Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I was in high spirits as I motored up Highway 101 from Morro bay towards Pacifica, California, a town just outside of San Francisco.

Clear blue skies graced the drive as beautiful landscape morphed from central California scrub to the fragrant pine forests of Northern California.

Since I don't believe in GPS, I carefully plotted out the routes for my trip using Mapquest.

This is where I made a serious and dangerous mistake.

My friend, Mapquest, directed me off the comfortable highways near Pacifica towards a quiet residential street called "Manor Drive." (See photo to the left)

The photo shows the top of Manor Drive, shortly after you make the turn. So far, this street looks innocent enough. What you can't see hidden behind the fog is that the street basically drops off the face of the earth around that corner.

As I made the tight left turn onto Manor Drive, the atmostphere suddenly changed in a most surreal way; wind began to whip the trees, fog swirled in eddies around the trailer and a cold grayness began to grip me.

I don't have much experience pulling trailers and as far as trailers go, Lucy is very heavy. Three tons heavy...

So, when I saw this:

I became very nervous. The sign stated the downgrade at 19%! I don't know if you've ever been down a 19% downgrade, but it might as well have been a complete vertical drop.

But, at this point, I didn't have much choice since there was no way I could turn the trailer around, and I knew the RV park (and place of rest) lay at the bottom of the hill. So, down I went, slowly. Very slowly.

Soon, frustrated cars were tailgating the trailer and laying on the horn. The smell of burning brakes made my eyes water; I knew my face looked something like this...

(see the video, especially around 4:26)

I continued down the hill wondering why those jerks behind me couldn't see what trouble we were in. I was laying my full weight on the brake pedal, but the trailer wasn't slowing down...I ran a stop sign. And then a second stop sign. I could not stop the trailer!

I envisioned overturning Lucy in a beautiful mangled golden mess at the bottom of the hill; it was such an inglorious end to my trip. I don't believe in God, but I think I prayed-just a little bit...

Luckily, the side streets were empty and Lucy and I white-knuckled it to the bottom of the hill into the San Francisco RV Resort.

I found out later that whole sections of that residential area have been flattened by runaway vehicles. It happens all the time...and there's a nice, gently sloping freeway that leads right to the resort. I think it would have added a quarter mile to my trip. Thanks Mapquest!


(P.S. I didn't get more blogging done when staying near the family...Today, I am on the Oregon coast where I have to drive 25 miles to McDonald's just to get an internet connection. I will be playing catch up for a long time!)


nudeedudee said...

Whew! Glad you and Lucy made it through OK! Sheesh!

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