A quick update on our forced stop in Odessa, TX for mechanical repairs: We might be back on the road tomorrow…

We have a somewhat more positive report from 5 Star Diesel Repair today.  They were hampered by the sub freezing temperatures during the last week and did not really make much progress until Monday.  Since then they have troubleshot and repaired the throttle linkage problem and replaced both driveshaft u-joints.  Yesterday they confirmed that the solenoid activation assembly for the transmission is shot, or as the service manager explained: “tits up in the rhubarb.”  Once again, pardon the technical speak. Unfortunately this solenoid proved very difficult to source, so they had a local shop manufacture it, which involved hours of work on aluminum billet, wiring, compression line fitting, etc.  That translates into mucho dinero, but we don’t have a lot of choice at this point, and it has been a long-standing problem that needed addressing.

If all goes well, they will have it installed tomorrow morning, which will then allow them to road test and see if it actually fixed the reverse gear sticking problem and maybe even the top gear problem.  Fingers crossed.

As of this morning we have exhausted our Marriott points at the Residence Inn, but considering everything that was included we got a great deal of value from those points.  With Marriott reward points the fifth night of a five-day stay is free , plus WiFi, breakfast, and half of our dinners were included in the relatively low cost.  All good things come to an end, and this afternoon we had to switch to a TownPlace, also a Marriott property, since they had an excellent military rate that could not be matched by the other chain properties. Because of the oil boom of the last half decade, Odessa is way short on housing and hotels, and they are surprisingly expensive here.  Fortunately our dedication to loyalty programs saved the day.