Friday, March 24, 2017 (Travel to Barstow/Calico KOA, Yermo, CA)

It was a beautiful morning as we pulled out of Indian Waters RV Resort and made our way over to the I-10.
We headed west towards all of the wind turbines...
And then took the exit to highway 62...
The desert is alive with yellow flowers!


We have a bit of a climb ahead...

We were going up a fairly steep hill when I opened the window to take pictures and noticed a new sound...in addition to the familiar "squeal/whistle", there was now a loud hissing sound, like a leak in an air compressor hose. Well, isn't that just great...and it only got worse! Our usual squealing sound is now graduating to something that sounds much more serious.

It's amazing where some people will build...
But we continued on...although the beautiful views were marred by the sound the truck was making...
You can tell we've climbed to a higher elevation as we started seeing Joshua Trees...

A ridge of boulders...
Looks like a dry lake bed...

Our destination today was Sawtooth Canyon BLM Campground off highway 247, about 30 miles south of Barstow, CA. When we reached what our GPS said was the turnoff, there were no signs indicating we were at the right spot...and when you have a big rig like ours, we are always cautious about embarking on a narrow, gravel road. Luckily, our friend Deb was available on messenger, so I texted her. She and Ray have been here before and I just wanted to confirm that we were in the right location. Thanks for your help, Deb...so we started down the wash boardy gravel road....

About a mile in, we arrived at the campground...now, why could they not have put a direction sign at the highway?
We drove in but with roads going every which way, we stopped and got out to walk. Unfortunately all of the campsites were occupied. This is a popular spot for rock climbers so we noticed many of the sites seemed to be used only for parking! We didn't take any pictures of the campsites...totally didn't think about it! I guess we were more concerned about finding an empty spot. I did get this picture, though, as I waited in the truck for Steve to return from checking out an exit road for us to take...
We made our way back out to the highway, stopping just before the pavement to have lunch and get on the internet to check out where to go next. Steve was very concerned about the truck so checked out Barstow to see if there was anyplace there to go. It looked like the TA Truck Stop was the place, so we headed off there.

Once there, Steve decided to first call Gold Key Isuzu in Langley where we bought our truck ...he wanted to talk to Dave about our situation first. Unfortunately, Dave wasn't in today, so he explained the problem to his colleague and told her that we needed to have it checked out now. Steve went into the service department at TA only to find out that they don't work on Isuzu engines...but he gave us the name and phone number of a company in Barstow that does work on diesel engines. Steve called American Towing and Recovery and after talking to David, we were on our way there.

We had to unhitch and leave the fifth-wheel on the street out front and then take the truck inside one of the bays.
Steve dismantling the boat loader mounting bolts so the cab can be tilted forward...










Our mechanic David...


Our dealer back home has been trying anything to prevent the mounting bolts from backing out, so they welded tabs onto them. They still managed to become loose!
New gasket installed between the EGR cooler and exhaust manifold...
It's now been about 4 years of constantly blown gaskets and no less than 20 visits between the Isuzu dealers in Langley and Phoenix and nobody can figure this out. We've had 3 EGR coolers and finally an exhaust manifold installed in case there was some warping on a mounting surface all to no avail! On our last visit with our dealer at Gold Key, Isuzu in L.A. told them to get a copper gasket custom cut. Apparently they are used on race cars, so they installed that and left me with a spare one. This is all that's left of it!
David had us back on the road just before 5 p.m., however as we got onto the highway the squeal returned when accelerating and when the exhaust brake engaged! And it was loud! We phoned them back and were told to return and they would grab David before he left for the weekend. Once back David said he suspects that the missing pieces of the old gasket have gone into the turbo and they can't do anything for us until they open again on Monday. Great! He recommended a KOA to stay at and unfortunately that was about our only acceptable choice in these parts. We don't like KOA's as they are over priced...$50.89/night, crazy! At least they gave us a 10% discount (when asked if we were military, Steve jokingly said "just Air Cadets" and the fellow gave us the discount!)

It was well after 6:30 by the time we pulled into our site (#33) at Barstow/Calico KOA. And here we thought we would be all set up at Sawtooth Canyon by noon!
David recommended that we drive the truck as little as possible, so we will sit here for the weekend. Apparently  the Calico Ghost Town is close by and we noticed a sign in the KOA office offering a free shuttle there...so we'll probably check that out.





Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 21, 22 and 23, 2017 (Indian Waters RV Resort, Indio, CA)

Tuesday morning we woke to a beautiful and unusual sunrise that had a vertical yellow streak in it ...
We said goodbye to Oasis Palms RV resort at about 10:30 and headed north on highway 86 towards Indio. The ground cover is so white...it almost looks like snow!
Our GPS took us on a rather strange back road route. You can tell the direction of the prevailing winds...

About a half hour later we arrived at Indian Waters RV Resort...whew, that was an exhausting drive! LOL! As we pulled in, the gate was closed...oh great, we hadn't expected that! We were early for check-in and I had tried calling the resort to see if it would be okay but had had no response, so we had decided to go anyway. Luckily a car pulled in behind us and entered the code to let us through. We weren't able to get into a site right away, but we registered and then walked around the patio and pool area, then relaxed for a bit until she got word that sites were available for check-in.

We were escorted to site 138...across the road was a parking area, pond and walkway to the pool area. After getting all set up, we had a bite to eat. I called my brother, Dennis, and they wouldn't be able to come by for a couple of hours, so we decided to put our bathing suits on and go enjoy the pool.



After about an hour or so, we went back to the trailer and got ready. Dennis, Suzanne and Dunkin picked us up and we went over to their place. They've had a lot at Outdoor Resorts in Indio for the past five or six years but just sold it this year.

They took us for a ride around the resort in their golf cart...





Then it was time for dinner...perogies, brats and salad...yum!

Wednesday morning Steve went out for a walk while I had my shower. He wanted to check out another site that had been an option for us yesterday and we kicked ourselves for not checking it out before picking the one we're in...the other one, according to the map, looked like it backed onto a pond which would have made for a nice view out our back window. As it turned out, there was a hedge behind the site separating it from the view of the pond...hmmm...wonder why they would do that?!
The pond and pool area across from our site..
Looking west from our site...
Dennis and Suzanne picked us up around 11:00...Steve took these pictures as we drove into Outdoor Resorts. The gardens are beautiful...




We dropped Dennis and Steve off...then Suzanne and I headed out for a wonderful afternoon of shopping and "girl time". I thoroughly enjoyed our afternoon...it has been a long time!

It was about 4:30 when we got back and re-connected with the guys. Sounds like they had a good afternoon as well.They attended a BBQ at the clubhouse. Now it was time for Suz and I to join them for a drink...

 My little buddy, Dunkin...
We were at Burgers and Beer just before 6:00...so we could still get in on their Happy Hour specials, of course :-)
 After dinner, we were off to the Mexican Market held every Wednesday night. This picture is for you, Dwight (another brother of mine) who was visiting Dennis and Suzanne last month. Yes, there is a story behind it...but I don't want to embarrass my brothers....LOL! Just let me say, neither Dennis nor Steve wanted to push Dunkin in the stroller...together...
We wandered around...but the wind had come up and we nearly froze (ok, that's a bit of an exaggeration but it was chilly).

Suzanne picked out a Jicama for me. She introduced us to it...very good (and healthy). Those green things in front of me are garbanzo beans...
 Never seen these before...they are called Jackfruit....rather interesting....
 How about a new pan?

They even sell appliances and beds!
Thursday morning Steve and I got out for a walk around the RV park. Lots of flowers on the bushes and snow in the distant mountains...
Lots of spaces available this time of year..
Those buildings house the office, laundry, activity center...with the pools, hot tub, pickle ball courts and a beautiful sitting area behind them...
Our rig in the distance..
They have gravel sites too...
And also rent small cottages...


Suzanne picked us up around noon...and we had a lovely afternoon at their place. We had lunch, went for a walk and generally enjoyed spending time with them. Friends of Dennis' and Suzanne's also popped over.

Unfortunately, Suzanne's back is causing her much pain, so she went to a chiropractor appointment... hope she gets it resolved soon.

While Dennis was grilling steaks for dinner, we watched a bunch of hummingbirds fighting over the feeder...Steve managed to capture some good shots...


The wind had really come up, so we retreated inside to eat dinner. Poor little Dunkin is exhausted! Well, we were completely spoiled by Dennis and Suzanne...and had such a good time! But it's time to move on tomorrow...continuing north, just a little ways. We have two weeks to get home and plan to take our time for the first week or so...