Today I was the bug and not the windshield. There was nothing wrong with the start of the day; it was just that things didn’t go smoothly. The initial plan was to get up early, get the shocks. Drive and get coffee and then deliver the shocks and coffee to the installation place and by 10:30 AM and be done. That was the plan. The cool hum of the air conditioner lulled us to sleep and kept us there until after eight o’ clock in the morning. I tried the internet to see what was going on in the world and our access code had expired. Cell connection isn’t the best at this part of Vegas, so the iPad wasn’t being productive either.
We had a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast since with CNN reporting the latest crisis in the background since we were still enjoying the creature comforts of the RV Park. I hadn’t hooked up the sewage to the fitting, as the park was a full hookup location, and we don’t make that much black and grey water. I find it easier to just dump everything when we’re done. Well, suffice it to say that I’m used to hooking us up to a dump station and not to a full service connection. Water all over solved the problem. We filled the water tank a third, as the future can always be uncertain, removed the electricity, cable, stabilizers, levelers and were off.
Louise dumped the garbage while I said goodbye to the office staff and determined that there was nothing else that we were supposed to do, and we were off to get everything repaired, late. In leaving the Lake Meade Recreation area, I didn’t use the GPS to get to the O’Reilly’s and found a new exit from the area, which dropped us in the middle of central eastern Las Vegas. We got a great view of the city with the nnew unanticipated route. An apparent cold front had cleared out most of the smog and haze, and the downtown looked like a model of the city. The neighborhood we were passing through was nicer and more upscale than the one we had been passing through prior. I was also lost, so I plugged in the address of the O’Reilly’s and my urban Garmin GPS proceeded to take me on a tour of east Las Vegas. There is road construction in that part of town, and they used some steel plates to cover a large hole. The resulting thump, remember we were on our way to get the shocks replaced, opened up the pantry and medicine cabinet and by the time we got to O’Reilly’s there was stuff all over the inside of the RV. Poor Louise, I was cranky.
The shocks were there as promised, and were the correct model. Off we went to find a Mc Donald’s, as I had promised coffee to the repair shop, and in our search passed the repair shop for the second time. Part of me wondered if they were watching and wondering what the heck we were doing, driving past and not coming in early, as we indicated. Coffee secured, we went to the repair shop where the RV was too tall to fit in the bay, but they had a creeper and a mechanic who was willing and the job was underway.
I talked to the manager while the RV was repaired. The makeup of the shop was all Las Vegas. The owner was Asian Indian, who spoke English perfectly, the manager was Mexican who spoke English very well, but you had to listen carefully, the mechanic working on the RV spoke no English, and the other Hispanic mechanic spoke English and translated for the other mechanic. The thing that cracked me up was that the translating mechanic shortened up what the first was reporting on the RV. I may not speak Spanish, but I knew what we were talking about and there were a lot more nouns on the Spanish side than there were on the English.
In short time the job was finished, and we were set to go. The old shocks looked fine, and really resisted compression. It’s not until you get away from home and need a repair that you really appreciate your home town mechanic. I’ll have to bring Robbie a six pack when we return, just because.
Our route took us south on Interstate 15 past a really large solar plant that appeared to be generating a massive amount of electricity, judging by the number of power lines coming from the site. There appeared to be a bunch of mirrors surrounding a tower, and the reflected light shone on the tower which looked like a really bright stadium lighting. There isn’t much rain in the area, but I wondered how they keep the dust off the mirrors. I did a little research and discovered that the facility was the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility, the largest solar power facility in the world. It cost 2.2 billion dollars to build with a taxpayer backed loan of 1.6 billion dollars, and maybe will generate 390 megawatts. It also cooks birds in flight, but the managers aren’t saying what kind or how many. After the quick research, this cool thing looks more like a political thing with minimized problems. Somehow I think that you and I will pay for it in the end.
Our route went south to Wheaton Springs, and then south to Cima and Kelso. I never noticed the welcome to California sign on the Interstate, and it wasn’t until we were in the middle of the Mohave Preserve that I figured we were in California because the speed limit was 55 and the road was barely a road. They promised speed was monitored by Radar, but there wasn’t a bush or a billboard to hide behind.
You really have to take the road we were on to appreciate the area. The road is a two lane road, and for portions of it I drove in the middle of the road because of the potholes and the lack of traffic. Things were dry and scrufty when we left Interstate 51, and as we went south, things got dryer, if that was possible. There was a really nice section where the Joshua Trees were tall, impressive and closely packed, but then they thinned out and all the ones we were seeing were dead and falling apart.
We stopped at the town of Kelso, which has a restored train station in use as the visitor’s center for the Mohave National Preserve. The town is a ghost town. There once were as many as 2,000 people living there, but times changed, the railroad changed technology and the borax and mines in the area closed, so the money went away with the town. The railroad station was preserved, and looks pretty cool. Unfortunately for us, the place is closed on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s. Imagine, a ghost town with operating hours,
In our travels we always try to get away from the hustle and bustle and go to the quiet places in the world, mostly since we live smack in the middle of the 95 corridor on the East Coast. There are millions of people that call that area their home, and that’s OK. There is money to be made, nice things to be had, and it allows many people to have a very comfortable life style. But when we take a vacation, we like to get way from the crowds and enjoy God’s beautiful earth. The Mohave preserve is a whole ‘nother situation’.
Most of the area looks harsh and jagged, and reeks “Oooh, don’t go there, don’t touch that”. Even the mountains look really spiny with nothing growing on them. We passed through a section called Wonder Valley, just outside of Twenty Nine Palms. It’s a collection of abandoned houses, shacks and modest houses, all without water. It looks like a commune that went bad. Not a good first impression for going to Twenty Nine Palms.
We drove to the San Bernardino County campground in Twenty Nine Palms only to find that it was no longer there. We called the telephone number for the park to discover that it was disconnected. Not a good way to end the day. We checked some resources and found the only RV park in Twenty Nine Palms. There were plenty of spaces and the rate was a little more than we like to pay, but they have water and electricity, which means that we can run the electricity and in turn have air conditioning.
It took only a little time to get set up and cool. The roses I bought for Louise in Las Vegas are getting beat up by the heat, but . . We had real chicken Kiev for dinner which involved browning and using the convection microwave. In a surprise the chicken wasn’t overdone and dinner tasted great. A long day and an early night, but a great day.