Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The luck o' the Irish

Happy St. Patty's day,

I am parked for the afternoon at the Corps of Engineers/LA County/Pico Rivera Arena and Equestrian Center, down the block from the Freightliner dealer (map). I am just a few hundred feet from the sadly defunct campground here, which you can make out in the satellite image (it is, of course, fenced off).

Monday, as I was on my way toward the dealer, Raul called. He was on the street in front of Freightliner, where we had been parked, looking for us. Great timing, as I was just five minutes away. The parts had come in right on schedule Monday afternoon. I thanked him, then grabbed his parking spot as he pulled away. It was mostly big enough for Odyssey, except my snout protruded about 6' into a red zone (of unknown purpose -- it was not near, say, a fire hydrant or street corner). That pretty much trapped me on board, at least until the evening when the car behind me moved and I could back up out of the red. I did run into the service department several times to have the manager take a look at the parts, but, apparenly, he was out for the afternoon.

It turns out that this particular spot was just 20 yards from Freightliner's city sewer connection, and, having been here now a full two weeks today, I needed to dump the tanks. My macerator hose end, though, was just a hair too large to fit in the pick hole on the manhole cover, so I ran down to Home Depot on the scooter and picked up a cheap $7 garden hose, which slipped right in. I had to wait until midnight to dump, because I needed to pull Odyssey up to a point that actually blocked part of Freightliner's gate, and that's when the service department closes (casualty of the economy -- they used to be open 24/7).

It takes a good 40 minutes or so to empty the tanks with the macerator (and that's if it doesn't have to pump up hill at all), so between starting at nearly 12:30 and fiddling around with hoses and fittings, it was 1:30 or so by the time I was back in my tidy and secure space on the street (map). The 2am bed time made it hard to get up this morning; I set the alarm for 8:45, hoping to catch the service manager before things got too crazy today.

After looking at the parts and determining that they were likely correct, we set an appointment for tomorrow morning at 7am. I'll need, at that hour, to prop my eyelids open with toothpicks. They did ask me to pull in today at 11, just to have another look at the differential pinion to determine what it was going to take to access it. That was also fortuitous timing, because the street parking in front of the dealer is posted No Parking on Tuesdays from 11 to 3 for street sweeping. I rolled out of the shop at 12:30, which meant I had to find someplace to park for another couple hours before the parking restriction ends. The lot where I am at now is actually posted as event parking only, but I'm here alone, and it does not seem to be an issue at all.

I expect that tomorrow they will only get as far as the leaky pinion seals, and repacking the wheel bearings. That will leave the aligment to Thursday, where I also have an appointment at Prevost for the same work. We'll see how things go tomorrow before I cancel the Prevost appointment. Prevost, at least, has full-hookup parking for its customers awaiting service.

If all goes well, I should be wrapped up with shop work by the end of the day Thursday, and then we have a blank agenda. We had talked about heading down to La Penita, near Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, to meet up with friends there, but we're rapidly coming up to the end of their season there, and I don't know how much longer they will be there. It's a good week or so drive for us, and it doesn't make sense to go unless we can get a couple weeks in down there before heading back. Once Louise gets back Thursday afternoon, we'll put our heads together and figure out what's next.

The next firm commitment on our calendar is the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, in Salt Lake City June 24-28. Once again we are voting delegates this year, so we will be there barring breakdown or civic disaster. Speaking of which, we will go back on the Red Cross availability list shortly thereafter, in time for the bulk of hurricane season. Somewhere between now and then, we'd like to get back to Infinity Coach in Washington to have the leaks looked at again. Besides, we're both driving on temporary one-year extensions to our Washington licenses, and we absolutely must appear there in person before Louise's birthday in October.

Photo by cobalt123


  1. Sean and Louise

    You are right..it is getting to be the end of the season here in Mexico. Semata Santa(Easter time) is a big deal and is coming up soon...all the "greko's" are heading North as we speak. We would love to share La Penita with you...but we feel that you should plan to come with us next season!!! We are going out through Texas.

  2. Run Sean, run. Sanitary sewers are sealed, pressized systems if you found an unsealed cover it is access to valves and pumps now covered with .....


  3. @Bob and Shirley: I lost your La Penita email address. Drop me a note -- we'd still like to connect someplace.

    @Anonymous (Leland): Hey, give me some credit: I checked first -- it was an effluent wye. Surface-level (less than about 20' below grade) sewers are not pressurized systems; you are likely thinking of sewer mains fed by lift pumps. However, you raise a good point, in that some of our readers may not understand these systems, and I would not want someone to make that sort of mistake after reading one of my posts. So I feel another post coming on, with a more detailed explanation...

  4. Hi,

    I'd love to meet up with you guys sometime during GA! I'll be there working on the UUA web reporting team again.

  5. Sean...you can email us at shirley@infinitycoach.com


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