Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Hmmmmmm ..... another day, another auto shop.

Yup - this post is about the not so great part of road travel - car - or in this case - van trouble. We can't say much though, we had a very smooth ride last year in terms of mechanical issues - there were none. This year? We are only two weeks in and it's not quite so smooth....

The trouble all started Sunday morning when we went to leave. Dead.

Not good.

Fortunately, within a few hours, the solar panels had charged the batteries enough to start.

We headed over to Walmart for a few supplies and then continued up the Interstate to St. James. Our plan for the day was to travel the country back roads to Elephant Rocks State Park.

However, only 12 miles up the road or so - traveling just out of St. James, the van stopped. Dead. Luckily, Derek was able to pull it off the road in time - albeit in a tough place to back up. We weren't overly surprised because during the drive the two battery meters were showing a drop in charge rather than an increase. Not good.

Lucky again - since we weren't there but 10 minutes when the County Commissioner stopped to ask if we needed help. Boy did we ever. Nice guy AND he'd been to the Empress Hotel in Victoria. With a boost we were back on the road.

No - we didn't continue on. We knew that we had a problem on our hands - we just weren't exactly sure at this point what our problem was.

Nice - there was an O'Reilly's in St. James. 

Know what's missing? Well, a battery - in fact - both of our batteries showed as bad. Yup - that's our problem - well - let's replace them. We had checked our records that morning and found that they were both four years old. Two new batteries today - one being a deep cycle? Total $185, not bad really - we see that when they were purchased back in 2009 in Canada they were $270.

Mr. Mechanic ready for battery replacement duty.

Since it was late in the day by the time this was done, we drove back to Rolla to stay the night at Lowe's. Interestingly, the battery charge meter still didn't show an increase in charge as we were driving. Not good. We were starting to think we had a bigger problem.

After a night spent looking for answers on the internet and in writing with our friend Jerry, back in Nampa, we suspected our alternator was the issue. 

Luckily, (again) there was a Bumper to Bumper across from Lowe's. We were there by 8:00am Monday morning - what can we say - we were a bit concerned. After a quick check the BtoB guy said - yup - think it's the alternator. But hey - there's a mechanic right beside us here.

So - this was us for six hours on Monday - at Extreme Accessories in Rolla, MO. Which really - once we found out that our problem was indeed the alternator but that it was going to cost - only - $200 or so - we were happy to spend a day outside of the van.  And I do mean only - Derek and I had visions of many more hundreds of dollars. We were very well taken care of once again in Rolla. One of the fellows, Matt, gave Derek a ride - twice - once to get some lunch and the second to the ATM. Why it took six hours was because the first new alternator to be be delivered to the shop was the wrong one, not these guys fault. While we were at it we had them install a new voltage regulator as well. Total price? $226.00

Happy to be heading out at around 3:00pm.

Happy to have a van that is running smooth. WoW! What a difference. Based on how the van runs now, the battery/alternator problem, must have been a long time coming. Thankfully it all happened when it did and not out in the woods somewhere, where we were headed. Returning to the scene just outside of St. James where we stalled the day before.

Continuing on through the Missouri countryside.

Good thing there are signs. This road starts to look a bit suspicious but it was supposed to be leading to the Dillard Mill Historic Site.

And yaaaaa - it did! We arrived just in time - just after 4:00pm - it closes at 5:00.

A nice walk for the four of us to the mill - Derek reading the info along the way.

One of the best preserved Gristmills - from 1908.

Nice with the red.

Leaving the Historic Site and heading back to the highway we only made it to the next town before it was getting dark. We found a nice little stealth camping spot by the baseball diamonds.

What a day!

We didn't do much but we were pretty exhausted by the stress of the previous few days. 

Piece of mind = $411.00. 

It could have been worse - right!? It could have happened out in the middle of nowhere - or in Canada !

Behind again with my posts! We arrived into Kentucky today after a nice day hiking in two Missouri State Parks yesterday. 

All is well - but could someone PLEASE turn off the water tap. Seriously, we are so done with all this rain. 



  1. Sending you clear blue skies to Paducah Thursday, about noon or so!!

  2. I tell we have some nice people here in Missouri.

    I'm jeolous your pictures of Dillard mill are better then mind. We were just there last week. See my blog.

    Safe travels, wish you came this way, Jefferson City.

    Safe travels

    1. VERY nice people Patti - some of the best actually! AND really good gas prices to boot!

      Well, at least you got to see the inside of the Mill! Not a soul around when we were there.

      Ha! Ya - we move fast and more in the southernly direction at this time of year. Would have been nice to stop in though!

  3. We drove by the Lowes in Rolla yesterday and did not see you there, figured all was good and you back on the road again. Nice to get those repairs done. Travel safe.

    1. Thanks for checking. Sorry - I couldn't get a message to you that we had left Monday afternoon!

  4. You are going to love of my favorite states by far! Bummer on the repairs...but good to know something so important is working top notch now.

  5. Bourbon Trail, cumberland falls, all things Louisville and especially Lexington. Churchill dad took me their racing one Thanksgiving. The horse farms in the countryside. And I use Pinterest and search out state boards, etc. Lord of help there since its grown so much. Lved Brera (SP) artist area...

  6. Power Backup Solutions is your destination for shopping quality voltage regulators online. Protect electronic equipment from over-voltages & brownouts. Voltage Regulator


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