Bakersfield, California: In the middle of the night, I woke Dave to tell him a brilliant idea. (Apparently, I do my best thinking while asleep.) While our ice-cooled bay system is working marvelously to keep the wedding wine at cool (not cold) temperatures, there is the potential for water (melting ice) seeping into the cardboard wine boxes. So far, we have been lucky, but we really want the wine to arrive in pristine condition. Why go to all the trouble to get special wine, if the labels have been soaked off, right?

In yet another box in the RV basement, I had a stack of commercial-sized baking sheets (more on this in a future column). Why not lay the aluminum cookie sheets directly on top of the wine cases, then lay the trash bag encased ice sheets on top. The metal would conduct the cold well, and if there was a drip or two, the mess would be contained within the baking sheet. My dream-induced revelation was genius! Now you know where Leo gets it.

Look how smart he is:

Our ice sheet/blanket system had worked very well when the daytime temperatures hovered in the high 70’s and fell to the low 50’s overnight. But today we were heading into very high temperatures and tomorrow the desert will be over 100 degrees. Time for the Big Guns – seven pound bags of ice from the RV park store! Six of them. Each bag of ice was wrapped in a trash bag and placed on a cookie sheet, then placed on top of the wine. The entire thing is draped with a fleece blanket – creating a huge ice chest in our RV basement. It worked. When we arrived to Bakersfield this afternoon, the temperature probe buried down inside a case of pinot noir read 62°. Our contractor phoned today and said he had turned the casita air conditioner to the lowest setting and it was now 62° inside our wine cellar casita in Indio. Yes!

We both jogged around the RV park this morning, giving me a chance to see the Flag City RV Resort in daylight. While most of the park is lovely, there are several live-ins who cannot be bothered to tidy-up their campsites. Yuck. Still, we recommend this park – it was fine and very convenient. It was about $10 too expensive, but I suspect we were paying the extra $10 for location.

We continued south on I-5, with our dash air conditioning keeping us icy cold.

Over the years, we have developed a system for fueling the Magna Peregrinus. I go inside the truck stop and give the clerk a credit or debit card and ask her to pre-approve the amount we think the tank will require. (This is usually a $400-$500 chunk-o-change these days.) My Driver remains at the bus, washing the windscreen and filling the tank.

I had the oddest exchange at the truck stop payment counter this afternoon. After the clerk swiped my card, she strangely asked me if I “worked for the airline”. What airline? Huh? What? The lady assumed I worked for Alaska Airlines because I used an Alaska Airlines VISA card! Seriously? But, wait, it gets better! The other clerk stated that I must be very rich because the credit card was black and only very rich people are issued black cards. Who says something like that to a total stranger? Anyway… anyone accepted for an Alaska Airlines VISA card is given a black card. I (obviously an extremely wealthy Alaska Airlines executive) said I used to be rich, until I stopped by their truck stop and dropped $486.

Why are truck stops so groaty?

We are happily camped again at the Bakersfield RV Resort. One of our favorite over-night spots, the resort has excellent facilities, with a great fitness center and pool. But our favorite thing about this park is their little restaurant/bar, Crest. Crest is always busy with fellow campers and locals who just like the friendly atmosphere, food and good prices. The bar had live music this evening and the Oregon v Washington State (the game was held in Seattle) football game was featured on the big-screen television. We enjoyed delicious salads while watching the first half, but suddenly the Ducks looked terrible and the unranked Cougars started scoring.

At half-time, we returned to our RV to watch the Ducks finally remember they are the #2 team in the country, and build-up a big lead to beat the Cougars 51-26. Another ugly win. I’m going to pretend the second quarter never happened.

But a win is a win.

Tomorrow we will travel to the Palm Springs area and see our completed casita. So excited!

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

RV PARK: Bakersfield RV Resort. We paid $35 for an extra-long fully-serviced pull-through site. 50 amp, that gave us no trouble with two air conditioners and the washer/dryer (those running clothes!) operating. Free wifi, cable, fitness center, swimming pool, spa, restaurant/bar. Just a few blocks off Highway 99. Quiet.

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