Saturday, July 28, 2007

Vega$ (again)

We are parked at our secret boondocking location behind Bally's casino, on the Las Vegas strip (map). I say secret, but, of course, we've blogged about it before, and I've posted a map link both times. But, generally, it is little-known, and we like it that way.

Once again we wandered over to the Flamingo for dinner, part of the Harrah's empire here that also includes Bally's and Paris Las Vegas (in whose shared parking area we are parked), Harrah's, Ceasar's Palace, and the Rio across the freeway. I had a hankering to try Margaritaville, since it was right next door, and, in spite of wandering through or past half a dozen of them in such exotic locales as Jamaica, Mexico, and Key West, I've never sampled the food. Besides, I'm a big-time parrot-head. Alas, there was an hour wait for a table, so we instead wandered down to Hamada, the Japanese restaurant in the same hotel, where we had a nice Teppanyaki-style dinner (think "Benihana").

We are here because we ultimately decided to have the engine work done at Pedco, in Santa Fe Springs (near LA). Mostly this was because we know them and like them, but we also factored into the decision the fact that continuing east until we hit, for example, Stewart & Stevenson in Colorado would mean first climbing over the Rockies, and I'm not sure we can even make it in our current condition. It's more downhill than up from Zion to LA, and that seemed a safer choice.

Speaking of which, at times like these I am thankful for the set of mapping tools that I am using, even though I spend a fair amount of time cursing those same tools. I use DeLorme's Street Atlas 2005 to work out my routes -- although I have to do a good amount of double-checking with the AAA map, or else DeLorme will put me on a dirt road, or completely miss a good state highway. But I also have DeLorme's Topo USA 6, which has the entire country in topographic relief. This program is good for figuring back-country routes, but lousy for street work, because it doesn't know where the nearest Wal-Marts, or Olive Gardens, or even most campgrounds are, and its highway information is lacking. But Topo USA will open routes already made with Street Atlas, and then one can "profile" that route in elevation. This gives you an excellent idea how much grade you will be facing, and exactly where it is. Sliding the cursor over the elevation profile reveals the exact location on the map where that part of the profile occurs. Here is a printout of the elevation profile from Zion National Park to Pedco's facility on Norwalk Blvd., so you can get an idea:

Tomorrow morning we will be heading uphill from here, to a summit between here and Baker, CA -- it's the large spike almost in the middle of this chart. We've been having a great deal of trouble with grades, including overheating, so we are going to try to get an early start, and make the summit before the heat of the day. By the time we hit the last peak, near the right of the chart, we will be well out of the Mojave and entering the LA basin, where temperatures should be quite a bit more moderate.


  1. Sean, you may want to upgrade your Delorme Street Atlas to 2008 Plus which includes exact coordinates for most Wal-Marts and Olive Gardens. It may still suggest you get there via forest service roads, but it's better than it was. Check it out.

    Ron & Judie

  2. Altho I have not used this on a trip yet I have tested it going from Auburn to Roseville Ca...Very cool..Google earth GPS using this program
    John Simmons

  3. Sorry to hear you still have problems...I reread you posts and found you still had boost with the black smoke and loss of power...I had installed a Banks system and they provided a sleeve to insert into the pump hose..twice it popped off on trips and I lost boost and had black smoke an lost power each time...What I`m getting it is you may have the boost line hooked to the turbo instead of the intake...Something you may want to look into


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