Sunday, December 31, 2017

How did I end up in Columbus, New Mexico

Sunday, December 31, 2017 – New Year’s Eve

It was cold again last night.  Had to turn on the Wave Heater around 1 A.M and then I fell back to sleep till 6 A.M.  It was very quiet and I had a good night’s rest.

When I went to publish my post last night, I found out I had only had one or two bars of Verizon.  Sooo, it took about an hour to finally publish.  It was too cold to set up my internet booster, plus I was too tired to mess with it.

When I woke up and looked outside, I could see it was drizzling again and very foggy.  Temperature was 27 degrees, but there was no ice.  Don’t know why.

We left without eating breakfast around 7 A.M. and got back on I-20 west.  I figured we stop around Van Horn and eat.  It remained foggy and drizzly and at times it got really foggy, but didn’t have and problems with ice. 



A little before 10 A.M.  just as we crossed over the Guadalupe Mountains and about 25 miles from Van Horn THE SUN CAME OUT!!  First time I’ve seen the sun since starting my journey.

We slid off the end of I-20 onto I-10 and stopped at a rest area near Van Horn to rest and eat breakfast.  It was so nice!.  Stepped out of the MH with my sweatshirt and coat and immediately removed both.  The temperature was 64 and with the sun and no wind it felt great!  I’m now in the southwest!

Don’t those mountains in the distance and that tree shade look marvelous?




Now I only have El Paso to tackle.  I’ve heard it is a bear with all the traffic.  In fact Al and Kelly took an alternate route they learned from some fellow bloggers and they loved it.  However, since I don’t have a navigator and I can’t remember two things at once, decided to go with my GPS navigator.  Turns out that because it was Sunday and New Year’s Eve, the traffic was not bad at all and I buzzed right through.  It was a maze though.


Now,  here comes the interesting part.  I noticed my GPS navigator was having me leave I-10 at exit 8.  Like a good fellow, I did as I was told and blindly followed Miss Navigator, knowing full well my destination was on I-10.  I just figured she knew a short cut.

It wasn’t long before I was west of El Paso out in the middle of nowhere.  Miss Navigator had me turn onto Columbus Road and said to follow it for 56 miles.  At this time, I stopped and adjusted my GPS to see where I was headed.       Turns out when I entered a random address in Deming, because it requires and address entry, I picked an address south of Deming, but still a Deming address.  This route must be closer to that address, so this is why it sent me down Columbus Road instead of I-10.

So down Columbus Road I went and then looked at my gas gauge and I had a little less than a quarter tank of gas.  Not any sign of humanity anywhere along the road and i saw very few cars the whole 56 miles. 

Turns out Columbus Road is hwy 9 and goes to the town of Columbus, New Mexico and of all places that is where my friends, Al, Kelly and Pheebs stayed for a couple of days.  In fact, they just left there this morning.  If you want to know a little about Columbus then read their blog – Travel With The Bayfield Bunch.  What a coincidence!


Got there around 3 P.M. and luckily they have one gas station in Columbus and I got $50 of gas to tide me over.  I decided that I would not go the twenty miles north to Deming, but stay at the RV Camp that Al and Kelly stayed in for the night.  Can’t beat $9. 

Here’s the Columbus water tower at the main crossroad in Columbus.


It is quiet here now.  Don’t know about midnight.  Al says there may be some shooting going around that time.  Poor Yuma. 

Got my water, ate a little lunch/dinner and finished my blog and the weather is great!.  Can’t get any better than that!

Happy New Year everyone!!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Long road to Odessa, Texas

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Finally, after a ham sandwich for dinner and some chocolate chip cookies and a glass of milk for desert, I was ready for bed.  Yesterday was a long day!  After I got Gold Rush up and running last night, it turns out it was just two hours rehashing the past.  All that work for nothing.  Turned it off before it ended and Yuma and I went to bed.

The temperature was quite comfortable last night and I slept like a log till 4 A.M.  I woke up and felt ready to go.  I checked the weather south of Chickasha and it looks like ice drizzle was possible around 10 A.M., so I decided to hit the road early.

Got everything put away and we were on the road close to 5 A.M.  Never drove in the dark before, but this was great.  Driving down the I-44 turnpike towards Wichita Falls, Texas, there wasn’t a soul on the road.  Easy driving. 

Stopped for gas just outside Wichita Falls and made a right going southwest on hwy 82/277 for 126 miles to the small town of Anson.  This road is four-lane and no traffic at all.  It was about here that it started to drizzle.  Above freezing so it was just rain.

IMG_7171Turned right onto hwy 180 heading west at the only stoplight in Anson, Texas for the short drive to Roby, Texas and then a left south to Sweetwater, Texas on I-20.  At this time it started to drop below freezing so ice was building up on the RV.

Decided to stop at the Walmart in Sweetwater at the Walmart Center and eat some breakfast/lunch and wait for it to warm up a bit.  It was about 10 A.M. and we were both starving.  Yuma and I ate and rested on the bed for awhile.  I even had time to read a few blogs and answer the comments left on my blog these last two days.

It was about noon and the temperature was about 34 degrees and the high for the day, so I decided to get on I-20 and head the 125 miles west to Odessa, Texas, my stopping place for tonight.  It was quite foggy and the temperature as I left was still near freezing.


Temperatures slowly rose as I neared Odessa.  It continued to drizzle, but the road was okay.  After about 80 miles, the drizzle stopped and it warmed up to around 43 degrees but still foggy.  


Pulled into the Walmart around 2:30 P.M. and I’m done for the night.  I sure hope I don’t have a snow surprise like Travel with the Bayfield Bunch had a few days ago while overnighting here in Odessa.  Nor the two day ice storm that George and Susie of Our Awesome Travels had a few years back.

Had stew and a piece of apple pie for dinner so ready to have a relaxing evening for the first time.  Tomorrow will be warmer, I hope.

See you later.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Made it to Chickasha, Oklahoma

Friday, December 29, 2017

Didn’t sleep well last night with first day travel jitters and all.  It got down to 16 degrees in Lebanon, Missouri and that was cold.  I decided to leave my new Wave heater on low all night, but I kept worrying I would run out of air and die.  But, there was plenty of air for all of us, so my worries were unnecessary.

Got up at 7 A.M. and took Yuma for a walk.  Every time he looks out the door, I think he is hoping to be home.  Poor Yuma.  He hates the cold, but he also hates leaving home.

They had gas for $2.08 next door to Walmart so stopped in to fill up.  Unfortunately, I had to wait about half an hour for them to get their card machine hooked up so I could pay.  They were apologetic and I was nice about it.  Kept reminding myself, I’m not in a hurry.

Got on I-44 at 8 A.M.  and headed for the Oklahoma border.  I’ve got to go through Tulsa and Oklahoma City today.

It was crowded on the road today and the sun I had early on quickly disappeared and clouds moved in.  Luckily, it is getting warmer the farther I travel south.

After passing Springfield and Joplin, I moved into Oklahoma and the toll roads.  All of I-44 is toll.  Cost me $11 from the border to Tulsa and $11 from Tulsa to Oklahoma City.   Had a pay forward for the toll from OKC to Wichita Falls, Texas.  The lady in front of me paid my fare, so it was free.  What a nice gesture.  Quite a few road construction areas between Tulsa and OKC, but didn’t slow us down too much.  I like going 60 better than being passed by everyone going 75.


OKC was a bear again this year.  They had I-44 marked well so I had no real problems, but all the lanes were crowded with people wanting to get somewhere fast.  They knew where they were going and I didn’t.


Once, I cleared OKC I dropped about 35 miles south on I-44 and stopped at the Walmart in Chickasha, Oklahoma, arriving about 3:30 in the afternoon.  As I was coming into the parking lot, there was a man standing by his dilapidated Winnie RV with a sign saying he needed gas.  I’m sure he comes here each day hoping for a handout, but I gave him $20 to pay my pay forward debt.  Now I feel better.


This evening is Gold Rush, so while I’m writing my post, I’m trying to get my Dish receiver to work.  Been at it for over an hour and it only finds one of the three satellites, so it never finishes the test.  Might not get to watch TV tonight.  Bummer!  Called Dish tech support and even they almost got me there, but not quite.   After three hours guess I will try again later. 

Gave it one more try and guess what?  I’m watching the last half of Gold Rush!!!  It is a two hour show this week, so I’m ready.  Persistence pays.

Time to start fixing something for dinner.

See you later.

First day on the road

Thursday, December 28, 2017

It was 10 A.M. when I finished hooking up the Jeep, kissed Dolly and Fergie goodbye and headed for warmer climates.  It was a good thing I didn’t plan to leave yesterday.


When we woke up Wednesday morning, the pipes were frozen in the bedroom end of the house.  Dolly asked me the night before if she should open the faucets to let them drip, but I said we didn’t need to.  What a dummy.  It got down to –4 degrees and I know the pipes behind the bathroom freeze when it gets down to zero.   This has happened before, so I took a space heater and placed it in the unheated utility room.  Around noon the water came on and thank goodness no pipes broke.

For the rest of the morning, Dolly and I loaded stuff into the MH so all I would have to do is put the food in and hook up the Jeep on Thursday morning.  After we were done, I decided to pull the MH back into the shed and hook up the electrical cord to top off the batteries for the night.  Guess what?!!  The darn MH would turn over, but would not start.

I was thinking since it was only about 4 degrees out, maybe I had a frozen gas line.  After trying a number of times over the next hour, I decided to hook the battery charger to the battery and top off the engine battery.   After waiting another hour, I thought I would try starting the generator to see if it would start.  Just before pushing the button to do that, I decided to give the engine one more try with the charger on it.  I’ll be darn, it started right up.

I talked to Evan, my technical engineer, and we’re thinking there is a loose wire or the starter solenoid is going bad.  Decided to try starting it in the morning before leaving.

The whole family went out Wednesday evening for Erin’s twelfth birthday at Outback Steak House.  There were eleven of us there and we had a great time and some yummy steaks.


Mr. Keaton peeking over the wall at me.


Here’s Mom, Erin the birthday girl and Grandma! 


We got home around 8 P.M. and we were both beat so went immediately to bed to rest up for the big day.  This time we started a faucet drip in the bathroom so we wouldn’t have the frozen pipe problem again.

Got up at 7 this morning and tried starting the MH and it wouldn’t start again.  Put the charger on it and it started right up.  Decided to just head South and worry about my starting problems tomorrow morning.

IMG_20171228_120853692_HDR  My road trip today went flawlessly.  

Passing by the smokestacks in Springfield, Illinois on I-55 South.


I was worried about St. Louis because of all the traffic and turns, but I followed the I-44 signs and before I knew it I was on the southwest side of the city and it was in my rear view mirror. 

Got a lucky shot of the Gateway Arch.

IMG_20171228_132001974The rest of the trip was a breeze.  Drove six and a half hours today with two stops – one at a rest stop and the other to get gas.  I didn’t shut down the engine either time.  I figure, if I’m going to have a problem, it will be in the Lebanon, Missouri Walmart parking lot.

Beautiful hills as I passed through the Ozarks in south central Missouri.

IMG_20171228_151815775IMG_20171228_152806716Fifty years ago on this very day, I was sitting in a barracks in Ft. Leonard Wood.  I had recently graduated from college and was soon drafted into the U.S Army.  I was sent here for basic training.  Had a horrible time.  Caught pneumonia in this damp cold country and nearly died.  Made it through training though and spent two years with one of those years in Vietnam.  Oh, the good ole days!

The weather was cloudy all day, but no rain or snow.  The temperature when I arrived here was 29 which feels great compared to the 4 degrees when I left.  We will have a low of 16 tonight, which isn’t bad.  Very little snow left around here.

IMG_7152So, here I am with the engine shut down and the Wave propane heater my wife gave me for Christmas, staying warm and writing my post.  I did try starting the engine after shutting it off for a short time and it did start back up, so won’t worry about it tonight.

See you later.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

One Day Delay

Monday, December 26, 2017

IMG_20171225_214931562Fergie wishes everyone happy holidays!

We had a huge family gathering Christmas evening for dinner and family gift exchanges.  We had lots of fun and I took tons of pictures.  Unfortunately, I left my camera at my daughter’s house, so nothing to show tonight.  I did take a couple with my phone camera.

My granddaughter, Erin is having a birthday dinner Wednesday evening, so I am delaying my departure one day.  I will leave Thursday morning.  She will be twelve years old.  Almost a teenager.

IMG_20171224_112604356  The high temperatures for the next week will be in the frigid range – below 20 degrees, with lows below zero.  Our four inches of snow won’t be melting anytime soon.  I will be glad to put this weather behind me.

Yuma has cold feet problems and can’t stay out very long.  Poor guy.  I think he is a warm weather dog.

Dolly and I spent the morning packing the MH and then we went to the grocery store for groceries.  Now all I need to do is hook up the Jeep and I will be ready to leave early Thursday morning.

See you later.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

It’s going to be a White Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2017 – Christmas Eve

We woke up this morning with over an inch of snow on the ground.  Supposed to get another two inches by late afternoon.  Been seven years since we have had a white Christmas.  The kids are going to love it!  Me, not so much.

Took Yuma for his walk this morning and he loved the snow, but didn’t want to stay out long.  He’s not dumb.



Yesterday, Jim, Keats and I picked up a cord of firewood for his fireplace for the winter.  Got it done just in time.  It was a beautiful day for it.


Earlier this week, Evan said he would check the brakes on Dolly’s car, if I would bring it over and leave it in his garage this winter.  Well, the car has been sitting in our garage for four years and the battery was dead.  Went down to Advance Auto and bought a new battery for it. 


I was shocked when the car started right up.  Dolly and I called the State Farm insurance agent and got some insurance on it and then stopped by for some new tags and the car was ready to move from one garage to another. 


Her 91 Mustang GT hatchback is basically a hotrod with loud side pipes, supercharger and a big cam shaft that that makes it  go ca-chunk ca-chunk when idling.  Definitely not your stock mustang and not an old ladies car, but Dolly turns into a kid when driving it.

It has never seen snow or salt, so it will be sitting till spring.  But it will be ready.  Dolly is so excited to have it back from its long sleep.  Don’t know why it took so long.  We already have enough vehicles and the farthest we go is across town to visit the kids, so just didn’t need it.

I mentioned in my last post I would be taking the RV in for new tires and that has been done.  Four new tires on the rear of the RV.  The front ones are still new, so I am now ready to pack and go.  My plans are to leave Wednesday morning.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 8, 2017

Generator Fixed

Friday, December 8, 2017

Woke up to 14 degrees this morning.  Luckily, the wind was minimal, so didn’t feel too bad when I took Yuma for his first walk of the morning.  He runs like the wind to warm up in his sweater.  Without the corn, it looks desolate.  Nothing to stop the winds during the winter out there.


Every Thursday, Dolly, Fergie and I go over to our youngest son, Jim’s house and have dinner with him, Sarah and our youngest grandson, Keaton.  Dolly started doing this last winter while I was gallivanting around the southwest.  We continued after I returned.  Fergie and Dolly are all dressed up for dinner.

IMG_20171208_090121  IMG_20171207_162722

I mentioned in my last blog the generator didn’t start and made an appointment at Cummins to have them fix it.  While talking with the receptionist, I asked what all they did at their shop.  She said everything except glass and tires, so I now have a shop nearby that will fix anything on the MH.

So, I had them fix the generator, fix the steps that would stick all the time and fix the generator remote switch inside the cab.  It was not working at all so I was having to open up the generator panel and use the switch on the generator to start it each time which was a hassle.

As I thought, the generator was fine, but the negative cable had rusted and was loose along with several other wires.  They replaced the bad wiring and serviced the generator.  The steps needed a good dose of rust penetrating  lubricant.  Now everything works great!  The total cost was $502.28, most of it labor.

I have one more item to take care of before the MH is ready to go.  The rear dual tires are only four years old, but they have cracks in the sidewalls.  I will call the tire shop tomorrow and have them checked out before driving 4400 miles this winter.  Don’t want tire problems.

See you later.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Darn Generator

Monday, December 4, 2017

Today is the last day of warm weather for this year.  Today, we had a high of 64 – 20 degrees above normal.  Looking at the extended forecast, no more days in the 40s this year.

With that in mind, I decided to take the MH to FS Farmtown to fill the propane tank while it is warm.  When I back the MH out of the driveway, I stop and take a quick look down the road to make sure there are no cars coming along.  We live on a country road with very little traffic, but don’t want to take any chances.


Wasn’t long before the gas man added 9.4 gallons and I was home by 9:30 to finish my coffee.

IMG_7004  IMG_7003

Before I left, I tried starting the generator and all I got was sparks and noise.  Decided to call Cummins in Normal and have it checked out by a pro.  When I got home, I made the call and they were very friendly and we made an appointment for Thursday to have it fixed.

I pass that place many times and see motorhomes sitting outside waiting to be worked on, but I have never checked with them to see what they do.  I assumed they only work on diesel engines, but I guess they do more.  This will be a great opportunity to find out what all they do.

This morning, while reading The Pantagraph, our hometown paper, I saw an article with our son Steve in it. That was a surprise!  Way to go Steve!  I’m proud of you.


This evening, Yuma and I took a shower.  He loves his shower and gets excited afterward, jumping around with his toys.  Here he is, giving me the evil eye when I told him to stop jumping on and off the couch.  He’s lying on the clean sheets Dolly laid there to fold and put away.  BAD BOY!


Time for Monday Night Football.  See you later.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Super Moon

Sunday, December 3, 2017

We had a beautiful day with a high of 59.  Did vacuum the cab of the MH today, so accomplished a little bit.  Spent most of the day watching football.

I started the generator to give it some exercise and found a problem.  Not a new one, but I don’t know exactly what the problem is.  I think there are some wires shorting out when I go to start it.  I could see large sparks coming from where the wires enter the generator compartment through a hole in the metal wall.

I shut off the main switch to the batteries and pulled the wires from where they attached to the relay and checked them over and could not find where the short is, so I massaged the wires a little and hooked the wires back to the relay and the generator started without a problem.

I had this problem last year as I was preparing to leave and the generator would did the same thing.  I tried it again at some point on the road and it started working again and worked okay all winter.

My plan is to start it each morning till I leave and see if the problem resurfaces.  If not, I will just ignore it.  Otherwise, I will take it someplace to have it looked at by professionals. 

I know there are two live wires touching.  I’m just not seeing them yet.  After fourteen years, I’m sure the wires around the generator are brittle and should be replaced, but that would be an expensive endeavor to be done as a last resort.  Luckily, I can live without the generator.

Beautiful Super Moon tonight.  Barely got it before clouds came in.



See you later.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

New Wave Heater

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Less than a month before leaving for the Southwest and I’m beginning preparations for the journey.  Plan to leave a few days after Christmas, weather permitting.

Dolly bought me a Wave 6 catalytic heater for Christmas and gave it to me early so I could get it installed.  And today was installation day.  My son-in-law, Evan came by this afternoon with a bunch of adapters and a hose ready to do the job for me.


The weather is so nice he drove his Harley over.  Nice looking bike!


Don’t know how Evan steers that monster.


Just as we started the install, up drove Jim, Sarah and my grandson, Keaton in a brand new 2018 Honda AWD CRV.  They had just left the dealership and stopped by to show it to us.  What a beauty!



Even with all the excitement, Evan managed to get the gas line installed and on came the gas to give it a test. 

Found a convenient gas line under the fridge to cut into.



Evan ordered a quick-disconnect with an open and close valve included so I can just pop the hose from the connection under the fridge and store the heater away when traveling.


I didn’t install it on a wall because I want to move it around to point the heater either toward the living room or the bedroom.  If I find that it easily heats the entire living space, I will consider hanging it on a wall permanently.


Exciting and busy day for Dolly and me.  We are not used to so much activity.  Full moon tonight.


See you later.