Aug 282023

They say that Fate is a cruel taskmistress. I believe it to be so. As if this trip already hadn’t had enough surprises, the road home gave me one more twist.

I drive an eco diesel pickup—the Maroon Marauder (as I call her). The newer diesels have an ingenious method for reducing emissions. They spray uric acid (also known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF)) into the exhaust. The reaction reduces those nasty things that made diesels so smelly and horrible in the past. Well, I’m minding my own business, looking forward to being home. I’m in the wilds of Montana when I get a message from my truck: “DEF system failure. See Dealer.”

I’m thinking, OK. I’ll be back in a day and a half. I have two repairs on my truck that need to be performed when I get home anyway. I’ll just add this to my list when I go into the dealer.

I’m all fine and good until thirty minutes later the message changes to: “DEF system failure. Vehicle will not restart after 200 miles.” This began a countdown of mileage. Oh, fudge.

Luckily (he says with a bit of sarcasm), Bozeman, MT was just thirty miles away. I pulled into the dealership in town with one hundred sixty-ish miles left on my countdown. I go inside to find out that they can’t even put my truck up on a lift for three days. Calling about, I find no relief for that three-day period.

Now a little issue that I’ve failed to put out there… My son’s wedding was in about eleven days, so I have a deadline.

I looked into several options: renting an RV spot for a week, including renting an alternative tow vehicle (none available), renting a hotel room (ludicrous cost as it is the height of the season).

Eventually, the only feasible option that presents itself is an RV spot about thirty miles away. I will rent it for the week and see how it goes. So off I go to park my tentative home for the week. Along the way, the countdown and message about the failure went away.

“What do I do now?” I thought. “Is it still counting or did it just go silent?”

I end up going and talking to the dealer again and the answer is inconclusive… Only that it failed at some point and isn’t failed now. Can I succeed in going the rest of the eight hundred miles? No one is willing to commit. I do ask what it means by saying it wouldn’t restart. What if I keep going and never turn it off? Apparently, after the two hundred miles it would throttle my speed to five miles an hour if I dropped below 15mph. After fifty miles it would shut down the engine. I wallowed in angst for some time before making the decision to press on.

It appears I made the right choice. I never got the message again. I was able to travel without interference the rest of the way home.

Thus ends one of the more eventful Great Road Trips.

 August 28, 2023  Uncategorized No Responses »
Aug 092023

Ok, I’m heading the farthest east I’ve traveled with TANSTAAFL Press. But, along the way, I’m stopping at Bruce Graw’s house for a visit and to pick up some things I had shipped there (I was short of some books and business cards). I did dinner with his sister, we went and saw a couple […]

 August 9, 2023  Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 102023

Well, I stopped along the way to visit with some relatives… ex relatives? My niece and sister-in-law from when I was married to my first wife. I’m still on good terms with them and dropped by for a nice lunch. Very friendly and we had fun catching up. Afterward, Google Maps has taken me off […]

 July 10, 2023  Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 052023

Vacation time – Black Hills, SD I’ve lived for 12 years in SD. Got my degree here and much of my formative years. So the city is familiar, as anything can be 35 years later. One of my favorite childhood memories is going fishing up in the Black Hills. BTW… If you have never been […]

 July 5, 2023  Uncategorized No Responses »
Jul 052023

Castle Rock, WA to Rapid City, SD Three days of driving. If you’ve ever taking a long road trip there wasn’t anything you haven’t seen. Uneventful. The only unusual thing is that I prepared for hot summer weather and it rarely broached 70 degrees F. Mostly it stayed in the 50s and overcast. Occasionally, I […]

 July 5, 2023  Uncategorized No Responses »
Jan 122023

Oh, few but dedicated readers, you may have noticed a couple of changes we’ve made in our website. We will explain! We no longer sell books from this website! In short, it was too costly (time and money) for a number of reasons to continue. And based on sales, most of you preferred to purchase […]

 January 12, 2023  Uncategorized No Responses »