Tuesday, May 10, 2005

We are en route to PEDCO, in Santa Fe Springs, California.

I received quite a few suggestions and recommendations for where to have our engine rebuilt, and I would like to thank everyone who wrote in or posted on the subject. From the dozen or so shops that we identified either ourselves or from the suggestions we received, we distilled the choices down to three or four places that could do the work, would agree to do the work, could start right away, and were within reasonable driving distance from where we were.

Of these few shops, PEDCO was the most willing to commit to the project, and had quite a few proponents. They quoted us a good price, and can start right away. Also, they are willing to allow us to stay aboard during the project.

We left Scottsdale early this afternoon, and have been staying on I-10 for the duration. We normally eschew the interstates in favor of less traveled routes, but we wanted to minimize the miles, and keep the engine at a steady hum. We've had the cruise control dialed in at 55-60mph, which made us nearly the slowest thing on the highway.

Nevertheless, we were pulled over by the CHP, much to our amazement. Turns out he saw us passing and thought we were not wearing seat belts, which is a primary citable offense in California. Of course, we did have our belts on, but Odyssey lacks shoulder belts, so he couldn't see that from his vantage point. We'd love to have shoulder belts, and when we had the drivers' seats reupholstered, we researched them. Due to the design of these spring-ride seats, they can not be retrofitted with shoulder belts. So we have only the retractable lap belts that were on the seats when we got the bus.

He thanked us for stopping, bid us a good day, and took off. Of course, he had stopped us in the middle of a very long 7% up grade, so I spent the next few minutes in the slow lane with my four-ways on, pedaling as hard as I could to get back up to 55 without over-stressing our poor worn-out motor. Harumph.

As long as we were going right by it on I-10, something we rarely expect to do, we decided to stop for the night at the very tony Outdoor Resorts Motorcoach Resort in Indio (map). As I have written many times here, commercial campgrounds, of any description, are not really our thing. But we've seen this place on one of those Travel Channel specials, sort of the "Campgrounds of the Rich and Famous." It has been featured on a number of shows and in several magazine articles as the epitome of high-end campgrounds, and it is the sort of place where folks own their lots, condominium style. Owners can then enter their lots into a pool of lots to be rented to overnight visitors such as ourselves when they are not in residence.

In any case, we've had a hankering to see the place, and marvel at how the high-end motorhome community travels, and we thought this might be our only opportunity in the foreseeable future. The grounds are actually quite pleasant, with many ammenities. We've also seen quite a few lots that owners have developed extensively, adding outdoor barbecues, shade ramadas, fountains, gas fireplaces, and the like, up to and including entire outdoor kitchens. The extensive lot improvements and the money spent on them is what has garnered all the national attention for this property.

So we've come, and we've seen for ourselves, and we still have to say: it's not for us. I will say, though, that I've seen more bus conversions here than any place other than a rally -- Odyssey fits right in. And even in this land of many high-zoot Prevost conversions, our coach still turns heads.

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