Nice sunset view as we pass over London, England, on our way to Albania.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Shkodra, Albania.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Hiking the Peaks of the Balkans, June 13-24!

Friday, October 26, 2018

A little bit of Mexico in Forks, Washington

When we arrived here in Forks, Washington Sherman was sputtering. There was a definite misfiring in the engine. We were still mobile... but you could tell something was not right.

We had to find somewhere to park for a day or two so we could get this problem sorted out.

Temporarily, we had parked on the street across from the high school, and very near the downtown. I had walked over to the police station to ask if we would be okay simply parking on the street, but the officer was pretty vague about that. Instead, he suggested going to the transit station parking lot. He said nobody would bother us there as many vehicles are left overnight.

So I walked over there to check it out first, and found a big sign at the entrance to the lot saying "No Camping".

We probably would have been okay there at this time of year, but I didn't want to blatantly break the rules even though the cop had suggested it.

So I saw a gravel parking area behind a motel and went in to explain our situation to them. He said they would prefer we park on the gravel lot at their sister motel, the Dew Drop Inn.

Really friendly people working here at the Dew Drop Inn. They even gave us their wifi pass code!

We're a little close to the main highway,  but it will certainly do until we're under way again.

The weather has not been great. It began raining Wednesday night, and yesterday morning it was pretty steady. Not that cold though, with temperatures steady around 60F (15C). But it sure makes things damp inside Sherman!

But fortunately, I can access the engine compartment through the doghouse so can work in relatively good conditions!

I fired him up, and had a water spray bottle to check for arcing from the plug wires, but didn't see anything obvious. In fact, he was running pretty good.

Then, I removed the plug wires from the distributor cap and removed the cap itself. Sometimes hairline cracks can result in a problem, but I couldn't see any. I had changed the cap about 20,000 miles (32,000 kms) ago, and the inside pins were looking pretty worn, and a bit corroded. The rotor didn't look very good either. I would have thought they would have lasted longer than that, but decided to change them and see how things were after that.

If that didn't fix the problem, I would change the plug wires themselves. Again, they were changed at the same time as the cap and rotor, and should last longer than that. But, there are all kinds of reports online about the P30 chassis being hard on plug wires.

We walked in the rain over to the NAPA store where we bought a new cap and rotor for $49 USD ($65 CAD). I also checked into plug wires, and for their top quality heavy duty ones they wanted $184 USD ($234 CAD) and could have them next day if I ordered them before 5pm.

On the way back, I saw a sign above the sidewalk advertising "Mexican Store". We had noticed there seemed to be a lot of Spanish in this town. So we stopped in to see what there was to see.

And it was the best thing we did yesterday!

It was almost as if we had walked into a store in Mexico. Lots of different Mexican products that you normally only see in Mexico. We said hello to the girl behind the cash and began speaking to her in Spanish.

Ruth and Gabriela.

We enjoyed speaking with Gabriela, and she was impressed with our Spanish. It's nice to be able to practice! We're looking forward to learning more this coming winter. Gabriela hasn't been back to Mexico for 20 years! She is from an area south of Mexico City in between Toluca and Cuernavaca.

It was nice to find a little bit of Mexico in Forks, Washington.

Walking back to Sherman, we passed this huge piece of tree...

Forks bills itself as the "Logging Capitol of the World".

Back at the motorhome, I installed the new distributor cap and rotor.

Then, I began checking individual plug wires.

The very first one I pulled looked like this where it attaches to the spark plug...

Yikes... that's no good!

The spark was obviously jumping through the boot at this point, causing the misfire. The other wires all look fine.

So, now to get some wires.

But, I didn't want to get the expensive NAPA brand wires. I wanted Taylor Extreme Service RV Plug Wires. Also expensive, but they seem better than the NAPA ones. And a little cheaper, at $145 USD.

But, I needed them quickly. I found them at Summit Racing online, and if I paid the extra $24 USD for overnight delivery they would show up today (Friday). So that's what I did. With shipping and taxes it came to $184 USD ($234 CAD), the same as what the NAPA ones would have cost.

The parts left Reno, Nevada by Fedex late yesterday afternoon, and are already in Port Angeles, Washington this morning. Scheduled for delivery here after lunch. Amazing!

The rain has stopped, and it's supposed to be decent until Saturday late afternoon. We're even supposed to see the sun for a while tomorrow morning. Then, it is supposed to rain again for several days after that.

Hopefully we will get the wires right after lunch and we can get some more driving done today.

Nice price drop on the Fire HD 10 Tablet...

And in Canada...


  1. Thank goodness you know about mechanics otherwise that could have been big money just diagnosing it!

    1. It is a good thing and what he doesn't know he researches on the internet to try and diagnose the problem. When he has exhausted all his options then and only then will he get some help.

  2. It sure pays to be mechanically savvy! I start to bleed as soon as I pick up a tool!

    1. Definitely but it also takes more time than if he just went to a shop to get it sorted out. Thank goodness we are full timing so that we have the time! ;-)

  3. Looks like you found your problem. First rule of mechanicking: check the cheap and easy things first. Also, you probably made a good choice with the high temp plug wires. P30s are also known to run hot.

    1. Unfortunately not! :-( More on that in today's post.

      Kevin is very happy with these plug wires, they are definitely heavy duty quality.

  4. Nice to find a bit of Mexico where you are.
    That wire looks like it was a Rub Short. Rubs off the Insulation then Shorts on the Manifold. Try giving it more slack at the plug end and possibly add something to stop the rubbing.
    Be Safe and Enjoy a quick and easy repair.

    It's about time.

    1. It is possible but it seems that the wire wasn't the problem of our issue after all. More on that in today's post. These new wires have a protective cover on them so if it was rubbing that caused the wire to look like that, it shouldn't be an issue anymore.

  5. Whew!!! Glad you found the problem. I thought you were going to tell us that the Mexican store had an old chev truck out back and you could have a plug wire off of it!! lol Safe and trouble free travels friends.

    1. Unfortunately, that bad wire wasn't the problem after all as we found out yesterday. More about it in today's post.

      I guess you guys will be hitting the road soon?

  6. My husband, a mechanic for over 20 yrs, says good choice on the plug wires. He also suggested using electrical grease.

    1. Thanks Linda! Yeah, Kevin is very happy with how heavy duty they are. :-)

  7. Maui Tacos in Hawaii was so glad to have visitors from Mexico that spoke English. You probably made their day!

    1. There is a lot of Spanish spoken in this little town so I am sure Gabriela gets to speak it often but she sure was happy talking with us about Mexico. :-)

  8. Glad you got sorted out. We use Summit Racing a lot and their service is excellent in addition to their parts selection. Very much enjoying travelling with you!

    1. Unfortunately, it seems that the wire wasn't the issue after all but Kevin is still happy to have these new wires. Nice to know that you have been very satisfied with Summit Racing and their services. :-)

  9. Hi, I have followed your blog and journey for several years, and excited to learn that you are in Olympic National Park area now. My friend and I have our fifth-wheel on a big RV site in Hoodsport, just by ourselves. We'd love to meet you in person if you are heading to the other side of Olympic National Park. You're welcome to park at our RV site as well. My email is [email protected]. Thanks!

    1. Thank you very much for your invitation but no, we aren't headed the whole way around the peninsula. Right now we are in Hoquiam trying to sort out our mechanical issues and once that is done then we will be headed further south with a side trip into the Columbia River Gorge.

  10. I don't know a thing about mechanics, thank goodness, but we've been to Forks a couple of times and we've visited many of the nearby "attractions." Kinda damp around those parts, but it certainly is lush and pretty!

    1. I don't know much about mechanics either but I sure have been learning stuff since we have had the motorhome. Kevin always explains to me what the problem is and how to fix it or if we have a mechanic like Jamie, I listen to what they say so that I can understand the problem and it was fixed.

      Yes, it is very damp in this area but that is what makes it so beautiful here with all the moss, ferns and big trees.


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