If you read about my little non-adventure in Tremonton, Utah, you know I left Tremonton as it was getting dark, the windshield was coated with bug carcasses, and I was over 30 miles from Ogden.
I sometimes forget how wonderful it is to live in the Pacific Northwest. You can drive all day and night in Washington and Oregon and end up with about 10 bugs on your front end. As a child growing up in Mississippi, I was no stranger to an insect-coated grill. But it’s easy to forget about those things when you don’t have to deal with them on a regular basis. Take humidity: I brag that my Southern upbringing makes me bulletproof when it comes to humidity, but I melted in Thailand while the locals didn’t even break a sweat.
I began to notice my new bug wallpaper as I left Boise. Continuing across Idaho, it got thicker and thicker. I tried in vain at a gas station to use the provided squeegee, but I could reach about the lower one third of the windshield, and dirty water wasn’t doing the trick. I considered getting the ladder to do a more thorough job, but people were waiting for fuel, and I did not have the proper cleaners or tools.
Then, I made the big mistake: Leaving Tremonton, I turned on the windshield wipers and wiper fluid. The result was a big schmear of bug guts which almost blinded me when illuminated by oncoming headlights.
I set my sights on an RV Park on the outskirts of Ogden. I put the address into the RV GPS. My head weaved and bobbed like a pugilist as I attempted to peer down the road between insect intestines. It was a nerve-racking 30 minutes. Finally, exiting the freeway, the GPS instructed me to take two right turns. Before me lay a large complex of hotels, motels, and a restaurant, with huge parking lots, but no RV Park. My GPS, whom I like to call “Lola,” cheerfully informed, “You have arrived at your destination.”
Can we talk about Lola for just a moment? She is a state-of-the-art RV GPS. She knows Nellie’s dimensions and warns me away from narrow roadways and low bridges and overpasses. She sounds a pleasant chime to forewarn of steep grades and tight curves. But honestly, I think Lola has developmental disabilities. For example, when traffic is flowing smoothly, Lola is prone to state, “There is currently light traffic on your route.” However, based on intonation and emphasis of certain syllables, it sounds more like, “There is cur-wuntly white taffy on yer root!!!” If you are having trouble hearing the voice in your head, think Corky on the late 1980s television show, “Life Goes On.”
Sitting in the parking lot, I just wanted to cry. I was exhausted, it had been a long day, and I was no closer to rest. Then, I began to look around at the parking lots ringing the complex. I suddenly realized that several semi tractor-trailers were lined up in a row. A trucker’s rest stop! One of the truckers exited his cab. I pulled alongside and asked through the window if he thought it would be okay for me to park there overnight. He nodded affirmatively, stating that he always stayed there when he came through Ogden, and it was a common practice for truckers.
I turned off the rig right where it stood and walked directly into the Tex-Mex restaurant for a margarita. OK, three margaritas. And prime rib.
The next morning, I spied a do-it-yourself RV wash one block away, which I had not seen the night before (not surprisingly). It took 45 minutes to clean just the front end. I am leaving a full RV wash to the professionals, whom I will gladly pay.
Visibility restored and getting on the freeway onramp headed to Salt Lake City, I saw the RV park on the opposite side of the interstate! It looked awful. Bloody terrible.
Today I visited a local RV supply store and loaded up on windshield cleaning products. To paraphrase Scarlet O’Hara, “As Gawd as my witness, I’ll never be buggy again!”
I am Type A, a bit OCD, and an attorney. To say that I over-plan is an understatement. However, on this journey I am trying to be less controlling and “go with the flow.” One might say that my lack of planning put me in the situation in Tremonton. However, I view it as allowing a situation to unfold naturally and organically, at its own pace, concluding exactly as it should. In the end I had a free and safe place to spend the night, superior to either attempted destination, and just what I needed to get me safely back on the road again.