Friday, March 14, 2014

Santa Maria to Escondido, CA

I'm pleased to say I set a record for myself for on time departure on Tuesday.  We usually try to be ready to hit the road by 9am.  We pulled out of the Santa Maria Pines RV Park at 9:02pm.  Most of our drive down Hwy 101 was very nice and relaxing......Most of it, that is.  Somewhere about 20 miles north of Santa Barbara, as we were cresting a hill, we hear a loud noise, somewhere between a pop and a boom.  I thought we had blown a tire.  And of course, we were on a section of highway with a sign that said "No Stopping".  Well, sorry, we had to pull over.  It turns out it was just the turbo hose that had popped off.  Kim was able to reattach the clamp .... or whatever the problem was.  I stayed in the comfort of the truck while he did something under the hood.  Ten minutes later, we were on our way.  Now, it is interesting to note that I come from a family with little mechanical knowledge, but we are excellent worriers, and always jump to the worst case scenarios.   To combat this (the worrying part, not the mechanical part which is a lost cause for me), I've studied New Thought metaphysics and the power of positive thinking for years.  I spent most of the rest of the trip down to Escondido muttering, "I strive for serenity in all situations" and surprisingly to Kim, I did manage to stay relatively calm throughout the worst driving day yet.  It rivaled my driving down I-5, towing a small U-Haul trailer and having to change lanes during rush hour in the middle of Los Angeles, but I digress as that was years ago.

Luckily we had no more problem with the hose, but the cooling system in the truck continues to be acting up.  We did have to pull off at the weigh station just south of Camarillo to let the engine cool.  Then it was on to more stressful traffic.  Now let me preface this with the fact that if we were driving a car, it would have been intense, but not particularly stressful.  I find that when you are pulling a 5th wheel that the average driver has no clue about what it takes to maneuver it, including that you can't stop on a dime when they cut you off trying to get on to or off the highway.  The route we ended up taking was from the 101 (which really was the worst of it) to the 134 to the 210 to the 57 to the 71 to the 91 and finally to the 15.  Yikes.  Now that we've driven it, it wouldn't be that bad to do it again.  Not sure that we will, but my stress level as the navigator would be significantly lower.

We arrived at Champagne Lakes RV Park about 2:45pm.   A nice park, about a mile off I-15, and about 10 miles north of Escondido, off old Hwy 395.  It's a nice park, with plenty of green.  Fairly large sites. Large cement pads.  There are what I would call big ponds (they call them lakes) with creeks running between them.   They do have catch and release fishing in the lakes.  It's pretty quiet, with very faint highway noises if you listen for them. Lots of birds chirping, along with a  fair number of ducks and geese.   I haven't taken any pictures yet, but I will today or tomorrow.

A few things came up.  First and most devastating to me, the TV addict, is that we have been unable to get our DirecTV dish to pick up a signal.  I pay for DNS (distant network services) so that I can receive both the East and West Coast feeds.  That way I can watch and record multiple programs and get them early enough to enjoy them before I fall asleep in my chair at 9pm.  I'm glad the park has at least minimal cable channels, so I was able to watch Criminal Minds and CSI Wednesday night, but I did miss American Idol.  If we can't find a signal today, I will resort to watching what I can on-line, and we may have to consider that the dish itself needs replacing.  It was working when we were up in San Juan Bautista, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will find the signal today.

The other things that came up were the water heater drain plug was leaking (Kim wasn't sure he would be able to get a tight fit with the replacement plug as he didn't have the right sized socket).  It appears that problem has been resolved.  Then even with our extra sewer hose extension, we were short.  I am very blessed to have a friend in the area who chauffeured us around to Camping World, US Bank, the grocery store, and Fry's Electronics to pick up various and sundry items, the most important of which was more sewer hose so we could dump our now full gray water tanks.

We are here for two weeks.  I hope to finally kick back and relax.  One of these days, we will finally put out our new awning, get out the chairs, and go "Ahhhhhh."

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