91. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall

Weds., July 29, 2020

My next destination was to be Glacier National Park which, for a change, isn’t burning with my arrival. I do not like to travel subjected to a schedule. That means I generally do not make reservations. But a high traffic destination and one I really want to see again means a different strategy. So yesterday afternoon I started looking for places to stay. I thought I’d stay in less popular East Glacier Weds (tonight). There’s a no frills cg there that has sites on a cliff overlooking the valley and river below. It’s a breathtaking location in a dumpy town. I look them up online and it says they are closed because of the COVID19 pandemic. I called – no answer. Scratch that.

Next option is the National Park. I’ve ridden thru their campgrounds. Tight. Few utilities. Lots of munchkins, smoke, bikes etc. Not my style. There must be 50 or more cgs in the nearby cities of Columbia Falls, Kalispell (on Flathead Lk) and the town of Whitefish. Most of them are above average to resorty. And so I started calling, leaving messages and emailing to get Weds nite reservation for at least 4 nites. No room in the inn or, the same thing, not even a response.

This morning I got back on the phone and started contacting parks that hadn’t responded. Voila’. A high rated park that was very much on my list said they had a full hookup, 50 amp pull thru site for me for only $65/nite (about mid price for comm’l parks in the area. I reserved 4 nights, ascertained that I could extend beyond for a couple nights if I wished, and started getting the rig ready for travel.

Everything set, I put the coach in gear and released the air brakes. The little red light stayed on and the incessant beeping continued. Sometimes one of the hydraulic jacks doesn’t retract the last 1/4” and the beeping sounds the same and red light stays on (though a different light) and when the rig hits the first ‘bump’ the jack makes the last 1/4” connection and all is well. So let’s try that. Exiting the campground is a decent uphill climb and the light and sound went away. But then it’s downhill and flat and the light and sound show returned. Worse, it seemed as though the rig would brake on and off slightly and worst of all, the bus bounced. I don’t mean a nice little bounce. It was like hitting a large speed bump every 3-4 feet. I stopped at the end of the block across from a truck stop.

I am far, very remote, from being a mechanic but I once pulled our 5th wheel with a small semi tractor and I understand the air systems. The air provides the equivalent of spring/shock absorber suspension and its the presence of compressed air that keeps the brakes free. Pressing the brake pedal lowers the brake air pressure and the brake shoes engage the wheel drums. I’m having a suspension issue (violent bumping up and down) and slight braking issue. Sounds like something wrong with the air system/compressor.

The truck stop didn’t have repair facilities and there was no Freightliner shop in town but they called a mobile semi truck repair company and 10 minutes later I raised the rear with the jacks and “Harley” was underneath. He diagnosed that it needed a new air dryer and after some calls advised the replacement was not locally available. Nearest availability was Reno, NV. The part has been ordered and is being overnighted via FedEx. Harley says he can install tomorrow in under an hour. So I limped back to the campground and hooked back up to power and air conditioning (mid 90’s again). I called my Columbia Falls Campground and they graciously slid my arrival to Thurs evening and assured me I could still extend. Smart as I am, I waited till the heat of the day before I hooked up a hose to wash off the mat of bugs plastered to the front of the rig.

Fingers crossed that the part actually gets shipped, that Fed Ex de.ivers in the am and that Harley knows what he’s talking about. 🤞🤞🤞

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