October 8, 2010
We changed our route so that we could meet up with Cheryl and Bill Fitch in Santa Fe, NM where they are camped for a few days. Instead of going to Arizona’s White Mountains, we decided to go east along Interstate 40 to Gallup, New Mexico. Along the way, we planned to spend a part of the day going through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest National Park. Unfortunately, we had a suspension problem which Bob can explain far better than I but the gist of it was that all of a sudden, we lost the hydraulic pressure on the right rear of the coach which caused it to “list” to say the least. In addition, since we were already in the Petrified Forest, there was little phone service so Bob’s calls to HWH, the manufacturer of the system kept getting dropped. And, it was a Friday afternoon. However, the folks at HWH are incredible. We managed to pull along the side of the road and the mechanical engineer and other system specialists spent several hours with us on the phone going over the system readings with Bob. Bob then had to crawl underneath and found, when he did so, that an arm had come off one of the rods or some such thing. He was able to put it back on but then, had to adjust the system to the specifications. The guys from HWH kept calling back every fifteen minutes or so until the problem was at least sort of fixed. Needless to say, while I got to take a walk through the petrified forest, Bob did not. By the time the problem was fixed enough to permit us to continue to travel, we only had enough time to stop briefly at the Painted Desert visitors area and then headed east to Gallup, NM where we stayed at a Wal-Mart overnight.
All of the problems aside, the Petrified Forest section was really interesting. It looked as though someone had come by with a chain saw and cut symmetrical sections of large logs. The logs are hard as rocks and have lovely colors and swirling patterns in the grain of the logs. The Painted Desert is a smaller version of the Badlands in South Dakota. The cliffs are pink and gray and the desert is inhospitable.
Gallup is a town comprised of many Hispanics and American Indians. The town itself is not a pretty place but the folks at the Walmart were very nice.