We’ve had a dramatic, traumatic month. It started with a cold for me. That only lasted a week, so pretty good. Then we decided to try to get a couple of estimates on excavating and creating a room in our basement. In the back of our garage there is a huge pile of cement with a few semi-level areas that we use for storage. It would make a good work space for Dave. So we got a couple of contractors out and started a refi process with Carol, Dave’s sister. Every time we refi the paperwork seems to double. Anyway, we had one estimate back before we left and the other one will come in sometime later. I guess we’ll make decisions when we come home in June.
Dave dropped off the Lazy Daze at a place in Cordelia (50 miles east of us) to replace the black tank, add a charging line to the Rav to keep the battery healthy, some vents, the shower skylight and various detectors. They had a heavy workload already, but Tim Pease (formerly of Lazy Daze, now service manager at Cordelia) said he could have it done by mid-March. So Dave brought it up to them at the end of January. When he called them in early March, they hadn’t done anything. They got to it the week before we left, and were still working on it when Dave arrived a week after promised to pick it up.
Dave wanted to drive the LD from Cordelia to Petaluma for its 65,000 servicing, where he’s gone since we bought it in 2005. The Ford dealer up there told him they don’t handle motorhomes anymore. (The next day we received a postcard from this company saying they missed us, when were we coming back?) So Dave was stuck trying to find a new place for service. Nobody in San Francisco handles motorhomes. So Dave drove the LD to his parents place in Millbrae and started calling around. He found a Ford dealer, drove the LD down there where the service manager told him that “No, we don’t handle motorhomes anymore.” They gave him another place to go that managed to do the indicated service without a problem.
There was another problem with the tow system. Our Rav4 battery was drained even after a very short tow (50 miles from Cordelia to Millbrae). This problem started on our prior trip. So with three days remaining before we left, we visited the place that installed the tow system. I drove the Rav separately so the battery wouldn’t die while being towed. The expert’s best guess was that the Rav battery was worn out although we have no problem with it except when it’s being towed. Before we left to buy a new battery at Sears, Dave noticed that the wheel cover near the black tank was detached from the tire. After taking off the tire to install the black tank, Cordelia neglected to replace the lug nut extenders and covers for the dualies. Dave credits The Tire Mans’ brass valve stems for keeping the wheel cover on. It’s a wonder he didn’t end up with an ulcer from this week.
In the meantime, I woke up Wednesday, put in my contacts, noting nothing unusual in the mirror. After breakfast, I went to brush my teeth and lo and behold, I had the first black eye of my life. I hadn’t bumped anything and nothing bumped me to my knowledge. So I added a doctor’s visit to my schedule. He asked if I had had a lot to drink the night before. No. He took a picture of it and sent me on my way.. Dave surmised that I might have rubbed my eye while I was asleep. Possible, I guess. Another health mystery.
Friday we brought the LD to our house to being loading it. It seems to take about 6 or 7 hours to move everything in there. After a final great home cooked dinner at friends Mary and Rick on Saturday night, we finished loading up the fridge and freezer on Sunday morning and departed. Or tried to. Not 5 minutes before we pulled out, a huge delivery truck taking up more than half our narrow little street pulled up in front of the house and stopped. We were stuck from going forward (after trying and failing to squeeze through), so had to back up the hill and go around the block. I feel like we’ve escaped. I am so glad to be on the road again.
It was only 120 miles from San Francisco to Pinnacles National Park. We haven’t been there in ages. We made reservations to get an electric hookup because it’s been so crazy hot everywhere in central and southern California. We pulled into our shady space, about three sites away from another Lazy Daze belonging to Ron and Jan Chisman. They came over and we figured out that we had met at the 2014 get-together at Quartzsite. Nice folks.
Monday we got up early, pulled it together and headed out on a 5.3-mile hike. We were on the trail by 8:30 and as we headed up to the Condor Gulch Trail, the weather was warming up quickly. Pinnacles is famous for harboring condors, huge scavengers with a 10-foot wingspan. Two hikers returning from their early hike said that a couple of condors flew over their heads about 15 minutes up the trail. No condors for us.
Pinnacles National Park
The west side of the Peaks was chapparal country, hilly and still green with some wildflowers, but drying out. As we climbed many steep narrow rock-hewn staircases on the High Peaks Trail, the views were spectacular. At various junctions, the signposts differed enough from the map to get us confused. (It doesn’t take much!) We actually were confusing one junction with a different one and the result was an extra 1.6 miles that was mostly uphill. It was very hot and there was little shade at 1:30. I wasn’t feeling all that great, but a juicy orange perked me up enough to get back to the car. Boy, did that shower feel good when we got back.
We were worn out from the long, hot hike and so took it easy on Tuesday. I made a nice bacon and egg breakfast and we hung out. It wasn’t quite so hot and a little breeze felt good. We headed out at 3 p.m. for a 2.2-mile hike through the Bear Gulch Caves, up to Bear Gulch Reservoir and back along the Rim Trail. It was shady and lovely, the drought not being visible yet in the canyon. Dave forgot to bring his glasses, but the sunglasses were okay. Only, when we got back to the motorhome, he couldn’t find his glasses. He searched and retraced a lot of steps – no glasses. Luckily, he brought a backup pair.
We packed up and left Pinnacles on April Fool’s Day. The glasses had not turned up and I thought that was the bad news of the day. But no! We wanted to drive 120 miles to Pismo Beach to try to nab a campsite at the Pismo State Beach North Campground – a popular place that isn’t yet taking reservations. We cruised along 25 miles of very curvy road and then reached Highway 101. Great! We could speed up and hopefully get to Pismo around 11:30 and maybe find an available site.
Highway 101 always has occasional bad spots of roadway where the rig bounces along, rattling us and everything in it. That’s what we thought we were doing – going over a rough piece of road. In fact what was happening was our rear tire was blowing off lug nuts and coming loose. A gentleman (hero) in a truck behind us thought the tire looked funny, came up alongside to check it out, got behind us again and started flashing his lights. Dave took the next exit as did the white truck and when the three of us looked at the tire, we realized he may have saved our lives. There were two lug nuts out of seven left barely holding the tire on. (My heart starts pounding again as I write this.) Apparently, the Cordelia workers didn’t bother tightening the tire lug nuts and perhaps didn’t even put on the wheel cover lug nuts. Criminal negligence. We are really lucky not to have had a major accident.
We have Progressive Insurance for the motorhome and they sent out someone to tow us. He took two lug nuts from a front tire, screwed them into the rear tire, giving it four lug nuts instead of seven, and lifted up the front end to tow on the poor dualies. It was 8 miles to the nearest Ford dealership. The tow lasted 7.99 miles, a block and a half from the dealership. The driver said he was afraid to go any farther because the tire was about to fall off. The four lug nuts had all broken.
A second tow truck was called. While Dave and I sweltered in the sun, a huge truck arrived, big enough to lift the LD in the back and brought it the last block into the dealership. It was 5 p.m., nothing else was going to happen that night. So we gathered up a laundry bag and bin with clothes, books and electronics and headed to a La Quinta Hotel for the night. A big, expensive 2-room suite was fine with us. We dumped, I mean unpacked our laundry bag and got directions to the Downtown Brewery with a good happy hour. Two beer and two margaritas and two dinners later, we were feeling better. Back at the hotel, we zoned out, watched some stupid TV and decamped to a large, comfortable bed.
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