Last night I wrote that the time zone had changed to Pacific Standard Time. Wrong! It changed to PST today when we crossed the state line into California. But, like I said last night – it really doesn’t make any difference.
We left Flagstaff this morning about 10:15 AM (which time zone, I’m not sure). As we traveled west on I-40 there was desert on both sides of the highway. The further west we traveled, the higher the temperature and the lower the relative humidity. Before we were out of Arizona the temperature was well over 100 degrees with the RH percentage in the mid to high 20’s. Don’t let anybody tell you that “dry” heat is not hot! It was hotter than hades!
We were planning to stop at the California Welcome Center to pick up a California road map and make our lunch. However about 30 miles or so from the state line there was a sudden loud banging noise on the roof, just above our heads. I immediately thought about the awning that had recently been replaced at significant expense. It must have been installed improperly and pulled open by the high cross-winds that we were experiencing.
Luckily, there was very little traffic and I flipped on my emergency flashers and began slowing down and pulling over onto the shoulder. As I came to a stop, Carol Ann looked out of the passenger side window and saw something hanging out from the edge of the roof. I opened the door, stepped outside, and saw about half of the batwing TV antenna, a little bent, jutting out over the side of the coach. I knew that I had lowered it before we left. We hang a red sign on the antenna handle inside the coach to remind us that the antenna is up. I’m not sure why it happened, but the wind had apparently forced it up from its stowed position, stripping its gears in the process.
I got a broom stick and pushed the antenna back onto the roof. I was going to climb up and see about securing it but there was a rest area only about 5 miles ahead so we decided it would be safer to creep along to the rest area than to sit beside the highway.
As we approached the rest area at 45 mph, there was no noise from the roof, and we decided to go on to the California Welcome Center. The state line was only 20 miles away and if we needed help, it would be easier to find at the welcome center rather than at the unmanned rest area. When we reached the state line I began looking for the welcome center exit. We kept watching until we realized that there was no California Welcome Center! On I-40, a major highway, and no welcome center. It was hard to believe. At least the antenna seemed to be okay for the time being so we kept on for another 10 miles or so until we reached Needles, CA, which is where Snoopy’s uncle is from. We exited the interstate and pulled into an abandoned service station. I changed from shorts into jeans in anticipation of the roof being blisteringly hot. I also put on gloves and a hat. It was 114 degrees outside when I opened the storage bay to get the ladder. I climbed onto the roof with a plastic grocery bag of bungee cords, duct tape, and zip ties. Oh, it was hot up there! I walked to the front of the roof where the wounded antenna lay. I managed to get it aligned properly and to lay flat on the roof. I used a bungee cord to secure it, climbed back down, and put the ladder away.
It was lunch time so we went ahead and had lunch before getting back on I-40. We had the motorhome’s dash air conditioner on its highest setting and the generator running to power both roof-top air conditioners, which were running continuously in an attempt to pump the heat from the motorhome.
A moon landscape would look more hospitable than the land on either side of I-40. It was miserable and desolate looking in every direction as far as the eye could see. Large portions of the earth were covered with black volcanic rock, as if thousands of truckloads of coal had been scattered about. The mountains in the distance were impressive looking, but not pretty. There were no forests covering them. They were dotted with rocks and scrub cacti. We were passing along the lower end of the Mojave Desert with Death Valley just to the northwest. Thank goodness we didn’t go that way!
We pulled into the KOA RV park in Barstow at 4:30 PM (it was Pacific Standard Time) with the temperature at 112 degrees. Carol Ann made us each a bourbon and Coke as it was too hot to do anything else. It is a little past 7:30 PM, the sun has finally set, and the temperature is 100 degrees outside and 92 degrees inside the motorhome. Hopefully, it will begin cooling off now that the sun is down.
Here are a couple of photos I took as the sun was setting.