21 Nov Look Ma, No Driver!
After several days of road weary “adventure” the final leg of our week long trip to collect an Airstream motorhome in Oklahoma City and Bambi trailer in Denver was looking to be uneventful. No stormy weather, clogged fuel filters, throwing fan belts or… whoops, the demon cruise control stuck on us, again!
I had my doubts as I swiped my credit card for the $1000 repair bill in Albuquerque, when our mechanic, Jim Statkus said, “…and I fixed that sticking cruise control, too.”
So there we were, about an hour outside Albuquerque, the rig is rolling along nicely. I (Wally) am behind the wheel. I had experimented with the cruise control ON/OFF switch a few times, even touched the brakes to be sure that switched it off, too.
Then, the engine starts that possessed wha-a-A-A-A-A… and Matthew and I glance at each other with that “oh shit” look in our eyes. Yep, the RPMs are accelerating without my foot touching the pedal.
“I KNOW WHAT TO DO!” yells Matthew, as he runs into the back of the motorhome. And I’m thinking, What’s the hell? Is he really jumping out at 70 miles per hour?
“Just keep tapping the brakes and watch out for traffic!” So, what else was I going to do? I wonder.
Within seconds we’re doing 75 and Matthew reappears with a pliers. “I’m going to disconnect the cruise control linkage on the carburetor,” he screams over the rush of wind, as a sudden gust pushes him and the engine cover backwards.
“I’VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT WHAT DO IF IT HAPPENED AGAIN!” yells my inflight mechanic as he deftly removes the air cleaner and exposes a wide open carburetor vortex.
Today we’re going to rebuild a carb WHILE doing 75? I ask to myself.
Time stands still, again, but the entire episode takes less than a minute. Suddenly, the engine backs off and the gas pedal again presses against my foot. Phew… we’re not dying today.
Next stop: Flagstaff, AZ… it’s 11 pm by the time we check into a friendly a Courtyard Marriott for a good night’s sleep. But not before we relax with a couple of extra spicy Dagwoods from the local Pita Pit. (Note to self: “Everything on it…” includes a handful of jalapenos – can you say, SPICEY!)
Silver Bullet Starfleet log, Wednesday morning 0800. We’re rolling westward on 40 again, now headed for Las Vegas to meet with Airstream redesign clients, and things are going our way.
Fantastic snowy mesa views behind us and historic Route 66 sites that sell tasty beef jerky, the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam in front.
Oh yeah, and more fun with fan belts. About two miles out of Flagstaff the alternator belt flies off again so we head back to make friends at the local NAPA and Little America Truck Stop.
Hey, life IS how you view it.
Look, Ma… no driver! Oh, com’on, man! Hasn’t everyone switched drivers while driving a motorhome? Yep, we did it… and frankly it sounds a lot dumber than it looks. (Or does it look a lot dumber than it sounds? You be the judge.) While most of the advice and information you see on this blog is to encourage your very own Airstream adventure, please do not attempt this maneuver at home.
“PROFESSIONAL DRIVERS, CLOSED COURSE – PLEASE DO NOT ATTEMPT AT HOME”