Travel

For those of you interested Only in TRAVEL, I (Jack) wrote the blog between March 2010 and October 2010 during our travels west. We saw the most beautiful places and had the best time in our big truck and little trailer. See Blog Archive below.

Aug 31, 2016

Albuquerque

I finally drove out of the extreme heat. I headed out this morning and decided to make Albuquerque my destination for a couple of reasons. I realized that a holiday was coming up and I didn't want to get caught without a place to stay. I saw several casinos on the way in, but I wasn't sure whether they allowed RV parking. I found a nice park, not fancy, with great wifi, unlike last night, and I'm staying for a week while I explore the area and adjust to the altitude. I felt miserable when I had it last time. I came armed with a supplement that I bought on Amazon and a couple of cans of Oxygen that I will try out if I start to feel sick, and I drank water all day. So far so good. I'm hoping that staying at 5K feet for a while will eliminate problems when I head up to Santa Fe, Taos, and Durango, etc. I chose this park because it was only $18. per night and had a pool so I could keep up my exercise routine. Only after I had signed in did I find that the pool is out of order, and they don't think it will be fixed any time soon. :( I was too tired to try to find another park. I may be able to find a motel or hotel nearby that will allow me to use theirs.

The drive was long, today, but I was pleasantly surprised with the ride on I40. The last time I drove it, it was like a washboard. Bump, bump, bump. I didn't run into any traffic to mention until I got to Albuquerque at commute hour, and coming from Atlanta I, it's a stretch to say traffic. All and all, I haven't been on one bad road this whole trip.

I was amazed going through the panhandle of Texas at how many more giant Turbine windmills there are since I was last here--seemed like thousands. I tried to get a picture, but I couldn't so here's an interesting article from the web. Texas is Smart! Our country should not be dependent on other countries for energy. Congratulations to Texas. I thought I would be exaggerating by saying I thought there were thousands, but according to the link, there really are thousands. Texas is number 1 in developing wind energy.

I'm ready for a day of rest. I didn't unhook the trailer--just hooked up the electric and water. My neck was stiff and my back sore so I'll get out tomorrow--maybe. I want to scout around to see things I think Susan will be interested in when she comes out. We only have a short time here so I want to make the best of it.

Maybe tomorrow I'll finally have some pictures. I'm even too lazy to get up to get the little flip flop. Tomorrow.

Aug 29, 2016

I Should Have Stayed in Bed

I woke at 6:45 a.m., and decided I could stay in bed for another 15 minutes. I'm not a morning person. Open my eyes to a noise on the phone. It's 10 a.m. Checkout at 11:00. Rush, Rush, Rush. Phew, out in time.

Decided that I'd go up to I40 for a spell. It's too hot to get out on the back roads to see anything, and it's very hard to find RV parks or state parks as they are not marked on the side roads. It was a stroke of good luck. I was close so it was only a few moments when I realized that my air (you know, the air conditioner I spent $1250 to fix last week) wasn't working. I saw a sign that said Conley--I know that it is a fairly good size town. I saw car dealerships on a road running parallel to I40. One was a Dodge. I took the next exit and pulled in. They would look at it, but I had to leave the trailer somewhere. There was an isolated road in back of the dealership about a mile away. That was my only option. So, I drove there, unhitched and left it wondering if I'd ever see it, again.

They diagnosed the problem (sounds like the last guy mixed the wires up and it was shorting out) and said it would take about three hours. It was less than that; I don't know how much. Anyway, $430+ later I'm on my way. Should I drive or should I try to go back to the KOA which I didn't like except that it had a pool? I decided I was too tired and hot to do anything so I called and they had a spot. I haven't eaten a thing all day. On the way back to the campground I see a Wendy's sign. I'll go there, hoping I can find a place big enough to park the truck and trailer so I can run in. I did. Pulling out, there was a little pipe in the ground for apparently no reason, and I found it. I got out and looked. The pipe wasn't damaged, but there is some minor damage to the the trailer. I had the Jayco for eight years and never got a scratch. I swear. This is the trailer from hell. I've been wanting something to take a picture of:

Well after posting this picture, I got some VERY sad news about my nephew that makes all this dribble seem so stupid to even be writing about. Made me realize just how life can seem so unfair.

Aug 28, 2016

Everything You Don't Want to Do When You Travel

The day started off well enough. I was up at 7:30 a.m., which is unusual for me, and on the road by 9. I am generally a night owl (definitely not a morning person) so I found myself drowsy as I was driving. I realized that I had devoured (wanted to say drank or drunk, but don't know which is correct) the last diet coke. Generally, I get decaffeinated everything. I'm not a coffee drinker. So I decided to wait until I needed gas, then run in to get some non-decaffeinated coke. Worked like a charm.

The newest GPS I have gives me the option of putting towns as destinations. I had mapped out a route that paralleled  I40. What I should have done was just marked the last town (I think) because I drove from 9 to 5 and only wound up in Little Rock. Was I going around in circles?

There were some highlights of the day. I crossed the Mississippi on a very small narrow bridge. Was astounded at how extensive and expansive the bread basket of our country really is.

The ride was pleasant, but what I had not counted on was the heat. Whenever I've gone out west, it's been in the spring which meant we could find a place to stop and eat lunch in the motorhome/trailer--relax for a while. When I went in 2010 with Jack, I could find streams and little lakes to give him a break from the car. Plus, my general rule was a day of driving a day off (for him) until we got out west. Then we stayed longer in different areas and explored in the truck.

I started to get a little sad and teary thinking, "I miss Rich. I miss Lizzie. I miss Jack." I had changed from the book to music so I went back to the book. I wondered whether I was running to something or away from something. Memories come with me so neither would work.

I really thought I'd be in Oklahoma, tonight, but it wasn't to be. I'm at a KOA--kind of expensive (twice as much as last time), but it does have a pool. As soon as I pulled in and hooked up water and electric I threw my clothes on headed for the water. It felt so good. It really relaxes my back. I killed two birds with one stone because after that I jumped in the shower and shampooed my hair so I felt very refreshed.

The next hurdle was figuring out how to work the TV though I doubt I'll be watching any. Figured I might was well bite the bullet. Looked through all the stuff from the dealer--no TV manual. I looked on the internet, but I didn't know the answer. I fiddled around and finally got it going. I have lots of DVDs with me so when I want to watch one, I watch it on my computer.

The microwave was next. Got that to work. I have rarely camped in the summer so I have rarely used the air conditioning or the heat. When I have gone to Charleston with Susan, it was in the Jayco and things seemed easier. Since we had full hook ups, I generally used an electric heater and it was just fine and QUIET! The air is on, now--can't hear myself think. It took me a half hour to shut the darn thing off so I could turn on the microwave. I don't know what I did and don't know how to do it, again. Again, no directions. At one point the furnace came on.

Well, that's enough complaining for the day, huh? Went through towns with populations of 123 and 250. My upper back is killing me--tension, I think. Oops, I said I wouldn't complain. I may just stay another day and then get on I40 until I reach New Mexico. I'd love to do this trip, again, in the spring or fall when I can stop at the Wild Life Preserves I passed. I'll decide in the morning.

Judy Was the Baby. Buddy (no.1) was the brother I grew up with.
Sure wish I had a picture. Just one--my little nephew, Chaise, gave me a tiny little flip flop as a present when I left my sister's in New York last May. It can't be an inch long. When I was last up there he was two, I think, and every time he looked at me, he screamed, "I want to go home!" This past time, he warmed up, immediately. When I got home I told him I kept his present on the window over my sink so I would smile and think of him every time I looked at it. Now I send him a picture every day. (small things amuse small minds).
I added this before taking off this morning.


This is my sister, Judy. We had such a good time touring the Amish country in Pennsylvania last may. We were so busy I took very few pictures, I'm afraid to say and didn't blog about it, either.
Sorry. The Devil Made Me Do It.


Aug 27, 2016

First Day-Westward Ho!

This will be a fairly short post. I'm tired after the first day of driving. I took the back roads, as I like to do, and I'm staying a delightful little park; Cross City RV. It's small and quiet. It was only $18 dollars for the night. One of the best things about the park are Jim and Debra, the owners. Very nice people. The only bad thing about traveling the route I took, today, was that there was no place to pull over to take pictures. I passed a couple of lakes and followed the Coosa River for a bit.

The hitch was great. Thank you, again, Three Way Campers. The few trucks that passed me were a good test--I didn't feel a thing.

Just before Piedmont, I passed a large junk yard and some old VW buses that looked like the were just waiting to be bought and restored. I also passed Wheeler Wild Life Preserve which would have been nice to stop to see. Maybe on the way back. Passed through some towns with what seemed to be named for family names. I saw a sign that pointed to "Coon Dog Cemetery". I wonder what it was.

I tried to figure out the TV, but don't have the patience at the moment. With the help of Wilson on the Arkansas trip, we figured it out, but I have forgotten how. DOH

When I first got here, I saw some deer in the field. I got as close as I could, which wasn't very close, and I spooked them. My first wildlife siting although I did see two dead armadillos on the way over.

That's about it for, now. I feel my eyes getting heavy. Oh, before I close, I downloaded some books on tape and they made the hours go faster.

Blogger won't let me upload the few pictures that I have. I don't know what it's problem is. It may be slow wifi. I'll try again in the a.m.

Aug 23, 2016

Jumping Hurdles and Avoiding Road Blocks to Get on the Road

First, I have to say once, again, that I can't say enough about Three Way Campers. The awning over my slide has been installed, and I feel better now that I have it. My worry was not only leaking, but debris collecting on the top of the slide and interfering with the operation. Problem solved. The dealer that I purchased the trailer from said it would probably take 3-6 weeks to get done. Three Way Campers goes way above the call of duty in everything they do. My new hitch works beautifully, and they refused to take the reimbursement that Hensley sent to me on top of installing my new hitch without making a dime on it.

On to next hurdle. Truck air conditioner quit. I won't go into how it was "fixed" to the tune of $1500 two-three years ago. There were winters where I wouldn't have noticed and one whole summer after surgery when I drove very little. When I went in for oil changes and said I didn't think it was running cold enough, I was told it probably just needed a shot of freon--no problems. It stopped recently when I made a trip to NY. Fortunately, I have a nephew who is a great mechanic. He measured the freon and put some in and it got me back home with air. I called the Dodge dealer the other day because it was blowing very cold one minute and hot air the next. The first thing the dealer said to me was that my warranty had run out--sure it did--enough stalling and he was right, it did, and the tune changed to "It could be the compressor which could cost up to $2000," over the phone.

In the meantime, I ran into a neighbor who told me that he stopped going to Palmer Dodge because he felt they were ripping him off. There is a Chevron station in my town that has been here since we moved here in 1978. I didn't think they worked on diesels because they don't sell diesel fuel. At any rate my neighbor suggested I give him a call. As it turns out, it has nothing to do with the compressor. There is a short between the Fuse Box and the compressor. Is it expensive to fix, yes, but I'd bet my life that this mechanic is right. When I picked the trailer up from Three Way Camper, the trailer wasn't getting any juice from the truck. It turned out that a fuse had blown, and they replaced it in two seconds. I also had lost the light in my radio a while back and just lived with it. I won't get the truck back until tomorrow if the parts get to them in time, but I'm glad this happened now, not on the way to Colorado.

So, hopefully, this is the last issue. I was starting to feel like I shouldn't make this trip, but if all things go right from now on, I'll be on my way Friday or Saturday. Westward Ho!!

(I hate writing a post without a picture)

Hope you'll see this in a campground somewhere on the way to Colorado by Saturday night. Sorry for the repeat.

Aug 9, 2016

I'm Getting Excited


I took the trailer back to Three Way Campers to have an awning put over the slide. I couldn't believe that I was hitched up and ready to go in less than ten minutes. In fact, it was so easy that I kept looking for something I had overlooked. The ride over was great--didn't know the trailer was in back of me. When I got there, I pulled off to the side and unhitched; again in less then five minutes. One of the gentleman came out and was going to unhitch for me, but saw I had already done it.

I picked up a couple of things I had neglected to get--one being the reflective triangles in the event I breakdown somewhere. I also bought a neat thing called Tank. Used with a smart phone, it keeps track of how much propane is in the tanks. Takes the guesswork out without my having to lift them. I had a gauge with the Jayco, but it came undone and I lost it.

I've made reservations for when Susan comes out to visit the last week of September 23rd to October 3rd. She loved Durango so that's where we'll spend four days. I'll pick her up at the airport in Albuquerque and drive up through Chimayo (which I want her to see) and have lunch in Rancho de Chimayo. When my camping friends met me in 2010, we ate there and it was so pretty and very good food. When we leave Durango we will head to Taos for 2 days, then on to Santa Fe for another few. I'll leave my trailer and drive her down to the airport for her return flight. I think she'll enjoy this. I'm not used to making reservations, but with her limited time I'm forced to have an itinerary. Before and after seeing Susan I have no idea where I'm going to be. I'd like to get over to Arizona to see some family, but I'm not sure that's feasible. I suspect I'll do some more Colorado wandering.

I'm going to try to beat altitude sickness this time. I'll stay a couple of days in Amarillo, then in Albuquerque before picking Susan up and heading to higher ground. I'll hydrate all the time, which I do any way, but I'll step it up. I also got something to take to ward off "evil spirits". Susan said there were oxygen bars in Breckenridge when she visited a friend. Maybe they have them now in New Mexico and Durango. I'd like to take a drive over to Telluride, but we are going to play some by ear.

Just felt like writing as it's been so long since I've seen the light at the end of the tunnel, and I feel I'm finally on the brink of getting back into traveling. It's been a long, long road. I'm hoping to make a cross country trip in the spring if all goes well, and also to camp with friends, here in the east. I'd like my sister to meet me in Charleston in March. I know she'd love it.

Oldest House--I've forgotten in Santa Fe or the country?

Molas Lake on the way to Silverton

Santa Fe

Taos Plaza

Vietnam Memorial on the Enchanted Loop near Angel Fire - Incredible.

Old house on the way from Taos to Chama

Chama NM--we don't have time for this one, but I want to take take the scenic route 64 over across the top of NM to Durango. That's how I went when I left this campground.

Over near Bayfield. Jack and Lizzie both swam in Lemon Reservoir. The first time I went with Rich and it had just been through a massive fire. Six years ago there were signs of recovery. I'm wondering how much more recovery it has made.

Great Place to Eat - I sat on the deck overlooking the Lake. People working there were so much fun.  

Susan likes all the amenities so I made reservations in places that had wifi and cable ($$$)...and let's not forget nail salons fairly close. LOL
These were just some pictures from my last trip. Hope to show Susan and also see some new things.
It's six years since Jack and I set out for the west in my Jayco. It was really a very good trailer. I would have bought another, but they didn't have the all four hard sided models in the length I wanted like they did then plus I imagine it would have cost more than the trailer I have.