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Wandrin 2005

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by Lloyd Treichel




Dateline: May 10, 2005 -- Tempe, AZ (Phoenix suburb)

"On The Road Again"... "under a Wandrin Star" 

Future Travel... Next stop at Sedona, AZ. Then the Four Corners area will be followed by time in southwestern Colorado before arriving in Denver about mid June.

The last column reported my truck had been stolen and returned to a body shop in Chula Vista, CA. I was waiting impatiently when...

Silver Slug ... was ready on May 3rd. I stayed another day in the San Diego area and had a farewell dinner with Vanita before leaving on the 5th. It was raining that morning, but even though it is not my habit to travel on rainy days, I was ready to move. Heading east on I-8 the sun was shining by the time I was 50 miles down the road.

As I became reacquainted with Silver Slug, I wondered if the diesel always sounded that noisy? After three weeks in a little zippy car where the engine could not be heard and jack rabbit starts were the norm, I found it hard to get used to driving Silver Slug once again. Aptly named, it just isn't the same as the rental car. Of course, the rental car can't tow Wandrin Wagon.

The good part... The truck is back. It is the same truck. I didn't have to get a new truck -- a much more expensive solution. In the process I ended up with a new radio which can play MP3 format CDs. That allows me to create a single CD with more music than I can listen to in a week of driving.

The bad part... The additional weeks spent in San Diego put me behind schedule and in the heat of central Arizona. I was planning on being in cooler climes by this time.

More bad... The stolen contents is the major loss. Fortunately, I had the camera and a lens with me, but that left two other lenses and other camera gear in the truck. The next major item was the hiking gear including boots. I am not looking forward to getting new boots; fit is always an ordeal. The list of the contents goes on to a total replacement cost of about $1500. Since I have $1250 contents coverage for the truck, I will be short at least that difference.

After going through the experience of a vehicle being stolen, I've been asked if I would do anything different in the future? I have pondered that question every since.

One suggestion by a correspondent was to install an under dash switch in the ignition line. Turned off, the thieves would be foiled in their attempts to steal the truck. You would still be left with the damage to the door lock and the ignition. Perhaps there would be more damage when they couldn't "hot wire" it. Most of the contents would still have been stolen.

Another correspondent suggested the "Club" for the steering wheel. This would at least make the thief think twice before he chose another vehicle without the "Club".

Nothing will completely secure the vehicle against someone who wants that vehicle. They may come with the tow truck or all the tools to defeat all of your anti-theft devices.

I discussed this issue with my daughter. She pointed out that I have been driving for 50 years. Why should I make my life miserable. Could it happen to me again? I suppose.

So what will I do. Many options are under consideration. I could park the behemoth in narrow parking places rather than the far edges of a lot. This is not a real option with a 20 foot truck and a large turning radius. I have not decided how I will handle the hiking gear and other personal contents that are usually in the truck.

By the time I am through with this ordeal, it will cost me about $1000 which includes the $500 deductible and the contents in the truck that will not be covered by my home owner's policy. It is still a better solution than buying a new truck when Silver Slug still has about 100,000 miles of life.

Bottom line... this whole experience has just been a huge "pothole" in my travels.

Phoenix, AZ ... was the destination after San Diego. Yuma was a one night stop on my journey east. Diesel fuel was 30 cents a gallon cheaper than San Diego. The next day was a stop in Casa Grande at the Escapee Park where I spent a several hours resolving world problems with road acquaintance Scott LeGear. The following day it was an hour drive to the Tempe Elks Lodge.

When I arrived in Tempe, I found I was not used to the heat. With the temperature in San Diego in the high 60s most days, I was not used to the drastic change to the upper 80s. Fortunately, in a few days I will be at higher elevations and cooler temperatures.

Along with other shopping around Tempe, the main reason is to shop for hiking boots at the REI store. That was a priority item that had to be replaced from the list of stolen items.

Saguaros... are beginning to bloom throughout Arizona. The blooms are atop these very tall cactus. The close up was taken when I found a saguaro that was about ten feet tall.



The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time. -- Mark Twain

Vanity Plates...

BALDEGL --- License plate protector implied Navy affiliation - perhaps retired a Captain

MRSMINI -- on a mini-van

405HORS -- on a Ford pickup

Latest Reads...

"The Summer of My Greek Taverna" by Tom Stone is a memoir of a shortened summer when the author was the chef at a restaurant on the Greek island of Patmos. He relates the history, the gossip and his doomed try at being the chef and running the restaurant for a summer. The last chapter of his book consists of recipes that were served while the restaurant's chef.

"Notes from a Small Island" by Bill Bryson relates his travel around England and Scotland before he leaves to live in the United States. As he travels, he describes a country that had changed in the 20 years he had lived there and deprecates those changes. After all the negativity of his trip, in his closing he laments leaving and realizes that is what he likes about England -- its quirkiness.


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