Saturday, May 5, 2007

Not in Reno

We are at the Livermore Elks Lodge, in Livermore, California (map). Observant readers will note that we are heading in exactly the opposite direction from that stated in my last post, and that we have missed EmComm West. And therein lies a tale.

We woke yesterday morning to a bleak, rainy day at our friends' ranch in Murphys. Rain at that elevation means snow higher up, and a quick check of the CalTrans highway conditions web site revealed that our intended route over the sierras, CA-88, was under strict chain controls, as was US-50 one pass further north. No problem -- we'll just leave the ranch a bit earlier, backtrack a bit further, and cross over on Interstate 80, which was reported open with no controls. (Heavily-traveled I-80 benefits from additional CalTrans resources and equipment, as well as the simple fact that the traffic tends to melt away the snow as it falls.)

So we said our good-byes, buttoned up Odyssey, and started back down the hill to Murphys and Angels Camp. As I prepped the coach, I noticed a puddle of water in a familiar place on the dashboard -- reasoning that the new windows were well sealed and could not possibly be leaking, we concluded that, as we had previously suspected, the water dripping from the cockpit ceiling is actually ingressing through the upper side windows. Oh well.

By the time we reached Murphys, we were beginning to suspect that perhaps the new windows were not fully sealed after all -- water was running down the inside of the glass. Higher speeds on the way to Angels Camp closed the case: we saw bubbles around the seals as the wind pressure forced air into the wet seams. So in Angels Camp we made the only reasonable decision we could: to return to Alameda to have Coach Specialties fix the leaks, which turned out through further observation to be pervasive around both new windshields.

The bad news is that I am out $10 for EmComm (and missed an opportunity to test for my General Class license there), and we have to backtrack ~150 miles and spend an extra week in California. The good news is that we discovered the problem only 150 miles from the shop (May is the beginning of the dry season in California, and we could easily have avoided such a storm for several more weeks or even months), and we really don't have any other firm plans until Memorial Day, when we need to be in Washington.

Given the change in plans, we adjusted our return route to take advantage of $2.84 diesel at Flying-J in Ripon, and then set out to find a place to stop for the night. Since yesterday was our wedding anniversary (four years, thanks for asking), and we wanted to go out for a nice dinner, we headed over to a large shopping area in Tracy where a search turned up several restaurants, and Google Earth revealed several large parking lots and even a Wal-Mart. Even though none of our boondocking resources indicates this, Tracy apparently has outlawed overnight parking, as announced by prominent signs at the Wal-Mart. Not wishing to risk eviction in the middle of the night, we pressed onward (Tracy officials take note: we'd planned to drop at least a C-note on our anniversary dinner, and probably would have loaded up on groceries and some hardware essentials as well, but we'll likely not exit the freeway in your town again.)

The Elks Lodge here in Livermore is a familiar stop for us, but it meant having our anniversary dinner at Chevy's. Sort of a Cuatro de Mayo celebration. Now we have another day to kill before we return to Alameda. We may spend another night here, or go to Alameda a day early, or do something in between. As I type this, a brass band is in the park across from us practicing their Mexican music, we presume for a Cinco de Mayo celebration later today.

1 comment:

  1. Did you know that there is an elks lodge in Tracy, not far from the shopping center you found!!!
    By the way I have been reading your blog for quite sometime now and find it to be extremely fascinating.


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