Please enjoy the original writing, Christian travel journal, and photography by a hapa haole named Gail Rhea.

Original Writing & Photography

by Gail Rhea




From: "The Hapa Haole Journal"


Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 7:30 AM


Subject: The HHJ: Critical Mass - Part 1


Soft white clouds, mostly vibrant blue sky, the weather here has been great. Cool with the occasional day of showers, it warms up to consistent daytime 70s despite the Weather Channel's forecasts of mid to high 50s. I switch to short-sleeves and don't kick myself when I go out forgetting my windbreaker for the evening chill.

Thinking to chuck the car top carrier idea because I haven't found one to fit my car without a roof rack - I found one that is specifically NOT for my car - it dawns on me that the kettle poses a major safety issue because, if it had been in my car during the near-accident, it could have been a lethal projectile.

Where do I pack it in the car?

My trunk is totally full to the point that if anything shifts in the least (usually one of the kites I bought along the way), I can't close it. My backseat is full up to the top of the seat backs, my front passenger seat is full, and all the floor spaces are full. I've got car organizers hanging off the front and back of my passenger seat and off the back of my driver's seat. 

Anyplace else I could have put the kettle inside the car blocks my rear view even more than it already is.

Besides, if I move things around to ensure the kettle won't endanger me, then the things moved would become potential projectiles. Six of one/half dozen of the other. Rock -> me <- hard place.

The stuff on my trunk rack already impedes my rear view to the point where I have to rely on my side mirrors to back up. Sure, I could roll the kettle into the tarp, but to unfasten everything to get it off the trunk rack and unroll and unfold the tarp at every stop just to get the kettle and then to have to do the reverse to put it back? That's so much trouble, you've GOT to be kidding! Not to mention that there are sharp and heavy items in the tarp that could damage the kettle should anything make a radical shift and pierce through the tarp.

Why did I leave home with so much stuff? Because I was planning to be gone for 3 months from summer warmth to winter cold and packed everything I'd need from camping and hiking to visiting friends and attending the opera.

I've used most of them, too, keeping track by highlighting items on my packing list as I used them to modify my packing list for future trips. Even some of the camping equipment except for things like the tent, lanterns, sleeping mat & bag, stove, etc., have already been used for motel camping.

Coming to terms with having to bite the bullet, I call the Galpin Mercury dealership parts department about getting a roof rack installed only to learn that they've been discontinued. Transferred to the Galpin Auto Sports store, I make arrangements to take the car in the next morning. Yay!

Thinking I can drop the car off early and walk back to sleep until the car's ready, I don long john pants to ward off the cold. Once there, Rocky measures the car and determines that they don't have anything that will suit. Calling Gian at the Sports Chalet in the Burbank Town Center mall, they discuss my options which include a 20% off sale. Kewl! 

Off I go.

Rocky's directions prove to be excellent and I find the place and park without any misturns whatsoever. Gian also proves himself to be an excellent help and after measuring my roof again, I buy the components for a universal roof rack that doesn't need holes drilled into my roof and may require only about another $60 for parts to change over to a different car whenever it is that I get my next one. The special-order storage box will be delivered in only three days.

Great! That gives me time to assemble and mount the roof rack.

"Are you here on a shoot?" Gian asks.

Wouldn't it be neat if I could say, "Yes"?

"No, I'm going down the coast highway and came inland for a bit."

After stocking up on freeze-dried meals and paying for everything, I haul it all off to the car which has enough space only because of what I removed up to my room and return to the restroom to remove my long johns which are killing me from the heat. I stash them in the car.

Cruising a bit of the mall before leaving, I cross over an image projected from the ceiling onto the floor. Things literally flee away from my steps which causes me to turn back. The projection is a series of games by and I have fun kicking soccer balls, chasing koi, and bursting bubbles along with another woman until the whole thing cycles itself off.

Driving back is uneventful until I realize that I lost the 118 freeway and am on I-210 somehow. Where the heck is that?! I reach for my map only to find it isn't there. Of course, it's in my room along with my GPSr because I was going to drop off the car and walk back, only about half a mile on a main road impossible for me to get lost on. The only choice now is to backtrack and see where I went astray. Easily enough, I see the sign and am soon back in my room collapsed on the bed for a good sleep.

Saturday finds me wrestling with the crossbars of the roof rack. I can't get them out of the protective capping that serves as the packaging. Assembling the rack is stalled at Step 3. Thinking the problem might be my grip weakened by surgery several years ago, I ask the man next door to try. He's big and muscular and can't get the caps off, either.

"You sure they're supposed to come off?"

I go back to my room and return with the instructions. "Yup. See?"

He reads the instructions. "You got a knife?"

I go back to my room and return with the knife blade of my Leatherman Blast extended. He tries to cut and barely makes a mark.

"Sorry, I can't help."

"Thanks. It's okay. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't me. I'll return it to the store."

Back in my room, I attack it with the saw blade before immersing an end into the ice bucket thinking to contract the metal so I can wiggle the caps off. My neighbor knocks to see how I'm doing and I show him.

"Well, that saw blade kinda works," he said.

"Yes, but I feel like I'm in prison filing through the bars with a nail file," I replied.

"You got anything better to do?"







Read the next Journal excerpt






Main Entrance Projection Room Reading Room Information Desk

Janitor's Closet



Copyright 1993- Gail Rhea.

All rights reserved.