Thursday, June 25, 2020

Made it to Sacramento

We had a decent nights sleep, despite having the AC on until 2 am, then having to turn it back on at 4 am because Bubba was panting.  At 4:30 Marcia woke up, I told her I reset the alarm clock on my phone to 5:30 since it was very dark still at 4:30.  Since we have traveled each and every day, I don't think the "time changes" had totally set in on our systems 4:30 is really 7:30 to our minds and bodies.  At 5:15 I see a bit of light coming through our windows, and up we were, and we pulled out of the park at 6:00 sharp.

From Bakersfield you have two choices...go up US-99, or go over to I-5 and go up...both go through Sacramento, but from where we were, I-5 was 10 miles longer.  In a car, I would have gone I-5...but in a RV pulling a car with a 55 mph speed limit in California, I decided to stay with US-99.  Sailed through Bakersfield, and cruised along towards Fresno, and I see the GPS icon which essentially says, "You have a delay ahead".  Pushing that icon and I find out it is a wreck, 7 miles ahead, and it would be a 30 minute delay....NUTS!

Sure enough, traffic was at a crawl...and then at a stop.  However, within 20 minutes it was all over.  A wreck? was gone when we went by, but we did see a fire truck putting a foam along side the road, so there was something.

The rest of the trip was non-eventful, other than the stretches of construction, bumpy roads especially near Atwater, and traffic was just fine going all the way through to my sister's house.  We pulled in right at 12:35, and by 2 pm we were settled in.  Bubba was/is one happy camper!

It is ALWAYS nice to be back in our home away from home, sitting on the concrete pad in Sandy and Arny's backyard, 30 amps, water, and way to dump our tanks with the use of our Blue Boy Tote, and enjoy family.  It was so nice to see mom doing so well, and being "SAFE" in her new normal at Sandy and Arny's house.  Even Patti came by for a short visit with her little dog Parker.

It was exactly six months today that we lost little Skruffy.  Just a few months ago Patti lost one of her dogs, Charlie.  More importantly, seven months ago, on Thanksgiving, Dad passed.  For the most part the grieving is done with...the memories are fond, full of love, and miss them all so very much.

Today it was 100 in Citrus Heights, just north of Sacramento.  Despite the heat, the Sacramento Area normally gets a sea breeze every night and cools down into the 60's, and the predictions are a few hot days, cool nights, and in the 80's by Sunday...typically weather for June in Sacramento.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Meteor Crater to 'HOT' Needles to Bakersfield

Ok, I will include the pictures to Needles (yesterday) and then to Bakersfield (today's trip).  Above is a look at the San Francisco Mountains, or San Francisco Peaks (depends upon who you talk to) which sit just north of Flagstaff.  I think our highest elevation was around 7,300 feet, and on the other side of Flagstaff it drops considerably.

For some reason (talking with Marcia about who can remember what) I did not take pictures of the Williams area.  This drive along I-40 is one we have driven many times, so you could just use our search box in the far right column and search for Williams.

As we get closer to Kingman, the trees get very short, more like bushes, but there are some nice mountains to see through the drive to Kingman.  A few years ago a 'con-man' tried to tell us that we had a major oil leak under our motorhome.  (See Scam Alert, Kingman Az)  I joked with Marcia telling her I was going to pull off and try and find him and let him know our motorhome has been fine with the "leak".

One thing I did not know about Kingman is that the airport is a mini-graveyard for some older planes, especially DHL freight and Delta Airlines.  After WW2 it was one of many scrap locations for airplanes, but they all hit the scrap iron heap ages ago.

In some of the above pictures you can see how nice the roads were...unfortunately as we got closer and closer to California the roads were real bumpy bad.  Nice way to remember a state that you just drove 350 miles through.

The Colorado River, yes, the same river that runs through the Grand Canyon, is the border between Arizona and California in this area.  Here is a shot out my window, and the river is just visible above the guard rail.

Here is the bridge crossing over the river on I-40.

And we would give you a better look of the river except this bridge out Marcia's window obstructs the view...and out my window is no better.

We got through California Customs, I mean Fresh Vegetable Check Point and they allowed us to carry in our 1/3 head of lettuce and a few Cherry Tomatoes that we promised was our dinner for the night.  Here is a picture of our camp at Fender's RV Resort in Needles.

If ONLY a picture can show you how hot it was.  At this point we were the only ones in the front area...and it was about 106 degrees.  Later a 5th Wheel came to our left, it took them a good 20 minutes to pull in, 30 minutes to set up which included them turning off our 30 amp breaker because "They thought it would make their 50 amp go stronger".  I wish I could say they were new at this...but they were not.  As Marcia says, "You Can't Fix Stupid"  It hit 111 degrees right about the time they turned our breaker off.  I will stop talking about it or mom will wash my mouth out with soap when she sees me tomorrow...

Our motorhome is parked just out of the picture to the right.  Past that community building, there are some camping sites for those who are staying longer than just a night or two...they overlook the Colorado River.  Needles is only around 500 feet in elevation, a big change from the 6,000 plus just the night before.  Along with it, you get LOT MORE HEAT!

We got up at 4:30, and hit the road by 5 am.  That is NOT our norm, but HOT TIMES require abnormal behavior.  A few miles down the road, and about 1,000 feet higher, the temps are down to low 70's from the 80's we woke up to in Needles. 

I take this picture out my window of the my mirror just to show Marcia the sunrise, and ...

...she HANGS out her window, gets this picture.  Unfortunately, I hit a very large bump, and she fell out...but I just left here there along the side of the road.  WELL, she really wasn't hanging out, but she did take a good enough picture that all I had to do was rotate the image just a really turned out better than I expected.

Just like with a sunset, if you turn the opposite of where the sun is setting you sometimes get a nice picture of the last rays of sun hitting a mountain, clouds, whatever.  Here, we are headed opposite of where the sun is rising, so it is a great view which lasts for nearly 30 minutes.

To some the Mojave Desert in California is just plain ugly.  To me, it depends.  Depends upon the time of day, where you are at, and if you are in the mood to see the amazing beauty that lies right in front (or in this case, off to my left) of you.

Here is another example off to my right that Marcia took.

And sometimes it just seems to go on and on and on, seems to last for ever.

In April 2012 we stayed in this rest area, 60 miles east of Barstow, for the night. 

Got this picture of Bubba (left) and Skruffy (right) looking out at the vast wasteland, wondering if they will ever see grass again.

Today I pulled up right where we had stayed eight years ago...

Here is Skruffy just last year, looking out at the vast wasteland for her last time...

"Hey Dad," she says, "I found some GRASS!"  I am sure she has lots and lots of grass where she is now...oh, how the memories still hurt so very deep, and yet bring joy at the same time.

We got to the Orange Grove RV Park in east Bakersfiled by 11:30.  It is HOT, but only 101, although it was suppose to be 103...I never saw it make it that high.  It is 6:15 and it is still 101, but I am confident that it will start to fall real soon.  It is suppose to drop to 76 this evening, cool enough, with this low humidity, to open windows and vents and circulate outside air...but that will come when I get up in the middle of the night.  Tomorrow, we will be under that big tree in Sandy and Arny's backyard!

Monday, June 22, 2020

How HOT is Too HOT?

We were awake by 5, got up before 6, on the road after filling with water and using the dump station before 7.  Temps were nice last night, mid to upper 60's, and we both slept well.  I knew we were headed into a FIRE STORM.  No, not a forest fire...just HEAT.  I hoped to travel the 245 miles by noon, and we just made it.  When we got to Needles, CA, it was already 102.

At first we had shade, but as the sun made its way westward, the shade was gone.  From 2 until 8 pm we had the motorhome house AC going full blast.  On the hour I would turn the engine on and the dash AC on full blast for 15-20 minutes.  That would hold us for the next 40-45 minutes.  Repeat.  THAT is what you have to do when it gets to be 111 degrees outside, and you are in partial to no shade.

YES, we took pictures...NO, you probably won't see them because I am too exhausted by the heat to deal with photoshope and blogger's new format to make it all come together.  Good news, when we arrive in Bakersfield tomorrow it won't be 100...not until 3 pm when it climbs from 98 to 102 with a high of only 103.  ONLY you say?  Well, it is 8:15 pm right now in Needles, sun is down, and it is 105 degrees according to Accuweather and 

Another night with AC running all night...

Note:  Yes, we thought about going up eastern side of Sierra, but with this extremely hot weather pattern, we are just going straight to Sandy and Arny's house...where it too, is HOT.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

To Meteor Crater RV Park, Liking These Short Travel Days

We got away from the Enchanted RV Park at 7:40 am.  Taking a frontage road for nearly 5 miles and we finally get onto I-40, and for a moment, I wonder if we are in another state.

But then the rocks of New Mexico show up again, and get very close to the roadway.

By now we are between Grants and Gallop New Mexico.

I always enjoy this area of New Mexico.

It is also here that we finally hit the Continental an elevation of 7,300 feet.  The good thing about I-40 is that you never hit a long climb...the climb takes place from when you go over the Mississippi River at about 300 feet, and until you hit the Divide at 7,300 feet.

And we come to the New Mexico - Arizona border.

And we get our first surprise of the day...the Rest Area here is can see the orange sign under the blue Rest Area sign to the far left says "Closed".  Ouch!  Really was counting on that rest area, and the views of the rocky cliffs that surrond it is realy amazing.  Although the Rest Area was closed, the Indian Relics Shops seemed to be open....but we drove on.

There are many places in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico that sell Indian stuff.

Our original plans had us stopping at Winslow, but when I called the RV Park there I did not get an answer.  Called Meteor Crater RV Park about 25 miles further west, and they had space.  We stayed her a couple of times before, so check in was very easy...but at $45 a night it is the most costly park we have stayed in since leaving.  We traveled around 270 miles today.

The site is nice, no neighbors crowding us, but the weather was HOT HOT HOT, with no shade despite the trees on both sides.

As the sun sets to the west, we will continue to head that way tomorrow, probably reaching the California Border...where it will be even hotter.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

From Sunset to Albuquerque

After the fourth storm went through last night, that only had four of five hail stones hitting the motorhome, we ate our dinner and then there was this wonderful sunset.  We had one of our better nights sleep since leaving Florida, temps were in the low 60's, perhaps high 50's.  It was very quiet...almost too quiet.  We put one of our favorite DVD movies on (Secondhand Lions) to watch on the bedroom TV, and I was out within 10 minutes

We hit the road by 8 am, got through Amarillo without a problem, and we get back to the Texas Scenery. 

Not too long and we see a very large feedlot.  With yesterday's rain, and a good morning breeze, the fragrant odor was very tolerable.  Of course, a good rancher would say, "It is just the smell of money" ... they say the same thing about the smelly paper mills scattered around the south, including outside Pine Bluff Arkansas where I lived in the area for 22 years.

And then there is the Windmill Farm...hundreds of windmills.  I must say that I was impressed at how many of the windmills we have seen this trip actually were spinning.

In my last posting I talked about the many Picnic Areas that you find along the Texas Highways.  In other states, such as Arkansas, they just call them Truck Parking Areas.  Nothing fancy at all.

But at least most of them in Texas do have picnic tables.  No bathrooms though.

We finally hit "Mile Zero" and enter into New Mexico.  Had we stayed on I-10 and entered and exited Texas, it would have been a 880 trip. The route we took was just 600 miles.  No matter how you do it, Texas is one long trip UNLESS you enter and exit on I-40, then it is only 180 miles or so.

The scenery changes very quickly now that we are in New Mexico.  It makes the drive more enjoyable, and includes more picture taking.  Since entering Texas, we have gone up over 3,000 feet.  By the time we start heading down the hill into Albuquerque, we are at the 6,600 foot level.  We then drop to the 5,300 foot level as we come into Albuquerque.

We tried to find a park up in the higher altitude...but they were all full.  A few times we have stopped at the Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post, just west of Albuquerque.  They had plenty of openings...but perhaps it looks that way because they are spacing the RVs out due to the COVID scare. I hooked up the electric, and nothing came on.  I knew I was having connection problems with the female portion that plugs into the motorhome, and thank goodness Camping World was right next door.  $65 later I have an adapter.  As I pay he asks me for my phone.  I give it to him, and then immediately said, "No, I don't want to renew."  I was really hoping to get to Arny's and order a new cord with the proper adapters, which would have only cost $45 through Amazon.  I will now convert the old cord to an RV Extension Cord, which will run another $15 or so.  Thank goodness I already had a 50' extension to go with the new overly expensive adapter that I just bought, so we were in business within 30 minutes of figuring out the problem.

NOTE: Since I have written a few posts about Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post, I am not doing that today.  You can read about previous posts, and see the many vintage RVs and old cars if you wish by clicking here.