Back to the Beginning…

December 1, 2011

Yesterday I drove the motorhome about 175 miles from Bakersfield to Riverside, California. I titled the Blog entry Back To The Beginning because Riverside is where our motorhome was manufactured in February, 2006. So after 36,383 miles the motorhome has revisited the city of its creation,

Riverside is not a normal port of call for me. It’s far too big city, noisy and lots of traffic for me. I’m not here to visit the Fleetwood factory which has since closed from when our motorhome was made. My normal route through this area on the way to Palm Desert is to skirt Riverside to the northeast by about 10 miles. I’m in Riverside because the dinette cushions in our motorhome were also manufactured here at Neff’s Upholstery. I’m scheduled to visit there this morning to get the foam replaced in the cushions on my side of the dinette. Mary says the cushions on her side are fine and do not need to be replaced. RV manufacturers to do use top grade foam and so after almost six years it’s time to replace mine.

The easiest route from Bakersfield to this area is over the Tehachapi Mountains. In the early morning fog I took this somewhat scenic view out of the passenger’s side windshield… (You can click on the photos to see an enlarged view.)

As you approach the summit one can see hundreds of wind generators atop of the ridges…

That’s because this area is famous for some rather substantial winds. Last March 8th Mary and I encountered the strongest winds I have ever encountered in all of my RVing years. Just north of the town of Mojave, within a 1/2 mile distance of each other, we saw three 18-wheelers on their sides! Here’s the link to Mary’s Blog of that event…

http://otrwjam.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/dangerous-wind-storm-mojave-to-tehachapi/

Here’s the link to the Blog that I wrote on that day…

http://otrwjam.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/a-most-unusual-rving-day/

Yesterday morning shortly after cresting the summit I turned on to California Highway 14 South and immediately felt the steady 30-40 mile an hour broadside winds hitting the passenger side of the motorhome. I hadn’t felt them previously because they were hitting me from behind in the form of tail winds.

Remembering what happened to our awning last time, when I reached Mojave a few miles later, I stopped to tie down my awning struts so that I would not have a repeat experience of March 8th. Here’s a photo of the tie-down that I applied to both awning struts…

Another thing that happens after cresting the summit is you notice an increase in the temperature. It was time to get in to my shorts and tee-shirt again!

Along the way to Riverside I experienced more wind-buffeting…so much so that I had to keep my speeds down to 45 miles per hour. I finally arrived at Riverside about 1:00 PM where I am parked at the Eagles Club #997…

Yesterday’s afternoon temperature was 75 degrees! It’s nice to feel warm again!

Fortunately it’s only about three blocks to Neff’s Upholstery which I’ll go to this morning. Unfortunately, the Eagles Club is located very near Interstate Highway 215 which is very noisy with heavy vehicle traffic. That combined with the wind buffeting during the night made for difficult sleep.

After finishing my business at Neff’s Upholstery I had planned to drive the about 75 miles to Palm Desert and into Thousand Trails. Unfortunately…today’s weather forecast is predicting steady 40-50 mile per hour winds with gusts to 70 and perhaps 80 miles per hour! I’ll just have to monitor the situation before I decide what to do. I may just have to spend another night in Riverside until the winds are predicted to dissipate on Friday. It’s all a part of the great RVing lifestyle!

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
For more information about my three books, click this link:
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/panamaorbust

I got up this morning and opened the door of the motor home only to have the wind whip it out of hand and slam it against the side. Whew! Headed for the spa, and came home feeling like I was about to be blown over. We did the wash before we left Soledad Canyon and the washroom doors kept blowing open and slamming closed in the wind. Once on the road, in the distance we could see sand blowing everywhere.

It was loud and bumpy and we knew we were hearing noises we’d never heard before. A woman frantically waved at us, then a second person right behind that vehicle was trying to tell us something. Jim stopped and did a walk around and the back spare wheel attachment with the bike rack was blowing open and slamming closed. Jim fixed it and on we went.

The wind was fierce and the dirt in the air got worse along with it. As we approached Mojave, there was a detour; several overpasses were closed down. We still didn’t connect it to the wind, wicked as it was. The next thing you know, a horrendous sound gave us to know something unwelcome had happened. It was the awning.

It blew open. Against the pressure of the wind, Jim struggled to get both sides even, the lock un-engaged and the awning rolled back in place.He got some rope pieces and tied the support bars. It was up, and I continually watched it from the window and watched the wind passing through two inch gaps between he layers of the rolled awning. The raising strap kept beating a tattoo against he side, then the roof and back to the side.Then we saw our first 18 wheeler over on its side about 200 feet behind us.

In less than a quarter mile, we passed two more 18 wheelers over. We began to understand that this storm was nothing to fool around with. Jim slowed from 45 to 40 miles per hour.

People headed for off ramps or an overpass were blocked and parked on the side of the road. The CHP had closed several of them in the area hit hardest by the wind.  Probably after this guy went over.

I could see that his airbag had deployed. He was on an overpass.

Jim slowed to 35 miles per hour.

As we approached Tehachapi, pass there were caution signs for campers and high trucks. At every pull out were motor homes, and campers, and trucks and cars stopped, waiting out the storm.

We debated about stopping, but at a low rate of speed, we crawled along.

People who felt they were unwieldy with trailers, motorcycles, and odd loads pulled out to wait. We couldn’t find a place to pull over, after debating, without obstructing the road, so we soldiered on.

Finally, down on the other side of Tehachapi, a huge storm cloud looked about to dump some rain, but didn’t.

The wind abated, the sun came out and it was just as suddenly over. We pulled into the Amtrak station in Bakersfield, I picked up my ticket for tomorrow morning at 7:15 a.m. Going home.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,191 other followers