Mt. Pleasant, PA

Well, shit.


“Uh, Jake – SHIT – we have an oil problem. As in, Dyna’s ass is covered in it. And also, the Jeep’s face is covered too” – me, probably, yelling across the parking lot at a rest stop to Jake

So, about those oil splatters we have been mostly ignoring on and off since Florida. They have turned from ‘light dusting’ to ‘torrential’. Shit.

Luckily, we noted this new level of oil situation at 3:45pm on a Friday afternoon somewhere on some highway between Columbus and Pittsburgh. So, finding a knowledgable any diesel engine dude/woman was super easy damned near impossible. That’ll teach us to ignore Dyna’s cries for attention.

So, at 4:00pm on a Friday afternoon, Jake called anyone with the words ‘diesel’ and ‘mechanic’ next to their name in a growing radius of the somewhere in Ohio rest area. And we got the expected response: “yeah, we’re closing soon, so no.” This is definitely code language for “it’s freaking Friday and I’ve got a 6 pack icing in the fridge.” We completely understand how important a Friday afternoon beer is, so, we understood when nobody begged to take us in.

It was a crappy feeling though. And put us in the position of needing to decide whether to camp out at this rest area (probably illegally) until Monday, or continue on down the road – oil fricassee be damned.  Two separate mechanics told us we should be fine to drive a bit further to some loser who works late on a Friday. One told us that our engine might blow up.


We decided since none of our dash dongles (real word – don’t doubt) were lighting up, the oil level was (somehow) okay, and there was no loss of torque or weird driving symptoms, we would continue on down the road – vomiting oil across Ohio and into PA.

After about an hour we pulled into a fuel station to check on the situation ‘back there’. Yeah, it definitely wasn’t getting better. We noted a bunch of construction type vehicles at a company across the street, and decided to give them a call and plead our sob story. And guess what? They took us in. The guys there were literally getting into their trucks to pull out for the weekend, but for whatever kind hearted reason, they got back out and told us to come on up the hill and they’d have a look. Mind you, this place was not even a diesel shop – they had no stake in possible repair bills. They were just genuinely good guys who probably needed a good laugh at the two idiots driving their 40,000lb oil covered box on wheels down the highway.

Well, after climbing about underneath the nether regions of Dyna, they threw the word ‘blow by’ around a bunch, told us that we’d be fine to drive another hour or so down the highway to the Cummins shop outside of Pittsburgh, and refused to take any form of a tip / gesture of our gratitude. That’s them in the picture above. You can’t see their angel wings in that photo because they have to protect them from oil spill with sweatshirts. I swear they are there though.

Sometimes people are amazing. Actually, most times, people are amazing.

We pulled into the Cummins Shop outside of Pittsburgh around 6pm. Cool thing about a lot of Cummins (big rig diesel shops) shops; many of them are open til all hours of the night, sometimes even 24hrs. Perk of having a semi-truck type engine in your house I guess. Cause trucks gotta truck. There are deliveries to be made. Candy deliveries…

Anyways, the guys at Cummins were really nice. Other than when they quoted us $23k to repair our engine. Because I guess blow by means that we’ve probably blown a piston, and possibly destroyed a cylinder head, which I now know are deep within the bowels of Dyna’s power box. Because apparently, there is a hole in our air intake pipe, which is located after the engine filter, and therefore, dirt has been having a party in our engine.

And I now know that fixing those things takes a lot of time (weeks) and tearing apart of various contraptions. Oh, and costs a lot of money.

Yeah, other than that – super nice. They told us that we were welcome to camp out and plug in behind their shop for the weekend, even if we decided not to let them rob us of our entire savings and credit card limits.

So, we took them up on that. We parked outside the shop, and spent the weekend playing with Jake’s friend Shane, who we were intending to visit / moochdock with, before our oil extravaganza.

We played. And we considered our options for fixing our engine that has only 105k miles on it. Dudes, if you don’t know, that’s baby aged for a diesel engine. She should just be getting broken in. But sometimes dirt decides to party in your engine – without you ever being invited to said party. Damn, being an adult sucks. None of the fun, and all the clean-up.

But also, we played.

Jake talked Shane into (secretly) taking me to the shooting range. I’m pretty sure it took a lot of ‘convincing’ on Jake’s part, because Shane pretty much hates guns. (LIE)

I’d never shot a gun before. And it was neat. And terrifying. And loud. And overwhelming. Advice for future first time shooters: keep your ear muffs on at all times. Be cool about hearing safety. (Oops)

When we weren’t shooting guns (there was a lot of gun shooting), we caught up with Shane and his excellent, inviting family, ate food things (thanks Shane’s parents!), toured the countryside by car and foot, slid down a giant slide, and attempted to attend a tractor pull. Sadly, the tractor pull was cancelled. Valiant attempt though.

And then we made the decision that we needed to cut our visit with Shane short. And that decision sucked. But sometimes adulting sucks. And one of the perks of living in an RV is flexibility. Or maybe it’s more of a necessity.

We are lucky in this engine nightmare. Even though Dyna is clearly going to need some serious engine work, we are still able to drive her. Actually, one of the mechanics told us we could probably get another 7k miles out of her if we don’t mind an oil outfit and keeping her reservoirs topped off.

But we’re hoping for more than 70k miles. We’ve still got a lot of exploring to do. And also, oil is nasty.

So we’re headed to my (Liz) hometown. We’re going to park in my mom’s driveway, and we’re going to figure out our situation. And figuring out your situation is much better when you can crash with your parent rather than a hotel room. Or on the side of the road.

Before we headed out, Jake thought it might be nice to celebrate me moving up to level 31; especially since we decided that we would leave bright and early on the anniversary of my 31st year and drive to my hometown. Driving Dyna is cool, but it’s not the ideal way to spend your birthday. But Jake is cool – so he loaded me up with a Pittsburgh style sammy the night before.

Who knows what we’ll decide to do with our behemoth of a mobile home – but at least our bellies will be full for the foreseeable future. (Those sammies are HUGE.)