After a quick stop to visit family in New Mexico, we continued on our journey to the Pacific Northwest. We got a late start again, so we stopped at another little RV park, this time in Fort Sumner, NM. We got a decent start on our fifth day of travel, intent on ACTUALLY making it to our next scheduled stop at the Sleeping Ute RV Park in Towaoc, Colorado. Along the way, we encountered our first REAL problem, a little east of Albuquerque: while going up a hill, the truck’s check engine light came on, followed by a message that said “Speed Reduced.” I would later learn this is called “limp mode,” a feature designed to protect the truck against damage when it’s operating out of spec. I pulled over on the side of the road, turned off the engine, and prayed. I was worried that our pre-owned truck might have a problem the dealer had missed. A few minutes later, I started the truck up, and it ran back up to highway speed with no problems.
After a quick stop at Clines Corners,
I called Tillery Chevrolet in Moriarty, NM. The tech there, Matt, put a scanner on the truck and said the issue was due to the turbo getting too hot because of driving uphill in the hundred-degree weather. He cleared the code and told us it should be fine once we hit the cooler mountain temperatures. Once again, we found ourselves super-grateful to drive away with reassurance about any problems and without having paid anything for the help we got.
We made a stop outside Albuquerque for dinner at the Freight House Kitchen & Tap.
Then, we continued onto Colorado. Somewhere in northern New Mexico, while I was in the lead, I missed a turn and then followed the Google Maps directions which re-routed us to the next turn instead of a u-turn which had been my first thought. We turned on a road with a sign that said there was a bridge with a 13 ton weight limit ahead. I convinced myself that we could continue despite several more signs and pull-offs where large vehicles could turn around. Once we reached the bridge, I stopped and looked up what our truck weighed to get an estimate of our total rig weight. I realized that our 13,000 lb truck plus our 16,000 lb trailer could easily weigh more than 13 tons, so we decided to try to turn around on a narrow little two-lane road in the dark near a house. After much frustration, fear, and backing up (during which I actually touched the truck bed rail with the trailer cap), I was able to use four-wheel-drive to pull up a sandy road and turn around by backing out onto the road.
We made it in to our planned RV park late that night. The next day, we headed to another RV park about thirty minutes away to save us driving an hour round trip to do laundry. We ended up stumbling onto a beautiful park called WestView RV Resort in Cortez, CO. We got set up in the afternoon (for the first time!) and then spent the night doing laundry and trying to get some rest. Reflecting on the trip up to that point, we had encountered a number of problems. The first, of course, was the issue with our trailer brakes. After that, we had trouble running a slide in prior to leaving in addition to our bedroom slide getting caught on the AppleTV box. Then there was the Check Engine light and the 13-ton bridge. At that point, we were ready to get a break from all the trouble and just enjoy the trip.
Before we left the next day, we spent some time getting to know WestView RV Resort – we definitely plan to go back!
Then, we stopped at what has since become my favorite gas station, Maverik, for gas and to use the CAT scale to get our rig weight. The CAT scale process is pretty simple. First, you pull onto the scales, making sure your tow vehicle’s front and rear axles are on the first two plates and that your trailer axles are on the back plate. Next, you either use the app (which disappointingly enough for the tech-lover in me did not work at the time) or press the button to have the attendant weigh your rig. Finally, you go inside to pick up your CAT scale ticket and discover everything you ever wanted to know about how much your rig weighs. Check out the video to see how to read and interpret your CAT Scale Ticket.