Author Topic: You knew our trip couldn't end without ONE MORE ESCAPADE! warning: long post  (Read 5380 times)

Offline Christyhicks

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Well, you just GOTTA know that, knowing us :D, knowing that Larry's had his share of, ahem, mishaps, well, you just GOTTA know that I wasn't going to get off easy without doing something dumb myself!   :-\
So, as many of you know, I have only a couple of responsibilities on our trips, mainly, I'm the navigator, picking the routes, and I have to keep track of hub meter readings and make sure I don't let Larry run out of fuel, since we don't have a fuel gauge.  That's it.  Everything else is volunteer, we do as we feel, eat where we want to, cook when we want to, pretty much just "go with the flow". . . BUT. . . I can't pick roads that get him stuck or on steep hills, and I CAN'T LET HIM RUN OUT OF FUEL.   ::)
Well Crap. :'(
So, it's our LAST DAY on the road, we've had a blast the entire trip, it's truly one of those "need to take a vacation to rest from our vacation" type trips  ;), we've crossed into Oklahoma and pretty much, we're home free.  Well, sort of. . .you see, in my defense, really, it's just doggone hard to know EXACTLY how much a generator uses in fuel, and with our mileage varying from 6.5 to 8 mpg through the history with this coach, and not knowing REALLY how much in the bottom of the tank is really unusable because you can't pick it up with the sending unit (8 gallons it seems), and Flying J fuel stops ONLY being like 100's of miles apart, seriously, it can be hard to know exactly WHEN to stop and get fueled, and well, it's just NOT MY FAULT!!!!!!!   :'(

So, we are tooling along the highway, and all of a sudden we enter this construction zone, you know the type, concrete barriers on one side of you :o, flashing cones on the other side  :o, no shoulder :(, single lane :(, FOR 6 MILES!  All of a sudden, Larry exclaims, "Oh crap!  We're losing power!  I'm running out of fuel!  Either we've got a stopped up fuel filter or WE'VE JUST RUN OUT OF DIESEL!"  and with that last statement, his head swivels my way.  >:(
Obviously, we've got NO TIME to point fingers, do we now :-\. . our first concern is to get this beast and tow car off the side of the road, and personally, I think we've got to concentrate on that  , rather than concerning ourselves with who could possibly be at fault for THIS situation ???.  I quickly spy a short little spot where it's obvious the construction trucks have been pulling off the side of the road and I quickly point to it and say, "Stop right there, NOW!"  Larry obediently pulls over into the grass and quickly cuts the engine, which is still rumbling and coughing, and I hit the generator, which is still purring like a kitten.  I'm hoping that THIS is a good sign, praying like heck that it's a stopped up fuel filter, and not that I've figured the genny usage wrong and we are truly out of fuel.  I'm pretty much ALL for the fuel filter idea and prod him to swap those out and we'll just be on our way!  Yep, stupid ole fuel filters. . they stop up ALL of the time don't they. :-\
About this time, up drives the construction superintendent and he saunters over and asks, "So, having engine problems????"  Larry responds, "Well, we're either have a stopped up filter, (I quickly nodded my head), or we're out of fuel, (head swivels towards me again) but SHE figures the mileage and stuff. . . we're just getting ready to figure it out".  The guy said, "Well, be REALLY careful along side the road here, as it's pretty dangerous!"  He pulls his truck over farther behind our vehicles and leaves it there with the flashers running, just as yet another precaution.
Of course, the fuel filter wrench is on the driver's side of the coach, and there's simply no way that we dare creep down that side of the coach with all of those cars and semis whipping past.  Me, being the helpful co-pilot that I am :D, IMMEDIATELY volunteered that I could climb into the bay on the passenger side, and clamber across the various lawn chairs and paraphernalia and RETRIEVE THAT FUEL FILTER WRENCH!  That's me. . . always willing to go the extra mile!  :D  Uh huh.  Just a helpful, willing, hard-working co-pilot, that's me! :D
In I go, and I'm sure that superintendent had a good laugh over seeing me dive headfirst into that bay ::), legs hanging out behind me, and then gradually disappearing from sight as I shinnied my way all the way across and started digging through various boxes and cases until I located the errant filter wrench.  Unfortunately, I located the wrench and when Larry removed the filter and saw it was pretty much empty, well, that proved, beyond a doubt, that, I had indeed FAILED IN MY DUTIES and had yes, run us completely out of fuel.   :'( :-[ :'(
Now, perhaps he felt sorry for me by now, or perhaps he admired my "gung-ho attitude" when I dove into that compartment, (most likely he just wanted us out of his hair ;)), anyway, the superintendent immediately stated that he'd get his fuel truck over and get us enough fuel to get us on down the road.  Sure enough, within 10 minutes, he had a tanker truck on site and was dumping fuel into our tank. I meekly approached him and told him that 5 gallons would be WAY more than we needed to get us to a station, because I was SURE a station was just down the road.  He insisted on giving us 30 gallons of diesel, and flat out refused our numerous attempts to pay for the fuel.  A few cranks on the starter and vroom, we were up and running.   ;D
Turns out the Flying J of our intended destination was only 15 miles down the road!  15 Miles!  >:( TWO GALLONS OF FUEL AWAY!  >:( THREE OR FOUR HOURS OF GENERATOR USE! ::)  15 MILES!  :'( 15 miles and NO ONE WOULD HAVE KNOWN!  :-X I could have gotten away with it!  :-[ TWO LOUSY GALLONS OF DIESEL AND I WOULD HAVE BEEN OFF, SCOTT FREE!  >:( No, in our world, it just doesn't work that way.  ;) Turns out I had figured everything the night before, but neglected to extrapolate the NEXT 18 hrs of generator use, PLUS, the 8 gallons that, remember, sat in the bottom of the tank, unusable, and well, ahem, those darn TWO GALLONS OF FUEL we were short, they sure told a tale on me! 
On the upside, we have GOT to be the luckiest people on the side of this planet, to run out at the perfect spot allowing our new hero to come to our rescue and really, from the time we pulled over to the time we were back rolling was only about 15 minutes or so.  What a great guy!   ;D
Me,  :-[on the other hand. . .well I'm going to lay low for a few days, ok? :-[ :D  Christy Hicks
If chased by a bear, you don't need to run faster than the bear, just faster than your companion!

Offline fraser8

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Very good, I enjoy some light hearted reading on this site. When you are on the dark side of the moon it warms the heart when an angel comes to your aid. Thanks for the story.....
Fraser Field
Deroche, BC, Canada
Where the milk cows out number the people, but they can't vote
1972 Prevost, Detroit 8-71/740 Allison automatic, Jakes
Hobbies: restoring classic cars,, arranging old car tours:,
Retired Paramedic

Offline TomC

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One good way to prevent this from happening is to install a fuel gauge-I did and am thankful I did.  Good Luck, TomC
Tom & Donna Christman. '77 AMGeneral 10240B; 8V-71TATAIC V730.

Offline JackConrad

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    You should bundle all your traveling adventures into a book. In fact, it could be made into a movie (it would be better than "The Long Long Trailer" with Dezi Arnez & Lucille Ball). Now, who will play the 2 lead characters??  Jack
Growing Older Is Mandatory, Growing Up Is Optional
Arcadia, Florida, When we are home

Offline Nick Badame Refrig/ACC

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Do you think Christy gathered too many ROCKS in the bay "Like Lucy" and used up more fuel they Larry wanted to??

Whatever it takes!-GITIT DONE! 
Commercial Refrigeration- Ice machines- Heating & Air/ Atlantic Custom Coach Inc.
Master Mason- Cannon Lodge #104

Offline travelingfools

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Great story...Could happen to
John P, Lewiston NY   1987 MC 9 ...ex NJT

Offline Hartley

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Hey, No foul.. The day I took my MC9 home, My wife said I should stop and put some fuel in it just to be safe. I said Nah.. It should have enough...
So after getting stuck in traffic and a rain storm I made it to within 2 miles
of home. Stopped at a light. The road was slanted to the right.

Sputter.. Sputter... Dead Bus blocking one lane...Out of fuel...

Had to call a buddy with a super duty truck to tow me across the intersection to a parking lot. (luckily I still had air pressure) and 50 gallons later I got it running again. Now I stop every 200 miles or 3 hours run time and fuel up.

Lucy & Desi Movie...
In that movie did anyone notice anything unusual about the tongue of the trailer?

It had a nose wheel inside the a-frame..!!!!

Never take a knife to a gunfight!

Offline tekebird

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you had said your generator was still running.  I suggest you adjust your generator fuel pickup so it is somehwere between 1/2 and 1/4....then your generator will never run you dry...and will be a huge telltale when you are getting low.

also.......figure your mileage/range based on max fuel consumption

gauges are nice but are not always accurate.

Offline Charles Seaton

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Great stories. I second the book idea.

Offline Beatenbo

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My last 2 buses have had gauges. The hardware store sells black plastic pipe that is 1/2 to about 11/2 inc. I4 ft piece will go right down and bump the bottom of the tank with a thumb marking the top it will show a wet fuel mark(unless you have a anti-theft fuel screen). It's call dipping the tank. When my gauge goes to empty there is about 40gal. Sometime I check this way if I'm leaving home when I didn't want to stop and drove in on empty.  Good story Christy, You were blessed not to be stranded for hours taking fuel filters off 30 time and refilling and all the adventures of running out of fuel Blessings

Offline H3Jim

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Great story, glad it worked out so well.  It could happen to anyone!
Jim Stewart
El Cajon, Ca.  (San Diego area)

Travel is more than the seeing of sights, it is a change that goes on, deep  and permanent, in the ideas of living.

Offline Hi yo silver

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Thanks, Christi, for 'fessin' up.  That sure takes the pressure off the rest of us for a little while!
Blue Ridge Mountains of VA   Hi Yo Silver! MC9 Gone, not forgotten

Offline Len Silva

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I'll bet there are a hundred guys on this board that are saying "Damn, that Larry is one lucky son-of-a-bitch, I wish I had a Christy".  Of course, I'm not one of them you understand.


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Ignorance is only bliss to the ignorant.

Offline Kwajdiver

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The first weekend I had my MCI-9, ;D I ran out, in the truck stop, 100 yards from the pumps.  >:( Unlike you, I didn't have an angel.  It cost me a 4 hours delay and $200.00 to get it started again.

I fix the sender the next weekend.  :D Plus, my genset runs out of fuel at 1/4 tank.  :)

Angel are people that watch over us in times of need.

Let me know when the book comes out.

Auburndale, Florida
V-6-92 Detroit, Allison 5 spd auto
Kwajalein Atoll, RMI


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I can't add any stories of real life to this  ::) ::)

Just tell Larry that someone must have siphoned fuel from your tank, You are off the hook, right?  ;D

Good read, I always enjoy hearing of your Over The Road Tales.

One more thing, I always like to fuel up at one half tank. I don't trust gauges, dipping or even my math. ;) I'm lousy at math anyway.  :'(