Monday, September 6, 2010

Fun in Southern California

We went to Southern California this weekend.  It's quite different going there with the mindset that I have now rather than the mindset I had a couple of years ago.  Back then I'd travel with about five dollars in cash for every day that I was going to be gone.  I figured that I'd eat the free breakfast and evening snacks at the hotel so I only needed to bring money for food.  The credit card would pay for everything else.  I'd run the gas tank almost to empty because I wouldn't want to make any unnecessary stops.  I also loved to drive around just to see areas that I hadn't been to before.  I don't mean the get out of dodge routes, I would go through some of the worst parts of LA just to say that I'd been there. 

What an idiot!  Those trips have nothing in common with the drives down there now.  I'm driving a four wheel drive 3/4 ton pick up with a camper shell.  To start off, I had a five gallon gas can and a 14 gallon travel tank with me.    Even with a spare 19 gallons, I never let the 28 gallon tank go below ½ and I topped the tank off in the evening, rather than waiting for the morning.  I always had enough gas to get me home, no  matter where I was.  I brought a weapon and lots of ammunition.  I had several hundred dollars in cash, with the largest bill a $20.  Sure I brought my pack with the weekend worth of clothes but there is a 2 week supply of clothes always kept in the truck.  There is enough food, water, and Gatorade for two weeks, the medical aid bag, sleeping rolls, headlights and spare batteries, and tools and some spare parts.   

Even though I have driven every freeway in Southern California, I have my freeway maps, Thomas Brothers Guide and the computer with all the quad maps already loaded in.  I have a GPS as well.  I have taken many of the mountain roads which are substitutes for the 15, 5, and 101 freeways, the main north/south routes out the LA.  Fortunately, I have even been lucky enough to drive on many of the dirt roads and know my way through areas that very few have gone through.  One of my favorites was the "rock garden" over the top of Santa Barbara.  Beautiful ocean views but be careful or you will split your tires!

Back at home I left things differently as well.  I used to think I'm just going to be gone for two days and wouldn't do any preparation because if we left in the morning of one day and came home the next night, nothing would need to be prepped.  After all, none of the animals would starve.  I'd not even bother to lock the doors or close the windows.  Now I take the mindset that I'll be away for a week or two.  The garden and trees get good soakings, the animals have enough food and water for a week at least.  The property is locked up and the alarm system is turned on.  The mail gets stopped (even though only junk mail is delivered to the house, the rest goes to the PO Box). 

We still had fun.  We went to the mountain lakes and the beach.  I put in eight hours of work as well so got paid for having a good time.  Couldn't ask for a better weekend than that.    

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