Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The contrasts are obvious, but they never cease to amaze me.

Here is a pic from my web cam at home, looking out the front window.

I think we could agree that winter still has full control there, even though the temperatures sneak above the freezing mark some days.

I have been telling you about the hot sun at Lake Havasu, Phoenix, Tucson, and of course Mexico. But driving through the southern California interior I can see that they have already cut the first hay crop of the year, and a field of barley is fully headed, but has yet to start to ripen!

And the change is remarkable from driving across the flat, dry, agri-industrial central valley of California. Suddenly, you are in pastoral, rolling green hills with trees, flowers blooming on every slope, and the dead-straight roads replaced by serpentine switchbacks, climbing, then descending the mountain passes.

For the night we found a convenient little spot off the road in the Los Padres National Forest. No services, no fees, but the view was great and the privacy unsurpassed.

Harley decided it was time for him to pose for some photos in a tree fork. Since we haven’t really seen many real trees in a while, being in the desert mostly, I humoured him and took the pictures.

Sometimes I feel like I am beating a dead horse. No, I’m not talking about the experts back at work who think a bigger whip or a new committee will do the trick to surmount the total lack of logic or reality. It was me, still thinking that I just might get some service out of ‘The Trailer Hitch RV Center’ in Pismo Beach, California! Readers from six weeks ago will recall how it took me 5 nights and 6 days to get a part for the camper and get it installed by these clowns. And how they sent me back to the campground with no heat, no lights, no power, no anything, and I had to jury-rig it myself to keep from perishing? Well, I had hoped that circumstance was behind me, but it was not. I discovered that their fine work resulted in me blowing a fuse whenever I disconnected from ‘shore’ power, or my generator, and it made some weird noises to boot. I had figured out a work-around, so that I could save a fuse each time, but something was clearly afoot with the converter, (or more likely, I would guess) or the installation, thereof. Since I was passing back near Pismo Beach again, I thought I might just stop by and see what they thought or what they could do about this. Knowing that they do not like being around work at 5 o’clock, I managed to pull in to their lot at 9 AM, in case things took a little longer. Well, I hung out in front of the service manager’s office for about 10 minutes; not much was going on, but no one came to see if I wanted anything. So I tracked him down, having a coffee, while talking to the girl in the parts dept. I tried to explain what was happening, but his only response was to offer me an appointment (no doubt at $104/hr) the next morning. There was no discussion about what could be wrong, or when it happened, or how it might be cured. When I suggested that the service manager did not appear to be too busy at the moment, and might like to have me show him the problem, he more or less slammed the door in my face.

I’m thinking perhaps they should consider taking the word ‘Service’ out of the business name? I know that personally, I shall be steering clear of Pismo Beach in the future, even though it is an interesting little place, and that no matter how hard you beat that team of dead horses, they could not drag me back to that establishment again. That’s “The Trailer Hitch RV Center” at 444 S. Dolliver, Pismo Beach, California 93449, in case you want to experience it for yourself. If you do, say ‘hi’ for me, will ya!

On the bright side, I didn’t waste much time in their business this time. I’ll cut my losses and will have a look at the problem myself when I get home. And so, after a quick visit to the local Chamber of Commerce, and filling out a form with the Better Business Bureau online, and buying a newspaper for the editor's address, we were off again, headed for the coast. It was only a little over two weeks since we had left the Pacific Coast in Mexico, but it seemed much longer and good to be back.

But the hot days are gone; like an ocean breeze. I actually had to dig into a closet and find a windbreaker and some long pants. But, within sight of the Hearst Castle, I am on the coast, and the whales, like us, are headed slowly north, following the coastline.

Coming in next update, we'll see how my video of the sea otters turned out!

Anybody know what these things are? I found them alongside the road every few hundred meters as I approached the coast near San Luis Obispo. Possibly related to a pipeline I suppose, but I doubt that they are missile silos!

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