As I mentioned before, my friend and neighbor had a slick new to him BMW with a 500HP engine just itching to try out on a local race track, Willow Springs Raceway. As luck would have it, it’s just up the road from here, and on June 13th he and I headed over there to get on the track and give the car a workout. I’m the ‘pit crew’ so I’ll just get to watch while Brennan takes her out on the track. We arrive at the track pretty early in the morning after a night of intermittent rain, but the tracks already dry, so that’s good. And Brennan has to sit through the driver training and all so I had some slack time.
It’s fairly boring here, but as I used to tell my kids when they’d complain about how bored they were, “A bored person is boring, an interested person is interesting, find something to be interested in”.
Ok, so I’ll do that. Dan’s next door neighbor, and I’d like to say my friend Brennan, lets me park my RV on his property next to his house and plug into AC so I can retreat here to watch TV, play on the computer like I’m doing now, and just hang out.
The day after I arrived last month, he showed me his new toy. It’s a 2007-8 BMW Convertible. Thing has a 500 HP engine and adaptive suspension, GPS, AC, killer stereo system, all the bells and whistles. All tricked out for both performance and comfort. Now, that kind of thing perks my interest as you’d imagine so I imposed on him to take me on a ride about. And the next weekend we headed on over to Tehachapi.
Here’s one of many long stretches of highway on the route where we got up over 100 MPH. Thing is, he’d gotten up to 115 on this stretch and I’d not known until he pointed it out. It was that smooth, quiet, and comfortable. Nice.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. Continue reading
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.
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.