After coming down from Red Wall, we drove to Stove pipe Wells to pick up a couple of beers and then over Towne Pass – 4950, or so, feet – to the Panamint Valley and up the Lake Hill Road to camp in the dark. I’m only calling it Lake Hill Road because that is what the Park Offroad map calls it, but Michele and I used to call it the North Panamint Road and, for awhile, I favored the War Eagle Mine Road after the mine at the end. Anyway, it is an easy road to drive in a car, even in the dark, and offers lots of flat – if somewhat exposed – places to camp, so setting up in the dark is close to effortless. Our last dinner out was a crisp celery salad by Michele and Gina and hearty lentil stew by Courtney and JR (seen here heating the water before starting) .
I woke up the next morning about the same time as JR (6 AM, or so). JR went for a hike up Lake Hill for his morning constitutional and I sort of meanderingly packed the cars while Michele, Gina, and Courtney slept in.
We were on the road early, waiting until we got to Lone Pine – in the shadow of the Sierras, or what would have been the shadow except that it was morning and the Sierras were to our west – for breakfast.
Then we started north, driving along the Sierra Nevadas. Since we left Minden, Nevada, the elephant in the car – if that is possible with a car full of liberals – has been my poor, abandoned, Range Rover. When ever we had a cell phone signal – which was rarely – I tried calling the garage where it had been towed but all I got was an answering machine. Now that we were back in civilization, I was able to get through.
The poor baby was at Hollar’s Automotive And 4 Wheel Drive and Mr. Hollar said that he did not have good news. He had run a block test to see if I had exhaust gases leaking into the cooling system, which would indicate a blown head gasket, and the poor Rover failed. We are talking about $2,500 failed! I wasn’t really surprised, although I was shocked, three hose failures in a couple of miles indicated something serious is probably wrong. I asked him if it was even worth fixing and he said Well, it depends on how much you love it. My first thought was that anybody who would say that was a pretty good guy to work on a car I did, in fact, have real feelings for.
At some point during the trip, I think just after we abandoned the Rover, Courtney said something along the lines of That Rover put us all through this so it could get to a good repair shop and now it has found it. It reminded me of a similar comment by a fellow Obama campaign worker in 2008, while we were running tallies on voter contacts, I think God made us suffer through Bush so we could get Obama. Both sentiments seem improbable, but then I think of the quote of $4,000 to $7,000 I just got for the same work done here in the Bay Area; I think of how different our country has become under Obama than it was just ten years ago under Bush; I think of all the places the Rover could have blown a head gasket; and I think, Well, maybe they are right.
Part One: Here
Part Two: Here
Part Three: Here
Part Four: Here
Part Five: Here