Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Night in the Desert

Odometer  57708
Trip 308 miles

Another late start for us today.  When we went to start up the Honda and run it through it's gears before a day of towing, we found the battery was dead.  Our owners manual says that after every 250 miles of towing it is necessary to start the car and churn the oil in the transmission.  We have jumper cables, but they will not reach the batteries in the motorhome from the car hooked to the tow bar.  Our options were to:
A.  unhook the car and push it closer to the battery compartment or
B.  take a battery out of the motorhome and haul it back to the car.

We chose B and that took some time, but it did work, and we were soon on our way east and south.

The big Cat diesel in the motorhome decided to do a hard start this morning also.  We are not sure exactly why, but this does happen from time to time.  The engine will catch and immediately die.  And it does this several times in a row, usually with a big cloud of dark sooty exhaust.  What seems to work the best in this situation is not very easy on the starter- we hold the ignition in the start position through the brief run portion and goes immediately into restarting.  This worked for us today, but always sets my teeth on edge, wondering what it's doing to the starter and ring gear.  The overnight temperature was 30- 32 degrees F and we had the engine heater on for about 40 minutes before starting, which I think, kept the glow plugs from doing a full cycle.

I snapped this photo of our desert campsite just before dark

When we did finally get underway, we hopped onto I-80 east to Fernley and then route 50 to Fallon, before settling in on US95 south which would take us to Vegas.
We stopped in Hawthorne to make lunch and were sitting at the table eating sandwiches and soup when an MP knocked on the door and told us we were in front of a Federal facility and would have to move immediately!  We looked up and there was a brick wall between us and a parking lot on the other side.  Hmm... what-ever we weren't going to argue.  We were pretty much finished so we hit the road.
What I did next was really stupid!  I cruised through town and out the other side- up into the hills for almost 20 minutes before I realized- I was on the wrong road!  I'd taken Route 359 towards Mono Lake- not 95 South to Tonopah, which is a left turn in the middle of town.  We found a gravel pit where we could turn our 53 feet of vehicle around and slunk back to Hawthorne and US 95.

An hour later we were leaving Tonopah heading for Goldfield, we decided that we were both ready to stop for the day. 

Our little side trip had cost us the extra time we needed to get to Beatty and set up before dark.  Our daily destinations are usually only a guideline anyway- we don't have a schedule to keep.  The weather was sun shining through a high thin overcast, so that coupled with the high elevation, it never really got very warm.

We found small gravel road that headed off into the distance, and decided to nose our bus out into the desert about 500 feet from the road and stay for the night. 


The furnace, the new batteries, and the new inverter panel made our evening and overnight stay a very comfortable one.  In the morning we started the generator to make coffee and toast, and while we were, I hooked up the battery charger to the Honda battery, which was DOA again.  We let the Generator run for about an hour as we finished breakfast and stowed all our gear.  When we were ready to depart, the Honda started just fine.  We stirred the oil in the Honda's transmission and we were off with an early start time of 8 AM.  Some kind of a record for us!!

Joan called our friends Steve and Trish in Las Vegas to see if we could meet for lunch on our way through.  As luck would have it, they had no obligations and arranged to meet us a Khoury's a Mediterranean restaurant off  West Sahara .  We had some excellent food, and had a great time catching up the latest news. 

Steve gave us directions to keep us out of the majority of the downtown traffic, and within 30 minutes we were headed south on 515 towards Boulder City where we would catch US 93 south to Kingman.

We changed time (ahead) as we entered Arizona making our arrival in Kingman around 5 PM.  Joan found a Passport RV park which should save us 50% on our rent tonight.  Sunrise RV is an older park right off I-40, and they had a space available, however they would not honor the Passport 1/2 price stay saying this was their "busy season"  Hmm... At $30 it was still a good value and we registered and got set-up in a pull through space.

Our Home For Tonight at Sunrise RV Park in Kingman, AZ
 I say it is an older park because the spaces are so narrow, our slides almost touched the neighbors picnic table!  Being in a park meant I could charge the Honda battery thoroughly overnight, and I sneaked in a "bucket wash" on the coach.  A bucket wash is where I fill a collapsible canvas bucket 1/2 full of water and dribble in some RV Wash™ which allows me to do a rinse-less wash with a microfiber cloth.  Wipe off the dirt- rinse and repeat until the water is black- water a plant and repeat.  Usually 3 buckets gets me all the way around as high as I can reach, and the wheels.


We had a pleasant night last night, and in the morning, we had an uneventful start with the car battery topped up and the car still hooked up to tow, we were off with a minimum of fan fare.

Our destination today is our friends Ralph and Ann's house in a suburb north of Phoenix.  They have invited us to mooch-dock at their ranch (full hookups!) for a couple of weeks, while I expand on my knowledge of all things Model T.  It's an easy 3-1/2 hours down the road for us on a hazy/sunny day with temps from 57 this morning to 85 this afternoon in Phoenix.
We roll in to our friend's house at 3PM and get set-up in one of their 4 RV spaces, just in time for cocktails on the veranda.  The Honda battery held on just fine- so we'll see if it stays topped up.

After some cool beverages and a lot of catching up, Ralph takes me to the shop and outlines the first 3 projects that we'll tackle tomorrow- Awesome!

Your Traveling Friends

Jeff and Joan

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