Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Mojave, CA

Odometer 55295
Trip Meter  285 miles

Mojave, CA

As unlikely as it seems, we have Bakersfield as our destination.  I say unlikely, because Bakersfield is synonymous with mechanical breakdowns for us.  It all started back in 2000 when we were driving a 1993 Safari Trek which shredded it's alternator belt on Christmas Eve, and continued into 2014 when we discovered a major crack in our 30 gallon propane tank.
We are set to tempt fate once more.  Our plan is to attend the Horseless Carriage Clubs Annual Swap Meet and hunt for Model T parts, and we're hoping to break the curse!

Our Route for Today

Our route is the longest so far of this spring season and we are getting a late start because I worked on the car wiring after dark last night, and wanted one more dip in the hot spas before packing up for our trek.  We had just about everything out- our patio rug, our exterior window coverings, our patio chairs and tables, full utility hookups, awnings deployed- you get the idea, it took a while to get these rolled up and packed away again.  We were ready to hook up the car and depart at 10 AM, and then we found out that the car signals were not going to work.  We did what we could, but in the end we were stumped and had to depart without signals at the car- only on the bus.

The trip up the shores of the Salton Sea was very pleasant and we wondered, as we have every time we have visited here, what it must have been like "back in the day"  when the lake was clean and the resorts were new.  Today we look out at the lake and there are no boats, no swimmers, not even a beachcomber.  The resorts are closed and boarded up.  Sad.

Young fruit trees beside Highway 111

As we reach the north end of the lake the area becomes very agricultural.  We saw grapes, corn, alfalfa, oranges, strawberries, and I'm sure we missed a lot that flew by the windows.  It is a stark contrast with the dry desert around the RV Resort.  Water makes everything possible

Date Palms near Indio, CA

We also saw a lot of date palms in plantations on both sides of the road.  Signs advertising mouth watering date shakes and other tasty snacks.

Quite soon the traffic started to build and we knew we had reached the resort communities of Indio, La Quinta, and Palm Springs.  Highway 111 skirts around the towns, which is fine because we've ventured in there in past trips.  I laugh when I remember driving through downtown Palm Springs on one of our first sorties down this way.  The downtown area is very tight and the traffic was dense- there was no place to park a motorhome- we high-tailed it out of there, glad to escape without a major traffic tie-up.

At the north end of the valley, we join up with Interstate 10 heading west.  The road surface is horrible and shakes our fillings.  We bump along like this for nearly 70 miles, before we can jump off onto I-215/ 15 heading north from San Bernadino to Victorville.  I was hoping that the traffic would start to thin out a little when we headed north off I-10 but no such luck.  This is a MAJOR truck route and we are dicing it up with the trucks and heading up Cajon Pass.  There are four lanes heading each direction and we need them all because each truck is going a different speed up the hill and they all want to pass each other so they don't loose their momentum at the bottom.  Three lanes of trucks passing each other and one lane for cars speeding around us all.  Three thousand feet of elevation gain at about 6% for 10 miles.
I got trapped several times in a slow truck sandwich and using engine power to escape was taking its toll on our cooling system.  We finally had to shut off the air conditioner and drop into 5th gear to keep the temperature from spiking.  I thought the bus performed admirably for this situation on an 85 degree day.
Mental note: let's take Cal 62 and 247 from Palm Springs to Victorville next time.

We stopped at a Chevron truck stop in Adelanto and got a sub sandwich to go and stopped once more for coffee at Starbucks before leaving Victorville/ Hesperia and heading north on 395 to Boron.  Finally the traffic has thinned out, still a good number of trucks, but we can establish a pace which gives us comfortable space to where I can start to look around again.

What I don't understand is why the highway (395) is all striped for no passing- Double Yellow Lines !  Two lane road with great visibility and NO passing.  Hilarious because the speed limit for cars is 65, the speed limit for trucks, (or RVs towing) is 55.  Once a poor car driver catches up to a truck or towing vehicle they are stuck at 55 because they can't pass!  NUTS!  When this happened to me, I found some way to pull over and let the poor car get by- sadly not everyone was a courteous.

At Kramer Junction, we turned off 395 onto California 58, the Barstow- Bakersfield Highway.  Our plan is to travel the 41 miles to Mojave and check in for the night at the Sierra Trails RV Park.  We have stayed there in the past and liked it well enough.  This gives us an easy 60 miles (one hour more-or-less) to Bakersfield tomorrow.
Sierra Trails RV Park  Mojave, CA

All tucked in for the night we had a cold drink and a snack on the patio, before deciding to take a long walk to stretch out the kinks of sitting for so long- I know- tough life!
Hey!  they have cable TV here- something we haven't had for a while.  A little stir-fry and a movie- we're all set.

Your Traveling Friends,

Jeff and Joan

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