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Elvis Has Left the Building

Bakersfield, California:  The past four days have been a whirlwind of activity. Though we went to Los Angeles for a just quick weekend, we ended up not driving back to Indio until Monday afternoon - giving us one day less to prep for our departure today.

So much to organize.

Bus washed! Our usual wash crew have left the Coachella Valley for the season. They travel to other RV tourist destinations in the summer. This is the first time we have had the "yellow shirts" (as opposed to the "blue shirts") team wash our motorhome. They did a fantastic job.

Notice both satellite dishes are deployed on the roof? We have suspended our cable wifi for the season and have switched back our (much slower) satellite internet for the summer.

Our gardener has removed our dead/shriveled-up yellow pansies. They will be replaced when we return next year.

The golf cart has been sent off to a summer spa. She will be pampered, driven, charged-up, detailed and cared-for in air conditioned bliss. Also... since several golf carts disappeared from our resort this season, her every-golf-course-in-America ignition key will be re-keyed with a single user version.

While others were washing our bus and clearing the flower beds, DT packed up the outdoor kitchen and gathered all the outdoor furniture into the covered pavilion. I organized, cleaned, sorted and made inventory of every item. It is also my domain to organize the motorhome for several weeks on the road. We made a few trips to Goodwill.

We made a few trips to Tacos Gonzalez.

Our outdoor kitchen, sofa cushions, and bikes were packed and stored in the air conditioned casita. Buckets of water were placed throughout the pavilion to provide some moisture. Maricella visits about every ten days to replenish the water, flush the toilet, run the dishwasher, run water down all the drains, etc. Check on things. I snipped herbs from our little garden for cooking next week, plus made a little bouquet from hedge flowers, bolted parsley, bolted mint, rosemary, basil and a few branches from the olive tree. Hopefully this little green arrangement will hold for a few days as we drive north from our winter paradise - and remind us of the Motorcoach Country Club.

 We did not leave early this morning. The best-laid plans often go astray. Our plan was upset due to a tire issue on the Jeep.

Last night, as we drove to dinner, the Jeep beeped with a low-tire warning. Hmmm. It was a bit dark and DT could not see damage/nail to the tire. When we arrived home after dinner, he found a flashlight and the air compressor. There was a screw in the tire. A very large screw. Dave put air in the tire.

It held overnight, but I drove to the tire shop first thing this morning. Less than 1/4-mile from our campsite, the low-tire warning beeped again. Dang. At the tire shop, it was determined the screw was too close to the rim to be repaired and we would need a new tire. Dang. $25 repair v $250 tire replacement/balancing. The shop had the tire, so it was a no-brainer. In the end, I was away less than one hour.

$250 later...

Casita locked up. Screens down. Satellite dishes down. Coach disconnected from life-support systems. Slide rooms retracted. One last gaze down the beautiful canal.

There is only one thing not perfect about our perfect campsite: it is one of the few in the resort without an angled pad. It is very difficult to get in/out of our non-angled site. Today, My Driver exited our campsite with near perfection. Not sure he (or anyone!) will ever mimic today's perfect path - but for now, he was golden.

After departing our campsite, DT had to maneuver his way through a maze of construction trucks - as soon as members leave, casita construction begins on over-drive throughout the resort.

We said goodbye to Our Beautiful Bubble for another summer and pointed the bus towards Bakersfield.

I would like to report that our drive was uneventful, but it was not a fun day of driving. (Well, I was fine... working on the Friday New York Times crossword puzzle and playing Words With Friends on my phone.) Dave had such a terrible time fighting strong winds nearly all day!

Instead of our usual route, we decided to go cross-country with a route up Route 62 to 247 and then east on Highway 58. The gorgeous desert colors nearly made-up for the awful wind - the Brittlebush were glorious amid the Joshua trees.

We stopped for fuel in Tehachapi. DT instantly regretted his shorts-and-golf-shirt apparel decision this morning. It was 53° and the wind was blowing 30mph. Not a fun pit stop. Plus, with the wind, we were getting only about 7 miles per gallon. Ouch.

We sailed down the mountain into the San Joaquin Valley and are camped for the night at the Orange Grove RV Park. We haven't stayed here for years, but Mary and Captain Jim camped here two nights ago and reminded us of this convenient little stop-over.

The Orange Grove RV Park is situated in an old orange grove (imagine that!) and they allow campers to harvest as much fruit as they need from the trees on-site. How fun.

As is our tradition, I prepared a lasagna for our first night on the road - again, my Turkey Lasagna. (NOTE: I made a full recipe of the sauce, but only used half of the sauce by making the lasagna "for two" in a loaf pan. The remaining sauce was frozen for another use... or another lasagna.)

Turkey Lasagna (for two... but we only finished half tonight - so a great lunch tomorrow).

Served with a Caesar Salad... with the addition of the last few
tomatoes harvested from my garden in Indio this morning.

On a personal note: We are happy to welcome another beautiful child into our Family of Friends. Kathy and Woody's eldest delivered a healthy daughter yesterday in England - Isla Rae (pronounced Eye-lah, and Rae for Woody's father, Ray). Isla joins her parents, Kelsey and Brian, and her 4-year-old sister, Ailise. Congratulations! There is nothing like a baby girl.

Until my next update, I remain, your traveling correspondent.

RV Park: Orange Grove RV Park. Large pull-through and back-in full-service sites. 50 amp. Laundry, free wifi, fitness center, large rally function room, store, ice, propane. Close to Highway 58, but really quiet. All the free oranges you want (in season). We paid $43 with a Good Sam discount.