Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Trip - Broken Down Again

I'm starting to think our entire year of travel will be spent broken down somewhere in Texas. Right now, we're in an RV Park and Service Center just outside El Paso, because the engine overheated when we stopped at a rest area. It got hot enough to boil the water in the radiator overflow container, which spit coolant into a long, yellow-green puddle on the parking lot.

A nice man came and helped us figure out the best way to help the engine cool down, and then we started off down the road with my eye frequently on the temperature needle. It crept up close to the boiling point again, so I took the next exit and pulled into the only gas station. My mom asked there if someone could help us, and one of the locals led us to his house, where he filled up our almost-empty overflow container from his garden hose.

Here's a picture of where the container is (green arrow pointing to the cap). I have no idea how they expect anyone to fill it up with antifreeze. Even if we opened the engine cover inside the motorhome, I don't see how we could reach it. And I'm not about to try siphoning antifreeze through a hose. Nope. The motorhome's coolant supply is going to be garden-hose water from now on, unless a professional does the job.

After the guy filled us up, the temperature held steady for a while, and then it began creeping up again. My mom found the RV Park with built-in service center in the Good Sam Club directory, so we came here. But they said the service center is closed for Fourth of July and won't open until tomorrow morning at 8:00. But they were having a birthday party for Tony, and we were more than welcome to join them and have some food. We did. Even Scooter, who got water and plenty of attention.

My mom is starting to say things like, "I'm tempted to trade this one in for a different one." I wouldn't blame her, but I don't know how serious she is. It's that same question anyone has with a troublesome engine: What if this is the last thing that's wrong and then it runs great?

Every now and then, life becomes nothing more than a crap shoot, and this is one of those times. The problem is, my mom and I aren't gamblers. So I don't know what will happen, beyond having the service center look at the motorhome tomorrow.


Charlie said...

Sounds like a clogged radiator to me, which can happen from the mineral deposits in water if you've been using water instead of antifreeze for a long time. Or, a loose fan belt (or dead electric fan), or debris in the radiator blocking the air flow... I'll pray that you find a good mechanic.

Meanwhile, you might start working on a book on Texas service stations!

SkyePuppy said...


Not a bad idea. I could get rich.