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We know. We’re bad at “Web 2.0.” We put the “anti” in social media. Instead of coming back to the camper every night to write blog posts and process photographs (or better yet, posting from the field as it all took place) we did other things. Like sleep. Fear not. We’ll be filling in the blanks with words and images.

Just as soon as we catch our breath…

Jeff and I arrived home on Friday evening.  That day was such a blur that I’m not sure what time we got home… perhaps 7 PM?  It rained all day while we were on the road.  After a month in the desert, I had forgotten what rain was like. 

We made two stops along the way on Friday.  We paid a surprise visit to Eric at Atlantic British.  I had never been there… it was cool to finally see AB, and it was great to have a chance to catch up with Eric.  I really wish that we could see more of him, but he and Carlane live far enough away that it is tough for us to get together nearly as often as we’d like.  We also dropped off FINSUP at Cityside on the way home.  Her front differential did not survive the trails of Moab.    

We were exhausted when we got home, so we pretty much just went to bed after dinner and some quality time with the kitties.  Max and Scout seemed stunned to see us… I think they had given up hope that we would ever return!

BTW, thanks for leaving us a yummy homemade spinach lasagna for dinner, Mom.  It really hit the spot!

We set an early alarm for Saturday morning so that we could get to MIT by sunrise for the Great Glass Pumpkin Patch.  Usually I’m there to help with setup for the sale on Friday, but because we were still on the way home, I had to settle for volunteering on Saturday only.  Jeff and I were pretty glazed over and tired, but I’m really glad we made it to the sale.  The sale is the one time of the year that the extended Glass Lab community gets together.

Today was a day of recovery and reorganization.  We took it pretty easy, unloaded a bunch of stuff from the RoVerhauler and started doing load after load of laundry.  Tomorrow I go back to work.  That is going to feel pretty strange after six weeks away.  I am looking forward to getting back to my normal routine, but I could use a couple more days of rest and recovery.  Why do I always feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacations?  One of these days, I’m going to take some time off to just do nothing and go nowhere.

As we have travelled, Jeff and I have been gradually learning that we prefer visiting fewer places more extensively, as opposed to rushing from place to place just getting a taste of each location. In that vein, we decided to visit just one of Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon National Park on the way from Great Basin National Park in Nevada to Moab, Utah, and Zion won.

Zion had several things in its favor. First, my friend and glassblowing partner, Katie, who has visited and hiked both, highly recommended Zion. Second, geologists that we met in Winnemucca, NV and Baker, NV recommended Zion as more interesting. And third, Zion seemed to have a lot more variety in terms of landscapes and microclimates when compared with Bryce.

I do hope to return to the western US and visit Bryce Canyon National Park some day (not to mention the Grand Canyon), but the pull of Zion and Moab will be tough to overcome, given that our vacation time and dollars are not unlimited, and given how much we have enjoyed visiting them.

One of the treasures that we found in the vicinity of Zion was a little restaurant called the Red Coyote Cafe. By chance, we stopped there for lunch, and based upon how surprisingly wonderful and unique the lunch was, we went back for a breakfast the next day, and a dinner that same evening. The proprietor, Jan, was charming, and she gave us great advice in terms of where to go and what to do in the park.

We are in Moab right now at the Canyonlands RV Park, which is conveniently located across the street from the Moab Brewery. We arrived here after the long drive from Zion on Friday, and we ate dinner at the brewery that evening.

We spent most of Saturday setting up camp, cleaning and organizing the RoVerhauler and exploring some of the charming shops in the town of Moab. We did a self-guided petroglyph tour in the afternoon, using information from a flier that we picked up at the Moab Visitor’s Center, and we had dinner at a great Mexican restaurant, Miguel’s Baja Grill. We happened to be here on the first evening of the 2008 Moab Art Walk, so we hit all nine sites on the art walk after dinner. I managed to restrain myself and only bought one piece, a lovely bracelet. It is made of silver metal and blue and green dichroic glass, and it was quite modestly priced.

On Sunday, we rode a local mountain bike trail in the morning and into the early afternoon, and then we bought tickets for a Colorado River Cruise for the evening, which included dinner. We road the classic Moab beginner’s trail, the Bar M loop. The dinner cruise was nice, but somewhat touristy. The food was hearty and tasty (mmmmm, spicy BBQ pork!), and we met a nice couple from Indiana over dinner. The cruise was very pleasant. The scenery was wonderful, and the view from the river was great. The “sound and light” show was a bit over the top, but interesting and informative nonetheless. The light show might have been a bit more spectacular if not for the brightness of the almost full moon last night, but the moonglow added a beauty of its own to the scenery.

Today, we started exploring Arches National Park. What spectacular scenery! And so accessible too! The roads are great, there are lots of pull-offs for photo opportunities, and numerous trails for those who want to get up close. We visited Balanced Rock, the North and South Window Arches, Double Arch and Delicate Arch. We skipped the Garden of Eden and the Devil’s Garden because we were sun-weary and hungry. I really hope that we will be able to make the time to visit those spots before we must head home. We met a nice couple, Lynn and Allison from North Carolina, on the trail to Delicate Arch. I hope that they will be in touch… they are planning to visit Zion next year, and we have some tips for them.

Registration for the Land Rover National Rally begins tomorrow afternoon at 4 PM. Rover people have been trickling into town over the past couple of days. Jeff has run into several people that he knows from other rallies, and we have met many new people as well.

In the morning, before rally registration opens, Jeff and I are planning to launch the kayak in the Colorado River. We spotted a public boat launch from the river cruise last night. We dragged the kayak and associated gear all the way here from MA, so we want to use it. We found the perfect spot from which to launch the kayak near Zion, but unfortunately, it was already late in the afternoon on the day before we were planning an early morning departure, so we’ll have to leave that spot for our next trip out.

Here is a tip for cleaning lawn chairs, hammocks, etc. after Burning Man: use a coin operated car wash!

We set up our incredibly dusty folding chairs and hammocks in a bay at a local car wash here in Winnemucca. We pulled in our vehicle as well, so that we could rinse our bicycles without taking them out of the bike carrier. Five dollars and ten minutes of washing time later, everything was remarkably clean. Jeff said that there is still a thin film of playa dust on some of the surfaces, but I think that pretty much everything is cleaner than it was when we left Boston.

Next time, I plan to bring along a spray bottle containing a vinegar and water mixture. The vinegar probably would have cut the playa dust to the point where there would be no playa film left behind after the vigorous car wash rinse.

(Oh, that reminds me… we forgot to lube the bike chains after the wash. Well, I think that can wait until tomorrow morning…)

We made it to Burning Man. And back out again. Under our own power. Two days late, but infinitely better than not at all! Yay! We’ll blog about our adventures at Burning Man and afterwards some time soon, but I just wanted to write a quick post to let folks know that we made it.

As for photos, mine are still trapped in my camera, but I hope to post some in the next day or two.

And as for the RoVerhauler, since Reno, she seems to get happier the more we drive her. We had no problems going from Reno to Black Rock City and back. She was even able to sustain 65 mph going up hills from Reno to Winnemucca, with no black smoke. Her temperature did not get into the danger zone either. Once again, Yay!

The Rocky Mountains still stand between us and home, but all indications are that the RoVerhauler will be up to the task. We’re going to try to do the bulk of our driving during the cooler hours of the morning. If we see signs of black smoke, we’ll swap in the spare air cleaner. If she gets too hot, we’ll find a spot to pull off and give her a rest.

Our friend Mark invited us to a BBQ here at the Winnemucca RV Park, so I’m going to sign out for now.

We picked up the RoVerhauler from Cashman Cat about an hour or two ago. We are planning to leave Reno for Black Rock City early tomorrow morning. I have my fingers crossed that we make it in to Burning Man by mid day tomorrow and back out again under our own power.

The RoVerhauler may need to go back in to Cashman Cat when we return from Burning Man. They addressed the transmission linkage problem, put in a new air filter and restored the drive train, but we still may have a low power issue. Jeff or I will write up more details about the repairs soon, but I’m too tired to concentrate on that right now.

Too tired, and too angry. I’m sitting here in my hotel room in the west tower of John Ascuaga’s Nugget, overlooking a giant parking lot that is less than 1/3 full and has AMPLE space for the RoVerhauler. There is another parking lot at the other end of the property, on the other side of the Nugget parking garage, that is *totally* *empty*. They say that we cannot park there because that is the valet parking overflow lot, but let me repeat: that lot is TOTALLY EMPTY. The Nugget is not allowing us to park the RoVerhauler in either of the adjacent parking lots. They told us to park in a small “RV lot” under the bridge on the other side of Victorian Ave., but when we pulled into a pair of front-to-back “pull through” spaces in that lot, our tow dolly was blocking the aisle… the spaces were not long enough for the RoVerhauler and the dolly.

We ended up putting the RoVerhauler in a lot that was across the street from there that appears to have some overflow parking from the rib-fest, but that is not a Nugget lot. The night staff here at the Nugget, both at the front desk and at the security phone number, have been pleasant, but totally unable to deal with the situation and unable or unwilling to escalate it to a manager who has the authority to say that it is OK to park in either of the verboten lots.

Grrrrr. It just does not make sense. They are turning someone who had been a loyal customer into someone who will speak ill of their facility and who will not stay here again. Oh, well… too bad. For the RV-ers among you, be forewarned and do not count on the Nugget to be an RV friendly facility.

Well, enough ranting. Back to our regularly scheduled program. 🙂 We are unlikely to be able to post again between tomorrow morning and Labor Day, but will let you know how the RoVerhauler performs once we are back “on the grid”.

One benefit of sitting in a hotel room with nothing to do (yet) is catching up on offloading cameras, making minor adjustments to photos and getting them uploaded to share with you.

I’ve added photos to a number of the blog entries so you might want to start back at the beginning and take a look. Thanks for your patience and understanding. We know we’re Web 2.0 lame for not managing to do this on the fly.

Whoops! The photos have been cropped in an unintended way when posted. I’ll try to sort it out later today and will let you know when they look right. (Feel free to have a look anyway, but remember you’re not getting the full picture!)

Yesterday morning, after consulting with Boston Freightliner and Michael Moore, a local truck technician with Cashman Equipment in Elko, we made the decision to have the rig towed to Reno. The Cashman truck shop there seemed like our best bet at getting the various problems sorted out promptly and, if it is the turbo charger, they will honor the warranty on the part. I called them to let them know we’d be coming, then called Good Sam Club to initiate the tow. Unfortunately, because their coverage only includes the “closest facility” with no regards to warranty needs, we’re eating the majority of the bill for this one. No complaints, the folks at Good Sam have absolutely delivered on everything we signed on for.

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Our “old friend” Leland from A-1 Towing was again dispatched to hook us up and pull us down the road. We followed, as best we could, in the Land-Rover. It was a long and grueling drive. If anyone ever tells you that I-80 is flat once you get past Winnemucca you should laugh. We were again frequently forced to reduce speed, though I will grant that there were no genuine mountains to summit.

We arrived and found the folks at Cashman were extremely friendly and the shop was as big and well equipped as we had hoped. We were encouraged to see them pushing the rig into a repair bay for diagnosis before we even left the facility.

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We checked into the Nugget for the evening. We devoured a late lunch along with four glasses of water each, ran a few errands, enjoyed the pool and hot tub and a “fancy” dinner at the Trader Dick’s tiki restaurant.

While we’re both anxious for news that we can get back on the road, at least we’re in familiar and comfortable territory and we’re both encouraged that we’re closer to our goal.

We’ll keep you posted!

We’re not wasting all of our time sitting by the pool here in Winnemucca. Along with our more serious problems, I’d noticed a dribble from the sewer drain pipe while we were sitting in the rest area waiting for the tow truck on Friday night.

The problem was due to a stress crack in the sewer pipe. Fortunately, the crack was in a reasonably accessible spot near the end of the run. John, who along with his wife Liz owns the RV Park, coached me through the replacement of a length of ABS pipe and the endcap for the drain. The job went fairly well though we did have a little spray when I first opened the “drained” pipe (the small hose drain and end valve were both partially blocked and there was quite a bit of “water” pressure in the system.

Did I mention they have really nice showers here.

Anyhow, that job is done and I’m sitting by the pool where we just met another couple heading to Burning Man. Rachel and Anthony (aka Apple Man) hail from Calgary and just got married last week. They’ll have another ceremony on the Playa at Burning Man.

Last night we met a couple from Ontario traveling with their son and one of his friends. They’re attending Burning Man for the first time and we gave them some pointers about what to expect.

One of the best things about this mode of travel is the people we’re meeting in these RV parks. They are definitely more “social” than hotels and motels.

***

Back at the rig. I just put the sewer system through it’s acid test. It passed with flying colors. I went so far as to locate all the fancy hardware to make the proper connections as opposed to just sticking the “slinky” hose down into the drain. We look like we know what we’re doing now.