Fun with Nilo
by Maurice Lambert

Nilo and I were members of the Venture Outers RV club. The club would meet once a month at various RV campgrounds around Northern California. One of those campgrounds was Gold Strike Village RV Park.

This RV campground had an interesting campsite layout. The sites were in the form of a wagon wheel with each campsite being like the spoke of the wheel. The roadway formed a circle giving access to all campsites. In the center of the circle was a patio area with BBQ grills and a place for people to set up chairs.

Our group often set up lawn chairs, in the daytime as well at night when it was warm enough. This makes for a circle of seated people where each person could see everyone in the conversation circle. During one of these nighttime gab sessions I introduced a new toy in the form of a little remote-controlled LED lantern. I turned the lamp on manually and set it down in the center of the circle.

The High-Tech Lantern
Nilo was always an early adopter of new technology. He was the first person in the RV club to have HDTV at his home; he also was the first to get 3D TV. So, when I told Nilo that the little lantern was voice activated, he believed me. He didn’t know that I had a remote control for the lantern that he couldn’t see in the dark with me sitting on the opposite side of the conversation circle.

When I told Nilo that my new little LED lantern was voice activated and it responded to the words “ON” and OFF” he believed me. So, when he said, “Off” I clicked the remote control and the lamp appeared to go off at his command. Nilo continued to test the lantern by saying, “On” and low and behold the lamp lit up. Now Nilo was excited about this new technology and decided to exercise the little lantern by saying “Off” and “On” several times. With each verbal command the lamp faithfully responded. Now Nilo was really impressed with his voice getting louder.

Suddenly the lamp didn’t respond. I said, “Oooooh no, you broke it Nilo.” I told Nilo he got to loud. I didn’t let him feel guilty very long before letting him “off the hook.” I revealed my secret remote control and demonstrated it a few times. Our whole group got a big laugh with Nilo laughing the loudest. Everyone watching had not been told about the remote control. Nilo was always a lot of fun to be with and a good sport.

Getting into a Corvette
Nilo and I talked on the phone often. With both of us being long winded talkers, we would spend a long time in a multi-subject conversation. One time I mentioned that I would like to buy a Corvette and to my surprise Nilo said that he had just been looking a Corvettes at a car show in San Francisco. Nilo said that he could not figure out how to get into the low-slung design of a Corvette. He also felt that it was fruitless for me to think about getting my big torso into a car that he couldn’t get into.

What Nilo didn’t know was that I had a couple of small cars in the past that I had learned to enter and exit successfully. In August of 2008 I was in need of a new car because my Saturn station wagon was wearing out. Good fortune shined on me at this time because of a downturn in the economy a Chevrolet dealership had too many cars on the lot. A larger part of the car lot had over 60+ new 2008 Corvettes that needed to be sold. At the end of the day I drove my pretty car home. I had always thought that someday I would get a Corvette and now it had happened.

Even though Nilo and I had talked about buying a Corvette, I didn’t tell him that I was now a proud and happy owner of a Corvette. It was only a few days when Nilo called and invited me to have lunch in Hayward with a few the guys from the RV club. I decided that this would be a fun time to reveal my new ride to the guys.

I drove to the location where the guys would be waiting to go to lunch. Because they didn’t know I had bought a Corvette, they were looking for me to be arriving in my blue Saturn SUV. I followed the directions which took me right past the three guys watching for me. They didn’t notice me until I drove right behind them into the parking lot. I paused next to the guys who, at the time, had their backs to me. Nilo sensed that there was a car behind him and turned around to look. When he recognized me he excitedly told the others and they all looked around. So, I pulled into the parking lot to take a spot close to the back entrance to the restaurant.

Nilo didn't give up his desire for a fun, 2-seater, sports car. He bought a cute little bright-red, Mazda MX-5.
He seemed to be able to get in and out of it just fine

Everyone wanted to look over my new toy before we went to lunch. Nilo remarked that he knew he couldn’t get into a Corvette. This led me to demonstrate how I got into my car. So, Nilo decided to try it. He was pleasantly surprised that was able to enter my car and seemed to enjoy sitting in the driver’s seat.

Now it came time for Nilo to exit my sports car. He struggled to find a way to get his feet to move to a position that would allow him to get out. He twisted and turned, continuing to struggle until his back was toward the door. Suddenly he kind of rolled out backwards in a semi-controlled fall ending up lying on his back in the parking lot with his feet still up in my car. We all had a good laugh seeing Nilo in such a funny position. Nilo seemed to be laughing the hardest of us all. It was such a surprise that I forgot to take any photos.

Talking from Cordelia to Florence
In the past, when we traveled to Oregon for our annual crab fishing adventure, our group formed a caravan of three to four motorhomes. One-year Tom had already gone to Waldport, Oregon to go fishing with his son. With Tom already at our destination, Nilo and I decided to meet in Cordelia, California to form a caravan of two motorhomes. Anybody who knows Nilo and me know that we tend to talk too much.

Maury and Nilo meet up at Cordelia. Nilo in front pulling his boat and Maury behind Nilo pulling Tom's boat.

As my motorhome approached at the assigned rendezvous location, it was good to see that Nilo was already there. We got out of our rigs and talked a bit about our upcoming drive north. Once in our motorhomes, we headed out onto the highway to begin our all-day road trip. As is the custom when traveling in a caravan, Nilo and I began talking with each other with our CB radios.

Nilo and I had a technique where we could talk on one subject until we had wrung all the info out of it. However, we were able to make a smooth segue between subjects which allowed us to talk what seemed like forever. As it was, we talked on CB radio all the way from Cordelia to our first stop in Oregon. We had planned to spend our first night on the road in the Valley of the Rogue State Park. However, we arrived at the park at around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. We both felt it was too early to stop, so, we agreed to continue on to Florence.

In Florence, Oregon we found our way to a familiar place to spend the night – the parking lot of the Fred Meyers store. It felt good to power down for the night. The time it took to get there seemed to go by quickly because Nilo and I keep rachet jawing all the way. Nilo and I were well matched for continuous conversation.

A Slice of Paradise in Paradise
While traveling in Kauai, Nilo and I were cut loose to find something to do on our own. The ladies were staying at the hotel to attend some sort of special event. So, Nilo and I took off to go deep-sea fishing.  We arrived at about 9 am at the kiosk to buy tickets to go deep sea fishing. Unfortunately, we were told that all tickets were sold out for about two weeks. So now we had to find something else to do when one of us suggested a bus tour around the island with the same result.

Nilo found his paradise in a Costco store in Lihue. He was a happy man among the orchids of paradise.

It seems as if a person has to make reservations in advance of arriving in Kauai. For some reason Nilo suddenly discovered that there was a Costco store somewhere on the island. It was revealed that the Costco store was in Lihue just a short drive away. We hopped into the car and Nilo drove us to Lihue in search of a piece of Nilo’s paradise in Hawaii.

Nilo's bottle of "white lightning."

It didn’t take long to find Costco and to get into the store. As we entered, we saw a large area of the store displaying orchids. That did it, Nilo didn’t get past the orchid display, where he began a personal relationship with each and every flower in the display area. I was able to shop around the store to see if there was something there that I didn’t know I needed. I came away empty handed with Nilo still slowly making his way among all the beautiful blooms. Now I don’t know of many people who seek out a Costco store while in paradise other than Nilo. On the plus side it was enjoyable to see how much fun Nilo was having with our afternoon on our own.

Lampo Blanco
During one of our trips to Oregon, Nilo produced a bottle with an interesting label. The label looked as if it was a homemade label on a clear bottle containing a clear liquid. On the label was written the words Lampo Blanco. I asked Nilo what it meant and he said, “White Lightning” and that the liquid was nearly 100% ethel alcohol or 200 proof. I don’t remember if Nilo made it or if a friend made the spirit and gave it to Nilo. Either way, I always remembered Nilo's bottle of booze.

USS Hornet
Nilo, Jim, and I went to the USS Hornet aircraft carrier located at the old Alameda Naval Air Station that is now called Alameda Point. Nilo had been in the U.S. Navy while Jim had been in the U.S. Army. The three of us, all veterans, navigated our way all over the inside and outside of the big ship turned into a floating museum. The tour was a trip down memory lane for Nilo and me. On the other hand, Jim got a close up look at how Nilo and I lived when we were in the Navy. The story of the tour can be seen by clicking on the following link.

USS Hornet floating museum story
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