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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Getting Closer

~Tuesday, November 30, 2021~

Day 534 (Travel Day)

We’re leaving the Colorado Desert for a good midway resting stop of Bakersfield, CA, about 280 miles. But with the Grapevine being our nemesis, we keep our fingers crossed as we head north. Anytime we go over the thing, I always cross my fingers and say a little prayer, though we’ve been over worse summits since then. As you may recall, the Grapevine is where we broke down in July 2020, due to a blown transmission on our NEW truck, only a month into our trip. The breakdown caused a 3-week delay in our travels as we awaited a new transmission to arrive from Texas. As a result, Bakersfield was our “home” for nearly a month while we waited to get back on the road.

Driving through Palm Springs, we were in awe of the 4,000 wind turbines on San Gorgonio Pass powering Palm Springs and the entire Coachella Valley. It’s quite impressive. And as we approached L.A., we’re reminded just how snarled the traffic and aggressive the drivers can be, not to mention the large number of distracting criss-crossing freeway ramps there are. Quite different from our latest driving experiences. And it’s so surreal reading signs once again for Sacramento, near our home of 30 years.

On the drive, we phoned our Napa Tire guy, Jay, to see if we could get those 4 new tires put on “Billie Jean” a little sooner. After putting more thought into the tire situation, it made more sense to get the new Goodyear Endurance tires put on the rig before we got to Skyline Park. Otherwise, we’d have to break everything down and rehitch just to bring it to the tire shop. Definitely a time saver. Yeh!! He had a 2:00 slot. While he has the trailer, we also wanted him to inspect the brakes and alignment. He was happy to look at the brakes only if they were disc, not drum brakes. We’re 99% sure we have disc brakes. But he declined the alignment since he doesn’t have the equipment to do a trailer. We also requested a new rim for a second spare, nothing fancy; just a last resort type of rim. We’re just thinking ahead to our Alaska journey as we’ll need all of the peace of mind we can get in the “Last Frontier”.

We arrived at our Boondocker’s Welcome site around 5:00, with a nice greeting from Jessie at “Where Are You Headed?”. His property is on the very outskirts of Bakersfield, not far off of Highway 5. Though we’re not farm people, we loved the many sounds coming from the surrounding properties….roosters, goats, dogs, sheep, etc. It must have been dinner time with all the racket. They reserved the perfect spot for us in their large driveway just off the backroad, inside their gated area. And they were so nice to offer water and a 15-amp hookup (amenities not all too common with Boondocker Welcome hosts). No unhitching, just a few minor setups, and we were all set. I quickly went into baking mode to whip up a batch of banana muffins for our sweet hosts, and maybe a few for us 😉As you can tell, banana muffins are my go to for parting gifts since I always seem to have extra over-ripened bananas on hand. For those interested, I can send you the delicious recipe I found on Sally’s Baking Addiction. It’s the best!

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