Been there, and there, and there…

Today is another spectacular day in southern California. I am presently on the foothill of the San Gabriel Mountains in the beautiful city of Monrovia. When I finish this entry, I will be 10 miles east in an equally beautiful location.

We live in an amazing country in every way. I have traveled to 40 of the states, mostly by bus, and gotten quite an up close view. All of my travels have had some level of amazing in them.

I just realized one of the stories that I like to tell regarding one trip, mostly because I am still alive, that one of the other participates in this journey was so traumatized by the events he has a totally different recollection of the events.

We were in New Mexico on I40 (route 66!) traveling east. At our last stop we could see a storm approaching us from the west and were advised by a local at a service station to get on the road and drive fast as that storm looked to have the potential to leave us stranded for a day or more. I must say the clouds, their color, their rolling motion; the scattered and continuous lightning was something I had never seen before. The sky was completely blue above me, but a devil of a weather system was fast approaching.

The storm caught up to us in minutes and I was in genuine fear of my life. I was driving an RV that was pulling a 30 ft. trailer, a lot of vehicle. The winds were such that I had the steering wheel turned completely to the left, wheels pointed 45 degrees into the wind, yet that was what it took to keep the vehicle going straight. Until an 18 wheeler would pass me that would momentarily block the wind and throw the vehicle toward the diesel truck until I would quickly adjust. Then when the truck passed, the wind would throw me into the emergency lane where, shockingly I could see vehicles stopped, but only as I passed them.

The rain was flying horizontally in such quantity that my visibility was about 15 to 20 ft. in any direction. It was quite intense. Blinding and deafening bolts of lightning were also a constant visual and audio distraction.

I don’t recall the sequence but rather quickly the vent covers and the air conditioner cover were ripped off by the wind. The best was when the window behind me got blown out. (Not the huge window, that flap of a window many RVs have for ventilation.

In my attempts to remain alive and keep an otherwise impossible situation somehow managed, I had been ignoring my traveling companions who had completely lost their minds.

As the wind was destroying the vehicle, one of my companions gives me a blow by blow, as if I am somehow oblivious to the sound (and sight in the mirror) of water pouring in from the vents and air conditioner. My favorite moment though was when the window behind me blew out. Water poured in like a fire hose had been attached to my seat. I was too focused on the road and maintaining vehicle control to look but it must have been an impressive sight. The volume of water was such that it felt like a child was pushing at my side, rather forcefully.

The announcement comes that the window has been blown out. I see feeble attempts to cover the opening with towel. I instruct my companion to take the cushions from the couch and stuff them in the holes. That works.

As I try to maintain any hope of survival, I realized my other companion had balled himself up in the passenger seat, white knuckled, saying over and over, quite loudly, we are going to die – we are going to die.

I shared the sentiment, but really didn’t appreciate either of their behavior as it was just one more thing to deal with.

That trip also included another near death due to hazardous conditions.

But you know; what’s life without a little zest! 🙂

I was driving a different vehicle; U-Haul with a different 30 ft. trailer. The alternator fan became detached flew around under the hood and sliced up all the belts and hoses. It happened in the middle of the highway in Massachusetts and I responded as quickly as I could, but due to the suddenness and the extent of the damage, I was only able to get to between the 3rd and 4th lane before the emergency lane. It was on an uphill turn and at about 3 or 4 in the morning. Truckers were flying as the small vehicle traffic was almost non-existent, except for me.

Getting out of that vehicle was a little tricky, but my companion and I eventually managed. Also we moved about 50 yds. away as we were worried a truck would slam into the backside and send piles of metal towards us.

In less than 5 minutes luck delivered us a state trooper who quickly positioned his vehicle and lights behind ours and called for a tow. 🙂

Tomorrow, favorite ways in which I have either fallen asleep on woken up!

I know I missed Saturday, sorry. Busy all day, and when I wasn’t busy, people wanted to talk to me. What’s up with that?! 😀

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