A boom of thunder at 0600 puts all thoughts of further sleeping aside and now I can hear the pouring
rain thrashing against the windows and sheeting off the roof…… well better get into action so while
coffee is underway time to look outside and survey the synoptic situation. Very wet, and still flashes
and crashes from the thunderstorms which seem to be all around us.

Breakfast will be taken on board so time to walk the pack who know that today is the “road trip” but
then they thought it was yesterday too and spent the whole day squeaking and cooing like a flock of
doves. Bag after bag of goodies once more are deposited for yours truly to hump onto the coach……
and I thought we WERE loaded !

0845, we are all done, Luna the cat, is our final passenger and with all checks nearly complete and
only 45 mins adrift…… “Gentlemen Start Your Engines”………. nice idea, the giant CAT motor thrashes
itself to death cranking over furiously but for some reason it refuses to fire?   ……….
oh, for FS ! not NOW !!!!!

This is MY first road trip!

Further attempts are fruitless and while engineering go through intensive diagnostics the Starship
won’t start Impulse engines. …… and now the fridge lights have gone out, the main computer panel
isn’t functioning and neither is the inverter panel and it seems we have lost all 12 volt services. There
is a Master switch in the doorwell but this is in the correct position so we are none the wiser.

With visions of a disaster in the making time to haul out the battery tray and see what the rain and
storm could have done to upset the fully functional ship which was running fine yesterday. Clean the
batteries and as I’m working I’m told we now have power to the fridge, so maybe I’m in the right
department. Wire brush everything and more and more services come back on line ?…….. time for
another crank of the motor.

It runs, so without risking anything else the ignition key is left in place and the rest are removed as I
set off to secure all the open panels. At 0945 the rig is on the move, harmony is restored, and Luna the
cat is completely unphased by the whole operation and seems to be enjoying her first road trip.

I don’t need any directions for the first 1000 miles so we set off through Monticello, Moab and then up
to I70 for a short run before turning North on 6 to mate up with I15 at Provo. Northbound there is a lot of
black cloud and by the time we arrive at the foothills at Price its full wiper time and we are in continuous
rain. Out of the mountains and 50 miles north on I15 to Salt Lake to pick up I80 and then Westbound
across the Great Salt Lake, past the exit for the Tooele Trials then Wendover, Reno and onward to

Seems everyone is out and about today in a “Cruise America” thing and you always know when there
is one ahead of you as the entire caravan of traffic slows up and then maintains a nice steady 50 mph!
Maybe they have a limiter on the motor or maybe the drivers are petrified of going any faster. Today we
are only 100 miles into the route and I’ve counted 16 of them already.

Finally he gets back in “his” lane

Out of Moab and the site of Jim Lipscombe’s Red Rock Rumble trial from 2006. This was held on a
pocket handkerchief piece of land which was covered in excavated rocks while work was taking place
on the hotel behind. Strangley the wheel tracks are still there today like Dinosaur tracks and in the 4
years since the event they still haven’t moved the rocks!

Wheeltracks to the left of the sign where a section was

Out of Price and into the bad weather

Heavy, continuous rain for the next 300 miles!

The rain continues and now its very windy and road signs tell us 50 mph winds at Tooele !  Well as I
struggle to hold a straight line with 60′ of slab sided vehicle I can believe it!!  Refuel at Tooele and for
once the card and pump are in harmony and I get fuel without the two duty visits inside the main
building. Back on the road we find the first victim of the winds as an 18 wheeler is on its side and
recovery trucks are everywhere.

This doesn’t look good !

The Boss will not be pleased

Through Wendover and the first signs of the gambling obsession as we hit the Nevada line. However,
the rain has stopped but the good thing is that its thick cloud covering the setting sun so driving is
relatively pleasant. With the 2 hour delay this morning the decision is Elko and we roll in at 1945 with
just over half distance completed.

The new plan says leave early, avoid Sacremento rush hour like the plague, and try and hold a 65
average on the freeway. Good plan but  although I’m willing consulting my watch on wake up it says
0745, but its still darkish ?  Ah, ha! we are now in Pacific, so its only 0645 and I can be on the road
before 8.

Miles and miles of nothing but Nevada roads are a pleasure to drive on unlike the crap cart tracks
of Arizona and certain parts of Colorado……… but we know we still have California to deal with!

Mile after mile of Nevada nothing, but the roads are gorgeous

Apart from the awful California roads which are a state disgrace, potholes, chunks of concrete
missing and bone jarring jolts as every crack is crossed…… and even where they have tried to repair
the roads in a half arsed way the surface is still below an acceptable standard, and why oh why are
there pieces of the new surface missing every time there is a bridge?

Finally  the eyeballs drop back in their sockets as the turn off for Napa is made. A gentle trundle up
the valley through all the pleasant towns and roadside famous vineyards, more of which we will see
tomorrow. 1700 Pacific time we pull into our slot in Calistoga. Connections all made time for a couple
of beers and some well earned rest.

Almost there, the town of St Helena

Brenda’s favorite avenue of trees

You “can” smell the grapes……… honest!

The place they have allocated us is not what we asked for as we needed full hook up on a pull
through with 50 amp service. The one we are given is a “back in” and not acceptable as I don’t wish to
off load the trailer. Brenda leaves many messages on the answer phone but no replies tonight so we
will sort it out tomorrow.


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