Before leaving the RV park in Quartzite, I removed the thermostat from Flipper’s cooling system. Didn’t have time to test it but decided that, if the run to Gila Bend on I-10 didn’t result in any overheating, then the thermo is likely the problem and not a plugged-up coolant channel somewhere. To be clear, Flipper has never actually overheated so far. That is, the needle has never reached the red section of the gauge nor even the little white line that signifies the end of the “normal” (or maybe I should say, “acceptable”) range. But, it’s been higher than I’m used to seeing it. Even driving down the Baja Peninsula last summer, up lots of major grades, the needle never went more then a needle’s-width past the gauge’s mid-point. This is its normal position. So, seeing anything higher than that concerns me. After all, we’re still planning our Epic Road Trip so we want everything to be cool, so to speak.
Well, on the run to Gila Bend, driving at a pretty steady 60 mph, the needle never even got close to mid-gauge without the thermostat so, a faulty thermostat it is. After dinner last night, I tested the old thermo in a pot of water. The thermo is marked “88 C” (190 F). The book says that between 172 and 180, the thermostat should begin to open and that at 209 it should be open 5/16″. Well, I got it up to 206 and absolutely nothing had happened yet so I’m sticking to my “faulty thermostat” theory. Fortunately, thermostats are easy to come by and easy to replace. And, at least in warm climates, easy to go without altogether if it comes to that.
We pulled into Augie’s Quail Trail RV Park in Gila Bend around 1:00. This is one of the only places I can remember making reservations. I made them yesterday on-line and, although it limited our choices when we got here, it certainly made checking in fast and easy. We got a spot right outside the clubhouse which has bathrooms/showers, laundry facilities, a big screen TV with lots of nice soft couches and chairs around it, wireless or cabled internet access, tables to sit at while doing your internetting, etc. It’s really a very nice place. They have a huge bank of solar panels out back to power a good portion of the park and help defray some of their energy costs. And last night, we got to sit and watch a truly awesome sunset while I plunked away at my uke.
We heard from our friend Kevin, an Arizona native who also has a house in northern Mexico a little ways past Puerto Peñasco. You might remember Kevin as he’s the one who gave us a ride back down to San Carlos from Phoenix in his little Prius a year or so ago. Anyway, Kevin tipped us off about some of the new rules about bringing food into Mexico. Apparently, fresh vegetables and fruit, beef in any form, and most meats can’t be brought across. This isn’t necessarily exactly what the law says but, like so many bureaucratic things in Mexico, whoever is doing the inspecting is the guy who decides what the rules say. No problem as we don’t really have that much left. Lulu cooked up all the vegetables yesterday. We had most of them in a dish she calls “vegetable noodles” last night along with half of the remaining cooked ham. We’ll have hashbrowns and eggs and the rest of the ham for breakfast today. We narfed down all of our beef jerky as well, just in case. We’re feeling pretty good about this crossing. We don’t really have anything to declare so we’re good to go.
Today we’re driving to Ajo, AZ first. The website says they have an IGA and a Napa so we can get peanut butter, half & half, a thermostat, and whatever else we think of that we can carry across the border legally. Then it’s on to Organ Pipe National Monument for the night. We were planning to stay at the Gringo Pass RV Park & Motel in Lukeville but, I’m not sure it’s actually open and, besides, we had several readers comment that Organ Pipe is a must-see and we listen (sometimes).
Things are looking good. We’re going to meet our friends Bill & Elli at their condo outside Puerto Peñasco, spend a little time with Kevin in Desemboque, and then, we heard from our fellow Westsailors, Doug and Jody, that they’re parked at the same RV park in San Carlos that we plan to spend a little time at before putting Flipper in storage. Ain’t we just the social gadabouts?