Jun 302010

I try to be upbeat in this blog, but anybody who knows me knows that I don’t pull any punches either, and I give you the good with the bad. Not to be a downer, but today I have a couple of the bad to share.

Even though I am married to the best cook in the world, I enjoy dining out, and we do it a lot. It just seems to be a basic part of the RV lifestyle. Put the fulltiming occupants of any two or more RVs together for the first time in a campground, and once they discuss where they just came from and where they are headed next, the very next question is “Where are we going for dinner?’

When we are in a new area, I frequently refer to the Yelp website for reviews of local restaurants. Overall, I have found that if you disregard the obvious cranks with an ax to grind, and the guys who sign in to pump up their own or a friend’s place, when you average the rest of the reviews out, you get a pretty accurate idea of what to expect.

We have been wanting to find a good Chinese buffet ever since we left Apache Junction, Arizona, and the Yelp review showed a place called Best Empire Buffet in Gilroy, about ten miles away. So once we got settled in at the Thousand Trails campground in Morgan Hill on Monday, we drove back to Gilroy to try it out. The reviews were very positive, but as it turned out, they were wrong in this case. We’re still looking for a good Chinese buffet.

At this restaurant, I accomplished two “firsts.” I had the very worst Chinese buffet meal of my life (and we eat at a LOT of Chinese buffets coast to coast), and I paid the most I ever have at a Chinese buffet. The selection was huge, but everything was cold, and a lot of it was stale. I complained to a young lady monitoring the service line, and she just nodded and stood there.

If it wasn’t late in the day, and if we had not been tired and very hungry, we would have left. Once we got our bill, we wished we had. For two people, with me having a Coke and Terry having tea, the tab was $32.91. When Terry told the girl at the cash register that we were unhappy with the meal, she just said “Okay, thank you for coming!”  Hey, life is a crapshoot, right? Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.

Then yesterday, I had another unpleasant experience. Terry needed to make a WalMart run to stock up on some things, so while she did her shopping, I sat out in the van cruising the internet on my iPad. It was in the upper 80s, and Terry’s shopping took longer then expected, so when it got too hot in the van, I started the engine to let the air conditioning cool things down.

So there I am, reading the Escapees RV forum, when somebody knocks on my window. I look out and there stands a pissed off policeman. Did you know it is illegal to let a car idle in California? I sure didn’t, until he explained it to me in great and forceful detail. Apparently it’s a crime that ranks right up there with armed robbery and peeing in public.

He sternly told me that I was wasting precious fuel and adding to the state’s pollution level, among other things. Did you know that if all of the millions of drivers in California did the same thing, nobody could breathe? I didn’t, but I do now. I’m not sure, but I may also be responsible for the current budget crisis, and for the fact that French poodles are such ugly dogs, too.

Okay, I get it. I was wrong. I was wasting fuel, and I was properly chastised. But that wasn’t enough, he ran my license plates and drivers license, apparently to see if I was recently featured on America’s Most Wanted, or in any way affiliated with terrorist cells Then he told me I was very, very lucky he didn’t give me a ticket, or arrest me.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of law enforcement. The men and woman who take on that job deserve all of our respect for everything they do to keep us all safe. And again, yes, I was wrong. I should have gone inside the store to cool off. But gee, a simple “turn the engine off” would have worked just fine.

I don’t think I like California.

Thought For The Day – Life is not always fair – get used to it!

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  35 Responses to “Well That Sucked!”

  1. Sounds like you ran into a cop who was having a bad day. It happens sometimes.

  2. And yet I see police sitting in their cars with the engine on idling all the time. Your right he could have just told you to shut it off and explained why politely. Some (not all by any means) cops have an attitude.

  3. As for the officer’s attitude, I wasn’t there so I won’t comment on that. But in my department, we are supposed to fill out an FI (field interview) card on everyone we talk to for the first time, and we routinely run everybody’s ID we come into contact wth. Who knows what skeletons the man you are talking to has in his closet? I have arrested fugitives on all kinds of warrants based upon a simple ID check.

  4. A perfect example of why we never go to the Republic of California. Too many stupid laws and too many stupid people. We were going to take a workamping job in California a couple of years ago, but the sheer volume of crap they wanted us to deal with and the number of hoops we had to jump through made us change our minds.

  5. Hey, not everybody can be a Terry or a Nick. And it does seem many who choose to be less than they can be end up as public servants. I now just show them my license plate as I depart their store, restuarant, city or state not to return.

  6. Glad to hear that at least one liberal is starting to complain about the crap that the other liberals been promoting for years. Unfortunately, when folks move away from California, they take their beliefs & values with them & ruin the rest of the country.

  7. Well Nick, Toronto Ontario has just announced it is reducing the legal idle time in a parked car from 3 minutes to 1 minute. This means that if you have your car running for more than 1 minute while parked you get a ticket. Now, in the summer you can roll down your windows, but in the winter around here it can get mighty cold and you just end up freezing. Probably will see more tax payers money wasted by the purchase of stop watches for all police officers.

  8. Nick –That cop probably just had a few minutes to kill before it was time to meet his fellow cops at the donut shop — I bet he is the only person in the world who has never sat in his car with the motor on and the air conditioning running.

  9. Yes, CA is the land of the nuts and fruits. Yes, we have friends who live in CA and are from CA. It’s still the land of the nuts and fruits.
    While, I was sorry to hear of your plight, Nick, with the cop. I think it’s amusing that you can’t idle your engine in a parking lot. What about the CA Freeways? Half the time they ARE parking lots with the engines running.
    And the cop could see you were an out of state car by the license. You would think a simple, “You may not know this but idling your engine is not allowed. Please turn it off. Thank you for visiting CA and spending your money to help our economy.”

  10. Not completely sure of this. I think this cop is slightly misinformed. Being in the trucking industry I have to keep up with a lot of rules and regulations.
    The last update I recieved on Idling in California states that it applies to those vehicles 5 tons or larger with diesel engines.
    Even if I’m wrong, why does it seem like people in authority have the worst people skills. I realize it’s not all cops or all guards. It’s the rude ones that make me wary whenever I might be approached by these same people. they give the good guys a bad reputation.

  11. Well I don’t usually disagree, but you can’t blame California for one jerks attitude, or for a bad Chinese Buffet, lol.

    Try SF and China town, the best!! I am a native Californian, and there are many things to love about the state. I wish I could afford to live there.

    My first husband was a CHP, and it ended badly, but I don’t blame the other cops.

    I hope you have some better experiences, remember Morro Bay, who could stay mad at California?

  12. What do you mean, French poodles are ugly dogs?

  13. And here I was almost ready to break down and visit CA next summer. Your pictures had me ready to bite the bullet, but now I think I will just angle into Oregon on my way to Washington State. I still want to see the redwoods, so a day trip from southern Oregon and then I will get the heck out of that state.

  14. Hey Nick…..have lived in California since 1949, and come September, 2011 we will be showing the State our rear license plate. I never, ever thought I would want to leave California, but I have had it. The “no idling” law is just the ever so small “tip of the iceberg”. It’s so ironic that Jerry Brown is once again running for Governor…..his first stint as Gov. is where the decline of California began.

  15. I too think that French poodles are nice looking. (as dogs go, that is)

  16. Now you know why we left the Golden State six years ago. The idea of a Chinese buffet costing you an arm is unreal, but then again it is California. The no idle law must be new since we left, or it is not enforced we lived in the state for over twenty years and I have always left the car run while waiting for some one to come out of the store. The law does not make a lot of sense. The only reason we even set foot in the state is our two kids live there and can not afford to leave the state and the most important reason is our grandson is there. Our son wishes he could get out of the state but because of his son he will not since his x-wife would never let him see him. Poodles are cute, Bulldogs are ugly. Land of Fruit and nuts is true.

  17. Here’s a likely scenario. One of CA’s green do-gooders spotted you sitting in your van running the engine and air conditioning. The do-gooder calls the police and reports you. The cop, who is tired of having to respond to such calls and is having a bad day to begin with, gets the call to apprehend you. To wit, the encounter that you had. Still a simple turn off the engine message would have been the proper way to handle the call.

  18. I’m with Connie. A glance at your plate and he would have seen that you were ignorant of the law and not flying in the face of authority. Everyone has bad days but as a cop in the public service you’d best put a sock in it and be nice or go find a shade tree and chill for a while. I worked Central Dispatch for 10 years in CT and I know you just have a few with major attitude. You got one. Maybe time for a letter to his Lt. I know I would.

  19. By the way, we have wanted to visit CA for years. However, with all the crap that goes on out there we canned our plans to go there this year and most likely any year in the future. They can boycott AZ- we will boycott them. We would have spent 2 month’s there but now zero. On average we spent $3000 per month when we travel. That’s money not spent in CA. My boycott continues…

  20. Hey. I loved California. I lived there and worked in San Francisco from the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s but it was very obvious, even then, where things were going as far as the state of things in California. We left after 11 years, moved to Boulder, CO and quickly found why Boulder area was nicknamed “Berkley East”.

    Yes, there are pollutions. yes, there are out of control liberals and yes, there should be a formal degree in the A$$hole sciences.. they certainly push the requisite courses out there. But besides that, there has never been anyplace I have ever lived that has so much finger-pointing going on without any context.

    It seems as though the use of the finger has replaced open discussion and problem solving and has left most of the population conditioned to act like a herding dog managing a flock of sheep. The rest ARE the sheep and the Shepard is asleep most of the time so the dogs run the whole show.

    (stepping down off of my box, now)… it is still a strange and beautiful place… if it wasn’t for the people that live there and run the show. People get treated better in the theme parks than in the streets outside of them but that is not an item on anyone’s agenda.

  21. Sure glad to know this. My husband always sits idle while I shop.. Now, if I can remember this when the day comes we head to Ca.. Wonder how many other states do this..

  22. Enjoying reading your blog as always. I bet you had to think hard about whether to put this one in “Bad Nick” or keep it in the regular blog. 🙂

    Happy travels!

  23. Well Nick you may as well get used to not idling. I see a lot of states have gone to the no idling law.

  24. I think it is wrong to judge a whole state and its people by the sum of some experiences in that state. Should a religion be called bad because some of its followers are fanatical? There are people who will take any position to the extreme (good or bad) (just look at politics for an example) and life has always been like that.

    Nick, I appreciate that you share your experiences with us and we now know that should we go to California, we will do our research first to be prepared. As an aside, in Long Island, NY, the local Chinese restaurants and buffets are periodically raided to round up “illegals.” Most workers do not know English (other than the bare basics) so that is probably why your complaints fell on deaf ears. To date, the best Chinese food we’ve had is in downstate New York.

  25. So, I just left the post office from picking up our mail and there it was. Nick’s picture on a Wanted Poster with the title “The Inveterate Idler”. How does it feel to be a real California Idol”er”?

  26. We got a ticket for idling our engine in Ohio, in 1969 on Christmas Day when my son was 4 months old and we wanted to warm up the car before leaving in-laws house. If I remember right, it was $25….boy, did that hurt!!

  27. I wonder what the law is about generators? If I’m sitting in my mh at Wallyworld keeping cool while waiting for the shopper to return will I be arrested or thrown out?

  28. One cranky policeman does not stand for scientific verification that the whole tribe is suspect. But it feels like it if that is the only one you meet. LOL On the other discussion: Poodles -Yes/can be cute and intelligent……funny foo foo hair cuts – no (=ugly category)

  29. We were contemplating spending the winter in Southern California. . .now boycotting the state, and spending our winter dollars in Arizona.

    A Californian on the news said she wished the state weren’t being judged by the few kooks who get facetime on TV. . .but all you Californians keep voting for, and tolerating the kooks. . .and their kooky ideas! What’s up with that?

    I feel the same way about the state of Massachusetts!

  30. I must have got stopped by that cop’s brother just last week, near Lancaster, CA. A county mounty pulled me over and said our RV exceeded the state’s length law. We’re a 40 foot diesel pusher and we tow a Honda. We do look longer due to our paint scheme, and a lot of people think we’re longer. So no big deal I thought.

    He actually measured our rig, and then said we were within the law, but that he still could write a citation because we were impeding traffic going so slow. I had the cruise control set at 55 which is the state speed limit for RVs towing a vehicle or trailer, and I showed him that on our Silverleaf. Then he said he was “a heartbeat away from locking my smart ass up!”

    We had planned to go on to the coast and spend the rest of the summer making our way north to San Francisco, but we turned around and went back to Arizona, and from there into Colorado, headed for Wyoming. There are too many states that want us to visit to put up with that kind of bullshit.

  31. Nick, I hate both of these things. Bad food that costs lots and over-zealous law enforcement. But honestly, having lived in Arizona, North Carolina, Washington State, British Columbia, Canada, and Los Angeles, along with traveling all over the country and parts of Canada and Mexico, I can tell you that you can find bad food that costs too much everywhere without exception. And you can also find over-zealous law enforcement everywhere without exception. I have to commend California for taking a stand on energy conservation and air pollution. It is the 7th largest economy in the world – not the country, but the world. That means big impact with whatever it decides to do, worldwide. Too bad you had several bad experiences so close together and in California. The Camp Host Housewife (now camp hosting in Central Coast California and loving it – for the most part)

  32. I told my little 6lb poodle what you said and he will see you at Rally in Aug. He is really a mean little thing. And he is not ugly he is cute and my little boy

  33. The rude officer’s name is pinned to his chest. Call 411 and get the phone number of the police station of the city you’re in (or the California Highway Patrol office, or the County Sheriff’s office). Ask to speak to the shift commander. Report him to the shift commander, describing what the officer did and repeating the officer’s words. Police departments need to weed out bad officers, and the commanders only know what’s going on in the field if the public tells them.

  34. My 15 year old, blind, near deaf, toothless, black Miniature Poodle says she is still purdy!!
    Better not let “Fillmore”, the famous white Standard Poodle of fulltimers Doug and Joanne hear you say that poodles are ugly.
    I agree that the show coats, with the naked rears are a bit much, but most poodles are pretty, and they know it!!
    Anyway, “Beauty is, as beauty does!”.
    Poodles have supreme intelligence, and don’t shed, so that is why they are popular.
    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  35. You were obviously the brunt of a joke…there is no such law regarding idleing your car…Here is the statue:
    This is not a “law,” but is a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board. The limitation applies to diesel powered SCHOOL buses, and is intended to “reduce public exposure, especially school age children’s exposure, to diesel exhaust particulate matter and other toxic air contaminants by limiting unnecessary idling of specified vehicular sources.” (13 Cal. Code of Regs. 2480.) There are LOTS of exceptions, including being stopped in traffic.

    There is a similar regulation for diesel powered trucks, which does not apply (except in some areas) if the engine meets idling emission standards, and which has a lot of exceptions as well (including waiting for passengers, stopped in traffic, etc.) Again, the purpose is “to reduce public exposure to diesel particulate matter and other air contaminants by limiting the idling of diesel-fueled commercial motor vehicles.” (13 CCR 2485.)
    Given California’s problems with air pollution, you can understand the need for such regulations.

    Now for those that seem to have nothing better to do but TRASH California…I have travelled all thru the U.S…Yet to find any state that comes close to what California offers…weather, salary, freedoms and most mind their own business…unlike a lot of people in other states…..We here in California are very please to see you all leave.

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