A Colorado/New Mexico Adventure

A September visit to Colorado and New Mexico!

September 15-24, 2009

 Day 1, Tuesday, Home to Winnemucca, NV via SR99, I-80: 342 miles.

We were finally ready to head to Allen’s in Colorado aboard our coach, a trip delayed but we were finally hitting the road! We left home at 0930 to face the horrible I-80 over the Sierras – known as Donner Pass. Last trip, a year ago, the road was so worn out that it seemed to shake our coach apart. There was a huge construction project going on this trip and much of the road was new. It was a huge improvement! As we drove through Nevada there were many miles of re-paving in progress as well.

Reno in the distance as we motored west on I-80.

We stopped at Boomtown to play the poker slots for awhile, and actually left $5 ahead. That was a change for us! We spent just a couple of hours, then continued on to Winnemucca.

We pulled into the Wal-Mart lot in Winnemucca at 1830, and after moving twice to get the satellite TV to work properly, we settled in for the night.

Jacks down at the Winnemucca, NV Wal-Mart.

Day 2, Wednesday, Winnemucca, NV to Evanston, WY via I-80: 422 miles

We were underway at 0815 Pacific time.

The strange “tree” along I-80 on the salt flats – but it broke the monotony!

We drove through Salt Lake City during the commute hours, but didn’t have any delays. It was a long, hard climb up the mountains to Park City, UT from Salt Lake City, but from there to Evanston is what I consider one of the most scenic portions of the entire trip.

Rocky formations along I-80 heading to Evanston.

We pulled into the Wal-Mart in Evanston at 1910 Mountain time. It was a long day; our only stop was at the Flying J in Tooele (To-el-ah), UT, a town at the end of the long drive across the salt flats, before Salt Lake City.

It never ceases to amaze me how much at home we are in this wonderful coach. We took showers, watched satellite TV, and ate dinner – all aboard the coach.

One unusual thing about the Evanston Wal-Mart was that more big rigs parked here overnight than did RVers. It was almost like Flying J!

Settled in with other RVers at Evanston, WY’s Wal-Mart lot.

The plan for the next day was to drive across Wyoming to Cheyenne and spend the night in an RV park. We’d be able to arrive at Allen’s on Friday with empty holding tanks, and that’s an important consideration when living the RV life on the road!

Day 3, Thursday, September 17, Evanston, WY to Greenwood Village, CO via I-80, I-25: 449 miles

The day was to end at Cheyenne, Wy. However, in Cheyenne we were only two hours from our destination.

A huge buffalo image welcomes travelers to Colorado along I-25.

After gassing up and dumping the holding tanks at Cheyenne’s Flying J (a badly deteriorated plaza with poor service), it was only 1600 local time; we decided to finish the journey and continued on to Greenwood Village.

Dropping into Denver during the commute. That was a foolish time to drive through the big city, but we made it.

We braved the commute hours through Denver which was as bad as LALA Land. We arrived safely at the kids’ place in Greenwood Village, Colorado a tad after 1800 – and Lavonne was very happy. We both were, but she enjoys the destination far more than the journey.  I live for the journey – I love driving the coach over long distances. We had a wonderful visit with the kids that evening. The food was good and the drinks were cold. It really was great to arrive – Allen and Nancy’s is one of our favorite destinations. 

Settled in at the kids’ place in Greenwood Village, Colorado. This is a beautiful town very near Denver.The jacks would be down ’til September 21st, and we had a grand time enjoying family! 

Two of our sons, Craig (left) and Allen were doing kitchen work as we visited. I’ve talked to these two about gender roles, but they just don’t get it!

We went out for brunch at my favorite Chinese restaurant, P F Chang’s, on Sunday morning. We spent several days at the kids’ home visiting and having a grand family get-together. Life is good when you have a motorhome!

The two family Grandmas, my wife Lavonne on the left, and Norma on the right. Party on!

Day 7, Monday, Sept 21,  Greenwood Village to Santa Fe, NM via I-25 & I-40: 369 Miles

All too soon Monday morning rolled around and it was time to hit the road again. The weather had been perfect for the entire visit, but we woke up to rain, wind and cold on Monday. After our good-byes we pulled onto I-25 and headed south in rain and wind – and even dealt with a bit of snow and hail during the trip south. 

We pulled into the Santa Fe, NM Wal-Mart lot hoping to spend the night, but learned that they didn’t allow overnight RV parking – after having called them while on the road and being told by an employee that it was permitted. We learned that we could park at Sam’s Club, a few blocks away. We made the move and settled in for the night. 

At Santa Fe, NM Sam’s Club lot for the night. Our coach is at the far left.

We dealt with head winds during the drive to Santa Fe, and also enjoyed a strong tail wind when we first left the kids’ place. It was windy all day and also during much of the evening. We were due for some better weather and hoped that Tuesday’s travel would improve.

Day 8, Tuesday, Santa Fe, NM to Flagstaff, AZ via I-25, I-40: 376 miles

We began the day with a short trip to Albuquerque to visit Seff, our daughter-in-law Nancy’s father. He recently suffered a stroke, and we wanted very much to visit him and see how he was doing. We were pleased to have a good, one hour or so visit with him and saw that his recovery was going well. After our visit, we climbed back aboard the coach and headed for Flagstaff, AZ for the night. 

Beautiful New Mexico’s desert landscape

We arrived at Flagstaff a bit after 1700 and dropped the jacks at the Cracker Barrel restaurant which was right off the I-40 freeway. They told us that we were more than welcome to spend the night in their lot, which is something Cracker Barrel is known for, and is very popular among the RV community. We were pleased to accept their kind hospitality, and also enjoyed a delicious Cracker Barrel dinner. Mmmmmm.

Wifey tolerates the long drives and forces a smile here – as the seemingly endless riding isn’t her thing…  but I love every mile!

Flagstaff sits at nearly 7000 feet, and we had to rely on our forced air heater to keep the bedroom warm enough to be comfortable. I-40 seems always a climb or a descent – and usually is windy. The beautiful desert scenery helps the time pass and is a lovely drive – especially when the wind doesn’t blow. 

Day 9, Wednesday, Sept 23, Flagstaff, AZ to Tulare, Ca via I-25, SR58, SR99: 536 miles!

A huge, 13 axle rig headed east on I-40. It was escorted by two police cruisers and two pilot cars. An incredible site!

It was cool in Flagstaff as we greeted the new day. At that high elevation, that should be no surprise in late September, and we were getting used to fall-like weather on the return trip home. We wanted to hit the road early and travel far, so we got the morning things done and were underway at 0700. We continued to climb even higher until we reached the Continental Divide at around 7300’. We then dropped into more desert-like conditions and just kept on truckin’. 

Dropping down the Tehachapis with the Central Valley of California in the distance. We were getting close to home!

I planned originally to reach Barstow that day, then figured we could easily make Tehachapi, CA, then decided to drop down into Bakersfield. We discovered a warm welcome in Bakersfield; it was 105°! Whew. Even with almost 500 miles driven, we were up to continuing on to Tulare, another 70+ miles.

We arrived at Tulare’s Wal-Mart and settled in for the night. It was still hot, and we ran the air conditioner for over six hours to keep comfortable. We overdid it this day, but we had only about 150 miles to home!

Day 10, Thursday, Tulare, CA to home via SR99: 149 miles. 

We were getting excited about getting home – and doing so before the valley warmed up to another hot day. We were on the road at 0600 and didn’t stop for anything; we were home at 0840! 

We faced the tasks of unloading the coach, dumping the holding tanks and putting the coach away in the RV lot. We had it all done in about two hours. And we beat the heat!

I still marvel at the magic carpet we call our coach. No matter where we go, we just turn off the key and we’re home: Air conditioner! Heater! SatelliteTV! Hot shower! Microwave! Meals we make ourselves very easily and cheaply! A comfy bed and bedroom! We have it all and we can take it anywhere we please. As I told Wifey during the trip: The motorhome is one of mankind’s greatest inventions!

About FishWisher

Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.
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