Problems Already
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We're used to dealing with issues on our annual vacations.  We lose a tire almost every year.  Last summer the TV went out while we were in Basalt, CO and it had to be replaced.  However this year the problems have already begun.

In addition to getting the boat ready, my Class A license, and the normal preparations, both the truck and trailer have needed some unexpected repairs.  On the weekend beginning July 14th, we visited Keith, Christine, and Jack at their home near Los Angeles.  It was on this trip I noticed the "Check Engine" light was on.  Ever since I added a performance chip to the truck, the light comes on when driving for an hour or more at 70 mph or faster.  In the beginning, I tried to have it checked several times.  But every time I get to the dealer, the code is no longer in the computer.  Since I never had any problems, I have just ignored it since.

Yet this time it remained on longer than normal.  On the following Tuesday, I had an appointment at a RV shop to have a hitch installed on the trailer.  After dropping off the trailer, the truck would not start.  The starter turned the engine but it did not fire.  This has never happened before.  Knowing that computers need a reboot sometimes, I turned the key to the off position and tried again.  This time it fired right up.

OK, I also had an appointment the following morning to get an auxiliary transmission cooler installed (remember last summer going over the Rockies) and the exhaust system repaired (probably also heat related) so I'll ask about the "Check Engine" light.  Turns out some starter sensor was bad and needed to be replaced.  The mechanic said, "Yeah, it's one of those sensors that could leave you stranded.".  Had we not traveled the 700 miles to Los Angeles this sensor would have failed sometime during the second day of our trip.  I'm glad it happened now.

The truck was scheduled to be in the shop until Friday.  On Thursday, the RV shop called and said the trailer was ready.  I explained that my truck was in the shop and thus I couldn't pick up the trailer until Friday evening.  That was OK with them.

Meanwhile the boat was also at an outboard repair shop.  I'd taken it to them the previous week just to have the motor serviced and checked out since I had no real idea what shape it was in.  It seemed good but what do I know?  Better to have it serviced and enjoy our vacation than deal with troubles at Ten Mile Lake.

Anyway, the boat shop called and said the boat was ready so I explained the truck situation to them and will pick it up on Friday.  That was OK with them as well.

Then I started thinking "how am I going to do this?".  I get off work at 4:00 pm and these shops close at 5:30 pm.  If I get the truck, then the boat (which is on the way to the trailer shop), and then get the trailer, I might make it.  But do I want my first experience with towing doubles to be on Friday afternoon during rush hour traffic?  I don't think that's a good idea so I call the trailer shop and ask if I can pick it up on Saturday.  That was OK with them too.

Saturday arrives and I go to the trailer shop.  I walk up to the counter and tell them I'm there to pick up my trailer.  The guy says, "Didn't you get the message Brian left you yesterday afternoon?".

"No, I left work at 4:00 and there was no message."

"Well maybe he called after that.  Anyway, there's a problem with your trailer."

He goes on to explain that when one of the technicians was moving it yesterday with the forklift, he noticed that the kingpin was loose.  In case you don't know, the kingpin is the round chunk of metal on the front of the trailer that locks into the fifth wheel hitch mounted to the bed of the truck.  In other words, the only thing that attaches the trailer to the truck.  It appears that the weld broke.  He tells me they'll look at it on Monday and decide if it can be repaired or if the whole tongue has to be replaced.  In any event, I'm sure glad that kingpin didn't shear off in a hard stop while driving down the freeway.  The truck would have stopped but the trailer might have come right through the cab and kept on going.  It wouldn't have been pretty.

You may have heard about the record heat here in California.  Just before the heat wave started, Denise noticed a "noise" coming from the air conditioner.  We had it checked and the bearings in the fan motor were going out.  $8500 later we had a new unit.  It was installed the day the heat wave started and ran a whopping 20 minutes before failing.  Apparently its fan motor was defective.  There was nothing that could be done that evening but Bell Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning was out the next day to replace it.  The unit has been running fantastically (and 24 x 7) ever since. 

To add fuel to the fire, Bell Bros. found that the downstairs air return had no ducting to attach it to the upstairs unit.  Because it was in an outside wall, we found that we've been heating and cooling air from the outside instead of the inside for the past 17 years.  Just add that to the long list of construction defects in our home that have cost us well over $20K so far.  Ergos Construction went out of business back in 1994 so there has been no legal recourse for us.  However if I happen upon James R. Corbett, founder of Ergos Construction in a dark alley, he'll need an ambulance.

Lewie also had some health issues that needed to be checked.  His vision was a little blurry in one eye so he asked his doctor about it.  His doctor suspected he may have had a small stroke and scheduled him for an MRI so Lewie had to delay his trip.  Although there's no way to know for sure if he had a small stroke, there was no evidence of any.  Lewie is currently making his way to Ten Mile Lake.  He was supposed to be there on Saturday, July 22nd but he did not leave until that day.  He should arrive either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Our daughter-in-law was pregnant with our third grandchild but had a miscarriage in early July.  A few days after she was rushed to the hospital due to excessive blood loss.  Fortunately everything turned out OK and she was home the following day.

And then on top of all of this, our second grandson was born back in the middle of May.  He was 2 months premature and has been in the hospital since.  Details are in the blog on my home page.  He still has apnea symptoms which are normal for premature babies but he's old enough now that this should be going away.  The doctors have done some tests and things seem normal for the most part.  They did find that he suffers from reflux which could be why he stops breathing especially during feedings.  He's been put on medicine and now it's wait and see.  He's doubled his birth weight from 4 lbs. to 8 lbs. and appears healthy otherwise.

So is the glass half empty?  Are all of these problems signs that we shouldn't go?  Is this just the beginning of many more issues that will occur on our trip?  Should we just stay home?

Or is the glass half full?  We're certainly lucky the truck didn't fail on the second day of travel and the trailer kingpin didn't shear off at high speed.  Christine is OK.  Lewie's health report is good.  Our grandson is being well cared for at the hospital and appears healthy.  He's doubled his weigh from nearly 4 lbs to over 8 lbs.

Is the worst is behind us or is it only just beginning?  Only time will tell.

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