Thanks for all replies. Hello, drinms!
I have a lot to update, all good! ....mostly!
We ended up having to rebuild the carb, then she finally passed smog.
Went with Castrol 10-40. Had to buy two new front tires. We went to the beach for a couple nights, locally, then on the way home in stop and go traffic on the 101 a fellow next to me caught my attention and said "there's something on the inside of your tire. Looks like a bubble (front driver side)". So I thought, ok, well, better get home and chekker out... Traffic picked up but I kept her at 60. We were home in 25 minutes and boy oh boy!! HUGE bubble on the inside side of the tire. It was so big it was scraping against something. It was about as big as a newborn's head! I thought "yikes, had we seen this before driving we would have gone straight to the tire store". Anyway we got two new 10-plies and all's well that ends well.
And now, drumroll please... Our trip to Lake Havasu, Arizona! (in July)
All systems go, we pulled out at 6 am (we live in Ventura County, So Cal) and headed to the desert, caravanning with some dear friends. It was a 6- 7-hour drive, at least 100 degrees ambient and God knows how hot the blacktop was. Several stops and a little nervous bc we were under the impression our starter was on the fritz (we had a brand new one in our cargo, but boy that woulda been hot changing it out) but we never needed it.
Long story short: we were at the lake for nine days, full hookups, temp ~100-106. We ran the roof AC nonstop and she never broke a sweat. Turned it down to 'low' at night. We had a couple blackouts lasting a couple hours on two different days and the genny was stellar. Fridge on gas the whole time. EVERYTHING WORKED! Nothing broke down. We had a ball and the kids, too! We quickly became pros with the awning (in n out every day!). Last day we pulled out at 5am bc we wanted to be kind to our old gal. There's a brutal grade just an hour out. Made it home safely and so so happy with our investment. This was the big test, for sure!
Now, don't ask me about our gasoline consumption!
The father of one of our friends, founder of this yearly lake tradition, said we seemed to be running rich when we pulled in. He adjusted the carb one early morning before the sun was blaring. I think it made a difference on the way back, then again, I believe our gas gauge is malfunctioning...
I think I will post this on a new thread, bc I think it deserves the attention, and it's a great story for other Old-RV owners!
Thanks all for reading, and for your replies! And sorry I was absent so long. I'm a new nurse looking for work and it has been INDESCRIBABLY rough and discouraging :( Anyone know people in hospitals in Ventura County? I'm afraid it's all about who you know, and not what you know. Aaanyway, topic for a different forum, I suppose.