I have to move. I’m still at it at 1am. I don’t sleep much.
I really like this RV park and would prefer to stay put, so I’m at the door when the office opens at 8am. Mark, the owner is there and ready to help. I was impressed with his kindness when we were here in May, and last evening he came by while Colleen and Fred were here and visited while loving on all 3 dogs.
I’m about to become even more impressed….
I tell him I’m having a truck problem and may need to stay longer if possible. First he juggles sites and finds a way to fit me in here, up into next week if necessary. While he’s doing that he asks me to tell him about the truck. He totally gets what I’m talking about ( probably better than I do), and when he finishes juggling, he calls the Ford service departments himself. The first one can’t take me until Monday, which is what I figured would happen. (This is Friday). He asks if I’d like him to call the second one. It’s farther away, and I wonder if their courtesy shuttle will even come here. Mark says if not, he will pick me up there and drive me back later. Wow, talk about going the extra mile!
He gets on the phone with Devin at the Bill Barth Ford service department and explains my situation and problem. Devin says “Have her bring it right in!”
I make Joy and Shiloh comfortable in WS ( that’s Wandering Spirit, my travel trailer). I turn on the A/C though it’s not hot yet. I figure the white noise and moving air will be good. I rarely do this. I leave the door unlocked in case of emergency. Mark tells me if I get delayed I can let him know and he will make sure the dogs are taken care of. WOW.
I drive to the dealership And find Devin, give him my info and keys and he calls the shuttle. ETA…20 seconds. I am not delayed! 20 more minutes and I’m opening the door to let the dogs out. Now I will be waiting for Devins call.
But not for long! Another half hour and my phone rings. Devin gives me the news. He’s saying many of those things I was reading about on line last night….but not the very worst stuff. The catalytic converter is not damaged.
i won’t try to explain what I don’t understand very well but I can tell you that cylinder number 3 was misfiring ‘under load’ ( when towing) , mainly when the engine had to give extra power to go up hill. That was diagnosed by computer…it’s not a guessing game these days, sooo….I am trying to feel confident that what they did to fix it will work. That would be new spark plugs, now coil boots, and by my request, ‘fuel induction service’, which is suppose to clean out carbon build up. It was also time for another oil change, and they did their ‘multi point inspection’…tires, breaks, battery, etc.
The damage? Ugh. Labor = $405. Parts = $266.59. Hazardous waste disposal = $6.30.
BUT….if it really fixed the problem, it’s the lesser of some other ouches, like being stranded in the mountains with the catalytic converter burned up, for instance.
So when Devin calls to tell my the truck is ready, I call the shuttle guy myself and he arrives in 20 minutes to take me back to Ford. Joy and Shiloh again stay comfy in WS’s A/C.
Now we are one big happy family back together again and we can leave tomorrow as planned. I’ve done all I can do to fix this problem, and I have not canceled JR’s appointment at the Ford dealer in Ronan yet. Let’s see how she does in the mountains….
And let me just say, this is one Kickin’ KOA Kampground, complete with Kindness! Besides being comfy and cozy, it’s clean, easy access from I-94, has decent sized sites, in the spring it’s covered with lilacs…now it’s green, has a nice dog area, besides a dog walk….but it’s the owner Mark who makes it extra special here….a truly caring guy, who went above and beyond the call of duty today to do his best to make sure things worked out for me.
Bismarck KOA….best KOA ever!
PS. (Still anxious about the mountains. Please send good thoughts and prayers).