Friday, April 24, 2009

Travel interruptus

We left Mystic Hills this morning but not particularly early in the morning. I actually tried to talk myself out of leaving because it was such a miserable day. There was a thin film of ice on everything and it was alternately trying to snow and sleet. We checked the forecast and decided it wasn't likely to get much better or significantly worse so we finally left around 9:00.

Around about 11:30 I thought it was time to stop for a walk around and pulled over in some little town in northern South Dakota. As I was rolling to a stop I noticed that we seemed to be tipped toward the curb. Initially I put it down to the crown of the road but I thought it was worse than that. When we started rolling again it was clear that we were leaning to the right.

Now those of you who know me well may have detected a slight tendency for me to lean to the right myself. Its not something that is immediately apparent but if you have known me for a long time you may have noticed a few hints of that tendency. I had not previously noted any Conservative tendencies in the bus so this new tilt was a cause for concern. People have been known to experience those "road to Damascus" conversion experiences but I have never heard of a bus experiencing one.

I was pretty certain that the problem was either a leaky airbag in the front or some problem in the front levelling valve or the lines to the bags. It even occurred to me that we might have some water in the line to the curbside bags and that it might have frozen overnight. Marilyn found us a cheapo campground north of Bowman, ND. We pulled into some farmer's yard and had lunch. Then we backed into a grass site with some trepidation. They've had wet weather here lately and I wasn't sure that the grass would hold us but it did. We tried to get both sides up on blocks but the blocks just skidded out of the way of the tires on the driver's side. We were however able to get the "low" side up on blocks so that was all I really needed.

Then I flopped out the carpet, put down some blocking and jacked up the body of the coach. These things are really heavy so you don't want to be underneath them when you have concerns about the suspension. Actually I don't like being underneath it at all unless I am in a pit but that wasn't an option today.

I messed around under the front end for quite a while and couldn't really find anything wrong. I've noticed a bit of an air leak coming from the front curb side for about a month now but I couldn't find it today. I just couldn't seem to get the bags on the curb side to rise up, yet they seemed to be pressured up. Those of you that know anything about airbag suspensions have likely long since figured out what took me close to an hour and a half to diagnose. Eventually I looked at the back of the bus and realized that the levelling valve on the curb side had become disconnected. Once I hooked it up again everything came back onto the level. By then Marilyn had already paid the 15 bux for tonight's rent so we are staying put but will get an early start in the AM and try to hit the border before noon.

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