July 5th, 2010

Kevin and Lisa

Ready to Roll

The local Aamco is closed today for the holiday, but another nearby auto repair place, Fremont & Purdon, about 3 km from the hotel, was open and said, "Sure, bring it right in" when I called them at 8:15 this morning. When we got there and explained the problem, Steve-the-shop-guy said this looked pretty routine and that he'd get right on it.

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We went back to the hotel and headed to the buffet for breakfast, where later, sfrose joined us. We had a long, slow, leisurely breakfast. So slow, in fact, that as I was lingering over my last cup of coffee, the shop called to tell us the van was ready for pickup. We polished off our meal and headed back up Los Robles Avenue. We needed the walk after the big breakfast anyway. (I've already logged 6,000 steps today, and my blood sugar was a dead-perfect 100 when I tested it an hour after eating.)

Including my AAA member discount, the total cost of the repairs — automatic transmission service including fluid and new gasket, including inspection to make sure there was no sign of damage to the transmission — was a mere $130. That sounded pretty reasonable to me, and compared to what could have happened, it was wonderfully inexpensive.

We returned to the hotel and am now packing (again) and deciding where we are going to stop tonight. We expect to leave within the hour, and that means getting out of LA before the afternoon rush (knock wood).
Kevin and Lisa

Up the Coast

We left Pasadena about 1:15 PM, which did indeed mean we missed bad traffic. Aside from being one day late, we were nearly two hours ahead of the original schedule, so the plan was to not push so hard, and to also go farther up the road, to Paso Robles instead of Atascadero.

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Knowing we were not pressed for time, we could do things like stop on the beach for twenty minutes or so to take photos, and to take a longer lunch break at Pea Soup Andersen's in Buellton than usual. Our beach stop was so Lisa could take pictures of the artificial island just off the coast attached by a narrow causeway. We have seen this before but didn't know what it was. A little research this evening revealed that it is Rincon Island, which was built in support of offshore oil exploration. The scattered palm trees on the island that suggest that it might be some sort of private resort are primarily to cover up the fact that the island is full of oil drilling stuff.

Combined with going farther north than the original plan, we eventually got to the Holiday Inn Express in Paso Robles about 8:30 PM. (About 225 miles in 7 hours 15 minutes, for an average speed of slightly more than 30 MPH.) I note that this appears to have been the same exit as where Kevin & Andy and Dave & Spring made their rest stops three or four hours ahead of us, but we stopped for the night.

Upgrade-fu at the HIX worked again, so we're in a mini-suite. Alas, none of the rooms on this property that adjoins the railroad tracks actually looks out on the tracks. Yes, we're the kind of people who request a room that overlooks the railroad tracks.

After we moved in to the room, Lisa and I walked over to Red Brick Pizza and we got a couple of small pizzas and carried them back to the hotel room, where we had a few of the sodas salvaged from the Tonopah party with us. It's nice to have a few hours to relax tonight. I doubt that I'll have any problem sleeping tonight, that's for sure.