MONACHE MEADOWS August 22-24, 1997

We all (ha-ha) met at Winchell's at 8:00 Friday night, and were surprised at such a small turn-out. Pappy and me, Steve and Carol, Patti and Paul, and Ernie and Betty (Steve's boss and his wife), turned out for this very exciting and hair-raising event. Sorry you missed it. Fearless had to work; Big-Top Bob had to work; Boot and Terry were watching Dante's Peak and drinking beer; Rooster was no where to be found, etc., etc. So, instead of rushing out at precisely 8:00, we went when we were ready--8:15.

We took the 405 to the 5 to the 14 to the Pearsonville. I believe it was about this time that Bruce asked me for the other orange cupcake that he got back in Mojave. He was getting hungry. Now, you all know how Pappy is when he gets hungry. I really hated to tell him that I ate that cupcake. I just thank God that it was dark and he couldn't see my face. He finally guessed that I ate it in secret when he wasn't looking. That is when he decided that my handle would be "cupcake". I don't mind that, because it could have been much, much worse, knowing Pappy when he is hungry. I could have been "hatchet head" or gimp , "no eyes" -- you get the picture.

We finally found a place to camp around 12.30 or so. Not a bad site, either. Steve did us right proud in finding camp sites. We made camp and slept like rocks (no pun intended). The next morning, we ate, packed up, and off we went to the Sherman jeep trail. This trail was pretty easy. Dusty, but easy. Ernie's jeep is a stock jeep, but he did just fine. (By the end of the weekend, he was just looking for something to get a wheel on.) Lunch came and so we all stopped to eat. After lunch, when we were getting ready to get back on the trail, Pappy decided that the trail was just a bit too easy, so he attempted to climb a giant redwood. He always told me that a jeep would turn over when the Levo-gage reached 43. Well, when the Levo-gage reached 42.999999999, I screamed. He was just about to roll it. But Pappy, being the highly skilled driver that he is, knew exactly when to back off, and all the names I called him were totally unnecessary.

We only went a couple of minutes down the trail, and large (LARGE) rocks appeared off to the left of the trail, down a slight hill. Steve and Pappy, with Paul and Ernie as riders, took off to climb the largest of the rocks. Steve and Ernie (we ladies heard Ernie laughing all the way), climbed that rock. Then it was Pappy and Paul's turn. Pappy got on the rock and slid backward, slamming the bumper (a Long original bumper) into another rock. You could hear the sound for miles. Being the skilled driver that he is, however, he got another line on it, and the rock was his. As you ladies can tell, the testosterone level was high on this trip. Onward. We got to a small hill (very dusty). Another club was at the bottom, taking a lunch break and shooting their guns. Steve and Carol went up, taking the most difficult route. Patti followed. Patti got stuck. Patti got winched. Patti got strapped. Patti got out. Steve drove Ernie's jeep up. It was at this time, during the winching/strapping scenario, that barefoot Paul took a large chunk of meat out of his big toe. Once again, the club's first-aid kit came in handy. (Thanks to Montego for bringing it over). For the rest of the trip, Paul had a shoe on one foot, a bandage on the other, and he hopped around. His new handle was 'Raw Meat."

We looked around for another place to camp, but were unsuccessful. Before we knew it, we were back on pavement. That was a very short trail!

We drove down to the Kern River and jumped in. Then, Steve took us to another great camping place - - Rincon Campground -- to stay for the night. As Pappy and I were scouting a spot for the tent, he spotted a large snake and yelled for me to get in the car. Happily, it was only a garter snake. We all cooked, ate, and Pappy made starteritas. Sunday morning, we all took our time getting ready to leave. Pappy decided to climb a large rock. Carol spotted him while I took the picture. While this was going on, Patti got stuck getting out of camp. Steve put a strap on her and pulled her back. We left camp and stopped on a flat spot at the top of the hill. Pappy and Steve (are you surprised?), decided to climb a dirt hill. Easy stuff. Then, they talked Ernie into it. I tell you, we had to threaten to leave Ernie there if he didn't stop climbing that hill. You have never seen anybody with such a maniacal look. He started wanting to climb everything.

We got Ernie calmed down. Steve said it would take us about three hours to get home, since we were going through Bakersfield and through the Grapevine. Off we went. In Kernville, Steve found us a great place to eat. They actually had good ole Memphis-style BBQ and Pappy and I were happier than a pig in a poke. (Don't ask.)

We drove on the highway next to the Kern River, then past Lake Isabella, on our way to Bakersfield. We turned on highway 185 into Bakersfield. Patti didn't have a CB, but somehow she conveyed to Steve that she needed to pull over. Her engine had started making a noise. Everyone listened to the engine, but the noise was slight and so we went on. Then, we heard the engine start making a louder noise and we pulled over again. This time, the stick shift was rocking back and forth. The noise was louder than before. This engine was a new one, with only about 1200 miles on it. She decided to take it to her mechanic once she got home. Onward. A few minutes (maybe 2-3) later, we came to the intersection of Weed Patch Road and Hwy. 185. We stopped for a light (I thought). In reality, Patti's car had just quit driving. The motor was running, but it wouldn't go anywhere. She was sitting on the railroad tracks. Pappy got out to see what was happening. He decided to move in front of her and tow her to the Mobil station across the road. He got back in the jeep. I looked down the tracks and saw a train coming. I yelled "A train is coming!" Bruce and Ernie ran around to push the truck backward off the tracks, but our jeep was too close. Steve and Carol had made the light and were down the street watching all of this. Carol yelled on the CB for us to get Patti and Paul out of the truck. I got out to go get Paul. Paul jumped from the truck (hops, remember) and right after he opened his door, the guard rail came down on top of the truck --behind the door. Ernie and Bruce were pushing and the guard rail was bending the door back. Paul and I pushed the rail off the door and the truck went backward just in the nick of time.

Now, while all of this was happening, people were all around us, waiting for the train. Do you think we had help? Only one person - a man in a suit - asked if we needed help. The rest of the people honked for us to get out of the way. Then, when we had to strap the truck to the gas station, nobody would let us over!! Ernie blocked the way, and we were able to get the truck to the station.

Thank God for AAA. Patti called them and they were there with the truck loaded on its way to L.A. in about 30 minutes. While we waited, we got out the chairs and had a beer. Patti and Paul rode home with the truck driver (he was very cute). The rest of us drove home.

I told Ernie and Betty that anywhere there is a Roughwheeler, there is excitement. Do you think we'll see him again, Steve?

Nancy (Cupcake) Bogart