Wandering West, Day 16, Friday, July 9, 2021
Sometimes days just don’t go the way you plan them. Today was one of those days. We left Moriarty, NM at around 8:30 this morning with the intention of making it to Shawnee, OK. Well, part of our group made it, part of us, not so much.
We made it 56 miles down the road (and I know the exact distance because I had to tell multiple mechanics & tow truck drivers) when our truck went into “reduced power mode”. Basically, that means that the computer in the truck has detected something is wrong and is reducing the power to the motor to prevent damage. Eventually, this makes the truck just creep along until it eventually stops. Thank goodness we were right at a rest area exit. We pulled off and started diagnosing. Johnny had a code reader in his truck so he was able to check the codes and call our local dealership for advice. Big thank you to Mark Tittle at Allen Tillery Chevrolet for giving us advice today. Turns out, it all has to do with the diesel particulate filter (emissions stuff) and we were told that they’ve seen this issue after these trucks have been through mountainous terrain. Unfortunately, nothing we could do other than get it to a GM service department asap. Guess where the closest GM dealership was…..directly in front of the campground we had just left this morning, 56 miles behind us!!!
Well, by this time most of our traveling partners had made it up the road to Santa Rosa where we had planned on stopping for fuel. Let me tell you, this is where traveling with a group is fabulous. Everyone kicked into gear and started problem-solving. My phone was blowing up with our travel partners all calling and texting to work out our next steps. Everyone was amazing.
Here’s what happened:
- I called a tow truck (actually multiple until I found one that could get to us fastest, big thanks to TNT Towing & Service out of Vaughn, NM) to tow the truck back to the GM dealership in Moriarty.
- Johnny and I both talked with that dealership multiple times before getting there.
- I called the RV park we stayed at last night to see if we could come back, thank goodness it was a yes.
- We unhooked the camper at the rest area. Scott and Jaci came back, dropped their camper at the rest area and hooked up to our camper. They then hauled it, Macy, Logan, and I back to the same RV park we stayed at last night (another shout out to Happy Trails RV Park!).
- Noah and Johnny rode with the tow truck driver to the dealership.
- Halli jumped in the car with Linda and Barbara (the Boo Boos) and rode on with them. Hunter and Houston followed them in Houston’s car. The McCain’s continued on to Shawnee taking care of all the kids (keep in mind Kevin has to be at work on Sunday so he HAS to make it back by Saturday).
- Once we get everything back to Moriarty we send Logan on the road with Scott and Jaci. They were going back to the rest area to pick up their camper and would be continuing on home since we didn’t know how long we’d be. Our concern at this point was that we did not know how long it would take to get the truck fixed and Logan has to be at summer band practice on Monday. So, worst case scenario, we at least get him home with the Baber’s tomorrow if we had to stay an extra day or two.
Yep, everyone chipped in and we figured out logistics fairly quickly. The local GM service department in Moriarty worked us in quickly and came up with a solution. Now, I’m no mechanic so just know that it had something to do with a forced regen, told us the DPF filter is probably going bad but that we should be able to make it home. We’ll deal with the permanent solution when we get home. Johnny says he’s ready to “delete” this truck (whatever that means).
All of this happened in just a few hours. We had the truck back before 3 pm so we hooked back up and hit the road again. We were only about an hour behind the Baber’s at this point so we decided it would be best to hook back up with them. We are now parked at an RV park on the east side of Amarillo. The rest of our party made it to Shawnee as planned but decided to get hotel rooms since they had extra bodies on board (I don’t think the McCain’s camper could fit 3 more people!). We’ll be leaving here early, early tomorrow morning to start our final leg home. Our goal is to make it home tomorrow evening, barring any other hiccups along the way.
I will say that this has not “ruined” our trip as some may think. Let’s look on the bright side, this is happening on the way home. We’ve already enjoyed two weeks of seeing God’s amazing creation. We’ve had a full, enjoyable two weeks and now we just have to make it home, which I know we will do one way or another. We have some amazing friends who helped us handle the issue and amazing friends & family back home who were calling to check on us. Finally, we are finally back in the same time zone as home!!! That is a big accomplishment today!