The skies had the unique clarity of a high-desert sunrise in winter. The rains came early to Southern California and the San Gabriel mountains were covered with snow. It was a beautiful sight that would stay with us most of the morning. We very much wanted to get on with the drive, so after a quick breakfast, we hit the road.
The drive from Victorville to Santa Paula is not that long, but Saturday traffic typically has folks rushing around trying to get all their errands done in one day. Throw in some home-to-work and recreational traffic and driving becomes a nightmare. There is no regular flow to the traffic, cars and darting around and speed limits are generally ignored. At least we knew what to expect.
Our route took us along State Route 18 (the old Pearblossom Highway) that follows the northern edge of the San Gabriel Mountains. This is a heavily used two-lane road that should have been widened 30 years ago. The road is prone to washouts in bad weather and sure enough, we had to stop while road crews cleared away the last of the mud.
We picked up highway 14 near Lancaster, which is a typical freeway for Southern California — the normal traffic load is about 300% of designed carrying capacity. Due to excessive use and poor maintenance, the roadway is in sad shape. It felt like we were driving over logs. We’re lucky the fillings didn’t rattle out of our teeth. I have no idea how truckers put up with this pounding all day long.
Compounding the problem, the road from Lancaster to I-5 is downhill most of the way, dropping about 3,000 feet in 25 miles. A cautious truck driver will keep his rig at the 55 mile per hour speed limit; any faster and the rig can easily get out of control. Drivers of light vehicles don’t realize this and zip around trucks with reckless abandon. It was a nerve-racking drive and we were glad to get on flatter ground.
The campground was just outside of Santa Paula and we got there a little after noon. It is a really nice facility in a quiet an pretty spot. We quickly set up, grabbed some lunch in town and headed to see the kids.
The twins, Hailee and Ali were having a birthday party and the place was crawling with kids. Fortunately, the jumper that was set up in the yard kept them occupied. The kids had really grown in the past nine months and we were pleased to see everyone looked like they were doing well. The new house Andy and Dannette recently purchased is very nice and the family seems to have settled in just fine.
After the party we visited CeeCee, Jeanne’s aunt, and we were happy to see she was doing well.
It had been a long day. We returned to the coach and immediately went to bed.