Our Annual Denver Pit Stop

Almost a year passed since we stopped in Denver last November.  And what a year.  In the winter we traveled around New Mexico and Arizona and settled for a while in Southern California, in the spring we headed north mostly on the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington, in the summer we visited Vancouver Island, Vancouver (the city), and beautiful National Parks in Western Canada, and in early fall we visited more national parks in Montana and Wyoming.   Whew!

8000 miles on the RV, who knows how many zooming around in the Subaru, three Canadian National Parks in two provinces, eight US National parks in eight states, one trip to Miami for a wedding, and lots of great adventures later it was time to head back to Denver for our annual pit stop.

rv-repair-road-sign-nut-1-copyIsland Girl had been running hot when going up long grades causing us to have to drive slowly and carefully to avoid overheating.  This overheating problem had been getting progressively worse, so we scheduled a thorough check of our radiator along with our annual oil change and RV chassis service right as we arrived in Denver.  Hoping to get all the major RV service over with and then enjoy our stay at Cherry Creek State Park.

Meanwhile we’d made plans with many of our friends and family and were really looking forward to some quality time with them.  Starting with Hector’s cousin Roy and wife Cindy who we stayed with while Island Girl was in the shop.

denver  001And we had appointments with doctors, the dentist, the veterinarian  and the Subaru dealer for its scheduled service.  And planned to wash the RV roof, wax the coach, wash all of the windows and the carpet. Along with emptying and cleaning the basement and all of the cabinets, and ditching anything that we decided we didn’t need (our third time doing this). And washing and treating the kayaks. All in two weeks.denver  002

It all started out wonderfully, especially our times of respite with friends and family.

And the Freightliner dealer diagnosed the radiator problem as an incorrect mix of radiator fluid and radiator fluid additive.  So easy, we thought! Not so much!

When we got Island Girl back, she unfortunately ran hot once again on the way back from the Freightliner dealer. Grrrr! And we found out that this particular freightliner dealer doesn’t do “complex” mechanical jobs (now they tell us). So we made an appointment to take her in to a second dealer that we’ve used before (long story as to why we took her to the first dealer to begin with).

ducttapeSo five days after settling in at our campsite, we had to drive Island Girl back up north once again. And as we got ready to go we had a slight freak accident when we closed the slides.  A broomstick got caught by one of our slide mechanisms and poked a hole through one of our basement doors!  We have a temporary patch on the hole and will get around to a real fix eventually.

RBILOGO.JPG.w300h294And so what was the problem with the radiator? Nothing more than ten years of accumulated dirt and crud which were limiting the cooling power. Nothing that a slightly expensive partial disassembling and cleaning of the radiator couldn’t fix.   Well, it could have been much worse. Island Girl is back! And running better than ever since we’ve owned her. And we will be cleaning the radiator twice a year to maintain it.

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denver  003Back with friends, our visits were great fun, with some friends coming over to visit Island Girl, some hosting us for wonderful meals, and others meeting us at pubs and yummy restaurants. We are very grateful that so many of our friends made time for us and it was great to be back in Denver.

Amazingly, especially for Hector, we often forgot to take pictures.  But here are a few of our dearest friends.

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We also discovered that some of our blogger friends were also in Denver while we were there. And were able to make plans with both of them. We met with Ingrid and Al early on and spent a few hours catching up on the last year.   We first met them back in Tucson last winter and discovered that they left Colorado on their fulltime adventure shortly after we did. It’s crazy how we’ve only met twice but it feels like we’ve known each other a long time!  Once again, no one remembered to take a picture.

denver  012 denver  013We had not met LuAnn and Terry personally, but had connected through our blogs several times. Hector and I were really looking forward to meeting them and it turned out that they were staying at the same campground as we were. But we were both pretty busy. Still we were able to squeeze in a couple of “happy hour” visits. So glad we did!  They are awesome!

It was nearing the end of our stay and Island Girl had a clean roof, a fresh coat of wax, was a little lighter after our cleaning out, and best of all, was not running hot!  We were feeling great about having made it through most of our very long to do list.

hailingI met my friend Alice for lunch while Hector and Angel remained at the campsite. I was so engaged in conversation that I didn’t notice a storm that blew in during our several hours at the restaurant. But when we left it was pouring rain, with a little light hail, quite a storm.

0511-1010-2302-0521_Cartoon_of_a_Giant_Piece_of_Hail_Falling_at_a_Mans_Feet_clipart_imageAs I got closer to the campground the storm had subsided but I noticed big clumps of hail accumulated by the side of the road. The hail in the area of our campground was marble size.     Uh-Oh!

Yes, we had damage – our roof had a few dents, two air conditioner covers and the skylight over our shower were both broken, our little plastic table was destroyed and a metal one now has decorative dents, all three of our slide toppers were full of holes and, our sewer hose was damaged. Ugh.denver  024


The next day we called our insurance agent and told him that we were headed to Albuquerque so he referred us to a couple of service shops that they work with there. We chose Camping World, not because we’re great fans of their service, but in case we had to do follow-up in any other city.denver  025




denver  026Then, right before we left, we received test results from Angel’s veterinarian visit that were concerning – her calcium level was above normal. This can cause problems so we need to find the cause. I always say that they come in threes.

duckWell, we were determined to continue to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta so Hector did some magic with Duck Tape on Island Girl and we took Angel back in for a follow-up test right before we left.

Then it was a race to get to Albuquerque – we had to make it by 4:30 so Camping World could inspect and document the damage before setting up camp.

Then we had to arrive at the Balloon Fiesta campground by 7 p.m. – so many rigs come to this huge campground for the event that they don’t allow arrivals after 7 each evening.

Fortunately, with our sparkling clean radiator, we were now passing other rigs instead of them passing us. And we made it to Camping World in time. The people in this Albuquerque location, both the mechanics and administrative staff were extremely professional.  They inspected Island Girl, got all the information and photos they needed for the estimate and the insurance company and had us out of there in a little over an hour.denver  340

And we made it to the campground just before 7. But we were very, very tired.

So our annual Denver pit stop was a mix of great visits with friends and maintenance on all members of Camp Lopez, wheeled, two legged, and furry.  But it was way too short.  Note taken for planning our next time through.

~ Brenda

P.S. Here are updates from Albuquerque on Island Girl and Angel.

Island Girl update: The roof damage was greater than we realized and she needs a new roof, along with a/c covers and skylight, a new solar panel and slide top awnings. After some gentle prodding from Hector explaining that we live in our rig, Camping World slid us in front of some other people needing repairs (no fulltimers) and some of the parts arrived the week after Balloon Fiesta.

We’ve scheduled a service appointment to coincide with the arrival of the remaining parts. And the best news: so far everything is covered and we just have our $250 deductible and our fulltimers coverage will also cover up to five nights hotel stay (with a cap of course).

toonvectors-12897-940Fiesta  111Angel update: Angel started to have “accidents” in our coach while we were in Albuquerque and we initially thought it was the change in schedule (we were walking her before dawn). But things got worse, including a little blood in her urine, and we took her to the veterinarian in Albuquerque. Seemingly unrelated to the test results in Denver, she’d developed a urinary tract infection, she has been taking antibiotics and is doing better.

In regards to the high calcium, follow-up tests still showed high calcium, and we’re in the process of more tests and have ruled out some of the graver possibilities. And we’re watching her closely for additional physical symptoms, but she is in good spirits. We’ll keep everyone posted, we are worried, but hopeful.

During all of this, we still thoroughly enjoyed Balloon Fiesta at Albuquerque, it’s an amazing event – stay tuned for the next post.

35 thoughts on “Our Annual Denver Pit Stop

  1. Wow I am actually at a loss for words… Ingrid and Al… LuAnn and Terry what great people to meet up with… I would give my false teeth to meet up with all six of you…

    The hail damage could not have been pleasant and one must be thankful for insurance…

    Worry about the dog but you PS helps as things seem to be improving…

    Loved this post … always so detailed and thorough… makes me feel as though I’m there with you two….

    • 🙂 Bulldog, we would all love to meet you too! Come visit! We’re staying positive about Angel, we so wish that she could tell us what is wrong!
      Thanks for staying with us on our journey.

  2. Whew, I need a nap after reading all this. It was great reconnecting and with such a busy schedule we feel privileged you squeezed us in. It does seem when it rains it pours….. literally and figuratively. Hope everyone is now in tip top shape and you all enjoy some desert down time. You’ve earned it 🙂

    • It was great reconnecting with you too, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re still waiting on repairs, going on 10 nights at hotels. Can’t wait to get back to Island Girl.

  3. I MUST HAVE A MISSED the post where you got a dog, she is a beauty. Blood in urine and higher lever of calcium usually points to calcium oxalate stones . Hopefully your Vet did a bladder xray.hope she feels better

    • Angel has been with us the whole time, but we don’t write about her on every post. We did have an X-ray but will probably do an ultrasound next. Thanks for the information.

  4. It was great seeing you guys in Denver! Wishing Angel the best and a speedy full recovery. I am so glad your insurance covered all the hail damage. That must have been a load off your minds. Great write up and pictures as always. Miss ya and take care. Karen : ) Happy Halloween. Boo!

    • Thanks, Karen. Seems like insurance will cover most of our costs, but we’re going on 10 nights in a hotel and hoping to get back to Island Girl soon. Happy Halloween to you too!

  5. Oh my, I can’t imagine what it must have been like inside the RV during that storm!

    Going “home” is always such a whirlwind, isn’t it?!

    Fingers crossed for Angel…and also a quick and successful turn around on the roof job!

    • Hector said it felt like ten people with hammers were hitting the rig. Fortunately, the car was with me at another location. Going home was crazy, but we definitely over planned this time. Still waiting on the roof repair, going on 10 nights at a hotel at this point, can’t wait to get back to Island Girl. Thanks for your good thoughts for Angel.

  6. new roof….holy moly!!! You guys had a helluva a couple of weeks. So glad the insurance covers you. And also very happy Angel is ok. Wow! You really took all this in stride, and graciously too!


    • I know! We’re still trying to figure out the cause of Angel’s issues, I wish she could tell us what’s wrong! It feels like a never ending process right now, but hopefully we’ll find the cause of her problems. Everyone has problems and setbacks, but how you handle them either makes life easier or harder. Thanks for your positive feedback.

  7. OMG!!!!! When you said things became more complicated at departure time, you weren’t kidding! Who was expecting that hail storm the end of September???!!! Hail season is spring, not fall. UGH. We hope you are repaired and rolling again. And prayers for your Angel… she’s such a great friend to you both and we know how important she is to you. We hope she is and is feeling better! Fun photos of fun times shared! Are you and Angel in AZ and Hector in FL, or is my memory failing (even more?? – another ugh!)? Godspeed, Friends!

    • Yes, that was crazy. Angel is still not quite right, and we’re still trying to track down the cause of her problem. She is such a good girl, we just want to take care of her as best we can. We so enjoyed seeing you! We’re still in Albuquerque waiting to get Island Girl back, going on 10 nights at a hotel. We arrive in Tucson on November 7th, and Hector will leave on the 8th for a week – but we do have friends in Tucson. Thank you always for your positive thoughts and words.

  8. So happy we finally got to meet up with the two of you, if only for two quick visits.

    You two have had one heck of a ride with rig issues recently. Glad to know that Island Girl is now better than she was before and that the hail damage was taken care of by insurance for the most part.

    We have Angel in our thoughts and hope for the very best for her.

    • Thank you, LuAnn. We’re at a hotel going on 10 nights, and will hopefully get Island Girl back on Friday. Thanks for your positive thoughts for Angel, we’re still running tests trying to figure out what is causing her problems.

  9. Wow! So sorry to read about all your troubles. Good to know that things are being mended and all is getting taken care of:) All will be running smoothly soon.

    Please keep us posted on Angel. Hope you discover what her problem is. But good to know Angel is feeling well:)

    How nice that you met Terry and LuAnn!! Aren’t they just the neatest people!!

    • Thanks, Pam. You know, we all have problems along the way, and we’ve been pretty lucky for the most part. We hope to get Island Girl back on Friday. Will keep you posted on Angel, we’re still waiting on more test results – the waiting is so tough! Thanks for your concern and thoughts.

      We loved LuAnn and Terry, looking forward to catching up with them again. And when are we going to catch up with you guys?


  10. Wow. You dealt with a LOT in a very short period of time. You two amaze me with your ability to handle so many things at once. We’ll be doing the check ups, basement cleaning, reuniting with friends, etc soon, but we have 3 months to ‘squeeze’ it all in! Wishing the very best for Angel.

    • I’m afraid we overplanned, and will not plan so much next year. Thanks for your good thoughts for Angel, we are still waiting on test results and trying to figure out what is wrong.
      Hope we see you down the road this winter.

  11. Oh my god, I’m so sorry about all that damage from the hailstorm!

    I hope Angel is doing better, give her scratches for me and tell her Curtie misses her!


    • Thanks, Leigh. Angel isn’t quite right yet, we’re waiting on more test results and trying to figure out next steps. Meanwhile, we’re giving her lots of love, trips to the dog park, snacks etc. Will give her extra scratches on your behalf tonight and maybe show her a photo of Curtie to cheer her up 🙂

  12. Hector/Brenda; I had the same clogged radiator/charge air cooler on my Phaeton earlier this year and come to find out that it is a fairly common problem with the rear engine cooler packages no matter what brand of bus or engine you have… after buying a gallon of Simple Green from Walmart and and pretreating the radiators several times, I then “hot” water pressure washed them out from the rear of the bus for about an hour the dirt and crap came flowing out of both coolers and it cleaned them right up and now the bus runs as cool as a cucumber. “Hot” pressure washer is the key on this one… I rented one for $35 for a half day…. I’m doing the cleaning now twice a year. Brenda; take care of that “baby”…and keep us up to date on what you find out on her.


    • Thanks for the tip about the “hot” pressure washer, we’d been washing the radiator with dawn and a garden sprayer but apparently that wasn’t enough. Will definitely track down the “hot” pressure washer for the next time.

      We are still waiting on more test results for Angel, and will keep you posted on our baby.

      Take care,

  13. It sure was wonderful to see you three! I treasure the time we spend together. : )

    And I’m sending Angel lots of good energy for perfect health and wellness…


    • It sure was wonderful. Thanks for your good energy for Angel, still don’t know what’s wrong, but hoping to find out more next week.
      Miss you,

  14. Whew….you guys have been busy! So sorry to hear about the storm damage. Spencer and I got caught in one while traveling through Idaho. The hail was a bit smaller than marbles so only a few (more) small dents in the Airstream. I am shopping for RV insurance for full timers. Do you have any recommendations?

    Do hope Angel is OK. We will be so happy to see her (and you two!) this January in the desert.

    Vince & Spencer

    • We have been very busy. Sorry to hear your Airstream got a couple of more beauty marks, but glad it wasn’t a lot.

      We have National General Insurance, they are affiliated with Good Sam. Hector did some research, but that was two years ago. We have a $250 deductible, which we were grateful for, some folks that were in our same campground and also had damage were lamenting that their deductible was $1,000, but of course that is a personal decision. Our insurance will cover all our damages ($10,000!) and covers $100 per night up to five nights of a hotel stay. In our case, we wound up spending 10 nights in a hotel (we’ll be posting on that) and they didn’t reimburse anything over $500. Just something to be aware of. You should still do your own research, but make sure that you work with a company that is experienced in insuring RV full timers.

      Angel is not doing so well, we are still figuring out next steps, thanks for your good thoughts.

      Looking forward to catching up with you and Spencer this winter.


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