Friday, July 1, 2016


When we left Red Oaks Campground at Okmulgee State Park our plan was to drive up to the Boiling Springs StatePark to camp for about a week while we did things in that area.

Well you know good old Murphy from Murphy's Law, he’s always got to put his thumb in it.  We headed out highway 412 and were doing pretty good.  A little over an hour into the trip we decided to get fuel, have a light lunch and then move on down the road.

We had actually got away from camp right on schedule, in fact a little early, the truck was running well and Betty Claire, the fifth wheel,  was following like the good girl she is.

Fuel on the turnpike was actually less expensive than we had seen it at other exits, and while we weren’t low we decided to go ahead and top off the tank since the diesel pumps were easy access there at the McDonald’s. 

I went inside to pay while Gary moved the truck, then joined me for lunch.  We didn’t know Murphy was waiting outside, until we went to leave.  

The truck would not start! It would crank, but not catch.  It was over 100 degrees there on that asphalt as Gary checked various things out to no avail.

A wonderful woman came up and asked us if we would like a ride to town to get out of the heat, and even gave us her mechanics name.  Gary and I thanked her but declined her generous offer.  We knew if we had to we could boondock there in the parking spot we were parked in and that our son could drive up from Tulsa the next day (He was in El Paso at that point, flying home that evening) if we needed him to.

Gary started researching on the internet for possible causes and fixes.  We both suspected the fuel filter, because he had just changed it out a few days before and had more trouble doing so then usual.

Several different forums talked about the bleeder adjustment on fuel filters causing similar problems.  Since Gary had never replaced the bleeder adjustment screw he bet that was the culprit.

Digging around in his tool box he found first his duct tape.  Too thick, then he found a roll of plumbers tape.  Pulled the screw like adjuster out, wrapped the threads and re-inserted it. Drained the air and then tried to start the truck again.

Jackpot! Now to get an actual new part because who knew how long the plumbers tape would last.

We drove into Stillwater, OK looking for a dealership because the forums had mentioned this was a dealership only item.

Would you believe we ended up stopping at an Autozone to ask them where a Chevy dealership was because the gps kept trying to send us to Minnesota? We would have loved to gone to Minnesota, but didn't have a way at that point, or the time.

Luckily the cashier at Autozone told us exactly how to get there.  We  went straight over to the location, which had such a full parking lot we had to park on the shoulder of the service road. 

We were not about to turn the motor off because we weren’t certain we could get it started again. While I sat in the truck Gary walked at a quick pace, nearly running to try to get to the parts department before they closed. He was THREE MINUTES late.  The people were still there, but would not even talk to him about the part.   Told him to come back at 8 am. Gee I guess they wanted to go home to their families or something.

Okay, now what?  We needed to find a place to park the camper for the night.  Sitting there on the side of the road, motor running Gary did a web search for nearby campgrounds.  The closer to the dealership the better, just in case we couldn’t get the truck started again.

He found Cedar Crest Campground near Lake McMurty who said she had a couple of sites available, but both were reserved for future dates and we could only stay two nights on one of them. 

Following her instructions we found the campground, pulled into the pull thru she directed us to and set up quickly.

Cedar Crest is what we call a parking lot type of campground.  No trees, gravel drives, everything is pull thru.  Full hook-ups, no tv but did have internet. Nightly rate $25.  Higher than we like to pay, but heck we were in a pinch, and it did have 50 amp, sewer and internet.  So we took it. 

We know as we get out of the central US we will be paying higher nightly rates, so we take all the COE $10 we can right now to save our camping budget for those much higher priced campgrounds in the future.  Only no COE in this area.

The next morning we called the parts department as soon as it opened to find out they did not have the part in stock and they wouldn’t have it until Friday.  This was Wednesday.

The camp hostess talked to us before she had to leave on personal business for three days and indicated that the site we were in wasn’t actually suppose to be occupied until August 1.  That the person had pre-paid because this small campground is usually full with workers and college students year round. However, since it had been reserved and pre-paid that if the student showed up we would have to vacate it.

That they had weekly ($150) and monthly rates, sorry forgot the monthly rate.  Then she left for three days, this was before we found out we would have to wait for 3 days for the part.

So now we had a pickle to munch on.  Do we stay in the site until she got back so we could pay her, since she was due back Friday night or Saturday morning.  Move our camper if the college student that had pre-paid for the site showed up.  Or try to find another campground and hope that the truck would start and run during the moving.

We decided to wait it out and hope the student didn’t show up.  Luckily he didn’t.
Once the hostess returned to the site she okayed us to stay for the few days that would make our stay a full week and gave us the weekly discount.  We really appreciated that!

When the part finally came in it was only $13 and it took Gary less than 5 minutes to do the replacement.  Works like a charm. 

Now a little more about the campground itself.  While the pads are sparse gravel and there are no good shade trees it is a decent campground, clean and quiet.  They have a two washer, two dryer laundry room.  $1 per load each unit, washers run 37 minutes dryers 45.  They are pretty strict about not leaving your laundry in there longer.  Which helps keep the washers or dryers being tied up for extreme long periods of time.

There are a few cabins to rent, but again I didn’t check the price because it wasn’t applicable to us. 

This is Tornado Alley folks so the campground has two storm shelters that hold 9 people.  There are other storm shelters nearby in town.

Gary and I will admit we had thought we might have to be two of the nine in the shelter nearest us one night.  A storm full of torrential rain and high straight winds rolled through shaking the trailer, that was parked between two larger units, severely.  It was not a fun time, but it was over as soon as it started.

Being the Pollyanna that I am after the storm was over I was thankful for it because it not only washed a lot of dust off the camper and truck, it proved there was at this point no leaks due to the scuff from the dealership.

The bathroom and laundry room are metal portable buildings with log cabin facades on the front of them, not much safer in a heavy storm than a camper would be.
While there are no picnic or patio areas at the sites there is a nice picnic area set up near the pond, which apparently you can fish in as well based on what we saw while there.

All and all it is a clean basic campground with a friendly hostess.  Although we had permission to do a flyover filming we never got around to it because of wind and rain.

Not knowing whether or not the truck would start we did not do much touring around Stillwater.  Gary went to college there at Oklahoma State University, but really had no interest in seeing what changes had happened to the campus since he attended before enlisting and then going to Viet Nam.

When we checked the AAA and online sources for tourism information everything was OSU sports orientated.  We are not sports fans so none of it interested us.

We spent the week scanning photos, re-organizing the stuff we had just loaded into the camper from the farm and once we got the truck part doing our shopping for perishables at Wal-Mart.

By the time it was time for us to leave we had canceled our plans to go to Boiling Springs and decided to go up to the Great Salt Flats in northern Oklahoma, until…we found there were no campsites available there because of the holiday coming up.
Guess we'll go there later in our travels.

We decided to go a completely different direction…Amarillo, Texas.  While we had camp there numerous times before we had always been in transit due to work related appointments.  We could get into the campground we had used several times before for a week.  So time to go tour Amarillo.

Because the gravel is sparse at the campground and we had rain on and off all the time we were at Cedar Crest we were sitting in a mud hole.

Despite how they look it is very easy to get a one ton dually stuck in the mud if you don’t take precautions.

Luckily we’ve been down this path before so when it came time to leave we lined up Legos, as we call the leveler blocks, behind the tires of the truck before backing it up.  While the Legos did sink down in the mud, the truck was on firm enough support that we were able to move on with no problem at all.

Jan who says “Next stop Texas”

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