Ch 2: A Perilous Journey: Battling the Unknown on the Road to Wichita

Are you ready for a tale of adventure, misfortune, and resilience on the open road? Buckle up, because our journey out of Colorado Springs was anything but ordinary. We thought we were embarking on a typical road trip to Wichita, Kansas, but little did we know that the road ahead would be fraught with unexpected challenges.

The Bumpy Start

Leaving the picturesque Colorado Springs behind, we hit our first roadblock—quite literally. A tire decided to betray us by leaking air, and there was an unsettling puddle of fresh oil beneath our trusty RV. We had to act fast. After some quick thinking, we managed to patch the tire at a nearby tire shop and replaced another tire that had seen better days. It should have been a wake-up call to thoroughly inspect our RV, but alas, we ignored the signs.

Onward to Kansas

With our patched-up tires, we continued our journey towards Wichita, Kansas. However, we knew that our RV harbored some secrets. The solar system was acting up, and various furnishings were showing signs of wear and tear. Missing screws and warping had become the new norm, and it was clear that our beloved RV needed some TLC.

Our party consisted of three brave souls: Samantha, my dad, and me. We embarked on this adventure with two vehicles, setting out at 3 PM with the intention of avoiding the highway for our initial stretch. We made sure our vehicle fluids were topped off, and our batteries were fully charged. Wichita beckoned, and we eagerly accepted the challenge.

Engine Troubles

Approximately 15 minutes after leaving the hustle and bustle of Denver Airport behind, disaster struck. Our engine decided to sputter and falter right in the midst of rush-hour traffic. Fortunately, we managed to coast our way to a nearby Burger King, where a friendly stranger with a battery booster gave us a helping hand. But our respite was short-lived. Upon reaching the Burger King, our engine refused to come back to life. Our investigation led to the discovery that the refrigerator and a stubborn light in the back were still drawing power, potentially draining our battery. It was a perplexing predicament.

Summoning our insurance for a jump-start, we were soon back on the road, albeit with heavy hearts.

A Series of Setbacks

Our relief was short-lived, as we encountered yet another setback a mere ten minutes down the road. After a brief discussion, we decided to jump-start the RV once more and move it to a local Walmart parking lot. We kept our second vehicle running alongside, hoping to stave off any further mishaps.

Despite our best efforts and the installation of new batteries, it seemed that the sinister alternator was at the root of our woes. Finding a replacement for a 1973 GMC RV, of which only 12,000 were ever made, proved to be an arduous quest. Local stores offered no solutions, and even Napa Auto Parts was unable to locate the necessary parts. However, a stroke of luck came our way when we realized that a similar engine could be found in a Toronado or Cadillac from the same era. The part was located, though we had to endure three agonizing days of waiting.

Desperation led us to seek help online and connect with fellow RV enthusiasts. It was through these connections that we finally got a lead. A seasoned employee at Napa used their expertise to track down a part across the street, and it came with a coveted lifetime warranty. We were back in business.

A Ray of Hope

Our journey continued, but we couldn't shake the feeling that more trials lay ahead. In Deer Trail, our fears were confirmed as electrical issues once again reared their ugly heads. Despite our best efforts with the battery booster, our RV was not out of the woods.

Fortunately, we found refuge at an Elks Lodge, which offered us a free stay and a precious power hookup. After a night of charging, it seemed like we had finally turned the tide. Online sources hinted that trying to charge dead batteries with an alternator could spell trouble, but we were confident that our batteries were now at 100%. Our spirits were high as we set our sights on Wichita.

The Final Stretch

Refreshed but slightly irked by the relentless challenges we'd faced, we resumed our journey to Wichita. Radio tunes accompanied us as we sped toward our destination, five hours into the drive.

Then, the ominous sound of engine trouble returned, and we scrambled to activate the battery boost. It became evident that whenever my dad took the wheel, the engine seemed to protest. We couldn't help but notice the correlation.

A Lifeline in the Darkness

As we grew increasingly desperate for a power source, a solution presented itself at a gas station. With permission, we plugged in and charged up, potentially giving us enough juice to complete our journey. (In hindsight, we realized we could have used our solar system or generator for power.)

Finally, around 11 PM, we arrived in Wichita, several hours later than our original estimate. The road had aged us, it seemed, as we headed to bed, our minds already filled with lists of projects awaiting us in the days to come.

In Conclusion

Our journey to Wichita had been a rollercoaster of unforeseen challenges, but it had also been a testament to our determination and resourcefulness. Despite the odds, we had persevered, finding help in unexpected places and learning valuable lessons about the intricacies of our RV.

As we settled into Wichita, we knew that the adventures of the road were far from over. But one thing was certain—we had proven that with resilience and a little help from friends and strangers alike, we could conquer even the most daunting obstacles on our path.

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