A Tale of Three Annoyances

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It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we loaded up the RV this past weekend to head down to the California RV Show in Pomona.  But there were three things we encountered this weekend that annoyed me, and I want to get them off my chest.  And since this is our blog, I get to.  Here we go.

Annoyance Number 1 – Baker, California

This is my all-time worst pet-peeve town in the middle of the California desert – Baker.  I’m sorry.  I just hate this place, and here’s why.  There are three exits in Baker (but you can only access two of them from either direction).  As you approach Baker, the signs that say “Food”, “Gas”, “Anything At All” will direct you to the FIRST exit.


But the reality is that everything you might actually WANT in Baker is at the SECOND exit.  The first exit is deserted.

I think maybe there’s an abandoned Shell station here. That’s it.

The purpose of this is to swindle unsuspecting passerby into driving the entire length of this dreadful wart of a town on side streets in the hopes that you might either a) stop and buy something, or b) run afoul of one of their speed traps.  They’ve set up this same trap whether you’re heading north or south on I-15.  I’m sure the Baker City Council thought this was a great idea.

Baker City CouncilI can just see them – and I do picture them as Snidely Whiplash – with their scheme to steal from all those people passing peacefully by.  But given that there are no things of value, no industry, no jobs, and relatively few neurons in Baker, maybe this was their only shot at making a buck.  (Their other plan – tying maidens to the railroad tracks – fell apart when the railroad left town decades ago…)

The first time through there, a couple years ago, Stef and I actually got caught by this.  It was night time, so we couldn’t see the complete lack of anything at the first exit.  We managed not to get caught in the speed trap, but we did see a drug deal going down in the parking lot where we stopped for gas 5 miles later.  Nice.  So my advice to anyone, in an RV or otherwise, driving between LA and Vegas on I-15 is to gas up in either Primm, Nevada or Barstow, and avoid the Black Hole of Baker at all costs.

And if you’re from Baker and I’ve offended you…  Move.


Annoyance Number 2 – Don’t smoke pot in my RV spot

After attending the Pomona show, we headed out to our RV campground for the night.  It was a bit crowded, and there were lots of tenters and parties going on around campfires.  As Das Bus is so small, we had no trouble navigating and finding our spot.  In fact, we only took up half the paved site.  We parked to one side so we could put the awning out the next morning for breakfast (it was dark already).  We thought this was great.

It turns out; someone else thought this was great too, because it meant they had a place to park their white Chevrolet Impala with California plates.  They pulled into our spot and parked about two feet from our front bumper.

We hoped that they were just visiting another site briefly, were clueless about campground etiquette, and would soon leave.  We ate dinner, and they were still there.  We watched a movie, and they were still there.  We tried to ignore it, but as we were heading to bed there was… that smell… and they were still there.  When I started to get the munchies, I knew we had to do something.  By that point, there were several people hanging out in and around the car, two feet from our bumper, smoking.

I called the park rangers, and they eventually came and broke up the party.  Interestingly, when we were breaking camp to leave the next day at 11:30 – nobody else was stirring yet…


Hey - where did everybody go?  It's almost lunchtime!

Hey – where did everybody go? It’s almost lunchtime!


Annoyance Number 3 – The Chevron app

Like a lot of folks, I have a smart phone.  I also have a Chevron card, and so I downloaded the Chevron app for my phone.  As we were leaving Las Vegas, headed home, I had Stef look at the app for a Chevron station on our way out of town (that also had diesel).  The app located one on Ann Rd.  OK, fine.  We headed towards it.

But as we got closer, it became obvious that there wasn’t going to be a Chevron station there.  In fact, there wasn’t going to be any kind of gas station there, and there had never been one there… ever.  It went from bad


Ummm... Not Chevron...

Ummm… Not Chevron…

To worse.


That’s actually a PRISON on the right

That’s actually a PRISON on the right

When I got home, I looked it up and realized that there actually was a Chevron station on Ann Rd.  But it was on West Ann Rd – 20 miles away.  The problem is, the Chevron app doesn’t use Google maps.  Or Bing maps.  Or MapQuest.  Or anything that works.  It apparently uses Apple Maps.  Yes, the same Apple Maps that says Newport doesn’t exist, directs people to drive off incomplete bridges, and directs Australians out into the middle of the desert.

Now, in our case, it didn’t turn out quite that badly.  We had enough fuel.  But if there’s an app you really need to work when you need it – it’s the one to find a gas station.  You really need it to direct you to a gas station… not prison!

But it wasn’t all annoyances!

Now, don’t think that our time in Pomona was all annoying.  It wasn’t!  We had a blast!  We met some readers from the blog, caught up with the RV manufacturers, and saw plenty of other, interesting motorhomes.  I’ll be putting together some new videos shortly.  And now that I’ve gotten those three things off my chest, it’s time to get to work on exactly that.

(Except for that bit about Baker.  I still hate Baker.)

James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.

    4 thoughts on “A Tale of Three Annoyances

      1. James - Post author

        Yah. You’re welcome!
        (I keep waiting to get a comment from the mayor of Baker or something, but it hasn’t happened yet.)

    1. Tom Boles

      Hi James,

      I got to the Pomona show yesterday and made a beeline for the Leisure Travel Van area. I found Dean and introduced myself and said hello to him for you….he smiled and said he had jsut received a text from you! I talked with some folks looking at various models and ran into Dean again when he asked me if I had ever seent eh Murphy bed in action. I told him I’d only seen it in the Youtube clips, so in his inimitable way, we barged into the unit and he proceded to do what Dean does best…demo the features of the Leisure Travel Vans! We chatted for awhile after that and he may have convinced me that, among other things, the comfort of the Mercedes van cab is superior to anything out there. I need to drive one of those puppies!

      I looked at the Sprinter-based Winnebago units, both the cutaway version and the rail chassis version, as well as the Dodge chassis units…Do you look at them? The difference in quality is clear and the feature set is still off the mark.

      I had a great time in the 3 hours I had to spend there and I look forward to your next clips from the show.

      1. James - Post author

        That Murphy bed floorplan is probably the nicest of their models. It feels really open and spacious. It won’t quite work for Stef and I, but we both agree it’s really sweet.
        The LTV crew is a good bunch, and they do quality work. Glad you got to meet up with them. I am putting the final bits on our LTV Update, and I should have it ready to go today or tomorrow at the latest.
        We also looked at the Winnebago Trend. Very interesting floorplan, and I will have a video on that soon as well.


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