(photo manipulation)

I went to San Diego this weekend because the night before my son, Andy, got married to Crystal, my wonderful daughter-in-law, my twenty-two year old Nissan pickup died parked twenty feet from the Oceanside, CA beach. The timing belt broke.

My son drove us around the next day before and after the wedding and reception. A couple of days latter, I rented a car and drove home. The repair bill for the truck was $950. A week after the wedding, the truck was repaired and Andy drove it to work at the San Diego Marriott and back to Fallbrook where Crystal and Andy lived with her parents. The only problem was that I did not have wheels here in Provo.

Fortunately, Andy and Crystal were planning to move here. They wanted to take a year between the wedding and starting school at the Culinary Institute of America in Hydepark, NY. He has a job here as a Pastry Chef. They are staying with my parents until they can find an apartment in either Provo or Orem. Crystal is thinking about going to school either at BYU or UVU for Summer and Fall semesters.

So, Friday at 5:30pm I drive off in another rental and arrive in San Diego eleven hours later. I slept for five hours thinking I would be able to spend the day with the kids and drive back on Sunday. I wanted to go to the beach since I wasn’t able to spend a lot of time there without a truck back in December. The only problem is that Andy and Crystal wanted out of California and her parents house as soon as possible.

So we hit the road. Five minutes after driving off, the hose from the radiator broke off. I fixed it. Crystal got lost on the way to Hertz to drop off the rental. I found her and treated her to soda and french-fries. Twenty minutes on I-15, the tread on the driver-side rear-tire peeled off. I bought a new tire at the Wal-Mart next to the offramp in Lake Elsinore, CA. After a four hour delay, we were finally off for good. It was as if California was trying to keep us.

Doing the hills in Southern California was hard for the truck. Its carburetor is adjusted for Utah’s high altitude, so it was bleeding power and would never get over 45 miles per hour. The high winds and half ton of house-hold goods drug on the truck and it took two hours to get past San Bernadino, but once we got into the higher altitude of Victorville, the truck took off. We made great time only having problems with the steepest grades.

Here are the interesting bits from my trip:

  • The Nissan Versa is a great compact car. The two rental cars were both Versas. For compacts, they had good acceleration, handling and breaking. The gas milage was great. I spent $90 getting to Utah in a Versa and $150 in my truck. I thoroughly enjoyed doing ninety miles an hour to Utah and back to California in the different Versas almost entirely on cruise control.
  • Descending into Las Vegas is beautiful, while descending into Los Angelas is like diving into sea of glowing amber goop. The air above Las Vegas was clear and the strip sparkled from twenty miles away. LA, twenty miles away, is a horror story.
  • I did ninety through the Virgin River Gorge only hitting the brakes before the turns.
  • Driving between Baker to Barstow, CA, I saw and passed nothing except three Wal-Mart big rigs.
  • Driving between Parowan and Nephi, UT, I saw and passed nothing. I only saw a few animals crossing the highway. Headlights and snow-covered desert.
  • My truck’s chair does not adjust or have cruise control, so my back and legs still hurt.
  • I love that gas in Utah in less than $3 a gallon. The almost $4 a gallon in California is robbery, but most of that is in the form of state gas-tax.
  • Gambling pays for nice highways in Nevada, while Arizona ignores its stretch of chuck-holes making the Virgin River Gorge a terror ride and hell on any car’s suspension.

5 thoughts on “Raspberries

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