August 24, 2017, Thursday, Day 1, Home to Frazier Park, CA via SR99, I-5: 260 miles
I usually visit my son, Dean, and family in July, but somehow this trip was delayed and I don’t even remember why. But the time had rolled around to head south just to stay in touch.
I washed the coach over two days to spread the effort around. It’s just too much work for this old man to do in one day so I washed half on Tuesday, the other half on Wednesday. Cecil the Diesel looked as good as ever as I pulled out of our little gated community for old people. I sometimes refer to it as “God’s Waiting Room” but not many of our neighbors chuckle at that one.
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The drive was a warm one, even hot as I neared my destination of Frazier Park at the top of the Tehachapis south of Bakersfield. Bakersfield’s high for the day was 98°; Frazier Park, where I pulled in for the night, had a high of 88°. It was worth climbing to about 4000 feet where it was cooler.
Other than the crops, the day’s drive took me past mostly brown, dead weeds. The valley isn’t pretty in the summertime except for the crops, and on most farms there are plenty of them.
I stopped about halfway through my trip at the Selma, CA Walmart store to buy some sodas and a couple grocery items I needed for the trip. I hoped for a McDonald’s nearby so I could enjoy a Filet of Fish for lunch. But, alas, there were none. I zapped a breakfast sandwich and enjoyed it along with a fresh nectarine and called it lunch.
I stopped at a Mickey D’s for a large coffee and a McFlurry to keep me alert and found the store closed and half torn apart for remodeling. A few miles farther down the road I found another and got my treat. It kept me alert the rest of the drive.
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I pulled into the Flying J Plaza near Frazier Park around 1600 and set up for the night. I was just 160 miles from Dean’s place in Oceanside and I would arrive there probably around noon the next day. But I would have to drive through LALA Land to get there, and I did not look forward to the absolutely worst drive I’ve ever known.
I had a nice evening there in the parking lot of Flying J. The evening cooled off nicely and then I was comfy without the air conditioner. I zapped a frozen dinner and behaved myself – but I would be pigging out with Dean for two days!
Day 2, Friday, Frazier Park, CA to Dean’s in Oceanside via I-5:
I was up and around at 0630. After chores, I took my time perusing the ‘net as I usually do. Having parked next to the lawn, the sprinklers made a mess of the coach when they turned on, and I had to clean the windows before I left.
A bright morning in Frazier Park.
I pulled out of the Flying J Plaza about 0900 and headed up I-5 only a mile or so to the summit of Tejon Pass at 4400 feet. From there into LALA Land it was mostly downhill.
The drive through LA was the usual horror, but I made it unscathed and dealt with slowdowns but no real traffic jams. I know I say it all the time, but the place is miserable; I can’t imagine why anyone would live there on purpose. And this trip it was particularly smoggy, or perhaps it was mostly fog. It wasn’t pretty.
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I drove straight through to Dean’s and arrived a few minutes before noon. When he was done with his work – he works mostly at home when he isn’t traveling the globe selling software – he came out to the coach and greeted me. We decided on lunch at the Oceanside Grill overlooking the Oceanside harbor. It is a lovely place and we ate excellent fare while enjoying the beauty and peacefulness of the waterfront. I also enjoyed a very good margarita which helped me forget about the awful drive.
After lunch I drove the coach to the very nearby Guajome Park and set up for a couple of nights. About an hour later Dean picked me up and I visited with the family for a couple of hours. I gave Aidan, our new teenager having just turned 13, his birthday card, our good wishes, and $50 for his choice of a gift. Lordy, I tried to find something online that was appropriate for a 13 year old boy, but I gave up quickly.
A bit before 1800 Dean drove me back to the coach for the evening as they had a party planned with friends at a sport bar, and that just isn’t my thing. I much preferred a quiet evening in the coach and they understood completely.
Back at the coach I relaxed away the evening. I updated this travelogue, watched some DVD WWII documentary, zapped a small frozen meal for dinner and just enjoyed an evening aboard the coach. I was in bed a bit before 2300 and slept well.
Day 3, Saturday, a day at rest with the family.
I had a bit of a stomach issue early in the morning, possibly something I ate at lunch with Dean, I don’t know. But by mid morning after a light breakfast of toast and yogurt, I felt fine.
Aidan had a soccer game scheduled Saturday morning and Dean was the coach, so their morning was already spoken for. I wasn’t up for a soccer game, probably the most boring game on earth in my estimation, and chose to spend the morning at the coach. I kept myself busy online and doing a bit of housekeeping. I enjoyed just hanging around the coach alone as I waited to hear from Dean after the game.
I managed to take the obligatory Guajome Park photo of the coach as I waited. It turned out pretty well as it usually does, including the proud and handsome driver and framed by the trees of the park.
It was a bit before noon that Dean picked me up and we headed to Chin’s Chinese Restaurant, our favorite choice for such fare around their parts.
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We shared a Pupu platter, something best described by the above photo. I ordered wonton soup and Dean ordered chicken lo mein. We ate well and enjoyed ourselves.
Back home Dean and I sat back and watched TV including the preliminary bouts of the McGregor – Mayweather match, but had no inclination to pay the $100 for the main card!
Dean drove me back home a bit before 1800 so I could do things around the coach, my evening chores, watch some more WWII documentary, and get to bed early for an early start home in the morning. And so I did; I was in bed just a few minutes after 2100.
Day 4, Sunday Oceanside, CA to home via I-5, SR99: 418 miles
I was up and at ’em at 0410, anxious to get the morning chores done and to hit the road. I pulled out of Guajome Park at 0445, drove down the hill to I-5 and headed north.
It was a drive in the dark for the first hour or so, but daylight came with a vengeance; it became a hot summer’s day pretty fast. It seemed strange to drive through a misty fog along the coast as I started my trip, so wet that I had to use the windshield wipers, only to find it blazing hot in the valley. And we had a real heat wave predicted, one that I hope will be summer’s last hurrah!
Other than the heat, and I had the dash air conditioner on high almost the entire trip, the drive was unremarkable, as I like. I stopped in Bakersfield for a Mickey D breakfast including a McMuffin, large coffee and an Oreo McFlurry for dessert – to go! I enjoyed breakfast as I continued toward home and the coffee and sugar jolt kept me alert all the way.
I had shopped online for cheap diesel before I left home, and found the cheapest price at a nondescript little station off the beaten path in Tulare, about 155 miles before I’d get back home. Now, I could make the trip to Dean’s and back home on one tank, something I often brag about, but I wanted cheap, and Tulare was the place. It took only 66 gallons to fill up, but even so I saved $20 on that tank alone compared to a Love’s truck stop that was also in Tulare. I love the ‘net!