“The bus is ready to be picked up,” Ric announces as he gets off the phone.
It’s ten a.m., earlier then we’d expected the repairs to be completed, so we decide to forego the site we’d booked for tonight, just twenty minutes away, and start the journey north today.
As it goes, 10:00 turns into 1:30, and by the time we hit L.A. traffic, we know we won’t reach our planned stop before dark, so I give the camp a call to say we’ll arrive late.
It is a rainy day, and as we climb up into the mountains the clouds move in around us. It feels eerie, as if we are in an altered reality. We stop once for gas, but Ric wants to push on and get settled for the night. I agree. We have washing to do from the week in the hotel, and first thing tomorrow we will need to find a grocery store and stock up on food.
A sign warns of a 6% grade up ahead, and trucks are cautioned to slow down to 35 mph, so Ric obeys and we move down the mountain accordingly. A beeping sound near the bottom is the first indicator that something might be amiss.
“What was that?” I ask.
“It says there is water in the gas tank”
“What does that mean? Should we pull over?”
We are nearing an exit, but just before we turn off, the warning signal stops and everything is good again.
“Whatever it is righted itself, apparently.”
So we travel on, watching the day fade into darkness and counting the minutes till we arrive. It’s been a longer day than either of us anticipated and we’re starting to get hungry again.
“How much longer?” Ric asks. I am monitoring the GPS.
“Twenty-four minutes. Twenty-two on this road, then two miles to the RV park.”
The beeping starts again. First three quick beeps, then a loud squeal that reads:
Shut engine off immediately.
Ric pulls to the side of the road. We are nineteen minutes from our destination and otherwise in the middle of nowhere. It is 6:40 pm.
He calls Good Sam’s road side assistance.
“It’s Saturday night,” the young woman on the other end tells us. “I’m not sure how much help I can get you.” She puts us on hold.
Turns out we are in a weak area for cellular signals and our phone cuts out.
We connect again after several failed attempts.
“I’m still trying,” she says.
Ric calls and books us a hotel room up the road. When Good Sam’s calls back, we let her know. There are no repair shops open now; so she calls the hotel to see if we can have the RV towed there. They say we can.
Time ticks by slowly, in contrast to the traffic that whizzes past, and shakes, our rig.
A car pulls over just in front of us.
“What is this?” Ric asks.
A man approaches the door. He saw us at the shop where we had picked up our bus this afternoon, and wants to know if we need help. He and his family are on their way to San Fransisco and they recognized the rig, so he turned around and came back. Reassured that we were being looked after, he continues on his journey, and our hearts are warmed by the kindness of a stranger.
Good Sam calls back. There are no tow trucks available due to an accident. We’ll have to call 911. It is now ten o’clock.
The police arrive forty-five minutes later. They also inform us that there are no available tow trucks because of a pile up further along the highway. The truck will cost $1,0005 when it comes. Is that okay? Do we have a choice?
It’s now 11:11. I am cold, and tired. Traffic continues to rock our vehicle as it passes into the night, but at least now we have the security of police lights to protect us.
I can’t wait to get resettled into another hotel room. Wonder how long this adventure will last before we’re on the road again?
(All photos taken with my iPhone en route. Some altered for entertainment value. Stay tuned.)