After Mexico 7, 25th September 2004

Next day was sunny so I slowly headed south, taking in the good view at Buena Vista

stopping a free campsite by the Arkansas River near Salida. The Arkansas River is claimed to be the rafting centre of America due to the drop of the river, there are certainly lots of companies offering raft trips, but they turn most of the water off on 15th August when the schools reopen, and divert it to fill the reservoirs, so the river, although looking good, is not strong enough for rafting.

I asked at a gas station for a recommendation for an auto electrician, they suggested Salida Auto Repair. Once there Ron started digging around. Then he did more digging around, testing this and that. He found a cutout had been taken out of the circuit and put it back. He had some good equipment and seemed to know his way around the electrics. He discovered that not only was the charge needle fluctuating wildly but the charge rate was also fluctuating. The regulator was checked, found faulty, and replaced. Now the charge rate was OK but the needle was still fluctuating plus other unwanted effects. (Such as showing full charge when the ignition was switched on - it should show a small discharge.) I picked up a new (used) instrument cluster but that was no different. Then Ron found by cutting out the ammeter
completely everything worked fine. Except the ammeter of course. So there was still something wrong.

I arranged to come back next morning, meanwhile Ron would try to dig out some detailed circuit diagrams. I drove around the spiral drive for a view of Salida. The garage is centre of the picture just behind the front centre clump of trees.

During the night Little Cat caught his first mouse. I'm still telling him how clever he is! I guess there are some holes around the van big enough for a mouse to squeeze through. However, I never thought I would need a cat to catch mice in my motor home!

At the garage Ron had discovered that Ford had dumped all their relevant manuals, my van is too old. So he dug around under the hood some more, and then some. Then he appeared with some circuit diagrams, he had found another
workshop in town that had them on CD. He started checking through everything, somewhat happier now he knew where he was going. Finally he found a wire was missing, it had been cut short under the sheathing at one end, with the connection remade at the other end, that was why he had not spotted it. Presumably Bill (previous mechanic who had shorted out a wire by mistake and then tried vainly to repair the resulting meltdown) had cut it out for some reason. With the wire replaced everything seemed to work fine. We drank a Coca cola as provisional celebration.

Ron had a quick look at the cruise control, thought it may be a faulty server, I collected another which he fitted, but that didn't work so we called it a day. It's difficult to check out the cruise control because it doesn't work until you reach 35 mph and Ron said he couldn't run that fast. I'll find somewhere with a rolling road, seems you can't just jack it up and let the wheels spin, it needs a rolling road. No big deal. I can live without the cruise control. I can't live without a fully functioning generator and that at the time of writing that appears to be 100% fixed.

Now it came to paying. Ron had spent a long time checking out my van. But both he and Tony (the boss) felt that the time was too long for the problem involved so Tony gave me a big reduction on the regular hourly rate. Now that's what I call an honest garage. If you are anywhere in the area, remember Salida Auto Repair.

Tony gave me a piece of banana cake brought in by a happy lady customer. He said they used to have one customer who came in from Leadville, 60 miles away, she brought them all hot lunches when she came in with her car. Hey when you have a garage as good as this it pays to keep them happy!

(Hi Ron! Have I got all this right?)

So now content the van was OK I headed off early next morning to Gunnison by the southerly route. Very pretty, nice stream on the way.

I parked up in a quiet spot behind a rock away from the main road. It was a cold night, way below freezing point outside, thank goodness I had managed to get the van heater working. Only trouble is, I have to get out of bed long enough to switch it on. Brrr!

The Pioneer museum in Gunnison is just amazing. Full of an incredible amount of fascinating stuff. It just about wiped out my entire morning wandering round. I headed north to the Kebler pass, pausing to look round the museum in Crested Butte, then on to Lake Irwin where I parked for the night, at about 11,000 ft just above the rather patchy snow line but with a superb view. The photos do not do the view justice to the view, not by any means.

This photo swings around more to the right. Above is the view left of the tree, below is right of the tree.

Best regards

David Barker

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