Ahhhh Phoenix. Phoenix was nice and sunny and warm. We got to see Mary, who kindly let us park the bus and sleep in her cozy apartment, which is actually in Mesa, just outside of Phoenix. We enjoyed meals together, played cards, and generally hung out and talked. Mary was also nice enough to let us ship a new veggie oil pump to her house, which was neccesary since our old one, designed for diesel fuel, was getting warn out by all the cold, thick veggie oil we had been pumping through it.
Mary gave us a bunch of good ideas for things to do. We went hiking out in some state parks, and for a drive down a very scenic and twisty road through the Superstition Mountains, outside of Phoenix. We also went to a ghost town and of course, saw lots and lots of cactii. One day we went out looking for veggie oil and drove all the way from Mesa to downtown Phoenix, checking out all the promising restaurants along the way and back. What we found: lots of disgusting and empty veggie oil dumpsters, and several with locks on them and signs that said, "If you touch our veggie oil we'll hunt you down and kill you and your family." I guess the rendering companies are feeling the crunch of veggie oil and biodiesel fuel. So, needless to say we gots no veggie. But we did get to see a boat show, and some wakeboarders doing jumps in an elongated kiddie-pool, using a tow rope. By the way, Phoenix is the most boring city ever. Almost everything in downtown is open from Monday to Friday, and thus, it being a Saturday, eerthing was closed. The city was so dead, you didn't even need to look both ways before j-walking across a five lane road. I'm serious, and this was in their downtown district. The only thing going on was the boat show, and I've seen bigger crowds at the garden show in Durham. So for your reference. . . warm + boring = Phoenix. Eventually, our pump came and we bid a fond and grateful farewell to Mary after filtering some warm veggie oil in our new (super heavy duty hard to fit in the veggie oil cabinet, needs it's own trunk-size plastic container, but could suck a donut through a burlap sack) pump.
We drove from Phoenix and spent the night in a rest stop on our way to Joshua Tree National park in California. When we arrived at Joshua tree, we were again running pretty low on veggie oil, and thereby stalling the vehicle. (For those of you who don't care about engines / veggie oil, don't read the rest of this paragraph. For those of you who do, and peraps know diesels and are wondering, how are you getting so much air in your system and not having problems? The answer is that if we suck air up from the veggie oil tank, we can purge diesel back to the veggie oil tank for a while, thus pushing any air bubbles out of the engine and fuel lines into the veggie oil tank, and simultaneously flushing our vegie oil filter with diesel, which dissolves waxes and makes it last longer). Anyways, when we got to our campsite we had to filter more veggie oil as it was getting dark, but what's this. Our super-heavy duty, expensive pump isn't working half as well as our old worn out one. Oh no! But the next day we called the guy we bought the pump from and got the okay to put the filter on the more powerfully pressurized side of the pump (to push the oil through the filter, instead of suck it through), and low and behold, our pump rocks as much as a super heavy duty cast iron pump with a 1/2 horsepower electric engine should rock.
Anyways, Joshua tree was really neat, and a place with one of the most unique landscapes I've ever scene. We don't have any really good pictures. But the place just had all these crazy rock formations and boulders stacked on top of eachother, just randomly sticking out of he desert. And of course, Joshua trees everywhere, which we do have a picture of. It was a fun place to walk around, even though it was pretty cold and snowed one day. We also met some interesting people. The first night we had dinner with a hippy couple travelling around in an old Dolphin RV. They were nice but it was a bit strange as the girl was about twenty and the guy was about fifty. They seemed happy though, so to each his own I guess. We also hung out with a triple (as opposed to a couple) from San Diego. We had a lot of fun with them, and they were nice enough to share some drinks, food, and a campfire with us. Unfortunately they shared their germs too and got us miserably sick.