Wednesday, February 13, 2008

We now return to our regular program

We are in a gravel lot outside the Ramada Inn in Barstow (map).

We're here because we misinterpreted the directions in the Days End directory, which was trying to send us to a truck stop at the other end of town. I am thinking that this lot actually belongs to the Ramada, which uses it for oversize vehicle parking. There were a few trucks of various descriptions here last night. I don't feel too bad about using it, though, as there is also a Sizzler restaurant on the property, and we did eat dinner there last night. In any case, we passed the night undisturbed. We did leave our satellite dish down as a stealth measure -- we're getting several WiFi signals here from the surrounding hotels.

Yesterday morning found us at the Elks lodge in Ontario (map). We wrapped up at PEDCO late Monday afternoon, and we thought about just spending another night in front of the shop, but we really needed water, and we didn't feel like jockeying the coach around the shop to get close to the spigot. Also, there comes a point for us in every shop visit when all we want to do is watch the shop recede in our mirrors. So we headed out onto the highway, afternoon traffic and all, to see how far we'd get.

Louise was still feeling pretty crummy when we landed at the Elks, so I walked across the street to the Albertson's grocery store and picked up one of those rotisserie chickens and some fixings for dinner. In addition to the water we needed, the lodge had 30-amp electric hookups for $15, and so we had the opportunity to recharge the batteries after three nights on the street.

For those who are wondering, the oil filter was clean once we got it open. Also, I got the sample analysis back yesterday and it, too, was clean, so we are quite relieved. I noticed yesterday at the Elks that we are still dripping a bit of oil, which I think is coming from the airbox drains. That's still a bit distressing, since we leaked not even a drop for the 10,000 miles after the in-frame -- the current dripping started after the oil and bearing change in Portland.

The verdict on the dipstick calibration for the tranny was that it is reading low. By which I mean when it says "Add" it's really closer to full, and when it says "Full" it's really overfull. So they took about three quarts of my expensive synthetic fluid out. I'm sorry to say, though, after a day of travel, that it did not fix the problem: we got another code 12 after we left the Elks.

After we left the Elks yesterday afternoon, we drove about two blocks to a nearby vet, to get the dog's CBC taken. Now that she is on the Prednisone, we need to draw a blood panel periodically to monitor the progress, and these first couple of weeks, they may need to adjust dosages. We expect to receive the report sometime this afternoon, and we have our fingers crossed that the red counts have, at least, stabilized.

In a few minutes we will head out, by way of a grocery store. Barstow is the last city we will see with decent stores until after Death Valley, and we need to provision for our time in the desert, including fixings for the big cookout we've agreed to host for our party of 20 or so at our camp site in Furnace Creek on Saturday.

Tonight we will be in Shoshone, at the lone commercial park there, visiting friends. Normally from the coast side of California we would enter the park from the west, via Ridgecrest and Trona -- mostly deserted two-lane blacktop, and a good deal shorter than circling around through Baker. When we found out our friends Jim and Pat would be in Shoshone for a few days, we changed direction to stop in for a visit. As a bonus, we were able to swing by the Flying-J here in Barstow for a bit more fuel, and the Wal-Mart in town to replace our doormats, which were casualties of the grease-encrusted shop floor.

1 comment:

  1. Sean, most of us got rid of the oil droppings from the slobber tubes by installing a catch basin. Then you can not see it. LOL


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