The Road to Santa Cruz

On Sunday morning I began my drive to northern California to visit some Moveline friends. After grabbing some coffee1, I peaced outta Las Vegas.

Road trips are great, especially when the weather is nice. Rolling down the windows, blasting some good music, and getting lost in thought is the perfect way to relax and let the hours pass by.

My first stop was in Mojave, CA. I saw a badass-looking turbine farm and decided that I needed some photos of it, so I drove around until I found a good spot to hang for a while.

After the turbines, I realized that I had already seen everything the town had to offer. Time to continue on.

I gotta say, driving through the desert is pretty damn boring. Maybe because I’ve done it so many times, but I really do not enjoy the scenery that much. So, after passing through Bakersfield, I was more than a little excited to start seeing some greenery. Lush hills, farms, and orchards. Gosh, California, why u so pretty?

The switch in scenery called for a switch in music, so on went some epic tracks to match the epicness of that around me. Here, I’ll even share a few so that you can relive the moment with me:

Here’s another one in case you need some extra time to admire the photos.

You’re welcome.

Unfortunately, my happiness was short-lived. About 2 hours outside Bakersfield, I suddenly heard what sounded like a bunch of rocks going through my engine.

oh-god-why

I would later find out that this was my belt breaking. My battery light came on, as did my check engine and oil light.

Eff me
Eff me

Looking around, I was in the absolute middle of nowhere. There were a few cows, and I think maybe a tree, but that was it. Despite the lights and the temporary rock noise, the car sounded and continued running great, so I kept driving, hoping to find a gas station around the next hill.

Middle Of Nowhere, CA
Middle Of Nowhere, CA

Apparently, this was my fatal mistake. I have since learned that the belt powers the battery (d’oh), and since the belt was no longer working, the battery was no longer receiving power. Everything else was working in overdrive, which caused the engine to overheat. Eventually my car just shut down (running on reserve battery power and all), so I crawled to a stop on the side of the road.

Two hours and a few hundred dollars later, I had a tow truck come get me and bring me to the nearest town of Madera, CA.

My savior
Halp me

My tow driver was great. His name was Joe and he was a really interesting person to talk to. He had lots of questions about Las Vegas and told me lots of great stories about his time as a former police officer, including the marijuana farm raids he would go on. He dropped my car off at a repair store and then told me about some nearby hotels. When he said that the Holiday Inn was next to a Starbucks, I was immediately like

The next day I went to see what the damage to my car was, and it was just as I expected: not wonderful. The whole engine was destroyed and needed to be replaced. Aside from buying a new car, having it repaired was my only option. However, the work would take a few days, so I ended up renting a car and then high tailing it out of Madera.

Mayhaps the speed bump (wahaha) was a blessing in disguise, because I ended up taking a different road to Santa Cruz than was originally planned. Highway 152 was absolutely stunning. I stopped for a while at a place called San Luis Reservoir which looked like a scene out of Middle Earth2.

It was really nice taking my time and not scurrying along to my destination. I don’t know that I would have made so many stops along the way had I been trying to reach Santa Cruz at a particular day or time.

Gosh, this post ended up being longer than planned. I’ll write about the actual Santa Cruz stay in another post.

Footnotes

  1. Starbucks, of course
  2. Specifically, The Shire

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