Tuesday, January 18, 2005

This seems to be our week for suspension problems. While embarking the Cameron Ferry today, we unseated the left side drive-axle air bag. Gave us a bit of a scare, as we were unsure we could make it back off the ferry with the rear end down on the stops. We just barely made it, while Louise, I, and the ferry guy all held our breath.

What happened, we surmise, is this: we "pumped up" the suspension to it's max height, which means also max pressure in all the bags. This is routine whenever we need to go over a bump or a swale, so we don't high-center or low-center. The loading ramp to the ferry had a sharp drop-off onto the deck, almost like rolling off a curb, and we think the tag axle, at max pressure on the bag, held up enough of the weight in the back that when the drivers dropped off the ramp, the left bag broke its bead.

In any case, this sidelined us at a small turn-out near the ferry dock for almost three hours, while we waited for road-side service. Between myself and the service guy, and the four jacks and two pry-bars we had between us (and a bit of dish soap from the kitchen) we managed to get the bag re-beaded. Unseating one of these bags is a constant concern of ours, because it usually takes multiple jacks, a bigger air compressor than we can carry, and a lot of grunting (and finger-crossing) to get them re-seated.

Nevertheless, we were on our way before nightfall. However, darkness was upon us as we crossed the state line, and we stopped here at the Umphrey State Park (map). The park appears to be open, but the campground is empty. A sign says to pay for camping at the store across the street, but a sign there says they are closed until sometime in February. We parked here anyway -- we don't need the electric hookups (which are padlocked, presumably until the store re-opens), and it was the first place we came across where we could safely and legally park.

Tomorrow we will stop in Beaumont to visit friends. We had planned to see them tonight, but the air bag fiasco supervened.

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