It has taken a long time to get things ready for this trip. Maybe it is because we are getting old, but everything just seemed to be more work and take longer. And some of the interference seemed to be more like a streak of bad luck than happenstance. Maybe it says something about excessive complexity in today's world.
There were delays for medical reasons. I needed more tests on my eyes (visual field, eye pressure, etc.), and the doctor's conclusion was that I am developing glaucoma. So he put me on eye drops and will see me in the fall. That was the simple part. The first prescription he called in to the pharmacy was for brandname Alphagan, and 5ml cost $45 with Medicare D and Humana. Ouch. When I came back in for a recheck, I asked for a prescription for the generic (brimonidine tartrate), and made arrangements to order it over the Internet: 15ml for $6. Much better, but it took time, and I had to remain in place to pick up the mail. Our medical system seems cockeyed and contains complexity I never realized before.
Then there was the delay for the truck's Check Engine light. It comes on when something wrong happens, and stays on until you take it in to a repair shop. I, the owner, have no idea what it means, and when they attach the "black box" and read out the code, the repairman is not sure what is really wrong. So they try something
Last December Dodge replaced the injection pump, fuel pump, and fuel filter ($4,007), then a month later it was a solenoid in the intake manifold ($250). When the light came on a third time, I went back, and the box told them the Engine Control Module had gone kaput. Okay. That was replaced ($1,300), but the light came on again the next day. Back to the dealer, and they put in another injection pump (on their ticket). 50 miles later the light came on again. Once again they put in an injection pump -- in fact two of them, #3 and #4. Finally, they said they were sure it was fixed and sent us home, asking us to drive around a week or so before leaving on our trip, just to be sure. So we took our time and drove around and the Check Engine light remained OFF, so everything must have been fine, just like they hoped.
Yesterday we transferred everything we could think of to the travel trailer and pulled out at 3:30pm. 10 minutes into the trip, on Hwy 371 up to Anza, the Engine Check light came on again. I am not sure what it means, but I expect it would cost another $200 to find out at the Dodge dealer, and I am sure they can find something else to replace. The truck system have become so complex only the black box knows what is going on, and it is not sure. It may happen that somewhere on this trip, the truck simply dies for some unknown reason. I am not sure I would want to know why.
The truck seems to be running well. I am running out of money and patience. One solution to complexity is to simply screw it.
We did complete our first leg: 54 miles to Palm Desert. The Thousand Trails Park here is only 25% full, but the railroad and Interstate still create the same amount of noise. I contributed my own dose of complexity and set up the TV and Internet satellites last night and things were running well until this morning. Then I suddenly started having problems getting out to the Internet. After a lot of analysis and trouble shooting, I concluded that my system had become confused when I left my DSL connection at Jojoba Hills and started using the Hughes satellite connection. It could not reliably find the DNS server.
It used to be that this was not really that complicated for me, but now I am using Vista on my laptop, and the networking interface is different -- another word for more complex. My only hope is that it is self-healing. Else I am on the brink of hammering my router into small pieces.
BTW, if you can read this on the Internet, I must have fixed the problem, or it fixed itself.
the Prudent RVer