Wednesday, June 30, 2021

A Tough Day.....

Moody Beach, Wells, Maine.   High: 97.   Low: 72.  Site #23

RVing is not always a ton of fun....There WILL be rough days and here comes one of them for us...

We left Timothy Lakes South Campground on Monday...very early in the morning at 8:00 for a 338 mile drive, very doable. That would get us into Maine at a decent hour, traveling 62 mph average. Right? WRONG!

We got on I-84 heading east and started the climb through the mountains in New York....There was a steep incline that lasted FOREVER....It wasn't like hills where you go up and down, or can see the downhill slope in sight. At that point, all of a sudden, we heard a POP!  What was THAT??? Did we blow a tire? We pull off the road at a pull out for truckers, and check. All tires are ok. We get back on the road again. Only about 45 minutes into the drive, next a DING  sounded. 

"What's that?" Sparky asks. "Not sure just yet," E. replies. He looks down at the gauges. Uh-oh! A red engine light--engine temperature dangerously high. A single chimed ding announced that news. A few seconds later, a constant DING DING DING DING is sounding. Constant chimes means engine DANGEROUSLY overheating. We immediately pull off the road into a rest area. We check the owner's manual. It says to idle the engine in neutral and if the temperature doesn't come down, then shut the engine off and call for service. The engine temp didn't come down. We call the dealership. They say to wait TWO HOURS for the engine to cool completely down and try again. We wait for two hours. At a VERY  nice pull out for truckers, cars and RVs who are also overheating and need to pull over and wait. Eldo had his rocker, Sparky had her chair, we had shade. Temps were 95 degrees.

We start the truck back up. Engine temp is in normal range. One hour later, DING! The first warning that the engine is about to overheat again. We are still climbing the mountains in Massachusetts, almost to Connecticut. DING DING DING DING--we pull over again for a second time. This time we wait an hour. Engine cools down, we start off again. Internet/dealership advice say turn on the floor heaters to HIGH to pull heat away from the engine block. We open the windows, we put the heater on high and we fry our legs for another hour and sweated buckets. What do we do? Do we get a motel and try to get the truck into a dealership or do we keep going? Decisions, decisions. Towing the rig AND the truck is how it would have to be done.  SUPER expensive and a lot of tow companies don't have the big equipment or correct knowledge to correctly tow RVs. We'd probably have to be towed like a semi. Then who knows how long we could be waiting for an appointment at a dealership to have the system looked at. And where are we going to park the rig, our home?

Picture this....the windows are down, the floor heater is blasting. Eldy is hard of hearing. Our legs are burning. We are getting dehydrated. We are driving thru the city of Hartford, CT on interstate with semis rushing by on both sides. I'm trying to give Eldo directions. I have to yell at the top of my lungs for him to hear me with all the road noise and his hearing loss. "OK--TURN COMING UP! STAY IN THE LEFT LANE". "WHAT????? YOU WANT ME TO TURN RIGHT?" "NO!!! TURN LEFT!!!!"  "NOW??"  "YES, NOW!!!!!"  "WHAT'S THE ENGINE TEMP?"  "WHAT????" "WHAT'S THE ENGINE TEMP????"

We encounter several traffic slowdowns almost to a complete stop. The engine heat climbs to dangerous levels. Eldo toggles back and forth between levels screen and speed information. He tries not to watch constantly while we are just about stopped. 238 degrees, 242 degrees, (the chime goes off around 242 degrees.) We are envisioning a complete breakdown right on the interstate with nowhere to pull off. The temperature holds at 243 degrees without the constant chimes going off. We decide to limp on...the mountains are evening out. The uphills and downhills are shorter.  It's 97 degrees out. We are fried. We end up pulling into two more rest stops to let the truck and the tires cool down, plus a fuel stop. We get to Maine about 7:30 PM just in time to find a site at our campground and get settled. It was getting dark. What's weird is, the truck acted normal once we got to the campground, it didn't overheat while idling. It was still 95 degrees out as well. (But we are still going to get it checked out this week at the dealership).

The site was a back in. There were only 3 available for a rig of our length, and we had to pick which was the best one. A VERY nice park ranger asks the two of us, after we checked in, (after assessing two very beet red faced, sweaty campers, obviously exhausted), "Which one of you should do the picking of the site?" Eldo points at Sparky, Sparky points at Eldo. Haha. He took Sparky on his golf cart and she went and picked out the site which looked WIDE and easy to get into. HA! It wasn't. We had to have help with the tight site, which under normal circumstances, we would have been able to back in and out of to get ourselves into the right position, but because we were so tired and worn out, we had trouble with stumps and trees. Several people came out of the woodwork (ouch, sorry about that pun!) to see what was going to happen when they saw our big rig headed down one of the narrow lanes. But Eldo did it! He got us backed in. We will worry about pulling out three weeks from now. 

We each drank 3 bottles of water EACH once we got settled in and hooked up. What a day! But we love the campground, love the area, and we are really glad we have a nice place to be for over July 4th weekend. We will be here till July 18th, Sparky's birthday, then we move to another campground closer to Acadia National Park for two weeks, then back to Wells, Maine for another three. Moody Beach is full of seasonal and annuals, there are not a lot of choices right now with July 4th weekend looming.

There are some nice pull out sites that are out in the open and right now, we are glad we are not in one of them with temps as high as they are. Moody Beach has added some new sites recently in the past year for bigger rigs with 50 amp needs. There are some pull throughs in the shady, forested section of the park, but the pull throughs are short. We would not be able to navigate around the lane corners and get our entire rig and the truck thru the pull through part. There are tree stumps and fencing to worry about at many of the sites in the forested part of the park. 

Being almost 42 feet, we really have to be careful with branches, trees and stumps at Moody Beach campground.. The campground is within walking distance (a few miles if you are hardy) to the ocean. Nice! More about the park and the town in the next post. We will say traffic is crazy...people have told us sometimes you wait in line to get out of the park for almost an hour! Yikes! And New England streets are notoriously narrow. Our big dually truck makes it a challenge to park at local places. We will be using our bikes more, that's for sure! Until next time....

Sparky and Eldo.....(Jeannie Sparks and Eldon "Eldy" Tompkins)


  1. You are really determined travelers! Be safe!

  2. I'm so glad you were able to limp into the campground with no 'major' issues. So many times we were in your shoes, very stressful!

  3. Oh my goodness what a story. You guys are really troopers. Thank goodness you're together I can't imagine that happening to me and my being by myself. Really glad that several times there was somewhere to pull over. I must have been driving those same highways in New York and then in Vermont around the same time you were. Hope you get the truck fixed. There's obviously something wrong and you sure don't want to go out to the Rockies until you get it taken care of. Whew this post made me nervous.

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    2. P.S. What route were you driving? All 84?? Or 95?? I was on i-87, i-84, i-90, and i-91. Had those same hills and worried about Winnona towing Ruby which she did wonderfully but the braking going downhill worried me more. How not to burn out my brakes and avoid being over the speed limit.