Thoughts? Portland to Chicago (almost)
So this is a quick story about being stranded and how things can in fact always get a little worse before getting better.
After my Arctic trip earlier in the summer I left my 1995 D-90 in Portland Oregon. I planned on picking it up in late winter for the next leg of the trip down to Belize en route to the southern tip of South America. After a trip to Manhattan to meet with my good friend and fellow D-90'er (who shall remain nameless but is considering selling his rig!!!)I decided then and there that the Defender was definitely not the rig to continue in. Instead I'll be getting a Discovery at some point in the coming months but that's a separate post for DiscoWeb.
So, having decided that the Defender was not going on to Central America and having a free week I decided to head to Portland last minute to see some friends and enjoy a leisurely drive back to Chicago. Ahhh how naive I was. The rig had been dialed in by Northwest Rovers in Portland so i knew it was ready to roll. I spent three days enjoying Portland and headed out Monday mid day. The plan was to roll through Salt Lake City, then on to Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa and back to Chicago in about 4 relaxing days.
Day one was a 12 hour pain in the a$$. It was beautiful through the Columbia River Gorge but by the time I hit Idaho it was rainy and windy and of course dark. the next 6 hours were just plain uncomfortable.
Day two it was snowing like crazy in SLC and in the hills so I decided to use some Hilton points and just hang out and relax. Well in my relaxed state I forgot that weather travels East. Therefor, when I headed out on......
Day three...I did not check to note that i was driving into the worst blizzard and snow storm Eastern Wyoming had seen in a looonnngg time. Had I taken 30 seconds to check the weather I would have noted that 80 was closed from Laramie to central Nebraska. Instead i hopped in the rig and hit the road...great drive until about 50 miles into Wyoming. The wind was INSANE, the fine powdery blowing snow found its way into every opening of the vehicle. I had towels stuffed everywhere but to no avail. It was so cold I could hardly move. Suddenly i started smelling coconut...at that point I knew I was either hallucinating or having a stroke. I scratched my head pondering this smell and realized that my hair was soaking wet from all the snow coming into the car and that in fact I was smelling my wet hair which had been washed with some coconut smelling shampoo earlier that morning!! I was miserable. i powered on witnessing at least 30 accidents and cars stuck in the ditch. Black Ice was everywhere and the snow was coming down HARD. By the time I reached Laramie it was a full on blizzard. Checked into horrible hotel and promptly dropped my iPhone into a sink of water rendering it broken for 5 hours before coming back to life.
Day four...could not sleep...woke up watching the Wyoming DOT site for road openings. All day long it was closed and I burned a full day. It was miserable
Day five....had to get out. called United, bought a ticket from Laramie to Chicago for an ungodly amount of money. But I was getting out. Figured I'd leave the rig there for a few months and come pick up in the spring. Decided to celebrate by going to breakfast. started the truck..ran for about 30 seconds and then died. tried to start again and nothing! I didn't care since i was getting out and planned on leaving it anyway...called AAA they picked it up and dropped off at local shop. No sooner did the rig hit the pavement did I get a call from United informing that flights were locked down for at least three day! Now i have no truck and no plane ticket. Mechanic tells me the engine has no compression and is likely the timing chain....perfect...things can in fact get worse.
tow truck driver takes me back to hotel. lobby full of truckers and stranded drivers. Then in comes my hero...guy was livid and asking anyone how he could get out of Laramie since he was stranded too. Some truckers told him about a crazy deadly road down to ft collins. I asked the guy if he was going to go for it, he said yes and 15 minutes later we were on the road in his huge brand new diesel pick up. i was in heaven. kind of...before we took off he said "two things; I smoke cigarettes in my truck and i smoke weed when i'm driving; I'm carrying enough for both of us to go to jail if we get pulled over" I weighed my options for about 1 second and said let's go. He promptly pulled out his pipe and smoked out like he was a frat boy with nothing to do for the next three days. Turns out that he drove like shit stoned as well...it was terrifying but he did get me to denver for a flight back to Chicago.
It was a miserable trip but all things happen for a reason. Had my timing chain broke in the middle of the night in the middle of no where I would have been stranded in an even worse way so breaking on start up seems a better option.
So the questions:
1. No compression? Timing Chain? Other thoughts?
2. How invasive is the timing chain replacement on a 95 D-90? Any thoughts on reasonable cost?
3. Any concern about a stranger to these vehicles doing this operation?