Saturday, July 18, 2015

Boondock Boondoggle PART TWO!!!!

Oh my God...where do I even begin?  The last three days have been a horrifying adventure which my poor mother should never have to endure.

First, if you recall, back on July 3rd we did a one night boondock on a deadend road next to a Walmart in Lompoc California.  We needed some place for one night since the Santa Barbara RV park did not have space for us that day.  So I went to Walmart with permission for one night in their lot, but the lot was crowded, and I have a 32' rig with an SUV attached.  I didn't see the space for us. 

However, next to the Walmart was a deadend road with an open field on one side leading to an airport where people did skydiving (hence the need for the open field).  On the other side of the road was a factory parking lot, fenced off with barbwire from the road, and a bus station for the Chumash Casino where employees and the odd Lompoc local or two could hitch a ride to the casino.

On this street there was a class A with a toad and a travel trailer, unhitched, with it's slide out.  Both looked like long-term residents.

Also in Lompoc were streets that allowed overnight truck parking with signs that said, 'Overnight Trucks Park between signs' and the like.

So the town of Lompoc seemed to me to be tolerant over overnight camping on the streets.  (Remember, I have no idea what I'm talking about).  And this out of the way street seemed to have some long term residents with plenty of room for the low flow of traffic and a few more occupants.

Lompoc is 70 degrees in July which makes it a perfect boondocking place.  It also has great reception for cell, Internet, and TV.  And then, everything you need is in walking distance, with a Walmart, grocery store, and Chinese massage (I love chair massages) next door.

We were miserable in Santa Barbara so we decided to leave two days early and go straight back to our boondock.  Well...we actually thought we were leaving only one day early, but I screwed up.

When we got there the unhitched trailer was gone, but there was a 5th Wheel without a truck attached and the Class A with the toad was still there.  I felt confident that we could boondock here the seven out days I required.  It was also going to be a much better location for us than Santa Barbara--a lot cooler too~!  And with plenty of shopping to give us exercise.  Yay!

So we spent the night without incident.  The next morning we went shopping and I got a chair massage.  Then we came back and enjoyed the TV and Internet we were now getting without a problem.  The breeze through the windows were cool.  We were happy campers.


AHHHH!  I immediately panicked and started tearing down.  But then he left the street without doing anything.  I went out to survey the situation and realized that the 5th Wheel now had a truck attached and a person inside it.

I was still ready to give up on this boondock.  I started researching for a campground somewhere between there and San Benito, where we'd spend our next two 'in weeks' with Thousand Trails.  Before I can reserve us anything the Sheriff is back!!


Now we're in uber-panick mode, expecting the fist-banging at our door at any moment.  Fortunately, he starts with the truck and fifth-wheel behind us.  While he's berating and giving a ticket to that poor guy, we put in the slide and GO!!  We got out of there before he could ticket us.  HALLELUJAH!

I went into the Walmart parking lot and resumed a frantic search for a campground.  But it was 6pm. All the numbers I called were going to voicemail and there was no online booking for most of the places.  We seriously needed another boondock for the night so I could get us settled some place the next morning.

So we start on a two hour drive to the Bakersfield Camping World.  It was all I could think of in a pinch.  I knew we could park overnight there and figure things out the next morning.

As we're headed there, with our jangled nerves settling, and many prayers of thanks to have escaped without being harassed or ticketed, I realize I'm starving.  A place appears that looks perfect for a travel trailer to drive into.  It's the tiny town of Cayuma, with it's Post Office / Market / Restaurant / Bar...a strip going parallel to the highway.

This picture is from since I don't remember to take pictures when I'm stressed.
As you can see from this old picture, the parking is on-street on either side.  Easy on, easy off.  Perfect for those who are towing and big trucks.  The highway is on the other side of that palm tree on the right. 

We went into the less bar looking restaurant (I think there was a burger place too) and ordered schwarma and shish, which was delicious.   While I'm eating there I have my mom ask one of the workers in Spanish if we can just stay here overnight.  It's 8pm by now and it's cooled down.  The answer was yes, but we checked with the manager too.  "Park anywhere you want."

Picture of Cayuma Deli from Richard S., Posted to
I'm glad, because it was a really nice little road side town with friendly people and a super cool little market.  We were exhausted, mentally and emotionally.  We were glad to have a place to stay the night.

As it got later big rigs parked around us (there was still room for more, so we weren't putting anyone out) and also bedded for the night.

Then at 7am my mom told me to get up and move us so we weren't against traffic.  I had parked against traffic so we could open the slide over the curb and not block the road.  She saw construction people setting up cones and got spooked that there would be more cops and more risk of harassment.  I just wanted to go back to sleep, but I grudingly decided to get us going.

We booked our out week in San Benito, the park we'd be headed to anyway.  So maybe we'd spend three weeks here?  It was a five hour drive and I swear I fell full asleep twice.  Fortunately my sleep-driving is excellent.

We heard loads of bad reviews of this place.  I still booked it because it's the only park up this way that has sewer connections at every site.  Seriously...what the heck Thousand Trails?  Sewer connections are mandatory at RV parks.  I literally insist on them.  And if you don't provide them, how DARE you charge people $25 per pump out?  This sort of stuff reinforces my decision not to renew this September.

Anyway, the big beef with San Benito everyone has is the broken electric.  Half or so of the 30 amp spaces have red dots spray-painted on the meter boxes, meaning they're broken.  I drove over a dirt mound to turn a 'not really a pull-thru' into a pull-thru at a spot that didn't have a red dot. 

Now...I don't know.  I have our electric off right now because when it's on the fan runs continuously.  This didn't happen in Santa Barbara.  The converter hums when we use the power and not with that much noise.  Here the converter hums and hums like it's straining and the breakers inside felt warm. 

I want to assume that it's got something to do with the electricity here being bad.  I *have* to assume that for now because, as usual, we're in the middle of no where and can't get a repair guy up here (or will pay a mint to get one).  I'm also not going to call a repairman unless I go to a NORMAL camp without rampant electrical problems and see the same problem.  I fully realize something could have gotten bumped or broken during the long drive.  I just think it's the shit electric here.  I'm hoping it is anyway.

So for now we turned off the 'main' breaker and are using our inverter for power.  The night has cooled down an we don't need A/C or microwave.  When it heats up tomorrow I will flip the switch and run it just as much as I need to.  I'm worried about frying my system.  If anyone has experience with this sort of thing I'd greatly appreciate some advice.

Beside the electric, San Benito seems to be a reasonable park with cute quail flocks running by and big spaces with few neighbors due to all the broken electrical boxes.  I have booked us into a different park after our 7 out days are done...but I may just stay here.  I'm not sure yet.

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