Hello dearest ladies and germs,
Big news this week. It’s official – we’ve hit the road! Our hero mechanic Jon breathed life back into Jolene by fixing her electrical woes, got us set up with a new rear view mirror, a brand spanking new generator, and diagnosed what was going on with our brakes. Good gravy, that man was worth his weight in gold.
As such – we took off yesterday (Sunday) morning and headed south all day, from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Joshua Tree National Park. Determined to make our first day count, mileage wise, we drove over 400 miles. We arrived late in the evening, having forgotten how much longer it takes sweet Jolene to get places compared to her smaller car brethren. She likes to roar at a temperate 55 mph on the highway, provided it’s flat terrain – and she chugs pulling her cargo of nearly 2000 books up hills and mountain passes – sometimes at a mere 20 mph – so patience (and a keen ear for how hard the engine is working) is key.
After pulling into Joshua Tree, we parked along a gorgeous expanse of desert, quickly recuperated the living quarters as a few things had shifted in transit, and set up our little outdoor grill. I made us carne asada tacos for dinner under the stars in one of the most lovely places I’ve had the pleasure of being, listening to coyotes yip and howl to one another in the distance. When we woke up the sky was grey and moody, and the landscape was otherworldly. We drank our morning coffee in the cab looking at the strange trees and martian-like rock formations before deciding we’d drive through the park in order to rejoin Rt.10 at her southern border (rather than backtracking and taking the highway that borders the north of Joshua Tree). It was slower going, of course, since the roads were serpentine and the speed limits were much lower than highway speed, but man were the views worth it. The hours and miles slipped by us easily surrounded by so much beauty.
Once we rejoined Rt.10 we decided making it to Arizona was our main goal along with finding a full service truck stop so we could have Jolene’s brakes looked at. As I mentioned, our mechanic in CA diagnosed why her brakes were so mushy and less responsive than before. Some corrosion has eaten away at the brake lines in the front and caused us to leak brake fluid. He couldn’t fix it at the time he mentioned it and we were itching to get on the road after weeks and weeks of waiting. Thankfully, just over the AZ border, in Quartzville, we found a Love’s with a full service truck stop. While they deal only in air brakes (and we have hydraulic) one of the mechanics here works for a standard (non-truck) garage here in town and agreed to see us in the morning to replace the bad bit of line. We’ll give up some driving time tomorrow for the fix, but it’ll be more than worth it. We got a bit more than 150 miles under us today. We’d like to average 300 miles a day, so with yesterday’s marathon drive, we’re still on track in that regard.
Some of the music we’ve been enjoying while on the road from Sade’s most excellent (in my opinion) tape collection (yes, Jolene has a tape deck!):
You’ll here more updates from our journey to Florida, where we’ll complete our renovation. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr and you’ll get the daily dose of Virus you crave (plus Fulci pics!).
Love and Pathogens,
Em, Sade, and Fulci
The Road Virus Crew