Trip 2 – Day 48
Monday, February 25, 2013
Goodbye palm trees,
Goodbye golf carts,
Goodbye slow and aggravating Internet.
Goodbye yard art,
Goodbye blessed hot springs that sometimes made me itch.
Goodbye Freddie’s Fountain,
Goodbye Chocolate Mountains,
Goodbye walking paths so enjoyed by Wiley.
Goodbye Fountain of Youth.
We left our beloved Fountain of Youth this morning and set sail for Bakersfield, California. We actually pulled out of the campground at 9:00. Yes, life began VERY early this morning as there was so much to do. Things needed to be stowed away, and we had to hook up the Jeep so we could tow this train back home. We said our goodbyes to the neighbors, and promised that we would see them next year.
Things were going pretty well. We stopped at Costco and got gas. The Hag drank it up, so we are thinking that whatever the Ford dealership in Yuma did, it fixed the problem. We got back on the road and headed north. We saw fields of windmills, high desert, and lovely valleys.
A little after noon, we stopped alongside the road and ate lunch. Life was good. I hesitate to mention the next “situation” we found ourselves immersed in. It seems excessive that we should have so much trouble and have it so often.
Just outside Bakersfield, and I mean, about 10 miles from our destination, we heard a LOUD noise that sounded like metal grinding against something. Because I run on what some might say, a “higher octane” fuel, I was out of my seat and running from the back to the front of the rig listening. There was no doubt that said sound was coming from somewhere within or without the Hag. To my ears, the trouble seemed to be in the back, in the area of the Jeep. I alerted the driver that he needed to, “Pull over and STOP.” There were brief moments of panic, and we were stopped…….almost at the crest of a hill on Hwy 58, with traffic flying by us at 60+mph, on a very narrow shoulder. We baled out to see what was happening. The Jeep was okay, the Hag looked okay……and then……we looked again.
The Hag has compartments underneath her that store all sorts of things. One has the water, sewer and electrical connections, some have various things that we find useful but don’t need access to every day, like laundry detergent, tools, “found items,” lawn chairs, etc., and the far back compartment on the passenger’s side holds a spare tire. This is an interesting idea, as there is really no way humanely possible, for a mere mortal to change a tire on this thing. I guess it is there to make folks feel “prepared” and secure in the motion that one has some control over disastrous situations. Craig mentioned that he had thought about leaving the spare at home. A good idea, that never came to pass.
What we came to realize was the welds on the backside of the rack holding the spare tire, had failed. Half of the rack was dragging on the ground. It was a BIG problem. The tire was dragging, the metal was dragging, and directly above this situation was the propane tank and a little to the side of this was the Hag’s gas tank. We. Were. Lucky. I am sure that things were bouncing, and dragging, and creating sparks. Had we continued on, “Going Boom” was a big possibility.
Craig, with his Herculean strength and the assistance of a jack and large rock found by Dad, was able to extract the tire.
It went into the jeep. The rack that used to hold the tire was tied back up onto the hindquarters of the Hag.
With words and conversation that I won’t delve into, we got back into the rig and drove off without our requested bathroom breaks.
If I had any remorse at leaving FOY, it was forgotten when we pulled into our WONDERFUL campground just outside of Bakersfield. Orange Grove RV Park sits in the middle of an orange grove AND they encourage guests to pick a BAG of oranges.
I am a farmer to my core, and we had barely come to a stop when I exited the Hag and made a beeline to the office to check out an orange picking “basket on a stick.” The sign asked guests to borrow the orange picker for 30 minutes and only pick one grocery bag full of fruit. I complied, and did both.
In 30 minutes, I had picked a bag so heavy, that I had a hard time carrying it. The oranges were SO GOOD. I asked about variety, and was told that they had Washington Navels, and Valencia’s. We will eat oranges until we can’t tolerate any more. I am planning to make orange marmalade when we get home. What an absolutely brilliant idea to have an RV park in an orchard.
And, if this wasn’t enough excitement, there was another Doberman camped at the park. We took Wiley out to meet her, and neither one was too interested in the other. She was a tiny little female and didn’t want anything to do with sweet goofy Wiley. She wouldn’t look at him, didn’t want to be sniffed by him, and certainly didn’t want to play. We chatted with the owners, the dogs avoided each other, and that was that.
It was a double margarita night for the driver. We ate dinner, and thanked our lucky stars that we weren’t eating tamales in heaven.
Today’s weather: Sunny and almost warm
Daytime temperature: In the mid-60’s
Nighttime temperature: In the 40’s