19 May 2011

... and on the fourteenth day, we met Gilbert

After many promises that we'd 'start our blog tomorrow' we finally have.

The first two weeks of our trip consisted largely of driving, or should I say, Brad driving and I, looking around for a bit, having a nap, waking up for a snack, looking around for a bit, napping, waking up for a snack, repeat (Brad's description, not mine, but who am I to argue). From LA we crossed Nevada, New Mexico and into Texas in roughly 10 days, flew to San Francisco from Dallas, then drove back to LA. See maps, courtesy of Brad. We saw very little of the states we crossed but will likely be back later in our trip. There was time however for a brief stop in Vegas and Brad to convince me going on a roller coaster in one of the casinos in Vegas would be fun. I disagree, from now on I'll happily stand by, holding his wallet and phone. Highlight of this portion:
  • Brad sharing his love of Haliburton Gummi Bears, before realising he meant Haribo
  • White cheddar flavour popcorn, so far the bag count is 3 (I think)
  • Very slow traffic on a highway dotted with police cars every few miles, then we over took a prison bus
  • Realising the weird smell every so often was likely squished skunk
  • Road signs advising us we were in the vicinity of a correctional facility, with another separate sign underneath asking us not to pick up hitchhikers
  • Walking into a roadside fast food outlet in Texas to face a row of elderly men all complete with flannel shirts and cowboy hats
  • A Mother's Day picnic in the Dallas Arboretum (sadly minus our mums, they would have both love the gardens)
  • The only waiter in a place where we had breakfast leaving for five minutes to get a copy of New Mexico's answer to the Trading Post for us
  • Realising we no longer know what day of the week it was

On the fourteenth day, very near to a place called Corona (beer anyone?) we finally found a home for our trip. Gilbert is a 1998 22ft Gulfstream Conquest. Apparently Gil sleeps six. We found out after spending the first night sleeping on the table, which with the chairs on either side apparently converts into a double bed, the six people they were talking about were very, very small, and probably about 6 years old. Apparently the couch also converts into a double bed, we haven't tried it, it's the same size as the table (anyone planning on joining us for part of the trip, the invitation still stands, you can have either of these beds). The cab over bed, where we always intended on sleeping, is far roomier, about double bed width ... and 8 feet long. Did you know sheets don't come that long?

Since taking possession of Gil, we've spent a decent amount of time cleaning and setting ourselves up and a disproportionate amount of time in Walmart. However I am pleased to say, the interior is now disinfected and cosy (Brad says I'm nesting), and everything should have a home after another trip to Walmart. Brad's now familiarising himself with Gil's exterior, plumbing system (all extremely manly business, involving grey water, black water, a brown and orange fancy pipe and a pair of purple gloves with drip stop cuffs) and how to drive a boat.

On Monday (I think), it seemed we were finally on our way, heading for our first trip, a loop in around the
Sierra Nevada. Before hitting the road we got our tyres checked (Brad had attempted to do it, however some rather tricky hubcaps made testing the pressure of our inner rear tyres a challenge). Unfortunately, we weren't to know that the inner rear tyres were older and a different PSI to the others, and neither did the guy who helpfully inflated all 6 to the same PSI. Somewhere on our drive through an extremely windy, cold desert, on Highway 395, not far from Cuddeback Road (wherever that is) one of said tyres delaminated. A call out service comes with our insurance, as it does with our AAA membership (which unfortunately doesn't actually kick in until Friday), but we had very intermittent phone reception. Eventually help arrived, and on a dirt road with littered with ants and short gun shells (see photo) we discovered the spare we carry is for the front tyres, or has no purpose in life. It is however possible to limp along, very slowly on three rear tyres, which we did, stopping every so often to make sure the solo tyre wasn't over heating (on one such occasion, a well meaning police man stopped to check on us, hand on gun the entire time). And after a stop to acquire two new tyres, we finally headed into the mountains at dusk.

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