Saturday, March 27, 2021

A Rainy Day visit to Navajo Bridge and Mariko experiences electrical issues.

 Friday, March 26

I woke to a soft rain and looming clouds acting like fog throughout the area.

After breakfast, Mariko and I drove over to the nearby Historic Navajo Bridge to check things out.

Built in 1929, it was the only bridge across the Colorado River back then for apparently hundreds of miles and a key route for both Utah and Arizona.  Before then, you had to be ferried across at nearby Lees Ferry; of which I wasn't able to find much evidence thereof.

The Colorado River, looking north from center of the historic bridge

A more modern and stronger bridge was built in the 90's to support heavy
vehicle traffic.  It's the one on the left, the historic bridge to the right.

A view of the bridges from the western side of the river

I drove Mariko the six miles or so to Lees Ferry hoping to find signage at least indicating where the ferry had operated back in the day.  Nothing but modern signage supporting the boat ramp activities now existing there.  

The only thing I could find, which might have been used at one time to carry things across:

Buildings built during the time of the ferry's operation apparently

Boulders atop Moenkopi formations, seemingly balancing.

After leaving the Lees Ferry area, I stopped at the only gas station for miles around to tank up Mariko.  As I left the parking lot, I heard a loud, high pitched squeal which sounded like the fan belt was slipping.

The noise went away and I kept driving, thinking it was the wet weather causing the belt to slip perhaps.  Of course, it probably wasn't.  Seconds later, everything died on Mariko and I coasted to the side of the road.

I opened the hood and smelled a faint burning smell.  I checked the fusible link which connects the battery to the car's electrical system and found it had failed.  The fusible link I'd bought beforehand which had a thinner gauge wire lasted long enough to prove it was the fusible link before burning up as well.

At least, it had quit raining by now.  I left Mariko on the side of the road and walked the nearly five miles back to the campsite.  Got Uma, the URRV, now to be known as the VRRV (Vehicle Recovery RV), ready to move.  I drove Uma out to Mariko and hooked her up to the tow bar after a few minutes of moving the VRRV back and forth to line things up.

Towed Mariko back to the campsite and spent rest of the day troubleshooting with the always ready assistance of RichardM via phone.  The problem now you see, even after I replaced the fusible link again with the right gauge wire and a 40 amp inline fuse, was that there was a short in the system that caused the coil/meter fuse to blow every time I turned on the ignition!

I eventually ran out of 15 Amp fuses while testing things and stopped.  I called an auto mechanic in Page, AZ about an hour away and I'll be dropping off Mariko with him on Monday.  

Feeling a bit disheartened as you might imagine but I'm hoping it's a short that's findable by the mechanic, and not, say, a failed alternator....damaged when the fusible link blew.  We shall see.

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