Well, the morning was normal…but the afternoon was different!
We departed Thousand Trails RV Resort in Acton, California at 12:30 PM for what was supposed to be about a pleasant 2.5 hour drive across the Tehachapi Mountains to Bakersfield, California. I had checked the weather forecast for Acton and Bakersfield…low 60’s and partly cloudy. Tehacapi summit is only 4,064 feet elevation…no big deal.
About 30 minutes into our trip just after we passed through Palmdale, the wind really started to pickup. You can’t see the dust all that well in the below photo, but it was waiting for us just a few miles up the road.
Time to drop our speed to 45 miles per hour. By time we reached the City of Mojave about 30 minutes later the wind was a steady 50 miles per hour with gusts up to 75 miles per hour hitting us broadside on the driver’s side of the motorhome.
Just north of Mojave within one-half mile, we saw three 18-wheel trailer trucks on their side…not something we see every day!
Just a few minutes later, we heard this loud bang! What in the hell was that????
Looking in the passenger-side mirror I very quickly realized that the wind had caught our motorhome awning just right and there it was in the air…just like a huge sail on a sailboat! Quickly I pulled to the side of the road to attend to the awning. In the below photo, the wind is blowing about 75 miles an hour (fortunately from the other side of the motorhome) and I’m screaming at Mary…”Put down the dog-gone camera and help me gather in this awning!”.
Finally we got it somewhat back into place. In the below photo, Mary catches me tying rope around the awning arms to hopefully keep the awning from getting caught in the wind once again.
Onward we went with speed down to 30 miles per hour. We turned west onto California Highway 58 and headed towards the Tehacapi summit. Once we crested the summit, we began the long down-hill (about 20 miles) run towards Bakersfield at 40 miles per hour and now driving into a head-wind, hoping not to have the awning break loose once again.
We finally arrived in Bakersfield where we parked in the Amtrak Station parking lot so that Mary can catch her 7:15 AM train to Sacramento this morning. In all my years of RVing, I’ve never spent a night in an Amtrak station parking lot!
Once safely in the parking lot, we undid the rope on the awning arm, rolled down the awning and rolled in back up into its normal storage position. Fortunately the awning suffered no physical damage for its unusual day’s experience. Here it is…safe and sound.
To top off our day, Mary cooked up a couple of Dolly Parton-sized chicken breasts smothered in her special tomato sauce. These puppy dogs had to be 48 EEE”s…no lying! Sorry I didn’t get a photo…I got so excited I just ate the whole thing!
Let me finish by saying…I’ve been RVing since 1962 and full-time Rving since 1995 and have never been caught in winds like those experienced yesterday. Hopefully never again for my remaining RVing days!
All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2011
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