Sunday, July 22, 2007

Desert digs

We are at the Millers roadside rest area, about ten miles west of Tonopah on US95 (map).

This rest area allows overnight stays of up to 18 hours. There are plenty of picnic tables, shade ramadas, BBQ grills, and even several fresh water spigots with hose threads. There is also an RV dump station, making the whole place seem rather like a campground. Making things even nicer, commercial trucks are prohibited here, so we won't have an idling diesel next to us all night. (The 18-wheelers have to park out on the shoulder area of the highway, and hoof it to the rest rooms.)

Other than this rest area, Millers is just a name on a map. There once was a mining-related boom town here, but it has long since faded into oblivion.

When we pulled in here around 5:30, it was still in the mid-90s. We found what little shade we could, and ran the air conditioners for about three hours, and the generator for two. It's now quite pleasant in the bus, and somewhere in the 60s outside. It's also dark and quiet here, just as we like it, with the lights of Tonopah twinkling faintly in the distance. I know there are two other rigs here, but they are so far away from us we can't even see them,

We had a nice breakfast this morning at the coffee shop in the Nugget before packing up to head out. We ran into an Albertsons on the outskirts of town, and stopped for some provisions -- decent grocery stores are few and far between on this stretch of highway.

Somewhere on the upgrade on US50 east of Carson, we got an intermittent Check Transmission light. I've been hyper-sensitive to drivetrain issues lately, with the problems we've been having, and, naturally, I thought the worst: that all this time, the sluggish behavior and excessive heat buildup have been some problem with the tranny, such as band slippage, and now the ECM was finally detecting a problem.

We found a wide pull-out as we turned onto US95A south of Silver Springs, and I dug out the transmission diagnostic connector to flash the codes. It turned out to be a complaint about bad signals from the shifter control -- code 23. I tightened the connector on the shifter, cleared the codes, and we finished the rest of the trip without any further codes coming up. I'm not sure whether to be relieved that the transmission is fine, or disappointed that this event did not bring us any closer to understanding the other problems we've been having.

Tomorrow we will be in the greater Las Vegas area, where the high will be around 104° and the low will only drop down to 87°. We've decided to find ourselves a campground with power, as we'll need to run the A/C full time for the pets. I'm also looking for a good diesel shop in the area that can have a look at our problems on Monday.

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