Sudden change in plans

We were headed, slowly, for Vancouver, BC. We had driven from Arcata to Bandon, OR, and yesterday we enjoyed a two hour walk on the beach, then a stroll about old Bandon. Then yesterday afternoon we learned a good friend had suffered a severe heart attack in Bakersfield, CA on her way from our caravan back to NC. So we last night hitched up the camper to the truck and went to bed early so we could start driving to Bakersfield by 0500 hours today.

It worked. We’re in Bakersfield, CA after a record-setting drive of 765 miles in just under 15 hours. Our moving average was 55.5 mph, our overall average was 51 mph, our stopped time was only 51 minutes for the entire day. We stopped to refuel twice, once in Oregon for $3.95 a gallon and once in California for $3.73 a gallon. We averaged 11.7 mpg, drove approx 60 mph, and snacked in the truck instead of stopping for food. We planned to arrive before 8pm in the campground, and arrived at 7:35 p.m.

The drive was pretty neat. When’s the last time you drove by miles and miles of olive trees? Or thousands of acres of vineyards, grapes perfectly ripe for picking? Did you know they claim to be the raisin capital of the world? And have you seen beautiful groves of English walnut trees, or almond trees, or pistachio trees? I didn’t even think pistachios grew on trees and today (at 200 yards and 60 mph) I saw them. Who knew? Otherwise the day was eye-burning driving, Deb and me alternating two hours driving each.

The passenger closed their eyes as much as they could to rest up for their stint at driving. We didn’t get a single picture all day, just stayed in the truck and drove drove drove. It’s sorta funny, only two days ago we renewed our pledge to drive 200 miles, get off the road by 2:00 p.m., and stay at least two nights. Then what do we do? Well, flexibility is not only nice, it is necessary. And if we didn’t have a camper we’d have to rent a motel room to be here.

We’ll stay as long as we can help Jerry and Ann. We don’t need to plan this, we’ll just figure it out as we go. Then we’ll probably go to Vancouver, BC to provide Eleanor her big girl furniture we’ve been toting around in the back of our truck since June 5.


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