The trip home

We headed home after a great visit in Fort Collins.

Cross Country

First stop was WaKenney Kansas. Essentially an exit off of I-70 surrounded by vast fields of something or another! We saw a killer sunrise in the morning before heading south to Oklahoma.

Kansas Sunrise
Kansas Sunrise

We stopped in Oklahoma at a park near Tulsa. That night we got a good rain storm so we didn’t get to see much of the area although what we did see looked nice. The area was a lake off of the Arkansas river and obviously popular with boaters.

On day three we headed east through Arkansas to finally end up at a KOA just north of Memphis. It started to rain hard again so we hundred down for the night. We discovered one of the two main interstate bridges across the Mississippi River was closed for repairs and the advice to get on the road early!

We headed out at 5AM to drive about 2 miles before getting stuck in a 1 1/2 hour traffic jam. Seems a semi flipped and burned right where I-55 and I-40 come together. No wonder given the huge numbers of trucks and their (the truck drivers) mind-numbing idiocy when it comes to driving fast in heavy, rain-soaked traffic!

Memphis Truck Traffic
Memphis Truck Traffic

After that it was a day of crumbling infrastructure and numerous traffic jams trying to get through Memphis, Birmingham and Montgomery. By the time we got through all of that mess it just rained consistently all the way to Panama City. After 14 hours driving my butt was numb and my back was killing me!

Back in Florida

Back in Florida
Back in Florida

However – we arrived safely back at brother Dave’s in Panama City. We spent 3 nights here with Dave & Lisa – took in a Rock the Dock music from his nearly completed back porch, played with the pups and relaxed.

Next stop Cocoa Beach – exactly 7 weeks from our launch date! The Excellent Adventure – Part 1 – is quickly coming to a close!

New Mexico to Arizona

We drove two days from Alamogordo, New Mexico to Kanab, Utah.

The trip started with a good ‘Oh Fuck’ early as we climbed a summit in New Mexico. As I reached the summit I saw a pickup come over the rise pulling a single axle trailer swinging wildly back and forth in a classic case of Terminal Trailer Fuckery. Obviously the trailer was loaded and equipped improperly (or the driver was just a giant sack of shit). Anyway – as soon as I saw it (in slow motion dis-belief) it was gone. Hope the SOB didn’t take someone less fortunate than I out ūüėĖ.

Valley of Fires

Back to reality. We first saw this aberration in the landscape on the navigation display. Curious as to what a giant, irregular, black shape could be we soon discovered it was the Valley of Fires (Carrizozo Malpais) outside Carrizozo, New Mexico.

‚Ā®Valley of Fires‚Ā© ~ Nogal‚Ā©, ‚Ā®New Mexico‚Ā©
‚Ā®Valley of Fires‚Ā© ~ Nogal‚Ā©, ‚Ā®New Mexico‚Ā©

The black rock seen everywhere is a lava flow. The flow is estimated to be around 5,000 years old. The site is 20 miles northwest of the Trinity site and White Sands.

‚Ā®Valley of Fires‚Ā© ~ Nogal‚Ā©, ‚Ā®New Mexico‚Ā©
‚Ā®Valley of Fires‚Ā© ~ Nogal‚Ā©, ‚Ā®New Mexico‚Ā©
‚Ā®Valley of Fires‚Ā© ~ Nogal‚Ā©, ‚Ā®New Mexico‚Ā©
‚Ā®Valley of Fires‚Ā© ~ Nogal‚Ā©, ‚Ā®New Mexico‚Ā©

Very Large Array

This was a pleasant surprise for a SciFi nut like me ūüėé. I saw the road signs calling out the ‘VLA’ and had a pretty good idea what it was. I was not at all surprised when I saw it as I have seen it many times before in various SciFi movies.

Very Large Array - Socorro, New Mexico
Very Large Array – Socorro, New Mexico

Greer, Arizona

We stopped on the overnight right over the border in Greer, Arizona. Situated in the  Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in the White Mountains of Arizona. A beautiful if not a bit out of the way campground.

Heaslett's Circle B Cabins & RV Park
Heaslett’s Circle B Cabins & RV Park

We were treated the next morning to temperatures in the 40s and a killer sunrise at 5AM (Arizona never adopted daylight savings time so the sunrises very early indeed!).

Greer AZ
Greer AZ

Flagstaff AZ

We drove out of the mountains the next morning to Flagstaff. We stayed that night at a large KOA and explored famous Route 66!

Famous Route 66 in Flagstaff
Famous Route 66 in Flagstaff

Horseshoe Bend – Paige, Arizona

The next morning we did our final leg through Arizona on our way to Kanab. Just outside of Paige is the well known Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River. Jake and I did the hike with throngs of other people to see the views. Breathtaking!

We arrived later that afternoon in Kanab, met up with our friends Dan, Maggie and John and began our week exploring southern Utah!

Kanab UT
Kanab UT

Cross Country

The dreaded crossing of Texas!

The trip across Texas was largely uneventful albeit exciting none the less!

The first day was spent driving through the rage’n Cajun country! Miles of trestle bridges over the low country until I got to Shreveport Louisiana for the evening stop. The KOA there was very nice and we headed towards Dallas the next day.

The next day proved to be more exciting as we finally crossed the dreaded LA/TX border. I immediately noticed two things:

  1. Every thing took on a redish hue ūüėŹ (but fortunately I did not bump into Ted Cruz)
  2. There are apparently no speed limits especially if you are a semi-truck!

Yes – welcome to the United States crappiest highways and fastest fucking drivers! The speed limit suggestion (if you can find a sign) is 75 mph and it seems regardless if it is an Interstate or a two lane road through bum-fuck.

Then it started raining. Raining hard. As I got closer to Fort Worth the rain got harder. Did that slow the trucks down? No fucking way! In the space of ten miles I saw three major accidents all involving jack knives semi’s. What fun this is ūüėĖ.

Well – needless to say we made it through that evening to Eastland Texas for our only overnight. The park I stayed that night seemed to cater to long term residents especially work crews. Fortunately it was dry – at least when I got there! By morning it all turned to shit and I got to do my first tear down in the rain! I donned my raincoat, rain pants and hiking boots and got ‘er done!

The next day was our final day through Texas. It rained hard through mid-morning – so hard I had to pull over for a while. IOt finally cleared up to reveal a pretty country-side with rolling hills and Mesquite trees. A lot of oil wells and then something unexpected – miles of wind farms!

West Texas Wind Farm 1
Wind farm on I-20 in West Texas

Pretty soon I came across some very large solar farms too. So all three forms of energy generation were there – oil, wind and sun! I also started to understand why the RV Parks were full of workers! Looks like the wild, wild, west is back!

Wind farm on I-20 in West Texas
Old and new – side by side!

By the end of the day we had reached our goal! My ‘original’ home state of New Mexico!

Land of Enchantment
Leaving Texas!
Jake & Eddie enter the Land of Enchantment
Jake & Eddie enter the Land of Enchantment

We ended staying in cheap no-frills RV park that night with a half a dozen other trailers that looked like they had not moved in a while.

Tomorrow our second stop in my ‘original’ home town of Alamogordo!