Alaska or Bust! – Busted the motor!


So we started out off to Truckee, the first stop on our trip to Alaska.  We got to Pleasanton in the east bay when the motor blew up.  It made a load rattling noise, the low oil pressure light went on, and the motor died.  Would not re-start.  We had to use the emergency lever to get it into neutral.

Highway 680
Highway 680 exit 21A The end of our trip!

Fortunately, the week before, I’d signed up for the Good Sam roadside assistance, and they towed the Jeep and the trailer off the highway, and over to the local Jeep dealer.  This is probably what happened:

The Jeep dealer didn’t want us to park it on his lot, but suggested that we ask next door at Car Max since they have a large empty parking lot.  They told us we could, so we parked the rig there.  Then I asked if we could stay in the camper, the guy I talked to said sure, so we made dinner, and settled down to watch a movie.

view out the window. Doesn't look like Truckee.

view out the window. Doesn’t look like Truckee.

At 7:00 PM I get a phone call from Car Max saying that we had to leave.  We couldn’t stay on the property, so we called our son, who came and picked us up.  They also told us we had to move the trailer by Friday.

Our back up vehicle wasn’t up to the job, so we tried to rent a truck to pull the trailer home.  We tried U-Haul, but their trucks came with a 2″ ball (the trailer takes a 2 5/16), and the ball is welded onto the truck.  Everyone else didn’t allow towing with their trucks.  We tried to get Car Max to give us more time, but they wouldn’t budge.


Meats can do a lot, just not tow a trailer.
Miatas can do a lot, just not tow a trailer.  Note the vast parking lot.

We finally called a tow company, who for $350.00 pulled the trailer home.

tow truck home.
tow truck home.

We finally got her back home safe and sound.  Nobody was hurt, although the tow truck driver hit some bumps at speed, and caused all sorts of havoc in the trailer.

Home again all safe and sound.
Home again all safe and sound.

Jeep is ordering me a new motor, it’s under warrantee.  How long it is going to take to fix I don’t know, but our Alaska dream trip isn’t going to happen.  Marian needs a medical procedure in the middle of August, so there just isn’t time.  Ah well, it could be worse.


4 thoughts on “Alaska or Bust! – Busted the motor!”

  1. Glad this didn’t happen on a more desolate stretch of the Alaska Highway. We’re still rooting for you and Marian! Seattle or Bust perhaps?


    1. Yes, we’re looking at a trip up to Idaho, and over to Washington and Oregon. We may go up to Banff Canada. We figure we have the passports and all.
      Hope you all are doing good,

  2. Hi Boomalongs!

    Very sorry to hear about the motor fiasco. But you are right…it could be a LOT worse. You could have been in a remote location far from home. Get your new motor yet? Hope all is well otherwise. Not much new at work. Roger Chevalier moved into your old office. When is the Idaho trip?

  3. Hi All,
    this is Marian. Thanks for checking in! We got our new motor, then we had to wait while testing was done (testing….so pointless, right 🙂

    When we finally got the truck back, the summer was waning fast, so we just drove up to Eureka (not recommended ), then went to Gold Beach, Oregon; WOW, do they know how to do sunrises and sunsets there!!!. Gorgeous!

    We got a chance to test our air conditioning when we got to Lake Shasta , where it was 104 degrees in the shade. I felt sorry for all the young folks out there in tents while we languished in our 72 degrees splendor.. he…he….

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