We went to Grand Junction, Colorado to take our truck to the Ford dealership. There were closer Ford dealerships, but this one seemed like it had a big service department. The drive to Grand Junction, Colorado through northern Arizona and western Utah was beautiful. We drove through Monument Valley, and stopped overnight near Bears Ears National Monument.
When we woke up and tried to leave, the truck wouldn’t start. There was enough battery to turn on the lights, but not enough to turn on the engine. We were all alone with no cell reception, so we couldn’t easily get a jump. It took awhile to find the alligator clip cord attachment for our solar panel, because we thought we would never need it. But, we were able to use our solar panel to charge the car battery!
We stayed at the KOA in Grand Junction. We wanted full hookups since we didn’t know how long the truck repair would take, and we can’t move the trailer without the truck. This campground is nice and well-maintained, and feels like the suburbs. Our campsite has a fence, paver patio, and a patch of grass with sprinklers. I think it’s cute, but Brian thinks it’s weird. He grew up camping at Michigan state parks which are spread out and more wild. This campground also has a playground, mini-golf, and recycling. We have been surprised to find that recycling isn’t as easy as we hoped. Some campgrounds have bins for recyclables, but many don’t. When we boondock we try to find places at parks to recycle, but sometimes we end up carting our recyclables around awhile, or throwing things away.
KOA often has cable at the campsites, and at a couple stops in the past our coaxial cable wasn’t long enough to plug into it. At the Grand Canyon and here, the cable was long enough, but the channels all looked fuzzy, and we discovered why! We needed to turn off the antenna booster, which is a little button behind the TV. It’s kind of embarrassing that we are still learning this stuff after 7 months, but I thought our walk-through when we bought the trailer would teach us more than it did.
We dropped the truck off bright and early on Monday morning. They called later and told us the wiring to the O2 sensor was worn through and some valve needed replaced. So, a different story than the last dealership gave us. It also wasn’t covered under powertrain warranty. We called Ford customer service, and they worked with us on the cost. We got the truck back in just three days. I don’t know if I should believe the last dealership, who told us we needed an extensive repair taking 1-2 weeks, or this dealership, that replaced another valve, and finished in three days. The check engine light is off though, and we hope it will stay that way.
To feel more confident about whether the truck is repaired, we planned to hitch up the trailer and take it out for a test tow. As Brian was hitching, the trailer’s power jack crapped out. We thought our power jack may have an issue, since we’ve blown about 10 fuses in the last 4 months. Our trailer came equipped with a 3000 lb power jack. We did some research, and if you are using a weight distributing hitch (which everyone does with a 27 foot trailer), the power jack should be able to handle at least 3500 lb, since it has to lift both the tongue of the trailer and the back of the truck in order to get weight stabilizing bars attached. If that’s true, I don’t know why Airstream installed a 3000 lb power jack on a 27 foot trailer. So we ordered the biggest power jack we could find on Amazon, with a 5000 lb capacity. Maybe it’s overkill, but we don’t want to have problems. Brian installed it himself, and it’s working well so far.
The KOA is right next to Grand Junction Fairgrounds, which seems to get a lot of use. The first week we were here they were having a horse show, and we heard horse whinnies at night. Later they had a monster truck rally. We didn’t do much exploring in the town of Grand Junction, but we did find their street names interesting. A lot of the street names are letters or numbers, our favorites are D 1/2 and 29 3/4.
We spent a lot of time in the trailer, either relaxing or working on a to do list of things we’ve been putting off while we’ve been sightseeing. The one sight we did see here is Colorado National Monument. We didn’t know anything about it before we visited, but it is a beautiful place! It became a National Monument in 1911, after a man named John Otto basically moved in and started building trails and advocating for it to be National Park.
The Monument is high on a plateau, and there are deep canyons cutting through it. Erosion has created some interesting rock formations, like Independence Monument. There is a scenic drive that follows the rim of the canyons for the 23 miles, right on the edge with no guard rails! Not long after we got on the scenic drive, we saw a female desert bighorn sheep! They were reintroduced into the area in the 1970’s and have been doing well since then.
We were planning to do a hike, but some dark clouds rolled in and it rained a bit. We had a few days of rain in Colorado, which we haven’t seen for a while since we’ve been spending time in the desert.
A few days later we did a nearly 5 mile hike from the lower trailhead of Monument Canyon Trail to Wedding Canyon Trail. The trail was down in Monument Canyon and went around a rock formation referred to as The Island to Independence Monument. It was fun to see the bottom of the canyon after seeing it from the top when we did the scenic drive. There were short trees and bushes, but also some small cactuses. We hiked later in the day, so we saw the sun setting behind the canyon walls.
We were surprised how much we enjoyed Colorado National Monument! On the last day we were in Grand Junction, we had a list of things we were planning to get done, but decided to put them off and do the scenic drive through the monument again instead!
Day 226 | Mile 22,408