Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

On the Road Again

Happy news! Dave got a call from Colorado River Ford in the middle of the afternoon, saying that our car is now fixed and ready for pickup.

We’re planning to leave this evening (after the traffic clears up) and drive to Needles and spend the night there. Hopefully in the morning we can pick up our car, take the rental car back, and get back to San Diego before class (5:30 pm).

I’m cautiously optimistic. More to come!

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

Foiled Again… and Again…

Dave talked to the service manager at Colorado River Ford yesterday afternoon to find out if the car had yet been fixed or not, and the service manager wasn’t sure. The car was still on the lift, and he didn’t know whether it had been put back together, or if it hadn’t been taken apart yet.

Apparently the mechanic working on the car had to go home early, for family reasons. The mechanic’s notes were locked in his toolbox.

I don’t know why the service manager doesn’t have keys to the mechanic’s toolbox.

So we decided not to drive up on Monday night (which was a good call, because it was pouring down rain). We figured we would call in the morning, and if the car had been finished on Monday, we’d drive up today.

We waited until about 8:30 am to call (because they don’t open until 8:00 am), and Dave was on hold for about 20 minutes. Finally, the person who he talked to (who wasn’t the service manager) told him that the transmission had just been taken out. So, no trip to Needles today.

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

No Resolution Yet

Following up on the last post, regarding the lost FedEx package…

Colorado River Ford in Needles called Dave on Friday afternoon to let him know that they received the third part. (I don’t know if it was the missing package, or the part they re-ordered.) Of course, that meant that they received it too late to get the work finished by the end of Friday.

So, we didn’t drive to Needles on Saturday to pick up our car.

Hopefully we’ll get it on Tuesday. Taking it one day at a time, at this point…

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

Lessons in Customer Service

So, here’s the update on the car situation.

We left our poor little car at a random auto shop in Needles, CA. Keep in mind that this was a guy who told our tow truck driver that he would definitely be there on Sunday. He also told the next tow truck driver (on Sunday) that he would definitely be there on Monday. When we called on Monday, we got no answer.

Lesson #1: Either work your posted hours, or tell your customers when you’ll return.
Continue reading “Lessons in Customer Service”

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

What to Say?

Presidents Day Weekend, 2006

Planned Itinerary:
Friday February 17
7:00 pm -– 11:00 pm Drive to Mojave National Preserve
   Camp (hopefully in Providence Mtns State Rec. Area)

Saturday February 18
10:00 am Mitchell Caverns
12:30 pm Lunch at Mitchell Caverns
1:30 pm Drive to Cima trailhead
2:00 pm Hike Cima Dome
   Camp in backcountry roughly west of Cima Dome

Sunday February 19
10:00 am Hike back to car
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Drive to Kelso Dunes
1:30 pm Hike to Kelso Dunes
   Camp in backcountry near Kelso Dunes

Monday February 20
10:00 am Hike back to car
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm -– 5:00 pm Drive home

Actual Itinerary:
Friday February 17
8:00 pm – 2:00 am Drive to Mojave National Preserve
   Camp (Providence Mtns State Rec. Area)

Saturday February 18
10:00 am Mitchell Caverns
12:00 pm Lunch at Mitchell Caverns
12:15 pm Car dies in the middle of the desert
2:00 pm Tow truck arrives
3:00 pm Arrive in Needles, CA
   Leave car at A+ Auto Care
   Check into Best Western across the street
4:20 pm Walk 3+ miles round trip to Arizona to buy Powerball tickets
5:30 pm Get back to Best Western
8:00 pm Go to bed

Sunday February 19
10:00 am Walk across the street to auto shop where car has been left
10:20 am Continue to wait for mechanic to open auto shop that was supposed to open at 10:00 am
10:40 am Talk to another tow truck driver and find out that the mechanic is not coming to open the shop today
10:45 am Return to Best Western to make phone calls about car or truck rentals
11:00 am Find out we didn’t win the Powerball
11:45 am Make reservation with Enterprise Rent-A-Car… 22 miles away in Bullhead City, AZ
11:50 am Call taxi to take us to Bullhead City, AZ
1:00 pm Taxi arrives to take us to Bullhead City, AZ
1:30 pm Arrive Bullhead City airport; rent Dodge Neon
1:40 pm Realize I left my cell phone in the taxi
2:00 pm Drive to In-N-Out in Laughlin NV to meet taxi driver; eat lunch
2:45 pm Talk to taxi driver; agree to meet him in Bullhead City instead
3:10 pm Arrive at Fastrip gas station; fill rental car with gas
3:30 pm Taxi driver arrives and gives us cell phone
4:00 pm Brief stop in Needles to get stuff out of the car
9:00 pm Arrive home in San Diego, 300 miles later

The bright side
1. Neither of us got injured.
2. We didn’t have any interaction with law enforcement.

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

Unexpected Interstate Travel

Auto ShopOn Saturday, when the car broke down, I had found my “zen place”. In the middle of the desert, waiting for the tow truck driver, I figured that everything was going to work out okay.

Waking up in a Best Western in Needles CA, with a horrible headache born of sleeping on a formless pillow, I lost the “zen place”. It was time to start making plans to escape this situation.
Continue reading “Unexpected Interstate Travel”

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

Adventures in Real Life

Providence Mountains State Recreational AreaThe point of any backpacking trip, aside from getting exercise, is to get into the wilderness and escape the hassles of modern life. Alas, that was not to be the case for us this weekend.

We woke up at 8:00 am, broke camp, and had some breakfast. It was chilly and a bit windy, but not brutally so. We had to pay the camping fee before we left the campground – $12! For us that worked out to nearly $2 an hour, for the privilege of sleeping on the ground. Hmm.

We headed back the way we came a bit, and then headed up some hills to the west, to Mitchell Caverns.
Continue reading “Adventures in Real Life”

Hiking / Backpacking Adventures

A Long Dark Drive

Hole-in-the-Wall CampgroundThis weekend we planned to do some backpacking in the Mojave National Preserve, which is in the middle of nowhere in northeastern San Bernadino County, near the Arizona and Nevada borders.

The drive was supposed to take 4 to 5 hours, so I was hoping we’d leave at 7:00 pm. Of course we didn’t leave until quarter to eight, and then we had to run a couple of unrelated errands, so we didn’t really get on the road until 8:30 pm.
Continue reading “A Long Dark Drive”