Tomorrow we hope to hit the road early. The stay here in El Paso has been a true roller coaster ride but hopefully we are leaving in not too bad a shape. Tomorrow the winds are back down to a manageable 5 - 10 mph as opposed to the 25 - 35 mph with gusts in excess of 40 mph. Let me assure you the meteorologists were correct unless they understated the wind velocity. But now is time to share the roller coaster ride of the last few days.
Thursday morning we were up early and ready for the tech to come get the Bus. At 7:30 he was not here. I went inside to check on our status. Louie our service writer was not around so they said they would send him out. I went back to the Bus. At 7:55 I went back in and found out I had to move the Bus to the other side of the building. Humm, this is different than any other Cummins we have visited. Okay, done, they took the Bus in to a bay. I checked back later and they were tinkering around with the generator. Okay, let them check all the basics. Cummins here is different also in that if you are in the service lounge, they provide lunch for you. Domino's pizza, salad and soft drinks. Nice touch. We visited with some of the truckers that came through at various times. One interesting two hour segment with an Army veteran that had done many tours in war zones. He retired from the Army and is only three years from retiring from his truck driving job. By mid-afternoon we were informed the pump might be going out. It was not getting enough psi on the fuel it was taking from the tank. Okay, what is another $ 950, if it gets it going. Well, guess what?? that did not fix it. By then it is late. At a little after 6:00 they have everything put back together so I can bring the Bus around and park for the night. Once we were set up and cleaned up, we headed out for WalMart and dinner. We tried a Don Carbon restaurant across from WalMart. It was okay but not worthy of a repeat visit. Then to Wally world for a few items and back to the Bus. It was bedtime and an early wakeup was in line for Friday morning.
Friday - 7:00 and the Bus was delivered. Then back to the service lounge. We watched a little golf since it was on all day. They came and asked if we could help them put the jacks up so they could get it up on the lifts to drop the tank. About 20 minutes later I heard Sue coming down the hall crying uncontrollably. They had messed up the jacks. Once I got her to settle down a little I went out the door with the idea of starting a war. I went back and demanded the service writer...amazingly he was out of pocket. I demanded the service manager, the general manager, the regional safety officer and anybody else that wanted a piece of this issue. Then I headed for the Bus. Since I did not have steel-toed sandals, I had to go outside to get to my bay. I was met by the general manager, who had heard Sue crying and headed back to find out the issue. When he found out she had been on her knees crying by the Bus he went into damage control status. Whatever they had messed up they were going to fix. By now we had at least 4 tech's around the Bus trying to figure out the jacks. The GM promised they would get the generator issue fixed, even if it meant installing a new generator, and then the jacks and anything else that was wrong. Good damange control. Sue got the owner of the facility that installed the jacks last June on the phone and he talked with one of the techs. She went in the Bus and emailed the manual on the jacks to the Cummins service writer. By then things were beginning to get on the right road. Sue and I went back to the service lounge. About 30 minutes later I went back and the Bus was up on jacks and the tank dropped. Soon after, the service writer brought a picture of a bent supply line that was causing the problem. There was another issue, the stand pipe that goes into the fuel tank was, "in their opinion", too small. They order another to be built. Back in the service lounge we met some folks that had been at the Cummins in Phoenix. Amazing but they were having the same issue that they had just paid $ 4,200 to have fixed in Phoenix. By now it was lunch time. It had already been a long day. After lunch I went to get something out of the truck and the wind had started. It almost blew me over. I was glad we were staying in one place and not trying to drive. Off and on all afternoon I made trips back to check on how the progress was going. There was some discussion that we might need to get a hotel room over the weekend. We worked on finding a pet-friendly hotel and found one about 8 miles straight down I-10. By about 6:00 it was determined they would finish before they went home.
We got the Bus around 7:30. The generator had been running for about 3 hours and had not missed a beat. We set up the Bus, turned off the generator and hooked up to power. Sue turned on the Aqua Hot to start heating the water. It spit out a little smoke and shut down. I had Sue check inside and it had shut down on the switch panel. Uh-oh. I ran around and found the tech just as he was leaving. He came around and we repeated the process. He stayed until 9:15 and we made no progress. It seemed the Aqua Hot was not getting fuel. Sue texted Lloyd, our Aqua Hot service person, and he agreed that it probably was not getting fuel. The tech left and said he would be back Saturday by mid morning. Another late dinner. Too late to go out so we had frozen dinners we keep for emergencies. Then to bed.
Friday - Up and in the office when Cummins opened at 8:00. You could tell I shook them. Then after about 30 minutes they offered to put us up in a hotel at their expense and be first on the list on Monday. I asked if there was not some other solution. It would require some managers approving some things outside the normal business operations, but approval was received and we got the Bus over to the shop in about 30 minutes. Then the Bus was back up on the lifts and they got a skinny tech up there to chase down the fuel lines. None were crossed and non were pinched. Then the exploration started as to what had happened. Sue provided the Aqua Hot manuals for Cummins' use and got our AquaHot tech and friend on the phone. This was the first of several calls but after about two hours it was apparent that Cummins would not be able to repair. They were able to get fuel through the line, so they didn't think it was a fuel issue. Lloyd assured us that as long as it was getting fuel, he can fix whatever is wrong as soon as we get back to Arkansas. So we got the Bus back to its parking place.
As we left we tried to settle up, but Cummins in Elkhart had covered the tab. They thought they had fixed the problem and accepted the responsibility of the non-repair. They had suggested we bring the Bus back to them and they would help with the fuel costs but we need to get back to Arkansas and be able to help Beth. This detour has not helped our plans on that in the least. We got the Bus set up and for a the next two days. By early afternoon the wind was howling...and I mean howling. We finally determined it was too strong and brought our satellite dish down for fear of the wind tearing it off.
It was then time to go out and get something to eat. We went back toward El Paso and found one of our favorite places...Rudy's...great meats and barbecue sauce...not to mention creamed corn and banana pudding. Oh, before I forget it...they have sweet tea. Lots of it. Full, we came back to the Bus in the 25+ mph winds. Some gusts were so strong the Bus shook. In fact about 10 - 15 times an hour we would look at each other and wonder if the wind could get stronger. By bedtime we brought the big slide in to help combat the wind. The wind could definitely drive you bonkers in a few days if it blew like this all time. The temperatures fell also. The low was down to 42 degrees. Great way to be with no heat. We used a couple of electric heaters to get through the night.
Sunday, it was a real slow day. Ziva is getting to feel like she is cramped in the Bus, so we go for long walks around the property. We started on the NCAA tournament around 11:00 a.m. and stayed with it through Duke's loss in the last game. We did a lot of maintenance to prep for tomorrow's long drive. Then...we were off to Popeye's for a quick dinner and another stop to WalMart. Then back to the Bus and finish with our check list. All is now said and done and we are planning on getting to bed early to match our anticipated early departure. By the way, we ran the generator today for over five hours with NO issues. Keep your fingers crossed. So, off to shower and sleep so we can finally leave El Paso.