Meandering Thoughts

Meandering Thoughts

Friday, September 18, 2009

California or Bust, Part Two

I remember on this trip to California our son Ryan was then sixteen.  He was pretty capable and had grown up doing farm things, this would include driving equipment.  When the driver of the other motor home, Doc, called us on the CB as we were driving in 6 lanes of traffic going through Salt Lake City, Utah and told me Ryan was driving his motor home, I nearly had a heart attack!  I didn't even want to watch driving  through Salt Lake City!  Ryan did a great job and he didn't seem phased.  

Traveling in motor homes is pretty fun, thankfully gas was still cheap then.  I'm sure we didn't get more than 10 miles to the gallon with that big old motor home we drove.   The trip was not without motor home problems.  We camped one night in Cheyenne, Wyoming at a county fairgrounds.  The next morning the motor home wouldn't start.   I don't recall why, but they fixed it and we were off with just a few hours delay.

Out west fairgrounds are perfect places to stay when you are hauling horses.  Horses are unloaded, moved around and they can relax without being in a trailer.   There were nights we also stayed in Rest Areas, mostly Iowa east.  Fairgrounds aren't as friendly in the mid-west.  Afraid of transient horses contaminating their race horses I suppose.   Today you can subscribe to a catalog of host homes across the US that are horse friendly for over night stays.

We had another serious breakdown on the way home with our motor home.  We were out in the middle of Nevada.   We were out there with our horses to do a ride at a place called Soldiers Meadows.  There was nothing but desert, wild horses, rattle snakes and supposedly a trail!  But that is another story. This ride was 50 miles from the last "town" which had a service station and a cafe, and maybe a house or two. This particular ride was 5day/50 miles each day.  Our friend wanted to ride 3 days of the 5day ride, I started the first day and had to come back, my horse was having metabolic problems.  So we (our motor home family) decided to move our "camp" to Reno, Nevada and have a little fun while our friend, Doc, was riding two more days.  We loaded everything up and the motor home wouldn't start!  Having no idea what the problems was there was only one thing to do, go back to "town" and talk with the service man.  Richard managed to get someone to take him back to Gerlock, he talked with the service man about the possibilities and came back.  It took three hours to travel that 50 miles one way!  The service man said he had no intention of coming out to look at our motor home!  All the suggestions he offered were not changing the problem, the motor home would not start.  We were ready to leave it and call it our summer home!

Doc made the decision not to ride the third day.  So this time he packed up camp, we all got into his motor home and made the trip back to Gerlock and the service man.  Meanwhile our rig, Ryan and my horse standing in Soldiers Meadows with the hope someone would be coming back.  The Service man took pity on our crusty crew, but would do nothing until he had breakfast.  He and Richard raided his junkyard and picked up parts and then went back to the motor home.  The rest of us headed to Reno and showers!  I now can't believe that we left them with the faith that all would be well and they would catch up with us in Reno!  We had to call the service station to let Richard know where we were staying in Reno, just in case they actually got the motor home going again.  I still can't believe we just left them,  but, that is what happened, the motor home was fixed by this man in Gerlock and many hours later we were all reunited at a casino in Reno.

I remember walking into this fancy looking casino, dusty and crusty.  All of us carrying our clothes in pillowcases from the motor home to our rooms.  The horses were at a stable nearby and we regrouped for a couple days before heading back toward Ohio. 

Other than the gas lines vapor locking as we went over the mountains into California, things went pretty smoothly with the old motor home.  We only had two trailer problems, one was a wheel bearing problem, that was "fixed" temporarily by tying a rope to the axle and taking it over the trailer to the other side to hold it up until we could drive to a place to get it fixed. The other problem could have been major, Doc's two horse trailer started coming apart at the seams from all the road vibrations.   We crossed our fingers it would make it home without littering the highway with parts falling off.  We lucked out, it got home with no parts lost.


  1. Oops, I left out the part when we realized the trailer was coming apart. We stopped, moved all the horse equiptment in the front of our trailer to Doc's trailer and we hauled all four horses home in our trailer. Just another little part after almost 20 years you tend to forget.......

  2. I just found your blog! Oh my did I love that trip to California--thank you so much for taking me. We could probably do a whole blog just with stories from that trip. Oh the memories are flooding back...and it's no wonder Uncle Richard was drinking Malox like water!