Roscoe and The Mullet.

Well, I have to say, yesterday was an interesting day. We drove up the hill and checked out what may be our new place for a while. We’re calling it Roscoe. It is 20 minutes up the hill from our abandoned antique store lot which we call the Mullet. When we build there it will be business in the front, party in the back.

Roscoe checks out and we measure for the needed improvements. I’ll need to check with building and planning but I bet our plan is good and I know my building is good. We found a big property with a little house by a seasonal creek above Lake Isabella in the shadow of Split Mountain.

It is a little outdated and that gives us improvements to make. We can update and add stuff as we stay there while taking our time to shop for our forever home. We could find a cool compound to make the dreams come true while improving the Mullet and Roscoe into income properties or flips to fund the move. So we make the offer official and while we’re there we drop down to town to leave a check with the title company just in case. That will save us a few days in the mail or another 8-hour round trip to trade papers.

Remember I said “drove up the hill” and “above Lake Isabella.” Well, there is a portion of it that is probably an 8- or 9-percent grade. We were in the 4x4 and it was full of antique and heavy stove parts so, cruising down the hill, I drop into third gear. Now keep in mind that my wonderful monster Silverado just drove with no problem dragging a trailer stacked with 8 portable stage panels - a 12’x16’x3’ high stage - and two heavy antique commercial stoves circa 1917. A four-hour drive on the 15 up and over the Cajon Pass, then up the hill again to the lake to drop the trailer at the Mullet and on up to the heights. If all goes well that’s where we’ll be for a bit, Wofford Heights.

So, we’re cruisin’ down the hill in third through the curves and then hit the 55 zone and I push it into fourth and it sounds like someone threw a handful of change into my brand-new transmission. We’re rolling at about 40 and I drop back to third, put the flashers on and nurse it down the hill to the Mullet. It does fine in third and we change our plan: we’ll just leave the trailer there and try and get home. We have third and reverse and a 55mph ride home doesn’t sound too bad.

We sat in the shade and had a bite and I thought I’ll back the trailer up four feet so I can unload it while we let the truck cool down fully before we leave. I back the truck through the gate and nose in towards the neighbor’s block wall and go to back up to the trailer and, of course, SCREECH!!! Reverse sounds just as bad. The neighbor’s goats heard it as a call to arms! We’re stuck. I put it in third to roll forward. No problem, but now I’m facing the wrong way and can’t go forward to make the circle out the gate and the goats are looking at me funny.

I can’t leave it there so I grab a chain and a come-along out of the big container in the fading daylight and strapped to a tree to winch “Bob”- we call it Bob the Beast - backward. Meanwhile, Wakitu is running out of oxygen (one of the three tanks we brought turned out to be empty), calling my son for a Plan B rescue and calling AAA just in case. We get it turned around and decide to try to get gas and, if it has no problem getting there in third, we’ll go for it. If we can get within the AAA tow limit we’d get a free ride home. It makes it fine about two miles and starts grinding so we turn around quickly and head back toward the Mullet. Third is grinding now and I drop to second and flip the flashers on a mile from the Mullet. Then two goes and we’re still a quarter mile away. We inched it onto the lot and through the gate in low.

Ok, so it’s bad, but we have a Plan B and AAA; whateryagonnado. Here we are now.  To cap this portion of the story, my son who is on hold waiting to see if he should come and get us, calls to say he may have been exposed to covid. All the roommates work with the public and are on each other’s contact list. We have to wave him off. Wakitu is just too vulnerable. Even if he could have made the trip she would have run out of oxygen. He was four hours away in Palm Springs and then a four-hour drive back and a 90-minute drive home with only one bottle left. (They get about six hours, a little more if you stretch it.)

Our AAA RV plan includes a rental; it seems we’ll need to get to Bakersfield for the car and, of course, because of covid, you can’t ride in the tow truck. Except there are no Ubers up there now and AAA has just discovered all car rental agencies in Bakersfield are already closed for the night. We are seriously running out of air and options when the tow truck guy arrives. He listens to the story and begins to hook up to take the truck home. It turns out the tow limit was 200 miles and we only had to pay the 28 extra miles (ooof anyway). He’s listening as my frustration is mounting and we are running out of Plans that don’t include hospitals. He calls me over to the big truck and says, “I have three seats but with all the gear it will NOT be comfy for four hours.” I said, “Can you just take her and I’ll stay here and camp out and she can come get me?” He says, “Talk to her and see if she’d be comfortable with that.” I ask him how much trouble he would get in if we just rode in my truck. He finally says he can do one in his truck and one in mine. With my allergy to diesel I get to ride the 4x4 with the four inch lift on top of the flatbed tow truck.

There is a first time for everything and this angel of a driver with seven kids and a pregnant wife makes it so we’ll both get home at the same time with my still-under-warranty-in-Elsinore truck and two hours of oxygen to spare. I gotta tell you, I was freaking out there for a minute.

When all was said and done I got a little anxious, but things turned out fine. We will probably get the house, my transmission is under warranty, we got to bless a growing family with a fat commission and a big tip and I got to ride on top of the tow truck. That was a roller coaster ride let me tell you.
Sitting up there on top you are like the last ice skater in the line. Every movement is exaggerated and the whip gets you going side to side till you bang your head on the window and wake up.

I wish I had one of those Family Circle cartoons of my movements during the ride. I had no key so no stereo and no windows and we had walkytalkies so we could talk. (She asked him if I could breathe up there and he said, “I cracked the window a little!”) I sat in the passenger seat; I reclined the seat; I got in the back and took another nap. I cleaned out the back seat floor and bagged the trash. I played games on my phone and thought about getting into the big seat and driving like a big boy. I thought it would be hilarious if I turned the light on and sat behind the wheel and intently drove to see the reaction from the passing truckers whose windows were on my level.

Four uneventful hours later, cut to me after all that coffee and the tow truck driver after all that Gatorade standing there on Grand Ave side by side taking in the view of the lake. We thanked him and said goodbye but we didn’t shake hands.

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