Monday, October 6, 2014

The Bugs Must Go

As you know we have been home for a couple days and the front of the car was still disgustingly bug encrusted. The rest of the vehicle was pretty scungy as well. 

There were bugs splattered, smushed, wedged and embedded in the grill, fascia and lights of the car. This would not be allowed to stand!

At least I had taken the time to fortify myself the previous evening. Yes, that's grilled barbecued chicken. Yes, it does look good doesn't it. It was!

I headed off to the local washeteria. The first thing to be done was to toss the floor masts in the heavy duty washer. $4 and well worth it.

As I pulled in I parked beside a Lincoln Continental. You may have seen cars that sport "peel and stick" bulletholes....for emphasis you know. This sled had the actual "no mistaking it" bullet hole, probably installed while the driver was accelerating wildly trying to get away from the guy squirting metal!!!

Good thing I had that delicious chicken. I would need the extra elbow grease for what was to come next.

I had already stopped at Wally World and purchased assorted wipes, some for leather and others for GP, vinyl plastic and rubber. I used about 2 quarts of elbow grease and 15 wipes detailing the dash, upholstery and door panels.

Then it was time to fire up the "Magna-Suck" coin operated vacuum. As you can see the floor needed extra levels of suction. In short order the gravel, bits of plastic and paper and assorted cheese flavored snacks were inhaled by the voracious machine.

 I paid extra attention to not allow my fingers in front of the nozzle, and kept my fingers bent to avoid losing my wedding ring.

Man am I glad that I took the time to inhale some of that delicious chicken last night. It was both de rigeur and delightful.

There that's better. This section done and the others likewise. Now to collect the floor mats and head back to the ranch.

While it in no way resembled a professional job, it sure looks a lot better than at the start.

Here is the end result. Bug free and smelling clean from stem to gudgeon. Not a bad looking ride when it's not covered with bug guts! 

Now that's more lie the type of chariot my Queen deserves to ride in. We went to a local home decor store, and I talked ScooterChick into posing with an oversize crown that is supposed to hang on the wall.

So much for my day. I hope yours was less strenuous and involved fewer wipes, soap and vacuuming. Ciao!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Mish Mash and Eats

I may have omitted an important detail of our last leg of our trip home. As we left Las Cruces NM our path took us past a tire facility. Hey, I know a tire guy. Hey, his name is Forrest. Coincidence? I think not!

Sometimes you take a picture and it's just worth a replay... This from the other day upon our arrival at our home in Lawton. We are glad to be home after a 3,000 mile journey. We had fun but it's nice to be able to relax.

Yesterday morning, after attending to some chores my beloved ScooterChick offered to take me out to breakfast. Since it was 1:30 in the pm there were only two choices. IHOP or our eventual destination. Since I enjoy eating at restaurants we do not have in the Great NorthWet I chose this one.

We have dined at this particular establishment before and since it was close to the end of the business day for them, service was prompt and food arrived hot and fast. The coffee cups are cheerful, belying the contents which are hot but not good.

ScooterChick ordered Chilaquiles. These are described thusly:

Three eggs scrambled with Monterey jack cheese, onions, tomatoes, and crisp tortilla strips topped with ahogada salsa and drizzled with sour cream. 
They were unusual and she found them quite sour for her taste, but they were consumed with panache nonetheless.

I reverted to type and ordered my favorite meal here. You can probably tell from a glance what these pancakes contain: That's right BACON and Cheddar!!!

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!! It was every bit as good as I remember.

They are only open from 6 am until 2 pm so you can see how busy it was. There were two other patrons, so Patsy and I double their head count.

We finished running out errands and I came across this cool old sign. Though the  paint is faded, it is still possible to make out Union Bus Lines on the face of the sign, The letters were originally outlined in neon tubes, which are also a dying art. Given the style (Art Deco) and the construction method of the signage, I would have to say it started service in the latter 30's or early 40's. I made some local inquiries and found out that it had been decommissioned for at least 20 years or more.

What a treat to stumble over these reminders of yesteryear. Bus travel had been an important part of the nation's history, and now with the advent of inexpensive air travel, ride sharing and commuter rail this method of transit seems to largely have gone by the boards. This sign is but a reminder of a slower and quieter time.

Do not take me for a Luddite Neo-Luddism however. I am as tech-dependant as the next guy. My smart phone and laptop mark me as a "connected" individual. One of my favorite phrases is: "technology is just great-right up to the point where it isn't!"

Oh well! Goodbye now!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

We slept in this morning and got up at 06:15.

After loading the car and having a quick bite to eat we headed towards the pass through the Organ Mtns. that were in yesterday's blog. After crossing the pass we came to an ICE check station.

After ascertaining that we were not a threat to National Security we began to pull away. As we rolled out I heard a rhythmic clicking sound. Now any driver on a long distance road trip can tell you that a new and unexpected sound is not welcome. A clicking sound is likewise an unhappy situation and a rhythmic clicking is actually cause for further investigation if not downright alarm.

It turned out to be a left side wheel bearing on the trailer. It is good that we stopped, rather than looking back and seeing burning grease and smoke. Very well then, off with the tire and hub.

I took the blown out pieces out of the hub and we left the trailer while we went in search of parts. We covered the trailer and headed into town.

Welcome to Alamogordo. It will not be necessary to repeat the name three times.
Our first stop was the parts store where the bearing I needed was identified, but not in stock.

Next stop was Tractor Supply. Fortunately they had what I needed, so we headed back out of town to effect repairs.

When we got back to the trailer, I went to work with gusto, or at least enthusiasm to make the repair. All went well, well not exactly. As the bearing had burned up a few pieces were shall we say "welded" to the hub. After getting filthy, while avoiding using filthy language, I knew what we needed to do.

Welcome to Alamogordo...again.

Back to Tractor Supply to procure some more parts. They had everything we needed on the shelf, including a roll of shop towels and some hand cleaner.

When I went to purchase a new hub, my beloved Scooterchick suggested I get two hubs. Her belief was that if one hub was cooked, the other could not be far behind. As it turned out, not too far indeed.

Now that the hub has been changed I am again a happy camper. I am trying to get cleaned up with limited success.

Here is the completed job, ready to roll on. Our little delay has only taken 3hr. or so. We are prepared to continue, and perhaps find some eats.

Here are your intrepid travelers all smiles again.

So.....welcome to Alamogordo....again!

This time I had time to take a few pictures of interest. This is an advert for a local eatery.  Sunset Run   We sadly didn't have time to sample their wares.

I'm thinking 1937 Chevrolet, but I stand ready to be corrected if you know better.

I also made a point of taking a picture of the giant pistachio. That's one massive nut. Some day we will stop and buy some, but not today.

We blasted on through the desert, past Tularosa, Ruidoso and Roswell until we needed to stop at Elida for gas.

This is Elida. There is one gas station, and we availed ourselves of the services by filling up with gas and using their facilities.

Qu'elle surprise!!! The other bearing was not just blown but actually in the process of cooking when we stopped! 

I parked in the shade and set to work removing the wheel and hub.
By now it was if not a fine science, at least a practiced art.

The bearing was toast. The hub was so hot I took it apart, and actually had to get ice from the convenience store to cool the stub shaft so that the new hub could be installed. I finally managed to get it cooled down to about 125F. and fit the new hub. In short order we were ready to roll...again.

Unpacking and installing the new hub was a breeze. Easy peasy as they say!

Reinstalling the tire, less than 20 minutes later. Haha.

The completed job. Just like the other side, new hub dust seal, inner and outer bearings, cotter pin and dust cap. Oh yeah, cleaned a lot of grease off the wheel.

Shortly thereafter we passed through Portales and got some takeout at Subway to eat on the road on the way to our destination.


We are now comfortably ensconced in the Travelodge in Clovis N.M.  We only made 295 miles today, but thankfully have exactly the same distance to travel tomorrow. When we checked in here we unloaded the car and the first thing I did was to jump in the shower.

A distressing, one might almost say alarming amount of dirt came pouring off the me. In spite of all the hand cleaner and soap I used cleaning up during the day, a veritable dirt and oil slick went down the drain.

Ahhhhhhh! Now I feel better, less like a grease monkey and more like a person again hahaha. Well good night now!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Drifting Along With The Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

We haven't seen any tumbleweeds this trip, but I have a feeling that's about to change.  Tumbleweed Invasion

This morning we left our hotel at just after 7a.m. We were headed for I-10 via 101 but ended up on Baseline Rd. in Mesa at a McDonald's. The flowers were blooming and the sun was shining. We got more coffee.

It's nice to see the flowers in late September. It was headed for about 90F. today and I was in my shorts and T-shirt with flip-flops.

I love to see the different flowers we don't see in the Great NorthWet. I can imagine a back yard with blooming shrubs.

We also filled up with gas. Remember we were paying just under $4/gal. in California and feeling pretty goods about it. You can imagine how good we felt about $3.19. We filled up before stopping for the night for $2.98....Woohoo!!!

Here we are at one of our innumerable rest stops. Every 100 miles or so we find a washroom. That's because of desert level hydration. We don't seem to eat as much but we are drinking something non stop. We are consuming about 4+ liters/day.

The breeze was making the flags dance briskly. I can imagine how it would suck the juices right out of you if you were on a bike!

We stopped for the night in Las Cruces N.M. In the background you can see the Organ Mountains. At the left side above the hotel sign is a pass we will head through towards White Sands and Alamogordo tomorrow morning.

I don't know exactly what it is, but it trips off the tongue in an amusing way. Try saying it three times and you will see what I mean:

Alamogordo New Mexico Alamogordo New Mexico Alamogordo New Mexico

See what I mean?

The hotel has a patio with a burbling fountain and a Kiva-style fireplace.

The lounge area is comfortably furnished, and we took advantage of it.

A desert sunrise is always spectacular, and tonight's was no exception.

Even a minute or two makes a big difference in the appearance. That's the thing about sunrises and sunsets. They are so ephemeral that within a very few minutes they are gone forever. Best to be fully savored whenever possible is my theory.

The colors begin to fade, the hues to soften and the light to become more diffuse. Time brings all things to a close. A day, a childhood or a life all things pass.

Finally the sun fades below the horizon. So too my day draws to a close. Tomorrow we head for Lubbock about which I know nothing other than the name.

Let us see what the day will bring.

Adieu mes amis.