Canceled. The corners of my lips sagged as I read the text message announcing the demise of our scheduled flight. After a super relaxing and much-needed cruise and a wonderful Christmas with family in Arizona, we had planned to visit more family in Eugene, Oregon.
Because changing plans are a regular part of our RV life, we took the cancellation news in stride and came up with an alternative plan. We’d rent a car and drive four-plus hours to Palm Springs, California, and fly to Eugene from there the next day. We looked forward to the adventure.
After securing the vehicle and fueling our bellies, we hit the freeway. About 45 minutes into our trip, my phone dinged to announce a notification. The flight out of Palm Springs had also been canceled. Unfortunately, we had prepaid for a one-way car rental. We wouldn't recoup that money. A painful lesson learned.
We turned around and headed back to Sky Harbor International Airport, where we had rented the vehicle from, thankful for the cancellation notice before traversing very far. After successfully returning the rental, we caught the light rail back to Mesa. Given that more than 5,000 flights had been canceled, we didn’t make a third attempt to get to Eugene.
Frontal Lobotomy for Gulliver
We’ve learned that changes to plans provide opportunities. Since I already had the week off work, we took advantage of the downtime to give Gulliver some needed upgrades.
The day of our originally scheduled departure to Eugene, Gulliver wouldn’t start. Multiple attempts didn’t help his engine come to life. We had to ask a neighbor to give us a jump-start.
Some quick calculations revealed Gulliver’s two batteries (yes, two!) were four years old, the typical life expectancy of car batteries in Arizona. After monitoring the battery voltage for a few days, we decided it would be best to change the batteries, with hopes that would fix the issues and it wasn’t the alternator.
New batteries intact, Gulliver acted quirky, beeping when we opened the door and not responding to certain buttons, as if rejecting his new parts. A check on the Dodge Ram forums revealed normal quirkiness after a battery change as the vehicle’s systems reset.
Gulliver seems to be back to normal now. The battery upgrades did the trick.
We also wanted to get Gulliver’s tires evaluated before we head out on the road again this year. You may recall Gulliver got new shoes only two years ago, so they should still be in pretty good shape. But all the weight of towing Tagalong and weaving the front tires to and fro to back up the trailer into camping spots takes its toll on the tread.
We’ve trusted our vehicles’ tires to East Valley Tire Outlet for years. After examining Gulliver’s tread, the pros there recommended we simply rotate the tires. With six tires — two of which aren’t easy to get to — we weren’t sure how that was supposed to work. So, we let the experts handle it while we waited.
Having the tires off gave Bob an opportunity to inspect the brake pads, which all appeared to be in good shape. Less than an hour and $80 later, Gulliver was ready to run and back on the road.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.