After six days in the shop, the launch vehicle is back on the pad in the front yard. The new Extreme Air magnum compressor works well and the faulty turbo has had it’s central housing replaced and the vanes cleaned. The Ford techs reported “moderate” coking and corrosion in the turbo and recommended using a diesel fuel additive, something I already do, adding an Amsoil diesel concentrate in every other fill up. The Sporty is never used for driving short distances and never left idling in cold weather. It’s the first turbo problem in 30,000 miles so I should be grateful that I haven’t had more of them.
By sheer luck, the Sporty was inside the shop at Ford across town while two cars full of deranged teenagers spray painted vehicles up and down the streets near our house last Tuesday night, causing several thousand dollars worth of damages. A couple times a year local kids go beserk shooting out car windows and trashing vehicles, showing that small towns in Big Sky Country aren’t immune to big city problems.
This weekend will be filled with pre launch tasks of checking and restocking camping gear in the Sporty, testing the air compressor and electrical systems, and going on a practice run up Interstate 15 to the Missouri River, just to make sure everything still works.
Meanwhile the desert wildflower bloom has started in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, and promises to be a good to spectacular year. Cool and rainy weather in the deserts has slowed plant growth, but will prolong the bloom is places such as Death Valley National Park.
DesertUSA posts good summaries of the wildflower bloom across the Southwest.
Carol Leigh’s wildflower hotline blog keeps track of wildflowers across southern and central California.
Tom Chester’s amazingly detailed blog describes the hundreds of plants blooming each week in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.
The National Park Service posts occasional reports on the blooms in Joshua Tree National Park.
Death Valley National Park reports that the constant rain storms have caused the reappearance of Lake Manley, the descendant of the Pleistocene pool that used to fill the valley thousands of years ago.
http://www.nps.gov/deva/naturescience/w ... e-2010.htm
It will be a great trip if I can only survive another week of work and launch preparations!
Here’s a pic of the Big Bloom in DVNP in 2005:
And dawn on the Owl Creek Mountains in southern Death Valley on the same trip: