top of page
  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Harvey gets brain surgery

February 15, 2024 (Thu)

4:00 am Baldock Rest Area, OR

Robert tends to get up early. Like 4:00 am early. At home, he just goes into the office and consumes the internet for a couple of hours. What to do when we’re on the road?

What else—start driving! It’s not like we’re going to miss anything; we’ve been along I-5 in Oregon before and it’s a lot the same. All over. Might as well get some miles under our wheels.

It’s dark and 44° as we head out of the Baldock Rest Area. There’s a surprising number of cars with towels over the windows, indicating people are sleeping inside. Next to us, there’s a woman sitting in her car with the headlights on and the car engine running. Robert checks to see if there’s a hose running from the exhaust into the car—there isn’t, so he leaves her to whatever it is she's doing.

4:05 am Aurora, OR

 Stopping for gas at the local truck stop. Flying J is our new favorite gas station!

They have self-serve for RV’s (typically in Oregon, there’s an attendant who pumps your gas). After standing around in the rain and wind to pump our own gas, the idea of having somebody else do that is looking more and more appealing…

But, the gas is cheap—only $3.05 a gallon!

Back on the road, it’s a lot of rain and dark and glare, but not much traffic. A lovely respite from yesterday’s crawl in Portland.

5:17 am Halsey, OR

Uh oh—As Robert is driving along and taps the brakes, suddenly the backup camera comes on. Then the cruise control stops working.

These are all Freak Out symptoms—another symptom is that the brake lights quit working, unless the lights are off. Driving without headlights in the dark and the rain doesn’t seem like a great way to live long and prosper, so Robert bails off the freeway and parks at a truck stop.

What to do?

Well, it takes two people to check if the brake lights are working and one of them is sleeping in the back.

7:00 am

Gini wakes up and wonders where we are and why. After getting caught up to date, she climbs out the back and watches as Robert tries various combinations of things to see if the brake lights work. Headlights on? Off? Engine running? In reverse? (“If we drive down the freeway backwards…”).

Nope. Not even tail lights this time.

Gini has the idea that we’ll call an RV repair place and they’ll take care of it. Robert is...skeptical, but willing to be wrong.

8:00 am

The first RV place opens and we start calling.

“Today? Ha ha ha! I could squeeze you in next Tuesday,” says the first place. We are, of course, supposed to be in Borrego Springs on Monday, so that’s not going to fit our schedule.

Gini keeps calling and Robert keeps feeding her numbers. Finally, somebody tells us that somebody else is the Go-To guy, and he tells us that he doesn’t do that sort of thing, but Cummins Diesel sure does.

They do? Well, we’re desperate enough to try anything.

“Sure, bring it by and we’ll take a look at it!” says the cheerfully optimistic Service Manager.

9:00 am Coburg, OR

We waste no time zipping down the road to Coburg.

Of course, now the problem has quit happening. Ugh.

So Robert, who has done his share of troubleshooting, gets to talk the service manager into taking a look at it anyway (“It doesn’t always happen, but it’s sure annoying when it does!”). The problem is that if it’s working fine, how do they know they fixed it?

Robert also knows that sometimes when you open something up, you see a large stinking metaphorical rotten egg and you’re pretty sure you found the culprit. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

We agree that they can do an hour of exploratory surgery and extract any bullets they find in the patient.

11:30 am

We spend two and a half hours in the Customer Lounge (free Wi-Fi!) fretting like relatives of a desperately ill patient who’s undergoing a critical operation. Will Harvey make it? Will he be brain-damaged the rest of his life?

Finally, the Doctor emerges, looking far too young to be proficient, but Harvey’s brain is in his hands.

“Well, we found six corroded ground connections at the back, so we cut and stripped the wires, cleaned the frame, installed new lugs, shake-proof washers and self tappers.” He added some other stuff, but we didn’t understand the first stuff, but..

Harvey is saved!

 Harvey in front of the RV Hospital

Maybe. Probably. When we took him to our regular RV spa back in May, they mentioned that there were some bad grounds, but they claimed to have fixed them all.

Harvey will be going to a new spa. It turns out that Cummins Diesel has branches all over the country including one in Everett. We love Cummins Diesel—not only did they squeeze us in, they (hopefully) fixed the problem. At least they did something that should fix the problem, which is good as gold to us. (They also only charged us for the agreed-upon hour of troubleshooting, but it looks like they spent two hours working on it, which warms our hearts.)

We want to have their children


12:30 pm Eugene, OR

After a quick lunch, we are  back on the road driving through pouring down rain. This must be the Winter Storm, they Warned us about yesterday. No snow, but sure a lot of buckets of rain.

We are developing a particular dislike of people who drive in the pouring rain with their lights off. Harvey’s mirrors get pretty murky in heavy rain and often the only way we know somebody is there as we change lanes is by seeing their headlights. We almost wipe out a couple of cars, which Robert thinks is probably the Darwinian thing to do.

We saw this a lot. Road and rain.


2:00 pm Seven Feathers Casino & RV Park, OR

After this stressful day, we decide to knock off a little early and treat ourselves to our favorite RV park—Seven Feathers. We get a spot right across from the pool (and hot tub!), because there’s only about 15 RVs in the entire park, so we have choices.

Gini shows how we put our cares behind us, while Robert swears he has a swimsuit on


After soaking a bit, napping a bit, and eating a bit, we are refreshed and ready to go to bed early and drive like crazy tomorrow!

Gini with her lovely home-made chicken salad


We’re hoping tomorrow will be less eventful…

Day 2 Travel Map

Our travel on Day 2 (Thursday)


Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff 

18 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page