October 27, 2013 – our eventful trip begins to get more interesting. Lake Minden Thousand Trails added a Welcome where are now to register when arriving at the park. We were greeted by a speaker that said pull in to the parking lot after the gate opens. When the gate opened, Athena drove into the lot, but it was dark and she was not sure where to park, but everything worked out. After entering the welcome center we were handed our traditional check in material and a sheet of paper showing how the parking is to be used. Good thing we were the only ones here, we were totally misusing the parking lot. Leaving, did not go so well. We connected our car to the rig at our camp site, and left at about 9am. When we got to the parking lot there was a 40′ rig properly parked, and hooking up his car. There was a 40′ 5th wheel arriving, and us. We all needed the same space and were stuck. I turned our rig up tight against the guy hooking up, and around the hood of the pickup with the fifth wheel. At that instance, I learned Athena was right, our rig can’t turn a radius that sharp, and now what we had left was the appearance of a well executed game of twister where we were all tied up in knots, but yet never making contact with each other. There was only one option at this point. Disconnect the car! We need to go backwards. Athena guided be back up to the other 40 footer until our rig was close enough to need to be wearing its wedding ring. We did this about six times while I got the front of my rig spun around until lined up with the exit gate. Once I exited the gate, the other guy who was hooking up was able to escape and the fifth wheel finally gets to check in. Athena and I found place about a 100 yards out of the park on the edge of a nut farm to reconnect the car to the rig and we were again on our way.
We stayed the night at our normal Bakers Field haunt “Bear Mountain RV” living like kings on 50A, Sewer connections and all the water we could use. We had an excellent supper at the Golden Corral where kids 12 and under eat for $3.00 meaning we had all you can eat steak for only $27.00. Coincidentally our nights stay with tax was also $27.00. Not bad for a travel day. We did run into some additional headaches on the way to Bakersfield. I drove from Nicolaus Ca, to Ripon where I pulled into the Flying J for fuel. Athena got out and directed me into the RV lane which was too tight a turn for us to make without guidance as they placed a cement post in the RV lanes. I really prefer the truck lanes as the RV, is built to take the truck pumps and nozzles, but Flying J prefers RV’s on their own area, seem reasonable on paper, but they are too small. I was tired and wanted to go to Denny’s for lunch, but all the RV parking spaces require you to back in. Class and A and C rigs using a standard tow package do not have reverse capabilities. We drove on, to LUV’s just north of Bakersfield, every spot including the truck spaces were back in only, so we drove on, and were very happy for the services in Bakersfield. Early the next morning, about 9am we left Bakersfield heading out on hwy58. This stretch of road was steep and windy our top speed on the hills was about 30mph. Cummins 330ISL appears to only be able to go 30 with 35K pounds and a 7 percent grade. I was good with that, the 200 cars behind us did not seem amused.