Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

June 10 - Indianapolis, IN to Claysville, PA

June 10 - 320 miles
So here I am on the last leg of my trip!  I started outside of Indianapolis, IN and end up in good old Claysville, PA! I filled up the tank with diesel fuel that cost $2.52!  Not too shabby!  I rode down a choppy I-70 and had construction and had lots of fields and silos to look at!  I traveled through Dayton and Columbus, Ohio with minimal hassle.  All in all, it was rather boring day!

One thing I did forget to tell you about yesterday was a wrecked Budweiser tractor trailer that was west bound and flipped into the median.  It dumped hundreds of cases of Bud Lite Lime bottles into the median!  I know a lot of people cried as they drove by!

So here ends my solo adventure!  I will be spending a few weeks in the area with my Dad, and hopefully I will be able to visit the OBX and my sweetie pie!  See you all next fall when we hit the road again!

This was pretty much what I saw all day!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June 9 - Pacific, MO to Greenfield, IN

June 9 - 300 miles
The morning started out with questions as to whether I would be able to get the motorhome out of Jellystone, well I did!  The most exciting part was when I got to the top of the campground and had to make a very sharp left turn with no swing room (and towing the jeep so backing up was ruled out).  Fortunately as I was making the sharp turn a man walking around the campground was able to help me by telling me how close I was getting to the stone wall.  After the turn, it was all down hill, really, the driveway was a steep, twisty downhill!

Next challenge was driving through St Louis!  I timed it so I would hit it after rush hour - smart move!  There still was a lot of traffic, and shifting of lanes but I made it through with little stress!  When I crossed the Mississippi River, it didn't look like it was flooded, but it was muddy, but that is it's M.O.  As soon as I crossed the river I was in Illinois and I was now on I-70.  Pennsylvania people, don't worry, I-70 is just as bad out here as it is in Pennsylvania.  And there was construction on and off all through the state of Illinois!  I spent a lot of time in single lanes, so obviously it slowed me down - that's why I only traveled 300 miles today.  I spent a lot of time today traveling through the farm lands - but a lot of the fields were flooded.  Streams were over their banks and corn stuck up out of "ponds".

Today was all about timing - I timed out St Louis, and I thought that I timed out Indianapolis.  Until I crossed from Illinois into Indiana and the it became eastern time.  That meant I was no longer going through Indianapolis at 3:30 but instead it would be 4:30!  Not good!  Anyway, I survived it!  I-70 joins and leaves quite a few other highways as it passes through the town, I had people merging on from the right and the left but I just kept plugging along with the 18 wheelers!  Traffic came to an almost stand still at one point because of a broken down truck in my lane (of course)! But while I was at a stand still, I did get to see where the Indianapolis Colts play football!  Sorry no pictures!  Once I finally got through Indianapolis, I soon got to the town of Greenfield where I planned on spending the night at the KOA.  Tomorrow should get me back home if all goes well.  I still have to get through Dayton and Columbus, Ohio and then Wheeling West Virginia and then home!  Thanks for sharing this journey with me!

The famous arch in St Louis

Settled in for the night!

June 8 - Tulsa, OK to Pacific, Missouri

June 8 - 357 miles - Yesterday, I failed to mention that I-44 was a toll road - $16.50 worth (cars are $4)!  Today, on the other side of Tulsa I had another toll road - I-44, also known as Will Rodgers Turnpike, also $16.50!  As so as I got to the Missouri border, I-44 was free again!  Anyway, one thing I forgot to tell you yesterday (and I forgot to take a picture of) was the license plates that weren't issued by a state, but by the Cherokee Nation!  As I traveled through Oklahoma I saw different Indian Nation license plates.  Oklahoma is home to many, many Indian Nations.

My trip from Tulsa to Missouri lasted about an hour (with lots of flat fields and cows) and then bam!  I was in Joplin, Missouri.  Yes, the famous Joplin that what hit by a serious tornado a few years ago.  Fortunately, I could not see any damage, but I did pass the brand new hospital with small newly planted trees!  The previous hospital was destroyed in the tornado.

Crossing into Missouri was like stepping into a new world - where the previous states were wide open spaces, where I would travel large distances without civilization, now I'm in a smaller state, with civilization pretty much none stop.  Also, I-44 is now an awful, chopped up road!  There are some times when I see cows, but more often I see towns and I have a lot more traffic on the roads.  Speaking of the roads!  If I saw one dead armadillo, I saw 50 or more!  They were along side the road, kind of like back home when we have dead raccoons and rabbits!

Today I stopped about 20 miles from St Louis so that I get to cross the town early tomorrow.  Unfortunately, I picked the Yogi Bear Jellystone campground which is close to the Six Flags Park.
I should have known I was in for it when I climbed their steep, twisting driveway!  Of course they had a site for my big motorhome!  As the escort took me down the narrow road to my site, I knew the site wasn't going to be big enough and it wasn't!  Eventually they got me into a site that will be very challenging to get out of, and then I get to climb a hill, make a tight left turn and then down the steep, twisting driveway to head back to the interstate!  Should be fun, not!  Pray for me.

Highlight of my day?  I stopped at the Pilot Truck Stop and paid $2.41 for diesel fuel!!  Woohoo!

Fun fact for the day?  I'm still on the Purple Heart Trail!  It followed me all along I-40 and now up I-44!

Here I am on my very unlevel site!

I go up this slope (doesn't look too bad in this photo) and continue up the campground road to the top!

I had to come down this slope to get into my site!

And of course a two foot drop from my step to the other step!!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 7 - Amarillo, TX to Tulsa, OK

June 7 - 376 miles - So, before I start talking about today, I have to tell something that I forgot about yesterday!  A few miles into Texas, I started picking up giant windmills.  So I checked the mile marker and tried to figure out how far I drove  along side those buggers!  Turns out it was 31 miles of windmills!  How could I forget that last night???

Now on to Sunday!  I got an early start and had very little traffic until late afternoon.  As soon as I left Amarillo city limits, I started to see windmills again and lots of flooding.  I had forgotten that this area was pounded with rain a week or so ago!  Fields were flooded, in fact at times I thought they were ponds until I noticed the tops of fence posts sticking out of the water.  The rest of the Texas panhandle wasn't too exciting - just alot of fields, cows and not much else!  Oklahoma is pretty flat, with fields, cows and small towns!  All in all today was an easy drive with flat or slightly rolling roads, and few people on the roads!  Except for Oklahoma City!  I got there during the afternoon when people were out moving around and I had to do alot of quick lane changes since I was leaving I-40 and getting onto I-44 via I-35.  It was one of those take a ramp, drive for a mile or two, take another ramp, drive another mile or two, take a ramp - well you know what I mean!  And at times we were 6 lanes across and people (in pick-up trucks) merging and changing lanes at 100mph!!!  A five foot gap between cars?  Heck I can stick my pick-up in there!  Geez!  Anyway, I just kept plugging along and came out the other side of Oklahoma City and kept on rolling!  Tulsa was pretty easy, and I'm spending the night on the east side of town at the Hard Rock Casino (Cherokee Indian Tribe).  Last year when Mike and I came through here, this is where we camped, so I figured might as well stay again!  Steak dinner, a beer and I came out ahead on the slots!  Good evening!  Tomorrow is my day in Missouri.  I start the day in Joplin, and will stop early on the west side of St Louis.  I will be hitting St Louis around evening rush hour, so I'm going to wait and try to go through at a better time on Tuesday.

Just outside of Amarillo

Eastern Texas panhandle - looking pretty flat

Oklahoma - yup, it's pretty flat

Saw alot of fields like this - I think it was wheat

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 6 - Acoma, NM to Amarillo, TX

June 6 - 349 miles -  I woke up to sunshine today, yahoo!  Got on the road with plans to make it to Amarillo, TX as long as the weather cooperated!  Scenery was awesome again - I tried to take some pictures through the windshield to share with you, but they don't do it justice.  I saw cows and I did see a small herd of wild horses grazing out in the middle of no man's land!  Basically, I-40 cuts through New Mexico with little civilization until you drop into the valley and bam! you are in Albuquerque!  That was the first place that I ran into construction and loss of lanes since I got onto the interstate.  I'm really glad I took on this town on a Saturday because there was still a lot of traffic - can't imagine a weekday!  Once you get out of town, you climb back up the mountain and back into no man's land!

There are exits on the interstate, but the often lead away to ??????  Maybe a town somewhere?  Often the exit is just for a gas station, food and tourist trap!  Around 12:30, I stopped at one of those places for lunch and it had a DQ!  It took forever to get my chili dog (they moved at one pace and it was slowwwwwww).  Anyway, I went in with sunshine and came out to BLACK skies to the west!  I fired up that motorhome and headed out with the NOAA radio blasting.  It informed me that a severe storm with 1/4 to 3/4 inch hail was traveling north, so as long as I kept moving, I was good!  I traveled on the stretch of I-40 that Mike rode his bike along and I have a healthy appreciation for his endeavours!  There were some SERIOUS climbs!  I did see one guy with a bike and a little trailer, but he was walking!  Wimp! I also saw a man pushing a woman in a modified wheelchair loaded down with luggage!  Very bizarre!  And as I passed over rivers in eastern NM, the rivers were very red!  Oh, by the way, the moment I crossed the Texas border, I was now in Central Time.

Oh here is a fun fact; In New Mexico, I-40 is known as the Purple Heart Trail!

Just got onto the road and check out my scenery!

Check it out!

I see a big mountain in the distance!

Getting bigger!

I came out of the DQ and this is what was coming!

June 5 - Holbrook, AZ to Acoma, NM

June 5 - What a difference 24 hours makes!  Yesterday it was in the 90's, this morning it's 54 and raining as I getting ready to leave!  I had another late start today, 10:45, because I was having problems with my riding lights and tail lights.  Yesterday I had a fuse blow, causing the lights to fail.  This happened in Texas while Mike and I were traveling to Arizona.  We were told it was because of a new cable that attaches to the jeep.  Since the cable is new, it is tight and it supposedly pulls on the outlet, causing the short that blows the fuse. Unfortunately, we didn't ask the repairman what fuse he replaced!  So, this morning I had to wait for Monaco (our motorhome make) hotline to open (they are on Pacific time), then I called them, waited in line and then the techie told me which fuse to replace.  Bingo!  I'm in business again.  I'm now carrying extra fuses just in case and I know which one to change.  Anyway, I finally get on the road and it proceeds to rain most of the day.  When I stopped to fuel up, I changed from shorts to jeans and turned on the cab heater!  Geez!  By the way, I paid $2.81 a gallon for diesel fuel in New Mexico!  I'm not complaining!!!

My whole trip today was on I-40.  I must say, the road is pretty good and scenery is awesome!  Since the 2+ years that we have traveled the west, today was the first time I have ever seen water in the washes!  Mike has always said he wanted to see it, well I did!  The narrow washes were actually flowing, the big washes were just starting to fill.  For those who don't know, a wash is like a bone dry riverbed.  People drive their 4x4s in them and they are just sandy.  Anyway, the rain just stayed with me today and the winds started whipping.  I had decisions to make because, a) I had a late start, b) I lost an hour since I left AZ and now I'm in mountain time,  c) if I went an hour further, I was going to be in a stretch of land with no campgrounds - so I decided to quit early (4pm) in Acoma, NM at the Sky City Casino RV park.  Paid $20 for a full hookup, pull thru site (can't beat that!).  I had skipped lunch, so I went to the casino and enjoyed their seafood buffet and made a small donation to the casino - that's my nice way of saying I lost a small amount on the slots!  Came back home, had a nice shower and I'm relaxing and typing up my blog entry.

By the way, the casino is owned/run by the Acoma Pueblo people.  Yesterday I forgot to mention that I had traveled through an Apache reservation and last night I stayed in and today traveled through the Navajo nation.

Back of the jeep for the trip home!  My plants survived my 5 weeks absence due to my wonderful neighbor who took care of them through the 90+ weather!  Thanks Wade!

This was stamped into the sidewalk in Holbrook.  My campground was by the historical Route 66!

Traveling down I-40 and heading into this!

A little of the landscape and the weather in Arizona

And yes, I was keeping an eye out for funnel clouds.  Even though there was no forecast for tornadoes!!

And then I get to the campground in New Mexico, and I get this!!!

But we did have a pretty sunset!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

June 4....Mesa to Holbrook, AZ

If you are following this blog for the bicycling info, you might want to skip the blog for the next week!  This is about Pam traveling from Mesa, Arizona to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in a very large motorhome!  Some friends and family want to know where I am and how I'm fairing as I travel across tornado alley!  After spending 5+ weeks back home, spending time with my Dad, I had to fly back to Mesa to pick up the jeep at the Phoenix Airport and then on to Towerpoint Resort.

I spent a week relaxing by the pool, visiting with neighbors and my boss and getting the rig ready to roll.  Yesterday was my appointment to get routine work done on the motorhome.  Unfortunately, last evening I discovered that our satellite dish wouldn't go down all of the way.  In February, I took Directv up on an offer to upgrade to a DVR.  Unfortunately, the guy who came out to upgrade our rig, didn't know a thing about Winegard equipment, which is the RV equipment.  Unknown to us, he took off parts, put things on wrong, etc.  So when I put the dish down yesterday, it jammed up and wouldn't go down all the way.  Long story short, Winegard sent out a tech who tried (he really did) to get the whole thing to work.  In the end, he had to replace the whole dish and I didn't get on the road until 2!

I headed north on AZ87 which is alot of climbing, short descent, over and over as I traveled out of the Valley of the Sun.  Lots of scenery and cactus to look at.  I passed thru Payson and continued northeast on AZ260, AZ277, AZ 377 and finally AZ77 to Holbrook.  This is where I will pick up I-40 to head east.  The scenery was awesome up through the mountains and onto the Mogollon Rim.  Saw lots of signs telling me to watch for animals and elk, but didn't see anything except cows!

And now it's cool and raining and once again I get to smell the desert (in this case, high desert) when it rains!  It has a very distinct smell that I never smelled until I discovered the desert last year and I believe it comes from the creosote plant!  No! I'm not crazy!