Aug 31 2012

Day 1238: Technically, Officially Stranded (but it’s OK)

by andrew

Sitting here sipping a beer and thinking how funny it is that I used to day dream about one potential outcome of our throw everything to the road (and YHWH’s loving care) life on the edge, traveling with minimal resources… and I used to wonder if we’d ever break down in a tiny little community that Father had a purpose for us invading, with no money to fix the truck and get stuck indefinitely. Well, things aren’t quite that desperate, but it’s kind of starting to take on some of that flavor. And although I’m confident our stay here will be temporary (well, at least exactly as long as YHWH desires), it certainly is starting to stretch on longer than I had hoped.

My diagnosis and efforts to swap the crankshaft position sensor this morning (though the procedure itself was a success) turned out to be quite┬áineffective. But like every good story, the replacement sensor itself – as the next piece in my attempt to solve the puzzle – led to the next piece of the plot. It turns out that the parts place I bought it from – 10 miles back west along I-70 in Flagler, CO – also has a full-blown shop and a couple diesel mechanics. They also have their own wrecker, and Shane came out to pick up our truck. I turned it on for him and let him see what it was doing. He just shook his head and smiled. I could tell he shared my appreciation for the magnitude of the puzzle. Here it is getting loaded up:

So, I guess at this point our plans are on hold and we’re having Sabbath here. We always say that our Father’s plans are far better than ours, and I guess we’re getting to walk that out in this tangible way. With labor day approaching I’m hoping they figure it out quickly and that it’s something simple / easy and they can get it done before the holiday. But no guarantees. And it would be really nice if they could even tackle the leak in the steering system (hopefully it’s not the gearbox) as well as the alignment + 4 tires that we’ve been overdue procrastinating on with such limited resources available. Shane was looking at our front passenger tire (you can kind of see it in the pic) and thinking it’s a blowout waiting to happen. I’m pretty sure it would get us at least to PA, but maybe better safe than sorry.

I feel completely tacky doing this, but I’m just going to throw myself out there and slap a donation button on this post. If you know me at all you know how self-reliant I like to be and how hard it is for me to ask anyone for help. I’d much rather be on the giving end than the receiving end, and so maybe Father is also using this situation to kill more of my pride. Oh yay ­čÖé I still want to figure out a way to ask without asking ­čÖé but I will say it this way: if our heavenly Father puts it on your heart, any tiny amount towards our truck repair fund would be a massive blessing. We still have other repairs sitting on our credit card from before. But please do not feel obligated in any respect. Father will provide, and your prayers are even more valuable.





Even in the midst of all this I’ve been realizing how much we have to be thankful for. We have electric and A/C keeping the inside of the trailer about 79 F (26 C) while it reads 102 F (39 C) outside – YIKES! So – shelter: check. We have water. We have food. We have internet so I can post this and work and stay connected to find out about things like crazy Hurricane Isaac hitting seven years to the exact day that Katrina struck (if that isn’t a wake up call I don’t know what is, but how many will notice?). There’s a playground close by. Jim (the Shady Grove Campground owner) has been super helpful: he gave me a ride to Flagler this morning to pick up the sensor, provided a tour of the town, said he’d just open up a tab and we could settle before leaving when the time comes, and told me to ask if we needed anything). And the kids finished school today in really good moods. Even though it’s hard work, homeschooling our children is a bigger blessing than we normally pay attention to.

For example: I was talking with Shane and Jim after Shane had the truck all loaded up on the wrecker. They were briefly comparing notes about changes that have been happening in the school system here. I’m not sure if this is Colorado-wide or maybe even the whole country, but among other things the government has capped calorie consumption for children at school and it is a fixed number for all kids regardless of build, metabolism, athletics, etc. This is enforced primarily through the lunch portions, which are now very small. Shane and Jim said their kids always come home really hungry. Of course, some parents don’t do enough to manage healthy amounts of the right kind of calories for their kids. But government stepping in and regulating it is an entirely different thing. And the more sinister aspects of this that come immediately to mind:

  • How closely is this related to the current food shortages and famine in this country (which you probably won’t hear about on mainstream news nor get an impression of by walking into a grocery store)?
  • What are the impacts of caloric shortages on a child’s learning capacity? This will
  • What about other implications like a child’s energy level, vulnerability to suggestion, etc. when they aren’t getting enough / proper nutrition throughout the day?

There’s probably more thoughts that should be probed there, but this is really just another area where we see the┬áerosion of all things as we used to know them. I shudder to consider what my children’s generation is facing, but I also get excited to think about and anticipate what their Creator will do in their days!

Well, here’s to the adventure! Looking forward to continuing the exploration of WHY we are here and posting updates about what we discover as well as (hopefully shortly) recording our epic departure.


Aug 30 2012

Day 1236: Adventures Already, Really?

by andrew

Not even 150 miles into our trip east of Denver the following unfolded, and I record this as a testimony to our heavenly Father’s incredible attention to detail in protecting, providing, and caring for us (read through the highlights with the thought in mind that the trigger event could have occurred with us in the middle of nowhere, without help or lodging options).

  • Rolling down I-70 it was hot (high 90s) but we were cruising
  • Around 4pm on a steep climb I was watching my exhaust temp closely as it started to climb
  • I backed off the throttle to keep the gauges happy as I always do, but the gauges didn’t get happy this time. All of the sudden I lost all power (the accelerator pedal had no effect) and the engine started revving wildly up and down on it’s own.
  • Bummer. But we were also really aware that it was just part of the story, and like all good stories there were purposes yet to be realized and explored.
  • Threw it in neutral and pulled over with flashers going and rolled to a stop on the side of the road, part way onto the exit ramp at mile marker 405. Blessing #1: exit ramp, gas station not too far ahead, close to the tiny town of Seibert, CO.
  • Thinking it might be heat related we prayed and let it cool down a bit. Tried to start it and it was acting the same: wild idle all over the place and no impact from gas pedal.
  • Called Ray. Blessing #2: Ray is the manager of the diesel shop I referenced in my last post and he’s a brilliant man and excellent diesel mechanic. He gave me some things to try.
  • Preparing to disconnect battery cables Blessing #3 enters stage right in the form of a man named Leeroy who stopped and offered to pull us off the exit ramp and down into the gas station parking lot where it would be much safer. We gladly took him up on it.
  • Ice cream sandwiches and bags of fancy rocks later, I was trying to get the truck to run normally again with no success.
  • In the meantime another man by the name of Craig pulls into the same parking lot as us and I find out that his truck (also a chevy) is also basically broken down too. Blessing #4: New acquaintance and someone to commiserate and swap war stories with.
  • I call a diesel repair place at the largest / closest town (30 miles away) hoping they’ll be able to help us out. Guy says it would be next week before he could even look at it. Ugh. He also didn’t know of anyone else who would be able to look at it soon.
  • Blessing #5: I discover that there’s a campground less than a mile away.
  • I call our roadside assistance and they hook up towing for the suburban. We ride in the truck on top of the flatbed to the campground. Blessing #6: the driver takes me back for the trailer and tows it to the campground for only $20 (roadside wouldn’t include that in the coverage)
  • We spot Blessing #7 on the way in: an amazing playground that Renee took the kids to while we went back for the trailer and I got all set up in our site.
  • Blessing #8: Craig offers me a cold beer while I’m getting everything set up.
  • Blessing #9: We have a nice full-hookup site for as long as we need to get the truck fixed
  • Blessing #10: There’s also internet here
  • Blessing #11: Found out from the campground owner that there’s a NAPA Auto parts only ┬áabout 10 miles away and they deliver (at this point we’re still completely stuck as the truck is simply not drivable.

So, for the last several hours after supper I’ve been going through the shop manual and testing / trying / taking apart various things. Some of the potential problem parts are under or blocked by everything, so I will either have to take a bunch of stuff apart or find someone who is already good at this and knows where to start.

This will likely throw our whole trip off, which has ripple implications, but we’re mindful that there’s a reason this happened, and are still focused on getting to PA in time. So tired. Falling asleep typing this so I better lie down and…