Trans USA & Canada Week 6, 6/29-7/5

Day 37 (6/29): Today is my last day in Moab. I did not do anything special or crazy. Today’s goal was to get everything back up to 100% and ready for the desert crossing for the next few weeks. I woke up nice and early again due to the desert heat. I started right away on my schedule maintenance. I hanged out my cabin air filter and greased my trailer axle and max coupler. I then sat around enjoying the shade in the summer heat. I knew my new U-bolts would arrive around 11:30 so I started thinking. My Whynter fridge freezer sure has been sucking a lot of energy due to this crazy summer heat and it being a cheaper brand. My 100w solar panel has not been able to keep up. I’ve had to charge it of my alternator daily. Which is not a huge cost but it does add up running the vehicle just idling. So a idea hit me. Why not insulate it better. I called around and found a place I could get 1” and ½” rigid foam insulation. I took measurements and figured I could fit 1” all the way around it. I had two choices insulate the inside better and loose valuable space or insulate the outside and sacrifice looks. I went with the latter. It does not look pretty but I timed it out and the compressor runs 30% less. Which means 30% less energy and less stress on the compressor. This is a great start for some double sided tape, duct tape, and 1” rigid foam. I still have to pick up some silicon to seal the rigid foam to the existing shell of the fridge/freezer to help keep the cold air in better. While I was out I also got the email notification that my package arrived. I picked it up and started to go to work on replacing the bad U-bolt. I only replaced the one as the other ones are bran new and already started the stretching steps and did not want to deal with this again. It went fairly quickly and soon enough my vehicle was backup and running. I think I become an expert on this now. So now I also have spare U-bolts and center pins as trail spares. I sat around a little longer and went through the galley and vehicle to see if there was anything I did not need. I throw away a few items, more space and less weight. I soon started packing up everything that you don’t realize that you left lying around camp when you been there for a week. I then started to realize I’ve seen some great sunsets but since I’ve been in Moab I have not gone somewhere to take a photo of one. I quickly grabbed my camera and headed down the road a little bit for a better view. As I sat there sitting on my truck as the sun went down. I came to realize how beautiful the rocks where when the heat has settled a little bit. This was the first time in Moab I could relax and was a great end to my stay.

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Day 38 (6/30): Well today I left Moab it was bitter sweet. Moab is the home of off-roading in America. But surprisingly the town is not very corporate. There are mainly mom and pop shops around town. And to be honest It was fun but I think the heat took some out of me for enjoyment.

I hit the highway for the first 20miles or so as I already took most of the roads/trails that considered to be the TAT. I jumped on the trail soon enough and it was back to ranchlands and ranch roads. There terrain flattened out pretty quickly with the occasional rock cluster here and there.

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As I was driving I noticed his strange circular fence. I first that it was just a cattle corral made from dried out logs. As I got closer I saw this sign so I became curious.

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At first glimpse it just looks like a big hole that someone dug out with a backhoe. Thee n you noticed a rocky bottom. Once you climb up onto the fence you can start to see the hole is much deeper. I wonder how deep it goes. Was it just a cavern or is there a washed out cave or just a unground river?

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As I continued on I saw more rock formations in the distanance.

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I started to approach this canyon and it sure did look inviting. Looking at my map I noticed there was a camp site ahead. Hopefully it was in the canyon.

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Even though it was earlier then I would of liked the next known camp site was 5 plus hrs away and first the first day back on the road after a week of sitting this placed look great.

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I can’t wait for sunset and get some really nice photos.

Well I did not get a good sunset picture due to all these rain clouds rolling in. Hey but I did get 3 drops of rain and a bunch of lighting and thunder. The next morning I found out everywhere else got rain due to the roads being wet and the dust being low.

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Day 39 (7/1): About 3 miles down the road from where I camped I came across these wonderful ancient artwork from the natives. In the same area there are two different sets. One set is 2,000 years older than the other set.

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You can kinda of see them all in this overview.

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Here are some close ups of them.

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After this I went up and down canyon switchbacks. Surprising it was pretty forested so I did not get any good pictures. I was headed towards the famous sky line drive. As I was driving there was a Guy walking with his younger son. I stopped and asked if everything is alright. They notified me that the Honda Pilot I drove by 4 miles ago that looked to be fine had a flat tire and the spare was flat too. I cleared room for them in my vehicle and drove them back to their Honda Pilot. I found the hole in the main tire and plugged it and filled it for them. I then took the spare and found out it was off the bead. So I threw a ratchet strap on it and reseated it then filled it. I did not notice any holes in it. I then followed them for the next several miles. Everything was holding up so we went on our separate ways. About another 5 miles down the road I pulled over for a quick lunch and a stretch. I got out and noticed smoke coming from my passenger side rear tire. Thinking it was just from me smoking my brakes headed down this long steep switchbacks I ate a quick lunch and let it cool down. After it cooled down I took a look and noticed this black oily substance splattered all over the back side of my tire. And it was dripping down out of the axle. Right away I thought it was the axle seal. Ohh great this will be fun. I slowly headed down the rest of the mountain using my engine not to heat my brakes. I stopped in this small town and asked for a good auto repair shop. They pointed me down the road 10 miles to Mt. Pleasant. I stopped by Bro’s Wheels and Automotive. They quickly threw my vehicle up on the lift and pulled the tire and spacer off for me. The axle shaft was trying to come out of the axle housing and the only thing that appeared to be holding it in was the brake caliper which was rubbing on the rotor. We pulled the caliper and it would only slide out about ½”. Very weird as the housing that holds it all in seemed find. They informed me that they were not capable of this work. So knowing that this falls under Nissan warranty of the 5 years and 60k miles along with the 12month 12k warranty from when those parts where replaced 9 months ago from being rear-ended. So I got it towed to the nearest Nissan dealer 80 miles away and got a hotel for the night. We will see what the morning brings.

Day 40 (7/2): So in the morning I showed up to Ken Garff Nissan of Orem, UT to try to see if I can get my  X looked at right away. After some persuasion and telling them if it is not covered under warranty  I’m  going to do the work myself. They got on it right away. The Tech was cool and kept me up to date with what was going on. So they ended up replacing the bearing, snap ring, retainer and seal. The axle was fine. Good news I got out of there by 2pm. I dropped by Napa and picked up two half shafts since I forgot the morning of in Moab. I also dropped by Sears Auto and after a nice 45min test they informed me that my battery that I swapped in Moab was bad. I headed back south picked up my trailer and headed back up the switch back hill were I broke coming down near sky line drive.  I saw a small trail with a nice camp spot. I stopped and and put it into 4low. Nothing. It went into 4hi no problem. Try to go into 4 low nothing. I scanned my codes on the bully dog. Nothing. I got out and checked my abs lines did not see any obvious damage. After texting with a few people I then tried to trick the system into 4Low. Nothing. Now do I stay here for the night and head back north tomorrow or head back north today. After some thought I messaged Justin who works at Fat Bob Garage and he told me to there and they take care of me tomorrow. I quickly looked over my abs lines again to make sure it was nothing stupid and then I noticed that my Pinion seal was leaking. Really? How did the mechanic not see that? Or did it start to leak in the last 150miles? I started the 3 hr drive north. I reached Fat Bob’s Garage at about 10pm. They let me camp out for the night with a special note for any cop or security team that interrupted my sleep.

Day 41 (7/3): I woke up and waited for them to open. When they opened I notified them of the pinion seal and of the 4wd abs issue and I told them of all my problems over the last week and I just needed a really good look through of everything. And specializing in modified off-road vehicles I trusted them a little bit more than the dealer. One of the managers pulled me back and we read through all the codes that have been stored. Most of them I had a reason for. But there was one. A “Park Neutral Switch”, which confused us I was a manual what, did that mean. They called there local dealer and asked. They informed them it was a switch in the transmission and it needed to be replaced with something else. In another words, it was a $1200+ part. We decided to hold off on the purchase of the part and clear the code and after all other work we would see if it regenerated. They also noticed that all the heims on the UCA’s and steering links were worn out. Along with a ball joint on the passenger side LCA. Between the spare parts I had and the parts they had in stock we were able to replace all of them and had 1 extra new one for a trail spare along with the worn out ones. After a long day there and them willing to stay a little late to finish up all the work so I could move on instead of being stuck for the weekend all work was complete. After the test drive we reread the codes. Only one regenerated. It was the Neutral Switch. Well after being there all day and reading up on this code and issue. I believe the issue is a switch in the transfer case. Luckily the only dealer in UT or CO to have it was 35mins down the road. And I bought it earlier and they were holding it for me. I picked up the part and decided to head towards Boulder Colorado. The reason for this was. If the issue is not solved with this switch, the next parts it could be could be a very long wait. Along with this I trusted the dealer that much more. I found a small truck stop with a giant parking lot to pull over in and get some much needed sleep.

http://www.fatbobsgarage.com/

Day 42 (7/4): This Morning I woke up and hit the road back to the Boulder Denver area. Man it seemed like such a long drive. I am use to 10-40mph up and down hills around corner s not knowing what to expect. This was just a long boring drive. I finally arrived at my “adopted parents’” house and am resting for the rest of the day. Tomorrow goal is to shed much weight as possible from my vehicle and trailer. Time for the trim fast diet.

Day 43 (7/5): Today was a day of relaxing. I sat around all day with my guest family here in Colorado. It was just nice not having to do anything. Tomorrow I bring my Xterra back up to Boulder Nissan to find out what is wrong with my 4×4 drive.

 

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