Utah Ramblings – Part II

Pepper at Dutchman Arch

Blowout on the way to Moab, Utah

From Bluff, we headed on up the road to Moab, Utah, for a one week stay at the Moab KOA. The trip went well and we were enjoying this very scenic route until just past Monticello when we had another blowout on a trailer tire. We were heading down a very long downgrade on US-191 when the blowout happened. There was no warning on the tire pressure monitor before the tire failed. I heard a muffled bang, and saw chunks of tire flying away in my side mirror as the TPMS alarm started sounding. I turned my emergency flashers on and slowed down until I could find a safe turnout – nearly one half mile further down the road. By then, the trailer tire was thoroughly shredded.

I pulled onto the narrow turnout and deployed emergency triangles behind the trailer and proceeded to change the trailer tire using the trailer hydraulic jacks. Fortunately, the blowout was on the passenger side of the trailer and I had room to work, Had it been on the drivers side, there would not have been room to safely work along this oh-so-busy two lane highway with downhill traffic blasting past us. Kim & I got the tire changed, retrieved the emergency triangles and got back on the road as quickly as possible, pulling off at a large parking area a few miles down the road to more closely inspect the trailer for damage and recheck the torque on the trailer tire. To our relief, there was no visible damage, other than several small dents and marks on the siding near the wheel well, a slightly bent support bracket under the slide-out and a bit of torn insulation, also under the slide-out. We proceeded on to Moab and checked into the KOA with no further incidents.

Itinerary Overview 2017 - Utah

Itinerary Overview 2017 – Utah

New Tires and Another Issue in Moab

We had one other issue as we were setting up at the Moab KOA campground – our bedroom slide-out was being very balky as we attempted to deploy it. This slide-out uses a chain drive mechanism and the gear box cogs seemed to be stripping out. For some months we had experienced uneven movement on the slide-out both on extension and retraction – the slide room would move smoothly and then seem to catch or jerk before moving further. We attributed that to a bad roller or something else catching, but had not tracked the issue down. In retrospect, this was an issue with a cog in the gear box. Now, we could retract the slide, but had much difficulty extending the room. Great! One more thing to fix.

As soon as we had set up camp, I began to call around for tires and for an RV repair shop or mobile RV tech. I was able to line up a new set of tires for the trailer fairly quickly, but had much more difficulty finding an RV repair shop. Over the next few days I called around to several mobile RV techs and RV shops – the nearest shops were in Grand Junction, Colorado, and they were booked up for weeks. The few mobile RV techs I contacted were also booked up for a long time out.

The tire shop we contacted was able to get a new set of tires in within a few days and workers came out to our campsite to swap out the tires – very convenient. (Thank you, OTR Tires!) The tires on our trailer were less than two years old and we were dismayed we had another blowout so soon. We opted for a new set of trailer tires and are researching the possibility of switching to a light truck tire (top candidate is the Goodyear Unisteel G614 RST 235/85/R16).

Sight-seeing Around Moab

Once we had ordered tires for the trailer we were able to relax and enjoy the Moab area. Highlights of our stay included day-trips to Arches National Park, Dead Horse State Park, the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park, and a drive along the Colorado River to Castle Rock. Lovely scenic country! We enjoyed several meals and brews at the Moab Brewery. We spent less time in Arches National Park than we planned as the road through the park was under construction, resulting in closures of the Devil’s Garden loop and campground, as well as closures every night except for the Saturday and Sunday nights.

Night Photography Around Moab

While in Moab, I did several night photography sessions. I had planned to photograph several landmarks in Arches National Park, but was disappointed to learn that the park was closed every night for road repairs, except for Saturday and Sunday nights. Several of the my subjects were further out of reach in the closed Devil’s Garden loop. Saturday night I headed into the park and photographed at the North and South Windows, as well as at Double Arch. Night photography has become so popular that there were many other photographers in the park – all concentrated on the two nights available in the week – I ran into at least four other groups shooting in the same area. Seemed like we were practically stepping on each other. 

The next evening I went out to a less crowded site – Marlboro Point. The last ten miles of road to the point is a rough deeply rutted two-track dirt road with sandy patches – the road becomes rocky the last mile and has slick-rock steps the last half mile or so. The site is spectacular, but unfortunately conditions that night were poor with much haze and bright moonlight. Here are a few photos from the outings.

Striking Out on RV Repairs

As the days slipped by in Moab, I was having no luck rounding up an RV repair tech or RV shop appointment to repair our slide-out. Looking over the slide-out mechanism and doing a little research, I decided I could replace the gear box myself. Talking with an RV shop in Grand Junction I learned they had the required gear box in stock – (these units fail all the time – real P.I.T.B.!). We drove to Grand Junction and picked up the part (~226 mile round trip) and did some other shopping. Since we were moving on to Green River the next day, I decided to wait until there to install the part, as long as we could retract the slide-out (we were still able to retract it).

On to Green River, Utah

From Moab, we moved just a short distance, about 60 miles, to Green River, Utah, for a week-long stay at the Green River KOA. We setup camp, except for extending the bedroom slide-out. We couldn’t have extended the slide, even if we wanted to, as the gearbox seemed to have completely stripped out for extending the room. I got out the tools and managed to swap out the old gear box and install the new. The tricky part was getting enough slack in the slide-out cables to loosen and remove the chain drive, then to reverse the process. Within an hour or two, the job was done and the slide-out worked great. Whew!

Highlights of our stay in Green River include day-trips to some favorite sites in the San Rafael Swell – Goblin Valley State Park, Swasey Cabin and the Broken Cross, Head of Sinbad and Lone Warrior rock art panels, and Dutchman Arch. Other days we stayed close due to high winds and blowing dust in the area.

Night Photography Around Green River

I went out several nights for photography at sites around the San Rafael Swell, including the Rochester and Juggler rock art panels, and the Swasey Cabin and Broken Cross formation.

While photographing in the late afternoon at the Rochester Panel I had an unpleasant experience with two large groups of people trooping down to the panel and behaving very poorly around the rock art. Many in the groups seemed to want to touch and trace the rock art with their fingers. One of the groups had many kids – all of whom were touching the rock art and climbing over the rocks, some with rock art – several called “Mommy, I made my own picture on the rock!”, “Me, too!”, from somewhere back in the rock piles. Although the parents were admonishing the kids to leave no traces, they were not policing their kids. One kid picked up a rock and started scraping across a figure on the Rochester Panel – fortunately he was immediately ratted out by a sibling and called away by a parent. Group photos & all the kids are leaning and sliding against the panel. (Arrrgggh! What does one say? Do you make a big scene of it?) The parents seemed to know very well what the rock art etiquette was, but didn’t care enough to enforce it. Infuriating. 

Anyway, here are a few photos from the sessions – amazing places to visit.

We enjoyed our stays at both Moab and Green River, despite the few set backs. We were also reminded about why we prefer to visit the area in the fall or winter, as temperatures were already quite hot in early June.

That’s all for now. Safe travels and enjoy the journey!

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8 thoughts on “Utah Ramblings – Part II

  1. Hi Jerry and Kim,
    Again stunning photography, special the black&white from Marlboro Point. It’s if we look at a far away planet…
    But it is Utah… Many thanks for your update and we wish you both a very good trip! All the best, Ton & Herma

    PS By the way, I have an exhibition in NY City in September

    • Thanks, Ton! Great to hear from you. Miss you & the rest of the Ferrara group. Say “Hi!” to Herma for us. Good luck with the NY exhibition – how exciting! I would like to hear more about the exhibit.

  2. Jerry:
    Hey, hope all is well with you guys. We have been following you trip since last year. It looks like you have the same exact same Montana unit -model 3725 RL / 2014. We were ahead of your west coast trip last year and it looked like you followed along the same places most of the time. Beautiful country!!
    We had a blow out also as well as a flat tire before that. Our blow out took out the lower fender in the no -door side. Fortunately we were still in the Dallas area when that happened. Turned out the original tires were about 3 yrs old so we replaced them all. BUT, after talking with several people, we decided to change out the 10ply tires and put 14 ply Barkley ties on. No problems since then. If you have not purchased tires yet, I would suggest checking them out.
    Our current proble is the Roof! The rubber roof has detached itself from the glue and we have large wrinkles in the flat areas of the roof, and it is billowing up driving down the road!! UGH!!
    Iwe are currently in MD /PA and contacted Keystone who is declining to help (so they are not going to stand behind a product failere /Mfg defect!!! Based on advise from a large repair shop and Keystone dealer here in PA, we have decided we have to have it fixed, which means anew roof!!
    I AMnot happy with Keystone over this at all.
    So, watch your roof!!!
    Keith Watson

    • Hi Keith, Good to hear from you! Glad to hear you are enjoying our blog. We really like our 3725 RL, too. RE: tires – seems like a very common problem with trailers – we already bought a new set of trailer tires, but are looking into converting to light truck tires – it’s a big step & a lot of unknowns for us. Thanks for the heads-up on the roof issues – so far, no problems for us. Sorry to hear you are having issues with the roof and hassles with Keystone. Hope the issues are resolved soon & you are back on the road with a spiffy new roof! Maybe our paths will cross somewhere down the road. Safe travels, Jerry

  3. Jerry: I’m enjoying your pictures of the signs that describe the locations you’re visiting. A lot of good information there.


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