Shake Down Cruise

Where do I begin? After two weeks hanging at my Dad’s house tying up loose ends and getting mentally recharged after our monumental move out from our Carlsbad house, we finally got the motor home packed up and ready to go. The air conditioner was having major issues so we decided to just go with a newer more powerful model, upgrading from 13,500 btus to 15,000


While they were hooking it up at RV Specialist, they found that the solar guys had run the A/C through the inverter when running the generator. Every time we fired it up while using the generator, it would cycle through the inverter and trip the breaker. They needed another day to work on it to get it right. The dollars just keep adding up.


We booked our room at the Hotel Raymond (dad’s house) for two more nights. I had spent the entire day at the RV shop since it was supposed to be in and out in 3 to 4 hours. When they closed and I had to leave it in San Diego, PJ wasn’t around to come and get me, so I had my first Lyft experience. Had to stand outside the RV shop gate and download the app and figure it out. Soon I was sitting in Traffic with Thomas, my Lyft driver heading back to San Marcos. I quizzed him the whole way on how the system works. Interesting stuff. They accept the fare if the pick up point is close but the destination is not disclosed to them to avoid all the drivers shunning the short rides where they make no money.


On the other hand, Thomas ends up in rush hour traffic driving up the 15 to San Marcos on a Thursday evening. One night around eleven, he agreed to a fare near him in Mira Mesa and ended up having to drive a couple up to L.A. Airport. I guess these things are not uncommon, but he seems to be happy and making decent $.

The next day, the RV wasn’t ready until late afternoon on a Friday, so we talked Bob, at RV Specialists into letting us pick it up Saturday morning, even though they are closed Saturday’s.
Saturday, we picked up Lexi and asked Bob a million questions. Afterwards we ran errands, washed dogs and put more stuff in storage. We sat at Pure Burger in Bressi Ranch and had our last overpriced burgers for the next foreseeable while. A quick stop at Home Depot, then back to Dad’s to get ready for the next day’s departure.

Sunday morning, we loaded the remaining items into and onto the motor home and sat down for a nice breakfast of Ray’s famous poached eggs on the back patio. Said our farewells and fired up Lexi and rolled down the road.


I had noticed on the drive home from the RV repair shop Saturday that the engine temperatures were rising up a little when pulling the load up any bit of a grade. It quickly returned to normal once the hill was crested and we were rolling back downhill. I called a mechanic friend and he said a little jump in temp was not so bad, but keep an eye and don’t go over the 3/4 mark.
On the grade beginning in Poway and going up through Ramona, the engine was hanging around the 3/4 mark, looking like maybe 235 degrees! I was getting uncomfortable, but it dropped on the flats and downhills, so even though I knew the transmission fluid wasn’t cooling back down as fast as the coolant, I kept going. What would have been a pleasant Sunday drive became a white knuckle hell ride and we arrived at the campground frazzled and got ourselves parked up in our hot, dusty little camp site. We moved to a slightly better one off to the side where hopefully Eddie’s midnight ramblings will have as minimal impact on our fellow campers as possible

PJ wasn’t in the best of moods and not appreciating the heat and little gnats that wanted to hover about your face. She holed up in the RV testing out the new A/C . I left her there chilling with the dogs as I rode my bike back to get us set up with the rangers. I got a mechanics number from Steve, the ranger who checked us in. After that. I explored around a little bit. We are in a beautiful pine and oak woodlands with lots of birds and animals running around.


I went back to the motor home and sat out in the shade reading a book. It’s in the high 80s but a decent breeze is passing through so it is not too bad outside. There are only a few campers, so I took Cali for a walk around and just wandered through the empty sites going from shade to shade. Our site is lacking any large trees or big shaded areas. We mainly chose it for maximum distance from other campers. Across the road was a nice site with a huge oak with no one camped there, so Cali and I sat for awhile relaxing in the shade of the tree until she got antsy and wanted to get back see what the other hounds were doing.


As the sun was setting, PJ emerged and we walked the dogs around the campground then made some rice and called it a night. On one of Eddie’s middle of the night bathroom runs, PJ saw a shadow move by in the undergrowth and jumped back. A large black dog moved silently through the dark spooking us all. Where did it come from, this ghost dog? Left behind by the last campers or a resident of some nearby cabin? The motion light tripped later and I saw him again lurking in the brush. Eerie stuff.

Our Camp Mascot

Monday we lounged most of the day making up for lost sleep. Did an early morning hike and an evening walk. Stayed close to camp. Saw some deer and lots of woodpeckers on the evening stroll.

Tuesday, We dumped our tanks and turned Lexi around so that the front was in the campsite first. PJ was animated and excited about setting things up around camp just so. We had the dogs tethered to plastic coated cables attached to carabiners hooked to eye bolts under the RV. Koda saw a rabbit and charged after it exploding the carabiner and racing down the road. Stronger than she looks.


Chased her down and clipped her directly to the eye bolt. Pamela was climbing out of the motor home, a bit distracted, focused on cutting the zip ties on the table attached to the rear rack. Her hands were full and she didn’t notice the dog cable as it slid between her toes and she did a full on face plant on the hot tar pavement. The sound of it was jarring and I ran over to see if she was alive. We got her to chair, calmed her down and assessed the damage. Some pretty good abrasions and a bruised sternum.


Cleaned her up and things were bit less enthusiastic from that point forward. Ran the generator awhile to use the air. Not a big fan of generators, but sometimes you have to keep the family happy. We got new neighbors. Two young guys across from us and a young mom and daughter a few spots down the trail.

Weds. dawned with another beautiful morning. It’s going to be another hot one. PJ’s looking a bit rough but her spirits are good nonetheless. We hiked the Cedar loop and returned to camp for another breakfast of oat bars. We didn’t bring much in the line of groceries and with the overheating issue, we aren’t too keen to drive into town so we’ve been eating odds and ends left in the RV. Lots of relaxing reading today. After the evening walk around the empty group camp area to the north, we put in the awning and readied Lexi for an early morning departure tomorrow.

Thursday, we were up early and packed it up and headed to Pete’s Auto in Julian. I had made an appt. with Dylan to check out our cooling system. We hung around the lot a while waiting for the radiator to cool enough for him to open it. Thermostat was good, fan clutch working, everything checked out o.k. In the end, he couldn’t find anything to fix so he sent us home. I’m bummed because I was hoping for a definitive diagnoses and some kind of a fix. Steve, the ranger and his wife, Carol stopped in to pick up their RV and we talked a while. PJ was trying to figure out how I knew all these people. We loaded the dogs and drove down the hill stopping at Dudley’s for a couple of sandwiches. Hot as blazes. Temperature was still climbing on grades but fortunately, the drive was mostly downhill. We made it to Red’s around midday and we hooked up a OBDII reader and drove up the 15 to climb some grades. The engine got up to 230 but never lost any coolant. We were told we could drive, but have to keep an eye on the temp all the time. Not what I want to do, so I’ll look into ways to get the cooling system to work better. Drove back to dad’s and started repacking the motor home to lessen the amount of weight.
PJ made an appt. with the veterinarian for 6:30 in the evening. We loaded up Eddie and took him to VCA to see what alternatives we had for treating his collapsing trachea. Unfortunately, the vet had no further treatment options and encouraged us to end his suffering. A sad, sad day for us. We found a quiet spot overlooking the ocean afterward and sat not wanting to go back to the house. Not a very auspicious beginning to our retirement. Definitely not inspiring us to blog, but we wanted to update our friends on where we are at. Made it as far as Julian, now back in San Marcos.

Rest in Peace Prince Edward