On to Rosamond…

After a nice night’s sleep at Meteor Crater RV Park, it was back on the road heading due west to just 80 miles north of Los Angeles, Rosamond. Home of Edwards AFB and my brother. I wasn’t looking forward to being in the desert for a couple months but, he’s family and needs assistance so whatcha gunna do?

Plan is to help get his project car up and running. A 1966 Studebaker Daytona. Far too many problems with the car to detail here, but I’ll note that the engine AND tranni were both rebuilt last year. Thing’s a wreck in my opinion…but, it’s his money, his baby. I’ll help where I can, but my shoulder is still bothering me so I can’t lift much, can’t really torque a bolt very tight, or work underneath where I have to extend my arm over my head.

After the Studey is up and running, if ever, then it’s time for him to empty the house, put it on the market, and head north to be closer to his son and family. That’s the plan.

Just a hour after leaving the RV park, I pass through Flagstaff. This first picture was taken shortly after I got on the road. Nestled on the slope of big hill up ahead is where Flagstaff is. Because of it’s elevation, Flagstaff has some pretty nice year round weather. One of my favorite places to stay when it’s hot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Some old volcanic cone?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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From Roswell to Meteor Crater…

Next morning, awoke at 5:30AM and couldn’t get back to sleep because of the stink blown on the wind from the nearby cattle pens. The winds were not helping. Yesterday afternoon when I’d stopped here, wind was light, and didn’t notice any bad smells.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANot a bad spot. Nice and long spaces.

Headed off at 7:15 to Roswell and found a nice Mexican restaurant for breakfast…

I tried several times to get a good photo of these green alien statues they’ve installed all over Roswell. This is the only one good enough to post.

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Leaving Van Horn, 2nd visit to Carlsbad Caverns…

Left Van Horn around 9AM and headed up to Carlsbad Caverns for a second visit. This time I planned to walk down into the cavern from the ‘Natural Entrance’. This starts at the surface and winds down 750 vertical feet by the bat cave. Nice improved trail, but a bit steep. I don’t have joint problems as a rule so I didn’t think there would be too much trouble for me to hike down.

As you can see from the pics, weather was beautiful. Temp was in the high 60’s so it was a comfortable ride.

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Van Horn & 1st visit to Carlsbad…

Enjoyed my visit to Van Horn.  Super fast WiFi, fast enough that I could watch a complete HBO or Amazon movie without a glitch. Nice flat countryside for bike riding. A store right next to the RV park. And several highly recommended resturants that the owners of the RV park had personally visited in the 5 months since they’d bought the RV park. Decided to try what I was told was a very good steak house just a block away. With a bar. Cool. So my first night here I bike over to the Cattle Company and find that they do indeed have an incredible steak. The Flat Iron. Tender like a filet mignon, but with the flavor of prime rib. Yum. Bad part was here I’m getting an expensive steak, and they only have those damned sweet rolls. Like Hawaiian type bread. Comes with honey butter cups. Gah! So I ask for just toast. I mean, really, who doesn’t eat their steak with garlic bread? Nope, they don’t have regular bread. So I ask for a couple pads of butter. They charge $0.50 for them even though I don’t even remove the lids from the honey butter cups. Order the salad, and typically, it’s not a salad. Two kinds of lettuce and 3 cherry tomatoes. That’s not a salad. OK, I try again for some veggies and order corn on the cob. I find out that they cook the cobs in hot salted water, then keep them warm in melted honey butter! Damnit! What the fuck is wrong with restaurants these days that they won’t even attempt to provide a decent, healthy, dinner??? No vegetables in the salads, mass quantities of sugar on everything. Well, the steak was good.

Three days later, I check the weather up at Carlsbad Caverns (CC) and it’s a little dicey but not too bad, so next morning off I go. Forty minutes later, and I’m heading into this. Looks pretty. But ominous.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA You climb from Van Horn at 4,000 feet, to CC at 6,000 feet. So you’re bound to run into some bad weather. Or have to drive through some interesting clouds.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Time to leave New Orleans…

After another day of wandering the streets of New Orleans, it was time to move on. Monitoring the national weather, I could see there was a front heading right for New Orleans bringing high winds, rain, tornados up north of here, and generally uncomfortable weather. This did curtail my loose plans of taking a couple more tours, riding the paddlewheel, and visiting some of the historical areas of NO. However, the predictions were dire enough that I decided to leave now then come back some day and enjoy the area during a calm weather period. But for right now, hightailing it out of this bullseye was the plan.

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And above is a picture to contrast with the beautiful weather I had here the day I arrived 5 days ago and showed in my last post. We were pretty much stuck with the overcast and threatening storm fronts all around.

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More from New Orleans…

Next day, head back downtown New Orleans…to meet the tour bus I’m scheduled for. It’s a Grey Line tour featuring a bus ride out of town to a sugarcane plantation named the Oak Alley. Timing was a little awkward as the shuttle picked us up at 4 PM or 8 PM and the plantation tour returned at 4:45. So I’d have to find something to do for 3 plus hours after returning. I had two hours to kill after being dropped off by the shuttle too.

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A few months in Orlando…

The first 2 months in Orlando passed quickly and I was enjoying the wonderful sunny and mild weather. And the Seahawks were heading for the Superbowl. I entertained myself by watching previous games of the season, and last years Superbowl over and over. I also attempted to find a Sports bar…no luck nearby. I did finally find one that would be a 20 minute drive that looked like it would be lots of fun to watch the SB at but could not find a ride. Lost Lake is so far out in the boondocks that it takes 15 minutes to get practically anywhere. So a taxi ride was way too expensive. The town of Apopka, which I’m only 4 miles from, has a population of 45,000 so it’s weird that there’s no taxi there. Every taxi I called, even Uber, would tell me it was too expensive for them to leave Orlando and come clear out to Apopka. Orlando was where the money was for taxi drivers.

I asked around the RV park and people did have plans for the SB, but none were heading to a sports bar. And buses out here took so long to get anywhere, and nowhere near where I wanted to go so they were out of the question. Sure, I could drive my RV, I’ve done that before when I wanted to see a game, but eventually I said screw it, I’ll just stay home and watch by myself. So I had my own little SB party. The RV park was like a ghost town, so many people were gone somewhere else for SB parties.

And I also tried to find a reason to go to Epcot center. You guys know that a day ticket is $108??!! Wow. The last time I went to a Disney style park like that it was only $50 odd bucks. That’s how long it’s been. Food would be hugely expensive there. Also parking would cost me $50 because of the size of my rig…I checked. So we’re talking about a $150 to $200 day. A bus from nearby goes right there, but takes 8 hours of travel time. One way. Yikes. But I really, really considered going. Also, I planned a visit to Key West. But each time I got it arranged, something came up, one time it even got all cold, windy, and wet there on the week I planned a visit. Damnit! So basically, I didn’t go anywhere in Orlando, or Florida expect this one RV park. Hurump.

And soon it was February, and the Superbowl, featuring the Seahawks. My team!! And they really looked like they had it in the bag, didn’t they? WTF??!! Passing on the goal line with plenty of time and 3 huge running backs on the roster?? What the hell where you thinking!? Damn. OK, done with football until next August.

Before I knew it, it was March. I’m sitting at my picnic table after taking some pictures of my windows I’d just worked on, and this wasp lands next to my left elbow. It’s carrying a green worm it’s size…that’s still wiggling. I’m watching it while it just sits there…resting I think. After about a minute, it flies over to my right side and plugs the worm into this hole. Then it acts like it’s stinging the worm…and depositing an egg. Damn. Then I realize this whole time, I’ve been sitting there like a dummy watching this drama unfold with my camera in my hands! Got this one shot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Still had pretty good weather. But I was still here after almost 5 months because the poor bastards up north had one of the severest winters on record. It was the topic on the nightly news for months. I wanted to visit the gulf states for sure, but not when the roads were all icy, and it snowed 2-3 times a week up there. The rest of the time, it’s sleet, or heavy rain. But always cold. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Continue reading

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Hanging around in Georgia…

Since I don’t have a schedule, I’m staying at the Harvest Moon RV park in Adairsville, Georgia for a few days instead of just overnight because…why not. Weather was beautiful, park was very nice, I needed to get my laundry done, the usual. WiFi sucked but…meh, I’ll survive I suppose. Adairsville has a humid subtropical climate most of the year. But not while I visited. Very nice. During the days, 70’s, at night in the 50’s. Adairsville used to be a small Cherokee village until they were forced out in 1838 by land thieves based on the Indian relocation act. An illegal bill that was struck down by the Supreme Court after the Cherokee people sued for redress. The Cherokee were known as one of the Civilized Tribes as they had early on in the 1780’s adopted and tried to integrate into ‘white’ society. President Andrew Jackson ignored the SCOTUS ruling in favor of the Indians and forced marched them on the ‘Trail of Tears’ on which nearly 5,000 died. Asshole.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA There’s hardly any Indian history left around here, after it was brutally destroyed by the land grabbers that flooded this area after the Indians were forced out. There is, however, a pioneer graveyard right behind this RV park.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Unplanned visit to St. Louis…

As I was preparing to just head south, I decided, hell, maybe it would be fun to stop by Fairfield, Iowa, where Shelly had gone to college, gotten married, was the star of the local production of “Once upon a Mattress”, and lived for many years. She’s been gone for years, but still has friends there.

Perhaps I’ll visit one of her and my current internet friends, Cat. Cat still lives there in a big ol’ house, it was on my way, and Fairfield was near where I’d have to stop for the night anyway. A quick phone call, and yes, I could stay out in front of her house for the night. So, I visited with them after arriving, we went out for dinner, I crashed in my RV out front of their house, and next morning, was back on the highway. And the storm had slipped south again. As I was leaving town, it wasn’t all that bad. Most of the rain had been earlier in the morning.

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But here you can see the clouds are going to be with me for a while. Getting close to St. Louis and it’s not let up that much. It’s only been ‘sprinkles’ though.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMy plan was to find a low cost RV park on the outskirts of St. Louis, and take public transportation into town to visit the Arch. I’d seen it from the freeway while passing in past trips, but never gone up the arch. Sounded like a fun thing to do though. I’d spent some time online at Cat’s place to find this RV park near St. Louis. I should have taken longer.

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On to Golden Valley, Minnesota…

My daughter, Michelle, had moved…from Walla Walla, where she’d been living for several years since her divorce, to Golden Valley, Minnesota. She’d met a guy online and ended up moving to Minnesota to be with him. Ain’t that sweet?

Anyway, I leave Walla Walla early morning after the nice visit with family, and head north. I only visited with family for one day though, because by now it’s September 26th and I wanted to get to Minnesota before the weather turned wintry anywhere along the route. According to the long term weather predictions, I had the best chance of an uneventful trip if I traveled at this time. I headed northeast actually, since my mapping program said that’s the best route. I’d get to go through Prescott, Dayton, Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, and beyond. And I’d get to travel through country I’d not seen in 40 years. And just one days drive would get me clear to Great Falls, Montana or there abouts.

Wheat field just outside Walla Walla.

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