Saturday, October 03, 2009
Sharing the RVing Women adventure
Last year I started a dialogue with you explaining my plans for the summer. Actually there were NO plans. My motorhome, affectionally called the “coach,” is stored in Kentucky. As a resident of Hawaii, I visit KY often especially in the spring when I can do my dewinterizing. Pipes will burst just as easy in a motorhome as in a house--well, probably easier due to the minuscule insulation. Nevertheless, it never ceases to amaze me that critters seem to find a pinhole to enter my coach, making themselves leisurely at home. That’s the dreaded part of “dewinterizing.”
Back to the beginning. I mentioned there were no concrete plans for travel, but this year is a little different. My grandson will be graduating from high school in Mulkiteo, Washington, and I am headed for Seattle. With a phone GPS and a commercial GPS, I should not get lost. Famous last words! As my true friends say, I might be overdoing it with two GPS as I am following one main road (I-40) from KY to California. What they don’t realize are the state parks I seek out could be a far distance on a less-than-desirable-gravel road with 80-foot sinkholes.
On the first day traveling south by southwest...that was to avoid Florida, as per last year...I was going to stop at an RV park in Natchez Trace, TN. With a burst of energy, I drove right on past and was able to reach Arkansas by nightfall. As an omen of what might be a discouragement, found out later a tornado made a dead hit at the campground in Natchez Trace, smashing several of the motorhomes with folks trying to take shelter in their coaches. The aftermath found trees had toppled directly on them or the wind had furiously turned them over, and the swath of destruction on the campground was enormous.
Not to belittle the tragedy of Natchez Trace, I came upon a state park sign and excitedly veered off the Interstate. Following the signs as the road became narrower, I thought I had lost my way. My GPS’ were useless. No Service. Well, enough about what I thought of the GPS. At the gatehouse I registered and the kind hostess lady from the Corps of Engineers said they would give plenty of time to evacuate if needed. I had wondered why there was so much water around and she explained it had been generously raining for days, and the Mississippi River had swollen over its banks and into the park. With the thought of Natchez Trace and now the prospect of floating down the river in a Foretravel, I was up every ten minutes during the night to measure the rise of the river. Morning arrived and I decided it would be best for me to move on, but not before I took a picture of the park moniker: TOAD SUCK STATE PARK. I kid you not! With a name like that, there would have to be a global incident before any paper editor ever placed that name in the headlines.
Leaving the park and entering I-40 westbound...not to say I didn’t get lost trying to find the highway...I really believe my diesel consumption has plummeted due to the backroad bumps and grinds. Speaking of roads, if I were to judge the economy with what I’ve endured so far in this trip, I would have to say we are in dire straits. Most of the highway is so bad, it jars the teeth right out of your mouth. Not to say the extreme wear and tear of the tires and shocks are being obliterated. Not only is the road bad, but the billboards are either empty or businesses have joined together to split their ads on one billboard. All along the Interstate, many of the garages, gas stations, and small restaurants have shut down. The state of our economy is disastrous, but I don’t want politics mixed in with the (mis)adventures of traveling the country.
After a couple days of mediocre state parks in Oklahoma and Texas, I have now ventured into New Mexico. The pancake flat of the Interstate has turned into the gentle hills of the desert interspersed with a clump of trees here and there, although the same empty billboards, slightly better roads, but the utter desolation and tornado-torn towns are pitiful sights. Most of the state parks I’ve visited have been park ranger poor, and it’s the honor system to pay your fees, put them in the furnished envelopes, and place them in the padlocked box. With no maps or site plans, one does not have the slightest idea where to go or find a place within the park with electric and water. I have managed to “wing it” and have been decently comfortable every night.
The stories should be increasing in intellectual frequency very soon as I will head into Albuquerque tomorrow, then Flagstaff, Arizona, and on to California. As these future stories unfold, I will share them with you as promised. Until next time...?