Norm is chauffering us to Campo, California today in Flipper, his beloved motor home. Patti keeps insisting they are trading Flipper in for a newer model while Norm, paradoxically, keeps installing laminant flooring, backsplahes and spice racks. We will have a brief stopover in Joshua Tree National Park, overnight in Campo, and then start the trail early Monday morning. Norm will be following us through the desert for the first week to two weeks with Flipper and his Jeep. Much of the Southern California section of the PCT is relatively close to the highway, so this will allow us to ease into the hiker lifestyle by RV camping occasionally. We said goodbye for now to Patti and Riley this morning. Riley didn’t come when called, but didn’t run away either. She made herself accessible by siting down. This is as close to a loving gesture as it gets with her, though she might just be tired from the sudden weight gain. Patti had treated us very well during our stay, feeding us nearly every night and even joining us for meals occasionally. Patti is very generous and also extremely quotable and I could do a whole post just on hilarious things she said. But, since this is a travel blog, I will just list a few highlights with context:
After getting our wills notarized, one of which listed her as a beneficiary: “It’s Gonna be an antifreeze night for you kids.”
After offering the last bit of her beer which I refused, as she had a cold: “Oh quit being such a pussy pie” then ” Its just a little joke, don’t get your panties waded.”
Driving to happy hour: “I would hate it if we got 69ed before we even had dinner….I mean 96ed!!” [she meant 86ed, I assume]
Treating us to a pedicure: “At least if something happens, I’ll know you went with good feet.”
Flipper had the first minor issue 90 miles from home when she overheated and needed a 15 minute timeout to cool down. (I will keep this section updated as issues arise) Update: 245pm pdt, wish I hadn’t said that last part, Dolphin Down! The RV engine temperature sensor was going crazy so we stopped at a pullout in Joshua Tree National Park. It looked like Flipper peed herself. There was coolant all over the road. A bolt had rattled lose off the water pump. Norm’s terrier Junebug, perhaps sensing that we were all frustrated, tried to lighten the mood by vomiting all over the cabin. After a little cleanup, we scoured the motor home for a replacement bolt. Having no success, we turned to the Jeep. Finding no appropriate sized bolt to parasitize, we began a needle in a haystack operation along Pinto Basin road with predictable results. Sarah and Norm then detached the Jeep and drove 30 miles or so to the nearest town for parts. I stayed behind in the motor home with the dog and repackaged our meals. Update 6:53pm PDT. The Good news is Norm found the bolt, its location is problematic though. It sheared off inside the engine block. I hear sunset in Joshua Tree is nice. Update: 8:20 pm. We will have to spend the night in this pullout. We will drive into the town of Twenty Nine Palms at first light and try to arrange a tow and repair. We will have to start a day late on the PCT. Norm’s ability to shadow us is now up in the air. June Bug refuses to eat. Lacking internet, we spend the evening playing games like “how many cars will pass in ten minutes” and “name the tune I am tapping on this water bottle”. Times are tough, but our morale remains high.
Update: 8pm PDT the following evening. Flipper is in the shop with no clear timetable for repair. Norm is driving us in the Jeep to Lake Morena near Campo where we will camp and drive to the trailhead in the morning. Also, our credit card (one of our only forms of payment on the trail) was compromised through an amazon hack.