Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Escape from LA

Photo by youngthousands

We are at the Morongo Casino,
in Cabazon (map), a venue we have enjoyed before.

We wrapped up at Freightliner Monday afternoon. Upon investigation, it turned out that the tag axle alignment had never even been checked, and so it was a good thing we went back in to the shop to do so. It turned out to be out by almost an inch; not surprising, given how bent the A-frame had been. I expect that setting the toe correctly and having the follower locked in a more straight orientation will help considerably with the tag tire wear.

After we rolled out of the shop and paid the bill ($3,300, counting the $600 we already paid them after the initial visit -- gulp), we got settled in at "our spot" on the street. When I double-checked their work on the steer axle, though, I noticed that the pinch clamp for the left tie rod was dangerously close to interfering with the frame, a serious safety hazard that has bitten us before -- there is even a safety recall bulletin on it from NHTSA/Neoplan. This annoyed me because I had told them about it explicitly before they started the work. The service manager ended up sending his thinnest mechanic out to where we were parked to slide under and take care of it.

By the time all was done, we would be leaving in the horrendous LA rush hour traffic, so we decided to just spend another night. We rolled out yesterday just as the 11am street-cleaning parking restriction kicked in, putting our departure at just three hours shy of a full three weeks since we arrived at that spot. Prior to this, the longest period we have ever spent on a city street was when we were working the wild fires in San Bernardino over a year ago.

We are en route to the desert near the Salton Sea. There is quiet, scenic, and free boondocking on BLM land there, and we need a week or so of complete downtime. On our way out of town yesterday we stopped at a Batteries Plus store in Brea for a new battery for Louise's scooter, a Ralph's grocery right next door to it, and a Wal-Mart in Banning to stock up on a couple weeks worth of provisions -- there are no real stores anywhere near that part of the desert. As long as we were at Wal-Mart, I grabbed Quantum of Solace out of the RedBox dispenser. I have to say, I'm glad I only spent a dollar on it. Today we will swing by the Wal-Mart in Palm Desert to drop it back off.

Last night we ate at the fancy Cielo restaurant on the 27th floor of the casino hotel, something we skipped last time (in favor of one of the ground floor restaurants) because we were under the weather. The menu was very pricey, but they were offering a "Stimulus Package," which was a prix fixe affair involving prime rib and a salad with two glasses of wine, plus dessert, for an unbeatable price. The views out across the San Jacinto mountains were spectacular; we're glad we did it.

We're debating whether to wander back in to the hotel today for a massage, something else we skipped last time due to feeling crummy. We walked in a tad too late yesterday to catch the 2-for-1 Tuesday spa special, which would have been perfect.


  1. Sean & Louise, Ron here, aka Spyderman, I'm just down the road at the Thousand Trails off 10, I'll look for where you park today and try to ride the motorcycle out to you for a visit.

  2. Ron,

    Sorry, we passed you. We did notice the TT there along I-10 as we went by -- Louise's dad belonged to TT, so we tend to notice them. We're now out in Box Canyon, east of Mecca. Still a nice ride, if you want to come. Just drop me a note first.


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