Roadtreking to the Mercedes Dealership and Musings

 Roadtreking to the Mercedes Dealership and Musings

This morning I am sitting in the Mercedes dealership in Provo, Utah. Yep that is right, you heard me correctly. My check engine light came on in the middle of no-where Idaho. After I spoke with the Roadtrek Roadside Assist and was reassured I could drive it safely, I drove through some fantastic country to Provo last night. This morning my RT is in the shop. I am waiting for the diagnosis.

Shopping whle you wait

As I drove from Idaho into Utah I turned over 10,000 miles on my RT. I think it was sitting close to 880 miles when I began this journey. I have done well on this journey so far. I am not done yet. After I get my RT checked out I am driving to the canyons of southern Utah. I certainly want my cute RV ready to go before I venture into the back country. I am glad that I continue to ask for help when I need it. This is a good lesson to remember in all facets of my life.

Since I have last checked in I have spent time in Cody, Wy and Yellowstone National Park. Why these two places, you might ask?  One of the reasons I started on this journey is to figure out what is next in my life. I have always liked Cody so I was exploring it as a potential place to move. Experiencing winter might take a little getting used to.

imageYellowstone is one of my favorite places on this planet. I travel there at least once a year as a tour manager. I am possibly taking a group into the park this coming February, so I decided to drive the north loop and explore. I am the resident expert when I am working.

The real reason is more personal. Jim and I did a winter snowshoe and camp in the park two years ago.  Although it was hard to visit the areas that we traveled together it was also good. I am glad I went into the park. I am glad I visited the places I did. This park is such an amazing place and I feel strongly that even though it was hard to search the memories, it was also very healing for me. I will return to this park again and again.

Here are some of the highlights of my visit to Yellowstone:

  • Grizzly

    Grizzly Bear: Coming into the Park on the west side of Sylvan Pass I saw the often elusive bear. She was young. The ranger told us that the reason she was so high up the pass was because the older bears in the park won't let her come down yet. She had a yummy looking meadow to dig for grubs and Yampa roots.

  • Sand Hill Cranes in the Lamar Valley.
  • Watching a young Osprey taking test flights from his nest.
  • Elk

    Elk. I saw one bull elk herd all his ladies into the woods when the tourists got too close.

  • Elk bulls bugling. My favorite moment was when I was sitting on the ground near Mt Washburn pass. I was alone and a bull let out the most amazing bugle. I love this time of the year.
  • Bison swimming the Yellowstone.
  • Antelope in the Lamar Valley.
  • Standing on a hill in the Hayden Valley at sunset watching for wolves and bears with several other people. I never saw animals but enjoyed the company of others and a beautiful sunset.
  • Hiking to and around Norris Basin.
  • Sleet, ice and snow on the last night at Norris campground.
  • Sleeping in my Roadtrek and not in a tent on the ground. This includes being warm.
  • Meeting Carla and John. They have been traveling for over 4 months from Saskatchewan.
  • Sitting in my RT, windows down, binoculars and camera at hand, watching for wildlife in the Lamar valley on a picture perfect afternoon.
Traveling Idaho
Traveling Idaho

This past Saturday and Sunday I drove the byways of rural Idaho and a little of Wyoming. This is the country of the perfect vistas at every curve of the highway. My suggestion is to stay off the freeways if you can. There were perfect farms with golden fields of grain. The mountains were around me all the time. Rivers flowed everywhere along the way. I stopped in Grace, Idaho for lunch at Lunch Express. I was the only tourist in the cafe. The locals talked to me and I met the owner as well. What delightful people. I have come to the conclusion that most people are nice and glad to hear a stranger's story.

I found that as I got closer to Salt Lake City I started to slow down. I did not want to be back in the big city. This was probably good training for my arrival back to San Diego.

Waiting is hard. Today I am thankful for the Mercedes dealership. And here is the news…the heating element in the DEF tank is bad. Arrgh!!! They are waiting to find out who pays for removal all of parts so that they can replace the DEF tank.  Sigh.  Guess I spend the day hanging out in Provo Utah.



  • Janet,

    Your experience is leading me to consider pre 2010 MB. If I’m not mistaken, MB didn’t use DEF prior to 2010. Or, just go with a new 210 Popular. ;0)



    • DEF is the wave of the future- the last heavy truck manufacturer in North America who was trying to keep going without it threw in the towel just recently and is switching over. you just can’t meet the new and coming emissions requirements without it. pre-DEF systems will go the way of the carburetor. with the new systems come more parts to break, like the DEF tank heater. just the price of progress.

      lovely time of year to be in Cody and Yellowstone – this story gets me to thinking how it would be trying to go back to places Sharon and i have been without her, or her without me. we’ve been doing it together so long it’s hard to imagine.

      • Looking at the DEF systems it looks as if they are going to go the way of the Tesla power transmission beam. Science fiction. Keep throwing money at MB promises while they keep laughing on their way to the bank with EPA inspired American money.

  • Janet, thank you for posting your update. You are indeed a strong and brave woman. Thank you for encouraging all of us to get out there and see the world…wherever that might lead us. Best wishes to you as you continue your journey.

    • Indeed Janet is a brave adventurer as are you, Laura! My hat’s off to all of you intrepid solo Roadtrekkers!

      This old guy should be so brave. You guys inspire me.


  • Why is there a question as to who pays for this repair? A new 2013 vehicle, diesel and only 13,000 miles. Not too mention MB chassis. Warranty!

    • That was exactly my thought, Rick. A MB Sprinter with less than 11k on the clock and Janet’s at the MB dealer. It should be a no-brainer.


    • The question came up because there was some after factory equipment that was blocking access to the DEF tank. Since Roadtrek had installed them there was a question about Who paid for the man hours to remove the equipment. Mercedes finally paid. On the road again, no problems.

  • I love following your posts-they are so sweet and moving, thank you again for sharing these personal stories with us

  • what was the problem with your Agile ,,and was Mercedes dealship able to fix the problem

    • The heating coil in the DEF tank was not working. They had to replace the tank. The person who sold my RT to me told me that there has been a recall on the tank. Glad I got it fixed.

      • Hi Janet-

        That Mercedes dealer in Provo helped me out with a very similar problem just a month ago. Forgot the Service Manager’s name, but he assured me that the “Check Engine” light wasn’t a serious issue that needed to be resolved immediately (since the vehicle was running fine), and that I should be able to get home to SoCal without any trouble. They’re not in business to turn warranty customers away, but I had 3 dogs with me, and temps were in the high 90’s at the time. It would have been a miserably hot wait, so I continued on my way. I still need to have it looked at here.

  • Hey Janet…I hear ya…lost my guy just over 6 years ago (very suddenly). I just had to be going places and doing things. My revisit was back to Hawaii and Scotland with my entire family as my husband was from Glasgow. The one thing I know is that he would be proud of me for pulling through and doing it my way. Miss him terribly to this day but continuing to find new experiences, places and faces really helps. Just keep trekking!

    • Thank you Maureen. I appreciate everyone’s comments and support.

  • Janet, Thanks for the follow up. Glad to hear the outcome. Enjoy the travel and look forward to your post.

  • thank you all for posting enjoy the info seems likeyou are always on the move

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