I closed my most recent post with the comment that we planned to visit Pinnacles National Monument the next day – and that is what we did, driving 60+ miles into a fairly remote (no cell service) area for a wonderful hike on a cool, sunny day. Looking back on that jaunt now, after watching the tow truck take Jules off to a repair shop, all I can do is thank our lucky stars.
Pinnacles seemed to be a favorite spot for rock climbers, like this guy hanging off a rock edge.
Odel’s knee must be feeling okay – he looks like he is leaping up the last few steps!
Yes, we are temporarily without our Jeep. We’ve managed to rule out the battery as the culprit, but that’s as far as we got on diagnosing the problem. Turn the key and nothing happens – no clicking, no coughing, no sputtering, no nothing. Headlights work, wipers work, dash lights work, but the power doesn’t translate to starting the vehicle.
At least we not in the remote Pinnacles National Monument parking lot! Instead, the Jeep conveniently quit right in front of our motorhome, parked at the almost empty Elks RV parking in Oceano, California (click here to read our review). We have grass and sunshine outside, with a nice view of wetlands and distant dunes on one side, with well-maintained, red tile-roofed apartments on the other. We can walk to the beach and a nearby restaurant, or call a cab if we want to go farther.
One downside to fulltime travel is that you have none of the comforting local knowledge that comes with familiarity, no trusted local mechanic who knows your car. After checking out a few local repair facilities online, we made a call, answered by an extremely friendly, efficient and apparently knowledgeable woman who gave us confidence that we’d chosen the right place. And, it turned out they are just a mile away. Coach-Net, our roadside assistance provider, had a tow truck at our place in about 20 minutes, and Jules has now been delivered to Classic Auto Works. We expect a phone call with a diagnosis before the end of the day. So far, so good… or at least as good as it gets when your transportation poops out on you.
So that was the downside of the day. The upside? Before all this happened, we got a few errands done, then drove the short distance to Pismo Beach for a lunch of clam chowder and fish-n-chips, consumed in the warm shelter of the restaurant’s enclosed, ocean view sun porch. Next stop was the ice cream shop, so Odel could revisit Motor Oil ice cream (dark chocolate, fudge and Kahlua), a flavor we discovered on our first visit to Pismo Beach in March of 2009. This super-premium treat is locally made at Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab and, yes, Odel has been dreaming about it for over two years.
It definitely isn’t summer here (no crowds!), but this December weather is great: calm, cool and sunny. We strolled down to the pier with our cone (yes, just ONE) and enjoyed the view, then stopped in at the visitor’s center on the way back to the car. We picked up a few maps and learned that the Monarch butterflies are here in their wintering grounds now, around 21,000 at latest count. The butterfly grove was on our way home, so we stopped to see the Monarchs hanging on the high branch of an evergreen. I have NO idea how they count them, but I had sort of pictured 21,000 butterflies taking up more space!
Done peering up at the butterfly mob, we hopped back in the Jeep to head home. Odel turned the key and… NOTHING! Tried again – nothing. He jiggled the transmission lever, tried again, and Jules fired right up. We looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders, and drove home, discussing our continuing problem the entire short drive. Once we got home, I asked Odel to start the car again – and this time NOTHING worked, including a jump with our handy Jump-N-Carry. :( Pretty sad.
So, who knows how long we might be in Oceano? Fortunately, we don’t have to be anywhere anytime soon, so we’ll just enjoy the beach and maybe get a little more exercise than usual. :)