As I write this, it’s a very rainy July 4th here at the Elkhorn Campground in
. The only one I know who is overjoyed at the
prospect of no fireworks tonight is Annie, our rat terrier. She goes nutty and barks incessantly when
there are both flashes of light and sudden, loud booming sounds, so the fourth
of July is a double whammy for her.
Looks as if Annie won’t need that 1,000 milligram dose of Zanax after
The trip from
Boone, North Carolina to was scenic, and at last,
without incident. However, if you though after
our fiasco-filled trip from Frankfort,
Kentucky Florida that
nothing else could have gone wrong while in North Carolina, you’d be wrong!
Two Mondays ago, after I had a wonderful breakfast at Janet’s bagpipe camp in Valle Crucis,
Carolina (just outside of Boone, and really in the
boonies), I decided to head back to our campground in Boone, a nice drive of five miles on twisty country roads. I started our Ford
F250, and after its big engine roared to life, the check engine light remained
lit. WHAT? I popped the hood to check the engine, and
sure enough, it was still there! All of
the fluid levels were O.K., so I drove back to the campground. I called the local Ford dealer and made a
service appointment. Fortunately, the
dealership had a good, many-years-of-experience diesel mechanic on its staff. His diagnosis: bad thermostats. (Our truck has a pair of thermostats in one
housing.) Not an expensive part, but,
you guessed it, lots of labor time was required to make the repair.
For added fun, I happened to tell the mechanic that the cruise control quit working on the way to
North Carolina, and I couldn't get it to come back
on. The diagnostic computer noted the
problem had occurred, but when the mechanic tried the cruise control, it worked
perfectly. Of course it did! The mechanic checked one of the controls
attached to the bottom of the brake fluid reservoir that disengages the cruise
control when the brakes are applied – it looked O.K. But what’s this? A nearby control switch, also under the brake
fluid reservoir, was leaking! It would
have to be replaced. Cost of the little
part? A mere $155! The thought of running low on brake fluid and
having to make a sudden stop while going down a steep hill on a winding country
road, with our 15,000 lb. home in tow, flashed through my mind. I considered this repair to be a blessing.
A few hours, and $770 later, the truck was once again road worthy. I do the math. Let’s see... We’ve gone 950 miles, and spent $2,400 for tires, $770 for the truck repairs, and $350 for fuel. Hmm, that works out to $3.70 per mile. It would have been cheaper to charter a private jet! But if we did, think of all the excitement we would have missed. And we’d never have enjoyed beautiful roadside scenery, such as rolling hills in
Tennessee, on our way from North
Carolina to Kentucky.