Needing an automotive miracle on the way out of Gallup

Monday, September 12

There’s something I failed to mention in the previous post.  Well, not exactly “failed.”  I didn’t want to cause concern so I left it out.

I’m talking about the Perfect Tow Vehicle.

When the crew and I roll into Red Rock Park, Gallup, New Mexico, on Sunday, after a long, hot drive across Navajo Nation, we don’t roll so much as clatter and rattle our way into the park.   The PTV is making an awful racket, the kind where people stop what they’re doing to watch and listen as you drive by.  That kind of racket.

As you know, Bridget, Reggie, and I spend a pleasant evening at Red Rock.  The next morning I check the oil and transmission fluids.  I add a half-quart of oil and we hit the road with me not knowing how I’m going to deal with the engine situation.

Rather than board the interstate, I take Route 118 around the south side of Gallup.

(I think it’s Route 118, not sure.  It follows alongside the interstate for a while.)

There’s that noise again and it’s getting louder.  I’d better get us off the road and figure out what to do.  Oh, there’s a Family Dollar.  I can park there . . . .

We approach the red light and I move into the right turn lane to go onto the cross street to Family Dollar.  As I do this, the engine protests even louder, alarmingly so, as if pots and pans and hammers are being thrown around under the hood.

That’s when a most surprising and miraculous thing happens.

Think about this.  Here I am in a strange city.  I don’t know where anything is.  I don’t want to fight my way through rush hour traffic looking for an auto repair place and I don’t want to spend another night in Gallup.

The PTV sounds like it’s going to explode or jettison itself into outer space — something not good, at any rate — and what appears out of nowhere?

I still shake my head in amazement as I tell this story. 

Shortly beyond the Family Dollar, on the other side of the road, sits a Chevy dealership with a service department. . . just what we need!

I maneuver the PTV, which happens to be a CHEVROLET van, past the showroom and brand new cars to the service bays in back.

As I reach for the ignition key, the cacaphony under the hood stops.

What?  Did the engine quit?  The window is up so I’m not sure.

I turn off the engine and walk into the service department.

I explain the situation.  The service guy glances at the PTV and says, “We’re gonna’ hafta’ unhook the trailer to look at it.”

“Could you come out and listen to it first?”

He follows me out where I lift the hood.   I turn on the engine and the PTV purrs like a kitten with a belly full of warm milk.

“It must be a miracle!” Service Guy exclaims jokingly.

“Yes, it must be! I believe in miracles more than I do good luck!”

Service Guy checks the fluids and adds some power steering fluid, no charge.  I thank him and ask, “What’s the name of this place anyway?”

“Amigo Chevrolet,” he replies with a smile.

I laugh, giddy with the turn of events.

“Amigo!  Perfect!  Thanks again!”

I hop into the Perfect Tow Vehicle and the crew and I head southward across Zuni Reservation.


You know what would be really weird?

If I drove back to Gallup to that intersection by the Family Dollar, and, looking across the road, all I see is an empty field.  No Chevy dealership.

What a great ending to this story that would be!

~ ~ ~

Okay, on to our next camp!


Under a rapidly changing sky and a few minutes of rain, the Perfect Tow Vehicle makes nary a whimper as she carries us south on Route  602 and then west on Route 53.

At Zuni Pueblo I stop, buy an orange juice, and fill up the PTV with gas.  Signs are set up across town, “No photography of religious and cultural activities.”  To be on the safe side, I take no photos at all.

We cross the border into Arizona! 

Route 53 becomes Route 61.  Soon we’re going southward again, on Route 191.  The PTV doesn’t let us down!


A few miles past St. Johns . . . .

“Okay, crew, we’re almost home!  Let’s see what this place is like.”


“You can get out in just a minute.”

P1140054“There’s the lake!”


“We’ll stay for one night and then our drive tomorrow will be really short.”


Rather than join the few campers in the main campground, I choose a camp on the beach, all by ourselves.

In the next post . . .

Photos of our Lyman Lake camp and where we go next!



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128 Responses to Needing an automotive miracle on the way out of Gallup

  1. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    In the top 5? On to reading!

  2. Velda says:

    Morning Sue, it’s one concern I have about traveling alone, having vehicle trouble I don’t have a clue about.

  3. Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

    Now You are in great country.

    • Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

      Lived 3 Miles from 61 and 191 for a while.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Really? That’s big, open country!

        A guy at Lyman Lake State Park told me you can buy 40 acres for around $10,000. He and his wife are looking for land to set up a summer alternative to their house in Casa Grande where it’s 115 degrees (and above) in the summertime.

        • Dave Stewart (in missouri for now) says:

          Not much cooler in summer, I have seen it in mid 90’s there. much cooler around Showlow.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            That’s what I was thinking. I’m not sure what their intent was for looking at property around there. Of course, you ain’t gettin’ 40 acres for 10 grand around Show Low… Maybe they want to be closer to mountains..

    • rvsueandcrew says:


  4. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    OMGosh just like that??? It went away? I hate weird noises… I have really intense hearing and can hone in on transmission issues fast!

    I HOPE it stays a HAPPY PTV.

    Hugs from Hoquiam,

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Yep, it disappeared. Just like that. No more sound the next day either (which was yesterday.)

      I hope you’re having a good day!

      • Barb from Hoquiam! says:

        How cool! I don’t think I have EVER been first! Always been a ‘middle of the road’ sorta gal!

        Glad it left… No wanty back!! 😛

        Hugs from Hoquiam!

  5. Dan in Michigan says:

    Hi Sue!

  6. denimlady in DSM says:

    Serendipity to the max! Glad everything worked out okay!

    • rvsueandcrew says:


      Gee, guys and gals pairing up today… 🙂

  7. Lee J in northern California says:

    Goodness! What a story. I am sure some mechanically inclined person will have an explanation. Wow, I was so relieved to read you made it to your camp successfully.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lee J.,

      It was quite an “adventure.” You can bet I was one grateful camper all the way across Zuni Nation and beyond!

      I have to leave comments for a while. The sun is shining on a brisk day and the crew is begging for a walk…

      See y’all later…. Carry on without me!

  8. Dee Dee in Florida says:

    Hope the PTV continues to perform well for you. I’m travelling vicariously on the net these last few weeks. I’ve been housebound due to Total Knee Replacement surgery. Physical Therapy is a bear. Hoping to get out in the Scamp in late October for a short trip. It will be prime camping time for Fall in Florida.

  9. Pookie in Todd Mission, tx says:

    ah……….a new post……….
    was wondering when you were gonna move cause
    we miss ya young lady!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      We’ve been moving a lot lately, part of the reason for the lag in posts and my comments. We’re settled now in a camp where I hope to stay for a while. Not Lyman Lake, the next one….

      • Pookie in Todd Mission, tx says:

        well just looked up Lyman Lake on the map and you sure have been moving around a lot to be that far south into Arizona……no wonder the ole PTV has been moaning and
        groaning lately…..HA…
        As much time as you spend in Arizona Im surprised you havent made it your home
        state by now……I love Arizona all most as much as Colorado….I can live in snow but
        them summers in Arizona are murder…..
        give the furbabies a hug for me….

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Yes, Arizona is a great place to call home, as many do.

          Of course, I’m not making it my home now because I don’t want to pay state taxes on my Amazon income. And then there is that summer heat….

          I have been giving the PTV a work-out lately. As if the Rocky Mountains aren’t enough challenge, I race her across miles and miles of desert. 🙂

          Hugs to your babies, too…

  10. Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

    oooo – I may have made the top ten. Now back to read.

    • Renee Galligher - Idaho says:

      Oh my goodness, my nerves would be frazzled, then to experience a miracle and in a town named Amigo! They certainly were! I hope that racket doesn’t return and it was bad fuel with no other side effects.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        The town isn’t Amigo…. The name of the dealership is Amigo. Sorry, that wasn’t clear. (I edited the post.)

  11. Dawn in MI says:

    Well…I hate that…when the noise isn’t there when the mechanic listens. Or the sore throat is gone by the time you see the doctor. Or the weird thing your dog does isn’t repeated at the vet. Sigh. I hope it’s gone for good (the engine noise)!

    40 acres for $10,000? Gotta go look up where this is!

  12. Sue, I’m a retired Ford warranty mechanic and a retired FedEx truck mechanic and have never heard of such a NOISE and then silence and no evidence of what caused the noise. I’m wondering if there was something caught in between the fan belt and the radiator that was banging and clanging around .. you might want to double check the radiator coolant level every time you drive for the next day or so to make sure there aren’t any leaks in the radiator or a hose that was torn even partly loose. The other moving part would be the drive shaft/axle and maybe something was caught up under the vehicle .. you might want to have someone check for damage to a u-joint. Or even something around the front axle and tires. You’re sure it was coming from the front of the van? Or, yeah (smile), just drive back to that Chevy dealer and see if it really existed, what a great thought! 🙂
    Onward! Safe travels.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Ann, for the suggestions. I had the same idea as you regarding something being caught in the engine/belt area, maybe the work of rodents. I do need to have a mechanic check things over when I’m in a place where there’s a good shop. The sound was definitely in the engine area, not very localized, but if I had to say left or right (when facing the engine from the front), I’d say more on the right side (drivers side). It didn’t change with the application of brakes. Power was not depleted. Very strange!

      • Geri says:

        My thought is something that happened to me…. I started the car while a cat (I didn’t know it was there) was hiding under the hood. I drove for several miles with pots and pans and hammers doing the jig under my hood. As soon as I could safely pullover, open the hood, I saw what remained of the stray cat! But since you saw no critter remains…. I am stumped!

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Horrors upon horrors! I hope I didn’t skin a cat!

          BTW, Geri, if you don’t mind talking about it… How’s Doogie Bowser doing?

          • Geri says:

            DoogieBowser is still coughing. Our vet has concocted a cough syrup the has helped more than the pills ever did! It relaxes him and he gets to sleep better, which means the rest of us sleep better as well!
            Thank you for asking!

  13. Annie in Oregon says:

    My husband is concerned about those crazy noises. He says it could be the catalytic converter which is part of your exhaust system. He states the catalytic converter is filled with ceramic pieces which can break apart and sound like pots and pans and the sound can come and go. If it’s that you need a muffler shop. The motor will still run if that’s the case but will lose some power because the exhaust flow is being reduced by the ceramic pieces. Might want to check out if continues. Or Google it.
    We wish you safe travels. Love your posts.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Annie,

      Thank you husband for me. I appreciate the information. What you describe does match up with the noise I heard, although it was close to the front of the van. I’ll research it….

  14. Diane J says:

    Hey Sue, I believe in miracles too!…..BUT this could have been a friendly warning that there is a problem and once you reach a nice spot closer to a big city you should get a thorough inspection of the PTV. Hugs to the crew!- Take care.

  15. Donna and Girls says:

    Ah, I know just where you are! I drove up to St. Johns this summer when I was staying at Hon Dah. There are miles and miles of miles and miles up there, they can keep it. You’re heading toward Springerville and Pinetop, lots of nice camping spots around there, cool too. The girls and I started and ended our summer trip up there, left early because of rain and came home.
    Nobody wants engine trouble, even worse when it comes and goes, especially when there is a long lonely stretch of road ahead.
    The Twilight Zone Chevy dealership, did the service tech have a third eye in the middle of his forehead?
    Serendipity is a wonderful thing, it’ll be fixed when it needs to be.
    Take care and enjoy the high country.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Donna… We are enjoying this area. I’m limiting our boondocking these days because I’m not familiar with hunting district boundaries, hunting season dates, etc. Even when it’s not hunting season, but near to opening day, hunters are out practicing with their guns… So we’re staying in campgrounds.

  16. Welcome home Sue and Crew. We’ve enjoyed your summertime sourjourn in Colorado but so glad to have you back in Arizona. Love your posts and photography. Somehow a few of the photos did not open on my cheesy tablet. Will check later on laptop. Don’t want to miss anything;)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Marilyn,

      Sometimes photos are slow to open on my laptop, usually when the connection is poor or it’s running on a low battery. I hope you see the photos later…

      It was fun seeing Colorado, wasn’t it! And it is good to return to Arizona. Thanks for the welcome! We’re traveling through a part of the state I hadn’t seen before….

  17. Retiredcajunlady 'n Louisiana says:

    Yikes!! So glad the PTV is running well. As with most things, I know zilch about what is under the hood of my car…well, any motor for that matter…so I have no wise words of wisdom to offer. But I am so glad adding some fluid helped. Me thinks you were channeling Rod Serling with your visit to the Chevy Dealership! Seriously, I too believe in miracles. Perhaps your miracle was simply being where you needed to be when you needed to be there. It happened to me just about an hour or so ago.

    A friend dropped by earlier today to pick up a package. She had a lady with her who suffers with eczema but who couldn’t afford to buy what she needed. The lady is out of work and has mental issues. I had an unopened package of cortisone cream and an unopened bottle of Sarna I offered her. She opened a piece of paper that the doctor at the clinic had given her (along with samples that she has used up). He has written for her to try to get cortisone cream and names some lotions for her to try. Sarna was one of them. It wasn’t the Red Sea parting, but this lady happened to be where she needed to be today. Miracle? No, but on the tiniest of scales our meeting had to be arranged by some force bigger than ourselves. And I believe your meeting at the dealership was the same. You were blessed.

    I can’t wait to see your pictures of the site by the lake. I do love water. I love to be on it or just near it. Take care. Hugs and belly rubs for pups and prayers for all.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, retiredcajunlady,

      What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it here.

      Someone loves and cares about the woman in need. You are an agent for miracles…. 🙂

  18. Alice (So. Fla) says:

    Glad you’re ok. That had to be a scary ordeal. After I had my car serviced one time there was a weird noise. The mechanic left a tool in the engine !! LOL Beautiful area.

  19. JAZZQUELINE from Bend, OR says:

    Oh Sue & Crew! So happy, the PTV was mysteriously free from the potential damage & possible expense to repair❗️You must be livin right❗️ Don’t drive back to see if there’s an empty lot, just let it be. A great and mysterious ending ? I loved it!
    Robere & I camped at Lyman Lake earlier this year. Very near where you camped is the trail head to the pictographs. This is one of the most delightful trails. It winds up the hill and completely around providing amazing views of the lake from every angle. Also if you read the history of the First People who lived there, it really comes alive especially seeing all the pictographs.
    Thanks for the great storey! I’m going to place an order on Amazin today, through your web site. ?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Jazzqueline,

      I saw the sign for the petroglyph trail. It was very windy while we were there and I wanted to get the BLT situated in a site for the night (never unhitched). I read about the First People in a pamphlet from the Visitor Center. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to Lyman Lake.

      Thank you for remembering me and the crew when going shopping at Amazon!

  20. Cinandjules (ready to roll in Des Moines Iowa) says:

    Mysterious noise! And then disappears….isn’t that the way it always happens? As the service person stands there and one tries to imitate the sounds!

    Glad it resolved itself!

    Our chariot is back…with a new alternator! Too late in the day to head out…so we are doing laundry. I must say everyone that I have come across in Des Moines have been more than helpful with this hiccup in our journey! The Chevy dealership service dept was booked for two days…he managed to put us on top of the service orders, diagnostic test, order the part, had it installed, came and picked me up and off I drove just before 11 am.
    Yesterday I was fit to be tied…today I’m back to normal.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Happy news! I love it! How nice that the Chevy people realized what a mess it makes having to hang around for service when you’re traveling through the area.

      Wishing you a safe travel day tomorrow, well rested, easy rolling, no problems…. Thanks for the update.

    • Mick'nTN says:

      Yea!, good news; only 1450 miles to go.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Previously to the stop at the Chevy dealership, the noise continued while the engine was stopped and idling. The only way to stop the noise was to turn the engine off.

        This reply ended up in the wrong place. Sorry to muddle up this conversation!

        • Cinandjules (ready to roll in Des Moines Iowa) says:

          Hmmm…fan belt? I have no clue!

        • This sounds more like the blower motor for the heater/AC? Was the engine “stopped” or idling? If you could still hear the noise with the engine idling, that sounds more like a water pump. Their ‘death throes’ can come and go but will usually have a small leak right under the center of the pump. These are designed to leak on purpose so that you can know your water pump is about to fail. We had to replace ours last summer — a much bigger job on a diesel engine but I had a good friend to help me in his driveway in Sacramento, CA.

          • rvsueandcrew says:

            Man, there seems to be a whole bunch of things that could be the matter with it…. judging from what readers are telling me…

            Thanks, Jim and Annie, for explaining the water pump… Yes, the noise continued when idling.

      • Cinandjules (ready to roll in Des Moines Iowa) says:

        We are counting in days….3 days and a wake up!

        • Mick'nTN says:

          LOL, That is the way we counted the day until being discharged from the Navy … “XX days and a wake up”

  21. Lori says:

    1) Thank you for reminding us that RVing full-time isn’t always just about scenery and freedom. I always get such a sense of peace from reading your posts.
    2) Yet even when trouble strikes, the peace doesn’t completely go away. Are you always this insouciant in a crisis?
    3) The possibly mysterious Amigo Chevrolet fits right in with my current read: Stephen King’s 11-22-63.
    4) The PTV has always been a little inscrutable, don’t you think – not wanting to give up mechanical secrets.
    5) Looks like a pretty area and $10k for that acreage is great. But you’re right about that weather. The AZ state parks site says: “Summers are warm with temperatures in the mid to high 90s for several weeks. Summer evenings are cool to the low 70s and high 60s. Winters are cold with some heavy snow and temperatures can sometimes reach zero degrees Fahrenheit. Cell phone service is poor and seems to be dependent on the provider.”

    Looking forward to living vicariously through you this fall and winter!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Lori,

      Your well-organized comment is fun to read. 🙂 Thanks for the weather information for that area. Maybe spring and fall are best times …

      To answer your question…. No, I don’t panic easily. I’ve learned that many crises resolve themselves if one simply waits. Remember when we were stuck in the sand? I gave up trying to shovel us out, we camped in the sand, we had supper, went to bed, and the next morning a knock on the door and it’s a guy offering to pull us out.

      I’m pleased you are looking forward to our future travels. That’s a nice compliment. Thank you.

  22. Greetings Sue! My name is Nancy and I live in Ft. Worth, TX. I have been reading your blog for most of the Summer and have also been reading your older blog from the beginning. I am an avid reader and enjoy your talented writing style – it is like reading a book! My husband, Oliver, and I ordered a Casita Liberty in June and will finally be picking it up in about 3 weeks!! We are so excited and ready to do some traveling. We won’t be living in it full time but we are retired and hoping to travel often to various parts of this good ‘ole USA. Like you, we share a love for dogs and our little jack russell terrier, Tater, will be coming along with us.

    As newbies to owning a travel trailer, I’m learning so much from your blog. So, I will pose one question to you and other readers of your blog. When you unhitch the BLT and go take care of shopping, washing clothes etc., how do you secure the BLT from theft? I know that theft of travel trailers does occur and am concerned because of the Casita size it could be more of a target. It would be extremely upsetting to drive back to the campsite and find the trailer is gone. I think Casita provides some kind of lock for the trailer tongue but was wondering about the quality of their lock and is there something better.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Nancy,

      I’m delighted to meet you! Welcome to my blog and to Blogorinoland. Thanks for the compliment on my writing… both in words and by the fact that you’re reading from the beginning. 🙂

      Yes, travel trailers are stolen occasionally. The odds of that happening are very small, considering how many trailers are “out there.”

      How do I secure the BLT? All I do is lock the door. The coupler is already locked with the lock provided by the Casita factory. Sure, someone could saw through the lock if they wanted to steal the BLT.

      Here’s my theory, which may or may not be worth much. Several factors are in my favor for the BLT not to be stolen: 1) I camp where thieves are not in great number 2) I camp where anyone trying to leave with the BLT could easily approach me on my return and 3) of all the things a thief could steal, a little travel trailer isn’t really a big return on the risk taken. I mean, there are $40,000 vehicles all over the place. Why take my little egg?

      One point I want to make…. From the very start of my boondocking days I set my mind on the possibility that I could return to find an empty campsite. I accepted that possibility, stopped thinking about it, and, if it should happen, I’ll call the insurance company and go from there.

      Yes, there are better locks than the one Casita provides. Search “hitch locks” on Amazon and you’ll find them.

      Congratulations on choosing Casita!

      BLOGORINOS: What are your thoughts on travel trailer theft?

      • Retiredcajunlady 'n Louisiana says:

        My thoughts on theft in general. I own a home and live alone as I am single. When I bought my home, many friends and family said they were worried my house might get broken into. Living alone was dangerous. Of course, I had lived alone for 13 years in an apartment, so being “solo” was something that didn’t bother me at all. True, my house could get broken into. But it isn’t a large or ornate house, just a 1300 sq ft house in an established neighborhood. I keep the door locked, the windows locked, and go on about my daily life. Same with my car. I very much doubt it would ever be a target for theft…it is a 2004 Camry! I tend to drive cars until they wear out as they are just transportation to me. I just lock the doors.

        I suppose anyone at any time could be a target of theft of any of their belongings. With common sense, a few precaution, and just being aware of what is going on around us I truly believe most of us are safe. I remember reading where single women RV’ers shouldn’t tow a trailer or fifth wheel as it is safer to be in an A, B, or C RV that simply can be driven off in case of danger. YOU, Sue, are the one (after I asked that same question in a blog post) that helped me to realize that notion wasn’t necessarily true.

        If the door is locked, the hitch thingy has a lock and is used, you don’t boondock near state penitentiaries, and look aware and capable, I think most campers are safe…though I have no first hand knowledge of RV travel and camping…just a wannabe.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Great attitude, rcl.

          That business about women being safer in an A, B, or C is a bunch of hogwash and I wish people would stop spreading that around. Women? Get the rig you want and ignore the stupid stuff about being safer in this or that. Gosh, men don’t have to put up with that crap. Why should you? Fear mongering drives me nuts… as you can probably tell by what I just wrote. Haha!

          I’m glad you have the sense to ignore that, rcl. You know, twice within a 2-day period I’ve met people who reacted to my situation with a gasp of “alone?” As if it’s something incredible…. sheesh.

          For someone with “no first hand knowledge of RV travel and camping…just a wannabe,” you’re pretty darn smart, retiredcajunlady!

      • KC --Pacific NW says:

        I think do something a little bit distinctive but not super obvious on the exterior. Don’t tell anyone what it is that you have done….unless it gets stolen. The send out the message it was stolen and what exactly what distinctive identifier you used to your followers to be on alert for when seeing Casitas on the road. If your followers could help find Rusty’s dog they could help find your Casita.

        Others can do something similar if they too have a generic looking trailer. Make it visible and somewhat unique but not so overtly obvious that a thief would rush to get rid of it.

    • Cinandjules (ready to roll in Des Moines Iowa) says:

      My opinion is you can’t dwell on the what if’s! Take the necessary precautions and live with whatever happens! If they want it…trust me they will defeat any type of security measure you take. Just like your car or your house..deterrent works up to a point.
      Rule numbah 2… out feller you’re about to witness the wrath of RVSue and crew!

  23. Rover Ronda (WA) says:

    Hi Sue & Crew,
    I hope the PTV keeps purring like a kitten. See you in your next post?

  24. Hi Sue
    I’m wondering if you said a private little ‘prayer’ to yourself for help with the car issue a moment before the ‘miracle’? I have found that even though I am not a great religious believer, I will sometime resort to saying a little prayer to get me out of a pickle and moments later, the problem gets miraculously resolved. I love it when that happens!
    Happy travels in the still good PTV

  25. Mick'nTN says:

    Hi RvSue&Crew, If the PTV made the noise only when moving then it could be a stone caught in the brake rotor. That would explain the sudden disappearance also, as the stone got chewed up and fell out.
    Bad engine noises rarely fix themselves.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Mick. I’ll keep that in mind!

      • Mick'nTN says:

        On further thought I have seen a case where a Chevy V-8 developed a “ping” due to carbon deposits in the combustion chamber. This noise can come and go because the carbon deposit will break off, cause the pre-ignition, then be blown out the exhaust.
        Your PTV may be a candidate for this because of the miles and that you do not do much high speed highway driving. The high speed driving tends to keep the deposits blown out.
        Anoher clue that you need a valve job is that you are using oil with no apparent leaks. This means the valve stem bushings may be worn out; common on Chevy V-8’s.
        I think a good mechanic could test for worn bushings. The best bet would be a Chevy dealer.

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          Interesting. No “ping” sound. I would like to have the valves taken care of, also would like to replace the oil pump. Why? Remember the cluster assembly went bonkers about 4 years ago. In other words the oil pressure gauge is useless. Not having to wonder about the oil pump and valves every time the needle on the oil pressure gauge starts jumping around (which it does frequently) would be nice.

          The PTV needs a thorough check-up. I’m a little wary of Chevy dealerships — even though Amigo Chevrolet service guy was very helpful. Seems whenever I take a vehicle to a dealership I come away with a monstrous bill. I don’t mind paying for work and the PTV certainly has been an economical vehicle with few repairs or maintenance bills… It’s time to invest in her future. Now to find the place to have that done!

          • Donna n Girls says:

            I have a great garage, the problem is it’s in south Tempe on the Chandler border. The fellow that owns it used to be a cop. It’s Salem Boys, Mark Salem is the owner. Great shop and won’t do anything without you giving the o k.

          • Mick'nTN says:

            The “ping” causes the pistons to slap against the cylinder walls and this can sound like a rattling. I’m not sure how loud it would be?

            • DesertGinger says:

              Well when my air filter needed changing it put up a godawful racket. It was full of leaves and god knows what. And now I have a fan belt going bad and it is screaming at me. But the car runs fine. If you are having any high puched or screechy noises it might be air filter or fan belt. Oh, and both stop generally when you get going.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Hi, Ginger,

              The air filter is fine. I check it regularly and change it periodically. Good heavens, leaves? The fan belt looks fine, no “screechy noises.” This was a clatter, banging noise.

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Okay…. Noted.

  26. theboondork says:

    Hi Sue, I haven’t written for a while so I thought I would touch base and let you know I’m still alive. Unlike you I’m still in Colorado as I’ve had a lot of business and family things I needed to do while I was here.

    I’m in Denver at the moment. I’ve been helping my daughter and her husband move from their downtown apartment to a house they just bought in the Littleton area. Luckily for me they bought a home that has an RV pull through driveway so I can spend some time there in the summer doing things with my 2-year-old grandson.

    Of course I hadn’t planned on leaving Colorado this early anyway, to me the fall is the best time to be in Colorado, the weather is usually perfect and it’s easy to find a place to stay because all of the tourists have gone home, so I probably won’t be heading south until early or the middle of October depending on how the weather shapes up.

    I’ve been keeping up with your travels and I’m familiar with a lot of the places that you’ve been but Colorado has so many beautiful places it’s hard to visit them all. It’s also sometimes difficult to find beautiful places to stay with all the tourist that flock to Colorado in the summer.

    You and the puppies stay safe in your travels and in a few weeks I’ll be back on the road again myself.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, the boondork,

      Sounds like you have a perfect set-up for visiting your grandson. I’m glad you continue to enjoy Colorado. I may someday visit the state in the fall. Right now I’m not wanting those overnight lows in the 30s and the rain, plus my kind of campgrounds are closed or closing soon.

      If it suits you, that’s great because photos tell me Colorado can be jaw-dropping gorgeous in the fall. Have fun and enjoy your family! Good hearing from you again.

  27. Thanks for your reply about trailer theft. Puts my mind more at ease and tells me I’m definitely overthinking this! Hope the PTV keeps rolling without further issues.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I did the same thing in the weeks before picking up the BLT. That’s okay. Doing that is like running through a checklist of Things That Could Go Wrong. Once in a while you come upon something on which you can take preventative action. I’m guessing we think along similar paths…. 🙂

  28. Geri says:

    Chuck and I have camped at Lyman Lake!We stayed 2 nights on our way back to T or C. We were camped up near the Yurts… are they still there? Good luck with the PTV and I hope it is just a brief visit to The Twilight Zone! A pretty road that goes thru Snowflake and and down to Tombstone is nearby, used to be SR 666 but they changed the highway number and I don’t have an Atlas handy anymore but it is an interesting drive but very twisty and turny! But don’t take it unless you have had the PTV checked out because there isn’t much on that road including traffic! Loved the photos and the happy ending!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the info on the road through Snowflake.

      There are cabins at Lyman Lake. I didn’t see any yurts. In the next post I’ll show photos of the state park which I’m sure will bring back memories for you and Chuck.

  29. AZ Jim says:

    Missy, Noise or no, welcome to Arizona. I won’t give you any advice about the noise, you are level headed and know what to do, so just do it. It is a little warm down here in the valley floor but air conditioning fixes that. Summers have no days that I don’t get out a little and before and after summer, HEAVEN! Take care of you and those little dependents of yours.

  30. Yeah for miracles! So happy for you that it went away!! Hope it STAYS away.

  31. Pat (Ky) says:

    Glad you made it to your next camp safely. Don’t know about the rest of the Blogorinos, but I was beginning to feel like the kid in the backseat who keeps asking, “Are we there yet? How much farther is it?” I’m ready to sit back and enjoy the scenery at this new camp. Like others have mentioned, I find it relaxing to read about your days in camp. These last few days of travel have worn me out…I’d put a smiley face here, but I don’t know how. Pat

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Cute comment, Pat. Made me chuckle… 🙂

      Yes, we’ve been moving a lot lately. Our camp after Lyman Lake is where we will slow down and take it easy…

      To make a smile you use two keys.

      First type a colon :
      Next type this parenthesis )
      Don’t put a space between them.
      Hit “enter.”
      Try it!

  32. Kevin in CO says:

    I read your blog posts a month or so ago, about your Antero Pines boondock location, knowing we would be going there in Sept. Well, here we are. We chose a site down the road a bit beyond your choice, and all are nice. Most camps this week look like hunters, this being the end of the black powder week-long season.

    So glad the PTV has not acted up since the visit to Gallup, heck, my truck would not like being in Gallup either. 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Haha! That’s funny, Kevin.

      You’re at Antero Pines! Are you closer to the entrance (cattle guard) or further into the forest? I’m glad you found a site you like. Enjoy!

      • Kevin in CO says:

        We are further west, through the forest to another meadow area where we can setup and have plenty of solar power. We drove up Cottonwood pass today to see the fall colors, very nice color today, but a few days from now….

  33. I agree that returning to an empty lot upon return would be AWsome!! Glad you made it safely to Arizona – you’ll find someone to take a look under the hood (in case there’s still something wrong :-)))))

  34. weather says:

    Wow, what a wildly emotional ride for what you thought would just be another moving to a new camp day. I not only believe in miracles, I rely on them, regularly. Still, I’m glad to know you’ll have a more thorough check up done on the PTV (than that guy at the dealer was nice enough to do) done a. s. a. p. I guess many of us have driven vehicles that suited our needs and tastes much longer than one might expect because we were willing to repair and keep them. It’s always especially nice not to have been stranded and have the funds to fix whatever when it comes up. I’m ever so pleased that’s true for you and the crew.

    Including that story in a post helps folks more fully realize full-timing isn’t an endless vacation, it’s living, with all that holds. Which reminds me to thank you for your reply this morning to my comment on the last post. You hopefully by now know that I get that you respond when you can on here, so am not upset by an irregular pattern in that. Being busy, preoccupied, or just living doesn’t always allow the same level or frequency of communication for anyone. So, on to your short stay at Lyman Lake…away from others along a beach 🙂 !!! Wonderful end to a day that all in all treated you as I hope all will-with generous graces, sweet.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Good evening, weather!

      That day was emotion-packed. There’s more to the story that I will include in a future post. Some days seem to be driven by forces unknown to us and battles won by the Force we do know.

      I’m relieved that you understand that I can’t always keep the pace going when responding to comments. Even when I have internet connection and the time to write, I can feel the need to withdraw and not be chatty.

      Yes, the day ended well at Lyman Lake. It’s an advantage not being “normal.” No one else was interested in camping on the beach. It was all ours! 🙂

      Thanks, weather, for your support and understanding. Rest well tonight.

  35. Linda-NC says:

    Hi Sue-That was an interesting story. I guess the PTV just needed a proper thank you for all the travels that you have given me and it fixed itself:) Sounds like everything is A-OK and I look forward to your next adventure. Hugs to the cute crew!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Linda,

      You’re getting like me, thinking of the PTV as “someone” with feelings, needs and motivations. Ha! I find myself patting the hood of the PTV and saying stuff like, “Good job!” or “You did it again!” or “Thanks, PTV! You’re the greatest!” Oh dear, I may make the BLT jealous.

      • Linda-NC says:

        I do that! Can’t hurt:-) Now you just need to tell the BLT how good she is. HA! is right! Have a good evening.

  36. Ken in Queen Creek, AZ says:

    Welcome to AZ, RVSue and canine crew.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks, Ken. I bet if you heard the PTV making a racket you’d know what her trouble was. You saved her once. 🙂

  37. Glenda in OZ! says:

    Now that was heart in the mouth stuff for a while……………..wonder what it was and what a relief it stopped, just like that……a miracle. Hope it does not happen again!

  38. Jeff says:

    Could be the heat shield.

  39. Mike says:

    Generally, most rascals will steal whats in the vehicle, not the rig. Your chances of happenstance are of course, as you mentioned, rare in remote and beautiful areas. If it ever happens, which I’m willing to bet it will not, let em have it, you can always replace things. Check your insurance guy, write in what you want replaced, all of it, the monthly bill won’t increase much and the peace of mind is priceless.
    Yellow Submarine, Haaa.
    question…does your van have the same power it has always had? I’d ask for a compression check on each spark plug hole, simple to do, one hour TOPS, for labor.
    Regards, Mike.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Mike,

      There has been no decrease in power from the PTV. Besides the noise, she runs great. 🙂

      • Mike says:

        I just put down my golden retriever, 17 years, hard’est thing I’ve ever done. …The only thing that will love you more than they love themselves. …….might have been a wood rat dancing with your radiator fan, stumped me for now. I enjoy your posts Sue. Thank you.

  40. Cynthia from San Clemente says:

    Finding the Chevy dealership right when you most needed it fits into my definition of a miracle. If the Chevy dealership disappears when you drive back into town, that’s more of a Twilight Zone story. We had a strange “surging” occur once when we were on the road in our RV …. we drove out of our way to find a Ford dealership and hubs was so focused on getting to the service tech when we pulled into the service bay, he didn’t realize we were about a foot taller than the top of the bay. It really was a miracle our A/C units weren’t torn off the top of the RV. We had to let air out of all the tires in order to lower the RV and back out of the bay without causing more damage (and later, our insurance company paid out $5,000 for repairs to the building). It was one of those “Oh *&$% moments and they never did find the cause of the “surging” – I think it was probably some bad fuel.

    The photos of the never-ending roads were beautiful, but I missed crew photos!! I’m sure there will be some once you get to your new campsite!! Hope you have safe, and quiet, travels 🙂

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Quite a story, Cynthia. It could’ve been a lot worse. I’m glad you had insurance to cover the damages.

      Thank you for the kind wish… We did travel safely to a quiet camp.

  41. Barbara (Nashville) says:

    Glad you got safely to a new camp. The Lyman Lake camp looks really peaceful. Is the lake low or is that normal for the area? Those noises could be anything. Even though your fan belt may look good, it could still be dried out and getting ready to break, or maybe the timing belt, as the PTV has quite a few miles on it. Even though hte noise stopped, I would have a good service done on it.

    UPdate and good news on my brother. He is awake, responding to commands, knows who folks are, gave kisses to my sister-in-law this a.m. They have removed the ventilator, tubing and are still weening him off some of the medications. He is very weak and can not talk yet due to his throat being sore and a little swollen from the tube. He is still on oxygen. All of this was due to his Potassium level dropping so dangerously low that he collapsed Friday night at his home. We are all ecstatic over this news. Thanks all of you who were praying for him.

    • Velda in Roseville CA says:

      Wonderful news! As one with sensitivity to even small drops to my potassium, that issuer scary. Continued prayers for his recovery.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      HOORAY, BARBARA! THAT’S WONDERFUL NEWS! I’m very happy for you and your family. Wishing your brother renewed strength and healing. Thank God the crisis has passed and he’s on the mend. Hugs…

  42. Barb from Hoquiam! says:

    So happy for your family Barbara!

    Hugs from Hoquiam, WA

  43. 11Blade says:

    Hi Sue & Crew,
    That noise you heard that just stopped (miraculously) was probably the sound of your a/c belt shredding. The noise stopped when the belt was fully shredded and fell off. That happened to me in Billings, in July this year, on a day when the mercury was at 101F. I thought I had a cat or a squirrel trapped in the engine fan belt. I would plan a service stop somewhere to get all your belts checked and changed. The engine will run ‘real nice’ after the belt is gone, so your vehicle is driveable….but….if all the other engine belts are the same age it’s just a matter of time, eh? Turn on your a/c unit next time you crank it up. The blower will still work blowing hot air, but the condensor/cooler unit won’t.

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