Tuesday, 12 May 2015

East by North-East

The end of winter signaled that it's time for us to turn this rig around and go home.  There is a different feel to travelling home than when we set out to explore the west.  We set out with definite plans of where and what we were going to see and do and we managed to do it all, with the exception of just one or two minor things.  There were also plenty of things we've seen and done along the way that we had no idea of when we started out on our journey. 

I guess that is the draw for explorer's of the past, present and future.  People love to know what is over that mountain, at the end of a river or the bottom of a canyon and want to experience them for themselves.  I love to imagine what the first brave adventurer's thought and what made them push on towards the west in the face of so many obstacles and hardships we can't even fathom today.

 We felt free and excited to explore just like them last fall and see what we would find in the west.  I do admit we are doing it in an air conditioned truck with full warranty and roadside assistance, GPS (two of them actually), cell phones, dozens of maps, Trip Advisor and the web to do research as we go.  We also have 38' of trailer with everything you could want in it tagging along behind us.  We get the thrill of seeing new things without the threat of starving, freezing or being eaten by some animal.  The left coast journey has been fun but it's time to go home and see family and friends again.

Our trip feels like it's over until we look at the map and see we are thousands of miles from home and have to get back.  Starting off we head into the Mojave desert and our first bit of trouble looking for Sierra Trail RV Park which was to be a one night stop over. I missed the road for the park and decided to turn around on a little dirt road, as I backed up I unknowingly managed to run the trailer into a bush and mound of dirt.  When we made it to the park we realized the whole rear quarter of the 5th wheel was bent and scratched, we even had to go back to where it happened and find some missing bits of trim.  To say I was mad at myself is an understatement, I did manage to straighten much of it out and buff out some scratches but the trailer is just not as pretty as it once was.

The next day we head off to drive through Death Valley on our way to a week long stay in Pahrump, NV.  We head north on lightly used two lane road through the ominously named valley.  All was well on hot day, cruising along at 55mph as we head up out of the valley, a message pops up on the dash and says "Reduced Engine Power".  The truck slows to a crawl on a road with no shoulder, on the edge of DEATH VALLEY!!!!?  The gauges , oil pressure, water temperature and electric were all fine and there were no strange noises or anything else to cause concern.  We sat there stunned for a minute wondering what went wrong.  I hit the OnStar button and was told it was a sensor that needed to be checked and I could have it serviced at my convenience.  I explained that we were stuck in the middle of the road in Death Valley and the truck won't move.  The lady told us she could arrange a tow if we wanted and I explained again the truck stopped on it's own.  I decided to shut everything off and restart the truck to see if it would help get it moving.  Well that did the trick and we were on our way!  Why they set it up to strand you at the side of the road for a sensor that I can have checked at my convenience, I don't know.

The Nevada Treasure RV Park, a spot that is great if you want to sit and relax.  This resort has nice sites to while away the time and some of them have gas grills and gazebos.  What makes this place a little different than most is that is has a six lane bowling alley that is only $5 for three games, a restaurant/bar serving up food at prices that make cooking for yourself hardly worth it and to top it off a gym with every type of equipment, sauna, hot tub and steam bath.  If you wanted to spend an inexpensive winter sitting somewhere getting in shape you could do worse.  All this and Las Vegas is just an hours' drive away.

We had spent a week in Pahrump and then we headed down to the Big Bend of the Colorado State Park just outside of Laughlin, Nevada, the third largest gambling center in Nevada.  This is a first come first serve park so you take your chances on getting a site.  The park has full hook-ups and huge pull-through sites and is a great place to stay and play in the river or at the slots in town.  It was fun watching the Road runners, which we had not seen before, run around the sites in the mornings.

Our Big Bend of the Colorado site.
We spent the maximum allowed ten days here just relaxing and enjoying the surroundings and having fires at night under the stars.
Time to move towards home again we hit the highway and stopped at the Homolovi State Park in Arizona for a one night stop over.  There ruins of an old Hopi Nation settlement which at one time had thousands of people living here over three different periods between AD 620 to AD 1400.  It is a very large and impressive ruin spread out over the grasslands along the Little Colorado River.  Walking around this place reminded me of when we were in Pompeii years ago on our first cruise.
Some of what remains of the many pueblos here.
Our site and view at Homolovi.
When we were set up we drove into the nearby town of Winslow, Arizona.  As anyone of my generation will tell you there is one thing you have to do here and that is stand on the corner.  The Eagles song "Take it Easy" the famous line is brought to life here by the local people.  A park was built on the corner complete with a flatbed Ford truck and a statue of what they call a '70's man, that looks like Glenn Frey to me.
Here I am standin' on the corner.
We also travelled another little bit of Route 66.
 After morning coffee we headed off towards Albuquerque, NM

I'll have the rest of our return trip up in a few days,