Saturday, December 28, 2013

Morongomobile gets a major repair

So the January trip to the Mojave National Preserve is still on!

Water pump went out Christmas Eve day, I had the repairs done at my favorite repair shop- Mitchell Tire Service in Anaheim the day after Christmas. The estimate when I brought the car in to replace the water pump, timing belt and tensioner was around $790. The final total was $687 and the car is running like a sewing machine again.

This video shows the car running in the parking lot at my work. Video filmed with my LG Motion smartphone.


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The blog year in review and thoughts about the MNP

Happy holidays to everyone out there wherever you might be located.

Sorry for the lack of writing on this site, my old nemesis, writer’s block along with laziness had a lot to do with things around here.

This was a year where I abandoned this blog to try my hand at writing about
rare earth and stock investing, neither of which really worked out. I still write
and participate at a now “penny stock” forum, the stock going south and never recovering right after I bought in, down almost 82%.

This has been an interesting year, having moved in with my girlfriend in
April and still driving the shuttle bus, but not being able to visit the desert that much. I did visit the Big Morongo Canyon Nature Preserve a few times but that’s about it.

Plans have been made to take off for 5 straight days up to the Mojave National Preserve in mid January with the idea of spending at least one night out under the stars, and to visit several places there, including the Castle Peaks area if possible. That may not happen due to the higher elevation and possible snow accumulations, but there are still many places to visit at lower elevations.

Here is where the bang comes in.

In addition to being burdened with some sort of chest congestion issue which has hung on for weeks, now of all times that it had to happen, yesterday I finally got the official notice from a mechanic that the water pump is going out on my Chrysler Concorde, at 187k miles, right on Christmas eve. It will cost at least $800 and will require that the car be kept up to two days at the shop.

While it is horrible news, at least it happened here and not miles away from civilization and a cell phone signal, such as the Castle Peaks area of the Mojave National Preserve!

So first thing in the morning, I will drive it up to my mechanic’s shop in Anaheim and get the repair started. Before when I mentioned having the water pump and timing belt done(my choice and not forced upon me) he said it could be done in one day, we will see.

Let me tell you what I have been mulling over throughout this year, and you can see how this recent event has given me more to think about. In fact, it has shaken me a little.

I have thought about rv’ing part time after I turn 62 and still working p/t somewhere. Going out on some desert or mountain dirt road and getting away from all these people and finding some peace and serenity away from it all.
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In particular, I have thought of taking a cargo van such as my former company work van shown above, and putting in some shelves and a little cot, along with
a stove and some sort of water setup, and use that as my mobile p/t hard side “tent camper.” The photograph above taken at the beginning of Globe Mine Road in the Mojave National Preserve, with the awesome backdrop of the Providence Mountains, was taken at the start of a drive miles up winding dirt road and ending at the wilderness area markers. The high clearance 2 wheel drive was and is more than enough to meet my needs, and would enable me to get far out and setup camp in remote areas, far from the madding crowds.

Now I understand the risks though, always be prepared for a breakdown. While you may not be able to prepare for every possible misfortune, try to be ready for common ones that you might encounter, such as bogging down in sand or running out of gas or water. In my case, with the Chrysler, it also means not pushing the car beyond its’ limits, only ride on paved or known good dirt roads. Ask the rangers for the road conditions.

No promises about the future of this blog except two- no writing about renewable energy(burnt out) but I will write about places that I visit here. My thoughts on the paving over of the desert are well documented here and the same objections that applied to Ivanpah still stand for the rest of them. ‘Nuff said. Feel free to crib anything I wrote on the subject and remember that I am only speaking for myself in the posts that you may find. Sorry if I disappoint anyone that might be reading this.