Sunday, June 5, 2005

We are at Great Basin National Park, off US 50 on the eastern edge of Nevada (map).

We had a wonderful drive through the great expanse of eastern Nevada today, crossing several mountain ranges. (Nevada, it turns out, has more mountain ranges than any other state.) We passed through the quaint town of Eureka, and the relatively large town of Ely, which owes its existence to being at the junction of US 50, US 93, and US 6.

US 50 follows, for the most part, the route of the old Lincoln Highway, and the various towns along its route grew up with the great road. At many places along our route today, we could see the remains of an older road grade. Presumably an older alignment of US 50, but one can easily imagine that parts of this old abandoned grade are the very same alignment of the original Lincoln.

We picked up US 50 yesterday, about 40 miles outside of Reno, in the military town of Fallon. We ended the day just east of the old town of Austin, at a free forest service campground on Bob Scott Summit (map).

I had intended to post here last night, but, frankly, I was too upset. I ruminated about something most of last night and all of today, and, as seems to be common in blogs lately, I'm going to use this space to vent about it.

There was a good bit of sturm und drang around Odyssey last night, all on account of an anonymous comment posted to our site. What was posted was a question which, in and of itself, was reasonable. While we don't feel the need to justify ourselves and our lives to anyone, the question was raised here in a public place, and, because we have hundreds of regular readers (really!) I'd like to answer it, in the interests of completeness.

What bothered us about it, though, was the fact that it was posted "anonymously." (Of course, the internet is not an anonymous medium -- you leave tracks everywhere you surf. Virtually all internet sites track their visitors in some way or other, and ours is no exception. The companies that provide our web sites and the software that runs them actually supply us with fairly detailed reports. So we have a good idea, for example, when any of our three sets of parents is checking up on us, or maybe those people we met in Jamaica -- even though "what happens in Jamaica, stays in Jamaica, mon.")

Louise was so upset by this that she has disabled anonymous comments. We realize that this means some of our readers will have to make more of an effort to communicate with us -- Blogspot will now require registration before you can post a comment here, or you can always email us at the addresses listed on our main site. We welcome any and all comments, including those posted directly on the site, so please don't think we are trying to exclude anyone (well, OK, there have been a couple of hate-mail anonymous comments at times, and those folks can consider themselves excluded), we would just like to see a little about you, since you already know so much about us.

The question that was asked, for anyone still following this diatribe, was, to paraphrase, "why are you going to Salt Lake to have your satellite dish fixed instead of back to PEDCO for a follow-up on the engine work?"

There are many, many factors that went into this decision, which was the subject of a great deal of discussion. I will list them, in no particular order:

  • The visit to PEDCO (along with the diagnostic work done at Williams) took a huge bite out of our schedule -- three full weeks. Sixteen full days in the shop, plus four travel days. That's over and above the expense of both visits, 150+ gallons of diesel fuel, camping fees, etc.. We really, really needed to get back on schedule, and a return visit to PEDCO would have to be well-justified to warrant another three days and 400 miles.
  • The in-frame was complete five full days before we left PEDCO. In those five days we ran the motor for several hours, including a dyno run and over 100 miles of test drives. So it's not like we just drove away after the in-frame -- the PEDCO folks had several opportunities to catch anything that might have gone wrong with the in-frame.
  • The satellite dish broke down unexpectedly after we left. PEDCO would have been an easy stop-over on our way to Tucson (our next planned stop), but it is definitely not on the way to Salt Lake. There was no "good" way to route PEDCO, Salt Lake, and Tucson on the same leg.
  • Our satellite dish is not some kind of toy or luxury item. It is our lifeline to the world. As I type this, for example, we are completely out of cell phone coverage (as we often are). In many remote locations, the dish may be our only way of summoning help if we need it. Beyond that, it's how we pay our bills, track our finances, manage our affairs, get our news, and communicate with our friends and loved ones. It is one of the few completely non-redundant systems aboard Odyssey, and, if it goes completely off-line, we are in a real fix. We have been able to get it on line sucessfully through manual intervention thus far, but the broken azimuth gear threatens a complete failure at any moment.
  • The guys at PEDCO were great, and we would (and will) go back there in a heartbeat when we need their services. But, frankly, only issues of a certain magnitude can induce us to go to LA. Otherwise, we avoid the LA area at almost all costs.
  • We trust the PEDCO people to have done a good job. They gave us the list of things to be looking for in the first several hundred miles, and we have confidence that, absent any symptoms, the job was done completely and correctly.
  • Finally, we always have the option of diverting back to PEDCO should the need arise. We will reevaluate our situation after our dish is repaired, and before we set out for Tucson. If there is any cause for concern, we can delete or delay our Tucson visit in favor of a return to LA, or even a shop in Salt Lake, as required.

More things came up, but those were the major factors. And here we are, en-route to Salt Lake.

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