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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Sitting In Purgatory

It's 14 degrees this morning, and snow continues pile up in The Crevice. It's enough to cause a second guesser to question his decision to beat this storm home—as opposed to waiting it out in the lower elevations of Utah. But what's done is done. At least I have two places to get throughly warmed to the bone; by the fire, and in the hot springs water. Ten inches of snow and counting on poor Mini Pearl...an Arizona gal not used to such conditions. I really need to go shovel the deck before my snow shovel gets buried.

Goldie is at the Ford dealer up the road in Montrose. Exploratory surgery is scheduled to take place this morning; they are going to remove her transmission, disassemble it, and try to figure out why it continues to be incontinent. I have found on the internet that this is not an uncommon problem with trannys in her age bracket. The service manager reaffirmed my findings and suggested a couple of things we could do to try and avoid future problems of this nature. It seems that the causes for leaks in this particular transmission are two fold and interrelated: One is heat, the other is load. There are two options that could help with heat: One is a new transmission pan that allows for six additional quarts of fluid. The other is a larger cooling radiator for said fluid. I don't want to have this problem again...and given that the hottest weather we drove in was below 90 degrees, and that we can't reduce our "load," I believe it would be prudent to do the suggested Upgrades/remedies, that is, unless they find another culprit during surgery...something like a clog in the cooling line. Service Rep Fred, at Holmes Tuttle Ford in Tucson assures me they are on board to help with the bill for this second repair.

We have to go to Mo-town today in order to sign our income tax forms, maybe Goldie will be in the Recovery Room by then and we can pay a visit. I'm counting on roads and weather being clear in the valley.

I was awakened several times last night by snowplows blading Lovely Ouray's main highway and the switchbacks heading up to Red Mountain Pass. The San Juans were six to eight feet of snow short of a "normal winter" before this storm hit; I think we might make that up before it's out of here...which is not for a couple more days. I'm mulling over a trip to the Moab area when Goldie gets out of the hospital. It will be a good test for her repairs and give me a little "fix" to quell the tremors and shock of coming off the warm road cold turkey... into the frigid last gasps of winter. At least I hope they are "last gasps." We usually get a good dose of old Sol between storms, and that's all I really need.  

Now for a flashback to our final hikes in Anasazi-ville. We stopped on our way to Mule Canyon for a one mile "overlook" hike to Butler Wash Ruins. There were several overhangs and caves, which kinda reminded me a complex of cliff dwelling townhomes. There's a trail down to the ruins, but we opted for the quick overlook due to promises of bigger shows in Mule. Sounds like we were getting greedy, eh? Well, you know what happens when one gets greedy.

On to Mule Canyon...or so we thought.

We encountered some boondockers on the road into Mule...must be the place. We drove around looking for any kind of a path leading away from the camps, but couldn't find one. So we just started walking, like we usually do, counting on Ms Sara to show up and bless our compass. 

We found a few "pits," places where it was obvious there had been pit-houses at one time. But they don't exactly make for good photo ops...

We kept going, hiking into a beautiful sandstone canyon that was supposed to be "Mule." There were no cairns...no signs that anyone had been there. I mentioned to Bobbie that it didn't feel right...too small. She agreed, but said it's too pretty and interesting to bail, so we kept going...picking random routes and side canyons, not paying attention to where and how.

After a few miles the canyon spit us out on top of a mesa of pinion/juniper. We hop-scotched across areas of "crust," trying not to "bust" it...until we reached an enormous mini "Grand" canyon. Oh, that must be Mule! There was no way down without a parachute.  I suggested we return to the car a different way than we came up. I always try to make a loop out of a hike...even when there is none to be had. Drives Bobbie Crazy.

It turned out that our pinion/juniper mesa was cut and cross-cut with a maze of canyons. Every route brought us to a cliff or an impasse. After an hour or so I admitted defeat and agreed to go back the way we came in. Not so easy, tho. We could not find "our" canyon for love nor money; dead end after dead end after dead end. We could see where we started from so I didn't feel lost, but I was beginning to understand the feeling a dumb mouse has when lost in a lab maze. 

The problem with hiking sandstone and hop-scotching on rocks across "crust," is that you don't leave any tracks! At least we had food and water this time, and it was a good thing because we blew most of the day trying to get back to the car.

Once back, defeated and deflated of ego, I saw a ruin symbol on the map that we thought we could drive to...and there were supposed to be towers. Safe enough. It was in the upper portion of lower Mule Canyon. The road got too rough so we had to hike. We took our packs :)


  1. loved your pix of Anasazi cliff dwellings, we saw some in Monument Valley one summer, but nothing as elaborate as those you found,Goldies problem may lie in the fact that she's on a Ford chassis, knave relations with Fords, who have had to replace the trannies several times,Mydaughteris on her third tranny, this one has a large cooler, and still she wanted her dad to drive up Cabbage Hill, in the Blue Mountains, ou side of Pendleton, as he drove truck for years, knew how to handle grades..
    my brothers wife, whenever she talked about a new spot to see, always asked,"are there hills?"They went through three tranies, and finally bought a new truck, ford!So far they're fine, they also got a smaller tr

  2. If Goldie wasn't sick, I think you would still be in Utah. At least you are not in an RV in the snow. I don't suppose you would consider carrying a GPS device that you set the location of the parked car and it would lead you back - or maybe you like wondering around.

  3. Is Goldie your motorhome? If so, my tranny went out on my ClassC last summer, in 105 heat traveling through Arkansas....long story short, the cuplprit was my transmission cooler. It was a stock cooler. A transmission shop screwed up & didn't change out my cooler, so I was still having trouble. Found another shop & they said it needed a heavy duty cooler, so that was purchased & installed. I feel much better about having the heavy duty cooler that can keep up rather than the stock cooler that was just meant for the "van" part before it grew up to be a motorhome!

  4. You really out did yourself this time with creativity. Your analogy of Goldie and the surgery was too cute.

    Love all the ruins you have managed to find. What beautiful slickrock! Even if it wasn't the correct canyon.

    Yes, best leave town as soon as Goldie is fixed!

  5. I am woefully behind on my blog reading, trying to get caught up. SO sorry to hear Goldie is under the weather and you guys are under snow! I trust an improved condition is on the way for you both!

    I am with Teri, I get a knot in my stomach when you guys head off the beaten path. You must have some kinda dead reckoning!

    GORGEOUS photos as always! Love the cliff dwellings!

  6. As always, you two find the most amazing places to hike. Some of those ancient walls look like they still have plaster on them.

    Sure hope Goldie is feeling better soon and you get to take her for a shake-down.

  7. Anon,
    Thanks for relaying other transmission problems/experiences. The more I know the better...and it appears load and heat is a probable cause. FYI, for all Ford RV owners, years 1990 through 2000 (at least), if you are traveling when temperatures are 90 and above, it would be prudent to slow down and use the Overdrive sparingly. I know this shoots a hole in your gas tank mileage wise, but that beats risking the inconvenience and risk of a tranny breakdown! And as TexCyn said...consider a larger cooler/radiator for the transmission. I requested a tranny temp gauge be installed in goldie so I can monitor how hot the fluid is getting as I travel. This will be valuable feedback; it won't take long to understand what conditions and driving habits exacerbates overheating. I will avoid those habits like the plague, and hope to never darken the garage doors of a repair shop again...especially on the road.

    This is almost analogous to going to the doctor for what ails us...we must be our own advocates nowadays, do our own research, because docs and hospitals just see a number, not the person, "standard procedure," not "out of the box," ya win some...ya lose some.!!!! As with medicine, the internet, and you, my readers, tipped me off that there was this problem was typical, if not chronic, for Ford Trannys. God... Wandrin lloyd is on like his fourth tranny in 10 years.

    If that is not "chronic" design problem from the get go, I'll eat your owners manual!
    thanks Anon and Tex Cyn!

    A GPS... Yes, we talk about getting one every time we get lost. They leave "breadcrumbs" on the screen that you can retrace. But, knowing me, that would just cause more bravado...and I would go, and rely further on my new little tech buddy... at which time the batteries would go dead, or zap out for some other reason, and leave me in the deepest doo doo ever :(
    thanks, tho...

    John and Pam,
    Thank you... it is a good and true analogy, is it not? As I said... be your own advocate when it comes to diagnosis, be it medical or mechanic!!!

    I know... poor girl is sick :( She appreciates the support, tho. As for "DEAD Reckoning," could you rephrase that? It makes me nervous :(

    And BTW, readers... if you haven't already done so, be sure to check out Suzanne's blog by clicking on her name or in my blog list sidebar. She is a "Newbie" and it is fun/funny to read along with her misadventures :)) Thanks!

    Thanks... the towers were originally two stories or more. But time has reduced them to one story at that particular site anyway. I sure am enjoying your Africa trip photos on Facebood and your blog. Didn't you say you took like 20,0000 pictures? Ugh! That will keep you busy :)). And I hope you do consider November in Zion country :)) thanks

    Thanks all...

  8. By the way...I posted answers to the previous post too, in case you are interested :)

  9. More excellent pictures today, hope Goldie gets well soon.

  10. RE: reply: Sometimes technology is not always the answer, sometimes my day pack has too much junk in it. You could get a solar backpack to recharge the GPS. I have a small solar charger that is thinner than my iPhone.


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