Wednesday, 28 January 2015

California Dreamin'

Travelling in the past involved getting a map out, planning stops, routes, timing, it all brought the trip into focus.  Looking at the map made it easy to picture distance and terrain and towns and cities you pass through.  Before GPS I always had grasp of all these things, I knew what direction I was going and what I was in for on a journey.  Technology is great but it can cause you problems especially when you blindly follow it.

We left the Salton Sea headed over to Rancho California in Aguanga,CA for another month of southern sun.  A nice short trip of less than two hours and beautiful sunny day. We had planned on a very easy, relaxing day.  The truck needed fuel at some point on the way, we were to pass through Palm Desert so we planned to stop in the city and fill-up.  Driving through the city we passed up on different stations because they would be difficult to get into with the fifth wheel.  I had thought we would find something easier to get into on the edge of town, well I was wrong, all of a sudden we were out the other side of town and headed up a mountain.  This is when we started to worry, a sign along the road told us we were on a scenic byway, we are all for scenic drives but driving up the side of a mountain pulling a 38' trailer with no fuel in the tank is not a relaxing afternoon drive.  The next sign was a recommendation that trucks with long trailers should not take this route, at this point we couldn't turn around because you could not see far enough up the road to do it safely.  This road while very pretty, was quite a test, cut into the mountain the rock walls were at times just a foot off the asphalt and that meant the trailer was just missing on the right hand turns.  To add to the fun because we were headed up to over 9000' elevation, we were burning what little fuel we did have at probably twice the rate we would normally.  If we ran out we would likely have blocked the road as there were very few spots to get off to the side to allow traffic by.  This run up and over this mountain was the most stress I have felt since we started fulltiming.  Well we did manage to make it to the top and the trip down the other side we had gravity working for us, but if we ran out of fuel I would lose the power steering and the winding road would be very interesting without it.  We did make it to a gas station before we ran out but we were quite frazzled by that time. 

The long and winding road up and over the mountains.
"Yep, the heart is still beating"

Fulltime lesson #5:  Fill up before you hit a 1/4 tank of fuel and a difficult station to get into is much better than no station to get into.

Fulltime lesson #6:  Look at a proper map to see the terrain you'll be covering.  This is something people who live in the mountains pay attention to, but someone like myself who has not spent much time on mountain roads has not learnt the lessons of elevation and twists and turns that go with it.

The highlight of our California stop was to be seeing the Toronto Maple Leafs play against the LA Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.  We had great seats for the Kings game, right beside the tunnel and just 4 rows from the ice, we fist bumped half the team on the way in and out of the dressing room, it was great! Then the game started and it went down hill from there.  The Kings scored less than a minute into the game and it was all they would need to win, as the Leafs were shut out for the game.

Yes, this is close to the action.

The Goalies

Two nights later we're at the Honda Center for another shot at winning against the Anaheim Ducks.  The Leafs weren't even in this game and failed to score for the second game straight. We didn't have anything to cheer about in either game we attended, but as all Leaf fans we are use to them falling apart in January every year.  I don't know what to do with them but that's a whole different blog subject.

Beautiful, modern train station by the Honda Center in Anaheim
We met many of these fans at the Kings game.  It is very hard and expensive to get Leaf tickets in Toronto, so people travelling catch them when they can.
These were to be the only pucks that went in the net for the Leafs. :(

Detra couldn't wait to get to the flagship Gucci store on Rodeo Drive, she wanted a wallet to go with her purse and watch, but she didn't find one and my thin wallet was much happier for it.  Beverly Hills is much like you would imagine it, high end stores, exotic cars and expensive atmosphere.  What is also here are normal people like us who walk around looking at all the nice stuff and wonder who can afford to live like this.  There are more tourists than shoppers here but it still is interesting to see how the 1%'ers live.  I was more interested in all the Ferrari, Bugatti and Rolls Royce cars that were running around, and there were plenty of them. 

Gucci heaven
The Bugatti that sits outside Bijan store. One of these will set you back $1.5 million used and upwards of $4 mil for the new Super Sport model, and that's U.S. dollars.

We headed towards Hollywood, the round about way, up through the hills and mansions of the stars along with the traffic that plagues the Los Angeles area.  I have to mention the traffic in the Los Angeles, it is bad.  Living around Toronto prepares you for the crush, but this is a whole next level in grid lock.  Driving in and out of the city, day or night, it is always packed with cars.  Driving and parking a duallie truck in the tight confines of  the city is an added bonus we get to enjoy.

Hollywood Blvd. was once a glamorous place, with the walk of fame, the Chinese Theater and I would imagine the odd movie star.  Times have changed and it has lost the glitz and glamour, filled with cheap souvenir shops and tour bus operators mixed with some of the remaining famous theaters and buildings.  This is not what I would want to step off the bus into, seeking my fame and fortune on the silver screen.  The feel is odd and a little on the seedy side, with all the tourist stuff mixed in with the drug dealers and the odd prostitute.  But even with all of that, it is something to behold with the Hollywood sign looking down on you from the hills.

Hollywood Blvd to the Hollywood sign up in the hills.

Once Grauman's, now TCL Chinese Theater
 All this walking had made us hungry so we looked up a Diner's, Drive-in and Dive restaurant and headed for The Oinkster.  This place is a burger, pastrami and pork place, all of them cooked long and slow.  I had the trademark "Oinkster", a huge wrap with pastrami that is the best I've had and is to die for. Detra ordered up a pulled pork sandwich that was also great, but she said she'd get the pastrami next time. Detra doesn't eat pastrami, so I'll leave it to your imagination on just how tasty it was.

The Oinkster, where meat goes to become heavenly.
Soaking up the sunshine in Southern California,


  1. Our friends back home think there is no stress with this lifestyle, what stress we have is worth it and many times self-induced. We learned our lesson on the 1/4 tank rule, luckily we did not run out either but it was close. We hit a DDD today!!!!!!

    1. It is all part of the learning curve, but I'll do my best to avoid that again. What DDD, or do I wait for the blog post? I hope it was good. :)

    2. I sent you a text today looking for your email address so I could send you a pic....or you can wait for the post. It was very good!

  2. We also try to stick to the 1/4 tank rule. We've had a run in ourselves near the Salt Flats of UT. NOT fun! Glad you made it down the other side. Isn't it strange how different some live? Are you heading for the coast, or mountains?

  3. We are staying in the foothills right now and then heading up to San Francisco area. It is an eye opener as to just how different people do things in different areas. We also want to see the Sequoia's if the weather co-operates.

  4. OMG! Scott my heart was in my mouth as I began reading ..wondering if you scratched the truck or trailer..did they run out of gas?..etc..reading speedily..I breathed a sigh or relief..they made it! A mother never stops worrying about her children.
    I like your Fulltiming Lessons..never too old to learn are we? And speaking of learning..I am amazed.....where and when did you learn to write such entertaining stories?
    I am so proud of you..and of Detra for not "breaking the bank" at the Gucci store..I wonder if they have Gucci Outlets?...LOL..maybe when you go to San Francisco you will find one. A girl MUST have a matching wallet for her purse and watch. :) the way..the Leafs lost last night again. But you probably already know that.
    We had a gorgeous sunrise this morning..followed by a beautiful blanket of snow later..The song "I'm having the time of my life" keeps running through my head..for you and Detra..and me too!
    Love Mum

    1. We made it through the mountains and Beverly Hills without hurting the wallet! Imagining the snow is enough for us, but Leaf wins are something we can only dream about.

  5. I am really enjoying to read your blogspot.. keep it

  6. Wow! That's awesome! What even made it more exciting is that kickin' vehicle that helped you get through all that with. We really don't need all that being betrayed by insufficient fuel, which must be compensated for quickly. Good thing refueling services are now just a call away and everywhere. Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Abraham Yates @ Apache Oil Company