Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction
Tom Week – Road to California

on the road


Tonight in Quartzsite. Yes, that is how it is spelled. It only hit 99 degrees today, but it’s a dry heat so we only suffered a lot. I’ve never seen Quartzsite so empty. Winter is their big season.


Lazy hot day in Quartzsite. I accomplished nothing.


We are in Desert Hot Springs, surprisingly close to the Coachella Festival. We stopped for supplies at WalMart but many of the shelves were bare. I got the last bottle of Coke in the place. The ginger ale was all gone. The chips and crackers, gone. The beer, gone. Except for Steele Reserve.

When I was hooking up I discovered we had two stow-aways. When I opened the bin with the hoses and wires a month flew out. Then as I was pulling out the power cable, a little lizard jumped out and ran into the bushes. Poor creatures have no idea where they are.


Greetings from Boron, the home of Borox. We are in the middle of the Mojave desert in an RV park so small we are actually parked facing a public street.

When we checked in the woman gave me a business card for the park and on the back was the list of the cable channels as of a couple weeks ago. She said it was pretty close but they keep changing the lineup. No indication of who “they” might be.


Eight months ago, on August 23, 2018 we stayed at the same park we are in tonight. No, it’s not the same space, but it’s close. And we are in this park for the same reason. Too hot in Bakersfield.


Down the hill from Tehachapi we stopped at our favorite nummy store. Chocolate-covered everything and sugar-infused fruit. The only real reason to go to Bakersfield.

Tonight we are in Paso Robles which is southern California’s attempt at being wine country. Tomorrow we start a week in Pismo Beach.

For some reason we were put in a spot in the middle of a large group.


Short drive to Pismo Beach. It’s weird being in a place where I know all the streets. The RV park is very tight, but not the tightest. It’s located right near downtown and has an if you squint view of the ocean. Though today the fog made that impossible. Actually happy to see fog. This is sick.


escaping styrofoam

The mystery piece of styrofoam appeared from nowhere. Actually it used to be separating the body from the interior.

snow-covered mountain

Ninety degrees in Desert Hot Springs yet the snow remains up there in the mountains. Back in California.

Mercury Comet

My Grandfather had one of these only without the mag wheels. He bought in new and was the last car he owned.

Children's choir

If you’re on the road long enough you will see everything. Little singing kids from all over the world eating lunch in Tehachapi.


A tow plane pulls a glider into the sky.

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 25, 2019

Tom Week – Bike Pump and Texas

no bike pump texas sunset


Today was the day of the bike pump. I bought a new pump yesterday and it completely failed to function. This afternoon I took it back to WalMart and bought a different one. Back at base camp it also failed to function. It was missing a piece.

So I went to a different WalMart and bought the same kind of pump. This time I made sure the missing piece was there. I also bought a spare tube. Out in the car I tested the pump. It worked!

Then back at the RV I tried pumping up my bike tire. It didn’t seem to be working. I tried it on the new tube and it worked but the pressure gauge wasn’t moving. So I took the missing pieces from this pump to the previous pump. Now I have a pump and a gauge that works. Sheesh.


Set off in a bad storm. The place with the tornado watch did not have a tornado, but somewhere else did. Not where we were. After a while we found the sun but also the wind. The big yellow truck was bounced about.

We also found wildflowers along Texas route 29. All colors coming and going. A wonderful drive looking nothing like I expected Texas to look.

Then we got to Interstate 10. Now it looks like Texas.

Tonight we are at the Stadium RV Park in Sonora Texas. Named for the high school football stadium across the drainage ditch. Small town, not even a WalMart, but a huge football stadium. Real Texas.

The park has no office. You call a phone number and a very nice guy in a white pickup truck comes and takes you to your spot.


Today’s drive was all what you would expect from Texas. 130 miles of Sagebrush and trucks zooming past. The yellow truck just doesn’t like going 80 miles an hour. Even at 70 it’s using much more gas than I’d like.

The sunset in Fort Stockton was nice though.

For supper we got take-out from the Roadrunner Cafe. It was yummy.


All the way to El Paso! Well, technically, all the way through El Paso. We are in Anthony Texas which is just south of Anthony New Mexico. No, it’s not one town that crosses the border. It is two towns with the same name. Together they form the Leap Year Capital of the world.

The driving was much better today. No head wind. Pat’s weather app said it’s going to very windy tomorrow so we pushed further today and we’re staying put tomorrow.

I was thinking I might pop into Mexico while I was here but even for pedestrians there is over an hour wait in both directions. Sucks.

The park we’re in is gravel baked to cement by the sun and wind. Each spot has a globe marker light. Some of them are blinking. I think it’s a signal to the alien overlords the news has been talking about.

We crossed into Mountain Time today. Abigail is sure we are playing some cruel trick on her. Her dinner is now two hours later than it used to be.


Rest day in the wastes north of El Paso. Twelve mile bike ride from Anthony TX to Anthony NM, then back along the nearly waterless Rio Grande. Finally up the hill through Vinton Village.

Took a nap then did laundry. Ah, life on the road.


Windy day to Lordsburg, NM. Mostly a headwind so not as much bouncing around, but it slowed our progress some. Tired.


No wind today. Much easier driving. Abigail woke us up way early so we got on the road before 10. Then about an hour later I asked Pat what time it was. It was 5 past 10. Turns out Arizona doesn’t believe in daylight savings time.

So we got to Tucson way early and I was able to get a bike ride in. Great bike paths in Tucson.

This park is cool, literally. We are parked under and array of solar panels. A wonderful solution.


Texas park

Not all RV parks are landscape wonderful. Great park owner though.

Alley Oop Land

Alley Oop land in Iraan Texas. Yes we were there. Deal with it!

big park

Not all RV parks are crowded. We sat here for a day waiting for the wind to die down.


The wonderful sunset of Anthony Texas and/or New Mexico.

dry river

The sands of the Rio Grande. Or, Rio not-so-grande. Or, Rio Sande?

cool junk

I dared not enter this place. I do not have room for any of the cool things I lusted after from afar.

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 19, 2019

100 Words – Vivid Police

vivid police picture

When Alexander gets truly stressed he suffers from vivid hallucinations of police surrounding him. They are there one second, gone the next. The first time this happened was his first semester of college. It started a week before finals and got worse every day. After the last final he got puke in the street drunk, and that was the end of the phantom cops.

His therapist tells him that when he sees the cops he needs to take the blue pill. She thinks that’s funny. Alexander sticks with her because she’s the only shrink he’s found that’s smarter than him.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 13, 2019

Tom Week – Back in Texas

The cranes of Texas


We are at the Frog Town RV Park. No idea why it’s called that. It was a hot, humid day. I accomplished almost nothing today. Watched a cat lay in a driveway for a couple hours. Good times.


Meanwhile, back in Texas. We’re in Port Arthur because it looks like tomorrow’s big storm should pass to the north. We had some trouble with directions to the park because there is a street and a town called Nederland and they are not necessarily connected.

Whenever we get to a new state I stop at the welcome center for fliers. I couldn’t find any for Austin, the main reason for coming to Texas, so i asked the woman at the desk. She said, “That’s not really part of Texas.”

Also, today we got to eat at the McDonalds in Iowa Louisiana. A dozen miles past that we drove through Vinton. Pat worked at the school for blind in Vinton, Iowa.


The big storm came through today. We missed the worst of it. No hail, flooding or tornadoes. Though the wind did rock us and the cable TV went out for a while.

Speaking of TV, this town is weird. There are no local channels on the RV park’s cable TV. I was searching for local news so I hooked up the antenna only to find there are no local channels over the air either.


Some days are just confusion. Especially when you’re new to Texas’ weird highway frontage road system. We eventually got where we wanted to go once we convinced Pat’s phone that she wasn’t in Virginia. I’m still not sure it’s convinced.

In Beaumont I got a replacement tire for my bike. They actually had the exact tire I wanted and for only a few dollars more than what it cost on the Internet. So if your in Beaumont and have bike needs check out (Note: the shop is better than the website.)


We’re in Austin. Well, a suburb of Austin. Haven’t seen downtown yet but so far Austin looks no different from every other Texas city.

This is a great park. There is a huge fenced-in dog area right behind us. Abigail has met several new friends already.

Tomorrow is going to very hot, near 100. That may be why there isn’t a single rental car available. Cooler on Thursday. Cars available then.


Not as hot as they said. Only 92, very windy and low humidity. Not bad at all. Put my new tire on the good bike but was unable to pump up the tire. By bike pump died after only 22 years. Piece of crap.

Fortunately I have the folding bike so I got in a good ride anyway.


Picked up the rental car this morning. Unfortunately they were out of Camrys so I had to take a Dodge Challenger with a HEMI engine. A ridiculous machine weighing 1/4 as much as the RV, but with twice the horsepower. The old guy neighbors keep coming by to take pictures of it.

Tonight I went to The Velveeta Room. A famous starting ground for comedians. They were funny but I didn’t get many of their references. I guess I really am that old and out of touch.


cat in gravel driveway

Some cats can sleep anywhere

iowa water tower

We ate lunch in Iowa Louisiana

dog and fan

Abigail knows how to handle the heat

dill pickle shed

Austin Texas is still weird if you look hard enough

Dodge Challenger

Unfortunately the rental place was out of four door cars

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 12, 2019

100 Words – Witness

alley of the witness

I came to witness the second coming of Truman Capote. All I got was a bunch of tourists puking their green drinks on cobbled streets. Old buildings gutted of their souls and cheapness. No longer the refuge of poets and madmen. They have fled for the fringes where visitors need not witness their divine ugliness.

The saddest part of all was realizing that I was also just a tourist. A voyeuristic dilettante climbing onto the shoulders of giants. Seeking approval from the ghosts of my heroes who care not for the living. Just the suffering of those doomed to follow.


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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: April 6, 2019


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