Tales from the Field #7.

Sometimes the trip to or from the show is as eventful as the show itself.  The trip to the Phoenix area I particularly enjoy because there’s a short-cut from Mecca to the I10-eastbound up Box Canyon.  On the outbound trip, which is during the day, the geology is very scenic.  On the inbound trip, which is usually around 10pm, it’s one of those dark-sky zones where you can stop and enjoy stars without the interference of city lights.  The alternative is to go up to the I10 in Indio, but the Box Canyon cut-off is 25 miles shorter.

On the way to Carefree, I got to the top of Box Canyon, where it joins the freeway, only to find the on-ramp was coned off and blocked by several pieces of heavy machinery.  The next on-ramp to the east is at Chiriaco Summit, maybe 4 miles, and to the west, the Indio on-ramp.  Yes, a 50 mile round trip.  Aargh.

Just to complicate matters, I’d been having some slight thermostat problems with the truck.  Although it wasn’t overheating very much, from the last trip, it seemed that if I stopped to let it cool, it got hotter.  The plan had been to try to drive to Blythe to get a replacement thermostat, if necessary, doing the work in the parking lot.  I had not planned on stopping between home and Blythe – a 2 hour leg of the trip.  And it was starting to look like I was going to have to stop at Chiriaco anyway, that second cup of coffee was working overtime, and I didn’t think my bladder would make it another hour to Blythe.

I hopped out of the truck and talked to one of the workers who pointed me in the direction of the foreman.  He said that at the last bend in Box Canyon was a side-road, marked by two cones, which went up to Chiriaco Summit.  Perfect.

detourtochiriaco1

Desert definition of ‘road’.

However, when the foreman used the word ‘road’, he didn’t quite say how ‘roady’ this was.  At first there was a dirt stretch, followed by gravel and more dirt, and eventually panning out into ancient blacktop for a while, then changing between the three options before it joined I10 at Chiriaco Summit.   I had the ‘road’ to myself.  It passed little bridges where washes ran down, and these were inevitably full of trees and bushes.  Ah, if ever there was a road I could leave the truck running at the side of it and run behind a bush!

Road between Box Canyon and Chriaco Summit

Ah, relief is in sight!

No need to stop at Chiriacco!  When I got to Blythe and bought the thermostat, I think the truck realized I was serious about doing this open-hood surgery myself in a parking lot without a mechanic in attendance. I’ve not had a problem with it since.

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Tales from the Field #6

I do love staying in Airbnbs.  The price is right and you get to meet some nice people.  I have a few favorites and have made some friends.  There is one particular couple I’ve stayed with about four times, I know where everything is in the house.  They have three airbnb rooms.  The last time I stayed there, they were away for the weekend and kinda left me in charge of the two young guys staying in the other rooms;  I got to be the house Mom.  They also mentioned that one guy had left a suitcase for later pickup in the garage.

The first night, I hadn’t been in long when the doorbell rang.  It was Fedex.  I signed for the package, put it on the hall stand and texted them that the package had arrived.

The second night, I hadn’t been in long when the doorbell rang.   It was the former room guest returning for his suitcase.  We found the suitcase in the garage and I texted them that it had been retrieved.

On the third night, I was microwaving my dinner and decided it needed to go in for another minute.  HummmmmmmmFFFZZZZTTTT.  Oh ****. I tried resetting the GFCI on a nearby socket, but no go.  The microwave had been plugged into a socket apparently on a different circuit.  A few sockets behind the stove were off, but the stove was on still and the microwave could be plugged into the GFCI socket and I could continue dinner.  I texted them what had happened and said that it wasn’t a big deal, they could wait til Monday to fix it.

After dinner I went to put water in the freezer for the following day. Oh no, the fridge is off – plugged into the same circuit as the rest of the dead sockets!  So now we’re on phone calls.  Grabbing the flash light from my truck I followed their instructions to the breaker box, but wasn’t getting any joy from resetting the marked circuit breakers.  There was one of the other guys in the house, and after we ascertained that he wasn’t going to lose anything when the internet went down, we rebooted the house electrics.  Still no joy.

By now the couple are planning to abort their trip and drive home.  However, the young strong man (they’re really handy sometimes) easily pulled the fridge out of its alcove and now we had access to the plug.  Back to the garage and rummaging for their extension cords, we ran a line to another area that was working, and we were back in business except for…. the tripping hazard across the kitchen floor.  So, warnings to both other guests that the kitchen light needs to be left on so we don’t trip on the wire, my hosts unpacked their suitcases and went back to their trip.