|Tue, 14 May: A short day distance wise but somewhat nerve wracking due to the traffic. We departed the MCD Innovations facility in McKinney a few minutes after nine. A quick (1.5) mile drive to a nearby QT Service Station where we topped off our diesel tank at "only" $3.499/gallon. Guess this is the "new normal" where $3.499/gallon for fuel is something to celebrate?
After filling Carpe's tank we connected Carpe Dinkum and jumped on US 75 southbound. We encountered some late commute traffic, but it was nothing too serious, just nettlesome. To avoid driving thru downtown Dallas we opted to take I 635, which is a loop road running east and west of downtown. We took the east loop, which added about nine miles to our trip. A wonderful investment as the traffic was quite lite on the loop and we had no further traffic issues.
We arrived at the ATC Freightliner service facility off I 20 about 1045. We got checked in and they should be able to take us in tomorrow (Wed). We are hooked up to 50 amp electricity, which is nice since the today's high is forecast to be in the nineties.
This is a very nice and modern facility. They have a lounge dedicated to RVers as well as a Driver's Lounge with theater entertainment and laundry facilities. We may take advantage of the laundry tomorrow while Carpe is in the shop.
If all goes well they'll perform the cooling fan clutch diagnostics tomorrow and, hopefully, correct any problems. Should they finish early enough we'll try to get north of the Dallas metro tomorrow, otherwise we'll head out Thursday. Fingers crossed...
According to our GPS we are a bit more than 700 miles from Des Moines. We'd like to get there by the weekend so we can visit with Bob's niece. Bob's brother is not doing very well so time is also of the essence.
Wed, 15 May: We had a very nice nite. Despite our location in the middle of a 24/7 heavy truck repair facility it was fairly quiet and we both slept well. We were up early because we didn't know exactly how early they'd come for the coach. We finished breakfast and sat around waiting.
They came to take Carpe away mid morning and immediately connected the diagnostics computers. Following the diagnostics and performing Service Solution 3737 they determined that our fan clutch was bad and we needed an updated engine control module. Of course, neither were in stock but a fan clutch was available in Memphis and would arrive in the morning.
Following discussion we elected to stay and have the fan clutch replaced. The module was in backorder so that would have to wait. Jason Scott, the service tech, promised they'd get on it as soon as the part arrived tomorrow.
They brought Carpe back out mid afternoon and we settled in for a quiet evening—or so we thought.
Event #1: Bob received a phone call from our sister in law Carolyn advising us that his brother, Allan, passed away at 2150 CDT. His last few days were not at all comfortable so we take solace in knowing he is at peace.
Event #2: Just as we were discussing our options for getting to Iowa ASAP there was a very loud lightning strike and the power went out. The only way we knew it went out was because the television stopped. We were watching television because north Texas was under a tornado watch and several twisters had been spotted outside Dallas. Well, just about then the sirens started blowing so we threw our "go bags" into the car and drove from the RV parking area to the 24 hour truck area and spent the next ½ hour in the mechanic's lounge/tornado shelter making new friends.
We finally got back to the coach around eleven that evening and tried to sleep despite the continued thunderstorms and weather radio alerts. More than six people died in those tornadoes and scores more lost their homes. In comparison our visit to the mechanic's lounge was a very minor inconvenience (actually, we enjoyed meeting new folks).