Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Time bandits

It seems I am perpetually apologizing for late posts on the blog, and today I missed posting this morning because I got wrapped up in some drama in the Phoenix environs, which I will share in a moment.  That said, this morning found us at the Lone Butte Casino in Chandler, Arizona (map), a familiar stop.  It was a bit off our route, involving about a ten mile detour to the south, but we wanted to connect with friends in Chandler.

I remembered this casino had a nice restaurant on site, but, unfortunately, they are closed Mondays.  So we ended up piling into their car and driving a few miles to Va Bene, a Chandler restaurant and wine bar that was actually quite nice.  We had a great dinner and a great time catching up.  The casino is very welcoming to RVers, perhaps to a fault, so we knew we would be comfortable there.

Speaking of "to a fault," we noticed quite a few rigs in the lot that look like they've settled in for the long haul, possibly the whole season.  Rigs were surrounded by mats, chairs, BBQs, generators, and what-not, tow vehicles detached, as if they were in a campground.  Long-time readers will remember I ranted about this at the tribe's other casino, the original Wild Horse Pass, in a post here in 2008.  Eventually, the tribe moved that casino to newer, fancier digs, and when they did, they clamped down hard on RV parking, as I wrote here in 2010.

Before the move of Wild Horse Pass, this casino at Lone Butte got little RV traffic, but with the current restrictions over there, apparently many of the offenders have discovered this place and are back to their old ways.  I predict that it is not long before RV parking here becomes just as restrictive as at the tribe's other properties.  Clearly they are tolerating it for now, as the lot is patrolled regularly by security officers, a pair of whom (on motorcycles, no less) circled Odyssey last night a few times, no doubt discussing how odd it is.

On our way into town we stopped at a gas station a few blocks (which, in Phoenix, means a few miles) south of the freeway for $3.589 diesel.  By the time we were done fueling, we decided we did not have enough time to swing north to see if the motorcycle shop where we consigned the scooter was even still there, a circumstance that proved fortuitous later as it would have been a 30-mile detour for naught.  Instead we proceeded directly to the casino, which gave us about an hour before our dinner date.

In the bit of time I had before dinner, and another two hours or so after we came home, I ruminated about the scooter and spent a good deal of effort on line tracking down the owner of the shop.  This morning, instead of blogging or getting anything else done, I spent another couple of hours on that project, including calling the shop's next door neighbor, a motorcycle training center, who confirmed that the shop had closed its doors sometime in 2011.

A call to the Washington Department of Licensing this morning determined that the scooter had been registered out of state in July of that year, so it was apparently sold.  I am giving the shop owner the benefit of the doubt, on the assumption that he tried to mail us a check at our now-defunct mail service in Washington, but I really need to speak to him.  He's now a salesman at a Phoenix-area car dealership, but he called in sick today.  I also left a message on his wife's cell phone.  I hope to reach him sometime this week to find out what happened to the scooter or our money.

In any case, that kept us in Chandler until well after noon.  If the scooter was still unsold and sitting someplace in the greater Phoenix area, we wanted to deal with it, up to and including possibly renting a trailer to haul it away, before we left town.  Now that it seems most likely that it was sold in 2011 and we simply did not receive the money, we got back on the road as we need to keep moving along.  I covered my bases with a voice message to the Phoenix PD auto theft task force, in case we have trouble getting our compensation.

Between all the scooter drama, dinner with friends, and dealing with insurance and documentation for the boat, I did not even have time to answer all my emails, let alone blog.  Tonight and tomorrow I will try to catch up on the backlog.

I am surprised no one has yet commented here on the Neoplan Spaceliner, similar to ours, that appeared on the Travel Channel Sunday night on a program called Mega RV Countdown.  That bus belongs to our long-time friend Steve in Fort Lauderdale, and I posted a photo of our two coaches together at a bus rally a little over a year ago.  Steve and the Travel Channel folks had called us back in July to see if we could bring Odyssey down to Fort Lauderdale too, to do a kind of two-for-one deal with them on Neoplan Spaceliners for the show, which I wrote about in this post.  Ironically, one of the key reasons we did not pursue that was a jaunt to Savannah that same day for our very first look at the boat we ultimately bought.

Nevertheless, it was great to see Steve and his coach on the program, and, in hindsight, I am glad he did it solo.  If the program comes around again, you should try to catch it. Steve also has a boat, and I'm sure we'll be seeing a good bit of him whenever we pass through Fort Lauderdale.

Tonight we are at a small turnoff just off US-70 in New Mexico, about a dozen miles northwest of Lordsburg (map).  Despite the late start, we made our full four hours today. We are actually parked on what looks to be a very, very old right-of-way for the highway, mostly reclaimed by nature except for short bursts at irregular intervals.  Wherever a ranch gate or DOT stockpile is located, they have added a small connector to the modern highway.  This stretch of 70 is pretty deserted at night, so we should have a quiet night. Today's drive over the Superstition Mountains along US-60 and through the mining communities of Miami and Globe was, as always, spectacular.  Tomorrow night, we should be in Texas.


  1. hi sean,

    i did catch the show on the neoplan and it was cool. i live in mesa, so its too bad we couldnt hook up as we would love to meet you guys. i have a 90 and 2002 newell and enjoy reading your blog.

    i also have a site for newellee's have a look sometime.


    if you ever get in the area again, give us a shout.

    tom and darlene mccloud
    mesa, az

  2. I checked out the blog on the "Steel Magnolia" and it looks like quite a ship! Looks like your adventures will continue with gusto!! Steve & Carol


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