So my motorhome is broken down about 80 miles north of Ogden, Utah. This is what I see:
This is the way I wanted to go. Yes, that sign says Elko, and means Elko, Nevada.
And this is what I saw to the West. The East was the highway and a hill blocking my view of anything useful. I am literally in the middle of nowhere.
So after taking the dog for a bit of a walk again, I check for cell phone reception. Hurrah! I have some on BOTH phones. The bad part, due to the constant transfer from one cell tower to another, both are down to two bars of battery. I call the AAA for Motorhome people (the name escapes me at this point) and start talking to them. I’m trying to explain where I am, but they can not find Snowville Utah in their system, because there are no towing companies there. They can’t find the corner of the two highways I’m on. They’re asking me to describe where I am and if there are any landmarks nearby. (See above)
After a few minutes of this, I get them GPS coordinates which finally work. I had to translate them myself so that they could insert into their system. The lady says “OK, We’ll find a Tow Company and get them out too you.” After an hour, she calls back and tells me “The repair shop in Snowville is not answering their phone, they must be closed for the weekend.”
I was like “Ok, I’m trying to head to Ogden Utah. Is there anybody there?” They lady starts getting really excited, she says “Oh! I didn’t realize you were near Ogden.” Well, I’m not, but I mentioned Ogden at least three times in our original conversation as the maps I had showed nothing between Snowville and Ogden.
Two hours later a tow truck shows up. He drove 80 miles from North Ogden. He hooks the motorhome up, disconnects the drive line, we get the dog into the cab of the tow truck and start heading into town. We chat about all kinds of things, how Triple AAA is trying to screw their company over and wants them to paint ALL their trucks Yellow. About the Winter Olympics held in Ogden and how their company was the official Tow Trucks. His time in Iraq, and the fact that he did 85 combat (parachute) jumps as an Army Engineer. Anything to pass the time.
As it’s Saturday, the odds of any shops being open is extremely low. He decides to take me by the house of a guy he works with who can repair the motorhome. We get there, and the guy is a grizzled old biker dude. Sober for ten years, telling his kid to watch the drinking, ticked off at the guy who “stole” his old pickup truck.
We get the motorhome half apart, and get a new belt on. This takes about three hours. I finally get back on the road, but just as I hit the highway and start getting up to speed, smoke starts pouring out the back. It’s mostly white, but there is some black. There is no shoulder on the highway for me to pull over so I nurse it to another exit. The engine dies as I’m coasting down it, luckily it’s empty of cars but I honk the horn as I run a red stop sign and pull into a Village Inn Parking lot.
At this time the motorhome is still smoking and I’m afraid that it’s on fire. I bail out, grab the dog, grab the checkbook, laptop and camera and start walking to attempt to find a place to either get it towed too or repaired. Again, Saturday. Nobody is open except for Midas Muffler and they want nothing to do with it.
I contact the RV Triple A people again, they send another tow truck from a different company with the thought of towing me to a campground. As I was able to keep the family in the loop, I find that my cousin had a friend who had just moved to Ogden two weeks before. The tow truck driver drops me off in front of his house.
Now, I’m sure Ogden is a nice town if you live there. But as a visitor, on foot, it is hideous. There is a grocery store across the street, Dominos pizza, and a Chinese place. The “downtown” area is about 1/2 mile away. But at least I was able to piggy back on someone’s Wi-Fi access, and I was able to run an electric cable from the house so that I could keep the fridge going (too late for the food in it,) and charge the laptop and cell phones.
The next day, Sunday, I get a bit restless and decide to explore what I can. By this time I’m thinking I’m going to buy a used car as I couldn’t find a car rental place that would allow me to drive to Portland. I find the Ogden Dinosaur Park, which is not open on Saturday OR Sunday. I find a single history sign telling about how this road used to be a toll road.
(Take through the fence of the park since it was closed)
I start walking and find that Ogden is a dead town on the weekend. Even McDonalds is closed on Saturday. I manage to find a small hole in the wall Mexican place advertising that they’ve been in business for 14 years. I figure if they’ve been around that long the food must be good. So with three tacos and a drink in hand, I keep walking down the road. I end up throwing away full taco and they are the nastiest things I’ve ever tasted.
I end up walking miles, from twentieth street down to sixtieth. Not a single used car dealership is open. Not a single fast food place it open. The auto parts store I found was closing at 3pm. I walk back to the motorhome and start searching the Internet again.
Finally, I find a Hertz rental place in Ogden. Apparently I was in “North Ogden” which is a TOTALLY different town which was why I didn’t find anything when looking before. I reserve a Chevy Impala for the next day, and make arrangements to leave the motorhome where it is for later.
Picking up the car, I find they’ve given me a Jeep Comanche instead of the Impala I wanted. I was a tiny bit mad about that, as the Impala got better gas mileage. But the Jeep had more cargo room which I exploited to the fullest.
During this time, one of my high school friends that I had not talked to in years let me know via Facebook that he was in Ogden! Woo Hoo! So I went down the road to Hill Aerospace Museum, before meeting up with him for lunch. The museum is OK. It had a few planes (and helicopters) that I’d never seen in person before. But compared to Boeing Field Museum of Flight in Seattle and the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville, it wasn’t that impressive to me.