Thursday, June 16, 2005

We had a nice visit with our friends Alfred and Linda in Tucson, which was the purpose of our stop there. As it happens, we also had some dinnerware sent to us in care of them, way back when we thought they were a logical next step from Phoenix, where we had stopped to fly to Mexico. Oh well.

In any case, we now have our new dinnerware, which is a replica of the Santa Fe dining car dinnerware from back in the day, known as Mimbreño. The originals were designed by Mary Colter, the famed architect of many Santa Fe (later Fred Harvey) facilities in what are now the national parks of the west. Specialty china fabricator Pipestone has licensed the original patterns and makes the china today, essentially identical to that used on the Super Chief and other famous Santa Fe trains. We originally fell in love with these items at the California State Railroad Museum, and again at El Tovar in Grand Canyon National Park. We finally caved in and just ordered the pieces we needed on line. We ended up with four each of the "buffet" plates (a tad larger than the "dinner" plate, and also with a more interesting design), "cereal" bowls, salad plates, and mugs. If you get a chance to dine aboard Odyssey, you may even have the sense that you are on one of those old trains...

I neglected to mention in my last post that part of the reason we stopped at Beaudry was the fact that the off-season summer rate there is $14.95 per night. On the drive today I did some quick mental calculations, and determined that we used something like 225 KWh of electricity during our stay there. At a typical rate of around $0.10 per Kilowatt-Hour, we used nearly $22.50 of power, while our stay cost us a grand total of around $32 (with tax). Considering we also dumped and filled, this is an unbeatable deal. The park operation is, of course, subsidized by the dealership, which needs the park open for customers, and incremental visitors such as ourselves serve to offset those operational costs, so everybody wins.

Today we blasted across I-10 (well, OK, the limit is 75 and we drove 60, so maybe blasted is not the right verb), since we are heading to White Sands and there is really no other decent route. Tonight we are in Las Cruces, at the Elks Lodge here (map).

We had actually intended to stay at a nice state park about 15 miles north of here, as they have electric hookups and are nicely situated on the Rio Grande. However, we took another rock hit to our windshield about 100 miles west of here. We did not notice any damage immediately after we heard the strike, but we found a chip with a 1" star around it at our fuel stop just west of town. We decided to stay in town tonight so that we can get the chip patched, at least as much as possible, first thing in the morning. We have our fingers crossed that this one does not spread -- we're not looking forward to another $3,000 windshield replacement, and we know the next glass has to come from Germany on a lead of at least three months.

The Elks lodge here has 30-amp electric hookups, and a cocktail for each of us in the bar was included in our $15 camping "donation." On top of all that, Lupè the bartender just happened to know someone that did on-site windshield repair, so we will give that person a try tomorrow morning. Our fall-back is Speedy Glass, but that's the outfit that screwed up our upper window installation in the first place, and I'd rather not give them any more business if I can avoid it.

On the plus side of the ledger, I opened up the fan junction box for the genny last night, and switched the four-speed fan from its lowest setting to the second-highest setting. That seems to have made a difference, and we were able to keep it running today for a half-hour test while driving in 98 degree temps. It did run its temp gauge up to 210, though, so I will try the highest speed setting next chance I get, to see if we can get it down closer to 200. Ultimately I will install a switch, so we can use the high-speed setting for driving in hot weather, and a lower setting for quieter campground parking in cooler temps.

Tomorrow, after the glass repair, we will drive through White Sands missile range, with a stop at White Sands National Monument, on our way to Carlsbad Caverns.


  1. The May '05 issue of Family Motor Coaching has an article about a glass treatment that is supposed to make your windshielf 10x stronger, sheet off water and prevent chips. They claim that they will replace your windshield for free if it's cracked within four years of having the windshield treated. It's not a normal coating or anyting, it bonds with the windshield at an atomic level.

    Anyway, I don't know if they are full of it or not. Considering that a new windshield costs you $3000, it might be worth looking into. You can find info at


  2. Ben,

    Thanks for your comment. We did read about the coating in Family Motor Coaching. However, notwithstanding the article's contention that they will pay for a new windshield if it breaks, as near as we have been able to determine, they will only pay for a re-application of the DiamonFusion product. It appears the magazine mis-stated this policy, but we can not get confirmation one way or the other. It will be interesting to see if they print a correction next month.



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