We left the San Francisco Bay area and began our trek to SW Florida. The distance is over 3,000 miles. How many miles over is dependent on the exact route we take and how many side trips we manage along the way.
Here are a few highlights of our trip:
- Of course, meeting my blog friend, Inger was a huge highlight.
- Seeing the trains on the Tehachapi Loop was very special.
- We stopped here, but didn’t have the energy to go into this historic Route 66 town. The campground host implied that there wasn’t much to see. The weather was cold and very windy.
- Oh. My. Stars! When I took the dogs out for their evening walk I was treated to the most beautiful evening show of stars. Having lived in an RV resort with street lights, and a neighborhood in California with lights, such that I don’t even need a flashlight at night, I was stunned by the spectacle. It’s been a long time since I lived without light pollution and could see the amazing heavens!
- We passed this interesting building near Williams, AZ. This is the Kadampa Buddhist Temple. This is one of five International retreat centers for the study of modern Kadampa Buddhism. In Flagstaff, no less!
- We try to get off the road by 3:30, or after 330 miles, especially on this long trip. We hit two construction zones outside of Gallup, NM that slowed us down. We were surprised at how much time they took off our trip as we got into the park in Albuquerque around 4:30. It wasn’t until the next morning that we dumb Dreamers realized we had changed time zones, and all of our time instruments had automatically adjusted when we weren’t paying attention! For all intents and purposes, we did get in at 3:30!!
- I discovered this black and red blister beetle at our campsite in Albuquerque. The bugs give off a toxin that can create blisters on your skin. In researching the beetle I found an interesting Navajo story. The bug is also called a Navajo Pot Carrier or a Water Carrier. Some of the bugs have rounded abdomens that look like Indian pots and oral traditions have a complex story to tell about the beetle.
- On our drive we saw many, many RV’s. The most unusual, however, was an Airstream painted to look like a duffle bag. It was the Lands’ End trailer on its Heritage Tour. They were heading to the balloon festival in Albuquerque.
|This is the only picture of the trailer I could find on the Internet.|
Luckily, we weren't driving in snow!
- We stopped at the Texas Route 66 RV Park, a small campground along the highway. The owners are delightful. They bought the campground a year ago and are working hard to make improvements. I like finding places like this, and returning to see how things change over time. I wish the new owners well in their venture.
- Texas has stickers and tarantulas! The grass at the Shamrock campground was recently mowed, but it still had all kinds of stickers that found their way into Tucker’s and Gypsy’s coats. I began taking the brush on walks with me to save my fingers from getting poked! While I was out walking the dogs, the Mister spied two tarantulas; a he and a she! They had a quick affair, she returned to her home in a small tunnel in the grass, and he ventured on.
- The rain in Texas was all our fault. We washed the accumulated dirt and grime from the storage yard off of the trailer in Albuquerque. So, of course that would bring rain. We enjoyed the drumming of rain on our roof, and in the morning there was only a narrow band of rain right over us. As we began our morning trek to the east, we quickly left the rain behind. Thank goodness!
|Historic landmark: Tower Service Station and U-Drop Inn|
- We always struggle to find a nice campground in this area. I found an interesting campground in Arkansas “Wine Country”, amidst several wineries. It was basically a dirt parking lot with hookups. The Mister didn’t want to drive that far to sit in a dirt parking lot (It was another 40 miles beyond Alma). So, I fell back on one we’ve used in the past. Last year we had a terrible experience. The campground encourages the guests to write reviews on various Internet sites, and even provides directions about how to do so. Instead of leaving a bad review, I sent an email, suggesting they wouldn’t want to see what I’d write. I informed them of some of the problems we had. So, fast forward to this year. I called to make a reservation. When I gave my name the woman evidently looked me up and their was some sort of “flag” on my name. She said she needed to so some research and would get back to me. I was fearful that they would refuse to allow us to come this year. A bit later she called and apologized for the problems we had last year and said they’d like to give us a discount for our visit this year. What a surprise. We still aren’t enamored with the campground, but it was kind of them.
- More sparkles in the night! The only flashlight in the trailer that works is a headlamp. So, after dinner I donned my “miner’s lamp” and took the dogs out for their evening walk. Oh, my! I had forgotten about the reflections one sees from spiders in the grass. Ugh! Then, I almost walked into a spider dangling from a tree. No stars here, but plenty of sparkles.
- We decided to spend an extra day and get some much needed R & R. We ventured into Fort Smith and visited the Fort Smith Museum of History, located in the 1906 Atkinson-Williams Warehouse, which once operated as a hardware store, soda fountain and pharmacy. We also visited the Fort Smith National Historic Site, which had another excellent museum. From there we stopped by the Ft. Smith Trolley Museum. The “Mister” enjoyed chatting with the docents as he used to volunteer at the Denver trolley. So even though we didn’t do a whole lot of resting, we did enjoy a nice change of pace, and an excellent lunch at the Bricktown Brewery. I had to try the sweet potato fries with caramel, sea salt and bacon. Oh. My!
|This was one of my favorite exhibits. These are life-size leaves that were carved out of the wood of that sort of tree.|
|These are 5 tree samples from the Jesup Wood Collection that included 455 specimens |
and was unveiled at the Museum of Natural History in New York in 1880.
|A replica of the gallows, where 86 people were hanged from 1873 to 1896 in this town on the border of the frontier.|
Tupelo, MS (Day 7)
- We are in the south, after all. I guess temperatures above 90 are to be expected. We were all feeling sluggish from the heat.
- We made it to our home state. Hooray! We stayed at a clean, no frills, family run campground. Over 300 trees were lost because of Hurricane Michael. The owner of the campground also owns a heavy-equipment company, so cleanup was quick and thorough.
- We broke our 330 rule (driving 330 miles or stopping by 3:30 PM, whichever comes first), by continuing on to North Ft Myers. We drove 426 miles, but due to an early start, actually made it in well before 3:30... so I guess we didn't break our rule after all!
- We spent one last night in the Airstream, then the next day, got everything settled with the motorhome, unloaded the Airstream and put it up for a rest in our storage unit.