Friday, October 23, 2020

Getting Ready to Travel

 I've been working on the White Lion and studying for my CDL class B drivers license during October.  Proud to say I passed both the written and driving exams on the first try so done with that.


 I worried excessively about both but shouldn't have.  They were both easy.  It's my nature to worry I guess.

Getting this huge 41 foot motorhome in and out of my driveway is a pain in the neck.  It is just too long to move in tight places.  I manage but not without a learning curve.  The first time, I tried to do it without Dolly as my spotter I promptly backed into the ditch across the road and got stuck.  $260 tow bill to pull it out!



Then I forgot one of the bay doors was open and I pulled it forward in the shed area and hit a post.  Evan got it bent back so it locks but next Spring I'll have to pay to have it fixed and painted.  ):
I did get some good things done though.  With my son-in-law, Evan's help I added a propane outlet so I can use my Wave 6 propane heater and we figured out how to turn on the Hurricane heating system and the hot water.  Not sure if the solar panels can handle the system yet, but I can always use the generator for hot water if need be.  The Wave 6 should provide all the heat I need.

I bought and replaced my original black and white back-up camera with a nice new one with a 7" monitor.  Had to crawl the whole length of the underside of the MH to string the line from the camera to the monitor but it works great.  Getting too old for this stuff.

I bought a propane firepit so I can sit outside at night and enjoy a fire while watching the stars.  I believe I will be spending more time living in lazy comfort this year.  I feel a little slower so hopefully I won't do anything too stupid this winter, but stupid will probably happen anyway.

My plans are to leave late November after my doctor's appointment to have my blood vitals checked and to see where I stand on my pre-diabetes numbers.  Dolly plans to vacation at home again so just me and Yuma.

I'm going to miss all my Canadian friends who are trapped in Canada this winter due to the Covid 19.  Hopefully my journey and pictures will help with the winter time blues.

I'll post again as I get closer to D day.  Take care everyone.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Home at last

Location:  Home

This morning I woke up at 8 o'clock and made a leisurely breakfast and at 10 o'clock we headed for home.  Skirted around Springfield, the capital of Illinois. 
Stopped at the Dixie Truck Stop in Atlanta about 10 miles from home to fill the WL for the last time this trip.
Before long I was pulling in my driveway and that's when things went bad.  After all the time thinking and knowing it would be a challenge to get into the driveway,  I just turned in and before I knew it my driver's side rear tire went into the culvert and I was able to pull it forward, but then the curve in the tree started sliding along the top, so I stopped.  I think that thing is coming down soon.

Couldn't go forward and couldn't go backward.  What a fine homecoming! :((  Can't believe after knowing it would be a tight fit, I just went on in to the driveway without even thinking.

Luckily, the wood fence is over twenty years old and I had planned on replacing it soon.  I helped the process along today.
The WL is now in the driveway and I'll worry about what to do to get it into the covered area that used to house Miss Adventure tomorrow.  Hopefully, I 'm smarter with that move. :))
We're home and all is well that ends well. :))

Dolly, Fergie, Yuma, Doug.  Back together again! :))

Illinois sunset.

See you later.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Joplin, Missouri to Springfield, Illinois

Location:  Coalfield Rest Area on I-55 south of Springfield, Illinois

Last night I didn't get to making my dinner till 9:30.  Luckily, I had bought a smoked ham at Walmart and I heated two slices and made myself a delicious ham sandwich.  Yuma had a couple of slices too.  By the time I got to bed it was after 11 o'clock.  Very late for me.  

The truck stop was quiet last night, so I got a good nights sleep and didn't get up till 8:30 this morning.  We had a nice leisurely breakfast and on the road at 10:30.  My goal today is ambitious.  I want to be on the other side of St Louis and across the Mississippi River into Illinois which is 280 mile almost exactly the same miles as yesterday.

My day was uneventful and the WL again ran flawlessly.  There are some fairly big hills in the Ozark area of Missouri and occasionally I would downshift to 5th or 4th gear to keep my rpms up, but no problem. 

Popular rest area.


Beautifully well kept.


Up and down the hills we go!

In the center of the southern part of the state is Fort Leonard Wood.  I shutter every time I go by.  I had basic training their in the fall and winter of 1967 as an Army grunt.  Caught pneumonia and thought I was going to die.  But I didn't :))
Couldn't get a picture of the river crossing but when I arrived at the truck center I had hoped to stop for the day I found it to be completely full.  There wasn't one spot available and this was at 3:30!

So I follow the Illinois highway 111 north hoping to find a place in a small town.  As I drove through Roxana, I saw a closed gas station and pulled in there.  After thinking about it, I just didn't want the town police to boot me out because I don't know the rules in these small towns, so I moved on.

Not far up the road I saw a Walmart Supercenter in Wood River so I started to pull in there and saw next door was an empty building for sale with a large parking lot.   

By this time it was after 5 o'clock and time to eat.  Decided to just have dinner, so I pulled out my grill and sat it on the ground next to the building and grilled a potato and heated up a couple of slices of ham.   Heated some corn kernels on the burner inside and Yuma and I had dinner.

Now it's after 6 o'clock and I again didn't feel comfortable for some reason, so finally I decided to move on.  We routed ourselves over to I-55 and stayed on it till just after 7 o'clock when I found my first rest area and we pulled into it.  So, I'm now back to a comfortable element and ready to call it a night.   
We ended up driving 350 miles today, way more than I intended.  However, it was a beautiful sunny and warm day with no wind.  Perfect for a days drive.  I must say the WL is a pleasure to drive.  It just loves to hum along at 65 mph.

We are now just over an hour from home, so in the morning I can clean up the WL a little to make it presentable and be home by noon after a leisurely breakfast.  The end of this adventure is fast coming to a close :(( :))  Sad for it to end but glad I will be home with Dolly, Fergie and the rest of my family.  

It's only 8:30 and I'm done with my day except for pudding and whipped cream. :))

See you later.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Hinton, Oklahoma to Joplin, Missouri

Location: Truck Travel Center east of Joplin, Missouri

This morning Yuma and I were awake at 7 o'clock and soon after we were up and fixing breakfast.  Was chilly last night.  Got down to 37 degrees but the wind was gone and the skies were bright blue.  Going to be a great travel day.

About 8:30 I saw Lorne sitting outside drinking a cup of coffee and I went out and joined him.  It was just cool enough to wear a jacket or sweatshirt, but felt nice.  Soon Sue joined us and we got one last coffee happy hour in before we started our final preparations to leave.
Went back inside to finish packing and then headed up to the corner for diesel.  Finally, at 11:30 we were on our way.  They were heading north and we were headed east.  I was thinking of taking state roads to Vinita, Oklahoma, but ended up taking the beautiful I-44 tollway all the way to Vinita.  

The WL traveled flawlessly and before I knew it Oklahoma City was dead ahead.  In years past I have always hated the drive through OKC because of all the construction.  It is now all done and I skirted around the city comfortably.  
After OKC we were on our way to Tulsa.  The day is just beautiful.  No wind!  I'm so glad I waited one day till those winds settled down.  Next came the Arkansas River and as I passed over the bridge I caught Tulsa, Oklahoma to the north. 

Over the interstate rest area.

I stopped in Vinita, Oklahoma at 4:30 as planned at the Walmart and went in and bought supplies. 
Had a late lunch and the day was still so beautiful, after a rest, I decided I wasn't ready to call it quits.  I decided to take the state highways from here and look for a place to settle down that was more remote.  It was 5:45 and off we went looking.  

For some reason, I kept missing places to stay and before I knew it I was in Joplin, Missouri and back on I-44.  Saw a Travel Center that allowed overnight camping mainly for truckers.  Pulled in and filled up with diesel and drove back to the parking area and it was huge.  I found a place way off in a corner and I'm done for the day.  It's now 7 o'clock and we traveled 270 miles today.
My youngest grandson, Keaton turned five today and because of the coronavirus, he couldn't have a normal birthday party.  So, Instead all the family and his friends drove by his house in a parade of cars with balloons and streamers.  They would stop and he would run over and grab his presents from the car window as they handed them out.  What a unique and memorable birthday for Mr. Keats!  

Happy birthday, Keaton!

Miss Fergie wishing Keaton a happy birthday! Jim and Sarah holding Keats.


The parade of cars slowly going by.

The handsome five year old Mr. Keaton!

 Time for dinner and bed.  See you later.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Road trip and a birthday

Location:  Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton, Oklahoma

The winds  blew at 20+ mph across the Oklahoma prairie last night slowly moving from the south all the way around to come from the north by morning.  I woke up at 7:30 but laid back down for a snooze and the next thing I knew it was 9:30.  I have no idea where those two hours went.

Looked out the window and no rain, but the wind was still coming in hard and it was 37 degrees out there but feeling like 27 with the wind.  That's a shock to the system.  I tried letting Yuma outside while I stayed inside, but didn't work.  He just needs me to be with him when he goes out.  So I put my sweatshirt and robe on and walked around with him till he was ready to come in.  Spoiled, I think:))  Only getting to 52 today.

While out with Yuma, Lorne popped his head out and we agreed to head into Camping World at 11:30 after breakfast.  Lorne needed a new water pump for the motorhome and I needed some propane cannisters if this is the way the weather is going to act.

Breakfast done, we headed north of Oklahoma City.  It was a long way from here, but they had his water pump and my propane, so we were back home by 1:30 and time for lunch.

After lunch, the sun came out and the bay the water pump was in was the south side so no wind to contend with. 
Fortunately, Lorne is mechanically talented and he removed the old pump and replaced it with the new one in short order.
While we worked and the "we" is used loosely, Yuma and Charlie wandered around the area enjoying the sunshine.  Unfortunately, poor Charlie has bad feet, so he and Yuma can't race around, but they still had a good time.
After that, Lorne, Sue and Charlie came over to take a tour of the White Lion.  Charlie quickly made himself at home in Yuma's bed and Yuma was nice about it.  Plus Charlie ate all of Yuma's treats and Yuma didn't say a word.  What a nice host he is:))
I mentioned a birthday in the heading.  Lorne turns a young 65 today, so Happy Birthday Lorne!  Wish them many more years of fun travels and good health.  What a great picture of the two love birds.
Lorne showed me how to use a few more of the buttons and switches available on the WL.  He showed me how to turn the exhaust brake on and the manual mode to change gears in the transmission for better power and control.  I'll try these out starting tomorrow when we both head out:  them north and me east.

Lorne and I sat on the southside of the WL and chatted till around 5 o'clock when the coolness drove us inside.  So glad I was able to meet up with Lorne and Sue while we both waited for better weather before moving on.

Tonight is Gold Rush so I'm finishing my blog while watching.   About time for dinner and a good night's sleep before moving on.  Stepped outside to take one last picture as the sun set and noticed the wind has died down considerably.  That will make driving much easier tomorrow. 
Close friends I hope.
See you later.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Roby, Texas to Hinton, Oklahoma to visit friends

Location:  Sugar Creek Casino in Hinton, Oklahoma

This morning I woke up to the alarm at 7 o'clock and Yuma and I decided we would eat breakfast on down the road.  Here is the view of the Texas prairie from my bedroom window this morning.
Today was a day of taking state roads north towards Oklahoma City.  My morning became 1 o'clock and I was starving.  Breakfast never happened.  My windshield is so dirty I didn't take many pictures.  The state roads in Texas are in nice condition, maybe a little wavy at times making me feel like I was on a roller coaster.
Heading due north most of the day thank goodness because there was a 20 mph wind with gusts coming from the south.  So the wind was beneficial most of the way but the short times I had to travel due east were white knuckle time holding the WL straight.  Nice roads and very little traffic in Texas, just the way I like it. :))

I had planned on reaching Hinton, Oklahoma by 2 o'clock but missed it by an hour.  Drove up to Lorne and Sues' place right at 3 o'clock.  Had no problems the entire trip except for Yuma jumping at the windshield trying to kill flies.  I left the screen door open last evening and collected quite a few that needed killing.

I've met Lorne and Sue a number of times in Arizona, but this winter they spent their time on the ocean in Mexico and are just now heading back to Manitoba, Canada.  They also have a blog, A Place Called "Away".  Today is beautiful with clear skies and 70 degrees.  We sat on the north side of their MH and chatted till 7 o'clock.
I wanted to know all about their Mexican adventure.  I'm leery of traveling there, but Lorne was able to alieve some of my fears.  They had a wonderful time and are planning to go again next winter.

It was a long travel day and time now to finish my blog and pull out the grill and get dinner going.  I missed Survivor last night because I couldn't make it here and had to stay in the remote countryside of Texas.  Dolly filled me in though :))

See you later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Pecos, Texas to Roby, Texas

Location:  Just west of Roby, Texas on Hwy 180 at a picnic area

This morning we got up around 8 o'clock and it was sunny and around 45 degrees.  Going to be a beautiful day for traveling.  When I peeked out the window, there were two dogs outside checking the picnic areas for food.  Yuma and I stepped outside cautiously and the younger black dog immediately ran off, but the bigger one was curious.

I first let them smell each other while I had Yuma's leash on but I quickly could tell the other dog was friendly and just wanted to play.  Took Yuma's leash off and away they went.
They had the best time running and playing till I finally had to tell Yuma it was breakfast time and to come in.
 
When I texted Dolly to let her know we were awake and moving, she sent me an ugly picture.  There's poor Fergie out in the cold, snowy and windy yard!  Doesn't she just look pitiful with her ears flapping in the wind?
Then I got another picture from my daughter, Kristi telling me not to come home yet!  This is their back yard covered in snow.  I'm going to have to rethink this going home idea!
Well, didn't get on the road till 10:30.  My plans have changed.  Lorne and Sue Green of A Place Called "Away" and I have been commenting each other the last day or so.  They are heading towards Oklahoma City and will be near there tomorrow.  I told them I could be near Oklahoma City on Thursday if they would be there.  Today, I hear they will be at a closed casino all day Thursday.  I emailed back saying I'll be at the casino around 2 o'clock on Thursday.

So, instead of staying on I-20 through Dallas/Ft Worth, I decided to leave I-20 at Big Spring, Texas and head out on hwy 180 and on up towards Hinton, Oklahoma where they will be near.  Nothing but flat land and oil fields. 
This morning, I checked my tires before leaving Pecos, and couldn't get a pressure reading on the inside passenger rear tire.  Decided to ignore it and head out.  Well, about 100 miles along and 20 miles outside of Big Spring, I stopped at a rest area on I-20.  Looked at the back tires again and checked them again and still no pressure reading.  

Now I'm worried, so I slowed down and went to Big Spring and
stopped at Don's Tire and Truck Service. 
Very nice folks. They said it would be a bit before they could get me in and I said I was in no hurry.  It was around 1:30 so Yuma and I fixed lunch and waited for our turn.  It about 3:45 I was in the shop and they took the passenger rear tires off.  It wasn't a stem problem.  Somehow, I must have hit a big pothole or curb because the rim had a huge dent in it.  Enough where it would not hold air.
Fortunately, they had a rim and the tire was okay, so I was out of there at 6 o'clock $200 poorer but safe and happy.  Good thing the WL can run on one dually tire for long distances.    I better be more cautious in the future or I might not be so lucky next time.

Highway 180 is straight as an arrow with no towns for almost 50 miles.

My Google Maps said it two hours to my destination for tonight, but it was assuming I was doing the speed limit of 70 mph which I'm not.  So, at 7 o'clock I saw a sign saying picnic area ahead.  I slowed down and it looked like a perfect remote place to stay for the night, so I pulled in and shut the WL down for the night.  I love this free life of a boondocker:))

I'll just have to get up a wee bit earlier to make it to my appointment with Lorne and Sue tomorrow.

All in all the day was perfect.  A three hour delay was well worth the alternative and it has been sunny and warm.  Can't ask for more than that.

See you later.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Las Cruces New Mexico to Pecos, Texas

Location:  Picnic area just north of Pecos, Texas

This morning we woke up at 8 o'clock and after answering comments on my blog, we ate breakfast and were on the road by 9:30.  Here is Las Cruces at dusk last evening from our hilltop perch. 
It's a beautiful morning.  Warm and sunny with no wind so far.  Within a half hour we were leaving New Mexico and in El Paso, Texas.  
Every time I drive through this city, they are building roads and bridges. 
It is a bustling city in a beautiful area but I have never had a problem with traffic here.  I just stick myself in the center lane of I-10 and go with the flow.  Soon, I am heading out of the city and into the mountains.   You'll have to excuse the pictures.  Taken through a dirty windshield and the windshield is shaded blue.


After the mountains came the sand and flat desert and plateaus.


Just  before reaching Pecos, I-10 went south and I-20 connected and went northeast towards Dallas.  We are now in oil refinery country.

I had searched Free Camping, an app I have added to my phone and found a place a couple of miles north on hwy 285 that is a picnic area with six tables and a huge land area.  I have pulled off the pavement and will stay here for the night.

Lots of junk in the field nearby.

It was a nice 250 mile drive again today.  Got here about 4:30 Central Time.  I am now done with time zones. :)).  The wind was not a factor and the weather was beautiful and it is very nice here in Pecos this evening.  

In 2007 I had just retired and drove my 2003 Ford Cobra Mustang convertible out west for a two-week retirement vacation.  Dolly flew out and joined me in Phoenix.  I stayed at a motel here in Pecos.  It was June/July so needless to say, I got a good tan!  

Pulled out my grill and had steak, potato and corn tonight while Yuma had a hotdog with his dinner. :))  Now to finish my blog, have my dessert and call it a night.

See you later.