Hello Again!

We’re back!

We weren’t going to restart the blog for another week, but today’s events make it seem worthwhile.

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We’re on the road again to take two more grandchildren (Mira and Brynn) through National and State Parks in Utah and Arizona, like the trip we took with Graham and Dean (their older brothers) five years ago.  Kathe and I may create some new blog entries during this trip, but we’re especially looking forward to our two granddaughters recording their impressions of the trip and sharing their pictures. That part of the trip will start in just over a week, but… about today!

We’re on our way from Helena, Montana, to Flagstaff, Arizona, where we will start the trip with our granddaughters. Closing up the camper this morning in Fillmore, UT, Kathe commented that we really should have pressure washed the camper before we left home.  About 50 miles south of Fillmore, Kathe noticed a sign for a truck and RV wash at the next exit.  “Turn left, one half mile,” it said.  At the bottom of the exit, signs for the wash pointed right…  We went right, into a big Flying J truck plaza; we didn’t see the wash, so I walked over to a large garage area to ask directions of two men heading out in a golf cart.  Yes, we should have gone left. We started to pull ahead but had to wait for a few semi rigs to pass by, As we started again, the guys in the cart pulled up fast on Kathe’s side, flagging us down.

“You have a broken leaf spring! Your tires are rubbing against each other.”

Oh, no.  We’re in the middle of, basically, nowhere. “Is there a spring shop anywhere in the area?”

“Yes, we are, and we stock the parts you need. We fix a lot of these trailers. Just pull in over there.”

As we looked at the suspension in general, everything but the axles and brakes needed replacement.  I agreed with their evaluation of parts that needed replacing; they weren’t trying to upsell.

One leaf spring was broken. Two others were recurved, from being loaded (overloaded?) for too long.  Leaf springs are supposed to bow down, with the axle at the lowest point. When recurved (probably the wrong term), they bow upward.  So we replaced all four springs with heavier ones (eight instead of six leaves).

What a leaf spring should look like, bowing down and with a curl on each end for attachment. This is one of our new ones, being installed.
Here’s what ours looked like! Oops!

Why did the leaf spring break? A trailer suspension has devices called “equalizers” to accommodate independent motion when the axles need to go up or down at different times. The equalizers on both sides had broken welds which caused them to bend and bind, putting extra stresses on the springs.  Two new, stronger equalizers went on the list.

Our broken equalizer. Bad equalizer! Bad!

One of the reasons the equalizers had broken is that the stock suspension of the trailer had poor stabilization for them causing them to flex to the side while going around corners. So we added a stabilizer bar to protect them.

The two tires that were rubbing against each other were trashed. (No blowout, thank goodness!) (Also, no pictures; I forgot. Drat!) All the tires were six years old, so time to replace them all, anyway. Four new tires.

Fortunately, there were no other repair jobs in the shop; all four men at the shop went to work on our rig right away. In under two hours, we were back on the road!

Our heroes!

If we hadn’t talked about cleaning the trailer while closing up at the campground,

If Kathe hadn’t seen the sign for the truck wash going down the highway,

If the sign at the bottom of the exit ramp hadn’t been incorrect,

If the two guys coming out of their garage on the cart hadn’t noticed our rubbing tires…

Our day would have been very different! We’re very thankful that everything happened the way it did. The camper is now safer than it has ever been.

Then we went to the RV wash!  Right where the billboard on the highway said we would find it. All is good.

And it is good to be back on the road in the Southwest. This will be a short trip, about five weeks, three weeks with the girls. We can’t wait for them to join us!

I just love this scenery; one of the things I really miss living in Montana.

Heading south from Fillmore to Page, AZ

See you again, soon! Watch this space.

Al and Kathe, the Lobsters

21 thoughts on “Hello Again!”

  1. Great to hear you are on the road and enjoying grandchildren and the scenery you love. God always has us in the right place at the right time. What a perfect turn of events that could have been so much worse!
    Blessings and safe travels,
    Jean H.

    1. It was a miracle of a day, for sure! Hope you and your family are all well! Do you get out to MDI much?


    1. Aw, Pete! Good to hear from you! As a matter of fact, we’re shopping for a Class C so we can downsize. A rig like Van GO would be too small for us. Fun to shop!

  2. Welcome back! I look forward to hearing about your adventures with your “new crew” and safe RV. Have fun.

    1. Thanks, Susan! We’re flying out to NY for our grandson’s HS graduation next week. Then we’ll fly back with his two younger sisters for 3 weeks on the road! Hope you and Peter are both well. I think of you often.


    2. Hope you and Peter are both well, Susan. It’s fun to be on the road again! I think of you often.

  3. So good to know you are well and back on the road again. We played Mah Jong together. I live on Ann’s Point Road. We moved here permanently in March 2020. I enjoyed reading your previous blog and travelled with you vicariously. We were tent and tent trailer campers. Never graduated to the bigger rigs.
    I am still playing Mah Jong and many of us we have learned Canasta this year and love it. Marie Berlin taught us.
    Glad you needed to wash your camper.

    1. Hi, Helene,
      How wonderful to hear from you! We’re coming up on our 4th anniversary of moving to Helena (!), Montana. Quite different from New England. 😃 Is your dear husband still at Birch Bay? I fondly remember playing MJ with all my lovely MDI friends. I still have my set but haven’t played a lick since we hit the road in 2019. Be well!


  4. Glad to see you’re both back on the road. I hope you have a great trip with your grandkids. Hilary sends her best.

  5. So glad to hear from you again, rather envious .
    since we no longer travel much,
    Have a great trip

    1. So good to hear from YOU, Frank and Carolyn! Hope you are both healthy. We moved from PAGE, AZ to Flagstaff today. What a gorgeous drive! Love to you both!


  6. I was so pleasantly surprised to get your post. I was driving home from Bangor the other day and said to myself, “Self, you should give Kathe a call as you haven’t spoken for a good long while!” So glad you are safe and that your trip has begun so fortuitously. Have fun. Can’t wait to see the girls’ pics.

  7. We got the best laugh with your blog. We just departed on an adventure ourselves. We went 50 miles and thought our transmission was running hot. So today’s lesson was how to read a transmission dip stick ( Keep the engine running ). It’s okay to get warm driving in traffic. After propane, gas and Pepsi, we are on the road again.

  8. quite the start for another adventure plus a good omen. I thought we were living the adventurous life on our Virginia to NH run yesterday ! Glad to see you are back on the road enjoying the wild west

  9. I thought of you recently and wished you were still blogging. So glad we are still on your list. We look forward to traveling with you thru your blog. We still have our Reflection and enjoy mostly short trips lately. Jimm really wants to go to Montana, but haven’t gotten around to it. Hopefully next year. We are so glad you were blessed to have your troubles at the right time and place. Our experience wasn’t that good. We were in nowhere, had to wait a week for repairs, which turned out to not be done correctly. Then the second wheel caught on fire, and another week in an empty Kmart parking lot waiting for parts and repairs. Eventually had to limp to a garage where we had to leave the camper for another week, while we went on to the wedding we were headed to. Two wheels, four tiers, 2 breaks, and an axil later we were on the road. When we returned home we took it to a trusted repair shop and found we had to replace it all again including another axil. God took care of us though and as you said, it is better than it has been. We had leaf springs changed out at the Grand Design Rally that we met you at. They had to put heavier duty ones on. We hope your trip with the grands will be so much fun. Glad you are back on the road. All those things that happened to you, to make you get to the place to get your camper safe, we call those God things. He has a way of working bad things out into good things. God bless you as you continue your travels.

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