Lifestyle, Travel

A Stressful Few Days on the Road

September 4, 2017 - by Michael
AAA giving us a jump start.

Our next destination after Mt. Carmel Junction was Fish Lake, Utah. We were looking forward to the stop because it was going to be right on a lake and less than an hour drive to Capital Reef National Park. Although it was a pretty remote stretch of highway though Utah, it was very scenic. The drive took us through some very beautiful farms and pasture lands, surrounded by panoramic views of the mountains. On the final stretch of the journey, we were met with a pretty steep ascent to get up to Fish Lake. When we made it to the top we drove through a gorgeous, although bare at this time of the year, forest. When we emerged from the trees near the RV park we were greeted with some impressive views of the lake.

Fish Lake, UT

We got checked in at the Bowery Haven RV Park office and got our parking site assignment. Navigating the roads in the park was a little bit tricky. The gravel paths we not all that well maintained, and they had some pretty big trees with low hanging branches. When we did get into the spot, it was not very level, so that offered some challenges of its own. We made it work and started the task of setting everything up. Usually, that means that I would work on getting all of our outside stuff done, while Steff works on unpacking things inside the RV. This is when things started to go wrong.

Bowery Haven RV Park

Steff came outside with a look on her face that I never like to see. She was definitely really worried about something. It turned out that we had no cell phone reception. If you are unfamiliar with our situation, you may be thinking to yourself that it couldn’t be that big of a deal. However, since we both work remotely during the week, not having any internet connection is a very big deal! I went into a bit of a panic. I had been working on a contract job that was requiring quite a bit of hours, including some overtime.  The project had some very tight deadlines, and a task I was working on was due the next day. We didn’t have all that long of a drive that day, so I was counting on having the evening to complete some work on the project.

I had to figure something out, so we checked back in the office double check to see if they had wifi (they didn’t) and ask how close the first place with some internet access would be, like a coffee shop or something. I had hoped that at the very least I could go somewhere to get a couple hours in that night to meet the deadline. The news was not good, and their main concern was to remind us that our week-long stay was paid for in advance and was non-refundable. In retrospect, I should have taken more time to think through what our next course of action would be, but I just wanted to take a drive to where we could get some internet service. So, we packed up some bags, grabbed the cat and his food, and drove about 15 minutes away where we had some limited service on our cell phones. I looked up where we could a hotel to stay for the night.

Buddy at the Hotel in Richfield, UT

I picked the Best Western in Richfield, which was the biggest town that was less than an hour away. The plan was for me to spend the evening working from the hotel, then in the morning we’d return to the RV and move to a new spot where we’d have cell service. Richfield was about a 50 minute drive back down the mountain. We got checked in to the hotel and I got to work. I started to feel a little bit of relief, but I still had a deadline looming. Our next challenge was dinner. It was getting late on a Sunday night, so our options were limited. Steff let me keep working while she ran out to pick up some Chinese food. She also made a stop at a gas station and picked up a couple of much needed beers.

Eating some Chinese food in Richfield, UT

When she returned, I quickly ate my food, and got back down to business. Steff settled in and watched some TV, with Buddy by her side. I worked late into the night and got as much done as I could before I was too tired to go on. I got a couple hours of sleep before I had to wake up and have a check-in call with work. I had made enough progress over night, but as usual, I had plenty of more work to do that day. We figured we could stay in Richfield and find a quiet place to work from the truck for a few hours, using our Verizon Mifi which was getting a signal, before we’d go and find a new place to park the RV. After grabbing some lunch, we drove to a park and both got some work done. After a little while, Steff took a break so both she and the cat could get out and stretch their legs. The cat really hates the car, but he had been so well behaved up to this point. She took him on a long walk on the leash around the park. We finally decided that we had enough of the park and were ready to figure out where we were going to move the RV to that afternoon. I turned the key in the ignition so we could start the drive back, but the engine did not turn over. The battery was dead. We were both in disbelief.

We had kept the radio on the whole time we sat there, about two hours. We should have known better. We sat there for a little while with the key out of the ignition, hoping that our next try would work. Nope, still dead. Also, we were completely alone in this parking lot. While I started to pull a bunch of stuff out of the truck bed to get to our jumper cables, Steff walked across the park to were we had seen a guy doing some yard work to see if he could come over and give us a jump. The guy agreed to help us out, and drove over. We gave it a try, but the terminals on his  battery were very badly corroded, and we just could not get a good connection. We tried to move the connection around and scrape the terminal with no luck. We ultimately called AAA, but that came with about an hour wait. When they arrived, the technician got us jumped right away. There was no way I was going to turn the truck off and risk being stranded again, so we drove straight to the shop that the AAA tech recommended to see about getting a new battery.

In most circumstances, I would just go to a parts store and buy a battery, and replace it my self. However, the battery on our truck was in a pretty tight spot with a tie down that had bolts that were difficult to get to. So I just decided that my nerves were too shot at this point to try and mess with it myself. I just wanted to get moving again so we could get back to our RV. The shop tested the battery and confirmed that we definitely needed to replace it. Unfortunately, they did not have the battery we would need. Of course they didn’t! Nothing had been going our way. But they were so helpful, they called around to other shops to find out who had the battery and could get us in right away. It was a short drive to the next shop, and they had the battery switched out in less than 20 minutes. With everything that had been happening, I felt a bit relieved that if we were going to have trouble with the truck, it was at least somewhere we could do something about it.

Super 8 Richfield, UT

Even with the quick battery swap, it was starting to get late again. I had more work to do that evening, so we decided to just book another hotel room for the night, rather than trying to get back to the RV and get it moved. That night was a bit more relaxed for us. Even though I had work to do, it wasn’t on the same tight deadline I was working on before. Also, Steff had found and booked the next RV park, so we had a pretty solid plan of what we had ahead of us the next day.

Sand Creek RV Park, Torrey, UT

The next morning, after I had a quick call for work, and we grabbed a quick breakfast from the hotel, we headed out. Steff drove us back up to Fish Lake, so I could continue to work from the truck. We made quick work getting the trailer hooked up to the truck, and headed to Sand Creek RV Park in Torrey, UT. We were so relieved when we got there and found that we had cell service and the RV park had wifi. Even though we didn’t have lake views anymore, the new spot was gorgeous. Steff and I both had our patience tested over those few days, but we made it through, and everything worked out.


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