By The Skin Of Our Teeth . . .

We were out the door at 10am and on our way down to Placentia to have lunch at Esther’s Taco House, where we first ate in 2008 on our first RV trip to the LA area.

We took the scenic route leaving  the park, making the 17 drive down Soledad Canyon Rd. before finally hooking up with the Antelope Valley Fwy and then I-5 south.

In the past, coming down from Lancaster, about 25 miles further north, it only took us about an hour and 45 minutes to make it down there. But today, due to traffic and construction, it took us over 2 – 1/2 hours. But in hindsight we may have been lucky to have made it at all.

This happen on I-5 just minutes after we passed by, blocking both sides of the Interstate for hours.

I-5 Wreck 1

I-5 Wreck 2

I-5 Crash

We just missed it by the skin of our teeth, and really lucked out.

We finally got to Esther’s a little after 12:30, just missing the lunch rush. Esther’s is located in a nondescript strip canter, that hides really delicious food.


I started out with a cup (yes, that’s a cup) of their Chicken Tortilla Soup. Jan tried a spoonful of mine and when she found out I wasn’t planning to share anymore, she then ordered a bowl for herself.

Esther's Tortilla Soup

Next up was our usual, the Two Chili Relleno Platter, the same thing we’ve always ordered.

Esther's Chili Rellenos

Esther’s Chili Rellenos are legendary and the recipe is a secret. Our late good friend George Ellis is the one who told us about Esther’s. We met in 1981 when we both worked at NASA-JSC.. He was Rockwell Aerospace’s Crew Systems Manager on both the Apollo Program and the Space Shuttle, and back in the 60’s he was working out here at Dryden Flight Research Center when he discovered Esther’s.

In fact he was so enamored with Esther’s Chili Rellenos that he once offered her $1000 for the recipe.

She turned him down.

It’s hard to describe how good these are, enough so that we were willing to make a 170 mile round trip to eat there.

Jan looks just as happy now,

Esther's Jan

as she was in 2010.

Esthers Meal

Just as delicious as always.

We were back on the road from Esther’s a little before 2pm, and listening to talk radio is when we discovered that I-5 was blocked in both directions and had been since 11am, right after we passed along there. And there was no estimate on when it would be open again. So at this point, technogeek that I am, I had to do something that goes completely against my nature.

I had to actually use a map, you know, those things printed on real paper with squiggles all over it, to route us home. That’s one problem with a GPS. There’s no way to route a major detour.

In this case, looking at the map, I could see that if I took the 605 north and then picked up the 210 north, it would join back with the I-5 well past the accident, just what we wanted.

It added about 25 miles to our trip but then we didn’t spend 8 hours sitting in stalled traffic like some poor souls did who were caught up in that mess.

Getting back to on the Antelope Valley Fwy we passed the famous Vasquez Rocks,

Vasquez Rocks

Originally a hideout for 1870’s outlaws, it is now a much-used set for numerous movies and TV shows, starting with Werewolf in London in 1935, through Rin Tin Tin in the 50’s to Star Trek in the 60’s, and a lot more along the way.

Star Trek - Kirk and Gorn

Most recently it was the set of a Big Bang Theory episode, again with a Star Trek theme.

Big Bang Vasquez Rocks.

Before returning to the park we headed up into Palmdale to pick up some things at the Wal-Mart. I was happy to find that my new phone would again scan the Wal-Mart receipts with their Savings Catcher app. Somewhere along the line, my S5 quit scanning so I had to enter the barcode by hand.

Passport America, Save 50% on Campsites

Glad it’s working again.

Thought for the Day:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ― Theodore Roosevelt


8 Responses to By The Skin Of Our Teeth . . .

  1. Norm says:

    Is Calif. the only state that uses the term: “The I – 5, The 605 etc.” ?  I have just never heard it used in the middle of the USA.

    • gregwhite says:


      As far as I know it is.

      I’ve never heard it used in the Houston area, or anywhere else for that matter.

      Of course they are kind of strange out here.

      Thanks for reading our blog.


  2. David McCullers, Sr. says:

    FYI……….My old S 3 Mini has stopped focusing on the WM  QR codes, on the paper receipt, as well.  But, it does just fine using WalMart Pay.??????

  3. Dottie and Rob says:

    Hi Greg
    We are in Acton park also. I don’t know how I got your blog delivered to me two days ago but it’s great! I will follow it till I get tired of it. LOL. Where are you from. Your home base? What site are you in?
    Dottie and Rob. ?

    • gregwhite says:

      Dottie and Rob,

      We’re up on top of the hill in N93.

      We lived in Houston from 1978 to 2008 when we started RV’ing full-time. Before that we lived in Alabama.

      We still have our house in the Houston area, but our son and his family live in it. We do spend winters in the area but stay in our rig.

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      Greg and Jan

  4. Linda Sand says:

    My GPS has traffic information so it will route us around a backup. We’ve explored some interesting roads with that feature without always knowing why we are taking an alternate route.

    • gregwhite says:


      I’m not sure what the problem with my Garmin is, but I’m getting no traffic data here in LA.

      And when we have used the detour feature in the past, it just wants to take us off on nearby surface streets, where everyone else is.

      I wanted to get as far away from that mess as I could.

      Now I have to figure out why my traffic data is not working.

      Thanks for reading our blog.


  5. Dennis Fineran says:

    I live in Southern California and have to wrestle with dynamic traffic situations regularly. I no longer use my GPS. I use the Android Waze app and it allows you to select your route and then dynamically suggests changes as traffic changes. Here is a review comparing it to two other apps.

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