2010: On the Road

Getting Under Way


Several years ago, we bought an undeveloped parcel of land near Pollock Pines, Ca., a small mountain town on highway 50 about an hour west of Lake Tahoe.  This is where Mike grew up, and he has dreams of building a house here and returning to the mountains he loves.

Our fifty acres of trees and bushes and weeds has sat wild and undisturbed until recently, when we finally put in enough of a road and a clearing to park our RV in our own patch of woods for a few weeks.

The fiver, new in 2001, is showing its age.

The omens were not good. Our original plan called for leaving May 4, but then the date for a prior commitment got delayed for two weeks. Three weeks before our go-date, the cops found Stanley the homeless guy living in our fifth-wheel trailer as it sat in the storage yard. THAT necessitated a bit of cleanup -- thank goodness he'd only been in there a few days. Then Mike discovered a flat trailer tire with a big hole in it, and he decided we needed four new tires and a wheel-pack, so it's off to Camping World dragging the RV. Sheesh.

Regardless of the portents, we forged ahead with our plan.

Peanut, Ginny, and friend. Cat comfort station.

We had one new dilemma to face. This would be the first road trip for our two new kitties Ginny and Peanut, and we had no idea how they would react to traveling. Naturally, Mike faced this challenge like a true engineer -- he built an outdoor catbox for the rig.

I don't expect the cats to care for it; but building it made Mike very happy. For weeks. And weeks.

Peanut sulks behind the DVR.

We usually take our time on the road, trying not to drive more than three hours a day. But Zion National Park is a hefty 700 miles away and it was already getting hot in mid-May, so we set a schedule to get there in two-and-a-half days of driving (roughly six hours a day for two days and then three hours the last day).

We spent our first day getting from our San Jose home to Bakersfield, Armpit of California. (Apologies to those who love Bakersfield, demented though they be.) I rode in the trailer with the cats for the first hour, and was shocked at how rough and bouncy it was. The cats were NOT thrilled.  We overnighted in A Country RV Park, a well-maintained spot near the freeway but quiet.   Ginny's good nature resurfaced quickly after we bivouacked, but Peanut hid in various nooks and crannies and would not come out even to eat. Mike set up the outdoor cat cage as an exercise, but as I predicted, they weren't having any of it -- they were too freaked out.