Updated September, 2002
I took over as Park Manager for three days around the 4th of July so Al and Elaine could have some vacation time with their kids. We had a celebration in the park with a cart parade and other festivities.
Alice and I decided we were making no use of the cellphone and couldn't expect to need it until next year, so we dropped the service. We probably should have done it half a year ago. I finally started on the blinds and figured out how to fix them. It was a character building experience but saved the $45 we paid the last time in Hemet. One bit of advice to any who want to try it: leave plenty of extra string for tying off. We gave up on the toilet in the Automate and ordered a new Bravura like we had put in Little Al.
On the 6th I received a letter from the agent at The Writerstore in Atlanta, GA that she wanted to see my manuscript. I was estatic. I got some new ink cartridges and started printing. I made two copies at Staples and on the 10th I mailed the manuscript. Now it was a matter of waiting and hoping.
We had made plans on meeting Mike and Gail in Las Vegas but as the time approached the temperature in the desert went up. It was over 100 degrees in Las Vegas and there did not look to be any relief. We called the kids and explained we would pass on the meeting and go to the coast instead.
I finished up with a Board meeting then an
Executive meeting to cover necessary items the loaded up Little
Al. I had made reservations at the Rancho Oso TTN Park on the
coast up from Santa Barbara. It would be our first trip to that
The morning of the 13th before we left I went to the Post Office to pick up notification that The Writerstore had received my manuscript.
Then we headed off for the Santa Barbara area. I had talked with Bud Lewin about the best way to go, and he said since it was Saturday to just head over to I-5 and then catch US-101 to the coast, right through the heart of Los Angeles. I took his advice.
The drive up I-15 to Hwy-90 was smooth and easy. But when we turned onto the 90 we hit a parking lot. It was mostly stop with intermittant go all the way to I-5. Turning northwest it only got worse. We were in that traffic for six hours going through Los Angeles on a non-holiday Saturday afternoon. It was bad traffic every direction. My advice about driving through LA -- DON'T!
Once we made it to Ventura US-101 got a little bit better. We finally made it through town and turned off at the exit for Hwy-154. It was cool along the coast but we had to climb over 2,215 foot San Marcos pass, and on the other side it was somewhat warmer. Down the slope we turned off on Paradise Road and headed back east about five miles to the turnoff to the TTN park. The road was narrow, winding, and lumpy, but passable. Do not plan on driving very fast on it. The total trip had been 220 miles in almost seven hours.
The sign at the Rancho Oso TTN Park suggested checking on CB Channel 3 to see if the road was clear before driving the mile to the ranger station. Since we did not have a CB with us and were pulling a small rig, I proceeded slowly down the road. It was actually not as much of a problem as implied, though if a couple of 40ft motorhomes met at the wrong curve someone would have to back up. We made it without meeting anyone and stopped in the shade at the ranger station, waiting our turn to check in.
Rancho Oso is a nice park. It is quite remote and quiet. The rigs are arranged on a series of terraces up the side of the hill. The old stone lodge is down near the river and is very picturesque. The weather was pretty warm and we went swimming a couple of time in a nice pool.
The next day we drove back into Santa Barbara to look around and buy some groceries. We were finally fed up with the old radio in Little Al and purchased a new one at Circuit City along with a set of computer speakers. The radio worked well, but the speakers were DOA.
We were able to check email and voicemail a couple of times, and there were a few Board items I had to cover over the telephone, but all in all it was a restful time. I had a chance to work on one of the sequels to Memphis 7.9, the one I am calling Broken River. It is mostly made up of those scenes I removed from the original book. Therefore, it is already about 80% written.
One day we drove to the west into Solvang.
It is an interesting town with a Danish motiff. There are lots
of restaurants and curio shops. We also found a great hardware
store in Santa Inez.
We headed back to Jojoba Hills the next Saturday, but I had asked for advice on how to get there before I left. This time I cut off onto Hwy-126 at Oxnard and drove over to I-5 near Santa Clarita. It was a beautiful drive, mostly flat with a few mild curves, through orange groves and a few small towns. The traffic increased on I-5 but I took the I-210 exit towards Pasadena and it cleared out. It was an easy drive over to the I-10 where I headed east to intersect the I-15 and turn south. From there on it was smooth sailing and we made it into Jojoba Hills in good time. The distance was only 9 miles more that the trip to Rancho Oso, but the time was at least two hours shorter.
We had dinner with the Nelson's that evening and caught up on the news. Still the same. On Sunday Alice washed clothes while I prepared a copy of the book for John Nelson to review. Late afternoon there was a Supper in the Shade at the Patio BBQ that was lots of fun.
On Monday the 22nd I went to Dr. Wood's office for a carotid artery scan then was fitted with a Holtor monitor. Unfortunately, when I did some work that afternoon and got sweaty the leads to the monitor fell off and when I returned it the readings were no good.
return holter after it fell off
On Wednesday I installed DeLorme Topo 4.0 on my computer then got a call to run a water sample into the lab in Riverside. That evening I worked over the mailroom rules and the next day we had a Board meeting.
John brought back his comments on Memphis 7.9 and had some good inputs. I was finding that different people responded quite differently on the various characters and where in the book things slowed down. They were all agreeing it was a hard book to put down once you got into the middle of it.
Friday evening fmy sister Rosemary and Everett drove by to see our current home, then we went to supper. The next morning we drove to Palm Desert to visit my other sister Janet and Michael.
Sunday and Monday Alice and I had the AED so it kept us pinned down. I talked to Ron and Nancy Hoppe about workamping here at Jojoba Hills and invited them to come work for us.
On Tuesday I received email notice from the Vines Agency that they were not interested in Memphis 7.9. The comment was succinct: "Not for me."
I ended the month taking care of other odd jobs around the park, including driving into Ontario to pick up some parts for Al Porges. I got busy writing Smoke Signals and doing the Calendar to have them done by the evening of the 31st.