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  1. #51
    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Southern California
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    DAY 30 - THE UNEXPECTED AND THE UNPLANNED STRIKE AGAIN

    Setting off at 7:30 in the morning, we pointed the truck south on US-71. However, it wasn't going to take us to the Twin Cities as we originally planned. Instead, we changed our plans and headed for North Dakota, hoping for the Lewis and Clark Trail stuff near Bismarck and Washburn. At Park Rapids, we turned west on MN-34, then got on US-10 West towards Fargo. That was a lovely drive, plus 4-lane divided with few traffic lights or slow downs. We took a shortcut, MN-336, to get to I-94 west and go around the southern end of Fargo and avoid the downtown area. Stopping for breakfast at IHOP, and then fuel in West Fargo, we had a little less than 200 miles of I-94 to go.

    It was fairly smooth sailing into Bismarck. Twenty miles before we reached our destination, west I-94 was down to 1-lane in two different areas. Of course, it never fails that one gets stuck behind someone who wants to go 55 in the 65 zone!

    As we pulled up to a traffic light to turn into our motel, the truck started to buck more than we'd ever felt it before. It almost didn't make it into the motel drive! Checked in, got the information about the local Ford dealership. When hubby moved it to the parking slot, it behaved beautifully. So we thought we'd drive it to the dealership. Nope -- as soon as he turned the engine over and put the vehicle into Drive (and also Reverse), it did the same thing, bucking. If a truck had feelings, it was like a stubborn child that didn't want to go to bed. Yet we had NO problems with this vehicle since long before Gettysburg -- and even that was very slight.

    AAA was procured and the tow truck driver arrived in a timely manner. In the meantime, hubby had called the Ford place and talked to the diesel shop manager. He said, "bring it down, I can look at it tomorrow!" (This after the main shop had told hubby that they had a 2-week waiting list. Glad ours was diesel!) We both rode with the tow truck driver, who knew diesels fairly well. He said if he were looking at it, the first thing he'd check would be the fuel filter, wondering if we'd gotten a bad batch of fuel someplace or three, and the second would be the IPR - internal (?) pressure regulator. He proceeded to tell us what that does within a diesel.

    At the Ford diesel shop, we were treated with respect. After talking with the service manager, I told him what the tow truck driver had said, and he answered that those would be in their checks. The dealership sent for the shuttle, who drove us back to our motel where we are comfortable. We had everything we needed, including restaurants and fast food places nearby, and the motel had a hot breakfast to order that includes eggs, pancakes, and waffles -- Days Inn Bismarck.

    Not exactly what we expected after changing our plans, but honestly -- one has to be relieved that the issue took place right in town, not out in the boondocks someplace. (And have we been in some very remote places where there was very little cell service.) The AAA membership has paid for itself twice now, and the tow service was excellent.

    UPDATE: Injector pressure regulator, not internal. Sorry.

    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 07-09-2014 at 10:19 AM.

  2. #52
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    5,016

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    DAY 31 - MORE DELAYS

    We woke in the morning, having slept fitfully with worry over the truck. Enjoying the full breakfast at the motel, we just caught up on some little things that we'd been putting off. Around 11 we heard what the diagnosis was, we approved the work and they said it would be done "shortly after lunch". I walked and walked around the motel, about 6 times, while chatting on the phone to various people. One thing about our smartphones: they charge up fast and they run the battery down fast. Somebody's phone is always charging someplace. Anyway -- truck problem was determined to be the #8 fuel injector as well as the injector pressure regulator. Expensive, though the parts were about as bad as the labor in this case.

    Just after 1, we were called to the shop. The shuttle picked us up at the motel and brought us down to the diesel shop. We paid the bill (another $1700 gone) and took the truck. We were coming close to our motel when the d*** thing started to do the same thing, while going up the hill. We turned around in the motel lot and went right back to the diesel shop. There, the mechanic and my husband went for a long 40-mile round trip drive with it (while I walked around the diesel shop's outside about 20 times and then up and down the street a little), and of course, did it act up again??? Of COURSE not!!! The shop decided to change out the fuel filter-water separator, refused to take anything for it, and we went on our way. Behaved beautifully until it got to that same d*** hill. Other hills it seemed to be okay on. By this time, it's close to 5 pm, we called to ascertain that they had, indeed, checked the fuel pump, and it was fine. Hubby was determined to go pick up the same mechanic and his gear, and take him the 2.5 miles back to the hotel with that same d*** hill, the next day.

    We went out for dinner -- it was near our anniversary so we went to a decent place. The night before, we'd gone to a cute little diner-type place called The Wood House. The menu is on the wall, you pick up the phone and order your meal, and it comes promptly served by a wait-person. (They are also the busboys, the cashiers, and I know I saw two of them working in the kitchen.) Food was good and the prices were right. However, we decided to go out for something like a steak on the 2nd night, so we went next door to East 40. Many of the reviews of the place on Urbanspoon and TripAdvisor were poor, and one of our shuttle drivers even said, "Used to be pretty good, not so good now." We tried it anyway, the beef was good, the potatoes were cold, my asparagus was grilled well, but the prices were too high for what you got.


    Donna

  3. #53
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,264

    Default Oh boy !

    Sorry to hear about the on-going truck mystery, it must be so frustrating, as well as expensive ! Hope you get it sorted soon.

    Dave.

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tustin, California, United States
    Posts
    273

    Default

    Ugh, sorry to hear of your truck misbehaving. The cost and delays must be maddening! Hope it doesn't put a huge damper on your schedule/well-being. Seems like most of the trip thus far has been amazing.

    I take it you'll be in the Black Hills area in the next few days. We'll be watching for your reports on Custer, Wind Cave, Badlands(?) etc. as you hit those spots, as we'll be spending 3-4 days there ourselves in late September and want to hear your experiences.

    Good luck. Here's to no more problems!

  5. #55
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,016

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    DAY 32 - AMAZING HISTORY, AMAZING DISCOVERY ABOUT TRUCK!

    Eating another delicious free breakfast at the motel, we set out heading north on US-83 towards Washburn. The truck misfired and misbehaved for the first 3 minutes, making a theory that my husband have, seem very plausible. (More on this later.) Then the truck was back to its normal self, giving us no more problems until later in the day. (Ditto.) So this was a good trial for us, after so much dollars and frustration.

    It was a 40-ish mile drive up to Washburn, to find the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. It was well-marked. We knew we were in the right place when we saw these outside the building.

    photo(66)

    Once inside, we paid the modest admission fee, which included the Interpretive Center and the Fort Mandan Museum and Tour. The docent immediately mentioned an interesting ranger-type talk to be given down at Fort Mandan, so we got back in our vehicle and drove the 2 miles down to the Fort.

    At the Fort, a young man named Jeff gave an interesting spiel about why the Mandan and Hitasa tribes were not only important to Lewis & Clark, but to the Dakota area too. Then another interpreter, Daymon, took us on a personal tour of Fort Mandan itself. It is just a replica, built about 44 years ago, but to descriptions left in Meriweather Lewis' journal. They really don't know that this was where the fort was, as no remnants remained, and Charbonneau's recollection had faded 30 years later.

    That's hubby in the middle, interpreter Daymon on the left.
    photo(68)

    After the interesting tour, in which you look in on some things and can go into others, we looked at the Seaman Exhibit (about the dog) outside, then drove back to the Interpretive Center to attend a 12 noon talk about Jefferson's "To Do" List for L&C. We had time to look around the Center, listen to some of the short videos, press buttons to listen to quotes from the journals, and look at many artifacts.

    photo(69)

    That talk was better attended. We looked around the Center more then returned back to the Fort for another talk, this one on L&C's maps. Since I am a paper map "fiend", this was more than interesting, it was fascinating and I was pleased that we had stayed.

    Headed back to town, ate an early dinner (or very late lunch), stopped for fuel, and then started up that same d*** hill and the same thing happened to the truck.

    Hubby's theory is that there was an electronic field that perhaps is playing havoc with a sensor in the truck. That sensor may just have a hint of going out, maybe not. Looking around the area of that d*** hill, there were EIGHT (count 'em, 8!!!) electronic towers of some sort -- radio, cellular, weather -- all within a few blocks surrounding the hill and our hotel. When the truck is on one side of the motel, it is relatively protected from the waves, perhaps, because it will behave better on that side of the motel (where we are parked) than on the other side.

    We tried to take it back down to the diesel shop and see if a mechanic could ride back up that hill and check it out with a computer, but the diesel shop was pretty well closed up by then. Meanwhile, between motel and diesel shop, the truck settled down and behaved normally. When we turned around (after finding out that the diesel shop was closed and only the service manager was there), it was fine until we went back up the hill again. Go figure. At that point, the question was, do we wait until the next day and have the mechanic ride (and leave Bismarck late), or do we just go on and hope we don't find another place with 8 towers in one place????!!!!

    In the meantime, the laundry had to get done, since we had not done any since leaving Chicago area.

    Donna

  6. #56
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    11,264

    Default A spider in the tank story.

    Interesting theory about the truck. Is this hill steeper than anything else in the area ? Could the 'miss' be caused when the truck is under more load and demanding more fuel. You need to find a similar grade hill and test it on that, if it is indeed steeper than all those around.

    There was an fuel advert in the UK that stated, 'Put a Tiger in your tank' There was no mention of a spider.

    I've had similar difficult problems to deal with in the past, one bizzare one was due to a dead spider ! When the vehicle was 'missing' we would prime the fuel filter and it would clear for a while, indicating a lack of fuel reaching the filter in the first place. So we then temporarily by-passed the fuel filter using an old clean jug containing fuel and put the fuel lines in it and started the engine. We discovered air was being introduced to the fuel before the main filter and pump. After dropping the tank and removing the fuel lines from the fuel pick strainer and putting them into another clean container of fuel and starting the engine, the air cleared from the other end. We removed the pick up pipe/strainer from within the tank and gave it a quick blast with an airline and out popped a big fat spiders body. The body had been partially blocking the fuel pick up pipe in the tank and disturbing the fuel flow not allowing enough fuel through on high demand and introducing air. This was after lots of work including checking injectors visually and changing filters etc. I doubt yours is a spider [;-) ] but sometimes after a lot of time and expense it's a 'foriegn' object that is obvious and simple when found. Although I would have thought that a sensor on a newer vehicle would pick up on poor fuel delivery, but it may not and sometimes the old fashion way is better than computers, just like mapping I guess.

    Good luck.

    Afterthoughts.

    It might not just be the gradient of the hill, but the duration of it and how long the demand is on fuel. How about simulation ?

    I would be surprised if it was anything to do with the towers, especially as you have experienced the problem prior to this. One way to try and test your theory is to come down the hill in a lower gear and use the throttle to gain speed, you should have the same symptom almost immediately if it was electronical interference.

    In a similar fashion for fuel delivery/demand, if you used a lower gear [to save a speeding ticket] and similar throttle input to that of going up the hill for the same amount of time on a road away from the towers, would it do the same ? [Yes it will work the engine harder for a bit]

    Yeah I'm a little crazy in my methods, but undefeated by a vehicle ! lol
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 07-11-2014 at 04:24 AM. Reason: Afterthoughts.

  7. #57
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    5,016

    Default

    Hubby and the mechanic tried a lot of different things, including driving up and down hills. We were on steeper hills (up and down) out of reach of those towers and had nothing happen. When this has happened before, we never noticed whether we might have been in another area with a lot of electrical towers.

    DAY 33 - BACK ON THE ROAD AGAIN!

    Leaving Bismarck behind shortly after 7 am, we got on I-94 briefly (east) and took it to US-83 South. We were on that route for about 4+ hours, all the way to I-90 west. There was little traffic, the road was in good condition, and we only stopped twice -- once at a city park for a pit stop and another time in Pierre for lunch. Lunch was at Big Tom's Diner, which we chose from the reviews on TripAdvisor and UrbanSpoon.

    Crossing the Wide Missouri again at Pierre.
    photo(70)

    We left I-90 at exit 131, heading for Badlands National Park. Each of us had been to it when we were kids, with our respective families, and neither of us had been particularly enamored with it. Our choice was to return as adults to see if we could enjoy it more. Probably we did, a little, because it was a bit greener than it had been "way back when".

    photo(73)

    We stopped at one of the first overlooks, took the 1/2 mile loop trail up to the point which included a lot of stairs. On the way back down the other way, we watched a deer eat the yellow clover down below. Then stopped at the Visitor Center, whose parking lot was under construction.

    Probably around 6 overlooks were utilized by us. We also had to waste some time waiting for the pilot car on some construction on the park road.

    Our 2nd to last overlook was the Yellow Mounds Overlook.
    photo(72)

    At our final overlook, we got to see some Bighorn Sheep. All on video, sad to say.

    Headed for Wall and stopped at Wall Drug just to say we had. We had ice cream and bought a Badlands souvenir. Then looked at the weather building in Rapid City and decided that it was time to continue west.

    Utilizing SD-79, US-14A and SD-39 to get down to Custer, we got stuck behind several slow people and had to wait to get around. It was lightly raining, too. Finally pulled into our motel in Custer, about 11-1/4 hours after we left that morning. Situated ourselves at Black Hills Mile Hi Motel in Custer (City). It was a cute little cabin!


    Donna

  8. #58
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    5,016

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    DAY 34 - BLACK HILLS OF SOUTH DAKOTA

    Grabbed our coffee "to go" and headed for Mount Rushmore, first thing in the morning. We were happy we did, as we had our choice of parking places on the roof of the parking garage (!) there. I use a (!) because the last time my husband and I were here, as kids, there was a huge parking lot, not a garage. Then we headed towards the monument.

    Because of its popularity, I won't go into a lot of the detail about it. As a kid, I'd been impressed with the fact that somebody had gone to a lot of trouble to carve something on a mountain. Now, as an adult, I can appreciate it even more.

    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 154 - Copy

    It did bother both of us, how "commercial" that the area felt. Instead of a small visitor center/cafe/gift shop, there's this huge complex. It occurs to both of us that the visitor count is probably a lot higher these days than in the late 60s/early 70s when we were here as kids. But we were still bothered by the feel of it.

    After Mount Rushmore, we set out towards Keystone and then Iron Mountain Road through Custer State Park. Beautiful vistas, on a very hairy and narrow road, which also had 3 of these:

    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 199 - Copy

    At the end of Iron Mountain Road, before turning west on SD-39 again (to retrace a bit of the drive from Day 33), we came to an "animal stop". There were a number of bison along the road and in the forest, between the grasslands. I took a bunch of photos, but this is one of the better ones, when he is pawing the ground just before rolling in the dirt.

    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 220 - Copy

    Then he proceeded to cross right in front of our truck!

    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 221 - Copy

    Turning right on SD-39 then north on Needles Hwy, we drove the even narrower and just as winding road to the Needles District.

    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 242 - Copy

    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 246 - Copy

    Sylvan Lake.
    Mandan & Rushmore & Custer SP 248 - Copy

    After arriving back at the motel, tired but happy from everything we had seen that day, THEN the rainstorm hit. It's been like that this whole trip, allowing us to see what we'd come to see before the rain (etc) came down. Before that, though, we'd walked down to a drug store that was closed, then back to the Family Dollar where we found what we were looking for (new glasses case for my husband).

    BTW, the roads we were on here were very steep, some 10% grades, steeper than the hills that gave us trouble in Bismarck. We had NO truck trouble whatsoever, and we were very happy about that.


    Donna

  9. #59
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
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    DAY 35 - CAVES AND CRITTERS

    Eating a hearty breakfast at the neighboring Wrangler Cafe first, we set off for Wind Cave just before 9 am. It was a lovely 20 mile drive down good road, not winding. Checked in immediately and ordered two tickets for the Fairgrounds Tour. We had debated for two or three months about what tour to take, finally settling on something at least moderately strenuous that would take us into two levels of this cave.

    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 001

    We were surprised to learn that Wind Cave was America's 6th national park and the first one to protect a cave. Only 140 miles of this cave has been explored, and they are still exploring it at least twice a week. My grandparents had been here back in 1936 while my mom was in the hospital in Rapid City, so I learned that the paving had not yet been completed by the CCC at that time.

    This cave's prominent features, that make it special, are "boxwork", which resembles spiders webs

    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 009

    popcorn
    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 023

    and something like frostfairy. (Unfortunately, this feature was not included on the Fairgrounds tour.) We walked about a half mile in 90 minutes, went up and down 450 steps including one set of 89 steps going up.

    After the tour, and looking at the exhibits in the visitor center some more, we drove up to Custer State Park and picked up some ice at the Blue Bell Lodge. Then turned around and headed back to the Wildlife Loop, the one drive that we did not do the day before. We were very fortunate, seeing

    pronghorn antelope in two separate places
    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 043

    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 049

    a bunch of wild burros - this one stopped to scratch himself
    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 058

    bison by the side of the road
    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 061

    herds of them off in the distance
    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 064

    before we headed back for Custer City. While on US-16A West, we came around the bend to see this guy ambling across the road.
    Wind Cave Custer SP Wildlife 068

    We felt like we'd had a great day for wildlife viewing and hope to have more in Yellowstone.



    Donna

  10. #60
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,260

    Default Bison Tip

    Nice shots!

    Just don't ever be tempted to honk at Bison! They take a dim view of such behavior.

    Enjoying the report! (oh, and great job with the photo display used herein)

    One giant caveat -- one significant issue since you are using Flickr is that if you ever close your Flickr account -- it will break every one of these pages you've created on RTA. Which is why we prefer that our members use the RTA PhotoShare service...

    Mark

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