Wednesday, May 31, 2006

9:11 PM Wednesday May 31, 2006

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (see note below) I must tell you again, that we have had mechanical trouble with our dear Penny the Pace. There is no doubt she is related to me because it’s obvious she absolutely does not like working in the heat or climbing mountains. Sound familiar?

After leaving Yuma yesterday, Penny’s first problem came about 1 PM after being on the road for about four hours when we stopped for lunch. It was getting hot and she had been running perfectly all that time but when we slowed down to park in the rest stop, she died. Within a second or two Phil got her started again and drove all the way into a spot where she quit once more and refused to turn over again. We decided there wasn’t much of anything we could do right then so while fixing and eating our lunch we tried to stay calm and rational and discussed our options should she stop running altogether.

When we were ready to try and move down the road again, without so much as a hiccup, Penny started and ran flawlessly … even purred along at 2 MPH in a two-hour traffic backup because of a fuel spill up the road where CA 60 and I-215 merge together in Riverside. We caught CA 15 and headed north then turned west on CA 138. So far—so good. It was a long gradual climb toward CA 14 and Mojave, our destination. About half way to Palmdale she quit again. No coughing, no sputtering to bucking or complaining … she just quit! Keep in mind there is no brake and no steering when the engine isn't running. A scary thought when looking at a 6-7% downhill grade. Phil managed to cajole her into running long enough to ease our 50 feet of rig and toad off to the side of the road where we waited for about 20 minutes.

Again, she started and continued to run without a problem all the way to Sierra Trails RV Park six miles north of Mojave on CA 14. This is a Passport America park and they have eight wide, level and sunny (no obstruction for our datastorm satellite dish) pull-thrus with cable TV (although limited) for $15.25 per night. There are plenty of shady sites as well.

We decided to stay an extra day so Phil could try a fuel filter bypass and see if that helps on our next leg of the trip. He went to town; bought the parts he needed and completed the task in about an hour. We will cross the mountains on CA 58 and keep our fingers crossed that Phil’s fix works. I’m going to drive behind Penny in the Lone Ranger because of the 4000 ft. drop on the other side into Bakersfield. As you know, this is my solution to the high anxiety I suffer while riding over mountains in the motorhome.

If all goes well tomorrow, we will continue north to Sacramento before stopping for the night.

Note: For all you youngsters out there, a “record” is a round disk made of vinyl with music recorded on it that we old-timers played on a machine called a phonograph. If the record was damaged or “broken” the needle (it picked up the music in the grooves) would get caught on the crack and play the same line of the song over and over again.

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