After so much time away from the bus it was good to be on the road again. We headed out the morning after we got back, picking our way south through the Bay Area and down to, as it turned out, Silicon Valley, the epicenter of what’s wrong with America, and, as you might expect, a terrible place to try to camp. After an abortive attempt or two we gave up and got a hotel room.
The next day we drove the rest of the way down to Monterey, hoping to visit some friends and take the kids to aquarium. There’s a well located campground, right in the middle of Monterey, up on a hill. There’s too many trees to see the ocean, and there’s not even the pretense of a level site, but it’s far better than what you’ll find in most California cities so I won’t complain. It also had a nice playground for the kids.
Being centrally located also allowed us to explore the town and see the aquarium.
I’m probably just a twisted person, but after a few hours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium I was starving and really craving sushi.
One night I managed to sneak off one night to spend some time with my friends, who I’m pretty sure really didn’t understand why I refused to drive the bus up the hill to their house. I’ll tell you why in the next post. For now, rest assured that I made a wise decision.
From Monterey we were supposed to head south to Santa Barbara to visit some more friends, but honestly, we were a bit sick of being damp and wanted to head away from the coast for a while. This turned out to be a smart choice since the Santa Barbara fires started a couple days later. The first day out of Monterey we were headed down 101 (probably the roughest, consistently awful road we’ve driven, Californians I know you don’t want to hear this, but you are living in a third world country and you’re the only ones who don’t realize it. But I digress), I stopped for gas and when we pulled out of the gas station there was a horrible grinding noise that really sounded like wheel bearings to me.
My wife on the other hand thought the noise was coming from further back, near the transmission. I crawled underneath the bus but I couldn’t see anything amiss. Unfortunately I crawled from the engine and wiggled backward, which meant I missed seeing the problem. We drove back into King City and searched out a mechanic who, fortunately, had time to look around. He and I took it for a drive, then crawled under it from about midway back and immediately saw the problem — the forward driveshaft mount had dropped down and the driveshaft was scraping against a crossbar.
A quick lift with a floor jack and we tightened up the bracket and everything was fine. It took less time to fix than it did for my wife and kids to eat lunch at the Vietnamese restaurant next door.
By this time it was midway through the afternoon and no one really felt like driving anymore. We had spied a county park on our way into town so we headed there instead of back on the highway. It was a nice place, virtually empty and there was plenty of stuff for the kids to explore. We ended up spending the entire weekend there.