Even after preparing for this Mexico trip for nearly six months, I still found myself in a mad scramble to get the house buttoned up, rig packed, and get on the road. Adding to the chaos, we managed to squeeze a house closing in there too (my stepsister, Holley, and her husband bought my mom’s house a couple days before I left).
Since the family had so much activity going on, we decided to move up our Thanksgiving/Christmas celebration to the weekend before Thanksgiving and had a wonderful evening together. With that finished, it was now time to focus on the getting all the piles staged in my living and dining rooms moved out into the RV. A bitter cold front had also just arrived further motivating me to hurry up and get out of town!
On Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, Millie and I were finally on our way. I was plenty nervous about this new rig (especially with visions of what surely were hundreds of pounds of excess cargo I had shoved into every nook and cranny!). But the “T1Nnie Winnie” performed like a champ and had no problems at all.
I probably should have done a test hook-up of the new rig to the Tracker earlier, but had never gotten around to it. So, on the day before Thanksgiving, when I finally hooked up the Tracker to the View, I now realized that this new View’s rear hitch was a couple inches lower than my previous View (so, now making my 6” drop hitch receiver a bit low and making the tow bar un-level). Remembering that eTrailer.com was in the St. Louis area, and I could easily route that way on my trip to the Southwest, I called them to see about picking up a new drop hitch later that day.
Of course, I never manage to estimate my departure times correctly when leaving on a big trip, and this time was no different. I now would not arrive to eTrailer until well past their closing time. But, no worries! A wonderful customer service girl named Rose, found a good hiding spot for my box outside, gave me the access code to open up their driveway security gate, and even gave me her home phone number to call that night if I had any problems. Wow! All that on the day before a holiday! What a great group of folks (with great products and prices) at eTrailer.com !!!
Millie and I made our way across Missouri and Kansas as fast as we could, driving about 500 miles a day, and spending our nights at Flying J truck stops. I had planned to stay overnight at a Wal-Mart in Kansas on Thanksgiving night, but then remembered that it would be Black Friday eve and that parking lot would be jammed with shoppers! So, we found this nice Flying J in Emporia, KS to bed down for the night. Millie enjoyed meeting her equine “neyhhh-bors"!
We routed through Kansas for two reasons—the diagonal route would be the shortest distance to Arizona from Chicago, but more importantly, we had a very special delivery to make at the family gravesites in Augusta, Kansas. When we had scattered my mom’s ashes this past summer in Colorado, I had held back one small container to scatter at her parents graves.
My mom (as well as her mom) were consummate shoppers and considered Black Friday the highlight of their shopping year. So, no better a day to reunite these 2 shop-a-holics!
We then continued our long day’s drive across Kansas. It remained clear and sunny, but turned quite windy by afternoon. No worries, though! I just pulled into a nice city park in western Kansas and took a quick nap on our new RV’s nice permanent rear bed. The sun shining through the windows made it a perfect warm and cozy mid-afternoon retreat!
Pushing on, we continued towards Liberal, Kansas and through the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas. The drive was rather dull and uneventful, but I can report that I observed no liberals in Liberal, KS. Nor did I see any hookers at the Hooker Inn in Hooker, Oklahoma!!! But I did manage to snap a few pics of our new View’s shadow to break up the monotony!
By the time I reached the Texas panhandle, it was now after dark and the 2-lane Highway 54 felt a bit treacherous at Texas’ legal 75 mph speed limit. I was glad to finally cross into New Mexico to return to a slower, safer speeds and spent the night at yet another Flying J in Tucumcari.
On Saturday, I hit the road early to meet up with fellow View-owner, Evelyn, at a casino on the outskirts of Albuquerque where she’d spent the night. We caravanned along I-40 to make our way west to Arizona by nightfall. Other than some dense fog and white-knuckle driving around Flagstaff, we finally arrived to one of my favorite BLM boondocking locations just outside of Cottonwood, AZ just after dark. We awoke to this serene sunrise vista on Sunday morning:
Wishing we had more time to spend in Cottonwood, we regretfully had to leave on Sunday to continue pushing on to Yuma (as I had a dental appointment the next day). We decided to take the more-direct scenic route through Prescott and stopped for lunch in the little town of Yarnell, AZ (where the 19 firefighters lost their lives battling a wildfire last summer). A touching memorial has been erected right next to the town’s restaurant.
Also, while in Yarnell, we happened to see another View (this one from Missouri), but we were never able to locate it’s drivers!
We finally arrived to Yuma by mid-afternoon and were greeted by warm, sunny temps in the mid-70’s. We settled on a nice gravel plateau about a mile north of the Mexican border to boondock for the week with my friend, KamperBob, while getting our dental work done in Algodones, Mexico.
Hopefully, all of my future cross-country drives will be at a much more leisurely pace!