We’ve begun the hard work of blazing a trail to the Southwest for the next few days! We swore to each other on Beale Street, that we would be “on the road” by 9 am this morning
(Note to self: do not make rash decisions after drinking a Hurricane on Beale Street-ever!).
So as the reader has been previously warned “The Richie Factor” was in full effect on that first morning and we pulled out of the park about quarter after ten.
The first mishap of the day, after a near perfect wrap up in the park was when Dan checked the mirror to find that we were driving down Elvis Presley Blvd with one of our “basement” doors standing wide open in morning traffic. We quickly steered into the center lane and when traffic cleared a little, I jumped out and closed the door! WT#!
We both had walked all the way around the coach before we ever moved from our “slip” that morning, so how could we have missed something as big as that???? After the basement door was once again secured and I was back on board (I must admit that I was a little nervous –just for a moment, while running back for the door) and after we were navigating for the interstate, we re-hashed what had gone wrong and we finally reasoned that the door must have been closed (fooling us both), but not properly latched so when we exited Graceland the bump brought the door open. How we did not lose anything was just a miracle! (Add to checklist – double check and LOCK your basement doors!)
Most of the drive across the great state of Arkansas was pretty much uneventful with the exception of road construction (everywhere) AND the fact that Dan learned how to use the air horn feature on the coach. The first time he found the button and used it, I screamed! The sixth time that day that he just randomly blew the horn, I screamed (still again)! Oh well, at least he’s awake and not “Clark Griswold-ing” us down the road!
Just past Little Rock, we ran across a pretty big swath of land on both sides of the interstate that was impacted by the recent tornado in this area. Neither of us have ever seen such devastation in such a small area. Everything that once lived, was now completely uprooted, and everything that was built, be it brick and mortar or manufactured even the vehicles was totally destroyed. What a horrible thing for these folks to have endured! Our thoughts are with all of them and we were proud of how things were already “righting themselves” in the area such a short time after such a disaster.
The second night end in Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma. While we were checking in at the campground, I stumbled onto a “geographical oddity” that all of Dan’s biker friends have been hoping for! While they all thought we were out to find the world’s largest ball of twine (which we are still looking for, guys, so don’t lose hope!); we actually stumbled onto Oklahoma’s Largest ball of rubber bands (a work still in progress)!!! So if you happen to be in the area and have an extra be sure to drop by and add to the KOA’s growing collection.
Reminds Dan of his early VNB days, whatever that ,means!
The second casualty of the trip happened here when our coffee maker died! In case you’re wondering about the first casualty – let’s just say it involved someone (not me) leaving the really nice all-in-one remote control on the sofa and someone (not Dan’s) knee finding it while opening curtains…(let’s just not talk about that one, okay?).. Anyway, necessity dictates that we being an immediate search for a Costco “on the way” has begun. (And it’s looking doubtful until we reach Phoenix right now which has us both suddenly going “caffeine-free” which I’m sure is going to make for an interesting ride out West!
The following night we made Amarillo (…just not by morning), but we arrived there none the less. This KOA was a lot less appealing than the previous night’s stop, but Dan was wiped out from pushing the coach through massive winds for the last two days. Because of these crazy heavy and endless winds, we are both just starting to automatically lean left every time we leave the coach. (If we see you in Phoenix, please be sure to give us a push back to center until we right ourselves.) The wind was blowing so hard that we opted to leave our slides in, at least for the afternoon, hoping that the wind may die down after dusk. Dan enjoyed (watching) some golf which came with a well-deserved nap and after we had dinner out we opened the slide in bedroom and climbed in for an early night’s turn-in. By 5am the wind was again blowing so hard that we had to bring the slide back in to save it and us from the howling wind gusts. .We managed to grab a little more shut-eye after everything was closed up and we were both more than ready to put this stop behind us after a brief “snooze” nap. We were on the road by 7:30 (sans coffee) hoping for somewhere (anywhere) with less wind.
They call the wind Mariah (which must be Spanish for bi-au-tch) because today was yet another brutal day for us! Wind gusts all day between 20 and 40 mph Dan (along with all the truckers out) wrestled keeping the coach between the lines at any speed that would allow him to do that, so after 9 hours on the road, we FINALLY just arrived at the Good Sam USA RV Park in Gallup, NM. (Note to Self: One should always allow more time than the GPS predicts when setting destinations!)
We had one unexpected stop en-route due to the canvas awning above one of our slides “shredding” while we drove down the road. Thankfully the TA truck stop sells duct tape and about 30 minutes later we had most of the canvas wrapped in that quality-“end of the world”-does-everything silver tape (reference 1999-2000 End of the World predictions) and we were able to limp on down through “Mariah’s” on-going anger toward tonight’s stop.
The USA RV Park in Gallup, NM is VERY NICE and we are both VERY tired. I was successful at getting some pre-work done for next week during the day today and Dan only felt his boyish need to sound the air horn t(o scare the “sh!ti” out of me) twice on today’s journey. Once, when he decided to give it a blow, I was on the phone with our youngest daughter and after I explained her father’s new obsession, I found that she was laughing uncontrollably that we could not continue our conversation.
Tonight, Toad is the vehicle of choice and I’m the chauffeur looking for a quick dinner at a local restaurant and then we’re headed back to the coach to wait out Mariah’s temper tantrum. We are hoping for a fairly easy day into home tomorrow, but after what we have seen so far, we’re going to prepare for the worse when we take out in the morning.
Including a shot of our newly acquired hula girl, (Thanks Jules & Mike) who now adorns our dash and will be bringing us some good luck on the rest of the trip!
We’re naming her Mariah – not very Hawaiian, but apropos at the moment.
Editor’s note: Dan here. OMG if I never see another wind/dust storm, it will be too soon! I’m so tired of fighting the wheel every mile of the way. And now we’ve got the slide “toppers” in various stages of disarray – the big one torn, the one over the bedroom questionable. Too bad we had two on the windward side, and only one on the leeward – that means we need to replace two instead of only one. Again, it’s only money…so they tell me. It seems like what happened we that we were doing around 60-65, and with the wind hitting us at 30-40, it hit us like a 100 mph wind billowing the toppers open and after it tore it was just a cloth flapping in the wind. There must be a better way, or maybe there’s something we don’t know about yet. In any case, duct tape is our friend at the moment.
I really don’t have much to add to what Carol said above, maybe just add that the tornado devastation had us both going “OMG, did you just see that?” It was truly scary, and my heart goes out to those poor souls affected by it.
I am looking forward to getting to Phoenix and spending some time in one place. This pack up and move every morning sucks.