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  • Writer's pictureRobert Gidley

Car washes and boulders

February 18, 2024 (Sun)

More days of driving, driving, driving.


10:30 am KOA Campground, Lost Hills, CA

A lazy Sunday morning, where we consume some internet and two (!) pots of coffee.


We woke up expecting to see flooding of biblical proportion, because the National Media was talking about the Storm of the Century descending on LA, and we’re only a hundred or so miles north of LA, so we figured we should at least get the Storm of the Decade.


Instead, it’s bright and sunny and the sky is so blue it reminds us of Seattle (where we have the bluest skies you’ve ever seen when it’s not overcast). It’s 59° and if this is the Storm of the Century, we are ready to be inundated.


Gini is off to take a shower, while Robert has decided to empty out the bowels of Harvey (which is kind of an icky way to think about emptying the black water tanks). Robert is a little nervous, as it’s been seven months since he last did this. Will he forget how it works? Will he accidentally fill the tank?


It turns out that it’s just like riding a bicycle—muscle memory takes over and Robert double-checks the things that need to be double-checked and successfully performs a Harvey enema.

Harvey having his colon cleaned


11:00 am KOA campground, Lost Hills, CA

We leave the campground with about 10 seconds to spare. We got our money’s worth from this site. In our experience, KOA campgrounds are very serviceable—they’re clean, nothing fancy, but everything works.


11:10 am Car Wash, Lost Hills, CA

There’s a ton of services for semi-trucks at this exit, and one of them is “We’ll wash your truck or RV for you!”


Maybe Harvey will be better behaved if he’s clean, plus somebody else will get wet and soapy, so how can we lose? We splurge ($40, plus a $10 tip because what a miserable job that is) and Harvey is all shiny!

Harvey is clean (and maybe better behaved?)


Robert has a new hypothesis about Harvey’s strokes: Harvey has an entertainment center that a previous owner added in place of the radio. One of the features of this entertainment center is that you can plug an iPhone into it and it will run something called “Apple Play,” which basically shows the iPhone screen only much bigger, on the center screen of the dashboard.


Sometimes when Harvey has a stroke, the screen goes blank and the only way to bring it back is to unplug the iPhone and plug it back in. Also, this screen displays the back-up camera (which, as we recall, appears whenever the brakes are stepped on when Harvey has a stroke).


All of which is a long-winded way of saying, “Maybe plugging the iPhone into Harvey freaks him out.”


It makes as much sense as anything else, and it’s true that Robert’s iPhone has been plugged into Harvey every time Harvey has freaked out. It beats burning incense and chanting… So this is the new hypothesis.


1:40 pm The Grapevine, CA

There’s a big, long climb up a big pass between LA and the California central valley. Because there’s a town called “Grapevine” at the foot of this pass, this whole area is called The Grapevine. Since the Storm of the Century took the day off, it’s no trouble at all for us.


5:00 pm Whittier, CA

Whittier is the home of Tom and Ellen; Gini and Ellen have known each other since they were nineteen years old. They have graciously let us camp in their driveway. One advantage to having us as houseguests: we bring out own beds. And bathrooms. And coffee pot. When we visit, we bring a whole apartment!


They feed us a lovely dinner and breakfast. Gini and Ellen chat and Gini looks at Tom’s artwork and gets inspired. He makes collages out of wood, and found objects. This is just down Gini’s alley! She falls asleep dreaming of making collages and converting the tool shed to an art workshop… (Downsizing just went down the tubes.)


Helpful reader suggestions

We get some helpful suggestions from readers about how to fix Harvey. This one is our favorite:


“Pull over and scratch off all Harvey’s identifying marks and take a 2 hour flight to a warm sunny place for a month or two.”


If the next blog entry is about Barbados—well, you’ll know what happened!


Day 5 Travel

Our travel on Day 5 (Sunday)



February 19, 2024 (Mon)

10:30 am Tom & Ellen’s House, Whittier, CA

It is pouring down rain as we leave Tom & Ellen’s house after a yummy (and filling!) breakfast. It’s the sort of steady rain that makes even Seattleites get out their umbrellas. It may not be the Storm of the Century, but it’s miserable to stand around in and not much fun to drive in.


Our destination beckons! Gini has gotten us reservations at an RV park out in the Anza-Borrego Desert, where she used to live. (She lived in a town, not out in the desert like a hermit.)


We head off to take care of some grocery shopping, because Gini says that Borrego is just a wide spot in the road and there’s no grocery stores and we’ll probably have to pay tribute to the local warlord to be able to cross into the town.


1:30 pm Somewhere near Palomar Mountain, CA

After a couple of hours of driving various freeways through the rain (LA has a lot of different freeways and they are all eight or ten lanes and it’s very confusing to us poor hicks from Woodinville, where a four-lane highway is pretty fancy) we finally have outrun the rain.


We are now on a twisty-turny highway that promises us that after only 60 miles of two-lane curving splendor we’ll be there.


2:30 pm Somewhere, CA

Robert has figured out how to use the radio on the entertainment center (since he can’t play songs from his iPhone). Frequent radio changes are needed as they fade in and out as we move farther from the city.


Creepy Moment: One station plays “Every Breath You Take,” by The Police, about an obsessive love always watching his girlfriend. The song finishes. The station fades away. Robert switches to a new station. “Every breath you take, And every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you.”


3:00 pm Entering the valley

We turn a corner on the twisty road and blam!—there laid out before us is the Borrego valley, surrounded by hills and a lot of boulders. Apparently, boulders were on sale when this part of the world was built, because it’s boulders all the way down. It takes 30 minutes of driving down an even twistier road to reach the valley floor and the boulders keep going and going.

The valley awaits


It is, however, sunny sunny sunny and warm.


4:00 pm The Springs at Borrego RV Resort, CA

We are finally (after six days) at our destination! Whew. We are ready to call it a night, even though it’s the afternoon…


P.S. Crazy as it sounds, after two days of not plugging Robert’s iPhone into Harvey’s entertainment center, Harvey hasn’t had a single stroke! The other possibility is that the car wash fixed whatever was going on. Pick your crazy hypothesis!


Day 6 Travel

Our travel on Day 6 (Monday)



Gini & Robert                                                                                

Harvey Staff


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1 comentario

Stephen E. Moore
Stephen E. Moore
20 feb

It is clear from your descriptions that poor Harvey has been possessed by an evil djinn which has taken up residence in the electrical system. These can be difficult to dispatch. 

Do not leave batteries lying about or they will be mysteriously discharged. Do not play an electric guitar inside the motor home. Do not screen "The Electronic Monster" (1958), despite a busty performance by Mary Murphy.

All else failing, hold up a crucifix in the middle of Harvey and boldly say "Ecce crucis signum, fugiant phantasmata cuncta." Assuming this to have been effective, hang the crucifix in the living area to prevent the daemon from returning. 

If even this potent remedy fails, call 555-2368.

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