Part 1: North into the Jaws of El Nino
I was still cold from the night on the sodden earth and the spitting rain looked like it would wax into torrents. I got off my bicycle.
“Let’s turn back south,” I said. “Hell, let’s just go to Mexico.”
Cortes couldn’t have said it better.
California was supposed to have been the Sunshine State with golden-haired goddesses frolicking on warm, sandy beaches. Carefree and tropical. As usual I hadn’t checked this fallacy at all and my Hollywood image left me out in the cold and wet on this inclement December morning.
The problem was El Nino, or so the owner of the campsite told me. He took my twenty dollars without even looking me in the eye. Not because he was shifty or ashamed to charge so much for his meagre services, it was just that one of his eyes was fixed on the flying TV above the counter, watching the gripping weather situation unfold on a local station, and the other one was missing.
He called his business an RV Park, a good way to dignify little more than cleared scrub, but it made me feel better about wasting such a sum to sleep on a few square feet of Californian desert. The sign out on the highway fooled me and I almost missed the campsite, not realising at this point the extremes to which Americans have gone in bastardising the English language. It wasn’t until the next morning that I plucked up the courage to ask someone (his wife as it turned out) what the R and the V stood for. Continue reading