Tuesday, November 10
I pull back the curtain and peer outside. The oleander bushes around our campsite are bent and waving in the wind.
“We aren’t breaking camp today,” I announce to the crew. “I’m not driving in this wind.”
Which turns out to be a lie because in the afternoon I drive us to the Wal-Mart in Henderson.
Might as well stock up. Our next camp may not have a grocery store handy.
It’s windy and I’m smiling as I leave the store.
I’m pleased with my purchases and the prospect of a new camp. Like people tend to do, I locate my vehicle and don’t pay much attention to anything else as I push the cart across the lot. Gosh, it’s already getting dark . . . .
You know how you look at something and then, wham, you really see what you’re looking at?
That happens on the way to the PTV.
Is that real?
I look around me and there go the shoppers, pushing their carts like drones on remote control. Well, I guess if you’ve seen that mountain a hundred times or more, it doesn’t stop your cart.
That’s something I love about a full-time life on the road!
One doesn’t become so accustomed to one’s surroundings that they fail to impress anymore.
Okay, so you figure we’re done with the parking lot story. Oh, no, not yet! Leave it to RVSue to come up with two stories based on a walk from Wal-Mart’s exit door to the PTV.
Anyway . . . .
I’m about fifteen yards or more from the PTV when the wheels on the cart jam. Oh, great. I yank the cart. I look at the front wheels. Boy, they’re really stuck. I pull the cart backward to give it a running start. It’s won’t move! It’s like it’s stuck in the pavement.
I walk around to the front of the cart and lean, putting my weight into it. I give it a good yank. No good. I try to lift up the front to pull it. Can’t do it. I try to wrench it sideways.
“Damn! What’s the matter with this thing!”
I’m wrestling with the cart when a male voice calls through the wind.
“You can’t move it! It’s got sensors!”
“It’s got sensors to keep you from stealing the cart.”
Well, don’t I feel like an idiot. I laugh at myself. I’d make a very persistent thief!
That explains why everyone crams their vehicles up close to the store. All except the few clueless like me. It did seem weird when we drove in, cars bunched up and all this empty parking lot . . . .
Hmm, I could move the PTV to the cart. Instead I haul the groceries in several trips over to the PTV and we head for home.
On the way out of the lot Reggie pokes his nose in a grocery bag.
“Sorry, Snoopy. No rotisserie chicken this time. They’re all sold out.”
Wednesday, November 11
This morning the crew and I wake to a calm, sunny day that is surprisingly warm. The forecasters said it would be otherwise.
Nevertheless, I don’t hurry to break camp.
I lolligag around on this blog, enjoying comments. I take the crew on a walk to set them up for a restful ride. I talk with the young woman who has been camping near us with her husband and toddler. Her little girl wants to say goodbye to Reggie. He prances around her, then stands with his front paws on her chest so they’re nose to nose. She giggles.
It’s late morning by the time we’re hitched up and pulling out.
We stop at the dump station and empty tanks. While doing this, about fifteen quail fast-walk past the station, their topknots bobbing along like hats in a parade.
For those of you who like to follow along with a map . . . .
I point the Perfect Tow Vehicle out of Lake Mead Recreation Area on Route 147. This takes us southwest to Henderson where we turn onto Route 582 and go southeast a few miles. We head due south on Route 95 for the longest leg of the day’s journey. We ride through El Dorado Valley.
Road signs remind me it’s Veterans Day.
“This section of highway dedicated to World War I veterans.”
In Burma Shave style, subsequent signs appear dedicating sections of road to veterans of WWII, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, and Global War on Terror. I give a silent thank you, remembering all the veterans, including those in wars from long ago, not given signage.
At the old, gold-mining town of Searchlight, we park in the lot for RVs at the Nugget Casino.
As for me, I’m happy, too . . . happy to leave Searchlight. I hold back the PTV to a speed of 20 mph. Highway patrol vehicles are everywhere like black beetles on a dung heap. (Sorry, Searchlight and highway patrol. I mean no offense.)
Route 95 is the town’s main street.
The 75 mph speed limit for several miles very quickly drops in increments to hit a low of 25 mph at mid-town. A flashing sign reminds drivers to slow down, adding “strictly enforced.” Makes no difference for some. I see four cars pulled over before we creep out of town.
After ten miles, give or take, we cruise past dusty Cal-Nev-Ari, elevation 2,550 feet. Somebody thought they were clever . . .
The Colorado River is somewhere east of us, the Mojave National Preserve somewhere to the west.
The drive across this flat land of sagebrush would be monotonous if not for the condition of the Class C ahead of us.
Good heavens, that thing is listing to starboard something terrible!
At every curve in the road that is highly-banked to starboard, I hold my breath. We lose them when they turn onto Route 163 toward the river, right before the California border.
The road turns into ribbon candy.
Many washes perpendicular to the highway cause deep dips in the road, one right after another, up and down we go for about a mile and then we come to a sign that says . . .
“Dips next 5 miles.” Oh-kaaay. Thank you for the helpful information!
If this post is too long for you, hang on a while longer, I’m about to kick it up a notch.
We come out of a dip, up over a crest and onto flat, straight road. I’m startled by what I see.
A car is flying through the air! The car’s nose points to the left and, in a split-second, the rear end goes up, end over end. The car turns slightly as it hits the sand on its rear end and then falls forward, coming to a rest.
A plume of sand and and dust blocks my view of the road beyond the accident.
My first thought as I pull off the road. . . Is this a high-speed chase? Is another car going to bust through that cloud of sand toward us?
During those seconds, on automatic reflex, I grab the camera, stick it out the window, and take the photo above. Here’s part of that photo enlarged (The car and a piece of it that flew off are at the far left).
As soon as the sand and dust clear, I move the PTV and BLT up the road to the accident scene. A UPS truck moves forward behind me on the shoulder — one of those big semi trucks hauling two box containers.
By this time I have my phone in hand to dial 911.
I open the door and jump out as the UPS guy sprints across the road to the car.
“I see movement!” he yells. “Call 911! See if you can get a signal!”
My smartphone — did I say SMARTphone? — will not do what I want it to do. It’s loading something or updating or WHATEVER. I yell to the guy in brown….
“Do you have a phone? Mine won’t work.”
All this transpires in seconds.
As the UPS guy pulls out his phone, the door of the car opens and out steps a man.
“Are you all right?” the UPS guy asks, astonished.
“Yeah,” the driver says, not looking at him. The driver’s eyes are on his car.
“He’s walking? I can’t believe it. He’s walking?” I don’t see a bit of blood on him.
The driver walks to the rear end of his car like it just came out of the car wash and groans, “Oh, my car!”
Crisis over, I take this photo.
“How did he do that?”
I’m wondering the same thing and respond, “Yeah. How DID he do that?”
By now another vehicle pulls over behind the UPS truck.
This isn’t a situation for me to be involved with. There’s something strange about this. The driver’s going to need a ride. The UPS guy looks like he’s sticking around. I’m leaving.
I turn off the flashers, hit the turn signal, and we resume our journey to a new camp.
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