Under the Hood…

With freedom comes responsibility… And I have the great responsibility of getting us all there and back again safely. Which is exactly what brought me to the Jeep dealership the other day.

We need to make sure our vehicle can withstand the grueling workout it is going to get. Our greatest concern is the extreme conditions of Death Valley in August where it can get as high as 130 degrees farenheit!

Our Jeep becomes more than  just a mode of transport out there. It becomes a critical tool for survival. So having it checked out by our mechanic is important. And it is also important that we be able to do some emergency service in case something breaks down out in the desert.

So that means, we’d better know how to change a flat tire, and it was also suggested by those more experienced with Jeeping in the desert, that we carry some spare hoses, fan belt and so forth… and following up on that, I found myself getting a tutorial in changing radiator hoses and replacing the fan belt!

It was interesting to learn about what is under the hood of my Jeep, even though I hope I will never have to use that knowledge in the field!!!! But somehow it just seemed appropriate to start the story of our road trip with the hood of the Jeep open…

posted by Blue Coyote in On the Road and have No Comments

L.A. hotel complications…

FINALLY got a hotel booked for Los Angeles… and boy was that complicated!

Here I thought that being a big city we wouldn’t have to worry about finding accommodations, and so no need to book early… Well I was soooooooooo wrong on that account. All the reasonably priced, most desirable lodgings were booked! So we had to scramble to find something that didn’t cost a fortune, or that wasn’t in an unsafe area, or that at least had secure parking… and we wanted to be within walking distance of the beach!

Well it took me some days of searching but, did end up with a fairly OK deal… after searching hotels, motels, chains, small family run places, short term rentals, and even hostels… I ended up going full circle and picking up a Holiday Inn Express in Marina del Rey that other travelers seemed to rate pretty highly in reviews. It meets our needs, and is less expensive than the alternatives…

And so at the end of Route 66 we will come to our Holiday Inn… somehow that seems appropriate when I think back to those childhood vacations where a Holiday Inn was considered a budget-minded family accommodation (boy have things changed! … or else the conception of “budget-minded” has become out of wack)!

Anyway, am glad that is solved and we will have a comfortable and secure end of the Route rest… before picking up the Pacific Coast Highway to start “part 2″ of the journey… our return!!!!

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have Comments (2)

The Zion Narrows permit scramble…

Picture 28

Was up really early this morning, and had alarms and reminders flashing and beeping since yesterday, because today is the day the reservations for permits on the Narrows opens up! There are only 12 campsites and only 6 are reservable in advance… And we have to have the permit for a specific day because of our complicated trip plan!

I had tried the site last night after midnight, but it was not yet showing the August reservations calendar (perhaps it posts after midnight Utah-time… which is 2 time zones behind New York… and I just couldn’t stay up that late… was too tired!).

When I went on the site this morning around 6a.m., there were already days/sites that were full! Luckily there was still a 4-person site open on our required day, and I didn’t hesitate to reserve! SUCCESS! We have a permit for site 3!

Now we have to get a shuttle reservation to the trailhead. And get to the park from Las Vegas in time for the early a.m. departure (which may be earlier than planned because of road construction that has caused disruption to the shuttle schedule).

… And we have to hope the weather and river conditions cooperate … we are only allowed to hike the river if it is flowing at below 120 cubic feet per second and if there are no flash flood warnings in effect. So there is a fairly strong likelihood that even with our permit we may not be able to do the trip. We need to be prepared for that eventuality as well… and we need to be SMART about considering the weather forecasts with due caution (and not the usual unbridled can-do enthusiasm)… as we have “graduated” to “grown-up” expeditions and the Rangers will not make decisions for us here! We need to make our own go/no go decision based on conditions on the day of the trip.

Here is the link to a video (it may take a few moments to download)┬áthe Rangers put together about safe Canyoneering in Zion. It is worth watching for the section on Flash Flooding…

posted by Blue Coyote in Planning and have No Comments

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