We’ve been holed up in our home in Venice for most of the winter although we did get out on a few short local trips. One was up the coast to Big Sur and Kirk Creek campground with a bunch of friends which was great fun. The campground overlooks the Pacific with fantastic views.
Later we visited Jalama Beach after getting a new set of Michelin tires and walked the beach, north & south.
Our first big trip of the year is a month long meander from Flagstaff up the back roads to Moab and Klondike Hills to the north. Meeting friends at both places. We have a few campsites reserved along the way, mainly to be able to cleanup, do laundry, dump the tanks and take on fresh supplies but most of the time we will be looking for remote sites to explore around.
The big day arrived and we said goodby to the house sitter and headed east on I10. No sooner that we had passed the I405 intersection we see a bill sign say accident up ahead and many lanes blocked. I missed the first exit off the disabled freeway and squeezed over to the right to make it off the second exit at Rose’s urging. Jiggled some city streets and then back on the freeway past the incident that we never, thankfully, got to see.
First fuel stop is Barstow and I try a new exit to the Flying J gas station that advertises cheaper diesel. Off ramp was fine but getting back on was a mess because of construction. Took a deep breath and set our sights on an overnight stop near the Colorado River on some BLM (Bureau of Land Management) that offers free dispersed camping more commonly known as Boondocking.
A short patch of bumpy dirt then plenty of spots to choose amongst the windswept Creosote bush. Temperature was 90 Fahrenheit, the generator needed to be run for maintenance purposes so we fired it up and also turned on the AC for 90 minutes to cool us down and put a recommended load on the generator.
Second day sent us climbing past 5000’ and the temperature dropped down accordingly to the mid 50’s as we beelined for inflection point Flagstaff where we head north towards Moab.
Remember I said we new tires installed? Well the new tires run great and the rig seems to hug the road and is less of a strain compared to before. So, the RV shop that were able to do both the alignment on a tall vehicle and install the tires assured me they could also give it an oil change that it needed – so I said yes.
On the first day of our trip at some random moment the dashboard flashes a warning message that the oil level is too high and needs to be reduced. Shit, it never fails, an anticipated trip is marred by a Mercedes Benz Sprinter issue. I check the dip stick and the level is above the “Max” level but not by much and I know the engine does not use oil so if its high now it will stay high for the next 10,000 miles. We’re out of town so I can’t, do I want to?, go back to the shop that did the oil change. I grumble to myself till we make the decision to check out the dealership in Flagstaff. You might ask why not just ignore it till the next oil change? Well I don’t trust the onboard computer. Remember it’s German and if it tells you to do something and you ignore it, it has the power to inflict pain on you like reduce the engines power output till you listen to it. I call ahead and they say “come in” and they’ll do what they can. We drop the rig off at 11:15 am and go for a walk to eat & shop. Back at the dealer two hours later the rig is still where we left it. This is going to be a long day. I get my new iPad out and start writing this post.
Finally they pull our rig into the workshop and we can see them working on it through the glass partition. They hookup their diagnostics and later a guy crawls underneath and I assume he is draining some of the oil. The service manager smiles as he tells us all is OK and hands us the technicians report. Now it gets interesting.
First line says they checked the oil level and found it OK! Huh? Then there’s some story about the instrument cluster needing a software upgrade and a reset. They then say no error codes are returned. Really! Finally they say they drained half a quart of oil and we’re good to go. I am perplexed, with four oil changes under our belt I have never seen a “oil level too high” message and that’s with the “old” software. I can only surmise that this last change they filled it slightly more than usual that triggered the on board computer to flag it as high and they must have thought so as well because why did they drain half a quart?
It’s the next morning and we’re at Camerons Trading Post relaxing, it hit a low of freezing last night, and we will dump the tanks and take on water for a few days at Gooseneck State park and/or Valley of the Gods up in Utah. Checked the dipstick and the oil level is just below the “Max”, where I expect it to be. Between you and me? I think it was marginally overfilled and the half quart reduction was enough to bring the level down below the Max.
On to have some fun.