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Izzat You Drivin' Big Bessie Here?
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
By Stephanie White, Land Yacht Enthusiast

I started out the New Year driving south through California from Santa Rosa to Desert Hot Springs. A distance which, in retrospect, is adout 150 miles too far for one day of travel. Nonetheless, we had a great day filled with expansive scenery and relatively mild traffic. Weather: Sunny and in the mid 70's most of the day.

Auggie is quite the trooper in his new co-pilot safty harness. I have had him in it, on and off, for several days prior to actually driving so he is used to it by now. Not to say that he didn't flail all over the floor, turning somersalts and biting at it for hours on end prior to today.

I took the time to double check our navigation from Jack before we hit the road and corrected him from Highway 99 to Highway 5 before we left; I am so on to his lazy ways now. 

So anyway, we got to "LA" - which is my generic term for anywhere in the enormous expanse of continuous population surrounding Los Angeles for hundreds of miles every direction. So far the trip was uneventful - save for the odd dipstick in a Geo, Kia or Smart Car that felt it necessary to pull in front of me and then hit their brakes for a spell. I have to say I hate that game, don't know if those drivers learn that in school, church, or from their dealer when they buy those darn cars.

Jack got us into LA, via Hollywood which was kind of cool even though we were just on the freeway, and ultimately onto Highway 10 to now make our way east. He did a good job on that route but he is still on the performance plan!

Having wished by now that I had stopped and filled up on fuel in Castaic, just north of dropping into the "city", I was looking for signs for gas stations that had diesel. Haha, they don't have those on the LA freeways, joke's on me I guess.

In the general vicinity of Covina I see a big Chevron sign off the freeway and pull off only to discover it's an itty-bitty gas station with a great big sign and, to top it off, they don't have diesel, ugh. I get back on the freeway, figure the next one is the charm, and check the fuel gauge, happy to see that it is not yet at the just-vapors-in-the tank line. A few miles further I see another big sign, this time for an Arco, whip off the freeway, and - again, no diesel. 

Having quickly tired of the on and off the freeway plan, I figure that a great big street going parallel to the freeway will be my best bet so that I can keep heading east while still looking for a gas station. I drop onto Holt Avenue and within a mile or so find a station with the big sign in front showing the price on diesel. Yahoo, I am a happy camper now. But, I get up to the turn into the station and uh-oh, the clearance is too low for me to go through.  I'm a little worried by now, but we press on along Holt. A few miles later, yet another station with diesel but again with too low of clearance.

Now we are on the just-vapors-in-the tank line and Jack, Auggie and I are all getting worried. Auggie, so much so, that he decided this would be a really good time to start whining, chomping at his harness and basically twist himself around the seatbelt until the only way he could sit was upside down. Well, for now, that's just how he is going to stay. A few more miles down Holt and finally we arrive at a station that has diesel and clearance, and, bonus - propane as well. Yee-friggin-ha, thank you Jesus!

The RV is gulping in diesel and I'm standing at the side of the rig by the pump pretty annoyed at myself and highly relieved at the same time. Oh, by the way Auggie has been carefully freed from his seating predicament, for those of you wondering. So, I'm having a not so nice conversation in my head with myself and just then from around the back of the rig appears this adorable little old lady who resembles a tiny African-American Granny from the Beverly Hillbilly's. In a slow, deep drawl she says "Izzat you drivin' Big Bessie here"? Her eyes were as big as saucers when I told her yes.

I also told her I had a co-pilot and opened the door and showed her Auggie. We had a good laugh and I shared my plans with her to head to Orlando and stay at the Wilderness Lodge RV Park. Turns out she used to make reservations for Disney so she gave me a few pointers for while I'm there. She headed off back toward the back of the rig and after she got behind leaned her head back around and with a big, nearly toothless grin said to me "Isn't it great now that we're old we don't have to worry about being grown up"? Ha, that made my day, she was priceless and I was over being mad at myself.

Auggie got a quick pit stop and off we went. All the fuss over finding fuel put us slightly behind schedule to make our destination before dark. We arrived at Catalina Spa & RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs about an hour after dusk, checked in, and pulled into a spot that looked appealing.

OK, I'll admit it, I am scared of the dark. Particularly when I'm in the desert where s-n-a-k-e-s live, and there are coyotes howling in the distance, and my flashlight has about the same candlepower as a lit match. After we find our spot and get all backed in; I get the power cord plugged in, slides out, jacks down and call it good on further settling into the site until after daylight tomorrow. Oh, but not until after we go for a stroll in the dark for Auggie's last pit stop.

Being adequately tucked in for the night I poured a short drink, made a note to buy a new flashlight with enough candle power to distract planes enroute to LAX and also bop a coyote on the head if need be, and am about to drop into bed - tomorrow is a school day.