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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Breaking our engagement

February 16, 2024 (Fri)

A couple of days of driving, driving, driving.


4:30 am Seven Feathers Casino, Canyonville, OR

We’ve learned our lesson about driving in the dark, so when Robert wakes up way too early, he just sits and reads the internet and then wanders over to take a shower.


“Why not take a shower in Harvey?” you may ask. Well…


Remember a month or so ago, when it got really, really cold and it didn’t even get above freezing for a couple of days? (You folks who live in Montana and Nebraska can quit sniggering. Anything below freezing is remarkable to us warm-blooded folks in the Northwest!)


Anyway, Harvey was parked in our carport, and he had an oil heater inside turned up full plus his propane heater, all desperately trying to keep him above freezing. Since there were no pools of water or gushing slushy waste water, we figured we had escaped unscathed.


Come to find out that the kitchen sink doesn’t work. “No problem,” says Robert, “We’ll just use the shower head in the bathroom!” Which was the second casualty of the cold. The faucet in the bathroom works just fine, although it’s a teeny sink so washing dishes is a challenge.


Which is why we find Robert in the shower at 5:30 am. (You may also recall that the shower in Harvey is about ½” larger than Robert, so that’s another factor…)


7:30 am Seven Feathers

A breakfast of oatmeal and fruit and—oh look, the light in the refrigerator has gone out.


At this point, it’s beginning to be easier to talk about the things in Harvey that do work. The seat cushions don’t have any mold. The microwave hasn’t burst into flames. The windshield is unshattered (although it does have a treated starburst). Heck, there’s literally almost a dozen things!


8:20 am Seven Feathers

This is the earliest we have ever managed to leave an RV Park—usually, we’re getting chased out by staff at 11:00 am so that can get the site ready for the next RV (which we’re still not clear on—they have to replenish the electrons we used?). That’s how determined we are to get to someplace warm and sunny.


The weather is foggy. No rain.



10:25 am California Border

As we cross into California, we are forced to slow down and go through an inspection booth. The sign says “All cars must stop.”


The inspection consists of reading a sign that says, “There is no inspection. Please proceed.”


California is weird.


12:00 Lakehead, CA

We turn onto a road in a National Park (our tax dollars at work!) and have lunch. We’ve been swapping drivers for one hour shifts, which is lovely and where Harvey shines. Whoever isn’t driving can take a nap, or sit at the table and read, or just generally feel like they are in a very luxurious limousine (but no light in the refrigerator).


Gini taking a turn at the wheel


12:20 South of Lakehead, CA

The wedding’s off!


We’re no longer getting married to Cummins, as Harvey just fell into his old tricks and starting stroking out again--no rear brake lights, no tail lights, no turn lights. Cruise control and front turn lights only work if the headlights are off. ☹ 




This is just like owning a run-down house, except that a house doesn’t have tail lights. But then, neither do we, now.


3:30 pm Dunnigan, CA

This will be our first stay in a California Rest Area (it seems like about half of them are closed). We pull into the semi-truck area, because we plan to use our generator. If we park with the cars, our generator is loud and obnoxious. If we park with the semi’s, it’s a cute little generator, because they are always running their megawatt generators.


At least we’re getting some return on the $1 a gallon tax surcharge that California imposes.


6:30 pm

Dinner is pomegranate lamb shanks with asparagus and some leftover gourmet mac-and-cheese. The meals are sure good in Harvey!


Day 3 Travel

Our travel on Day 3 (Friday)



February 17, 2024 (Sat)

2:00 am Dunnigan Rest Area

Robert was thinking that one nice advantage to having the refrigerator light go out, is that when he gets thirsty during the night, he can grab a cold bottle of water from the refrigerator without lighting up the entire cabin. This is easier on his eyes, and on Gini’s eyes.


Guess what decided to start working in all its ten-thousand watt glory at two in the morning? Yup, the refrigerator light now works, and everyone is aware…


8:50 am Dunnigan Rest Area

A quick breakfast and we’re off! We’ve spent the night constructing a theory about Harvey’s woes and why he worked just fine for a while before he had another stroke.


Something got warm, the theory goes, and expanded and caused a short and that’s why things got wonky. Harvey has had a chance to cool down overnight, so that should buy us a couple of hours of good behavior. We’ll just keep track of how many hours it takes for the symptoms to appear and then how many hours it needs to cool down, and we’ll be truckin’!

One of our neighbors at the truck stop


9:20 am

Well, as the theory predicted, Harvey started out just fine, everything working smoothly. And 30 minutes in (with a 15 minute stop) Harvey has stroked out.


Next theory: Maybe if we drove Harvey off a steep embankment, it would burst into flames and solve the problem!


10:30 am Stockton

And now it’s started pouring rain, so we really can’t leave the headlights off (Robert loves his cruise control, which won’t work if the headlights are on).


Lane changes are done slowly (no turn signals) as is braking. It’s a little nerve wracking, but Robert also drives a motorcycle, so nerve-wracking driving is square in his wheelhouse; meanwhile, Gini is peeling her nails off (she does not have a motorcycle).

Gini lets Carl’s Jr. bring her some contentment


4:00 pm KOA Campground, Lost Hills, CA

Lost Hills is famous for being a truck stop with lots of fast food restaurants and truck services. Nobody seems to know much more than that. At one point, Mobil Gas Company had a page that talked about “[Lost Hills] stands as a testament to the transformations that can occur within a community over time.” Apparently, this was too much fabrication for the internet to handle, because they took it down.  


We are here because we finally got worn out. We’re hoping to beat a big storm that’s due to hit the area tomorrow, according to our sources (a guy we know on Facebook).


Anyway, we have electricity, we’re dry, the refrigerator light is still working and we’re ready to rest up for another exciting day tomorrow. Please, Jesus, don’t let the toilet break.


Day 4 Travel

Our travel on Day 4 (Saturday)



Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff


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