Saturday, March 25, 2017

'It is, indeed, a wonderful life'


6:12 am - PDST - Saturday - 50º F, 91% humidity (that is like 4 times higher than we've experienced for the last 6 weeks!), wind - CALM....wait what?  No wind?  Forecast high for today is 66º F.....something else we have not seen for a few weeks.....we are no longer in the desert!

I woke up Friday with the goal of being on the road by 8:30 am and on our way to Riverside, CA where we will spend a week seeing our kids, grandkiddys, and great grandkid.  From Baker it is about 146 miles.....a rather long day for us based on the past few weeks don't you think?  Just before 7 am it was 47º F, and that was cold enough to turn on a heater to take the chill off the salon.

As I was getting ready to fire up the DD I noticed the odometer had just passed 150,000 miles the day before on our way from Death Valley down to reality it should read 158,000+, but the speedo was broken for about a year.......nonetheless it is kind of a cool milestone.  When we bought our Newell it had 103,500 miles on the odometer, so we have put over 55,000 on her in just over 9 years.  According to Detroit Diesel their Series 92 engines (ours is a 6V92) are not considered broken in until 150,000, and will not need an 'in frame rebuild' until 500,000 miles......I don't think I will still be above ground by the time the odometer reads 500,000.  Personally I think our 6V is running better now than it was 9 years ago......she just purrs down the road.  When I have my drivers side window open I can hear what I call this 'solid, silky, deep throated roar' emanating from the large chrome exhaust at the rear of the coach.....very reassuring.  A Detroit 2 stroke engine has a unique sound which is easily differentiated from a 4 stroke such as a Cummins or Cat, and no matter where I may be, or what I may doing when I hear that sound I am compelled to look up to find out where that two stroke sound is coming from.

Thank you for bearing with my digression.....anyway, we were, indeed, on the road by 8:28 am and 'running like a horse for the barn' towards Riverside, CA on I-15 westbound.  This is most time we have spent on an Interstate in over 2 months, and I did not miss it one single bit....we love those secondary roads!

Our goal when we are rolling our wheels is to strive to use the term 'uneventful' at the end of the day when describing our drive, and that is exactly what we got.....all I did was set the cruise control, hold on to the steering wheel and enjoy the ride as we seemingly floated down the road mile after mile.

We arrived at Rancho Jurupa Regional Park, our destination for the next week, by 11:20 am.....just under three hours to cover 146 miles (of course there were a couple of potty breaks along the way, right?  You don't really ever own just rent it for an hour, or two at a time.)

Just as we were unloading the VW from the trailer my son Chris and his wife, The Amazing Rochelle, (hereinafter referred to as TAR) had just pulled into the park in their 2007 Fleetwood Expedition (39', four slides).....they had managed to snag, with my assistance, a site just a few down from where we will be for the weekend.  We had both just barely set up when I walked over to exchange hugs and greetings....TAR* immediately asked when we were taking the Mt. Rubidoux hike she has been reading about in my blog for years.....I said "How about right now?"....and that was it....within a few minutes we were in the VW heading over to the Mt. Rubidoux trailhead. Chris and TAR* are walkers, too, and TAR* set a blistering pace up and down the mountain......

.......thankfully she waited for us at the top for our 'summit usie' all we covered 3.3 miles in about 52 minutes......TLE and TAR* beat Chris and I back to the car by a couple hundred yards, but that was okay because I got to spend time talking with my son, and that is something I miss every day we are on the road.....sometimes I can't believe I am the father of such a cool guy who, though will always be my son, feels more every time I am with him like a very, very good friend whom I have known literally for 44 years.

Our Beetle's interior and exterior have been neglected for several months now, and after all that time of desert living was filthy inside and out.....and in addition to that her gas tank was strongly hinting that more fuel needed to be added soon, or I might find myself hitchhiking to the nearest gas station.  After getting home and doing a little more setup I got in the VW and drove over to the local ARCO station where I took on 12 gallons of 92 octane gas at $2.99/gallon....yup back in SoCal where all grades of fuel are at least 50 cents more than Arizona, or Nevada.  On the way back down Mission Blvd. I stopped in at a small 'mom and pop' car wash I had been passing for years and had the Beetle hand washed, and the interior given a deep vacuuming.......she is smiling again.....all for the low cost of $14, which included tire dressing!

She's smiling again!

I was back 'home' by 3 pm and did a little more setting up before taking a shower, and getting ready to go drive out to Pomona to meet my brother Philip and his wife Jeannie for dinner at our favorite restaurant, the Pomona Valley Mining Company, which is perched on the side of a hill high above I-10 just a few blocks from the L.A. County Fairgrounds.  As we always do, we had a lovely conversation and the time just melted away.  An interesting brother Philip is 14 years younger than I and is closer in age to my son Chris than he is to me.....Chris is only 8 years younger than Philip, and they have been good friends since they were both young.

 You can see I-10 way down below!

TLE and I were home just after 10 pm.....a whirlwind first day back in SoCal.....Saturday will be another whirlwind of familia activities....stay tuned!

As I sit here at the end of today's blog I can't help but reminisce how just over six years ago (February 1, 2011) TLE and I drove into Rancho Jurupa Regional Park in our 1982 Newell to spend one year as camp hosts.  We had just signed a 12 month lease with two of our children and two of their friends on our home, so we could live in the Newell together for a year before we hit the road.....TLE wanted that time to be sure she could live with me in a small one might correctly surmise, I passed the test.  We left Rancho Jurupa exactly one year to the day and have been living full time on the road for over 5 years now.......seems like yesterday to me......what a wonderful life we have!

Thanks for stopping by!

*TAR = The Amazing Rochelle

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  1. It is a wonderful life on the road and we in our 11th year full-time in our small space as well.
    Nice to get some time with your son, I am looking forward to some family time soon when we get back to Ontario, Canada.

  2. Congrats to you for making your dreams that reality. Digression is wonderful. Glad you could spend time with your son and soon more family. I am 6 days from a year of retirement and it feels like I've been doing this forever. Love this life. Nice post Clarke.