We have just completed one busy week while putting some serious miles on the motor home. We've made a few trips like this before. I would like to think that this is the last one but somehow the need to quickly move from one place to another seems to keep popping up. Unlike much of our travel, this trip was in the middle of summer in the very places we have avoided during the summer for the past 12 years.
We have never been at home in Edinburg, Texas in July. The same could be said for June, August and September. I had cataract surgery on both eyes in May, just before the FMCA rally in Gillette, Wyoming. We made the trip to Wyoming and then returned to Edinburg so I could get my new glasses. Louise had a series of meetings in Austin starting on July 14 so we decided to make the trip back to Texas in the motor home and then set out for cooler locations in mid-July. Meanwhile our daughter in California requested some babysitting time with their two girls, ages 5 and 8 and the timing was really tight. They were taking a trip on Tuesday, July 23 and wanted us at their home in Valley Springs on Monday the 22nd.
With the hot weather we decided we would stop at RV parks each evening rather than staying at rest areas and Wal-Mart stores. We would have electric to operate the air conditioners through the night and a quiet place to get good sleep.
We started out on Sunday the 14th of July in Edinburg, Texas. We spent the Saturday before departure in the motor home doing our normal daily activities. We've started doing this as a means to find those few things we have forgotten. We eat and sleep in the motor home while parked at the house. If something has been forgotten it is just a few steps away. The toad was hooked up before we went to bed, the motor home was in the street, ready to roll first thing in the morning. Louise likes to sleep late, I like to drive at daybreak during the coolest part of the day. We would drive early, reaching San Antonio shortly after noon. Louise drove on to Austin while I stayed in San Antonio to have the engine and generator serviced at the Cummins Service Center on Monday morning. I stayed at Greentree Village RV Park just off I-35 and six miles from the Cummins shop. Sunday, July 14, 231 miles.
Work started at noon and was finished at 4:00, just in time to join the rush hour traffic leaving San Antonio. Couple that with a heavy thunderstorm and flooding roads meant really slow traffic on I-35. I headed to Austin to join Louise. She was attending an orientation workshop for The Silver Haired Legislature, a senior citizen group that works to influence issues of concern to all seniors in the state of Texas. The orientation started Sunday afternoon and continues through Thursday noon. I parked the motor home at McKinney Falls State Park just outside Austin and Louise joined me there Monday evening. Since she had the toad during the day, I was free to explore the park and relax in the motor home. Monday, July 15, 70 miles.
My relaxing schedule ended on Tuesday afternoon. I had fallen asleep with the computer on my lap. I heard a sound like an awning snapping. Since it woke me up, I didn't have a clear idea of what happened. I looked out the windows and everything looked fine. A little later I decided to go outside to check the awnings. I found the slide out cover on the living room slide was slack, laying on the roof of the slide. I got on the ladder and sure enough the spring that holds the awning taut had snapped. I got on the computer and looked up Carefree of Colorado repair shops in the Austin area. I had to leave a message at both shops. Now the problem was that we were scheduled to be on the road Thursday afternoon and I couldn't drive with an awning flapping loose. I've taken that awning off before but it isn't easy and is at best a two person job. I was alone and needed to get the job done quickly. I dug out the owners manual and looked over the instructions. I found a way to get the roller loose from the mounting just enough so I could slip the awning off the roller and off the roof at the same time. Then I put everything back together but with no canvas this time.
With that done I went back to the computer. Since I couldn't get in touch with the local shops I'd call one near our destination. I called Paul Evert's RV Country in Fresno, California. We have dealt with them before and they are one of several shops around the country that are really friendly to traveling RV'ers. The other criteria that puts them at the top of our list is the excellent quality of their work. They were very helpful, the spring could be replaced and they called Carefree and confirmed that the spring was in stock. From the information in the owners manual I didn't think there was any alternative to replacing the entire awning. There was no part number for the spring. Paul Evert's would have the spring Monday which is when we could be there. Things were working out pretty well.
Thursday we left Austin a little ahead of schedule. I topped off the fuel tank with almost 50 gallons of diesel at $3.76 a gallon at an Exxon quick shop. We were on the road at noon headed for Abilene, Texas; Clovis, New Mexico; then to I-40 and on to California and Fresno. We drove through some afternoon showers, something that Texas dearly needs. We stopped for the night at Lubbock, Texas staying at Lubbock RV Park on the northwest side of town. A spectacular rainbow had many campers out admiring the show as the sun set. Thursday, July 18, 416 miles.
An early start on Friday morning put us into Gallup, New Mexico and the USA RV Park on the west side of town. I had just finished the outdoor work when the rain started. There was a good shower and everything was wet in the morning. Friday, July 19, 462 miles.
Saturday morning we started at sunrise again. With the fuel tank near empty we made a stop at Speedy's Truck Stop on the AZ-NM border. A gallon of diesel was going for $3.76 cash (or debit card in our case). We purchased about 102 gallons and were off to cross Arizona. This was to be our long drive day. We paused for lunch at an exit just beyond a closed rest area. Before leaving Arizona we stopped at the US 95 exit to Lake Havasu City to top off the tank at the Pilot station there. We got an additional 32 gallons of diesel at $3.79. That was 2:00 in the afternoon and I told Louise leaving the station that she could pick the stopping time and place for the evening. We discussed possibilities and she decided on Barstow as the goal. A check of campgrounds and we decided to stop just short at Newberry Mountain RV Park in Newberry, CA. The park didn't look too promising as we drove up to the office. That turned out to be a real surprise. The owner was quite pleasant, we maneuvered into our site which was way too short but she said not to worry, just pull through far enough to leave the space behind clear. Louise wanted to do some laundry so I hooked up all utilities. It took every inch of sewer hose we were carrying but we were able to get everything hooked up. During the night we had a good thundershower - in the Mojave desert! Saturday, July 20, 509 miles.
Sunday morning we started a little later. I was up early to unhook and stow the hoses while Louise slept in. It was shortly after 8:00 when we pulled onto I-40 for the trip to the end of Interstate 40 where it joins I-15. We left Barstow on CA 58 to Bakersfield, CA. After a short lunch stop on CA 99 we rolled into Paul Evert's RV. We checked in with the sales staff receptionist and got our assigned space for parking. We have electric and water hookups and a Monday morning appointment. Louise will drive to Stockton on Monday to pick up our granddaughters while I have the motor home at the repair shop. After the repairs I will leave headed for Watsonville, CA which is between Monterey and San Jose. Louise will meet me there and we will spend four days with the girls on the coast in an attempt to avoid the 100+ temperatures expected in the central valley of California this week. Sunday, July 21, 258 miles.
In the course of 8 days, Sunday to Sunday we drove almost 2000 miles, got maintenance and repairs done, attended a 5 day orientation workshop and moved our base of operations from our home in deep south Texas to the central California coast. Along the way, we enjoyed a few new roads and many miles of familiar territory. We enjoyed exploring the new and had fun remembering some of our previous trips over the familiar roads. This summer we are celebrating 12 years of traveling in a motor home. We are enjoying one fabulous adventure.