Wednesday morning was cold in El Paso TX, but there was no snow on the ground as predicted, which made us happy. Benno got the truck warmed up and we were on the road by 7 a.m. We’ve come along Interstate 10 but from El Paso TX this highway continues about 40 miles straight north before it turns southwest again.
Instead of continuing on the Interstate, Benno decided to drive on Country Road 9, which runs along the Mexican border. This road passes thru the town of Columbus NM, which about hundred years ago was raided by “Pancho Villa” the Mexican revolutionary who crossed the Mexican/USA border and shot up the town of Columbus. But he did not know that there was a small detachment of US Army soldiers with a machine gun stationed near by, who woke up from the gun fire and then alarmed gave Pancho Villa and his consorts hell, who quickly retreaded back into Mexico. When the US President got the news of the invasion from Mexico he gave the order of 10 000 US Army troops with General Pershing in charge to do a punishing expedition into Mexico. The troops arrived only a week after the intrusion by train in Columbus NM. With the troops arrived a sub lieutenant by the name of George Patton, who was in charge of motorcars and motor trucks. This was the first time the US Army used beside horses, motor trucks and a kind of armored truck (tank) and even an airplane. This was George Patton first touch with tanks and he did a very well job there and got promoted to lieutenant after the expedition. Benno wanted to take a picture of this tank, which he forgot to take 4 years ago when we visited the museum on our first trip to Arizona with our travel trailer.
The weather was absolutely lovely with sunshine and a blue sky. However, the further we got toward the tiny town of Animas the more overcast it became until we saw the first snowflakes. At Animas there was now snow everywhere and we made our right turn going north on Country Road 338, which would bring us back to the Interstate 10. For a moment we contemplated if we should find a place to stop for the day since there was more snow coming down than we liked. I am glad we continued because once we were back on the Interstate the road started to clear and the further we drove the better the weather got.
Just a few miles before the city of Tucson, as rush hour was starting, our right rear tire of the travel trailer blew up. It totally disintegrated and within seconds we were on a bare rim. Of course we had to stop where we were by the side of the Interstate. We have a spare tire on the back so Benno didn’t waste any time to start the procedure to get that changed. Not much fun as traffic raced by at 75 miles an hour, especially when semis passed as they push a lot of wind that made our trailer shake while it was jacked up. Now I experienced first hand why we always should pull over to the other lane when we see an emergency vehicle stopped by the roadside.
After the tire change we continued driving on I-10 to Casa Grande as it started to get dark quickly but we made it to the Walmart in town and found us a nice parking spot for the night.
On Thursday morning we were rolling out the parking lot around 8 a.m. looking forward to our arrival later on at our Winterhaven CA, RV Campground. We needed to fill up with gas and I found a travel center on the road map on Interstate 8 at exit 119 in Gila Bend. That gas station had quite a collection of Mexican artwork out front and inside the store there were more handcrafted souvenirs that I admired. We filled up with gas and drove out to the street. A hundred yards further we turned back onto the ramp to the Interstate there was a cattle grate, which we drove over with a good bump and before we even came to speed Benno noticed in the rear mirror our rear tires full of smoke. Of course he pulled right over while we were still on the entry lane to the highway and out of the main traffic.
Disaster! The first rear axle springs were broken and the trailer wheel well was riding on the tires. We were both shocked and had to think of our next move. Benno walked back the ramp to the gas station and found pieces of our springs lying by the cattle-grate. He also noticed other pieces of springs there of a different size and all kinds of car debris.
I decided to go the gas station to see if they had any contact information for a spring service but they could not help me. In desperation I talked to a guy in a pickup truck that seemed to be from the area and explained to him our problem. He so happened to know of a local Auto and Diesel Mechanic that did 24 hour road service and he had his phone number programmed in his cell phone. The guy said to me, “Pete can fix anything.” He called Pete, whose name is actually Peteys and said he’ll be here in 10 minutes. True to his word, 5 minutes later Peteys drove up and I hopped in his truck to take him to our broken down travel trailer.
It turned out that not only had we two broken springs, there were pieces missing and broken on all 4 springs. Peteys got to work and dismantled one spring to take with him as a sample to purchase us a new set of 4 springs for both rear axles. For that he had to drive all the way to Phoenix and then back to us to disassemble and reinstall all 4 springs. We were parked by the on-ramp from 9 O’clock in the morning until Peteys finished the job at 6:30 in the evening.
Once the job was done and we had thanked Peteys and paid him for his work we only drove another 35 miles to a rest area to park for the night as we were emotionally drained and tired.
Not only did it shock us that the springs had failed, because our trailer is a 2016 model and only 3 years old and has not been driven much through salted roads, nor is the trailer overweight and we pack light. But as the springs failed in that short distance they damaged all our tires so that we now also need a set of 4 new tires for the travel trailer in addition.
Midmorning on Friday we pulled into the Pilot Knob RV Resort. We’d not finished getting set up when I spotted Rob. He and his wife Pat are also Canadians parked here and good friends with Patsy and Bill from Canada. At the same time George and Suzie, also from Canada, were getting ready to pull out, but we got a super nice welcome from all of them and later on sat in nice warm sunshine at Patsy and Bill’s site for happy hour to tell our story. We are planning on staying here for the rest of the winter season.