Lollygagging with the Lewis Family travel blog

Pea Soup Andersen's Santa Nella (Internet photo)

Andersen's Restaurant Santa Nella (Internet photo)

el chupacabra


We usually head toward the coast above San Francisco. We didn't have any reservations and weekends in summertime become problematic for getting sites in coastal parks. Monterey was having a jazz festival so all their spots were full, and there's only a few, popular and expensive RV parks in the area around San Francisco. Checking the map, we decided to head on south on I-5 to Santa Nella and then we'd cut across to Highway 101 on Highway 152.

Santa Nella Village, which the local Chamber of Commerce calls our "little oasis" with a population of 1,000, mainly serves truck drivers and motorists touring along Interstate 5. The major landmark is Pea Soup Andersons.

This wide spot in the road also features a half dozen fast-food restaurants, two RV parks, motels, gas stations and this last year they opened a Starbucks. We love Pea Soup Andersons; they have the unlimited bowl of split pea soup on the traveler's special, other good menu selections, and a gift shop featuring edibles and souvenirs.

I'm sure water would have boiled if left out on the sidewalk, because it was hotter than Hades when we arrived. We had called ahead to the RV Park to ensure we had a spot since we would be arriving after the office closed. We weren't thrilled that they parked us next to a Tijuana village. The next-door campsite held multiple decrepit trailers, motorcycles, plywood constructions and a confab of junk where several workers seemingly had lived for some time. (No photos. ) Many parks, particularly enroute facilities along major highways, are becoming low cost housing for local workers. We're not snobs and don't mind older rigs and full time workers in parks where we stop, but this was a bit much. Fortunately, they were on our driver side, so we mostly closed the curtains and pretended they weren't there.

Maybe it was just the heat that made us cranky. Ted hides the knives from me when the temperature gets over 85, with good cause I might add. I don't respond well to excessive heat, it brings out my homicidal tendencies. About sunset, a cooling breeze came up, so Ted set up a chair for me outside. Mac lie in the grass beside me.

Suddenly, Macgregor bristled on full alert, looking at something under our motor coach. I expected to see the neighbor's cat, but when I glanced over, I saw a huge black shadow too big to be a house cat. At Mac's barking, the 'thing,' whatever it was, moved at lightning speed away into the bushes. Now, I'm not superstitious, but I'd swear this was some unknown beast. Or, maybe I've watched too many episodes of X-files. Does el chupacabra, the four-foot tall creature with red eyes and fangs that sucks the blood out of livestock and pets, really exist?

Or was it a heat hallucination?

Macgregor's Journal

Boy, is mom windy, or what? I know you guys just read her stuff to get through to the important news. I'll be brief. Those long drives? They're okay but after awhile, a bit boring. Some of the stops are interesting. We stopped at this one rest stop and this trucker had a guy hooked on the front of his rig. (See photo) He was just bones, but hey, he'd been out in the air probably for a long time.

As for Santa Nella, it sucks. They left me in the coach with the generator and the A/C running while they went inside to chow down—then brought me out a few limp French fries as my reward for guarding the coach.

If mom weren't scent-deprived, she'd know the black shadow under the rig was a big cat, but if she wants to think I saved her from a chupacabra, who am I to disillusion her?



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