STE1 Hop 5: North Salt Lake City UT to Salina UT

STE1 Hop 5

STE1 Hop 5

157 miles via I-15, UT 50 and local roads. Cumulative tow miles: 1011. Truck miles: 226. Cumulative truck miles: 1144.

This was not the hop that I planned because the truck failed us when we got to Salina. Everything was fine until I got to a stop sign where UT 50 took a left into town. Stepped on the gas… nothing. Just some funny noises from the engine. It was still running but no power whatsoever. I looked at the dashboard and, sure enough, the “check engine” light was on. Shades of Stony Brook VA where we had a problem with the electrical connection to injector #7 about 2 years ago. I shut off the engine for a minute, restarted it and had enough power to complete the left turn and get into a service station. The attendant there gave me a number to call. Got a guy who told me to take the rig to K&K Auto Service about a mile away. Drove the rig there and found a guy who diagnosed the problem – injector #2 – but was unable to fix it (not a diesel guy). He reset the code and we tried to move on, but the problem recurred immediately.

We have been very lucky when we have had problems with the rig on the road. We made it through our early blowouts relatively unscathed (though the RV took some hits), with no change to our itinerary. Even the injector problem in Stony Brook, though it delayed us by a day, turned out surprisingly well as a mechanic in a little shop in a little town was able to diagnose and fix the issue for a low cost.

I have to say that our luck is still holding. We could easily have been stranded in the middle of nowhere (and there is a lot of nowhere in southern Utah). But the truck was gracious enough to break down in a place where we could deal with a serious problem with minimal discomfort. While we were unable to get to Richfield, 15 miles distant, where there is a GMC dealer, the K&K shop is adjacent to an RV park that had vacancies. We were able to hook up and settle in for a very nice dinner (filet mignon – a treat we felt we deserved) and, surprisingly, TV. While this little park – which appears in no travel guides – had no cable, it had surprisingly good over-the-air TV reception. On our bedroom TV (which always pulls in more channels than the living room TV – don’t ask me why) we got 25 channels, all with good signal strength. That, to me, is mind-boggling. Salina is in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by mountains. Where are the TV towers?

So we are safe and warm for the weekend. I will take the truck back to K&K first thing on Monday and see if the diesel guy can solve my problem. Otherwise I will drive the 15 miles to the GMC dealer and see if they can help. Best case: we are able to move on to Kanab UT on Monday after a quick, cheap fix. Worse case: we stay in Salina for another day or two and have to adjust our itinerary while GMC figures out the problem.

Sunset over I-215

Sunset over I-215

I did have to cancel the two nights that we were planning on staying in Bryce Canyon, which puts my visit to Bryce Canyon at risk. But if we make it to Kanab on Monday I can make a day trip to Bryce Canyon in place of my planned day trip to the north rim of the Grand Canyon. But the RV park in Bryce Canyon didn’t penalize us for the late cancellation – they took pity on us and wished us well. Nice!

I have posted my photos from Salt Lake City, but haven’t mentioned our RV park there – the Pony Express RV Resort. We really liked this park. Huge sites with concrete pads, very nice facilities, very well-maintained. A dog park that Rusty loved. Only about 15 minutes to downtown Salt Lake City. It suited our needs very well.

It wasn’t the most scenic park, however. We were adjacent to I-215 (the beltway around Salt Lake City) and our view was mostly of a huge gravel pit and a Chevron refinery. But the sunsets were very nice and, not surprisingly, the weather was very clear (the area averages 72% of possible sunshine in October).

One surprise for us was our failure to get even a glimpse of the Great Salt Lake. It is a huge lake and I thought it would be a prominent feature in the region – like Lake Michigan in Chicago. But it is kept well hidden and doesn’t figure into the geographical attractiveness of the area at all. The snow-capped mountains that hover over the city, on the other hand, dominate.

With our stay in North Salt Lake, we were able to add Utah to our map. Number 45. 3 to go.

View from the park entrance

View from the park entrance

Sunset over the mountains

Sunset over the mountains

#45 - Utah

#45 – Utah

2 comments to STE1 Hop 5: North Salt Lake City UT to Salina UT

  • Nancy

    Before u go to the North Rim u need to check k. I believe the north rim is closed after this weekend. We r headed to Arizona I in Nov and during my research for south rim tu believe I read north rim is closed

    • Sparky

      Thanks for the heads up, Nancy, but I think the North Rim option got shut down by our truck problems. Even if we get it fixed today, we have lost 3 days and the North Rim would be the first thing chopped. It looks like we will probably lose Bryce, Zion and Monument Valley, too, which will be very disappointing, but I simply can’t take a rig I don’t trust into those desolate areas.

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