Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Palms Against the Mountains and TRUE Confessions of a Bad Co-Pilot

It’s a beautiful night – almost a full moon, and we’re settled in at Indio, Palm Springs at the Indian Wells Carefree RV Resort for the next 12 days.

The sun set at approximately 5:00 p.m., after a beautiful, hot day (with the promise of hotter days to come). Terry and I just took a leisurely bike ride around the resort, checking out the ‘cocktail hour’ crowd (minimal). Now he’s busy preparing us a lovely supper, so I’m finally able to get back to the blog.

To bring you up to speed on what has transpired since my last post …..

We left Santa Rosa at approximately 10:15 a.m. on the morning of the 10th. We debated on possible places for our next stop, but decided that weather should be the deciding factor. Palm Springs won out, so we headed down the highway, with the thought of making the best time possible. This meant getting onto the I-5.

But first we had to get there …. We crossed the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and immediately crossed into highly populous areas, where one city merges into another. As Terry would say, the ‘big ass freeways’.

Stress levels rise in direct proportion to the number of lanes of freeway, we soon realized. Vodka with our orange juice should have been the breakfast of choice that day!

As we travelled down the I-580 towards the I-5, we began to move into the more desolate areas of the state. Hundreds upon hundreds of wind turbines lined the valley surrounding us on both sides of the highway.

We hit the I-5 and began to travel through areas of immense orchards. I couldn’t immediately identify the trees, but found out that they were almonds (bet you didn’t know that California produces 80% of the world’s almonds). This appeared to be a huge cash crop – miles and miles and miles and miles of orchards.

We also came across the occasional vineyard, but they did not appear to be the crop of choice in that area (were they table grapes or for wine – not sure). We finally saw our first orange grove in Huron, California, and even cotton growing in a field by Buttonwillow, California.

We climbed the Tejon Pass, and then drove into greater Los Angeles, and the endless sea of traffic that comes with it. Much stress.

It was dark, we were tired of the drive, and just wanted to park for the night and carry on early the next day. So, we steered off the freeway and pulled into the parking lot of the Duarte Walmart! After confirming with the manager that it was okay, we called it a night, and were up bright and early the next morning, departing by 6:30 a.m.

It was only a couple of hours drive into Palm Springs. Approximately 30 miles from Indio on Highway 10, we again came across acres and acres of wind turbines of varying size spread across the hillsides.

As we drove into the greater Palm Springs area, Terry wanted to stop at a truck wash and clean the rig up before we hit our RV Park. We pulled into the ‘Two Sister’ truck wash, and were surrounded by half a dozen Mexicans who efficiently scrubbed the RV and trailer in no time. Sweet!

We checked into the Indian Wells Carefree RV Park. It is an older park (both the park itself, and a good portion of its occupants). Terry’s pants crept up to mid-chest level the minute we drove in!

The amenities are fine – 3 swimming pools and hot tubs, and a barrage of scheduled activities that we can participate in.

Myself, I plan on signing up for the day hike scheduled for next Tuesday, and we both are thinking of attending the ‘Coffee & Donut’ event on Saturday’. I think I’ll give the quilting and ‘stitch and share’ a miss.

All kidding aside, it’s beautiful weather here – going up to the mid-90’s by Saturday. We went for a run this morning, and by 8:00 a.m. it was almost too hot. It is pleasant beyond words just to sit outside in shorts and a sleeveless shirt, drink in one hand and book in the other.

We are going to see whoever is still alive from the Fleetwood Mac band on Saturday night at a nearby casino. I also booked tickets online for the Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. We’ll be in the audience on Wednesday, November 19th, so tune in and look for us! We’ll have to travel to L.A. for that, but will make a day of it.

Now on to the ‘True Confessions’ portion of this blog.

When we started out on this epic journey, my biggest fear was whether my cats would adjust to the ‘driving’ portion of this adventure. Turns out, it’s not the cats who freak out when the motorhome is moving down the highway – it is me.

Any corner, any sharp turn – I panic. I hear the dishes rattle in the cupboards or any strange noise – I panic. If I see vehicles braking 5 miles ahead down the road – I panic. If Terry pulls off the road and brakes – I panic. If Terry pulls into any parking lot, gas station, RV Park, etc. – I panic. Having to back up – I panic. If we are in heavy traffic or on big freeways – I panic.

And I don’t panic well – ask Terry. I gasp, yell at Terry, outwardly groan, yell at Terry, clutch my chest, yell at Terry, dig my fingernails into my arm rest, yell at Terry, hide my eyes, yell at Terry. It’s not pretty.

And you can imagine how well Terry takes this kind of response to his driving. If we both don’t have heart attacks before the trip is over, we’ll be lucky.

AND to add insult to injury – I apparently don’t know how to read a map. Driving through the greater Los Angeles area was a real treat when this deficiency reared its ugly head.

I’m great when we’re parked – happy as a lark. But, unfortunately, the driving is still a large portion of this experience. I am going to have to figure out how to calm myself down when in motion, but the mere idea of being inside of a 37,000 lb. can hurtling down the road makes me panic.

Terry is investigating methods of dealing with this. So far he has discussed locking me in the bedroom, blindfolding and gagging me, using a blowdart tipped with a knock-out drug at moments of panicking, or using liberal amounts of good old fashioned alcohol.

His true feelings were revealed the other day when we talked about purchasing bear spray for personal protection, should we need it. He then mentioned the possibility of buying a taser. I told him that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea, because, knowing him, he’d want to try it out.

He laughed, saying that I probably thought he’d try it out on the cats. I told him, no – that I meant he probably would want to use it on ME when I was having one of my panic moments. He laughed, then got real quiet for a minute, and said ‘but you’d be mad, wouldn’t you’. Hmmmmm…..

So, if anyone has any ideas, I’d very much appreciate them. As I said, I’m a ‘peach’ when we stop, but your basic nightmare when we're driving.


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