Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The Trip, Quartzsite Bus Rally.
The Trip, Quartzsite Bus Rally. We left last Thursday morning in a driving rain from Ramona Canyon RV resort that we manage in Ramona,CA. We rendezvoused with fellow Bus Nuts from the MAK board, Mike and Lisa, aka, Loosenut in east San Diego along Hwy 8. They pulled up in a very nice 30' Neoplan. The rain and wind kept coming as we made our way to El Centro where we had lunch at the famous Mexican restaurant Camachos. We found the service to be a litte slow, the food was good but the portions were small. The waitress actually whined a bit that we didn't order their special; a handmade puffy quesadilla! Not a place to go if you are in a hurry. We waited 10 mins at the counter for the check! At least we had good company in Mike, Lisa and Lisa's mom, Mary Lou. When we pulled up in front of the restaurant, the parking lot was under a foot of water, so we had to park directly in front of the restaurant which is a little small for a 40' bus and toad. As we left, I tried to turn around onto the road but both front tires went on to the shoulder. Mrs. Jones slid in the mud about 10' and settled with her bumper and exit door up against a dirt embankment just missing a large wooden pole. Christi's eyes almost popped out of her head! The bus was blocking the whole road and part of the parking lot and I could see the large field trucks heading our way. I hit the door button but the door only opened 6 inches since it was lodged against the dirt. I pushed it open another 2 inches and squeezed out to frantically unhook the toad and survey the damage. We got the toad off and both bus drivers (rear tires) were still on the pavement. The front end was 18 inches deep in the mud. I got back in the bus, put her in reverse and she muscled right out of the muck. I love my bus! We hooked back up right in the middle of the road! There was no way my tires were getting off the pavement again. Back on I8, the rain and wind kept pounding us. As we went through the Imperial Sand Dunes just west of Yuma, we were sandblasted. The wind blew from the south, mixed with rain and the sand was sticking to everything. We made our turn on Hwy 95 in Yuma and headed north. We stopped for cheap fuel at Barney's Truck Stop. We started fueling and Loosenut pulled in. I asked, "What do you think of this trip so far?" He said, "At least we have lots of good stories to tell!" I think Lisa and Mary Lou are at their wits end it being their 1st long trip in a bus. I bet their last too! LOL We finished fueling and continued North on Hwy 95. The wind had calmed and I could relax a little driving Mrs. Jones. However this was short lived. After about 15 miles the wind and rain began pounding us once again hitting us broadside; but this time out of the east! Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse we had to deal with all the washes that cross the highway. In the desert, the ground saturates quickly and the washes flow. Because it seldom rains in the desert, the State Road Dept. doesn't seem to think there is much of a need to construct bridges or culverts over the washes. Therefore we had to contend with water running across the road. We counted 7 washes that flooded the highway. The depth of the water started at 4 inches and just got deeper and faster as we got closer to the "Q". The last 2 washes we crossed were well over a foot deep. About 5 miles outside of Quartzsite the sky turned black and the clouds were swirling and dumping rain in buckets. We heard a tornado warning had been issued for the area. We pulled into Rice Ranch and parked in the middle of the bus rally grounds. Bob Evans (Bob of the North) met us in the driving rain and proceeded to temporarily lose his hat to a gust of wind. He was all arms & legs running after it! A moment later Larry Hall arrived in his PT Cruiser and advised us to stay there until the rain subsided a bit. We made a run for it to Larry and Carol's bus and waited out the deluge. Good Hugs! Soon the rain stopped and we were able to get parked. Look honey! Look at all the buses! Is that "Pappa Bus?" It's rally time, Oh, Ahhhhhh BUS... All the Best, Michael & Christi See our other Blog;http://michaelhargisshow.blogspot.com/