An RVer’s tale of terror and an after-rain walk in the desert

Saturday, February 18

After a night of rain, dark clouds hang over the Best Little Trailer.  More rain falls, keeping Reggie and me inside where it’s cozy.

Reggie and I are camped at Midland Long Term Visitor Area, Blythe, California.

More about our rainy day later . . . .

First I have something else I want to write about.

Last summer, while out walking with Reggie, I meet a fellow camper and we stand near his rig and chat for a while.  After a few minutes introducing ourselves, the topic of conversation turns to mountain driving.

He tells me about an experience he had which I wanted to share right away with my dear readers.  However, there being a chance that fellow campers at that time and place might read my blog and figure out his identity, I decide to hold off sharing his story.

Time has passed.

Go ahead and get comfortable.  Ready?  For this post, I’ll call our storyteller, Brian.

~ ~ ~

“I used to have a fifth wheel,” Brian begins. 

“I hadn’t had it long when I took it into the mountains intending to camp at a campground.  When I got there, most of the sites were taken or too short, but there was one I was pretty sure my fifth wheel would fit into.  It was a tough back-in.  It was one of those where you had to make a tight turn while backing up in order to get into the site.  I tried several times, back and forth.”

“No matter what I tried I couldn’t back it in so eventually I gave up.  I figured I’d go further up the mountain instead and find a place to boondock.”

“Well, there weren’t any places to boondock.  But I had to keep going up the mountain on this winding road in order to find a place to turn around.”

I nod my head. 

Been there, done that . . . .

“Finally I come to a turn-around place and head back down the mountain.  What I didn’t realize is with all the twisting around trying to back the fifth wheel into that campsite, I must’ve tore up the transmission.  I shift down.  No good.  I try to slow down using the brakes and they give out.”

“Here I am, flying down this mountain, and I’ve got nothing . . . . ”

Brian shakes his head at the recollection.

“I end up going off the road and flipping, the truck and the fifth wheel roll right over.  I’m hanging upside down in my truck and everything is smashed.  I crawl out the window — the glass is broken out — and collapse on the bank.”

“When I come to my senses, I look and the fifth wheel is on fire.  Then my truck catches fire.  Someone sees the wreck and comes down . . .  He calls 911 but we’re on this mountain and it takes a while for them to get up there.”

“Meanwhile this guy and I sit and watch everything burn up.  I lost everything.”

Brian pauses, which gives me a chance to ask, “Were you hurt?”

“Not much.  I cut up my arm on the glass, crawling through the window.”

He holds out his arm to show the scars.

“Little by little I’ve replaced most of my stuff.  Not all my music, some of it.  I had an extensive music collection.  I also had lots of nice photographic equipment.”

After a pause he adds, “I don’t miss any of it, not really.”

We stand together quietly, gazing at his replacement motor home, until Brian turns to me and remarks softly, “I did get to keep what’s important . . . my life.”

~ ~ ~

Later . . .

As I recall our conversation, several questions come to mind regarding Brian’s terrifying experience on the mountain.  As is often the case with RVers whom you meet while out walking, you have a conversation, return to your campsite, and then you think of things you want to say to the person or questions come to mind that you’d like to ask. The opportunity to do so may never come.

Words remain unsaid; questions unasked. 

The next morning, on his way out of the area, Brian makes a quick stop at our campsite.  From the window of his motor home he wishes me “safe travels,” which I return, of course.  We exchange smiles and waves of goodbye and he drives away.

And that’s the end of today’s story!

~ ~ ~

About our rainy day, Saturday, February 18 . . . .

Reggie and I are stuck inside because the rain is coming down in torrents.  To amuse myself, I set up a medical clinic to treat the casualties from Reggie’s ongoing war with his toys.  I assemble needle and thread for mending, and scissors and old socks to cut up for stuffing.

Reggie watches intently as I work. 

When all patients are recovered from surgery, they are released into the dubious care of their chronic abuser.

Clockwise from the top, starting under Reggie’s nose:  Duck L’Orange, Your Baby, Yellow Chicken, Pink Piggy, Blue Monkey, and Chimpy!

Reggie attacks Chimpy.

Chimpy has been out of circulation for a long time because he’s been in ICU.  (He required extensive reconstruction and is now almost as good as new.)

“Reggie!  The rain has stopped.” 

“How ’bout you lay off killing your toys and we go out?”

Hmm . . . Is that a collective sigh of relief I hear from the gang?

“Oh, it’s great to be outside again.  Go, Reggie go!”

Yay!  I can run!

~ ~ ~

We ignore the light drizzle.

Raindrops make blurry spots in the photos.  Oh, well . . . . who cares, right?

~ ~ ~

“Let’s walk along the wash, Reg.  It’s a beautiful, fresh day.”

Brittlebush is leafing out very well (above Reggie’s head).  I’m not sure what the other bushes are (left and right) . . . . ratenay maybe?

~ ~ ~

Grass and tiny seedlings have popped up here and there in the desert!

These tender plants remind me of my long-ago vegetable garden.

~ ~ ~

“Oh, will you look at that!  The desert lilies are putting up stalks!”

Upon setting up our camp recently, I happily discover that desert lily plants are all over this part of Midland LTVA.  I’d love to see them in bloom.

~ ~ ~

“Reggie, that’s enough digging in the mud!”

Dogs know how to have fun, don’t they?

~ ~ ~



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