We finally packed up the Chugabug to head home after our less than stellar Disneyland trip. It wasn’t all bad. It is Disneyland after all. We set out that morning not looking forward to the long drive of hotter than Hell floorboard for me and swamp bog floor board for Shelbi. We had our towels all ready. Not to mention the on and off air conditioning depending on the temperature of the Chugabug, and vermin nest parts were still shooting out of the vents on occasion. Thankfully, we learned there was a warning whir sound before parts came out so we were able to adjust the vent and shoot the pieces in another direction; usually at each other for maximum entertainment.
The hardest part of the journey was crossing over the “Grapevine” – a very long and nasty mountain pass that separates Northern and Southern California. We started out early; but by the time we survived Los Angeles traffic and reached the mountains, the temperature had already climbed into the 90’s. We crossed our fingers and started to climb. We passed Magic Mountain in Valencia and were making our way past the tiny town of Castaic when the Chugabug started to sputter. I knew we had gas, but it acted like it was running out, and we slowly coasted to the side of the road. I tried to start it several times, but it was dead. It was a few years ago, so we did not have cell phones.
Here is where the Hills Have Eyes part comes in. We were on the side of the road for a very short time when a highway patrol officer pulls up and insists we go to Castaic. He refuses to leave us with our vehicle. He says he will take us to the Denny’s restaurant where we can call a tow truck. It was hot, so while at Denny’s waiting for the tow truck driver, we bought something to drink (cha-ching). The tow truck driver was stationed in Castaic, and we had to pay him to take us to the Castaic mechanic. He said he would have to keep the Chugabug overnight to see what was wrong. So now we had to get a hotel room and eat at more restaurants in Castaic. They were slowly bleeding us dry. The only thing missing was the mutant miners.
I had to use a pay phone at McDonald’s to call my husband. He said it was vapor lock. Where the gas line gets so hot it turns the liquid gas to fumes before it reaches the engine. He said it would be fine when it cooled down. Too bad Mr. Mutant Miner Mechanic wouldn’t let us leave. I then used the payphone to try to call a rental car place. After 30 minutes in the black hole sun, $20.00 in change, and some choice curse words, I was finally able to get to a human at Enterprise Rent a Car before the phone cut off. We were able to rent a car right before they closed. You know, so we could get a hotel room and eat at restaurants while we were prisoners in Castaic.
Sure enough, the next day, the mechanic tells us it was probably vapor lock. That meant that we couldn’t leave that morning because it would get too hot again and the same thing would happen. We had to stay in Castaic all day again and contribute to more restaurants and gas for the rental car. Not to mention I couldn’t wait to tell my husband he was right because I just love to hear him say “I told you so.”
We finally headed out that night (with road munchies from the Castaic store), so that we could drive when the weather had cooled off. Awesome. We might be home by midnight if we were lucky. At least we would be leaving Castaic and the mutant miners far behind even though they had robbed us of the few pennies Disneyland had left us. Sigh.
Now whenever we travel to Southern California, we say a silent prayer when we hit the Grapevine that the mutant miners in Castaic will let us pass. However, if we do get stranded there, at least we know where to stay and where to get the best food. Happy travels and thanks for stopping by!