Our Winter Trip to Arizona (Part 2)
by Ed Boothman
Back on the 101 south, our GPS continued to have its limitations. The 101 takes you through many picturesque communities; however, the street detail on the GPS was very limited and going through some of the towns presented a few challenges.
At one point I missed a turn which took me to a part of the town that was not designed for large traffic. My GPS dutifully pointed out my error and instructed me to make the next left turn. I now find myself on a narrow residential street with cars parked on both sides. The GPS then calmly instructed me to make the next right turn which took me down another residential street. Getting out of that pickle was not pretty but we finally made it back to the entrance to the highway. It was a very steep approach that I was sure was not going to be good for the trailer. As I expected there was a loud scraping noise as we pulled back onto the highway. Almost immediately, our travailing companions (who were driving behind us) got on the radio and told us there was a problem with the trailer.
I pulled off at the first opportunity to find that the ball had been ripped off the hitch and the trailer was dragging by the safety chains. It had also ripped all of the trailer wiring out at the hitch.
Oh Well…. at least it had quit raining.
I dug out my tools and got to work. Within a few hours, I had a new ball on the hitch and the wiring was fixed.
By now I had my fill of the 101 and I was ready to move over to the I-5. I was soon overruled and we were on our way to see the California Redwoods. Wow they were truly impressive.
The rain stopped long enough for us to get some great pictures. The girls wanted to see every hollowed out tree on the brochure so I found myself negotiating through more narrow windy roads in the pouring rain.
Now I am watching for a station that sells diesel. As we come around a corner, there is a small station with a diesel sign. At this point my mirrors were almost useless as they were covered with water droplets and the side window was the same. As I swing in to get access to the pump there is a crunching sound. Yes now one of my basement doors has a dint in it. One more for the ongoing gong show.
We eventually get to every spot on the brochure and are soon heading further south. We stayed a few nights at a California coastal RV park. As we pull in to book our spots, the park manager had just come back from pulling his crab traps. Wow several traps loaded with live crab. I jokingly said if he had too many we could find a home for them. To our surprise there is a knock on the camper door around supper time and he is standing there with a large bowl full of freshly cleaned and cooked crab. Wow what a surprise. We thanked him and dug into our fresh crab meal.
Oh yes… the ongoing gong show. The next day I am walking around the motorhome and discover the extension sewer hose that I left laying under the motorhome is now nicely flattened under one of my levelling jacks. I guess I should have put it away when I set up.
Soon we were off to Santa Rosa, California.
Getting around in some of these larger communities can be intimidating if you are driving a large unit and Santa Rosa was no exception. The instructions we were following to get to our RV park took us into the town fair grounds. We soon found ourselves in a place we should not be. Again it was necessary to unhook our cars so we could get turned around. John discovered it is not a good idea to unhook your car if you are on a slight slope. Gail found herself chasing her new car across the parking lot. Oh well I guess that is what insurance is for and the damage was only minor.
We soon managed to find the RV park and got settled in for the night. The next morning the girls did some touring while I did some more repairs on the trailer and John caught up on his sleep.
It turns out the creator of the peanuts cartoon came from Santa Rosa and the girls enjoyed the museum. Our next stop was going to be San Francisco and I was not looking forward to dealing with the traffic. In a conversation with the RV park manager, she suggested we take the ferry across the bay. What a great idea! We were about 3/4 of an hour away from the terminal. The next morning we took one of the cars to the terminal and had an exciting ride across the bay to downtown San Francisco. The next several days we did the bus tour, Fisherman's Wharf, the seals, the submarine, the liberty ship, Alcatraz Island and much more. We had a great time.
Soon it was time to move on. Gail and I were heading over to I-5 and San Diego while our friends were continuing on down the 101 to catch a few other places they wanted to see. We leave together and find ourselves on a rush hour 6-lane freeway.Since we are taking separate exits, Gail and John find a large highway transport dangerously close to them. The driver is busy talking on his cell phone as the mirror on their motorhome is being ripped off. The driver suddenly sees what is going on but it is too late for the mirror. Of course there is no place to stop so Gail was on mirror duty until they could replace it.
It was sure great to be out of the rain on a 4-lane highway with no hills or curves. It was the first time on the trip where I could just sit back and enjoy the drive.
After one overnight at a truck stop, our next stop was just past Los Angeles. Finding a place to park the motorhome for the night was not easy. Every RV park was full and we ended up at one that wanted $100 a night. It was very old with small parking stalls but we had no choice.
The next morning we continued our trip to San Diego, enjoying the straight highway and some really unique scenery. The San Diego RV park we ended up in gave us less then roomy stalls but they were adequate. Gail and I spent the next few days hitting some of the tourist spots and soon John and Gail hooked up with us again.
One of my neighbors told me of a bug problem he was having with one of the trees near my motorhome. He said he had sprayed them and things should be OK. The next day I was checking my sewer hook ups and noticed my fresh water hose was alive with bugs. I followed it up to the motorhome and found them all over the outside plumbing on the motorhome. I made a panic trip to the local garden shop for some bug spray. The spray did the job but for the next several months we would find a few ants in the motorhome from time to time.
Soon we were off to Yuma, Arizona. There were lots of things to do and places to go. It was only a half hour or so to Mexico and we managed to make several trips there during our stay in Yuma. Gail and I got new glasses and I picked up two genuine Rolex watches for only $15.00 each. To my surprise they are still running after several months. Gail and John had several snowbird friends in Yuma they wanted to visit so they stayed in Yuma a few days longer while we headed for Mesa.
The Mesa Rv Park was everything we remembered from the last year and we had a great time. It was the first time we had spent Christmas in a summer climate. It was neat to see all the RVs and Park models decorated in Chrestmas lights. I could go on and on about our time there but this story is about RV travel.
By mid April it was time to come back to Canada. About 3 hours into our trip we are sailing down the highway listening to 50s and 60s tunes when there was a loud bang and I saw in my mirror a large slab of rubber tumbling down the highway beside me. The left outside dual had blown. It damaged my jack as well as part of the wheel well. Of course we were in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately we were still in a good cell-coverage area and called our friends at AMA. Within a few hours our motorhome was on a flatbed truck heading back to Goodyear, Arizona.
The RV shop they took us to told me my great looking tires were 5 years old and would remain a risk for us. They told me we were lucky as they get many like this. They said in most cases there are thousands of dollars in damage caused by the shredded rubber coming off the tire. They did the needed repairs to the coach and directed us to a tire shop that had the tires. We decided we did not want to have any further tire problems and opted for new tires all the way around.
Within a few days we were back home reminiscing about our adventure.
That was the second time old tires had caused serious problems for me and I have concluded I will never go on another trip with old RV tires.
The new tires helped to sell the motorhome and it was time to shop for a new one.
But that is another story.
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