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A Woman's Guide To The Universe

RV Dreams Part Two: “Because I Could Not Stop For Death.”

RV Dreams Part Two has a buzz kill headline, I’m aware. After Don spent a few hours loading the things we’d need for a two day trip on the RV Dreams maiden voyage, we pulled out of Las Vegas, on our way to LA. Pretzels were onboard, but I’d forgotten my hat. Clearly, pretzels are more important than aging ten years after two days in the sun.

This trip had a steep learning curve, at least for me. I need a booster step to get into the Roadship Enterprise, and by dint of climbing the stairs the way toddlers do–on all fours–I take my seat in front. The seat is comfortable, but my size 11 foot gets caught on the hump in the dash. It took me three tries to figure out how to get in and out of the seat, and I still couldn’t do it without removing my shoes.

An hour out of Las Vegas, on the I-15, there was a traffic slowdown. It wasn’t a bad one; we moved along fairly quickly, and I figured there was a minor accident ahead, because GPS–Great Pal Shirley–said the freeway was clear of accidents. She only lies when it’s her time of the month and she’s feeling punk. On those days she’s just as likely to send you down an embankment just for the hell of it.

When we passed the cause of the slowdown, there was a small crowd of people standing on the shoulder and milling around a car that was on its side and in very bad shape. A young woman was setting a baby seat on the ground and holding a baby, while an older woman in great distress was walking around the car and crying. I thought both were passengers in the car and had climbed out. They appeared to be in good shape physically.

Further out, over the fence that separates the freeway from the desert landscape–the fence sits about twenty yards out from the shoulder of the freeway–and another twenty or more yards on, there was a mid size truck on its side, also in bad shape.

Whatever happened, I could see that the truck had to have flipped three or four times high in the air, because it cleared that fence without touching it. No one was near the truck, because this accident had clearly happened no more than five minutes before we got there.

There are no services in nearby Baker, Ca. The surrounding area is served by the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s station so it takes awhile for help to arrive.

I didn’t find out until yesterday what happened. The news article stated it was a head on collision and we couldn’t figure that out, unless someone was driving the wrong way at a high rate of speed.

Here’s the article, and the accident we, and many others that day, narrowly avoided. I felt so badly for the two people in the truck: https://www.vvng.com/3-dead-infant-and-1-other-airlifted-in-monday-crash-that-shut-down-15-freeway/

I don’t know what caused the accident, but as I imagine it, the young woman was the baby’s mother, she had unfastened her belt, perhaps to turn around to mess with the baby, the driver was going way too fast–he had to have been to have become airborne–and perhaps moved the steering wheel when he looked away from the road. He crossed the center divider, which is fairly wide dirt and gravel area, became airborne and flew into the truck–whose driver probably over corrected as well–and the truck in turn was sent airborne, to flip over and over into the desert.

Somewhat deflated by the scene of distressed onlookers, the sight of a baby who may not ever be well again, and of two vehicles with three newly deceased people (although we didn’t know that at the time), we continued on for RV Dreams Part Two.

We arrived safely in LA and were tootling along to our destination at the beach when my phone rang. It was my doctor’s office in Las Vegas to schedule an appointment. While I was talking to her, I looked up and there was a flatbed trailer truck coming to a stop. Don stepped on the brakes. And kept stepping on them. The RV hit a slick patch of something on the road, he cranked the wheel hard right, the rear wheels locked up, and BANG! We hit the back of the flatbed.

I saw it coming and screamed, “Oh, SHIT!” And then I realized I was still on the phone yelling into the ear of the doctor’s receptionist. I apologized, told her we’d hit someone and to put me down for Friday afternoon–if we made it back alive–and hung up.

The truck driver was a young man, very nice, unhurt, although he did say he was bounced around pretty good. Since we were only going about ten miles an hour, Don was amazed. To which the driver responded, “Yeah, man! I only weigh about a buck thirty!”

The RV was unhurt except for a bent spot in the bumper, but all I could think about was our day old insurance. We did a minuscule amount of damage to the truck, but I won’t rest easy until I hear from them and find out about the driver’s million dollar whiplash, or something equally unlikely.

After that, we kept a mile between us and any other vehicles. I didn’t care who was honking. The smaller the car, the more they honk, and the faster they whip around RVs and trucks to fill any holes in the freeway. Particularly in LA. Dimwits.

In fact, the next day Great Pal Shirley sent us down miles of surface streets. I prefer those to the freeway, but in an RV, those streets, lined on both sides with parked cars, feel about two feet wide.

The entire drive through the city, I leaned over, away from the window, and refused to look out the side. I was positive we would take off someone’s side mirror with our passenger side mirror. All my sphincters were clenched–there are a lot of sphincters in the human body– and squeezed my eyes shut every time anyone pulled in front of us and hit their brakes. I’m still clenched.

The drive through the towns that precede LA proper reminded me of the comedian’s joke about Martin Luther King Street–named after a man of peace–being in every low income, high crime neighborhood. When I mentioned the joke to Don–as God is my witness–Great Pal Shirley spoke to me–the only time she ever has–and said, “Can I help you with that problem?” LA infects everyone with helpfulness and political correctness.

Is my every wish a command? Did we acquire cloaking shields–a la Star Trek–as I unthinkingly wished for before we left home? As we drove past LAX, down Imperial Hwy to the beach and the RV park, a pickup camper truck made a sudden left at the green light we were approaching. RVs must be invisible, because the Moth had to crank hard right and swerve into the far lane to avoid hitting him straight on. With nary a glance to the left, he drove past us.

Great Pal Shirley didn’t tell us the RV park was straight ahead and into what looked like the ocean, although I wouldn’t have minded at that point. Just float away to the Caribbean in our own little house. We had to detour in a neighborhood past the RV park where I accosted a mailman walking down the street. In accented English, he told us where Dockweiler RV park was, and I mentioned that the GPS was trying to turn us around to go back the way we’d come.

After telling us that was correct, he smiled and said, “The GPS? I try to change it to a man’s voice in order to get there the first time,” and then he turned to walk away. I laughed and said, “You shut up! And thank you!”

Just writing down our “adventures” has made me clench all over again. It did not cure me of RV dreams, however, because I must be stupid. What it did do was convince us that fifty car lengths between us and everyone else is a good idea, towing a car for city driving is an even better one, and never removing your seat belt on the freeway is the best one.

We finally reached the RV park and for two days enjoyed the fresh ocean breezes and sweet air. The Moth felt better the entire time we were there. The rear view of a lot of RVs was our main one, because we were the third row back, but I could see the beach and the ocean between them. The hardcore RVers rig out their road warriors with lights, outdoor rugs, table cloths for the picnic tables, cushioned picnic table mats, plants, lounge chairs, portable cages for dogs, grills, bicycles, etc, etc. The man in front of us even put up a US Army flag, and walked around with a leveler.

Christy, a woman in her 50s, pulled in next to us with her three Labradors. She bought her Class C when she divorced her hubby and hits the road all the time. I’m not sure, but I think the cause of the divorce was that he never wanted to go anywhere, only frequented the three restaurants in their small town, and ordered a total of three menu items. They get along much better now that they’re divorced.

Instead of cloaking shields, a roof mounted anti-aircraft gun is what I want. Being next door to LAX did not induce peaceful slumber for me, although Don slept like a baby. I couldn’t believe it.

Image result for stripes movie motorhome

Every five minutes I could hear the rumblings of an approaching jet–Quantas, American, Delta, United. Taking off, landing. After midnight, I gave up and put on my earphones, found soft jazz on my phone, and fell into a fitful sleep. During the day, the jets aren’t even noticeable. There’s also a white noise clip on YouTube that lasts for four hours. When I woke up, my phone battery was completely drained.

My son told me there’s a clip on YouTube of a box fan in a tub with the shower running. This elicited a debate on how on earth a fan can operate in a shower and for how long. For the record, it’s ten minutes before the clip goes dark, four hours before the tub fills up, and five hours to debate how long the fan will last.

Most everything works in the RV and after buying a hose, Don hooked up the water. The sinks work great until a knob on the faucet blows off for no good reason and soaks everything around it with a geyser that rivals Old Faithful. We had gallon bottles of water and a hot shower in the park, so that wasn’t a big deal.

After the doctor’s appointment in LA, where I was scheduled for January for my second leg, with a possible move up if someone cancels, we stopped for an overpriced lunch in a restaurant down the block.

A young couple with a small dog in a baby stroller arrived after we did and sat down next to us on the outside patio. The windows/doors were open, so essentially, they were having lunch right next to us. For an hour, I was regaled with the conversation they had with a man in a business suit who was telling them their options for their dog’s bad back.

You won’t hear conversations like that anywhere but in LA. It was wonderful.

On the way to Beverly Hills the Museum of the Cold War pops up. A tour of that, with a special look at the Urban Assault vehicle of Stripe movie fame, is on my agenda. We’ll see who laughs last the next time a Honda Civic whips in front of us.

They’d probably refuse to let me into the Museum of Tolerance anyway.

RV Dreams Part Two on chezgigi.com
“Go on– take off! I dare you, JetBlue!”

 

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4 Comments

  1. Mary N

    Indeed, careful with those seat belts. In the grim thoughts dept., just before Labor Day there were a series of fatal accidents around here. Everyone who dies was unbuckled. Stay buckled!!!
    However, looks like you’re having fun in the green meanie. Keep it up. You’ll figure out your feet and sleeping will get better. And maybe a little Smart Car to drag along?
    Keep smiling, January isn’t too far away!

    • And I still need to lose more weight! He didn’t say so in so many words, but it’s safer to be as skinny as possible, I guess. Why can’t he just suck it all out while he’s got me on the table? Sheesh.

      Well, the young woman might have survived, because the driver of the car did. That’s amazing there were that many accidents on Labor Day. Fatigue and trying to get somewhere on time, etc. Awful. He had no business driving that fast. The people in the truck never had a chance. The only upside is that it didn’t kill other people by causing a chain reaction.

      We do have an Isuzu Rodeo that hasn’t sold, so we might use that. They call it “The Toad.” RV lingo.

  2. Mary N

    Surgeons always make noises about weight. Although our friend who had both hips done was quite heavy even after losing about 50. I’m sure that it will make the recovery easier. So maybe you jog behind the RV? Or maybe not!

    • I actually did that once and had my mom drive. I found all kinds of interesting things along the freeway. A whole bunch of dog collars. How did they happen to get there?

      Yeah, I think they’re just covering their butts against problems. But at least it is scaring me straight! Or skinny.

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