I'm in White Rock, New Mexico, staying at the house my generous friends here make available while they're off in Maine for the summer. As I write, it's about 72 degrees and sunny here, headed for the mid-80s. Home in Tucson it's about 95 now, headed for 105. Need I say more?
It hasn't been the trip I expected, and I'm thinking it never is. I've been on the road about a week, and let's just say there have been challenges on several fronts. Over on the right, the "About This Blog" box says that sometimes the posts here will be about the meaning of it all. This may be one of those.
I've had mechanical issues:
The sulfurous smell from the hot water heater, which was mostly cured by draining and refilling the tank. Turns out this is a common problem. The manufacturer advises a vinegar rinse, but so far a simple drain and fill seems to have done the trick.
The suspension air bags weren't holding air. This problem was solved by tightening the hold-down nuts for the valve stems, and by finding an old-fashioned air hose to air them up. They've held air since I did that just south of Moab last Thursday.
On the drive up here from Santa Fe, the "check engine" warning flipped on. I got out my OBD reader, looked at the problem codes, and talked to my mechanic back home. He suggested that the problem (misfires on a cylinders 1 and 9 ) may well have been transient, possibly altitude-related, and certainly didn't require immediate attention. I reset the codes and we'll see if they recur. The warning light is out, for now! I'll take it in to Buck's when I get back.
So all mechanical issues are back-burner for now. But what all this reminded me is how much a software guy I've always been. Words, numbers, images: I'm cool. But hardware has never been my forte. It's in the nature of this kind of travel that there will be mechanical issues. And so part of The Meaning Of It All is that I've been learning to deal with the Beast as machine. I've been alarmed and clueless, but not for long. And every time something goes wrong, or seems to, and I figure it out and deal with it, my confidence level goes up and my panic threshold recedes.
There were times this trip when I was ready to throw in the towel on the whole RV thing. Perhaps to my credit, I stopped myself from dwelling on this impulse, and promised myself that I'd think about that when nothing seemed to be hitting the fan. This calm time in White Rock provides that. Right now, I'm much less inclined to sell the Beast and stay home and sulk.
There have been some great moments on this trip. The night in Canyonlands at Hatch Point Campground was one. Discovering that I actually enjoy a night at a well-run commercial RV park, and don't have to be the Big Bad Boondocker all the time. And those moments of simple pleasure tooling down a highway on my way from somewhere to somewhere else.
Part II has to do with taking stock of non-mechanical issues.