Tuesday, December 18
Our appointment at Perry’s Desert Tire and Auto is for 10 o’clock. Per usual I’m early for the appointment. To pass some time, the crew and I continue into Borrego Springs. The state park is on the other side of town. I take some drive-by photos (see the previous post’s slideshow) and mosey back to the auto repair shop.
The Perfect Tow Vehicle is here for an oil change.
I have my latest read with me, James Michener’s Texas, which should keep me occupied. I do believe the PTV could be taken completely apart and reassembled before I could possibly finish it. I love historical fiction, well written. Lately Michener helps me get through these long winter nights that begin around 5 p.m. The sun sets so early!
Okay, back to the auto repair shop . . .
I settle into one of the chairs and Bridget and Spike stake out positions on the floor mat. They understand the drill: When we go into an unattractive building that smells like tires, we sit and behave ourselves.
Perry’s Desert Tire is a busy place. Almost every person who enters makes a positive comment about the crew. “What nice dogs!” “They’re so well-behaved!”
Jake, the son of the owner, is a personable guy.
In between customers and phone calls, I talk to him about my oil pressure gauge needle. “It’s either stationary or swinging back and forth like a metronome,” I explain. I ask him if the problem could be fixed without the costly replacement of the cluster assembly by installing an on-dash digital thingamajig. Jake is skeptical and explains why, something about a “t” having to be installed, etc.
He recommends taking it to a shop that specializes in replacing cluster assemblies and related jobs, rather than a dealer which can cost around $900. Of course, these specialty shops are few and far between, the nearest one located in a San Diego suburb, a place to which I care not to travel.
I try to make every garage visit a learning experience.
The more I can learn about the PTV, the better off we’ll be. Jake looks up the codes that are causing the “check engine” light to stay on. I’ve had this done before (for no small amount of money) with no resolution. “Have you ever left the gas cap off?” he inquires. “Well, yes, I have, briefly. I drove away from the pumps and noticed it right away.” Jake explains this would trigger the light to come on. Other codes turn out to be, for the most part, bogus.
The job done, Jake prints out a bill for $49.70.
Twenty dollars for “Lube and check chassis. Change oil and oil filter. Check air filter and breather filter. Check all fluid levels and tire pressures. Perform basic safety inspection. Road test vehicle.” New oil comes to $24.78. Three dollars for oil disposal. Tax is $1.92.
In addition to the above work, the lug nuts are torqued to 140 lbs, tires set at 40 psi, and the brake pads checked. The rear brake pads have 40% remaining and the front brake pads have 30% remaining. Jake advises I have brake work done no later than another thousand miles. For the record, the PTV’s odometer now reads 128,221.
When the crew and I leave, the sun is shining brightly.
I drive us over to the grocery store to buy some rotisserie chicken. Spike and Bridget deserve a reward for good behavior. Plus I’m hungry!
Wednesday, December 19
Man, what wind we had last night! It keeps me awake for several hours. Of course, Bridget has an emergency potty run around 1:30 a.m. at the height of the windstorm. I run around with my headlamp on, freezing, as I follow her on the search for the perfect spot to make a deposit. “Really, Bridget! Does it matter that much where you go? C’MON!” Spike sleeps through our commotion, as well as the wind buffeting the Best Little Trailer and howling through. . . what? How can wind be so noisy when there aren’t any trees?
Shortly after daybreak, Spike has his turn.
The wind is gone. A lady from a neighboring RV waves and shouts hello. We meet and she greets me as RVSue. She has never read my blog and doesn’t have internet when on the road. A family member back in Washington state where they live did a search for ‘Borrego Springs’ and up popped a photo of Marie’s rig which I posted a few days ago. We laugh at the way the internet makes these far-flung connections.
Right now Bridget and Spike are in their pen getting some fresh air and sunshine.
I have a backlog of dishes to wash. Then it’s back to Texas. The battle at the Alamo is about to start!