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On the road - part 5..."that van"

Posted 06-23-2014 at 09:54 PM by Hevithan
Updated 06-23-2014 at 09:55 PM by Hevithan (Spelling errors)

So, if you have read my past posts you'll know where this van was picked up from. San clemente. Our time in the van was limited, just a short trip from LA until a small border town in Arizona, but it is a defining experience to the entire trip. These 2 girls, Erin and Danielle, where our saviors from LA. They picked myself, Shaun, and light up from San clemente and we planned to ride all the way to Arkansas. We drove from there down interstate 5 (a major motorway/freeway) until we hit a small Highway that crossed the Mojave desert. When we got on the highway it was just starting to get dark(California in the summertime so it was about 9pm), and about an hour later we needed gas. We stopped at a truckstop, and light held a sign saying we need gas. A trucker asked him if we really need gas, or did we want money for something else... We assured him a Ford econline drinks gas, and that is definitely what we needed. The trucker said "follow me, there's another stop a few miles away that I have reward points with... I'll get you a full tank there."

Obviously, we followed. It was during this ride that we discovered the brakes on the van where starting to fail. Despite having an ABS, we had to pump vigorously to get any stopping power. We got to the gas station and as promised, the trucker payed to fill the tank (Danielle dented the entire side of the van by being to close to the pump) and bought all 5 of us dinner. We'd explained our brake issue, and he recommended a mechanic who was within 1 mile of the station that we could call in the morning. After he left, we all headed to the van. We swapped stories, smoked some pot, and listened to the radio. Pretty much the only station we could get (that wasn't news or evangelical spewing) was Dr. Demento... If you don't know who he is, pay Google a visit. Everyone but me and Eric passed out... We both knew all the songs and she was a delight to talk to. Maybe 45 minutes or so after the others fell asleep she produced a small baggie, an asked if I wanted one of these pills. To this day I don't know what the pill was... An upper for sure. We stayed awake and sat on top of the van talking... Cleared out trash (fast food bags, soda bottles, etc), washed Windows, bought an air freshener... Pretty much every activity you can do at a gas station. We returned to the top of the van, and watched the sun rise over the dunes of the desert in silence. At this time I didn't have a camera, and that still annoys me. I don't know if it was drug induced, or the bare rawness of nature... But that Mojave sunrise was absolutely stunning. As everyone woke we decided to buy breakfast (truck stops generally have fast food, but this one had a homework diner... Score!) and try to contact this mechanic. We got a hold of him and light drove the van to him, while the rest stayed and ate. Over breakfast we'd decided that due to her denting the van, Danielle couldn't be driver... But Noone else had a license. Given our options, I was the most experienced unlicensed driver... So I was to drive the remainder of our trip. The van came back, new pads, rotors, and rotate tires. We left the station and drove out of California and into Arizona (roughly 10 miles or so). We got on the interstate in Arizona and the speed limit increased to 80 MPH. It took the heft van, with all of us and our stuff, a good 2 minutes to reach what the speedometer claimed was the vans top speed of 80. This speed was short lived... The van started to Rumble and shake and we could hear a faint hum. "What's that?" Shaun said... I don't know replied the girls and I... A few seconds later light says, "I think I know."... At that exact time, the drivers side tire flew off... Literally flew off. The front side of the van hit the pavement just as I turned on or emergency lights/hazards. The girls are screaming bloody murder, Shaun is possibly the calmest I have ever seen a human, and light is yelling "pull over!"... I say,"we're going near 100mph and the shoulder is gravel,lower then the road, I'm not pulling over, we wait to slow down."... Once we hit about 20,i start pulling left (the left being the side without a tire) we slowly, but surely, make it onto the shoulder. Adrenaline racing, pulse higher then Charlie sheen on a Friday night, and sweaty as hell... We all kiss the sweet, non moving ground. About 15min later, state patrol drives by, listens to our explanation about why a 3 ton piece of machinery with only 3 wheels is parked on the wrong side of an interstate... Offers us all rides to the nearest city of Quartzsite, Arizona... But Quartzsite is another story. =)
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  1. Old Comment
    Enjoy it. Been there back in the past (way back) on the east coast from Jersey to Florida. Then from Florida to Texas.

    Been to Arkansas. Back when my Little Sister was stationed there at the AFB. I was driving a 51 dodge pickup
    (not in 1951, but the 90's) cross country picking people like you on the way.

    Top speed in the 51 was 50mph on the freeway. Flathead 6 cycl with 1951 drive train. It drove the hitchers
    crazy moving soo slow. I made 7 round trips from Jersey to Southern California. 1 way trip took 7 days of constant driving by me with no sleep.

    Stay out of South Texas and Southern Arizona. The heat here will kill ya thumbing on the side of the road in the Sun.

    Happy Trails from a Linux using Scooter Tramp, Rok
    Posted 06-24-2014 at 07:52 PM by rokytnji rokytnji is offline


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