Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

Up All Night, Drive All Day

The San Jose Giants BASFA Baseball Night was a great success, except the Giants got their hats handed to them on the field. It was still great fun and great food. After the game there was a fireworks show as well, which was also entertaining. I walked with Doug and Kirsten Berry and Lisa Harrigan out to the parking lot at San Jose Municipal Stadium and bade them good night, as I'd parked way in the back of the parking lot on account of the Rolling Stone needs extra space. I climbed in to the RV, turned on the light, put away my baseball gear, turned off the light, then climbed into the driving compartment and turned the key.


Instantly I realized that I'd left the headlights on, and because the warning buzzer only goes off when you open the driver's door and I'd exited through the "living room" door, I hadn't realized it at the time.

If I'd been carrying jumper cables (which are in the Astro, not the RV), I could have jump-started myself. Note what I said about having turned on the light in the sleeping compartment. The RV has two deep-cycle batteries. One is for the driving part of the vehicle, and the other runs the "hotel" power. If I'd clipped them together, I could have started things that way. Except that it takes two people to get the hood open due to the spring in the hood being worn out.

So I called AAA. It took them a while to figure out where I was — apparently I wasn't pronouncing "Municipal" clearly enough — and then it took more than an hour for the AAA driver to come and give me the jump start. Ironically, he said he'd been there earlier than evening, but had left before the end of the game. The jump-start itself was routine and the RV started up right away.

I'd called Lisa while waiting for AAA, and she says that she regrets not putting in a circuit that would allow me to jump-start from the "hotel" battery by throwing a switch in the driving compartment.

By the time I was running again, it was around 12:30 AM. In order to get enough juice back into the battery so that I'd be sure of being able to start it up again the next time I turned it off, I had to drive around the Bay Area for around an hour. At that hour, I could drive US-101, CA-85, and CA-237 at full freeway speed. Then when I parked in my usual quiet spot for the night, I left the RV idling (no accessories, and particularly no headlights) while I did my usual nightly setup of the bed. Net result: no problem restarting this morning.

With all of that unwanted extra excitement, I didn't get to bed until very very late. (My usual bedtime is around 8-9 PM on account of having to be up so early on weekdays.) I didn't set the alarm, and yet I work up on my own at 4:45 AM! But I then went back to sleep for a couple more hours. That was still early enough that I had time to go use the shower at my office and head toward Tracy on my way aiming for Yuba City, where I need to go to my actual bank branch sometime before the end of July.

It being a Saturday morning, I didn't bother to check traffic conditions the way I would do on a weekday. Big mistake. My first choice road to cut over to the Livermore Valley was clogged up with an accident. I managed to escape and head back to I-680. As I was entering the freeway, I (too late to escape) realized that it was jammed as well. I spent the next hour-plus creeping along the next two miles, before getting past the scene of the big rig that had caught fire and was blocking the right three (of four) lanes. After that it was smooth sailing to Tracy, where I stopped for breakfast, and then to Lodi Junction, where I refueled the RV. (Not surprisingly, fuel mileage was poor due to having spent all that time idling to recharge the battery.)

Now I was faced with having 90 minutes to go 75 miles to Yuba City before the bank closed. This was conceivable, but there was simply too much heavy traffic, and when I got into Sacramento, I got stuck in another accident. I clearly would not make it to Yuba City in time today, so I gave up and took the Business 80 exit to escape the traffic accident tailback and head for the nursing home where my sister is. And then I found myself in another pile of slow traffic on Business 80. Even on a Saturday morning.

After a pleasant visit with Kelli, I set out for home. With only about five hours of sleep last night, I reviewed in the back of my mind options for bailing out of today's trip, the foremost of which would have been to hole up at the Gold Run rest area and sleep for a few hours. (I've spent the night there once. California allows up to eight hours parking in a 24-hour period in a rest area and doesn't prohibit sleeping in your vehicle — otherwise all of those big-rig drivers would be breaking the state law while obeying the federal one about maximum hours of service.) Unfortunately, the Gold Run rest area turned out to be closed for some sort of major maintenance. By then, I did need to stop for a while, so I got off the freeway and onto the paralleling roads, which are mostly pieces of old US-40. Eventually that led me to Secret Town Road, for which I've seen the exit many times but never investigated. I ended up driving to the end of county maintained paved road (where there's plenty of room to turn around), which turned out to be a nice place to stop for a while.

Secret Town Curve

This shady, secluded spot has a good view of this stretch of the Union Pacific Sierra Nevada line. I stopped the RV and opened all of the doors and the roof vents to let the vehicle air out and cool off while I had a light lunch and laid back on the sofa for a while.

Besides the stop at Secret Town, I also stopped at Colfax, Donner Summit Rest Area, and the vista point past Boomtown. (I also concluded that Donner Summit, unlike Gold Run, is not a good rest area for laying up for the night. It's just too busy and noisy, and doesn't have the quiet corners that Gold Run does.) I don't think I ever actually went to sleep, but in all cases I stopped and laid down on the sofa and closed my eyes for a while.

I finally got home sometime between 7 and 8 PM. Lisa helped me unload the RV. I'm glad to be home. While I'm glad I can use the RV to work for a week in the Bay Area, and I was very happy to be able to attend the "Little" Giants game with BASFA, I am also very glad I don't generally need to make these sort of trips more than about four times a year now, and maybe less.
Tags: baseball, basfa, rolling stone, rv, trains

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