Friday, September 7, 2012

Road Trip Part 8 - "He threatened to call the police!"

Leaving Yellowstone, we were facing an epic 17-18 hour journey back down south to California and Lake Tahoe. To say it was a driving stint and a half is an understatement – it was bad! Split between the 3 drivers (in theory) it didn’t seem initially too bad, just the fact that we were cooped up in the RV for that amount of time was going to be grim. Barney took the first stint through Montana and down through Idaho. Stopping around 10 for dinner off the highway, we went into Denny’s (never heard of it before) which was open 24 hours a day. Ugh, to be working some of those hours…. After a massive discussion/argument over eating in or take out (have to admit that was my fault) we found out the place had run out of fries. What sort of a diner runs out of fries?!

Belly’s filled (despite a lack of fries) it was my turn to drive, Wahid having drunk alcohol during Barney’s stint and despite his protests we didn’t let him drive. We wre all disappointed in his attitude, but yet again I stood in for the team and got driving through the night. With Michael riding shotgun, the radio blaring and the two of us singing along at the tops of our voices the first part passed pretty quickly. Apart from the boredom of a dead interstate. No wonder the speeds are so slow in the US… Reaching 12:30 people started to get into bed, with Antonio replacing Michael as co-driver. The interstate by this point had turned to highway, in the proper middle of nowhere – endless darkness of either side of us as be ploughed through the farmlands. Tiredness was starting to hit me, with a bit of a turning mistake which resulted in me being on the left hand side of the road after turning left out of a junction. Ooops! With an ‘oh shit’ and quick swerve I got back on the right, and luckily no one (especially cops!) was about to see it happen! I drove till 2am with Antonio falling asleep in the passenger seat – and her job was to keep me awake! – stopping in the town of Wells, NV (yeah, me neither) to crash out.

A sober Wahid drove the next stint in the morning, whilst I lay asleep on the couch for most of the morning – about time I had a lie in! Waking up and looking out of the window I was greeted by that all too common blue and white sign of Walmart. At least the sun was shining though I guess! Stocking up on the essentials, like rum, meat and chocolate we carried on, arriving into the Lake Tahoe area early afternoon. It was really interesting crossing the state line from Nevada to California (Lake Tahoe straddles the two), in an urban area that had built up around the Lake. The Nevada side of the Tahoe strip was full of casino resorts and liquor stores where as the Cali side had noticeably more expensive gas, and generally more high end establishments around. I still cant get over how much prices change when crossing the state borders, and also local alcohol licensing laws.  It really made budgeting and planning a lot harder as we couldn’t predict how much things would cost.

The RV site we were aiming for was near the lake edge, set in a pine forest (well the whole area is in a pine forest really!), and it reminded me hugely of Centre Parcs. Unfortunately the site we were going to stay in didn’t have hook ups –an issue as we hadn’t been in an RV park since Yellowstone and so was low on water and needed to dump the sewage rather urgently! After a debacle trying to get a refund, we found another RV site nearer to the lake edge, with full hook ups for a cheaper price –bizarre logic there! The evening was spent chilling out, with reggae playing out the iPod, the sun shining, and the BBQ going for a perfect eve with everyone getting merry. Being knackered from the late night driving, I crashed out early, missing out on the fun of Jon going skinny dipping in the lake. By himself…
Barney and Wahid preparing the BBQ
Jon getting his grill on
The next day was a lazy one, with a very nice but very expensive lunch right on the lake, including a very nice cocktail at $8 a pop. Ouch! The only bad point of the day was having to sort out a flat tire on the RV, which involved yet more calls to Cruise America to get someone to come and sort it out. We weren’t allowed to change the tire ourselves due to health and safety, and our safety was gonna cost us $100 for the callout, plus the cost of repairing the tire. Ugh… Thankfully a mechanic turned up within ½ hour and replaced the tire pretty quickly, finding a screw embedded in it. Once he had gone however we had the rest of the afternoon free to lounge on the beach by the lake and chill out. I decided I  wanted to go for a swim, and then quickly abandoned the idea when I felt the temperature of the water – bloody freezing! Finding a Frisbee from somewhere a game of ultimate Frisbee got going, and due to my positioning on the waters edge more often than not I had to go in and retrieve said Frisbee when some threw it too hard or missed a catch. I think I lost a fair amount of my manhood going in and out that water!

Chilling out by the lake

Amy and Antonia by the lake

The flat tire!
And getting it fixed.
Jon, Michael and I went for a shopping trip later in the afternoon, which isn’t really mentionable except for the fact that we got the tyre fixed for free (amazing what an accent can get you!) and Michael in his infinite wisdom (I have no idea why ) decided to empty the RV sewage in the carpark of the store. Now we had don’t this before in a Walmart car park when the sewage was overflowing (literally into the sink-eww!), but had been raining and we parked the RV directly over the sewage drain and emptied it subtly. Michael however decided to empty the sewage on this occasion in a dry car park well away from a drain, thus leading to the sewage to spread ALL over the car park and attract the attention of other shoppers. One of which threatened to call the police. So I arrived back from paying for the shopping to find Michael in an absolute panic going “we gotta go, we gotta go” and Jon laughing hysterically. Once I had realised what had gone on and called Michael a few choice words we hurriedly left the store car park, negating the need for more gas, and headed back to the RV park, with Michael convinced that the police were following us. This hilarious attitude was capitalised by everyone else well into the next day, especially when a police cruiser made a round of the RV park – brilliant!

That evening was another BBQ evening, although the noise had to be kept down due a couple of polite requests from other RV-ers around us – fair enough – though imnot sure how well we carried out these requests, especially as the merriness started. Good job we were leaving the next day I guess!
Barney mixing up the death concoction...

Little chipmunk who kept sniffing around for some food
I was also starting to see  dissatisfaction among others in the group towards the lack of contribution by some to general RV life, especially the shit jobs that had to be done – which pleased me no end because it meant I wasn’t the only one, apart from the fact I am probably a lot worse at holding it in than the others. Its always the same people driving for hours, hooking up the RV, putting in gas and do other shitty jobs whilst some others just sit around and manage to do as little as possible. My biggest source of complain was the ‘feminist’ nature of some of the girls, wanting everything equal (fair enough) except when it doesn’t benefit themselves. Prime example are the fact that two of the girls have yet to sleep on the floor, with one going “fuck that” when confronted about it. Sorry love, if you want to be equal then get your rights and responsibilities in order first. No one can have it all you know, especially on in an RV. This especially come to a head when one girl was up later than most drinking, and being unable to find a suitable sleeping spot for her precious head (ie a bed) she decided to push me over on the bed above the cabin and stretch out. To say I wasn’t happy is an understatement – you just don’t take someone else's bed space like that, especially when they are tired and already asleep. Get on the floor like others have had to do. 

But anyways, Lake Tahoe was a beautiful part of the world and I’m glad we managed to have a few days chilling there, and I would definitely recommend going there. Just maybe stay away from the main strip and head more into the Cali side where it’s a bit quieter and a hell of a lot more picturesque!

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