Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More Trouble

We were very excited to leave for San Antonio.  Our planned campground was in Castroville 23 miles west of the city center.  It was a regional park with good reviews, and although we couldn't get in the first time I called, Alice called back a few days later with two empty full hookup sites.  We made our reservation on-line for two nights.  HOWEVER...

We left on Friday morning, and stopped in Raymondville for some lunch at a Walmart parking lot.  Usually we check everything before getting back on the road, and perhaps we would have missed what happened anyway, but about ten miles further on Route 77, a warning buzzer sounded, the engine slowed and we had no oil pressure.  Oh, joy.  Ron and Donna were ahead of us, so I called to ask them to turn around.

Meanwhile, Gary got out to check the oil. Oh, THERE it is, all over the bikes and Jeep and back of Bella. Yuck! By the time Donna and Ron made it back to us, I had a call into CoachNet, our tow service. We had inherited hazard triangles with Bella, so we put those out behind Ron's trailer. It took about an hour to find someone to tow us and determine which place could take us (Friday afternoon, of course). The truck was coming from Alamo, about 100 miles away. By the time I called back to find out why it was taking 2 1/2 hours to get to us, the sun was setting.  Great - driving in the dark with bikes on the front of the Jeep. At least it wasn't raining...

One finally arrives, a young guy who says another guy is coming to help him. Ugh, oh.  At least they brought the right truck for our independent suspension.  They dropped the drive shaft and tossed it into the truck. 

 Just after dusk, we're ready to go.  The trip would take about an hour, and no one knew if they were open or not.  At least he knew where to go. 
At a Border Patrol checkpoint, we breezed through (whew), and soon we turned off onto a small road where we found Rush Peterbilt who worked on CAT engines.  However, it was closed, so they parked us in the field opposite the entrance gate.  They handed us the drive shaft, and we settled in for a rainy night.  The next morning dawned ugly, but at 7 am, the gates opened!  We walked over to say hi and see if they could help us.  So very fortunately, the boss asked someone to take a look, but no promises, as they had two truck deliveries promised for today.

Our lovely parking spots
Here's Yancy, taking a look.  It took 5 hours to determine it was two O-rings in the hardest place to get to EVER.  This guy, Yancy, was a worm.  I don't know how he fit in there.  I should have taken a picture of him scrunched inside the engine.  Literally.  But he fixed it! 

If it wasn't for the location, it would have been a quick fix, but the labor costs alone, well, you can imagine.  For two little tiny O-rings ($2.75).  Ha. 
But we could leave for Castroville, and leave we did.  It was an easy drive, and we checked half way to see if all was well.  Bella was happy again.
It got dark and increasingly foggy, so of course, we missed the turn, but in the nick of time found a turn around, and zipped into the park, where we saw some beautiful deer bound across the field.  Ahhhh, we needed that after the last 24 hours.
Alice was the camp host, and showed us into our spots.  It was a cute park, with sites a little close together for big rigs, but it was all pull-thru with full hookups.  It used to be Passport America, but we got a senior discount. We fell into bed and slept well.
We had only planned to stay two nights, but that was assuming we had arrived early Saturday.  So we made another night's reservation so we could see San Antonio for a day and half, and wash the Jeep and bikes one of those mornings.  But not Sunday morning!  Off we go to San Antonio!
Which way should we go first?

Street signs help us decided as do maps everywhere

The San Antonio Riverwalk
We met Donna's school friend, Toni and her husband, Bob, for lunch at the Republic of Texas restaurant, but we parted right after to see the Alamo.  


Inside there are artifacts and rooms off the main hall with descriptions.  For example, one room with no windows was where the women and children hid during the battle.  Only fourteen women and children and one slave escaped death.  Today, the DRT (Daughters of the Republic of Texas) maintain the care of the Alamo with no other means of support than donations and proceeds from the lovely gift shop.  An interesting piece of history.
It was time for dinner and we chose MiTierra cafe and bakery.  The cheese enchiladas were delicious, but no room for dessert.  When we returned the next day, we had 'tea' with sopapillas. 
 Kathy, our waitress, showed us the Mural Room.
 Various artists in the community had painted the entire room with large murals.  Beautiful artwork and a history lesson in itself.

The next morning, Gary took the bikes off the Jeep, and while I washed dirty rags and the bikes, he took the Jeep to the car wash with a spray bottle of Dawn diluted in a little water. Of course, I gave him instructions: wet the Jeep, spray the entire thing with the Dawn, brush all over, wash with wand, then rinse and dry. Whether he did it that way or not, he did a pretty darned good job.

It was not really warm out with a cold breeze, but I got the bikes cleaned, then washed the back of Bella. Then we were all ready to head back towards San Antonio to see the Mercado and eat at the Central Market. Lunch first: Oooooo, how can we choose?? The sushi won out for us, and Donna and Ron had soup and potato pancakes and chicken fingers.  HUGE store with every conceivable food, wine and beer.

We had seen enough of stores and touristy things, but the Food Network had a story about LuLu's Restaurant and two of their famous dishes:  Country Fried Steak and a 3 pound cinnamon bun.

 Gary shared his steak and beans, and Ron gets to hold a cinnamon bun.  For $10 it was too much of everything, so we passed on that artery clogger.
So, we're getting in the Jeep to go back to the CG, and guess what, the engine light comes on again.  We're pretty much ignoring it.  Either something is loose, or clogged or whatever, but we put some hi-test gas in her, and sometimes that works.
Tuesday it was departure day.  But Ron had a problem with his slide.  The bolt pulled out of the retract mechanism.  He jumps into the truck, drives to True Value for a couple carriage bolts, drives back, jacks up the slide to get it straight, installs the bolt, and voila, once again, the Magic Man fixes it for 80 cents.  We pull out and head towards Pleasanton for a Walmart fill-up as it is finally time to go to work.  Arriving around 5:30 in Whitsett, Diane is still in the office.  The first thing she says is that she has a job for tomorrow morning for one of us.  We can't make a decision tonight, so we say we will sleep on it and talk to the foreman, Jamie, tomorrow. 
Eight am we are back in the office where Jamie says that job was cancelled anyway, and he has nothing right now.  Getting a double gate position is really rare, and they don't know what oil company will call at any time with a job, so we sit tight in our free full hookups until a call comes in.
For all you who are interested in this type of job, stay tuned.  I will post when I am able because being out in God's country we will be lucky to have any reception.  I am actually looking forward to this job, but I know that it will be like nothing I'm used to. 
But it's all good, right? 



  1. Sure glad you got back on the road but Wow! What an experience!
    Will be curious to hear your gate guarding story :) Enjoy!

  2. It's always something! A 2 1/2 hour wait for the tow truck doesn't seem too bad. We had to wait 6 hours in Oklahoma. Just another day in the RVING life

  3. yes its all good right? glad you were fixed up so fast...will be interested in hearing about your gate guarding escapade :)