RV Adventures #5, April 12th - April 16th: From Salt Lake City to Ocean Beach, San Francisco
Posted April 17th 2007
Words and photos by Gavin Butler
The Best RV finally hit the West Coast after an adventurous journey from Salt Lake City ...
Thursday 12 April: Finally, the Boys are happy. Plus, the amazing things you can do with duct tape (ie, hold an RV together)
We left SLC, heading west to Reno (and eventually Northern California over two days). Along the way we stopped at the edge of the Great Salt Lake to film Alex's landboard video, and with the help of Jake's local knowledge, we found a great spot to ride with steady winds (17m and 13m), with a perfect backdrop of the snowcapped mountains that surround Salt Lake.
Jake silhouetted against snowcapped mountains; Alex on the new 9m Yarga
We scored the best day of shooting so far with the boys slowly getting through the different sections of the video that need to be captured.
Li'l Alex Brown... in the air and hard at work
Jake was learning fast on the landboard and with such good conditions in the summer months I'm sure he will be ripping on the landboards by the end of the summer. Alex and Jim both rode for hours and were "well pleased" for finally getting good conditions for the video shoot.
Jim and Alex, looking well pleased
After packing up at sunset, we headed west from the lakebed towards the coast. About 15 minutes of cruising along Route 80, the side awning of the bus flew open from the rollers at one end, causing the bus to catch wind and swerve all over the highway. We pulled over on the interstate to inspect. A brief discussion of "oh sh#t, we're screwed" eventuated. A quick duct tape job gave us time to get off the highway and the oncoming trucks to a rest area in BFN*. That's when we realized our predicament.
(* ed. note: I had to ask where this was. The g-rated version is: "Bum Fudge Nowhere.").
The awning was jammed at one end from earlier malfunctions whilst the other end had tried to unravel as much as possible, causing a small sail to appear off the side of the bus. The wind was howling over the Salt Lake with a wind chill of 32 or below and we realized we were in the middle of the army testing range 60 miles from the Nevada border.
So for three hours we tried to unravel and re-roll the awning but with no luck. With it being threaded and jammed at one end, it was impossible to roll up the slack cloth. The decision was made to remove the awning, as it was impossible to put it back together with the tools we had.
We tried to unscrew the pins and slide out the cloth but eventually we had to cut it away from the bus, roll it up and slide into the bus, where it will now live happily with the rest of our belongings. Not only that, we had to cut and peel away the slide that held the awning cover in place, kick it down to the back of the bus and duct tape it to the side to stop it flapping and damaging the bus in the strong winds.
Eventually we made it to the border town of West Wendover by 12:30 AM for tequila shots and dinner at another random Nevada casino.
A special thanks to the duct tape company for saving us yet again. We no longer travel anywhere without you!!
Friday 13th April: Almost "Goodnight, all" on the freeway and a couple of freaky ravens
So the next morning we woke up to start the day. Guess what! Friday the 13th! Perfect after such a fun night in the freezing cold.
Alex, in his ubiquitous rockstar glasses, trying to get warm after a fun night in the freezing cold
But hey, what else could go wrong after the night before? After having a delicious vanilla milkshake for breakfast, we were about 30 minutes into our trip when the side compartment flung open in strong winds doing 65 mph. It grabbed the bus and violently threw us across into the other lane, scaring the sh*# out of all of us. Luckily we had a lane to spare and luckily there was no one in it otherwise it would have been good night for all.
So with our black Friday blessing, we once again pulled over on the side of the interstate with trucks whizzing by to repair the compartment with guess what? Duct tape (thank you once again). The rest of the day did go smoothly, although the raven that followed the RV through the sunset hour really started to freak me out. Three raven sightings in 30 minutes and that was it. We stopped in Reno, "The Biggest Little City in the World " … no comment).
Saturday 14th April: Extreme driving conditions and too much wind
The following day we finally hit the coast driving over the mountains in dumping snow and eventually buckets of rain on the California side. The bus held up and rattled its way along the bad California roads through Napa and over to Dillion Beach. Such a beautiful spot but too windy. Yeah … too windy!! It must have been blowing 40 knots with no way for the landboard guys to ride in winds like that. So we headed north to Bodega bay for the night to visit friends and camp at the beach.
The RV at Camp Sonoma
Sunday 15th April: Dumbing down for the law, and a super-dope 15 point turn
The next day the winds were lighter as we headed to Salmon Creek to ride and catch up with Rob and David our mates from the Primm event. We all went down the cliffs to ride with steady winds but the sand was too soft for the boys to push through so we pulled the plug late Sunday night and decided to hit Ocean Beach in SF to beat the traffic.
Jim at Salmon Creek
So over the Golden Gate we went. We pulled up late at night and settled in before the sounds of sirens and glare of flashing lights startled us. Was it a high speed chase? Was it a rampage? No. I opened the curtains and there was the police officer all amped up ready to go. I mean, come on, we were just parked at the beach. So I played stupid (with ease) and told the officer that we would move. For some reason, the officer could understand my simplicity and told me it was ok to park at the other end of the beach.
So we got out of there and drove up the beach looking for the last parking lot, which we saw and drove past. So how to turn around? Another wrong turn and here we were in a residential area trying to do a 3 point turn. Hah!! No fricken way. Somehow with the help of the boys we pulled of the raddest 15th point turn and swung back around onto the beach road. This turn will never be attempted again, trust me. So finally finding the last parking lot we all crashed for the night. Welcome to SF!!!
Friends from Marin
Monday 16th April: Double crossed by the law, and a long detour
The next morning and after some crazy six AM East Coast phone calls (you know who you are*), my old friend Gabe tapped on the window with a present. A parking ticket! Can you believe that? We get told to park somewhere and then they ticket us for it!! Welcome to SF!! Gabe and I had coffee as he told me the best places to stay and ride as the boys slept. Thanks for some local knowledge, Gabe!!
(*ed, note: this time, it wasn't me)
Alex at Ocean Beach
So we headed to Pacifica to dump our tanks … which only half empty each time. It seems like everyday we have to stop and dump. It's so much fun especially in a big city like SF. We did find a place to dump and park safely for the upcoming night before heading back to Ocean Beach to ride. Sounds easy, right. Well.
We got car-blocked and couldn't get over in time to the beach route and got stuck on 19th Ave with not a left turn in sight to cut us over to the beach. Eventually, we ended up just before the Golden Gate Bridge and way off track before pulling off the 2nd best turn the RV has done to get us back on the right track. Four hours later and we are riding once again in fun conditions on the West Coast with our local cheer squad lending their support to the RV mission.
Local cheer squad, and the RV mission
More soon. Thanks to Jake and his family. The Barton Family. David and Fiona from Kites and Candy. And big thanks to Rob and Keri as well!!
And most of all an extra big thanks to DUCT TAPE for always being there when we need you!!!
For previous news on the 2007 RV Tour, right click on the following links, and open in new window:
For the complete RV Adventures, visit the RV page at www.bestkiteboarding.com/RV-Tour-Page.