June 2017 To Gridley and on to Denver!

2017-6-12, Day 1, Monday, Home to Gridley via SR99, I-5: 123 miles

It was just three weeks since I got home from my 16 state adventure to Dean’s in Oceanside and beyond – clear to Kentucky. And it was a rather unpleasant past couple of weeks having added a few more stents to my collection just two weeks ago. Yep. And I was very happy that my “mild” (Is there really such a thing?) heart attack waited ’til I got home! Still, I was chomping on the bit to hit the road again as I’d been looking forward to this trip since the day I got home.

As for the heart attack, I believe it began after I washed the coach the day after I got home. After unloading, I began washing the coach intending to clean up just the front cap of all the bugs, etc. But I got carried away and washed the whole thing. I completely exhausted myself and the next day I had some chest pains that I dismissed as sternum pain from the wash job. (I’ve dealt with sternum pain after extending my arms too much since my heart surgery back in 1995.) But after a couple of days making excuses, the pains got very bad early one morning and I wound up in an ambulance heading to the hospital. The good doctors diagnosed my problem as more blockages in my heart arteries, and they added three more stents to the five I got back in 2005. I spent just two nights in the hospital and came home feeling pretty good.

And now back to the adventure at hand… We loaded the coach that first morning, and I felt relatively strong doing so. After the big job, we headed north to Gridley where my dear twin sis, Gale, and her husband have a lovely home out in the country.

2017-6-12a loading upLoading the coach for our adventure to Gridley and Denver. 

We drove through the usual heavy traffic north through  Stockton and Sacramento on the very busy I-5 ’til we turned off onto SR99 for the more pleasant drive through farm country.

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In Yuba City, a few miles south of Gridley, I pulled into a Quik Stop station and filled up with cheap diesel at just $2.66 per, a darn good price in overtaxed Kalifornistan. The stuff sells for over $3 per gallon at many places, and the Quik Stop price was the lowest I’d seen anywhere, including an online search.

We arrived at my sis’ place about 1:00 after the relatively short drive. We gathered around the dining room table and enjoyed a good lunch together. Gale had a piano once again, the first time in years, and we sat together on the bench singing old gospel songs like old times. We may not have sounded like old times, but we had a wonderful time anyway!

The Gillespie Twins, Dale & Gale, back by popular demand after 50 years!

After lunch, we retired to the living room and continued our visit and caught up on family news. Gale and I sang some more and had a grand old time. I headed to the coach later and took my usual nap. We old grandpas need our rest!

2017-6-12j pizza dinnerThe Old Folks at dinner. Lavonne and I brought pizza, as usual, for dinner. It was the bake-at-home style, and it was just perfect along with a salad John whipped up for us.

A bit after 2000 hours Lavonne joined me in the coach. One of the joys of traveling aboard Cecil the Diesel is that we have our own home when we visit friends and loved ones. In the evening we just go to our home in the driveway and it’s almost like being back home. We’re out of their way and don’t disturb anyone. What a great invention these RVs are!

2017-6-12k Country sunsetA spectacular country sunset from Gale and John’s home.

2017-6-12L evening aboardLife aboard Cecil the Diesel, both of us online cruisin’ the ‘net – just like evenings at home.

We whiled away the evening as we often do at home – visiting our favorite websites. It was a very mild and comfortable night out there in the country, and we enjoyed ourselves. Around 2200 Lavonne headed for bed, and half an hour later I did the same. It had been a busy but very lovely day.

Day 2, Tuesday, Gridley, CA to Winnemucca, NV via SR70, SR20, I-80: 299 miles

I was up and around at 0530, having turned on the heat a while before. The night was mild but the coach a bit cool. I worked through the morning chores, and was cruisin’ the ‘net when Lavonne awoke to join me. Next was coffee, then to check the front window of the house to see if Gale and John were open for company; when the drapes are pulled open, they’re ready for company.

Meanwhile, I watered some of their front pasture by dumping our soapy shower water and topping off the fresh water tank. We’d be ready for three days and nights on the road ’til we arrived at the kids’ place in Greenwood Village, CO on Friday.

We headed to the house when the drapes were opened and visited some more with Gale and John. He suggested Mickey D’s for breakfast, and while I would have preferred a healthier choice, we headed to town and brought home some good tasting Mickey D breakfast sandwiches. I need to knock off that kind of eating – even on trips when I am inclined to cheat. But we enjoyed the good, bad stuff.

Gale and I sang at the piano ’til it was time to get the coach ready for the day’s trip to Winnemucca, NV. It was about 1000 when we bid our farewells and pulled out of their driveway.

2017-6-13a what the...The drive was strange as we drove east out of Gridley along some pretty rough farm roads. We’d taken the same drive back in September but I’d forgotten the bad roads.

We made it to SR70 which was in pretty good shape. Then on to SR20 through the Sierras to I-80 where we continued the climb over Donner Summit and on into Nevada. The traffic was heavy all the way through the mountains and we dealt with one 15 minute delay where some tree service had one lane closed and traffic in both directions had to share one lane.

Eventually we found ourselves east of Fernley, Nevada where the traffic lightened considerably and we were finally driving through the wide open Nevada desert. From then on to Winnemucca I greatly enjoyed the drive. I really do like the open country where one can finally enjoy some elbow room.

This video shows what elbow room looks like!

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We arrived at Winnemucca’s Walmart store a little after 1600. The first thing we did was to head to the store and take our daily walk. Afterward we shopped for a few items we needed, then headed back to the coach for the night.

It was a mild afternoon and evening in Winnemucca and we didn’t need the air conditioner. I edited photos and wrote this travelogue as Lavonne visited her favorite sites and played online Scrabble and other word games.

We had dinner aboard, as usual, and enjoyed the passing evening. I discovered that I can play movie DVDs on my laptop, so I dug out The Green Mile and began watching it, using earbuds to keep the sound from disturbing Lavonne as she played her games.

We’d had a long day and we were both too sleepy to stay up late. We went to bed a bit before 2200.

Wednesday, Day 3, Winnemucca, NV to Park City UT via I-80: 380 miles

I was up a bit before 0500 to turn on the heat. The overnight low was 46° which was much preferred over the predicted mid 30s. We were both up and about and doing chores soon after.

When I went online I discovered that our poor local connection had deteriorated to a rotten one. We decided to move on down the road and find a place with better service. And we did.

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We drove to the Valmy area and pulled into a rest stop that had a much better ‘net connection. I wrote some travelogue and uploaded a few photos – something I could not do earlier.

We then continued our drive ’til we found another rest area about 0900 – time for breakfast. We had some highly prized peanut butter on board, something I don’t allow myself at home, and Lavonne made toast with PB and honey with fruit on the side. It was a superb breakfast for two PB lovers!

Picturesque Nevada! Click for larger photos and captions!

We continued on toward our destination of Park City, Utah where Lavonne had a date with our granddaughter, Erica, for dinner. We crossed into Utah and the Mountain time zone where we lost an hour. We then pulled into the Bonneville Salt Flats rest area just in time for lunch. Those Dale’s Diners are everywhere we look!

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We continued our drive across the seemingly endless salt flats and into Salt Lake City’s rush hour. As usual, the SLC traffic moved at or near the limit for us. Then we climbed up the long hill to Park City and pulled into the Walmart lot at 1630.

Erica arrived not long after we did, and soon the two gals headed off for dinner while the ol’ grandpa stayed home where dinner is served in a quiet atmosphere with elevator music playing in the background – just as I like it. These days, restaurants are just too noisy for me.

I took a walk in the store for about 20 minutes, then back at the coach I whipped up a fine dinner of frozen Chinese. mmmm. And strawberries for dessert. Dale’s Diner suits me just fine!

2017-6-14u Erica visits

Erica visited us when we landed in Park City. It’s always a pleasure to see Erica and to catch up with all the happenings.

Erica visited us ’til close to 2200, and we had lots to talk about during our very pleasant visit. After Erica headed back down the hill to SLC and home, we called it a day and headed for bed. It had been a lovely day.

Day 4, Thursday, June 15, Park City, UT to Cheyenne, WY via I-80: 419 miles

I was up at 0600 and began the morning chores. Then I whipped up some coffee and sat down at the ‘puter to catch up with the news, my favorite comics, etc. It was a bright and sunny morning in Park City and I looked forward to the day’s drive across the wide, empty and probably windy state of Wyoming. Lavonne joined me about 0630.

After morning chores we decided to hit the road early and have breakfast in one of Wyoming’s Dale’s Roadside Diner locations. We pulled out of Park City at 0745 and continued east on I-80.

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It was a perfect day for driving eastward across Wyoming, not so perfect traveling west. We had a strong tail wind from the west that made for a wonderful drive. There was very little wind noise and we got great fuel mileage – over 12 MPG for the day!

Wyoming is so big and empty that it is hard to comprehend all that emptiness. The state is 98,000 sq. miles and has a population of 580,000 souls. By comparison, the city of San Jose, CA has 180 square miles with a population of over 1,000,000. Or, Wyoming has 544 times the room and half the population of San Jose. Ponder that for a moment! The place is unbelievably empty!

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Much of Wyoming seems to be grasslands. There are areas with very interesting rock formations, too. And it is chock full of mountains!

We stopped at a truck parking area for a late breakfast at one of the few Dale’s Roadside Diners in the state. I toasted three frozen waffles and had half an orange. Lavonne whipped up oatmeal.

Somewhere along the drive I got so sleepy that I pulled into a rest area and we both plopped on the bed and slept almost a half hour. That little cat nap did wonders for me, and I was alert for many miles.

For lunch we stopped at a Mickey D’s in Rawlins. We each had a Fish Filet and a McFlurry. Hey! Easy now, it was my only one this trip! And I had a large coffee. It kept me wide awake the rest of the drive to Cheyenne.

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The answer to the crossing of the Continental divide twice is also found in this YouTube video from the Wyoming Geologic Survey that I found. Check it out; the very simple answer is in the first minute of the video.  

Finally in Cheyenne at 1700, I pulled into the Sam’s Club gas station and filled up for just $2.42 per. Two days ago it was about $2.17 but went up drastically by the time we arrived. Still, that was our best price this trip.

We then pulled into the adjacent Walmart lot for the night. We went into the store where I got my walk in for the day, then shopped for a few items we needed. It was good to finally be back in the coach and able to relax for the evening. We whipped up our dinners, a salad for Lavonne and a frozen meal for me.

The control panel level indicators showed the fresh water at empty, both waste tanks at full, and the propane also empty. Such indicator lights are notoriously inaccurate, so I ignored them, being quite sure we both could take our showers and have plenty of fresh water and room in the tanks when we were done. And so it was. But I’d have to dump those tanks before we arrived at the kids’ place the next day.

We passed the evening as usual, on our computers, Lavonne playing online games as I watched more of The Green Mile. We had a very comfortable night in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We hit the sack about 2215 and slept well.

Day 5, Friday, Cheyenne, WY to Greenwood Village, CO via I-25: 118 miles

We were up and making coffee before 0600, anxious to get through the chores and back on the road to the kids’ place. We’d have to dump at the local Love’s station, and would likely arrive at Greenwood Village before noon.

We pulled out of the Walmart lot at 0745 and headed south on I-25. Just a few miles down the highway we turned into the Love station and pulled up to their RV dump site. After ponying up $10 (twice what it used to be) I dumped the tanks and added some water to the fresh tank. The last time I turned on the tap it began to gurgle, so we did reach the very last of our fresh supply. That meant we used something less than 100 gallons over the three days since we filled it, and that included six showers. When driving and living on an RV, water conservation becomes a high priority!

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We continued south on I-25 and into Colorado. Much of the drive was through rural areas, but the closer we got to Denver the heavier the traffic became. We stopped at a rest area in Ft. Collins, CO which is also called the Colorado Welcome Center. We just whipped up a piece of toast for each of us, covered with, of course, peanut butter and honey! It’s hard to settle for oatmeal when there’s peanut butter sitting on the counter. And with some fruit added we called it breakfast. And we continued south.

Denver had the usual Friday traffic to contend with, but we only had a couple of slow downs in the heavy traffic. Denver is just too much like LALA Land, and is not a pleasant drive. Nevertheless, we made it to Greenwood Village and pulled into the kids’ driveway at 1045. Five days after leaving home, we made it!

Soon after we arrived we were chatting with Nancy in the coach when her phone rang. It was her mom, Norma, who lives nearby, and she’d just had an accident with her car. So that cast a pall on the whole day because we were all worried about how she was. After a precautionary visit to the ER, Nancy drove her back to the house where she spent the day and night. She was shaken up pretty badly, but had no serious injury. Nancy and Allen handled the whole situation with their usual efficiency and we were all settled down by late afternoon.

2017-6-16i dinnerA feast on the patio! L-R: Lavonne, Nancy, Allen, and Tom Selleck.

Nancy and Allen began making a wonderful barbecued chicken dinner with asparagus, potatoes and salad. It was a really good meal and we all enjoyed it. Afterward, they gathered around the patio fire pit and visited ’til I don’t know how late. I had headed to their nicely finished basement  and a guest bathroom where I took a wonderfully wasteful shower after five days of RV showers! I then bid them all goodnight and headed to the coach. It had been a long day and I was ready to relax with more of the Green Mile movie. And I slept very well.

Day 6, Saturday, At the Kids’ (No highways and no miles!)

We gathered around the living room, as is the family tradition, after everyone was up and around. We chatted and enjoyed ourselves as we visited. We were all on our own for the morning and each did what we wanted. I took a walk in the nearby park which is drop-dead gorgeous. It’s about a five minute walk from the house and I’ve walked the park many times during past visits.

2017-6-17a nearby parkI took a pleasant walk in a beautiful park very near the kids’ place. 

During the day Lavonne, Allen and Nancy went shopping while I headed to the coach for my grandpa nap. When they returned we sat down around the dining table and played the card game Golf, using regular poker cards but the object of the game was to have the lowest score, as in golf. Table games aren’t particularly my thing, but we had fun and it went on for hours.

During the game, the door to the garage opened and in trotted little Roxy, Erica’s pet pooch. Erica followed right behind and completely surprised all of us. She decided just the day before to fly to Denver and be with her parents, and us, for Father’s Day! It was such a pleasant surprise and we all welcomed them with open arms.

The game continued with Erica now a player and little Roxy was intent on keeping a floor level eye on me to keep me honest, I presumed. Sometime before 2100 I gave up the card playing and headed for the shower. It had been a long day and I was pretty weary. After the shower I bid everyone goodnight and headed to the coach for the night.

I stayed up too long to watch the rest of The Green Mile and was again wonderfully entertained even though I’ve seen it many times. It was after 2300 when I finally headed to bed and slept well.

Day 7, Sunday, with the kids for Father’s Day:

It was Father’s Day, and while I expected a few kind words and well wishes, I was surprised at the attention bestowed upon this ol’ grandpa as we sat around the living room together.

I was showered with four very thoughtful cards wishing me a happy day, and another gift, a cocktail shaker made in the likeness of an old Mason jar. For this old grandpa, who remembers my own dear grandmother’s shelves lined with canned fruits and jams in Mason jars, it was very fitting. I will make good use of it! Allen was also showered with cards and gifts and was properly honored on his special day. 

2017-6-18a bkfst on the patioNancy whipped up a special breakfast for the day, including bacon, eggs, pancakes and several fresh fruits. It was a Father’s Day well celebrated and much appreciated. On the phone Nancy is holding was their son and Erica’s brother, Jason, live and in color from London! They made the connection so Jason could be a part of the special Father’s Day celebration. 

After the special morning happenings, I headed off for my walk. I’d sure like to live near such a lovely park as I’ve walked the past couple of mornings. It is a very relaxing and beautiful place.

The rest of the morning unfolded as each of us did our own thing, mostly involving a screen of some kind! The iPhones, tablets, laptops, etc. keep this family pretty well occupied.

2017-6-18b lunchWe spent the afternoon playing the card game Golf, stopping once to eat sandwiches we’d ordered in from a nearby Jimmy Johns sandwich shop. Norma (L), doing well after her car accident, joined us for the afternoon.

The card game went on ’til 1600 when we finally broke up the game. It was nice to have Norma and Erica with us for our visit.

As afternoon turned to evening, Norma returned home and the rest continued visiting. I carried a couple of gallons of water to the motorhome that we use for coffee and drinking. As I did so I felt a familiar twinge in my chest that I truly did not want to feel again. I denied it, blaming it on my imagination as I have in the past only to find it wasn’t imaginary. I continued on, took my shower and discovered that the pain wouldn’t stop.

I told the family of my problem and went to the coach where the family joined me to talk over what I should do. I certainly couldn’t head for home in the morning with angina – I could wind up in very serious trouble in the middle of nowhere with no help. I decided to head to the ER of a local hospital, and Allen drove me there with Lavonne. Nancy joined us a while later.

As always, when the heart is involved, the hospital acted promptly and ushered me into a room almost at once. Tests were run and indicated that I’d had a cardiac event of some kind. I would not be going back to the kids’ place that night.

To make a long story short, I spent two nights in the hospital undergoing yet another angiogram. They confirmed the same as the good doctors back home discovered over three weeks ago when I wound up with three bright, shiny, new stents: there were two minor blockages in two minor arteries that could not be stented. They were the cause of my angina and the only remedy was to adjust my medications. And so they did; I doubled up on the time release nitro that I had just begun taking, and had one new pill to add to the many I already take each day. I was released around noon on Tuesday, and was very pleased to return to the kids’ lovely home and our coach.

I must plug the wonderful Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado, just a few minutes from the kids’ place. It was the very nicest hospital I’ve ever been admitted to, and I’ve seen my share. It was a relatively new hospital with all the latest of everything to make an old man healthy once again. The staff and the facilities were, indeed, beyond my expectations, which is their motto. My incredible, one bed room was the nicest I have ever seen, much less had all to myself. There was enough room to have a party, although that never crossed my mind. There was a desk, a recliner, a couch, a huge bathroom and shower, flat screen TV, a lovely view – and even a copy of Colorado AvidGolfer magazine (Allen Walters, Publisher [our son]) – and all for me!

I will plan all my medical emergencies to take place at Allen and Nancy’s place in the future! Speaking of them, their concern and care and support were a wonderful blessing, as was the loving support of my dear Lavonne. And now that is all behind me; it’s time to move on.

Sky Ridge
Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Pine, Colorado. Folks like these are the true heros!

Back at the kids’ place we unwrapped more tasty Jimmy John’s sandwiches that we picked up en route home and we enjoyed lunch together. Allen returned to work and Nancy returned to her study where she had been working. I returned to the coach to contact family and friends about my latest healing and to thank them for their kind wishes. And once again I updated the health history and meds list that I carry in my wallet. I’m growing weary of having to update that thing!

And then I began this update to my travelogue…
First things first, and after greeting Lavonne and Allen in the car, I let them know how happy I was to be back with them and out of the hospital, as nice as the place was.

2017-6-20b welcome homeMy Sweetie’s “Welcome Home” note on the coach blackboard (where the TV used to be) upon my return from the hospital.

After time in the coach as mentioned above, I headed for the shower and took a wonderfully slow and therapeutic shower! I had to settle for a “bird bath” at the hospital because with all the electronic gadgetry glued to my body at the hospital, a shower was out of the question.  It was so good to be back “home” and free of the hospital constraints.

Allen, Lavonne and I gathered in the living room to decide what to do for dinner while Nancy continued her work in the study. We decided on Boston Market, and ordered roasted chicken and several delicious side dishes. It would somewhat make up for the very strict, although pretty good hospital food on which I had been subsisting, not to mention I went 22 hours without food at the hospital before they fed me as eating was not allowed before the angiogram.

Dinner was an absolute delight on the patio on a warm, real summer’s eve (in the olde meaning of the term). Yes, the next day would be the first day of summer. We thoroughly enjoyed our Boston Market feast, followed with some of Nancy’s truly incredible lemonade pie – and it more than made up for the very strict hospital diet.  

I am very blessed with the loving family I married into, and I told them so on that special summer’s eve. It was a bit past 2000 when I bid my dear wife and loving family goodnight and headed for the coach.

Back at the coach I settled in to update this travelogue and visit my usual ‘net sites ‘til about 2200. I was very tired; it had been a big day –  and an emotional one, too.

Day 10, Wednesday, June 21, Greenwood Village, CO to Rock Springs, WY via I-25, I-80: 371 miles

I was up at 0500 to greet a very warm morning. I don’t think it dropped below 70° during the night. I even fired up the air conditioner to cool off in the early morning, then kept the coach open ’til we left.

When I greeted the family for our usual morning coffee in the living room, the talk was about staying put for another day. I was feeling great and would have none of it! I did ask Allen to do the heavy lifting to get the coach ready, such as move Lavonne’s things into the coach, etc. Even so, I overdid it doing the light stuff.

Just before we left, as I sat in the driver’s seat, I had another episode of angina. It was a devastating moment as I had to take another nitro. I sat there and nearly cried over the situation. Then I realized, as the nitro chased away the ache in my chest, that this was the beginning of a new way of life. I had two blocked arteries in my heart, small as they were, and they would bring on angina when I got too active. I called Lavonne, Nancy and Allen into the coach and explained what just happened. Lavonne’s face dropped and Nancy fought back the tears, as did I. And then I explained to them that this is my new normal, and after a few minutes rest I would be alright. And so it was. We all agreed, knowing the condition of my heart, that this was the new norm.

And we bid each other goodbye, thankful for the lovely visit we had enjoyed. We pulled out of their driveway at 0910, and headed north toward Wyoming and a day of fighting the wind all the way to Rock Springs.

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It was an awfully windy drive, literally all day, and it blew as either a headwind or a crosswind the whole time – it never was a tail wind. Nonetheless, we enjoyed the beauty of Wyoming.

2017-6-21m propaneA few miles after we stopped at a rest area and whipped up lunch, we stopped at the Flying J in Rawlins to load on propane as the gauge, inaccurate as ever, showed we were on empty. After pumping on 21 gallons, we knew that we had about 10 gallons in the tank when we pulled in. But for our trouble, the gauge read full!

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It was a relief to finally pull into the Walmart lot at Rock Springs for the night. It was a long drive and along with the emotions of my morning episode, I was pretty much whipped. We picked a good, quiet spot and settled in for the night. I had fired up the generator/air conditioner about 10 miles before Rock Springs, and ran them ‘til sundown.

We had a fine spot until… well, a band of… it’s hard to describe just what we saw, but to call them hippies would be a disservice to hippies:

Four unkempt and ragged young adults and four dogs tumbled out of the decrepit looking bus that parked right next to us. They hung around the bus awhile sorting out the dogs, etc. Then they walked to various corners near Walmart to beg. One of the guy’s very low pants clearly exposed his butt, with the lovely sentiment, “F*** OFF!” embroidered on the back of his vest. From our higher vantage point in the coach, and watching through the tinted windows through which they could not see us, we could see all too clearly what filth they lived in. These photos do not show the inside of the bus as we saw it, and not seeing the filth is a good thing. We cannot un-see it!

We had a good view of one of them begging, and the others also took off with signs to other corners, I suppose, to beg for handouts. I’ve never had a ringside seat to observe the lifestyle such as this bunch seemed to live.

One fella, standing right under our window, removed his hat and scratched his filthy, matted dreadlocks for some time. ewww.

After a couple hours it was clear they weren’t going to move on and we’d had enough. We pulled to the other side of the lot, nearer the noisy interstate, and set up again.

We had dinner in the coach; Lavonne whipped up a salad and I zapped a chicken sesame dinner. It was frustrating that our ‘net connection was nearly non-existent. Nothing worked. I dug out a WWII documentary DVD to watch as Lavonne played offline games on her tablet. After sundown and moving away from our neighbors, we felt it was safe to open the windows to the brisk and endless breeze to keep cool  – and not have fleas and lice blow in. We hit the sack around 2300 and slept well.

Day 11, Thursday, Rock Springs, WY to Elko, NV via I-80: 411 miles

I was up at 0530, excited to hit the wide open interstate again and drive through Wyoming, across Utah and into Nevada en route to home. Home! After the challenges of this trip, home sounded sweeter than ever. I wanted to just sit and recuperate for about a week back home!

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When I awoke I discovered that some adventurer had pitched a tent on the Walmart lot – a first for this long time veteran of WallyDocking! It was unusual and I doubt Walmart would knowingly allow it. But there it was.

We were pleasantly surprised that the internet connection worked fine after an evening of frustration. So I set about uploading this travelogue and photos, something I could not do the prior evening. With the ‘net available, we spent a couple of hours online catching up. It was a beautiful day that began at about 61° and was certainly a pleasant change from the hot weather we’d been experiencing – and would deal with all the way home.

At 0845 we pulled out of the Walmart lot and continued west toward home. The day’s destination was Elko, Nevada – 411 hot and windy miles away. As we crossed the lot to leave, the sleazy bunch was still there, having spent the night. Apparently they littered the lot with rags and blankets to sleep out on the open. Yes, yes, I’m preoccupied with this grubby bunch, but in 73 years I’ve never seen the likes. I will post the morning photo below.

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Incidentally, my job of windshield washing was an unprecedented experience for me. I had to rest three times to complete the job because I was just pooped so often. Sure, we were at 6000 feet elevation, but that never bothered me before while doing such a simple task. I believe that I’ll be much better back home at sea level because I loaded the coach before leaving, a pretty big job, and didn’t have to stop to rest. I would know soon enough.

It was a beautiful day to drive across the country, even in the continuing wind. The wind wasn’t near as severe as in Wyoming, but we fought a headwind or crosswind most of the day.

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We would have to fill up with fuel and the big names such as Flying J, Love’s, etc. had posted prices too high for me. (Few big rigs pay the posted price as most trucking outfits buy fuel under contract for much less.) They were all $2.77 to $2.90 per, and I can almost always beat the big boys by checking prices online. So at the first rest area after entering Utah, we pulled in so that I could go online and find a decent price. Sure enough, about 20 miles ahead was a station selling diesel for $2.60 per. That was not a particularly low price, but certainly among the best I’d find in Utah. So I set the Garmin to take us there and I pumped on 72 gallons. I saved about $13 on that fill up alone! I was a happy camper.

Farther down the road, near Tooele, Utah, we pulled into the Flying J and walked into their Denny’s restaurant. I was hankering for pancakes and eggs, and my hankering was satisfied. Lavonne ordered a tasty club sandwich, and we left there fat, happy and guilty as heck. But once in awhile ya just gotta feed the hankering.

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Next we crossed the 100 mile long Utah salt flats which end at Wendover. We pulled into the Mickey D’s there and I ordered a large coffee and a small Oreo McFlurry to go. That sugar and caffeine jolt was just what I needed to stay awake for the 100 miles I had yet to drive. Lavonne enjoyed a caramel sundae as we continued west.

At 1745 we pulled into the Elko, Nevada Walmart and settled in for the night. It was a long drive, we were road-weary, and it was hot outside. But I had started the generator and air conditioner about 10 miles before we landed, and when I set up the coach for the night, the coach was cool and comfy.

I walked into the store and took a brief walk of about 18 minutes. I have to take such things easy for awhile. Lavonne and I spent the evening on the computers, as usual. I was able to turn off the air conditioner even before sunset as Elko cooled off nicely and we were quite comfortable.

I watched more WWII documentary and enjoyed a couple cool ones. Lavonne was online most of the evening and retired about an hour before I called it a day about 2315. It was a quiet, cool and restful night.

Day 12, Friday, Elko, NV to Reno, NV via I-80: 300 miles

I was up at 0530, having turned on the heater a bit earlier. The heater?! Yep, it was a cool night at 5000 feet in Elko. I was surprised, but it was a refreshing change.

The day would be relatively low keyed as we had just 300 miles to drive to Reno and we didn’t want to get there in the late afternoon; it was to be in the high 90s there. Arriving later would likely be a bit cooler. And we planned to get an early start on Saturday morning so as to arrive home before the hottest time of the day. It was predicted to be 101° at home on Saturday.

We just relaxed in the coach for several hours, wanting to leave later than usual. We also went into the store and shopped for a number of items we needed, most of which we’d take home with us and not have to go shopping the first day or two back home. We would want some time to do nothing!

It was my last day to drive the wide open highways because once we neared Reno we’d be back in the hurry-scurry of metropolitan driving. Even the long drive over Donner Pass and down to the valley is usually one of heavy traffic. The realization that I would be in Kalifornistan the next day hung like a dark cloud over the day’s drive, but the silver lining was the fact that we’d be home! We were ready to be home!

We had breakfast in the coach before we left Elko, trying to delay our arrival in Reno and Boomtown to avoid the heat. But that was unlikely; it was to be a hot day in Reno.

The day was perfect for a drive through the emptiness of Nevada. I greatly enjoyed the day and the wind was not a factor although it was breezy at times. For awhile we even had a tailwind!

I very much wanted to fuel up for a decent price before we entered Kalifornistan where everything is more expensive – especially fuel. The best price I saw online was $2.50 at the Chevron station in Winnemucca, but much closer to the state line I could get diesel for something in the mid $2.60 range at Fernley. But…

2017-6-23dd…during the drive we pulled off to get coffee and a couple treats at Winnemucca’s Mickey D’s. As we did so we passed the Chevron with the cheap $2.50 diesel and I pulled in and filled up. I pumped on 40 gallons at that good price and perhaps wouldn’t have to fuel in Kalifornistan for quite awhile.

We continued our drive as the temps warmed considerably. By the time we parked in Reno our gauge read 104° but it was likely a few degrees less. Still, it was hot! When we entered Reno about 1730, the traffic was bumper to bumper!

We pulled off at N McCarran and into the Fuddruckers’ parking lot to wait out the snarled commute. It was awfully hot in that busy, busy lot, but we were comfy as could be in the coach with the air conditioner. We whiled away an hour and a half there as we cruised the ‘net. I even took my shower since I had nothing better to do.

Unfortunately, I had another episode of angina when I got out of the shower, but another nitro pill took care of the pain. I was hoping very much that back home at sea level, where the oxygen is so much richer, that those episodes would stop!

It was about 1900 when we pulled out of the lot and drove through Reno in relatively light traffic. I drove about 15 miles to Boomtown where we pulled into their lot – hopefully for the night. We hoped there would be no knock on the door.

We settled in at Boomtown, dropping the jacks to level the coach, but not putting out the slides so as to avoid attracting attention. We weren’t sure that we were welcome overnight there and we didn’t want to get the bum’s rush! After dark I pushed out the bedroom slide to allow access to my side of the bed. Lavonne went to bed around 2230 and I followed about a half hour later. We slept well and there was no knock on the door!

Saturday, Day 13, Boomtown, NV to Home via I-80, SR99: 181 miles

I was awake a bit after 0400 and couldn’t go back to sleep due to the excitement of heading home! I tossed and turned awhile and finally crawled out of bed sometime before 0500. We would be home in a few hours!

I worked through the morning  chores, then Lavonne joined me for a few moments of perusing the ‘net over our morning coffee. We pulled out of Boomtown’s lot at 0630 and headed for home!

Click for larger photos and captions:

The traffic was relatively light so early on a weekend morning, but it gradually increased to its usual Kalifornistan busy-ness by the time we approached Sacramento.

We stopped at a view area along I-80 somewhere not far west of Donner Summit for a quick breakfast. I toasted a couple frozen waffles and cut up an orange. Lavonne whipped up her new favorite, a mix of raw oatmeal and yogurt that Nancy showed her how to make. We weren’t stopped for even a half hour; we wanted to get home!

We pulled into our gated senior community at 1000 and parked in front of our home. We made it! We unloaded the coach slowly and deliberately as I did not want another angina episode – and I didn’t have one because I rested often. And also, I was back at sea level – well almost; our home sits way up there at 36 feet. And I do believe that will be a lot easier for this old man than 5000 – 6000 feet where we’d spent most of the last two weeks.

When we had the coach unloaded I parked her inside her shed in our community’s RV lot. Dumping the tanks and washing her front cap would wait ’til the cool of the next morning. It was time to rest!


Cecil the Diesel ran like a Swiss watch the entire trip! She carried us in great style and comfort for the entire 2,606 miles. Our panoramic view of the passing countryside was unrivaled as we sat behind the huge windshields. When we parked for the night she was a comfortable home on wheels even when it was 100° outside. She delivered 9.9 MPG overall, a bit below my 11 MPG goal, but through all the wind and all the mountain climbing, that was an excellent performance.

And for the record, the density of our sea level air was a huge help for this old man and his heart issues. When I dumped the tanks and washed the front of the coach good and proper the next morning, I did so without any angina and I felt strong. I have learned the hard way that when I travel at higher elevations in the future, I will have to take oxygen along. 

And now, back home and able to really rest for a few days, I am already looking forward to my next adventure to… I don’t know yet! But Cecil the Diesel will answer the call when the time comes!

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.
This entry was posted in Travel: Allen's, Travel: Gale & John, Travel: Interstate Adventure!. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to June 2017 To Gridley and on to Denver!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Dale, you do a great job capturing and writing about all of the main events. Thank you Mom and Dale for your visit. It made for an very enjoyable Father’s Day. Erica’s visit was a huge surprise! Drive safe and be careful.

  2. FishWisher says:

    Thanks, Mr. Anonymous! We enjoyed ourselves… well, maybe some events not so much, but we picked a great place to stay for an emergency!

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