Saturday, September 19, 2015

Climbing steep hills or where's the Avon Lady?

Water jugs and Union Pass
RVers traveling around the United States will soon find out that hills are a fact of life.

Some are short gentle hills, others are steep monsters climbing over several miles. I think the steepest hill we encountered was in northern California. We were traveling east from Eureka to Redding; the climb into Weaverville, a former mining town, was short but extremely steep. We crept up it at about 10 mph. Going down the other side wasn’t a piece of cake, either.  It was a long grade with lots of curves over several miles. We had to have the truck brakes replaced in Redding.

Other steep routes we’ve encountered were i-70 across Utah, with elevations that reached more than 7,000 feet; Montana’s Beartooth Highway that connects Billings with the northeast entrance to Yellowstone National Park; and Highway 395 through eastern Oregon. This is a very complete list, but when you’re traveling the western United States you need to be prepared for lots of climbing 

Start with always making sure your brakes are in good working condition. Always have water and antifreeze handy in case your RV overheats going up a steepy. You can always get water from your RV’s freshwater tank, but antifreeze for the radiator may not be as handy.

Our truck, which pulls a 28-foot travel trailer, has only had one bad overheating instance in the last two years. We were driving east from Bullhead /City to Kingman in northern Arizona. It was a long, slow climb that was steeper than it appeared. We saw several overheated vehicles as we climbed. We made it to the summit at Union Pass without any problems, or so we thought. We pulled off the road at the summit to eat lunch. My husband had just gone back to the trailer when smoke and steam started pouring out of the truck’s hood. Yep, the truck had overheated.

While we were waiting for the radiator to cool down, I noticed three jugs of water sitting by the elevation sign. Tucked between two jugs was an Avon catalog left there by Amy’s Avon of Bullhead City.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take the number off the catalog so I couldn’t call her and find out how long she’s been leaving water up there for stranded motorists and how often she replenishes the jugs.

It’s more than 30 miles between Bullhead City and Kingman; I would guess the elevation sign is more than halfway, so taking water up there would be time-consuming.  I hope she gets lots of orders from grateful motorists for her efforts.  

Not all stranded motorists will have water with them, so leaving water jugs there provides a real benefit, not to mention good customer relations for Amy’s Avon.