Monday, May 22, 2017

New culinary delight

I had a taco Al Pastor at the golf course restaurant in Nuevo Vallarta, so when I saw Al Pastor on the menu at Casa Blanca, in Cathedral City, CA, I ordered it.  Vicki ordered the carnitas, which I had two nights before, and she didn't like them (too "porky") so we switched.  We both liked the Al Pastor a lot, so when we saw a package of Al Pastor in Stater Bros, we got some.

I grilled it tonight, and grilled some pineapple chunks, and the tortillas, and we dressed the tacos with fresh cilantro, fresh squeezed lime juice, and Newman's Own pineapple salsa.

The palette of flavors was exquisite.  Next time we'll get sliced pineapple, so it can be grilled directly on the grate and cut up later.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cabot Pueblo Museum

One of the first white settlers in the Coachella Valley was Cabot Yerxa.  His first name is his mother's maiden name - yes, those Cabots.  His family founded the Yerxa Mercantile stores, and at age 15 Cabot managed one of them, with 20 employees reporting to him.  Following some adventures in Nome, Cabot paid $10 for a 160-acre homestead in the Mohave desert.  For a year, he walked 7 miles every 3 days to Palm Springs, an Indian village, to get water and carry it back to his homestead.  One day his Cahuilla friend asked him why he didn't use the abandoned well at the old Indian village, on the hill near his house.

That well was too alkaline, but Cabot started witching and digging for water, and discovered Desert Hot Springs.  And a cold water aquifer close by it, which is now the source of the award-winning city water in DHS.  Because the hill had both hot and cold water, he named it Miracle Hill.  That was 1913, and in 1917 he joined the Army to fight in WWI.

In 1941 he returned to his old homestead and began building the Pueblo, using materials found in the desert or scavenged from abandoned structures nearby.  It eventually expanded to 35 rooms and 5000 square feet.

He made it a museum and artist colony.  One of his Cahuilla friends made him a sculpture

called two-faced white man.

On the property is a 43-foot tall sculpture of Waokiye, the "traditional helper" of the Lakota, and part of the Trail of the Whispering Giants.

There are 74 whispering giants, at least one in each state.  Sounds like the next quest, after I finish playing the top 100 golf courses.

More pictures.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Rocky start

We were trying to get to Aguanga, CA, but didn't make it.

It all started almost two months ago, when the GMC dealer said we needed all new hoses.  Which seemed likely, because they were the original equipment from 11 years and 170,000 miles ago.

Then about a month ago, we got a "low coolant" alarm from the computer.  So we added coolant, and the alarm went away.  It didn't register that when they changed out the radiator hoses all the coolant would have drained out and been replaced.  I figured maybe it was a slow leak, or normal losses to evaporation or something.

Friday, on the way up the mountain from Palm Springs, the engine overheated and the low coolant alarm came on again.  Luckily, there was a pullover only about 1/4 mile ahead, so we got off the narrow, winding, 2-lane road to safety.

We had a container of coolant in the RV, and began to pour it in, and it ran out from under the truck onto the ground.  I crawled under the truck and found a radiator hose disconnected from the thing it was supposed to attach to.  It had some sort of clamp that should hold it on, but I could only see one side of it and couldn't get it securely reattached.

Luckily again, there was an emergency call box, because there was no Verizon cell service on this mountain road.  Which I told everyone who could possibly need to know.  They all wanted my phone number, so I made sure they knew there was no service there.

The operator who answered the emergency phone transferred us to USAA, which includes roadside assistance in the auto insurance for the truck.  They sent a tow truck and took us and the truck to the local GMC dealer, leaving the RV in the pullover.  I figured they would be able to reattach the hose in 30 seconds, and we'd be able to continue on our way.  HAHAHA!

They needed a part, and couldn't get it until Saturday.  So we made a reservation at a nearby RV park, and I called Progressive, who provides the insurance for the RV, and also includes roadside assistance.  They agreed that we were covered, and said they would dispatch a tow vehicle to take the 5th wheel to the RV park.  The GM dealer had no loaners, and the Enterprise Rent-a-Car down the street had nothing to rent, so we got an Uber to take us back to the RV to meet the next tow company.

And then we waited.  After an hour, I used the emergency call box again, and got transferred to Progressive, and got a different agent who asked all the same questions again, and said she would try to find a tow service to come get us.

After another hour, I called again, same thing.  Oh, when Progressive puts you on hold to find a tow company, they drop the call after a while, so I had to call back to the emergency operator - a new one, who didn't have the info from my previous call - and get transferred to Progressive again - a new agent who didn't have the info from my previous call ...

Then a good Samaritan stopped by.  She is an Uber driver, and offered to go down the hill and use her cell phone to call Progressive and see what was going on.

After another hour, I was on the phone again holding for Progressive when she came back, and said she had convinced them to send a tow truck for us.  And, finally, after 4 hours, after dark, the tow truck showed up.  By then the RV battery was run down, and we had a hard time getting the jacks up so we could be towed, but finally we did, and then I remembered that the RV power cable was in the bed of the truck, which by now was locked in the GMC dealer's lot, because they were closed.  So when we got to the RV park we had no power.  The tow truck had a battery charger so we were able to get the jacks down and the slides open.  I did have cell service, and I had 6 messages from the tow company asking me to call them and confirm the information I had given to Progressive, so that they could dispatch a truck to tow us.

Saturday, GMC had their part, and did the repair under warranty, and we got the truck and the power cord back.

Sunday we rested.  I played golf today at the #94 best course you can play in the US, La Quinta Mountain Course.  Read about it here.  I'll play the #56 course tomorrow.  Vicki got her nails done, and became a hand model.  They took pictures of their work on her for their web site.