In case you didn’t know, Murphy (of Murphy’s Law) is alive and well…unfortunately. I tried to pinpoint the origin of Murphy’s Law, which is typically stated as “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” The adage is attributed to a number of sources, and there is even a book on the subject (A History of Murphy’s Law by Nick T. Spark, as well as an article, Why Everything You Know About Murphy’s Law is Wrong.)
I didn’t go that deep into the research weeds. I did, however, find a statement attributed to Edward Murphy, who was involved in research on g-forces in the 1940s. In reference to a botched experiment caused by someone’s wiring mistake, Murphy reportedly said “If there’s more than one way to do a job, and one of those ways will result in disaster, then he will do it that way.” (I've known people like that, and I'll bet you have, too.) The “whatever can go wrong will go wrong” concept took on a life of its own, then becoming known as “Murphy’s Law or the fourth law of thermodynamics” which states: “If anything can go wrong, it will.”
I have known about Murphy’s Law for many years. In fact, during the time I spent my weekends racing sailboats on Lake Travis, Murphy’s Law was taken seriously. Whenever we left the docks on the way to the starting line, one of the crew popped a top and poured a cold one over the stern of the boat. Our theory was that Murphy would be busy lapping up the brew and wouldn’t have time to wreak havoc while we were on the course. Sometimes it worked…other times I’m not so sure.
Maybe John and I should have poured out a beer behind the RV when we left Austin last week. We have certainly had enough complications to think that Murphy has been riding with us this trip. Or maybe it’s just Satan messing with us. Who knows?
All was going very well before we left. We were packed early and had enough time to spend an evening with good friends Carol and Larry Hardaway for an early celebration of Carol’s birthday. Then, on Sunday morning as we hooked up the fifth wheel and pulled up the leveling jacks, we got our first clue of what was to come. The rear leveling jack on the port side began spewing hydraulic fluid as it came up. No problem, we thought. We’ll just replace the (mouse-chewed) line along the way. (More on this later.) What we didn’t know at the time was that we had somehow left the knee and elbow pads John needed for the Practical Pistol II course he is taking today and tomorrow.
All went well on our trip to San Angelo, and we had a nice, level spot where we could leave the coach hooked up to the truck and avoid using the leveling jacks. We had a great time with Gage and Zelda on Monday, then retired early before our trip from San Angelo to Amarillo.
Tuesday morning we were up with the sun for a nice walk before leaving. About a mile from camp, we saw something in the middle of the road. It was this beautiful grey fox.
The dogs pricked up their ears and came to alert status, but we told them to “leave it” while we watched to see what the fox would do. It trotted into the grass on the side of the road and watched us closely for several minutes, probably wondering what we were as well. Then it melted into the tall grass and out of sight.
We wasted no time returning to camp and were preparing to leave when John noticed a low tire on the RV. No problem, we thought. He pulled out our pressure tank and aired it up, planning to have the leak fixed in Amarillo. Well, we didn’t make it that far. By the time we got to Big Spring, some 90 miles down the road, the tire had again lost pressure. We stopped at Don’s Tire and after waiting over an hour, found out that the problem wasn’t a leak in the tire but a cracked wheel which allowed a slow release of air. Don’s mechanic put on our spare, and we will need to find a new wheel farther down the road. We pulled out and stopped for lunch, only to find that the mechanic had replaced the wheel, but had not aired up the spare to full capacity. Out came the pressure tank again, and then we were off.
John had been having trouble with our Co-pilot Truck software, and had installed a newer version. We rely on this program because it will route us along roads that can handle our RV…no low clearances, dead ends, etc. But this time “Mr. Rogers,” the voice of Co-pilot Truck, failed us. The software could not find the satellite and kept giving us directions that made no sense, like instructions to turn where there was no road! Not good. It’s easy to find Amarillo, though, so we forged ahead, using the navigation software in our iPhones. The only difficulty we had was when we arrived and needed to find our RV park.
It was getting late, and the blistering afternoon sun was streaming in John’s window. He attempted to block it with a corner of the curtain which runs on a track all around the front of the cab. Well, a tug on the curtain was too much for the track, which was only fastened with small clips. The whole thing came down on top of John. All we could do was laugh. At that moment, our cell-phone software, which didn’t know we were bigger than a breadbox, had routed us down a tiny dirt road and we were bouncing along in the dust, hoping to be able to navigate the next sharp turn. We made it, though, and spent the night at the lovely Oasis RV Resort, It’s just a stone’s throw from “Cadillac Ranch”
and has its own version, a half-buried motor coach.
Have you heard enough yet to believe in Murphy? Take a deep breath; there’s more. The road to Raton, NM, is a straight shot from Amarillo, so we were off Wednesday morning, anticipating an easy trip. I drove a lot of the way while John spent time on the phone with the Co-pilot Truck trouble-shooter, as well as with our credit card company. You see, when we topped off our tanks in some small town between Amarillo and Raton (there aren’t any big towns out there, you know) it was a station that only allowed $75 worth of fuel to be pumped at a time. So, we put in the first $75 worth and then went back and pumped some more. However, when John tried to pay for the second fill-up, the credit card Nazis suspected it was fraudulent and denied the charge. Bring out the back-up card, then move on down the road. I took over the driving, and John spent at least an hour on the phone before the card Nazis were finally convinced that the transaction was denied in error and reinstated our card and the mileage credit we should have received.
OK, so we are now just outside Raton, NM, at the NRA Whittington Center. We pulled in on Wednesday with time to spare and set up in our favorite spot, Site 122. The only problem (or so we thought) was that the site was a little un-level. Since we had not been able to replace the hydraulic line, we could not completely level the RV. No problem, it wasn’t so tilted that we would roll out of bed, so we could spend a night and replace the hose on Thursday. Then we prepared to put out the slides and settle in for the evening. The bedroom and small living room slide worked perfectly, but the big living room slide wouldn’t budge. We felt a little like that tin of sardines, but we could still function. I’m sure Murphy was laughing.
On Thursday morning, John removed the hydraulic line and drove into Raton to replace it. Not! It turns out that the fittings on the ends of the line are proprietary. They aren’t an off-the-shelf item. The auto parts store sent John to FH&W Hydraulic Shop outside Trinidad (30 miles from Raton). The hydraulic shop didn’t have the fittings either, and sent John on to Pueblo, Colorado, (another 84 miles) to a bigger hydraulic shop that was able to manufacture a fitting that worked. John returned late that afternoon and replaced the hydraulic line. At last, we could level the coach and not have things slide off the table.
However, the big slide still wouldn’t go out. So, on Friday morning, Tim from Summerlan RV Park in Raton came out and coaxed the balky slide out and promised to order a new switch. We are at last level and have all our precious square footage available. And we hope Murphy is through with us, at least for the time being.
We have been blessed at every turn with great people to help us. Thanks to God for helping us to find Jack from FH&W Hydraulic Shop, Ken at Precision Hydraulics in Pueblo who fabricated the new hose (and is making us a spare, which he will leave for us to pick up on Saturday since they are closed), and Tim from Summerlan RV Park. With folks like them around, Murphy can’t win.