Monday, 21 July 2008

Day Four - Tuesday, June 24

I spent most of the day hanging out with Jack in between his running errands. He told me what he really wanted me to do was to go through the house and tell him what things I would be upset about if they were got rid of. Rita collected a lot of stuff in her lifetime and while she was a master at organising it all, the house still was quite full. I had written him earlier about a number of items that came from Grandmother's house that I would be sad if they were lost. My mission this week was to identify other important items. Being given permission to 'snoop' probably would have been fun had it not been so sad. As it was, I found a number of things I didn't know still existed.
The other thing I did on this particular day was go through a basket of cards and letters Jack indicated had to do with Rita's death. Needless to say I soaked several handkerchiefs, but was rewarded with being reminded how special she was to so many people.

I hadn't realised that Rita was an organ donor. There was a letter from the organ donation people saying that a 67-year old mother of 7 children in California was Rita's recipient. They sent Jack a medallion in recognition of her donation. Seeing all this and talking with Jack made me decide I should be an organ donor as well, something I've always shied away from. My niggling worry was that doctors might try less hard to save me for the benefit of potential recipients, but after talking with Jack this seems less than likely. My sorry photographic skills are again highlighted here, but if you can't read the letters, it says

Give Hope Give Love Give Life

Now, back to the exciting part...

Bill's Road Book:


Day 2
24 June
hwy 95
hwy 62
I 10
hwy 210
hwy 18
Vidal Junction
Jct hwy 177
Twenty Nine Palms
Joshua Tree
Yucca Valley
Morongo Valley
Palm Springs
San Bernardino
Lake Silverwood
Turn Right
Cross US 95
Bear Right
Map1 Turn Right onto hwy 210
Map2 Turn Right onto hwy18
NP Campground
245 miles
6 hours

Note 1 Sitgreaves pass. This is a switchback mountain road past Oatman. We have been recommended to go via I 40 with the RV and leave the hedonists to do Route 66 in the SUV.

Bill and Bob were up at the crack of dawn to go for a run. This might not have been quite as awful as it sounds as the jet lag would have been in their favour, but you should be well impressed all the same. The temperature difference will have been as bad or worse than the time change.

As you can see from Simon's pictures, everyone had to fiddle with their technology a bit, and pose doing it. This is a continuing theme, I'm afraid.

I chose to go on to OKC because of this family business, but also because I've seen most of this countryside before. It's great, though, looking at Sim
on's pictures and seeing what grabbed him.

The wide open barreness is strikingly different to the usual English scenery.

As are the straight roads going off into the heat-induced haze.

And the license plates are different, though Bill tells me that ZBB on a UK license tag indicates a car from Newcastle. But so much for the Tourists, which became the name for anyone in the cars; the guys in the RV were having some high adventures of their own.

According to Bill they didn't know what was the lay of the land between San Bernadino and the next campsite. They got through SB with a quarter tank of gas and pulled into the first gas station they could find, only to learn it had no fuel to sell. They thought they could make it to the campsite and could tackle this problem the next morning. What they didn't realise was that they would have to go all the way up this mountain and back down again

Bob was driving down the steep pass, watching the fuel light blinking, knowing that without power they had no steering and no brakes. He told me it was about the worst driving experience of his entire life. Bill said the road was only 7' wide, but the camper was 8.5' wide. Whilst I'm fairly sure this is a slight exaggeration, I'm pleased I missed that part of the journey. In the week and a half that I was in the RV, I asked frequently how the gas gauge was doing.
They did obviously make it to the campsite without falling off the mountain. Simon was sent to find gas and came back with a can at the unheard of price of $5 a gallon. They had missed the turnoff for the campsite and gone about 40 miles beyond, but Lake Silverwood apparently lived up to its name (except that Bill tells me this was, in fact, Lake Havasu...oh well).

Thanks again to Simon, for his great photos.

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