Saturday, April 21, 2018

We Have Returned to Tucson

This is what passed for dinner last night.  We had a primo parking place, wherein we backed in to a shrub.  Backing up to walls and bushes makes it harder for people to steal anything out of the back of the truck.  So anyway, we walked over to Rudy’s BBQ.  They had gas pumps out in front! You order at the counter, get sides out of the refrigerator and then they give you a bag of white bread.  Their food would have been OK except for the sodium content.  Fortunately they post their sodium counts on the web and we knew what to avoid.

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This is the very first stretch of New Mexico.  There were a number of stock yards just across the border from Texas.

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The Bowlin company owns a bunch of road side attractions.  These signs were for Akela Flats – they sell worthless crap from China, but they did have a well placed restroom.  Their most famous attraction is The Thing.

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The yuccas in New Mexico were large and multi armed.  For such an unattractive plant, they do put out an amazing flower spike.

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NM has its own austere beauty.

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When you see these rocks in Arizona, the drive is almost over.

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Two things struck me on this trip.  The first is the incredible number of hotels along the freeway.  They are everywhere.  One has to wonder how they fill enough rooms to make money.  They appear in clots along the freeway.  Unfortunately, they do not appear with any place decent to eat.

My second observation is the continuing decline in restaurant food.  We had one decent meal at a Holiday Inn.  I had a salad with steak on it, and Jim had one with chicken.  They were actually good.  The rest of the time we felt like we were being poisoned.  It’s like people have forgotten what food is supposed to taste like.  The amount of fat and salt is just horrendous.  It’s probably not fair to expect much along a freeway, but it seems worse than our last continental crossing.

We’re here.  We close on Tuesday, unload the truck on Wednesday.  I’m going to be very happy when this is over.

Friday, April 20, 2018

El Paso West, Texas

Oy!  It was like driving through the end of days today.  When we left Abilene the wind was up into the mid 20s.  For the first few hours it was a complete cross wind, pushing on the side of the truck.  The noise is just astonishing.

Notice the ripple on the swimming pool – wind driven.

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There is still a lot of oil extraction along I10.  Midland and Odessa were on the route.  Those are two of the worst looking places I have ever seen.  They weren’t helped by the blowing dust coming off the land that has been scraped of vegetation. 

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It’s always windy there.  There are many wind turbines as well as the oil extraction.  Interestingly enough we saw that gas is still being burned off at the wells.  I thought the industry had quit doing that and was capturing gas, but I guess not.

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This looks like a barn find.  Jim thinks it’s a Plymouth.  There was another one on a trailer following it.  We were surprised to see that it’s actually running. 

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Some of the dust.  Look up the road where it gets white.  Dust.  It was just horrible. 

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Not to diss someone else’s state, but I have to say that the stretch from Abilene to the border is one of the most unattractive places we have ever driven across.  El Paso is engaged in building highways at a rapid rate.  The existing highways are bordered by jersey barriers and the lanes are really narrow.  I’m very happy we did not have the RV today, it would have been bad.  We are actually staying in El Paso West, which is a separate city from El Paso.  It’s a sprawl from the original city.

Tomorrow we will reach Tucson.  I’m looking forward to eating at home!  By and large, restaurant food has really deteriorated into over salted, over fatted glop.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Abilene, Texas

It is just unbelievable how big Texas is.  Fortunately the roads are good.  If we had to endure the Louisiana roads for these distances there would be trouble.  We drove 464 miles on I20 today.  It was enough!  We’re going to do it again tomorrow.  We need to make El Paso.  After leaving Midland there is nothing out there.  Midland is not far enough, so El Paso it is.

There are many wild flowers along I20.  There were tons on Blue Bonnets around Dallas, but none of my pictures turned out.  Here are some nice yellow flowers.

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This was somewhere in Texas.  I have nothing to say about this.

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There were also many pink flowers.  I have no idea what they are.

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It was a long day.  We did find dinner within walking distance, so that was good.  I just discovered I left a pair of shorts in the hotel room we had last night, so that was bad. 

Tomorrow El Paso!  Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

We Are in Louisiana

Oy!  It has been a couple of days!  Yesterday the storage unit was emptied.  The two guys we hired to load my incredibly heavy furniture could have not been nicer and more professional.  I screwed up and got too long of a truck, but what the hey!  It’s not as bad to park as I thought it would be, so it’s all good.

They finished loading the truck at 10:30, so we decided to launch.  The original plan was to go Wednesday morning, but we had time, so we thought we’d get Atlanta behind us.  I can not tell you how terrible the traffic is in Atlanta.  It’s life destroying, soul sucking traffic.  If I had to live there I would kill myself.  It took 90 minutes to transit the city.

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The Atlanta skyline.

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We stayed in Lithia Springs which is about 20 miles away from Atlanta.  When we left in the morning, the northbound traffic was already backed up into the city.  It reminds me of San Diego.
When we parked at the hotel, Jim backed the truck around a corner and then into two parking places.  There were a couple of HVAC guys standing by their truck looking at us.  One of them was laughing at me as I gave my customary directions to Jim of “butt left”, “butt right”.  Then the other guy asked me which of the two parking places we were going to put the truck in. I told them we were taking both of them.  Later Jim got a compliment on his backing from one of the guys, and Jim informed them that after backing a 41 foot motorhome, this truck was easy.  They were funny, they hate Atlanta.

Here they are, siting in the truck, drinking beer.

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Today we had planned to stay in Vicksburg.  Every single room in the city was booked.  ALL OF THEM due to a corporate conference.  For the life of me I don’t know why anyone would do a conference in Vicksburg.  So there was another 60 miles to get to Monroe, LA.  We got the last room in this hotel. WTH?!?!?! 

Tomorrow we have to transit Dallas.  How long that takes will decide how much further west we can go.  A large rainstorm is on its way to Dallas, so hopefully we can miss most of that.  Other than that, things are moving along.