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.


Thursday, March 25, 2021

Windy and Overcast near the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

 A rather windy and heavily overcast day today, not great light for pictures except for a brief period while I was checking out possible sites for further explorations in better weather.

Before all of today's driving though, I walked about the camping area after the two car campers had departed.  I wanted to get a good angle on the Colorado River as it ran through Marble Canyon:

Those are the Badger Creek Rapids above

A view of the campsite in relation to Marble Canyon
through which the Colorado River runs...

A different view of the Colorado River from a spot 
across from my campsite

The Vermillion Cliffs under overcast skies....a bit dull but
still eye-catching

I drove Mariko the two miles back towards the paved surfaced of US 89A and a few miles north was turning into the Lees Ferry portion of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  My "America the Beautiful" allowed me access to this US Fee area; and I explored it:

Paria Beach within Lees Ferry area

I drove by the boat launch area but lighting and lots of folks milling about their boats and kayaks precluded any worthwhile pictures.  The area does have a few scenic rock formations that I'll have to return to take pictures of, once sunshine returns to this area Saturday.

Next I tried to access a couple of roads on the east side of the Colorado River but both proved to be either locked gates or marked as No Trespassing!  Oh well.

Here's a couple of shots, back on US 89A, headed towards the Historic Apache Bridge.  Another site I need to check out in better picture weather.




The rest of the day was spent feeling the wind rock the URRV occasionally, staying out of the wind and watching campers set up campsites nearby but not too near.  Tomorrow is supposed to be same kind of weather as today, so some patience is in order; things are supposed to be warmer on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Boondocking near the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

 Left Phoenix at 10AM today and about 5 hours or so later, was setting up in the Badger Canyon dispersed camping area located on a flat-ish ground that overlooks the Colorado River.  

In my rush to get here, managed to forget to fill the onboard propane tank at the KOA in Flagstaff, AZ where I dumped tanks.  Careless of me but the tight confines of the dump area at the KOA distracted me I guess.  Still I have about a week of propane remaining so should be good to go till I decide to leave this area.

I drove the URRV to the end of Badger Creek Road where the turn-around loop is located.  There was already a young couple setting up a tent there next to their car when I arrived.  I asked them if it was OK for me to share their camping area which was big enough to serve as a group camp site and they said it was fine.


The campsites are quite near the cliff edge overlooking the Colorado River

Those are the Vermillion Cliffs in the background

The Golden Hour came around soon after I setup camp:




I'm going to explore the area tomorrow, and hopefully pick up some wanted grocery items in the convenience store located a few miles away by the Chevron Gas Station near the Historic Navajo Bridge which spans across the Colorado River as part of US Hwy 89A.

If not there, I might drive the 45 miles to the town of Page but doubtful.  We'll see how the weather is the next few days, colder temperatures and windy conditions are being forecasted which might cause me to displace sooner than this coming Monday.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

New Shoes for Mariko

Sunday, March 21

I went to do the daily fluid checks on Mariko after breakfast and found this:

Dammit.

So I broke out the bottle jack, raised her up and swapped in the spare tire.  Here's what I found in terms of puncture cause:

I ended up pulling out a spine almost as long as the big one
in the picture above, same cluster of spines.

Spare tire in place, yep that's a white wheel...all the others
are black, makes me think the white one was original wheel.

I aired up the punctured tire, sprayed some soapy water where I found spines embedded and there was only one puncture, right on the top of the sidewall!  This would end up preventing a patching of the tire by the tire shop I ended up at later on.

Monday, March 22

I broke camp soon after breakfast and about two hours later I was pulling into the parking lot of my Father-in-Law's snowbird residence in Sun City, AZ.

I had an appointment with the folks at Discount Tire a few miles away, but they were short 1 of the 5 tires we jointly determined I needed.  Thread depth was OK on the tires, but the spare was much more worn down, and apparently had a slow leak too.  That, plus the fact they weren't allowed to patch the sidewall puncture, and the age of the tires (8-9 years old and Discount Tires policy doesn't allow them to work on tires older than 10 years old) made me decide to replace them all.

There goes my stimulus check!  Or as Martha calls them, my Biden Bucks.  Yep, doing my part to stimulate the economy!

Tuesday, March 23

Returned to Discount Tires and all was in readiness.  While they worked to swap the new tires onto the wheels, I walked over to the nearby Walmart to do some shopping.  By the time I got back, they had all the wheels off:


Interestingly they didn't use a vehicle lift to get her off the ground, instead using four large floor jacks.

The only issue encountered by them was when it came time to back Mariko out of the service bay.  The young tech couldn't get her to move.  Since I was standing there, they asked me to drive her out, turns out the tech had forgotten to release the parking brake I believe.  Oh well.

She rode just fine on the way back to my FIL's place.  Here's a pic of the thread pattern on these BF Goodrich KO2 All Terrain Tires.  Size 30x9.5/R15 LT.  All made between weeks 5 and 7 of 2021 so hopefully I'll wear them out before 2031 rolls around!  I of course paid for the Road Hazard warranty coverage as well, just in case of future punctures!

BF Goodrich KO2
Made in the U.S.A.
They even have "Baja Champions" stamped on them.