Up Through the Midwest

Midwest? I think North Central is more accurate, but the census bureau disagrees. This region of the United States has also been called Midwestern, Middle West, the heartland, Old Northwest and Mid-America. Perhaps Mid-Northish is more accurate. Or how about this: Above Texas and Including Some Great Lakes

We spent Will’s birthday in Lewisville, Texas, with friends, Dale and Lucille. Naturally, we celebrated with a pizza. Dale had picked up a 55 pound of pizzeria flour and split it with us.

Caputo '00' Pizzeria Flour
Caputo ’00’ Pizzeria Flour

Will wanted a Coney Dog pizza and that’s what he got. Mercifully, I am not sharing pictures of said pizza. Instead, I will post the lovely Pearl.

Primrose Pearl
Primrose Pearl
Stonehenge Texas
Stonehenge Texas

So, our first evening in the Lewisville City Park, I took Pearl out for a walk and found this.

Gone in 12 minutes
Gone in 12 minutes

According to other RVers in the park, the Fifth Wheel had caught fire right after it backed in and was still attached to the tow truck. The fire destroyed the trailer in 12 minutes. No one was injured in the fire. Still the loss was awful. I researched online and learned the number one cause of fires in Fifth wheels are the tires. The bearings should be repacked every year. We just had ours done, so that is good. Also, that pesky fire detector that I take down whenever I bake, fry, broil, and make pizza? I put it back up before going to bed now.

After Lewisville, we camped near Stillwater, Oklahoma, in a park that belongs to OSU. It turned out to be graduation weekend and we only got a site because someone cancelled. We almost left Oklahoma without getting a picture of our well-travel pug. Almost.

Stopping for a photo opportunity before leaving OK
Stopping for a photo opportunity before leaving OK

In Kansas, we visited Arkansas City and Winfield, spent a few hours in Newton but the wind was horrendous, so we moved on to Salina. Salina always makes me think of Hitchcock’s Vertigo. You know, Judy Barton? From Salina, Kansas? If you don’t, watch the movie again and you’ll see.

The only pictures I took in Kansas were of a rainbow — reminds me of another movie — in Winfield at the fairgrounds. It was dawn and the sky was pink.

Kansas rainbow and a little dog too
Kansas, rainbow, and your little dog too

We are currently in Beatrice (that’s pronounced Bee-AT-triss) Nebraska at another city park.


Sailing Along Again

Monday April 21

Cholo puts our truck back together. He has now taken our engine apart twice. Late in the afternoon, the truck is running again but it’s also leaking fluid from somewhere. We will be spending another night at Paco’s RV Park.

This is the first time we've camped under a roof.
This is the first time we’ve camped under a roof.

Lots of time to read. I finish Skinwalkers by Tony Hillerman and start Little Green by Walter Mosley. Will watches Man on Fire, starring Denzel Washington. Denzel also starred in the screen adaption of Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress. In my head, I hear Denzel’s voice narrating Little Green.

Tuesday April 22

Cholo fixed the leaky gasket. The truck is driveable but needs another sensor replaced in the morning. While Paco and his crew do the trailer bearings, we take the truck for a test drive. This will be our last night at the mechanics. Paco jokes that he will have a sewer connection ready for us when we visit next year.

Wednesday April 23

We have lunch with Mary and say goodbye to El Paso for another year.

Will, Mary, me and Mary's 'dog'
Will, Mary, me and Mary’s ‘dog’

Thursday April 24

Down the highway between El Paso and Big Spring, the truck purrs along like a mountain lion.

Dead in the Water?

We planned to leave El Paso Thursday, April 17, after getting the bearings repacked on our trailer. Will had made arrangements with Paco Macias, who works almost exclusively on semis, but who had agreed to work on our truck. The week before, he had fixed an oil leak and replaced a bad injector and done a few other things to our Ford 250. Paco said he would do the bearings on our trailer and wanted us to bring it in early Thursday morning.

7:15 am Thursday

As we pull the trailer into his lot, our truck dies and refuses to start. They tow us onto the property. The computer indicates there is a bad sensor. This seems like the problem we had in Brownfield almost a year ago. The mechanic there couldn’t find the problem, and then the truck started running again on its own. Since then the engine has periodically died but always restarted.

6:30 pm Thursday

New sensor installed. The truck will start but dies immediately unless the new sensor is removed. This is obviously not the way things are supposed to work. We will have to spend the night at Paco’s.

The sensor is removed so the truck will stay running long enough to back our trailer into one of the bays.

We're in the first bay on the left.
We’re in the first bay on the left.

We haven’t been able to get the electricity to work off of 20 amp outlets for quite some time now. Paco lends us a battery charger so we can keep our DC running. This will give us light and keep the fridge (which is packed with green and red chile) from defrosting. We figure we will only be here a day. We sleep with the slides in.

Friday April 18

Good Friday. Lots of businesses close early. Our truck is driven to another shop for analysis. We need a part, a la bomba, or supercharger, but it’s Easter weekend. Maybe we will get the part on Saturday.

Paco lends us his truck. We buy groceries and rent a movie (Philomena) from Redbox. Since we might be stuck here until Monday, I make pizza dough and put it in the refrigerator to ferment until Easter dinner.

We continue to keep our trailer power running off the battery charger and extension cords. We never figured out why our 20 to 30 amp adapter stopped working. So this is the best we can do. We put the slides out and make ourselves comfortable.

Late afternoon

It rains. The water comes in through the roof opening and creates a puddle near our seemingly worthless power cable. Will moves the cord away from the puddle and our AC lights come on. I yell in excitement.

We figure out the 20-30 amp adapter works if the cord is placed just right. Otherwise the cord twists and we lose the connection between the outlet and the electrical cord. Will bungees the cord in place. Hooray! We have AC power. I cook pancakes on the electric griddle.

Friday evening - Tio cleans up after the rest of the crew have gone home
Friday evening – Tio cleans up after the rest of the crew have gone home

Saturday April 19

We walk a mile to MacDonalds to return the movie to Redbox. We enjoy the exercise. We rent two more movies (Captain Phillips and American Hustle).

We thought Paco said he was going to be closed on Saturday but he and his crew are here all day working on the semis, waiting for our part. It arrives, but our mechanic, Cholo is tied up with personal business all day.

We’re very grateful our truck broke down in the mechanic’s lot. It could have broken down on our way to Big Spring. We could’ve been towed a long and expensive distance. We could be paying rent somewhere while our truck is worked on. We could be without a vehicle to borrow or a Redbox within walking distance. We even have a roof over our trailer to keep the sun from cooking us. (The 20 amp outlet won’t handle our air conditioner.)

We enjoy our double feature film fest.

Sunday Easter

Huevos rancheros. Pizza. More movies borrowed from another customer, Hector. Popcorn and soda. By the way, Hector, unlike us, is not living here. He keeps the movies in the cab of his truck.