Terrible Driving Day

Santa Rosa, California: After such a good weekend celebrating Virginia and Mother’s Day, we had one of those days that makes you want to sell the rig and buy a condo in Florida.

There were no problems leaving the RV park this morning. Attaching the toad went off without a hitch (pun intended). We headed north on Highway 99 and exited to get fuel ($4.25 per gallon) in Ripon. This is where we had our first haphazard moment o-the-day. There was some sort of traffic jam at the Love’s truck stop. We waited for a while…hanging out on the road, waiting to enter the Love’s parking lot. Finally, realizing we (and the truckers behind us) were causing quite a traffic jam, we squirmed around the back-up and headed to the next-door truck stop, Flying J. However (dot dot dot) we could not figure out how to get into the Flying J!

Rat farts.

We had to traverse the streets of Ripon, before winding ourselves back to the truck stop area. It was like this was the first time we had ever needed fuel and were complete newbies.

When we returned to Love’s, it was like a ghost town. No line at all. We easily found a slot in the fueling lanes. My worst job as a co-pilot is to enter the truck stop to arrange payment for over 100 gallons of diesel, while having to smell hundreds of hot dogs as they twirl around on heated rollers. A mortgage payment later, we once again entered Highway 99 and continued north.

Then started the drive north-west towards wine country, north of San Francisco. I-5, 12, I-80, back to 12… and the roads are so bad. Huge potholes. While on a two-lane section of Highway 12, we were about 6th in line behind an old sedan towing an ancient travel trailer. The speed limit was 55. The trailer-tow was driving 30 mph. With countless opportunities for a turn-out, the driver seemed oblivious. At one point – we followed the trailer for 15 miles – Dave could no longer see the end of the caravan behind us. Is this a good time to note the trailer had the right turn signal blinking the entire time?

Probably since Cleveland.

Finally, the car (it was driven by an elderly woman) moved into a left turn lane – with her right signal still flashing – and we were all freed.

Except we weren’t. The roads grew simply awful. (I know we have driven this bumpy road before and I have complained before, but certainly The Governor reads My Blog and would have made repairs?) I was about to have teeth dislodged, and there were rattlings in our bus we had never heard before – the worst bouncing/vibrations/shaking we had EVER encountered – when it suddenly seemed we had a flat tire. Our bus lurched right and left and right and left and right and left! Dave immediately pulled-off the road into a (conveniently-placed) wide spot on the highway. We hopped out to see what disaster awaited our afternoon. Nothing. All eight tires fine. Tow bar fine. Car fine. No broken axle.

My Driver left me on the side of the road, as he pulled the bus+car forward several feet, so I could watch/listen for impending doom. Nothing. After pulling back onto the road, we decided the car had became so discombobulated, it became airborne and began to fishtail? But how could that little car cause a 54,000 pound/45′ motorhome to lurch so dramatically? It is the best option, as everything was normal for the rest of the afternoon.

Readers: has this ever happened to you? Please comment below.

We found our campground in Santa Rosa and then had to grease-up the sides of our RV as it took three attempts to wedge the Magna Peregrinus into our slim (not angled) assigned campsite.

Sonoma County Fair RV Park

This campground was designed before 45-feet-long motorhomes were designed. See the brown/maroon-ish RV a few sites beyond? Campers from the Motorcoach Country Club – Melanie & Bruce. They also had a three-attempt approach for their landing.

We do have a 50 amp site, but their wifi is non-existent, and my AT&T cellular signal is weak, so I am using my Skyroam for the first time in months. It is working perfectly!

Finally, things were looking up, and we are fine.

Then I put out a few appetizers using the adorable tray Lucy made for me for Mother’s Day. A martini was shaken. A track meet (world relay championships from Yokohama, Japan) played on our DVR. Our terrible drive was behind us. Whew. What a day.

While at the Pac-12 basketball tournament in Las Vegas this past March, I bought a small jar of tomato and olive pasta sauce at Eataly. Tonight was the perfect night to serve it over penne – with a Caesar salad.

Sugo Alle Olive
Sugu Alle Olive, made by Frantoi Cutrera

We will sleep like babies tonight, and begin our vacation exploring the area around Santa Rosa tomorrow.

Until my next update, I remain, your “shaken rattled, not stirred” correspondent.

RV PARK: Sonoma County Fair RV Park. It is a gravel parking lot with not even one single pull-through site. Full-service 50 amp. We are paying $40.50 per night, after Good Sam discount.

7 thoughts

  1. Oh the California roads! We have the highest gas prices in the continental US AND we pay some of the highest DMV fees. Registration on our truck (a 2014 Dodge Ram) was outrageous! More than what it cost you to fill your tank! Our governor (and his predecessors) have obviously never driven on these roads! Safe travels!!

  2. We had a day like that once, while driving on the 5 in southern Oregon. Seems the freeway south was closed and the had a detour that was 70 miles of awful road until we got to Weed and rejoined the 5. I had sold the RV in my head many times.

  3. Sounds like the “Jeep Jitters”. Bumpy roads (sometimes during a slight turn) will make the front wheels of your Jeep Cherokee uncontrollably shake back and forth). Jeep dealer has a fix, we did it several years ago. We also bought a Roadmaster brand U bolt clamp that prevents the removable tow bar from rattling around inside the motor home hitch receiver. No problems since. Captain Jim

  4. So glad you ducked (?) disaster! You might want to check out Armida Winery on Westside Road. One of our favorites and a great picnic spot! Safe travels!

  5. Crystal’s happiest day RVing was the day we started using Pilot/Flying J instead of Loves. Eight cents per gallon discount with our FMCA membership AND they have an iPhone app that allows you to turn on the pump and pay thru the app without having to traipse inside the truck stop!

  6. Sorry for you ‘rough’ travel day. Been there…I feel your pain. You should check into the Flying J/Pilot RV Fuel Card. It works with your Good Sam Membership. You can pay at the pump, so no more going inside to pay, and back again to get your change/receipt. Plus, you can activate the pump and pay from their Phone app, and there is always an .08 discount off the Cash price. We are traveling across the US this summer and it’s been wonderful to have.

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