An Autumn Trip To Georgia!
October 2-17, 2007
I’ve been getting the itch to hit the road for a long trip, so here I go! I will visit my cousin in Georgia and perhaps my nephew and family in Arizona. And I’ll start this trip getting a new satellite TV system installed. Life is good, even without fishing!
Day 1, Tuesday, October 2, Home to Madera, CA via SR99: 85 miles
The plan for the second day of this Georgia adventure was to have a satellite TV system installed at Campers World in Fresno. I’d already chosen the items, paid for them and had an appointment for 0800 Wednesday. So I drove to the Wal-Mart in Madera, which is just off SR99, and planned to drive to the store first thing Wednesday morning.
I spent the night at Madera’s Walmart with some high dollar coaches.
This is a high dollar Prevost chassis coach. We’re talking around a $million.
I arrived pretty early in the day, about 1445, and had several hours to burn as I waited for bed time. I watched local TV for several hours,shopped a bit at Wal-Mart and visited a couple other stores in theWal-Mart center.
Day 2,Wednesday, October 3, Madera CA to Bakersfield, CA via SR99: 114 miles
The last couple of days were very short drives compared to my usual, but it included the installation of a new satellite TV system on the coach! Now I can watch some good TV such as Fox News, History Channel, Discover, Spike, etc. And that’s just what I did this evening. This fancy system takes a few minutes to find the satellites, at first, but then I have about 200 channels to choose from – even though I’ll be using only a handful of them. This should make evenings in the coach more entertaining than the usual slop on broadcast TV. For over $1600, it better do at least that!
I spent the entire day just hanging around Paul Evert’s RV dealership in Fresno. It is a huge and very modern complex that would certainly tempt any RVer to buy goodies. Camper World operates the parts and supplies store, then installation is done by Evert’s shop. I had to wait in two lines for the new TV system. Once at Camper World’s counter to buy the components and again at Evert’s shop to get them installed. But the end result was that I have my new system – even though I had to wait from 0800 to 1700 while they got it all done. It seems that they did a good job.
The new satellite dome atop the coach!
Tomorrow I’ll leave this Flying J near Bakersfield and head out SR58 eastbound and wind up at Ehrenberg, AZ Thursday evening.
Early morning at the Bakersfield Flying J.
Day 3, Thursday, October 4, Bakersfield, CA to Ehrenberg, AZ via SR99, SR58, I-15, I-10: 346 miles
I enjoyed the use of the internet and my new satellite TV at the Bakersfield Flying J. It is truly incredible how we use satellites in our everyday lives nowadays. Just aboard my coach, I use them for my navigation system, my TV and my XM Radio. I’d be lost and bored without those satellites!
There’s good reason for all the wind turbines atop that ridge!
It was a windy drive from Bakersfield to Arizona. I believe I dealt with winds well above 25 MPH during portions of the drive, and I also drove through areas that seemed flat calm. It makes driving more tiring when fighting cross and head winds aboard a motor home. I made the trip just fine, but I sure prefer calmer weather.
I arrived in Ehrenberg, AZ about 1600 and settled in for the night at the Flying J. For some reason, the WiFi just didn’t work for me there, but my great satellite TV found its satellites just fine and kept me well entertained. I fell off my diet at the Flying J buffet and pigged out on fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Life is good.
And more wind was predicted for the next day…
Day 4, Friday, October 5, Ehrenberg, AZ to Benson, AZ via I-10: 296 miles
Early morning at Ehrenberg, AZ Flying J.
After doing several morning chores, I hit the road without breakfast. The chicken pig-out was enough grub ’til at least lunch. The day warmed up quickly, and this seems like a strange October – but perhaps not for Arizona. It was well into the 90s as I drove through the vast desert.
Sure enough, I fought wind the whole day. It blew well over 25 mph as a cross wind and headwind. Driving is just a lot of work when fighting the buffeting of the wind. These Class A coaches offer a lot of area for the wind to work against – but not much weight. At least not as much as what I was used to during my trucking days. Trucks get blown about by the wind, too, but nothing like an RV.
Cruising along I-10 in Arizona – warm and smooth but windy!
The drive through Phoenix and Tucson was free of delays and slowdowns, but there was the usual very heavy traffic. It was a pleasure to have both urban areas behind me. I-10 through Arizona is a smooth and well maintained road. It is a pleasure to drive through Arizona after living with the rotten, pot-holed, poorly maintained Kalifornistan roads. And I’m sure the roads I drive throughout this trip will be similar to Arizona’s. I remember that the southern roads were very well kept.
I tried to schedule a get-together with my nephew, Kevin, and his family in Phoenix, but their schedule included a birthday party and a football game during the time I was near them. We agreed that I’d try again on the way back home.
After checking the maps for the day’s destination, I planned to try for Deming, NM – a drive of about 450 miles. Instead, I drove to Benson, about a 300 mile drive. I landed in a Wal-Mart Supercenter there, and was greeted with signs stating that RVs could not park overnight, per the City Nazis of Benson. Ha! I’ve dealt with such oppression before. I checked in with a Wal-Mart associate and discovered that they don’t mind a bit. The city insisted on the signs, but they were not enforced. Why do city fathers think they have to control a private parking lot?!
The Benson RV Nazis have been here! But it’s all wishful thinking by the local RV parks and their puppets on the Benson city council, no doubt. Walmart ignores this folly and so did I!
Morning in Benson; I spent the night in peace with Walmart’s blessing.
I downed a few brews and a small box of my favorite snack: Crunch ‘n Munch. mmmm. Life is good at the end of a long, wind-blown drive. I watched a good movie on my new satellite TV and enjoyed my stay in the secure, well lit Wal-Mart lot. As usual. Thanks, Mr. Sam.
Day 5, Saturday, October 6, Benson, AZ to Alamogordo, NM via I-10, I-25, US70: 291 miles
I awoke Saturday morning to more chores than usual, including some housekeeping and the usual photo processing and travelogue update.These things keep me busy in the mornings and that’s good for me. It’s important to me to keep the coach neat and tidy because I’m a bit of a neat-nik.
At 0900 I set out for Alamogordo, NM which is on US70. I’d finally leave the busy Interstate and drive along a much less traveled US Highway. I like the road less traveled!
A tourist trap along I-10 in Arizona. I stopped for a few moments, but kept my money. Such things make for good parking, but offer little more for me.
The wind still blew, but it was a tailwind most all day. A tailwind is a good thing. No buffeting and better mileage makes for a more pleasant drive. The roads continued to be a pleasure to drive but along the Interstate there was still a lot of traffic.
Dropping into Las Cruces, NM on I-10.
It was a real pleasure to take US70 out of Las Cruces to Alamagordo. There was a long, hard climb out of Las Cruces but the big V-10 pulled us up and over with no problem.
Stopped on a side road along an I-10 off ramp for lunch. As usual, I simply turned off the key – and I was home!
I arrived at the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Alamogordo at 1630, fired up the little generator, turned on the satellite TV and popped a few brews. It was good to be settled in for the night. The weather was a bit warm, but, for a change, I didn’t need the air conditioner. When the sun went down the night became cool and comfortable.
New Mexico Landscape along I-10, approaching US70.
Border Patrol inspection along US70. They waved me through, as usual.
Day 6, Sunday, October 7, Alamogordo, NM to Graham, TX via US70, US82, US380: 465 miles
Morning at Walmart in Alamogordo, NM.
I hurried through my morning chores and hit the road as early as I could- around 0800 local time. I wanted to make Graham, TX that day, a 465 mile drive. But first thing, within about 20 miles, I climbed from 4400 ft. to about 8800 ft. That was a rude awakening and slow progress that I hadn’t anticipated.
Dropping down from the unexpected mountain drive to 8800 feet! Perhaps I should check the elevations on the map more closely!
The climb was steep and I pulled much of it in second gear. But in time, I made it just fine.The good news was that it was pretty much downhill for the rest of the day. As I cruised along that high New Mexico mountain area, known as the Sacramento Mountains, I believe, the view was beautiful. I could as easily have been in Oregon with all the scenic forests and meadows. It was a lovely drive. On an Interstate Highway, I doubt that I’d have seen anything as beautiful. And I certainly would not have enjoyed the lonely, lightly traveled US Highways that I choose to drive. I love the lonely drive and the rural feel of the little two-lane roads that carve through this country.
While driving through Texas, one must be quick to return the many waves with which the native Texans greet other drivers. Many folks waved as we met. What a fresh and welcome change of pace! As many signs along Texas highways instruct: Drive Friendly.
I learned that New Mexico, along with Texas, is an oil state…
…and cotton, too.
The wind continued as usual, but not so strong. And while I wanted to cover 465 miles that day, I also lost another hour to another time zone. I was then two hours later than home. And, of course, I’ll gain those hours back as I return home.
I drove through Post, Texas, and while the brick roads were nice to look at, they were intolerable to drive over. What were the folks in Post thinking?!
I arrived in Graham, TX around 1900 and once again, Wal-Mart had moved! Their old store was now an ag retailer of some kind, so I knew Wal-Mart had once again built a new Supercenter in town. But where? I dug out my 2008 Wal-Mart Atlas by Rand McNally and found the right address. I plugged it into my little navigator and followed its instructions to the new store.
It was warm and a bit humid in Graham, and for the first time in three nights, I had to fire up the big generator to run the air conditioner as I watched satellite TV and enjoyed a couple of Tom Collins cocktails. Life on the road is good!
Day7, Monday, October 8, Columbus Day, Graham TX to Greenwood, LA via US380, US69, US80, I-20: 297 miles
The night in Graham was warm and humid. I had the air conditioner on all evening and turned it off just before bedtime. I had the fan blowing on me almost all night long. The morning dawned warm and humid. The humidity only got worse as the day wore on.
I tended my bug collection on the windshield by scrubbing it away. My chores took me ’til 0900 to complete, without breakfast, when I continued my trip along US380. I had the cab air conditioner working all day long – from the very first mile to the last. I had figured that the south would be more comfortable this time of year, but I was wrong.
I learned that Texas’ US380 was a four lane boulevard. There are many miles much like this in Texas and Louisiana. Beautiful!
The US Highways of Texas and Louisiana are well maintained and unusually beautiful much of the time. I was impressed by the smooth drive and scenic views. I had to take I-20 through some of Louisiana as well, but it, too, was very nice to drive and the green landscape made the drive a pleasure.
This was just the eastbound half of I-20 in Louisiana; the west bound side was obscured by the rich woodlands. What a beautiful state!
The plan was to drive to a Wal-Mart east of Shreveport, but before I even got to Shreveport I discovered a Flying J on I-20 in Greenwood. I pulled in and dropped the jacks. I was home for the night after only 297 miles. That makes for a fairly easy day – especially after the long drive the day before.
I did some of what are usually my morning chores a day early, including recording this travelogue and editing the photos of the day. I also fell to the temptation of the great fried chicken at Flying J’s buffet. I just can’t resist their chicken and mashed potatoes. But I did resist the desserts.
Rain fell as I enjoyed my dinner, and I walked across a wet lot to the coach. I tried to tune in my satellite TV, but as they had told me at Camper World, the signal could be messed up by a wet dome. I planned to dry it off in the morning and treat it with a trial chemical they gave me that will keep the rain from sticking to it. The installer told me to just use Rain-X, a product that costs but a fraction of the other stuff.
The next day I’d be driving to Mississippi, I reckoned. I hoped the humidity would be more tolerable. But the weather forecast didn’t give me much hope.
Day 8, Tuesday, October 9, 2007, Greenwood, LA to Demopolis, AL via I-20, US80: 365 miles
I was on the road by 0630 to get through Shreveport, LA before the morning commute. I sailed right on through and made good time. Shreveport was a bit like Reno; there were several flashy casinos to lure the passing tourist. But not me; I prefer driving – at least in the early morning. Even with my early morning start, I had the air conditioner on at once due to the humidity. It was another muggy morning.
Crossing the Mississippi River from Louisiana into Mississippi.
I-20 through parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were a disappointment. While there were few pot holes or evidence of neglect, long sections were constructed of concrete slabs. What were they thinking? It was thump-thump-thump for miles on end. It was not pleasant but the asphalt stretches were a wonderful relief. Once off I-20 and on US80 through the woods of Alabama, the concrete was gone. Even little US80 through the back woods was smooth and a lovely, scenic drive.
A beautiful rest area along I-20 in Mississippi.
Chunky was the name of a Mississippi town. Now, that there is funny – I don’t care who you are!
Mississippi had miles and miles of lush landscape along the highways.
I planned to drive to Meridian, MS, about a 300 mile drive. But due to my early start I chose to drive on for another 50 miles and on to Alabama.
A factory loomed in the distance along US80 in Alabama.
I wound up in Demopolis, AL and a Wal-Mart Supercenter. This was a town of about 8000 people, according to one person, yet it had a Supercenter. It was a lovely, little college town and the folks in Wal-Mart were very friendly.
Morning at the Walmart in Demopolis, Alabama.
It was a bit cooler in Demopolis, but still warm and muggy. I got by most of the evening with just windows open and a fan blowing inside the coach. But to get to sleep, I ran the air conditioner for awhile before getting up and turning off the generator and air. I slept well in the safe, well lit Wal-Mart lot. I like the south.
Day 9, Wednesday, October 10, Demopolis, LA to Warner Robins, GA via US80, SR96: 265 miles
I awoke to a cooler morning in Demopolis than I had in several days – and it was very welcome. The entire day remained cooler and much less muggy. I was pleased. I went about my usual morning chores, processing photos, writing the travelogue and keeping house. For some reason I really enjoyed such mornings, but I had to keep telling myself that I was not in a hurry to hit the road. Old habits die hard. But I did hit the road a bit before 0900.
The infamous Edmund Pettus Bridge in Montgomery, Alabama.
Unbeknownst to me, I was to drive the infamous route that blacks marched in protest, led by Dr. Martin Luther King back in 1965, I believe. I would cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Montgomery where many blacks were beaten. I still remember the disgusting photos of local police – and others – trying to keep the marchers from the bridge. As I recall, they succeeded for the moment in keeping blacks from crossing, but they did cross later. I need to refresh my memory of that historic march. It was a sad time in our history.
I don’t know if it was a result of “white flight” or if Selma has always been predominantly black, but it seemed I had the only white face in town as I drove through.
The marchers’ route from Selma to Montgomery has been memorialized by the placement of these signs along US80.
I continued to be impressed with the endless wide, grassy boulevard that is US80 for miles and miles. The state must spend millions of dollars each year just keeping it all mowed and maintained. My cousin, Chuck, who I was visiting as I wrote this, told me that the labor is provided by prison inmates. That would make sense, but there are still the many tractors and mowing attachments that are required. Whatever the economics, the result is hundreds of miles of beautiful roadway.
Beautiful US80, this portion of which was part of the marchers’ route.
I drove many miles of SR96, a Georgia State Highway, not a US Highway. It was also a very smooth and well maintained road that was a pleasure to drive. Kalifornistan should hire southern highway engineers to teach them how it’s done.
This sign marks a campsite the marchers used to camp overnight.
I arrived in Warner Robins, GA around 1600 and was very happy to greet my cousin, Chuck, and members of his family. I spent one full day there before I began the trip back home.
Day 10, Thursday, October 11, A day off at Chuck’s place.
Chuck’s home in Georgia; this was my destination. Note coach beside his very lovely home.
My cousin Chuck and I go waaaay back. Clear back to the 40s when we were kids. We haven’t seen much of each other as adults as he married a Georgia Peach while in the Air Force – and wound up living in Georgia ever since. But I’ve always had a special fondness for my “big” cousin Chuck. I met his son, Craig, who was visiting Chuck with his family during my visit. The apple certainly didn’t fall far from the tree as regards Chuck and Craig, especially in their mannerisms and speech.
Chuck has been a minister all his adult life. Craig has followed his father into the ministry and has a church in Georgia about 120 miles from Warner Robins. He also is a school teacher.
Time for a much needed wash job, and some housekeeping as well.
The day was a day off – for the coach. I busied myself at once vacuuming the rug and using some rug spot remover on a couple of areas that were stained. I then dusted the interior and washed the exterior. Then I did a load of laundry since Chuck’s washer and drier were available to me. While I was at it, I took a real honest to goodness home-style shower in Chuck’s shower. That was a great pleasure after more than a week of RV showers. Now, RV showers are good and clean but allow minimal water use so as to save the fresh water and not fill up the gray water waste tank too soon.
Me, Chuck and his son, Tony.
It was nice to have a day off from driving, but I was getting anxious to hit the road. Next stop: Alabama.
Day 11, Friday, October 12, Warner Robins, GA to Anniston, Alabama via I-70, I-235, I-20: 199 miles
Brrrr. Fall paid a visit during the night. I had to toss a quilt over the bed sometime in the middle of the night as it dropped to about 45°. I used the coach’s forced air heater for the first time this trip. And just a few nights ago I was keeping the fan blowing over me all night long. But the day warmed nicely and I drove under a blue sky all day long.
Approaching Atlanta, GA. Note the wide mobile homes in transit ahead.
I started the day that began my round-about trip home with breakfast at the local Cracker Barrel Restaurant with Chuck. I ordered pancakes with real maple syrup, something I cannot pass up, along with two eggs and turkey sausage. Mmmmm. And I enjoyed another fine conversation with Chuck, one of my favorite people. I forgot how much fun he is to be around. After breakfast I set about preparing the coach for the road. I disconnected the power, raised the jacks and filled the fresh water tank. As I left town, Chuck led me to his church where there is a dump for the holding tanks. Having nearly filled up with gas upon my arrival to town, and having the tanks dumped, I was set for the road.
I had to drive the by-pass around Atlanta, GA en route to my next destination, Bentonville, AR. I planned to visit the home of Wal-Mart, my favorite stop when RVing ‘cross country. Besides being a stockholder, I happen to be a Wal-Mart groupie of sorts. I love the story of Sam Walton and his great success – and the continuing success of the company. I also greatly appreciate the fact that their stores are very nice places to shop and that I always find good prices there. I planned to visit their Visitors Center which was, I think, the first store Mr. Sam opened – right there in Bentonville.
At rest at the Wal-Mart lot in Anniston, AL, where I decided change plans and head for home the short, fast way.
I planned to cover about 350 miles during the day’s drive, but I got started a bit late. I discovered the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Anniston, Alabama at just 200 miles. I settled there for the night at about 1500. I did a bit of shopping for a few things I needed and called it a day. I then mixed a couple of Tom Collins cocktails and enjoyed them as I sat deep in a lawn chair in the shade of the coach. After perusing a newspaper I brought from home as I imbibed, I headed to a Chinese buffet near Wal-Mart and threw my diet to the wind. Sometimes no discipline is a good thing. Life is good.
The next day would find me in Tennessee en route to Bentonville, AR.
Watching satellite TV in the Anniston Walmart parking lot.
Day 12, Saturday, October 13, Anniston, AL to Ruston, LA via US 431, I-20: 440 miles
The night at Anniston was quite cool and I threw two blankets on the bed to keep warm. I awoke to a cold coach and fired up the heater again to make it comfortable. I quickly did my morning chores and hit the road a bit after 0700.
I decided that morning to head for home instead of visiting Wal-Mart’s home town of Bentonville, AR. I still had two days of driving to get there, and it just seemed a lot of driving for something to do when I was closer to that part of the country. Besides, I was getting a bit lonesome for my wife, my home and even our silly little poodle, Wiggles. While on this trip, the firewood for the season was delivered and stacked. I’m anxious to sit in my easy chair by the fire. And, of course, I always miss my hot tub when on the road!
So, I decided to head for home directly. I canceled plans to visit anyone else during the trip home. There’s no reason to try to visit the Arizona kids during the week because their lives are so busy that even weekends are sometimes too jammed to visit.
So, for this trip, I’ll drive 400+ miles a day ’til I get home. Cold nights take away a lot of the pleasure of RVing for me. I’m not meant for cold weather!
Parked with the big boys at the Ruston, Louisiana Walmart.
In spite of the cold morning, at Ruston, Louisiana that evening, the air conditioner hummed as it kept the coach cool enough to be tolerable. The sun was hot on the coach even on an otherwise very mild day.
The next day I’d be driving through Texas, heading for home! While I was anxious to put the miles behind me, I still enjoyed the drive and the view and just the adventure of living aboard the very comfortable coach. Life is good.
Day 13, Sunday, October 14, Ruston, LA to Sweetwater, TX via I-20: 464 miles
I headed home via the Interstates instead of the usual US Highways. I was not as motivated to see small towns as I simply wanted to get home. I left Ruston that morning at 0600, the earliest I’d left yet this trip, because I wanted to cover about 500 miles.
Long and lonely I-20 in Texas.
The cool nights and, beginning this day, the windy weather just wasn’t my idea of a fun time. I drove all day long against a strong crosswind, beginning before Dallas, and continuing all day long ’til I arrived at Sweetwater. It was a long drive; the wind certainly took the edge off of what would otherwise have been a pleasant drive.
I-20 drops below much of Dallas and is more of a bypass. I wanted to miss as much of Dallas as I could, and it was good to see that I-20 did the job.
I-10 and I-20 in Texas had some stretches posted for 80 MPH – but I declined – my usual cruising speed is 58 MPH.
Jacks down for the night at Sweetwater, Texas.
Although I intended to drive more than 500 miles that day, once again I came across a Wal-Mart Supercenter at Sweetwater, a bit before my intended stop, and decided to pull in for the night. I had a couple Tom Collins’ to relax, then walked in to the Wal-Mart and bought a rotisserie chicken for dinner. And some cheese cake. Yep, I pigged out again. I’ll have to behave myself when I get home!
I was still about 1500 miles from home and figured I’d get there about Wednesday or Thursday of that week. I was ready to be home. It had been a long drive!
Day 14, Monday, October 15, Sweetwater, TX to Deming, NM via I-20, I-10: 498 miles
I started this day’s drive earlier than any so far; I was heading for home at 0540. I thought daybreak would never come, but as usual, it lightened up when it was supposed to. By getting such an early start it is pretty easy to cover about 500 miles. Well, at least when one is inspired.
While still driving in the dark of early morning, I came across a highway closure due to a big rig turned over on its side, blocking both lanes.The Highway Patrol was there and directed traffic off the Interstate to a frontage road. I drove less than a mile to get back on the highway, so it wasn’t too much of a delay. Most of the day’s drive was very pleasant. It was not too hot and I had a tailwind for some of the drive. The drive through El Paso was not pleasant. It is a big city and the traffic, although it moved along at the limit, was very heavy. But once past the miles and miles that comprise the El Paso area, traffic thinned out and the drive was again a pleasure.
El Paso, Texas: Too many cars and people! Too much like home!
I arrived at the Deming, NM Wal-Mart Supercenter a bit after 1500 local time, which was Mountain Time. I was then just one hour off home time. And while I enjoyed most of the long trip across the country and back, it wouldn’t be any too early to be home.
Day 15, Tuesday, October 16, Deming, AZ to Palm Desert, CA via I-10, I-8, SR85: 586 miles
Camped for the night at Deming, Arizona
I got an even earlier start this day than the prior day. I was on the road at 0530 and planned to drive at least 500 miles. I drove almost 600. In fact, by my GPS navigator, I drove a bit over 600 miles.
I stopped during the morning drive for a couple of McDonald’s sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches – a favorite of mine that I rarely allow myself. And, for a rare change of habit, a cup of real coffee instead of decaf. I had to do something to get over the sleepiness I was dealing with. And the big breakfast worked fine. I stayed awake easily the rest of this, my longest drive for one day at the wheel of the coach, almost 600 miles! In prior days hauling lawnmowers and driving truck, I have covered up to a thousand miles in a day. Those days are long gone. Age has taken its toll.
A starkly beautiful desert rest area along I-10 in Arizona.
The Tucson, AZ skyline – a lot of highway construction was in progress.
I dealt with wind most of the prior two days, but nothing like I experienced as I approached Indio, CA. As I drove the hills east of Indio, the wind increased dramatically. By the time I descended down into the valley, the wind was blowing around 40 MPH. It was a real job just staying in my lane and such driving is very tiring. I pulled in to a Flying J in the area and gassed up, hoping to spend the night there. But that Flying J had no place to park RVs; only big rigs. So I asked around for directions to a Wal-Mart, and found that one was only a couple of miles away. I pulled into the Wal-Mart lot as the wind continued to blow into the 40 MPH range and was much relieved to finally be able to park for the night. I faced the coach into the wind, dropped the jacks and was settled for the night.
The wind continued to blow all evening long. As I climbed into bed, I could only hope that it would subside by morning.
Day 16, Wednesday, October 17, Palm Desert, CA to Home via I-10, I-215, I-15, SR395, SR58, SR99: 434 miles
It seemed that I had saved the worst day of driving for the last day. The wind blew all night long over the Palm Desert area. I awoke to the sound of whistling wind around 0400 and was inspired to just get up early and hit the road. I wanted to get the day over with.
There is a climb out of the Palm Desert area to what I believe was Cajon Pass at about 4200’. The wind blew all the way to the pass – and as I topped the climb I drove through rain and what seemed to be a bit of fog. It was a miserable drive.
As the highway descended and I took I-15 to SR395, the wind subsided and the drive was much improved. But when I took the SR395 north and approached SR58 which goes to Bakersfield, the wind grew even worse than earlier. Along SR58 and on towards Tehachapi Pass, I drove through the worst wind of the whole trip. At one point, after driving through a cut for the highway, a particularly powerful gust seemed to nearly lift the coach. I was not having a good time. But having made such an early start, I did manage to get through the San Bernardino area before the commute.
Wind storm! The east side of the Tehachapis as I headed west.
A Rexhall Vision, nearly identical to mine, fighting the wind up the Tehachapis. It was a perfectly miserable drive through the windy Mojave Desert.
Once through the Tehachapi Pass, the wind died down. As I descended into Bakersfield, the drive became downright pleasant once again. It was about time! The wind stayed pretty calm except that I bucked a headwind as I headed north on SR99 – but it was nothing compared to what I had endured in the Mojave.
I stopped at a McDonald’s in the Bakersfield area for breakfast, and I celebrated the difficult but successful drive with a feast! I strayed far from my diet the last three or four days of my trip, but I forgave myself as I planned to get back on the wagon at home.
Dropping down the Tehachapis into the valley below. I was nearing the Great Valley and home!
The drive up SR99 from Bakersfield was uneventful except for the fact that I got very sleepy. I pulled off the road for about a 20-minute nap and was fine the rest of the way home.
It was good to get home. I didn’t bother to unload the coach and dump the tanks – that could wait another day. I brought in the electronic goodies I carried with me and then parked the coach. I think we were both – the coach and I – glad to be back home!
I was a bit disappointed in myself for deciding to streak home earlier than planned. I could have visited the Wal-Mart Visitors Center and lolly gagged my way home at a more enjoyable 300 or so miles per day – and on the more rural US Highways, as well! I am already hankering to hit the road again. But now gas prices are back over $3 per gallon. Ouch!
But by heading home directly, I did miss a lot of bad weather. Dallas had a torrential downpour the day after I streaked through that area. And I read of hail and other misery in Arkansas and Alabama just after I left.
My trip was 5145 miles, according to the odometer. I spent over $1500 on gas. Fortunately, aboard a motorhome, when staying at free overnight spots, out of pocket expenses are not much more than just the gas. The food and accommodations are the same as if I’d stayed home.
Yep, traveling aboard a motorhome is the good life!
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