April 23, 2021
Pitched a crazy idea to Karen's Mom (Mel) that we check an item off her bucket list, a visit to the Grand Canyon. With freshly injected knees, vaccinations all around, and some work flexibility, we all said "Why not?"
April 30, 2021
After about of week of searching viable RV rentals, which included Cruise America (!) and Outdoorsy, we settled with Massachusetts's own Flagg RV, located in Uxbridge MA, and home to Kate Owen, our spectacular rental specialist. Today we paid in full for our to-be nicknamed, 30' Freelander RV. Karen, Mel and Scott are one week away for a road trip of EPIC proportions which include bucket list items The Grand Canyon and Route 66! Our rental period is Friday May 7th, 2021 through Monday May 24th, 2021. The RV does not not come equipped with any amenities, so we have a very busy week ahead of us preparing for this adventure. Scott is driving Chris to CT tomorrow for his big (!) move back home, so we've already lost a day of prep. Amazon Prime, Target, Dicks, Bass Pro and Roche Brothers, here we come!
May 1, 2021
Chris and Scott paid a visit to Flagg RV to snap some photos, take some measurements and see the RV. Staff were incredibly helpful and accommodating, full RV supply store on site.
Booked Leonard Harrison State Park for our first night. Decision to try 84 W to Scranton, then catch Rt 6 for a more northerly route and hopefully nicer scenery. #scenicbyway. Campground looks good with electrical for our 1st night. Tentatively thinking Columbus OH for goal on 2nd day. Being a Sunday, we are less worried about full campgrounds, and we don't know yet how many miles we're comfortable with each day. More to follow.
May 3, 2021
AAA for the win on maps and a road atlas!
May 5, 2021
Plans are coming together and packing/organizing continues! All ordered items have been delivered and last minute purchases should be coming to a close. Food shopping Fri will be one of last things to get done prior to RV loading! We plan to pick up the RV in Uxbridge Friday at 1pm. We will have a 30 min orientation to the RV then Scott will drive it to Farquhar St where she will sit in the driveway for the night, if neighborly parking cooperates! After food shopping we will begin loading the RV up with all of our stuff and hopefully early to bed (HA!) Plan to pick up Mel early in Dedham then we hit the road. Danbury CT is the goal for a first stop to meet the Cluett's who wanted to wish us well on the journey!
May 6, 2021 (Thursday)
Exchange of one elite YETI chair because the colors didn’t match. I created quite the fiasco at Dick's for this return and its now likely we will be reimbursed for one chair despite now having matching YETI chairs. LOL
Much needed visit from the HTC/Flock who went completely overboard with three road trip gift baskets. Absolutely amazing with games, snacks, drinks, cookies, gift cards, sanitizer, it goes on and on. Blessed.
May 7, 2021 Friday
It’s RV pick up day! Quick check out and orientation with Steve Flagg. All seems straightforward, but there’s no way we caught everything he said, gotta keep it interesting! Headed to Farquhar where we were able to get her backed into the driveway without any difficulty. Some food shopping next and then we’ll spend the evening stocking her up! Hopefully early to bed, long day of driving tomorrow! Brickhouse take out for our last suppah! Nice visit from Dawn tonight too! Our friends are amazing and seem to know when we need a little boost. Good stuff.
May 8th, 2021 (Saturday) (Day 1) (410 miles est)
Early start to the day, awoke to an RV in the driveway. Interestingly, it seems that the water tank leaked overnight, and we noticed a fairly steady leak from under the hot water heater. We weren’t too concerned about it since it was just water. Figured we would call the tech from the road for some advice. Anyways, out of the house at 7ish, well, as soon as Jason Jr decided to get out of the house for Marine drill. He assured us his parking would be perfect for an early departure in the morning, as we needed the wide swing out of the driveway. Well, off we went to Durham Rd to pick up our Queen. Mel was waiting by the door and ready to go, so we packed her up, closed down Durham and off we went! Very comfortable, up onto the Pike and decided to make a short stop at D&D in a rest area for coffee and BEC. Onwards to Danbury Mall to see the Cluetts for a quick hello. We met at 11am in the Macy’s parking lot after an uneventful ride out. We did see a TT being pulled from deep int he woods, poor fella. Cluett’s didn’t disappoint with warm greetings and smiles! Dad really seemed ready to hop in and join us. Seriously. And mom with a gift basket, my goodness we’re not gonna starve on this trip. Thank you Mommy!
Back onto 84 W through NY and into PA. First stop was the Glider Diner in Scranton PA. Just pulled the RV into the lot and in we went. Fun little diner that accommodated us nicely distanced inside. Seems the entire menu is your entree, smothered in gravy and potatoes. Meatloaf for Mel, roast beef, gravy and mashed for Scott and sliced pork, porketta, gravy and potatoes for KD.
As we headed out the back door, couldn’t help but notice Pennsylvania EMS at the front door. Slip and fall maybe? Or the gravy...., or the meatloaf. Stopped for our first fuel on the way out of Scranton, two transactions, as we easily hit the $100 limit. This will be interesting. LOL Hopped onto Highway 11 North and onto 6 West. This fun local road kept us moving and traffic wasn’t bad at all. Beautiful farm country, barns and silos, cows, and horses. We made our way into Leonard Harrison State Park for our first campground. Small place and very well appointed. The office was closed when we arrived but a post on the door indicated site reservations for the night. We checked out out site, #26, but decided to fill up our water tank first, and meandered down to the scenic view of the Grand Canyon of the East Coast. With a couple of turkey vultures circling overhead, we snapped a few photos and enjoyed an ah-ha moment. Back to the site where we plugged in, lit a fire, snacked up and debriefed the day. A good success it was, very happy to have made it to our intended destination, we thought we may have been a little over zealous. We’ll figure out the mileage when we get cell service back. We’re off the grid at this campsite. Did some blogging and reading, and shut it down for the night.
Leonard Harrison State Park
Shipped Township, PA 16901
May 9th, 2021 Day 2 (312 miles est)
Slept in a little bit today, not a lot of sleep the night before with all the excitement of this trip! It was an ok night of sleep, we’re struggling with the thermostat and the clicking of the AC unit for some reason. We’ll keep trying. Breakfast in the RV was an adventure, turns out the cover for the stove does not make it an induction burner, its simply a cover. Wonder what those are going to cost? Anyways, the smoke detector works and we should probably grab a fire extinguisher along the way. Egg McDriscoll’s were still delicious as always. Clean up, and we hit the road!
Out of the site around 10:30 or 11 today, nice campground but definitely off the path a way. We back tracked into Wellsboro and hit 287 South which was a gorgeous farm and forest filled ride. Onto 80 West for Western PA and what an adventure that was. Who expected a snowstorm in May? Wow, it was dumping with a number of spin outs. Took it slow and the RV did well. Stopped at a Walmart for the LAST heating pad, grabbed it but its only USB with a two hour shut off. Better luck tomorrow, and maybe a ceramic heater?
Made our way to “Maple Lakes Recreational Park” for our $60 campground experience, with Mystina who run the front desk. Wow, Law & Order episode out of this place. Lots of full timers/seasonal folks, but no one is around at all, likely due to the weather. In for the night, Greek market goodies, spinach pies and meatballs for dinner (Brick House leftovers!). And all the snacks of course! The weather system looks to be behind us, onwards to Indy and St Louis next!
Maple Lakes Campground
4275 Blake Road
Seville, OH 44272
May 10th, 2021 Day 3 (340 miles)
Good night of sleep here are Maple Lakes! Facilities clean and good showers. Had a nice walk around the campground last night. Place seemed very full but its extremely quiet. Seems folks park their rigs here for the season and enjoy it on weekends. It did the job nicely, onwards we go. Should be shooting for just past Indianapolis today.
Grabbed some fuel and onto 76W went went. Sunglasses required today, thank goodness. It was a glorious day of driving. A couple of rest stops were nice but uneventful. FreeBird seems to be running great and she’s driving very nicely. Ran through a couple of great playlists, and started an audiobook (a first for us) and it was very interesting! (Stay sexy and don’t get murdered). We reached out to McCormick’s Creek State Park and they assure us that they’d have plenty of vacant sites for us tonight, electrical included. We decided that we are going to make a concerted effort to stay in State Parks vs the resort style RV parks. Big differences and the RV park will have its place again, especially for laundry facilities. We’re more the State Park type folks and McCormick’s seemed to fit the bill.
Made our way through Indianapolis without any difficulty, another hour to McCormicks Creek State Park. Very nice rangers checked us in, huge beautiful campground with tons of vacant sites. We were given a site post maker and a rear view reservation placard stamped “DNR”. Most in the RV assumes this was a declaration of code status, but we soon realized it stands for Dept of Natural Resources HAHA. Backed into a tight spot between gorgeous pines. Closest neighbor was 5 sites away. This is pretty close to perfect.. Set up the Weber, made a fire, and settled in. Shrimp on the barbie tonight. Simply placed into aluminum foil boats with butter, salt/pepper, and some garlic. Some were finished off outside the boat on the grill. Placed into a tortilla with some tzatziki and a squeeze of lemon. Served with some delicious grilled zucchini spears in oil/salt/pepper. This was a damn near perfect campfire meal. Finished off with some s’mores, then a short walk around the quiet loop of the campground. Only a few occupied sites, very quiet in here. Behind us is some ‘primitive camping’, who knows what lurks beyond.....Enjoyed a nice Cohiba by the fire, Dead on the Bluetooth, maybe another s’more. G’night.
We had a couple of raccoon critter visitors late night! While the ladies slept, I was relaxed by the fire when two fellas came creeping under the back of the RV and said hello. These guys must have weighed 34-40 lbs each. They scurried off after I gave them a little scare back! Time for bed!
McCormick’s Creek State Park
250 McCormick Creek Park Rd
Spencer, IN 47460
Tuesday 5/11/21 Day 4 (383 miles est)
Checked out of camp, local road back to I70 for 30 miles then onto St Louis. Straight shot into the arch! We held off on venturing into the Arch, its now a national park and we read that the parking for RVs was very challenging. Instead, Karen took us for a scenic adventure through East St. Louis.
After a couple of U-Turns, we found the factory I mean park with a scenic view of downtown and the beautiful arch! We walked to the top of an observation ramp, snapped some pics and tried getting on the live stream webcam but no one at home was answering phones or near a computer. Onto Carl’s Drive In for lunch. This was delicious! Great burgers and a questionable hot dog (Road Food book). Back onto the road for Bennett Springs State Park for the night. We got onto I-44 which has parts of historic 66. No stops tonight but it looks like there is going to be a lot to see moving forward! Came though a smoky fire, not sure if house or brush but we caught a local FD truck rolling to it on a side street! Decided to start counting armadillo carcasses, aka “Hillbilly Speedbumps” 34 today alone!
Pulled into Bennett Springs Campground, a nice state park that appears to be ripe with the fishing community, with a trout hatchery and fly fishing school on site. Wish I brought a rod or had more time to maybe rent one and give it a go, but we have some ground to cover if we want to make the GC by the weekend.
Carl’s kept us well through the afternoon so we decided to forgo dinner and just snack and desert. Campground was pretty wet and it was getting late so we opted for a movie instead of a campfire. “CARS” was hooked up to the big screen and we enjoyed a nice quiet evening the RV. We still have a half hour left in the movie but it was really great. Looking forward to seeing some of the sights and mentions coming up on Rt 66. In for the night and looking forward to our push for Oklahoma tomorrow!
Bennett Spring State Park
Lebanon, MO 65536
Wednesday May 12, 2021 Day 5 (350 miles today est)
Earlier rise today, so KD decided to give the stove another try, this time lifting the protective glass counter off the stove, but first, we’ll get Mel off the floor. We’ve had our struggles trying to find overnight comfort for Mel. First couple of nights she elected to stay int the front seat, but this led to some swollen feet. Managed to get her in the back but the seats just aren’t great for her. Last night was the best, which included the plywood board from the dinette seat, and the bottom cushion from the dinette on top of the board, all placed onto the couch. This led to a fairly unstable situation but we thought we’d give it a try. Great night of sleep, but when it came time to get off this contraption, things just slid too much. We’ll keep trying!
Delicious breakfast in the rig, cleaned up and hit the road! Another gorgeous, sunglasses required, day of driving. First stop today was a full fuel up, before heralding into Joplin Kansas for a couple of quick mural photos. Visited town hall in search of a Bonnie and Clyde mural but couldn’t find one. The Route 66 murals in and around city hall were beautiful! Next stop just a few miles down the road is the Can-O-Tex fuel station turned roadside attraction in Galena KS, aka “Radiator Springs” consisting of a number of the vehicles that we based on the movie CARS, most notably “Tow Mater” the pick up, the Sheriff, Luigi, and Red, the fire truck! We stopped in and met Jeremy, presumably the son of the kind woman who owns the roadside diner/souvenir shop. 10K visitors per year April through Oct, 3/4 are international travelers. Biggest news in town is the police chief sleeping with the city clerk. (Or so the story goes...and they’re married. Town gossip and fun!)
Onto lunch at Waylands KuKu for another Rt 66 Roadside burger and this one did not disappoint! Drive up only so we wiggled FreeBird into line, chatted up the kind server and relocated to a vacant adjacent lot to enjoy our burgers, rings, fries, and fried mushrooms! Very good but most feel that Carl’s yesterday was better.
From Kansas (however brief it was) into Oklahoma and we made nice time to a campground just east of Oklahoma City, on Arcadia Lake called Scissortail Campground. This is a gorgeous spot we got, lakefront with three possible fire pit options! Very large spot and FreeBird parked comfortably. This is a more lively campground with county music from our neighbors and dance music coming from the waterski ski boat doing figure eights off our beach! Still, a very enjoyable evening. Smore’s by the fire, finished up CARS inside. Fantastic movie, we really enjoyed this, for obvious reasons LOL. Once quiet time hit at the campground, the place became silent. Very enjoyable. Maybe another cigar......
Texas tomorrow! Very psyched for Amarillo, Texas.
Hillbilly Speedbump count now 54!
Missing my brothers tonight, they would love this trip! Gloria Cubana is on point.
6400 E 15th St
Edmond, OK 73013
Thursday May 13, 2021 Day 6 ( 300 miles est)
Fireside chat last night we decided to make a pit stop in OKC to ‘flock’ Ed Cashman’s daughter Shelby who got married last weekend. Karen wanted to drop off a bottle of champagne from the Cabin. Made our way to a wine shop prior to the stop and supported a nice local liquor store. Didn’t seem that Shelby or Greg were home so a drop and run it was, with a couple flamingos left in the yard! Amarillo is the goal today, need to decide on a campground. I40 W, quick stop at a Lucille’s Historic Highway Gas Station, just off 40. Not much there other than to snap a couple pics. KD taking the wheel for the first time too, headed to the Sandhill Curiosity Shop to see if Harley is around. Should be interesting! Karen’s driving skills on point, she’s been paying attention!
This little gem was pretty amazing. Be sure to see photos and videos. Harley is a guy who owns and operates a roadside curiosity shop, where he basically smokes weed all day, drinks some Jack, and sings Route 66 songs to anyone who enters his place. He offers photos of anything in his place, consisting mostly of Route 66 highway memorabilia but clearly prefers chatting up his visitors. After a song, he makes it clear that contributions are accepted and points to the three collections jars, before shooing us outside for a final photo. Couldn’t help but notice the very large mason jar full of either weed roaches, or the three of fresh bud! Well we wrapped it up, Scott back at the wheel and off to Amarillo it is! Welcome to Texas, where, well, the wind turbines are certainly bigger than anything I’ve ever seen! And they go as far as the eye can see, in many areas. 15K of them actually in Texas, leading the nation numbers-wise. Not much to see along the highway in Northern Texas.
Got to Amarillo and did a drive-through of the town to go and see Cadillac Ranch, an art installation of 10 old Cadillacs, half buried in the middle of a very large farm field. Mel decided to wait in the rig, as terrain looked very tough to navigate. As we got close, we realized that a guy in a trailer is selling spray paint for anyone to leave their own mark on these things, very cool! Two cans please, Neon Pink for KD and blue for Scott. Off we went to shoot some pics and spray some paint. Karen found a nice canvas on the last Cadillac in line and created a perfect flamingo, a la Cabin 13. Saw our friends again, the ones we met in the curiosity shop, waved hello and passed along some spray paint. Onwards!
We decided on KOA Amarillo. I wanted to do a least one KOA on the trip and, well, I look forward to our next state park. Got off on the wrong foot when I found out that campfires weren’t permitted, but now I see why. Adjacent to the small airport, the winds are whipping through this campground. One of the reviews said “its KOA, they stack ‘em in there” and they ain’t kidding. This is the true to the name RV park. It’ll certainly do, just not a top choice. Got our spot and sat out in the sun for a couple hours. Actually put a little sunscreen on! Well, until our neighbors 40 footer pulled in and covered us in shade! Oh well, finished up dinner and it looks Ike an early to bed night. Will take a little walk around the park to check out everyone's set up first though!
The Big Texan Steakhouse for a gift shop visit tomorrow, maybe an Indian trading post also. And on to Albuquerque! I hears there’s a Mexican restaurant in our future!
Woke up to a sustained yelling for ‘Herman’ that lasted until our departure, presumable a dog, cat, child or spouse.
Amarillo KOA Journey
1100 Folsom Rd
Amarillo, TX 79108
Friday, May 14th, 2021 Day 7 (437 miles)
Looks to be our biggest travel day thus far. We elected to bypass the Big Texan in hopes of a different gift shop. Got some fuel and hit the road. The winds were crazy insane, both in the RV park last night and traveling through northern Texas. Struggled to keep the RV on the road at points. Saw one TT that had likely blown over in the winds and travelled about 100 feet off the road. Wreckers were trying to right him. Decided to forgo a large breakfast, ate light and made a bee-line for lunch. Today, its the Mid-Point Cafe in Adrian Texas, the midpoint of Rt 66! Couple more burgers, BLT for KD. these were good also, but Carl’s is still taking the win. This place offered an amazing opportunity to see some local cowboys and a cowgirl who are in town doing some 'branding'. The Mid-Point Cafe seems to be the place to grab lunch! We were sure to grab a famous chocolate pie before leaving. Back onto the road. Let me back up a minute, and mention an RV issue. We left camp this morning and very quickly we got a dash warning “Service Advanced Trac” which is part fo the vehicles stability control system. Sounds important but not really. RV still runs well. Some quick research says vehicle is safe to drive, but it will require a diagnosis and assessment at some point. The tricky part here however, is that this has disabled the cruise control system. This could be problematic, and this put me in a bit of a mood today, sorry team! So we made some calls to area Amarillo/Albuquerque ford dealers and service station. It’s Friday, which sucks. Ford places were saying 2 month wait to see an RV! Tried a local shop in Albuquerque (Christian’s), great reviews, and they were the most helpful so far, but it was 4pm on a Friday the guys were wrapping up for the weekend. Couldn’t help us. Suggested Firestone > can’t help you. These guys were terrible BTW! Directed to a Campers World but alas, they only care about the Recreation part of an RV, not really the Vehicle. They said only Ford can really fix this. So we’ll keep an eye out for a less busy ford dealer. KD took the wheel for a bit, gave me a nice break, Tried researching some camping in AZ but its Saturday and we’re striking out. May need to rethink our approach to the GC. Maybe Sedona tomorrow GC Sunday?
Anyway, we feel like we’re slowing down a little so we decided to try and drive a little further today. We made it to the AZ border, almost. USA RV Park in Gallup NM. Unfortunately its another private RV park, but it’s really the only things available in this area tonight. We’re all pretty tired today so we’re going to crash early. Oh, didn’t get the warning light this afternoon and cruise control seems to be working. Finger crossed. We still need to get that oil change.
USA RV Park
2925 W Historic Hwy 66
Gallup, NM 87301
Saturday May 15th, 2021 Day 8 (205 miles)
Bacon and eggs in RV, toast on the grill.
Short drive to Flagstaff today. Crossed the NM/AZ border! 1st stop is the scenic drive through the National Petrified Forest and Painted Desert. 45 min drive along Rt 40, with lots of scenic views and petrified wood. Great pics, which of course won’t do any justice. This was easy for Mel as it way just a nice drive on a day she isn’t feeling great.
Next stop was the Jack Rabbit Trading Post, lots of excitement about possible gift shopping with billboards etc. (Reminds me of South of the Border Pedro) but this was a bit of a disappointment with very limited stock. Grabbed a couple of postcards and a sticker, onwards!
Winslow Arizona! Easily found the street corner, clearly the biggest attraction in this awesomely sleepy town! Very dusty as we rounded the corner of Kinsley and East 2nd street to see a flatbed Ford an opportunity for a couple of great pics. Parked FreeBird and walked up and enjoyed the street corner/intersection for a little bit, snapped some pics, and headed out. I think we just beat a good sized crowd coming in!
Onwards to Flagstaff, driving was decent but remains very windy, FreeBird is all over the place, but she still seems to be holding together. We started the day with good luck in regards to the traction control issue, and cruise control seemed to work. But, all good things must come to an end, dash lit up and cruise came off, damn. Oh well. not the end of the world. Someone we talked to about this mentioned disconnecting the battery for a minute and the computer will reset. I Weill definitely consider this, but I’m also worried that any other computer system would be effected by a reset like this. I’m sure it’ll be fine. Going to wait to until after GC and we get back on the open highway before worrying about it.
Onto Flagstaff, seems like a great town. Karen did some quick research and found a popular pizza place called Pizzicletta that opened at 4pm. Perfect timing before checking into Woody Mountain Campground. Found a public lot and called in an order which was ready in 10-15 mins, perfect! We split a mixed green salad and two pizzas. Margherita with ricotta and a Rucola with extra mushrooms. Pies were great and it sure beat another day of hamburgers! It’s just what we needed. Brought them to the campsite and ate them once we settled.
We got pretty nervous earlier this morning in regards to reservations. We didn’t know exactly when we’d be arriving in the GC area so we held off. Well of course our arrival is coinciding with the weekend. Based on our location, the time of day, day of week, and overall tiredness, we decided to hunker in Flagstaff as campgrounds in Sedona and GC were sold out. We may have gotten the last spot in Flagstaff actually. The Woody Mountain Campground seems to fit the bill nicely. Just before getting here, we also emailed a reservation request to the Grand Canyon Camper Village, 1 mile outside the South Entrace to the GC. Once we settled in at Woody mountain, we got the email confirmation for Sunday night at GC Camper Village so we are very stoked about our campsites and plan the next couple of days. Unfortunately, it’s starting to look like Sedona may not a possibility on the trip. No worries, it sounds so great that maybe it will deserve its own vacation! So its looking like GC tomorrow, great campsite next to the park will position us nicely for sunset Saturday evening and sunrise Monday morning. Thinking that we’ll beat feet back east after sunrise Monday morning.
Woody Mountain Campground > pretty cool place. It really beats the past two nights of wide-open dry and dusty pack-‘em in RV parks. This is much the same, however it seems that each site is separated by many pine tress. There’s just a better vibe here. It’s definitely sold out, we were very lucky to get a place here tonight. Check-in was a breeze, the manager/owner/HMFIC woman is named Danielle I think and she’s just a bit crazed and hyper, but she’s running the whole show it seems: camp store, check-ins, questions, and circuit breaker resets which require a quick close of the store and her running out to flip a blown circuit breaker located somewhere inside the park. Amazing. Decided to do some laundry, which is always interesting in places like this. Besides a round two on the dryer, all went well. Didn’t realize the possible temp drop to the mid 30’s tonight, despite some very warm weather in NM (80’s). This 5000 ft elevation is certainly bringing the temp down some. Going to need the heat again tonight. Very comfortable site, despite the closeness of everyone, it seems well laid out. We met Jim and Patty from Colorado next to us. They have a disabled 11 year old, Brianna (?) requiring a chair. They just bought a new trailer and pick-up to start traveling again. They also have twin 8 years old, one with high and the other with low functioning autism. Wow, don’t know how they’re doing it but they extremely pleasant folks. Out on a one month vacation now, then home, then traveling to Obispo, CA for another month long trip this summer. Good stuff!
Finishing laundry and calling it a night. Big day tomorrow!
Woody Mountain Campground Site 57
2727 W Historic Route 66
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Sunday May 16th, 2021 Day 9 (351 miles today)
Well, I lost a sock doing laundry last night, but it was still in the dryer when I went back this morning to look for it! Happy day! Awoke in Woody Mountain to a glorious day. We were saddened to see that our neighbors Jim and Patty packed it up last night and left sometime in the middle of the night. Assume that there was an issue with one of the kids, as they were booked through the 19th at this campground. We wish them well in their travels.
Mel has developed a nagging cough that we think may have something to do with the elevation. So we are re-thinking our plans. Either way, its Grand Canyon Day and we are beyond excited. It’s been a long tough trip out here but so so worth it. Fairly early start today, we want to try an grab one of the few RV parking spaces in the 1st lot near the visitors center as we think this will position us nicely for good views while working the wheelchair. We took Rt 64 up from I40 into the South Rim Entrance (North rim just opened yesterday we hear). Small traffic back up (10 mins) getting into the park, but we got to utilize. our annual pass for entry the 2nd time this trip (Petrified Forest and Painted Desert too). We arrived to the lot to find a few open RV spots so we were pumped. This made a world of difference. Next option would have been the next park in area up the road, which would require a shuttle to any sights. (Turns out most of the shuttles weren’t running so this could have been a big issue!)
Well we wheeled right up the South Rim and oh my goodness. Tough to take it all in with the tear stained eyes. Very emotional experience for all of us, so we just took it in for a little bit. Once we composed ourselves, we took a little jaunt down the accessible South Rim trail where we found some beautiful spots to shoot some pics and appreciate the beauty and magnitude of this view.
We made our way to the conservancy shop for some postcards, then found a picnic table to relax. KD ran back to the RV and whipped up a quick lunch for us and we ate in the beautiful sun.
Over lunch we decided to give up our GC Campers Village reservation tonight in hopes of getting a little ahead of the driving. So we packed it up after three hours in the park and began our trek back east. Boo! The driving is still very windy, KD took the wheel to give Scott a little break and we made a push to get back to Gallup NM, USA RV Park for the night (again). Nothing great here, but the place worked for us and there really isn’t much else in the area. Looking forward to campfire night again soon! Likely wont have lower elevation until after Albuquerque, so that will be some time tomorrow.
Easy check-in at USA RV Park, just about the same spot we were in two nights ago! Did a little mapping out tonight, and it looks like we could retrace our exact steps home and be back Sunday evening. Was hoping for a Saturday arrival but that will require some serious pushing. Speaking of that, we were talking to a fellow traveler the other day who was headed East. He asked how bad our head winds were and I mentioned that I hadn’t really noticed, other than the crosswinds we have been experiencing since Texas. Now, on our return East, I am noticing that we had tremendous headwinds headed West. Bob (our newly renamed RV - “Bucket ‘O Bolts” would shake rattle and roll over 70-75. When cruise control worked, 72 was actually a pretty decent ride. Now that we are headed East, I couldn’t believe it when I looked down at the speedometer today and it read 85! She was driving like a dream (minus cruise control of course). The tail wind we have now is really pushing us along very nicely. Maybe we can try for a few more miles each day in hopes of knocking off a day? Since the ride was so smooth today, we are going to see if Mel will try the bed in the back while traveling. When Karen had the wheel today, I went in back for a few mins and it wasn’t too bad. We’ll see how it goes. Early to bed tonight, let’s get after it tomorrow.
Trying to retrace some of Dad's steps:
Grand Canyon Camper Village
549 Camper Village Lane
Tusayan, AZ 86023
USA RV Park
2925 W Historic Hwy 66
Gallup, NM 87301
Monday May 17th, 2021 Day 10 (517 Miles!)
With the tough cough Mel has acquired we wanted to put some miles behind us in search of some lower elevation. Fueled up and hit the open road. We encountered some pretty crazy weather in Albuquerque, which included a tornado warning. The winds really started to pick up (more than the usual in these parts) and Bob wasn’t taking too kindly to it so we pulled off for a short break to check the weather. Pulled into a Walgreens lot and the winds really started to pick up quickly, flying tumbleweeds everywhere! Got out to run inside for some cough medicine and the side door to Bob fly open and crushed the door stop, chalk another injury up to Bob! Tornado warning quickly expired but the t-storm stayed up for a bit. Looks like we had a short window so we hit the road. Wasn’t too bad until the hail started up! I’d say pea sized but it was hitting hard! Rolling across the pavement when it hit, was a little worried it’d break the windshield but Bob actually took this one pretty well. Slowed down substantially and it passed, but I had those dark stormy skies in the rear view all afternoon.
We were shooting for Amarillo today but seemed to be making good time so we pushed a little extra. Starting to see some familiar sights we passed on the way out, but we had forgotten about Potter Texas. Oh my..... will research this now. BRB. Sounds like this is the HolTex cattle hide processing plant. But another article describes the communities east of Amarillo being choked with fecal dust from nearby feed lots. (Fun fact, cattle outnumber the people in the panhandle 40-1. Made me wonder Cow Tipping Fake or Really Fake?
Ok back on track, check this out:
“Though Brorman grazes 80 or so cattle on his land in Hereford, Deaf Smith’s county seat, the animals he’s currently staring down aren’t his. They’re held by Southwest Feedyard, one of the oldest cattle feedlots in the county. This place holds 45,000 head of cattle in bare-dirt pens for months at a time, fattening the animals on flaked corn before sending them to slaughter. It’s part of a vast constellation of feeding operations that dot the western Panhandle, which accounts for one-fifth of the entire U.S. beef supply. If you’ve ever eaten a hamburger, there’s a good chance the meat came from here”
Well that explains that, holy smokes, it nausea inducing! Worse than the paper-mill stench we would encounter on our trips to Sea Island, just outside Jacksonville I believe?
Made it Shamrock Texas, the Texas Route 66 RV Park where we were checked in by Crystal and John, a married couple who owns this little roadside gem. Crystal, 60’s in jeans and checkered shirt long hair in a pony tail, and her husband John, boots, jeans, plaid shirt, long hair in a pony tail. Very very nice couple, chatted about the prospects of a good looking summer for them, and of course the weather. Crystal and Jim were keeping a close eye on this storm behind us, but weren’t too concerned. They did point out the newly renovated and/or created tornado/storm shelters as part of my RV park orientation. Two below ground and one above. Considering those traveling in Bob, and our site location, she suggested the above ground shelter should our phones emit the tornado warning. Oh my! Well we were guided to our site and we quickly set up for the night. I went and shot some photos with the new tripod, some long exposures of I-40 and RV park sign. Lightning all around us is quite impressive. The storm rolled though, presumably the same one from Albuquerque, and thank goodness it seems to be just missing us. Quite a light show and some thunder, and then a little rain. Radar indicated that this system should be past us by 3am or so, hoping for another good day of driving and making up some time. Oh, while out shooting photos, I chatted John up a little more. He said they haven’t had to use the shelters yet, but probably could have this time last year when a tornado came though. No damage here but worth noting that they do happen and it best to be prepared. He said just a few chairs and lights in each shelter, which they redid last year. Pretty clear that these are close to new. See pics! Might ask for a quick tour in the morning if John isn’t too busy. I get the impression he’s be psyched to show them off.
Hillbilly speedbump count is 1 today, been missing these little fellas!
Nothing to do outside in this weather so to bed it is. Golly the rain is coming down now with great thunder. I said to Karen “Open up the rear shade in the bedroom to see the rain pouring off the billboard outside” I hear a louder than usual “click” of something, assuming the shade is going up but wait, there’s an emerg... “Wait, don’t pop open the emergency escape window!” Crisis averted in time, there’s two latches on the rear escape window.
The rain is really coming down.
Texas Route 66 RV Park
Shamrock, TX 79079
Tuesday May 18th, 2021 Day 11 (sol 10.68) 421 miles today.
We must have needed the rest because we all slept in a little bit at Crystal and Johns! A little behind but that’s ok, got some fuel and hit the road. 1st goal marker today is a BBQ joint Karen found in The Book. This one has been knocking it out of the park for good, staple Route 66 food. “Road Food” by Jane and Michael Stern. Crushing it!
Three hours to Van’s BBQ in Shawnee Missouri, a local road gave a little glimpse into Shawnee days, and it ain’t much. Seems to be a theme on a lot of our side ventures and its kind of sad. This pandemic seems to have hurt a lot of these businesses and one can only imagine how people are managing.
Vans Pig Stand is a group of 5 restaurants in the Oklahoma City area with its original on E Highland St in Shawnee. On approach we had a quick fear of the restaurant not being open, as it wan’t much to look at from the outside. Luckily there were a few cars parked out back so we slid Bob off the secondary road and rolled Mel into good old piece of Oklahoma’s best. (IMO). We were greeted by Keith, a portly fellow with a happy toothless grin and an eagerness to get us some good grub. “Sit anywhere you’d like, order at the counter and I’ll bring it to ya”. Mel not being a fan of spicy food caught Keiths ear and they hit it off. He finally talked her into the Vanized Potato, basically a twice baked with bacon and lots of butter. Karen went with the pork sandwich and a side of beans, and Scott went with a two meat platter (some chicken for Mel) pork, beans and slaw, which was some of the best I’ve ever had, slightly sweet, and very creamy. All absolutely delicious with a fine selection of sauces. North Carolina vinegar was good as was the sweet and smoky. We got a rib on the side also, which was delicious. Keith let us know he was going on a two hr break so we slipped him a 20 which he really seemed to appreciate. He wished us well on our journey, he seems like a great guy. I couldn’t help but notice how good Karen’s sandwich looked, there was a little part of me that was thinking of grabbing couple more ribs, but that buttery roll, piled with delicious moist pulled pork and some sauce. Yea, Ill grab a sandwich. It’s only $6.05. This’d be $15 back home. Big jug of sweet tea and I’m surprised I’m alive to blog tonight. Chatted up a fellow who came in and sat with his wife. I overheard him saying hello to friend who was seated across the restaurant. I heard them both talking about the fact that no one wants to work these days, and finding help has become a real challenge. I asked what he did and he said he operated/owned the Sonic next door. Said he could easily hire the next nine people that came in the door. He spoke of how great business has been (surprisingly) but he’s had issues with his team and getting the job done with so few workers. Very interesting perspective. He politely asked about our journey and wished a safe ride back east. Very kind souls around, but all seem to be hurting a little, in some form or fashion.
With our sodas and teas refilled and hit the road, for a 3 and 1/2 trip to the Big Red Barn RV Park, another gem we found on a list of ‘best of’s’ for RV sites down Rt 66. We could have easily done another hour north to Springfield but this campground looked great and we called in a reservation and paid up. No worries, with some good planning the next few days, we might be home by Saturday. It fun getting off the road and chatting up some locals though. So much to see and do but its a tough balance with getting the RV back on time and getting back to wor...
A few road thoughts on the ride to Red Barn, I’m reminded of the show American pickers. It’s truly amazing the stuff that folks collect and surround themselves with. What a great show, and it seems that their visits are limitless, in each part of this country. Seeing lots of trucks and store fronts with ‘Hobby Lobby’, need to look this place up BRB. Ahhh, more home goods and arts & crafts. Not model trains, rockets and models. Oh well.
Arrived to the Big Red Barn RV park, office was closed but an envelope awaited us on the front door. When I spoke with Kim making the reservation, she made it sound like she was really squeezing us in and had to double check to be sure she had an opening. Thankfully she did. Upon arrival, all of the sites up front were vacant (sites 1-8) We got site 8 and its very nice with our own fire pit and full hook ups. Seems that the vacationer and multi-day folks are kept in the back. Parked on a gravel site and decided we’d empty the tanks. No problems encountered at all and it went very smoothly. Had an ok fire in the pit but the free wood on site wasn’t great. Soggy birch and a little wet made for a smokey fire, but we’re happy that we’re back in some not-too-dry-you-can’t-have-a-fire campgrounds.
Looks like we may be waking up to some rain the morning. We’re in search of fuel, propane, and oil change and a Walmart visit. Propane looks to be available here at the Big Red barn but may be only filling 20lb tanks. Not sure they can hook directly to our RV. We’ll ask in the morning. Don’t want to run out of propane as that’s our heat. Looks to be a low of 66 tonight so we should be ok. Got 1/4 tank left but want to be ahead of it. Oil change should be interesting...maybe while Mel hits a Walmart I’ll work on that situation. Knock on wood, cruise control worked all day today so I didn’t want to give up the wheel. KD will take over for a bit tomorrow though. This Ford issue (advanced traction system) seems to be ok for now. Will likely hold off on that visit. If it gets bad again, we may try for the battery disconnect/reset first.
Looking for Indianapolis tomorrow, let’s see how we do, Walmart and oil change may interrupt that a bit.
Big Red Barn RV Park
13625 Elm Road
Carthage, MO 64836
Wednesday May 19, 2021 Day 12 (413 miles)
Fairly uneventful day of driving Bob. Plan was to gas up the propane but we had already loaded everyone up for the day so it didn’t make sense to unload again. Our first McDonald’s breakfast and a full fuel up. Next stop was Walmart in Sullivan, Missouri for some essentials. This was also a good time to try and get the oil change done. Visited a number of places in Sullivan, but many were too busy or didn’t have a bay big enough. Express Valvoline did the trick. Even though their bay wasn’t tall enough, they said they'd do it outside for an extra $20. Turns out they did it right in line but it wasn’t easy. Bob seems pretty low to the ground and Clyde’s gut wasn’t cooperating on the crawler, which he quickly ditched for a little more gut to frame clearance. Still got dirty as hell but he got it done in no time.
Clearly went above and beyond, and I appreciated his effort. He helped back me out of line and off I went to grab the ladies, whom I had dropped off at Walmart to grab some things. Back on the highway, 44 to 70 east today. We landed just west of Terre Haute and Indianapolis at another KOA, this one in Casey, Illinois. Small park and very few people here. It seems the campground is just plopped down between huge farm fields. Soybean and corn, apparently. Kathy and Glenn are the site hosts and it seems we interrupted their dinner with our arrival, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Kathy gave me the scoop and Glenn led us to our site, number 16. The campground is soaking wet but we managed to get a smokey fire going which of course always seems to directly find Mel. Just some light snacks and drinks before calling it a day. A nice couple from Falmouth MA saw us pull in and they swung by to say hello, Sally and Mike on a little road trip to Kansas City and Indianapolis following some race car action. I got to talking about Bob and Mike said “they’re all like that, somethings wrong if you aren’t finding screws everywhere!”
1248 E 1250th Rd
Casey, IL 62420
Thursday May 20th, 2021 day 13 (Sol 12.62) 420 miles today.
Woke up to a significant gnat situation at this farm/campground. The entire left side of Bob is covered in these gnats and they’re swarming right next to the drivers door. Glenn hooked us up with propane, left the ladies with the gnats for ten minutes while we accomplished that task. All good. As I was paying for the propane, I couldn’t help but notice a printed guide to local attractions. Interestingly, Casey, Illinois happens to be home to a significant number of “worlds largest” awards and titles:
After a quick breakfast, we took a spin and opted for some photos of the worlds largest rocking chair, worlds largest wind chime, world largest barber pole, and the worlds largest mailbox!! Hysterical!
Onwards! Some fuel and the highway! Long day of driving back northeast, KD took over for a bit as we passed through Indianapolis, Columbus and Akron today. I’m glad the hillbilly speedbump count is no longer a factor, lot of work counting those little fellas! She did a stellar job of getting to White House Chicken in Baberton, OH, another ‘Road Food’ gem.
Once again, nothing much to look at from the outside, but I’m starting to think that the worse it looks, the better the food is! I ran in ahead for a quick advance team assessment. Stair up the front door indicate some accessibility issues so I inquired about wheelchair access. Hostess said “I’ll meet you out back, come in through the kitchen”. Okey Dokey! Went out, grabbed Mel and Karen and around back we go. Not sketchy at all! I pushed the temporary ramp into placed and started backing into the kitchen when I got a ‘whoa whoa, you can’t come in here!!’ I had clearly interrupted a chicken coating session lol, but a quick grab of the manager and we were permitted to proceed. We may have observed some significant fried chicken trade secrets! Into the mostly quiet restaurant we go and settled at a good table in the main dining room? Anyways, we all opted for the regular white plate which was a breast and full wing, along with three sides. We all needed some green in our lives today so green beans for everyone, fries, mashed, applesauce, hot rice and (after a lengthy discussion about vinegar based vs creamy) cole slaw, which was vinegar based and a little sweet, but not how we normally like our slaw. Lol! Delicious chicken, hot rice was interesting, basically a small bowl of hot sauce with some rice in it. Maybe to dunk some of the chicken? Undecided on that side.... Abbey was great and made sure we had a great dinner. Sweet tea pretty good. After the fiasco of our entry, we were advised to please use the side door, which was actually much more accessible. Was able to pull Bob right in the back lot so it work out well.
Onwards to another KOA, tonight in Streetsboro Ohio. It was past closing time for our arrival, the loss of an hour again headed back east has us a little later than usual. But on 1st glance, this appears to be a 5 star operation. When I called and let them know we’d be in after hours, they happily offered to drop two bundles of purchased wood at our site. Found our slip for the night and backed Bob in. There appears to be a mix of overnighters and folks set up for the summer with full gardens in front of their rigs. Saw a few ponds on the way in, can’t wait to see what the place looks like in the morning. Recent reviews talked about significant mud issues and RV’s getting stuck but a few days of warm temps and dry air have really helped things, apparently. Appears to be the best KOA of the trip so far! Plan for breakfast at the site tomorrow, easy roll onto Syracuse. Going to hit a Whole Foods for a repeat of our shrimp dinner for our last supper tomorrow. I think we have a good campground picked out. Cuban cigar rounded out the night nicely by the fire!
Streetsboro/Cleveland KOA Holiday
Streetsboro, OH 44241
Friday May 21, 2021 Day 14 (sol 13.59) 323 miles today
Scott cooked a disaster of a breakfast for the team today, scrambled eggs, bacon (which Karen cooked perfectly) and English muffins. Smoke detector still works and all crises diverted. Nourished, it was on to a fuel stop. We’re finding our credit card is getting flagged for frequent use which is annoying when trying to pay at the pump, especially with most stations having limits of $75-$125. Our full fill up is around $130-140. Quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up dinner ingredients for a repeat of our first night, grilled shrimp and zucchini. KD ran in and I worked the phones for a reservation.
Pretty much a straight shot right out 90 East but heavy traffic made for a long and fairly challenging day. Stopped after about 3 1/2 hours for a quick stretch, and there happened to be a Tim Horton’s there. Gotta get a pic for the fam in Newfoundland as this is mostly a Canadian coffee shop. Tim’s was closed so it was just a quick stretch for the final 1.5 hrs to our campsite.
The Cherry Grove Campground in Wolcott, NY sits right between Rochester and Syracuse, in a town that sits on Lake Erie. We waited a little too late to book a reservation but we really didn’t know how far north we’d be today. With an extraordinary weather weekend in the northeast, we found it difficult to find room at RV parks. After a couple of strike outs and no call backs, we reached the Cherry Grove Campground and they had availability for us. It’s well off the 90 East route, but 104 East runs parallel to 90 so we’re still moving east. We’re up close to Lake Erie so lots of tackle and boating stuff along the way. Reviews seemed good, mentioned a good number of seasonal folks but room for nightly and weekly’s. Also a farm stand across the street? WooHoo! They had room for us so we booked it. Very short but efficient on the phone. Checked in at the office, Susan the owner greeted us kindly with her daughter(?) checking us in. Got our site map and made our way to site 72, which is clearly located with the rest of the transients in the back of the park. There seem to be permanent vacation trailers in some spots, with in ground flag poles, full decks (including one being built as we passed by) and small gardens. One trailer-front had a ridiculous assortment of wind chimes. While snapping a picture, the conversation with the owner turned into her history with a previous neighbor who couldn’t stand the noise. We both agreed its a wonderful way to fall asleep....I then i left crazy to her wind chimes! Site 72 sits with a vacancy to the right and a family of 4 with a pop top to our left. Pretty quiet family, he’s retired from Firestone and she’s SNF nurse, recently ran a COVID floor, yikes. Pulled in, hooked up and set up for a nice outdoor grill and dinner. Very warm night out and we soon realized the the mosquitoes were going to be huge problem. The bug spray is barely cutting it but some candles and the fire made it semi-tolerable. We were pretty hungry, and looking to clean out the fridge a little, we decided to grill up a few hot dogs as a snack. This also gave us an opportunity to scout the grounds out, as this is pretty clearly one of the weirdest places we’ve been to yet. The owner, Susan, is a tough one and very clear with her expectations. There is language in the camp rules about three warnings for violating the 5mph speed limit and you’re ejected. She mentioned that April and May are her months to get the place ready (common theme) and she’s been pretty booked. Seems like its just family running the 100 site park. Serious machinery with a big John Deere that Susan runs around in, moving wood, gravel, etc.
After a call to New Canaan to say hello, we fired up the zucchini and shrimp for another yummy meal. A wheelbarrow full of wood requires a pretty big consistent fire most of the night. Relaxed outside for a bit, blogged and enjoyed the last Gloria I had. Mosquito problem seem to have died down, along with he rest of the park. Oh, the farm stand. No veggies or fruits ready yet, too early. Just selling some plants and such, bummer!
At dinner, Karen “I am destined for a mosquito borne illness” in true Debbie Downer fashion. But in all honesty, these things are vicious tonight. Also Karen: “It’s like a marina on steroids in here”
Everyone is traveling with a dog. Everyone.
Just heard a child scream of terror. Could be an interesting night.
Two spots over, group of tweens around a fire “what would you do if I kissed you right now?”
Cherry Grove Campground, Site 72
12669 Ridge Road
Walcott, NY 14590
Saturday May 22, 2021 Day 15 ( 346 miles today)
Its a bittersweet day today, while this has certainly been the trip of a lifetime, we are looking forward to getting back into some of our comfortable settings. First, we got a few more miles to put behind us. We awoke at the magical place that Cheery Grove Campground is! A decent shower felt great, and we started cleaning up our site. With this being our last campground of the trip, we wanted to take the opportunity to dump our RV tanks (other wise facing an emptying fee at our rental place). Our neighbors seemed to enjoy an extra long breakfast on Saturday mornings, which was interfering with our plan to hook up to the sewer pipe. (Did’t want to perform this task as they were inhaling their sausages and eggs!) I walked up to the office and inquired about another option but Susan said the free public dump is very tough to navigate. I elected to allow our neighbors a few more minutes of peaceful eating. My impatience finally go the best of me and I approached “Hi, I’m so sorry to do this but we need to hook up here so that we can get on road, do you mind?” All smiles, and “of course not, everyone has to do it!” So I proceeded to tackle the stinky slinky and performed the task as quickly as possible. Wrapped that up and we hit the road, we hit McDonalds for some oatmeal, a biscuit sandwich and coffee. After some fuel, it was 90 East for some very uneventful driving. Lots of beautiful (and working!) farms in upstate NY, including many vineyards. Through Syracuse, Albany, (Hudson!) in finally into Mass! One last rest stop break for the final push and we hit Dedham around 4:45pm!
Very pleasantly surprised to see a beautiful “Welcome Home” banner hanging across Mel’s deck, along with a big bag of food from the Hot Tub Club (Karen’s besties!) So so thoughtful, we are very lucky people who have incredible friends! We spent some time getting Mel squared away, we’re all pretty exhausted and ready for some R&R!.
We pulled Bob out of Durham Road and made our way to our home in Roslindale. As I was negotiating getting Bob into our driveway, the left rear panel on Bob made contact with our neighbor Jen’s car, huge bummer after two weeks of completely uneventful driving. Never fails!! Oh well, she took it very kindly and we spent the evening unloading the RV and getting settled at home ourselves. Very hot at home, and the pollen is not to be believed! Oh, and we had a Hot Tub Club visit and flocking as well as a complete food stocking (all homemade from the kitchen of Brenda McGowan) from Karen’s friends Sian and Katie (representing her CRNA crew), who may have stayed a night or two on Farquhar to be a little closer to work. We were happy to help her out, and to see what she did for our return is just pure kindness. Her friends are absolutely amazing. A fully stocked freezer and fridge, plants, more gift bags, spa treats and a gift card to Pleasant Cafe, which got our pizza and salad order for the first night home. Glorious to sleep in our own bed!
Meet the welcome home crews below!
Spent the next day, Sunday, cleaning the RV and performing a minor repair to the taillight with my buddy Steve, who came by to say hello and see the rig. Unselfishly, he spent the entire day helping to get the tail lights repaired, the scuff marks buffed out, and a thorough interior/exterior cleaning, much appreciated Steve! Hot day at home, meatball sandwiches on the deck with the Robin and her new babies. Bob goes back to Flagg RV tomorrow, There’s no way they’ll ever pick up on the marker light replacement with how great the rest of the rig looks! A little fuel before we pull in tomorrow, otherwise, we are putting this trip in the rearview! Lot and lots of photos and video to sort through, we’ll get to that in good time. For now, some more rest and incredible memories to think back on!
Some End of Trip Thoughts:
We feel like we really ripped the bandaid off of masking moving forward. Most of America seems to be unmasked, and in some states, completely disregarding masking requirements for establishments. We are getting close to relaxing these mandates back home, but it seems rural America has been done with them for a while now.
Glimpses of a forgotten time....
Blogging this entire trip, a commitment every night, was fun and I am sure we will look back on this with great fondness and appreciation that I did it, but it is a commitment, and at times may have taken away from some good downtime/quiet time with Karen, especially on a few of those long hard days. We took a break from social media posting on this trip also, purposefully or not, and it was nice. We felt a little disconnected at times, but isn't that the point?
Finding fun on the road....
Everyone needs a killer playlist..
Instead of 'gramming on this trip, Karen focused her energy on what she is calling her "Black and White Series". She worked very hard on capturing three separate images that tell a bit of the story as she would like to remember it. Here are those photos:
While we really only got a glimpse of America from the major interstates, it is pretty clear that a lot of this country is really suffering and having a difficult time. Many farms were barren and unattended, gift and souvenir shops have very tired inventory, restaurants are clearly struggling with changing regulations and low numbers, and many storefronts are just closed up. Big box stores like Walmart seem to be doing ok, but, as Karen observed, it's a stark reminder of why a lot of America was looking for different national leadership to help improve the conditions in rural America. We have a long way to go! Domestic travel like this trip definitely helps, get out there friends!
Bob....Good old Bob, aka Bucket of Bolts and Freebird. She did the job for us in the end but by no means was it comfortable. It was nearly impossible to have a full conversation between the three of us due to the road noise coming up through the vehicle. Every conversation included lots of "Huh?'s, Sorry?'s and What was that's?". Finding comfort in the back during the daily drive and as a bed for Mel nightly, was a struggle. The lack of a comfortable forward facing seat, and cup holders in the rear make for very long travel days and lots bruising. We finally got into a nice rhythm of building a semi-comfortable bed each night in the galley, and we all settled into our routines eventually. We affixed a number of plastic hooks throughout the RV, as exiting screwed-in hooks pull through the cheap particle board with the slightest amount of weight. One of the rear shades even came down one day, just bouncing along the highway:
We found ourselves constantly screwing in loosened screws and trying to find homes for ones that had fallen out. I think we came out just about even in the end! While Bob did the job fairly well, and safely (the traction control system issue never alerted again once we got out of Texas, elevation issue??) Interestingly, the one thing we got penalized for was a hub cap that appears to have gone flying off somewhere in Pennsylvania! Never even noticed!
I think I'd be hesitant to do something similar again. I'd like to try pulling a trailer (Airstream!) That's gotta be a great way to go. You have the comfort of your own vehicle and you can drop your living quarters each night and easily go exploring without having to worry about parking a huge RV. Alternatively, a Prevost Class A with slideouts would be pretty cool too!
See ya Bob!
Total miles driven: 5746
Total gallons fuel: 577.27
Average MPG: 9.95
Average price per gallon: 2.95
#snow events: 1
# hail events: 2
# tornado warnings: 1
Hillbilly Speedbumps: 54 (WB) + 93 (EB) = 147
Deer carcasses: 18 + 15 = 33
Trump signs: 8 + 6 = 14
Septic drains: 2
Water Fills: 3 (one basically overflowed due to pump being on)
Propane fills: 1
Generator Hours: 0
Total states: 14 (RI, MA, CT, NY, PA, OH, IN, MO, KS, OK, TX, NM, AZ, IL)
Vehicle Specs: Fuel 55 gal, Water 40 gal;, Black water 31 gal, gray water 31 gal
Vehicle tour here: Coachman Freelander
Photos: Scott's Photos
"The best things in life are the people we love, the places we've been and the memories we've made along the way."