Sunday, March 8, 2009

Too dang lazy to move

We are still on the street
in front of L.A. Freightliner.

In my last post, I had suggested that we were going to move to more pleasant surroundings for the weekend, but I ended up spending so much time on the phone Friday trying to find parts and tires, that it was too late to move when I was done. We also did not feel any sort of pressure to be anywhere else.

By yesterday morning, I was closing in on having our existing set of worn-out 12R22.5 drive tires re-treaded. Getting anything else in the tread design we wanted was proving to be a big challenge, and after a great deal of thought, we talked ourselves out of moving to a 315/80R22.5 -- in new tires, they were just too expensive, with another $100 in excise tax on the set to boot, but, more importantly, unavailable in any reasonable time frame in our tread pattern. In re-treads, we were persuaded that the tread was incredibly heavy, and we'd likely have to run the tires at 110 or so anyway, defeating the purpose.

Since the re-tread shop is just up the street from here, by mid-day yesterday I was convinced we needed to be right back here by tomorrow morning. And, with the shops around here closed for the weekend, it has been incredibly peaceful and quiet here. The weather's been perfect, so riding the scoots a few extra miles to dinner has not been a hardship -- we went to a familiar Olive Garden last night, where somehow I managed to score a table in the bar as soon as I walked in, after being informed there was a 40-minute wait. Friday night we went to Charley Brown's, which was a déjà vu experience -- the interior layout was identical to the Charley Brown's we had patronized in Sunnyvale, which closed years ago. But the prime rib was as good as I remembered.

So this morning finds us in the same spot, and the industrial nature of the area made it a perfect spot to work on Louise's new Vino 125. I wanted to change the engine and transmission oils and clean the filters, since the bike had sat in a garage for two years, and who knows when, if ever, the fluids were changed. When they came out, they did look overdue to be changed. We also pulled the battery out, which has been dead since we got it -- Louise has been kick-starting the thing. After prying off the "sealed" caps, I found several cells to be critically low, and topped them all up with distilled water. We'll see if the battery comes back to life after a few more rides to get some charge into it.

Yesterday we rode around the neighborhood, exploring the nearby equestrian park and the defunct campground adjacent to it, as well as the San Gabriel river, the Whittier Narrows Dam, and the nature center nearby. We even walked the nature trail, where you can almost convince yourself that you are not surrounded by the megalopolis that is the LA area.

The more important thing that happened yesterday is I got an email back from the Neoplan parts distributor in England. I think that they will be able to get the tie-rod end, and the bearing and pinion seals that we need.

Good thing, too, because Friday we learned that all the seals that were in the US had been sold to a company which subsequently scrapped them due to lack of market. Wish we had known when that happened -- I certainly would have bought a selection of every kind of seal they had for our coach.

I am hoping to hear back from them again tonight (Monday morning in the UK), after I spent a couple hours yesterday sending them every part number, photo, manual page, and dimension I could find on the parts we needed. If they can provide the parts, I will need to come up with a residential address to have them sent -- I don't want to take the chance that Customs will misconstrue them to be for commercial resale by having them sent to the Freightliner dealer, which would put them in a different import category.

So we'll be here yet another night, and, with any luck, we will trundle off to deal with the tires in the morning. I'm hoping to get new shoes on the coach in time to make a quick jaunt back down to San Diego Tuesday afternoon -- we'd like to attend the kick-off planning dinner for the FUBAR Odyssey (no relation) Baja powerboat rally in November. As one of the next steps in our multi-year journey toward moving onto a "trawler" style power boat, we want to get sea time and familiarity with a variety of boats, and we are hoping to volunteer as watchstanding crew on one of the boats on the FUBAR. We missed the registration deadline for the dinner, so I will have to call in the morning to see if they can still accommodate us.

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