Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Return Trip

Backing up a week or so. When we left central Oregon for the coast we found fog. We delayed a few days, but the fog hung around and the forecast was for more of the same, so we turned inland, kissing off the northern California coast for another time.

US299 is a great drive in our opinion. It winds along one river after another. The big difference between mountain rivers and the ones in the south are that the latter get confused on which way is downhill, so they just lay there. When the elevation is dropping 200 feet a mile, water flows fast and canyons are carved.

Along with the cascading rivers we had light smoke in every canyon from one side of the state to the other.

We met a delightful young couple from Holland who had just arrived in the states after working nine months in New Zealand. They were going to spend two months touring the western states before flying home. So polite, so well mannered. So unlike many Europeans we encounter.

The Whiskeytown reservoir is a jewel. I wanted to spend several days in the area, but it was hot and then Dorothy did a slip and fall. We spent the evening at the ER getting back to the RV at midnight and left early in the morning. We spent the next evening with some friends in Susanville and then got serious about getting home. The thought of dealing with a one-armed woman in pain for the next 6-8 weeks in our RV was just not appealing.

BTW, the Whiskeytown reservoir is at full pool while the nearby Lake Shasta is way down. The former is federal and while it has a 19 foot diamater tunnel drilled through 10 miles of rock, they are keeping all the water right where it is.

As soon as we left Susanville, we saw more smoke. In fact, we did not get out of smoke until we reached the Mojave Desert at the other end of the state. We over-nighted in Lee Vining at their community center and tried not to look at Mono Lake as the sun set.

The next night we spent in the freaking Mojave. Every time we manage to get stuck there. Thankfully, it’s the smallest of the four deserts because it sure suxs. We spent a total of four nights in California rather than the planned 3/4 weeks. Even without Dorothy falling we would not have spent much time there because of the smoke and high temps. And so it goes.

We normally don’t drive over 4 hours a day, but I wanted to get home and I pushed myself to do 6 and 7 hour drives, which winds up taking from 7 until 4 with lunch and rest stops. My I say my ass was sore everyday.

The fourth day of the exodus was on the high plateau of northern Arizona, in Williams. Cooler. but we opted for a private campground with a nice shower – one big enough for Dorothy and her cast. Gas prices in CA were around $4, in Arizona about $3.30. But, in Williams the local cabal marked it up 85/95 cents besting CA prices. Gas in Meridian, MS was $2.93. woohoo.

Perhaps the only scenery we saw on the return trip were the pink cliffs around Gallup, NM. Well, there are the miles of signs advising you that just ahead you can buy Indian moccasins and stuff imported from Mexico.

Another six hour drive got us to Albuquerque, then the west Texas town of Memphis, then the east Texas town of Tyler. It was here that we woke up to dew and humidity. Back to the land where ROW’s are regularly mowed and trees block the view to the horizon.

I relied on Glenda to route us through Dallas. Thanks to her, we found out that there are more freeways there than in LA. We barely avoided two collisions in the combat driving conditions. It did not help that I was tired. It took over 90 minutes to transit the cities. Construction was underway every few miles with lane closures. About half-way through I wondered why Glenda did not use the easy way I35W to I20. I just did not have the time to drive and navigate.

Our last night was between Jackson and Meridian. So we made it back in 10 hops. That’s moving at light speed for us. And we are worn out.  Our daughter, Alecia, and oldest grandson,Bennett, cleaned the house for us and all we had to do was crash on our bed until Alecia brought over a meal.

Dorothy will see her surgeon Friday morning.

We are already thinking about our next trip, the top of the new year, to San Diego and the local environs. 

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