July 28, 2016 Delta, Colorado

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

Refrigerator Replacement while Battling the Heat

Last week, on the drive from the Ridgeway State Park to my new location at the Black Canyon RV Park east of Montrose, I smelled a strong ammonia odor coming from somewhere, and I guess the only possibilities were my refrigerator or the motorhome AC. Turns out it came from the refrigerator, as it is now officially dead, somewhere in the cooling unit, something has failed or rusted through, bringing an end to my 13 year old RV refrigerator. I suppose that 13 years is actually a pretty good run, as far as RV frigs are concerned, but now I had to turn my attention to getting it replaced, since living full time in a motorhome with no refrigeration is really not a lot of fun.

So, I started with an internet search for a nearby Camping World, finding one just outside Colorado Springs, not too far from my next stop in Lake George. Well, for $2600, they can replace my frig with the same model Dometic refrigerator as I now have. A little pricey, but at least I know it will be a good unit. Oops, a little problem with their scheduling the work however. They say they can squeeze me into the shop on SEPTEMBER 10th. And they can’t budge on that date, regardless of my difficult situation of having to full time without refrigeration. So much for Camping World.

Next I tried Humphrey’s RV in Montrose, where they could do the work as soon as August 10th, better than Camping World for sure, but still just not going to work for me. Oh, and they came in a few dollars less than Camping World also. But I need a new refrigerator today, or tomorrow, not weeks down the road.

A Pleasant Surprise, Jim’s Outback RV in Delta, Colorado

The owner of the Black Canyon RV Park suggested I try Jim’s Outback RV in Delta, which is about 50 miles west of where I am staying, and in the complete opposite direction of where I am headed next, but, I was getting desperate, so off I went to Delta, back west and downhill in elevation and up in temperature, Delta being about 15 degrees warmer than where I am staying at an elevation of 7500’, and this in the middle of an extended heat wave all across the west ( and east also I have read ) .

Driving into Jim’s lot on Route 50, a few miles west of Delta, I felt a little apprehension, a small worn out looking store and a one bay repair facility with a lot of battered looking used RV’s parked all around the dusty, gravel lot. Being desperate, I proceeded on in and explained my situation to the owner. He asked if I had considered just replacing the cooling unit, not the entire refrigerator, and I replied that I was unaware that was an option. He explained that his brother-in-law, who worked out of a trailer body right behind the store, did this all the time and most likely had the replacement unit in stock, AND could do the work TOMORROW! Plus, it would be at least $1000 less than a new refrigerator. Uncertain this was the right thing to do, but very certain that getting a working refrigerator in just a day or two was something I desperately needed, I gave them the go-ahead and was told to show up the next day to have the work done.

So, next day, I loaded up the Prius and left the Black Canyon RV Park and drove west to Jim’s Outback RV to have the work done. I also had arranged for Jim’s to clean out my water heater where I have been having issues with the gas end of the unit misfiring upon ignition, and also to replace my 13 year old water pump with a new 55 PSI water pump. When I arrived at 9 AM, the temperature had already reached the mid 80’s and was predicted to exceed 100 degrees by afternoon, not exactly my kind of temperatures. I was told the refrigerator repair would take most of the day and they would like to be sure it was working properly before I left so I was told I could plug in behind their shop for the night to be sure the frig reached the appropriate temps before I pulled out in the morning. I told them that would be great and so I unloaded the Prius and headed west to Grand Junction and the Colorado National Monument, not a place I had originally intended to visit this summer, but now would have the opportunity to do so.

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

Not that a 100 degree day with white hazy skies is the ideal time to visit this unique red rock spectacle, but I had eight hours to kill and touring in the air conditioned car was without a doubt the best way to do just that. So forgive the lack of quantity or quality of these images, but today was simply not the type of day to visit this impressive place. On a nice cool blue sky fall day, I hope to revisit this National Monument.

Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Colorado National Monument

After leaving the Monument, I drove south and west on Route 141 ( Unaweep/Tabeguache Scenic Byway ) to check out the Red Rock country along that highway. Quite impressive in many places, just way too hot to have any real desire to stop and take images along the way. Another trip best done in the fall or early spring.

I returned to Jim’s just after 5 PM with the temperature reaching an all day high of 104 degrees. They were just about to put the refrigerator back in the RV when I arrived, and after they got it back inside, I closed the windows, plugged in and fired up the AC, knowing it was going to take hours to get the inside temperature back to bearable. After a fitful night’s sleep, I awoke to find the water in the ice cube trays in the freezer solidified and the frig temps approaching a safe level after just 10 hours of working the new cooling unit, so I figured everything was working as it should, so I hooked up the Prius while morning temps were still reasonably cool, and headed back east towards my next stop in Lake George.

My final bill for the cooling unit replacement was $958 and I was charged another $145 to fix my gas water heater and install the new water pump. So, I would have to say that Jim’s Outback RV did quite well by me, and I should learn to never judge a book by it’s cover.

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4 thoughts on “July 28, 2016 Delta, Colorado”

  1. Yay on the refrigerator cooling unit instead of a complete new refrigerator. I’ll remember to ask about that part when my refrigerator goes out.

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