Phyllis and Brian Motorhome Across USA
Day 1, Sunday Sept. 15
Left home about 12:30. Went to H & E to return fly-killer and had lunch at Sizzler. Spent first night in Bishop camp ground south of town. Saw an elk in elk reserve on the way. Had dinner at Denny’s and saw a super speed boat there coming into the parking lot.
Day 2, Sept. 16
Left Bishop. Stopped at Convict Lake to dump holding tanks. Very pretty place. Then went on a steep, tough road over Monitor Pass. Past Donner Lake and Lake Tahoe. Pretty drive. Got to Jim and Bobbie's about 7 PM. Bobbie had dinner ready.
Day 3, Sept. 17
Phyllis & Brian & and Jim & Bobbie went sight seeing in Nevada City. Many old historic buildings. Went to a museum and an old fire station. An old fellow there told us lots of stories and historic incidents. Had lunch at Cicero’s, a novel place. About 5 PM had a call from Wally. He and Juliana had flown as far as Auburn and decided not to go on to Grass Valley because of bad weather. Jim and I drove down to Auburn and picked them and their luggage up. (Much luggage). Bobbie fixed dinner for all on our return. Wally and Juliana were tired and went to bed. Jim, Bobbie, Phyllis and Brian played Cribbage. Phyllis and Jim won.
Day 4, Sept. 18
All six of us went to Auburn in Wagoneer to get Wally’s airplane. Had breakfast at airport. Bought some inflatable airplane toys for the grandkids and an altimeter for me. Bobbie and Phyllis drove back in Waggoneer the other 4 flew back in Wally’s Barron. Spent most of the day looking at houses and lots for Wally. Got caught in rain while walking along runway. Went to dinner at Holbrook Hotel in Grass Valley. Then went to a party at Mickey’s. Met a lot of Jim’s friends. Wally and Juliana spent the night at the hotel.
Day 5, Thurs Sept, 19
Phyllis went flying with Jim!!! Then she and Bobbie went to town shopping and sightseeing. Wally and Jim and Brian and Juliana went flying in the 180 to look for other possible airport lots for Wally. Found none. Landed at a small airport and the man in charge took us through the weather station. About 7 PM Dave Ervin called from the Exxon station and Jim and Wally went out to lead him to the house. We had a late dinner. Big steaks! Then played charades.
Day 6, Sept. 20
Jim went to work. Flew off in 180. Bobbie and Phyllis went to town again to shop for river trip. Dave left about 9:30 AM. Brian, Wally and Juliana went to town to take Wally’s motorcycle to get fixed and buy plywood etc. to prepare trailer to carry river rafts. In the afternoon Wally, Brian and Bill fixed the trailer for rafts and got the rafts ready and loaded. Bobby and Brian played cribbage. Brian won. Phyllis washed her hair.
Day 7, Sat. Sept 21
Wally and Juliana still looking at lots. Brian, Phyllis and Bobbie went to town. Brian got a haircut and picked up things for TV shelf. Allen Roberts came in about noon. In the afternoon we all went down to the runway to meet Jim. We have a huge Welcome Home sign, chairs to sit in and score cards to score his landing. We did this because he had commented that no one ever came down to see him land. Wally and Juliana made tacos and we sat in yard and ate. Beautiful evening. After dinner Jim showed slides of Salmon River trip. Bill and Beth and their two children came over.
Day 8, Sunday Sept 22
Up at 6 AM to go to run American River. Nine of us in Bill’s van with a top heavy trailer behind. A real seasick machine on those twisty roads. Put on river at 10:04 AM. Nice day of river running. Phyllis wasn’t even scared. Many good rapids near end of trip now exposed by low lake level. Mexican food in Auburn. Alan left us in Auburn. I had left the take out wearing my wetsuit and wet jacket. It looked pretty much like regular clothes but was still wet and was pretty uncomfortable. I couldn’t take it off because I wasn’t wearing anything under it. I wore it to the restaurant and all the way home. Was glad to get out of it.
Day 9, Sept. 23
Wally and Juliana left early. Brian and Jim cleaned and stacked the rafts then Brian and Phyllis left about noon. Ate lunch at Lake Englebright. Nice view of lake. Saw many homemade houseboats. Drove up Threshot Valley and finally to Whisky Town Lake. Stayed in parking lot like campground. Called Margie, John K, Dick M, Maxine and Jim.
Day 10, Tue. Sept. 24
Drove to Trinity Center on Trinity Lake. Met Bobbie and Jim at airport about 1:30. Had lunch in motorhome. Discovered bad safety valve on propane tank. Finally got it to hold but it will have to be replaced. Went to camping spot above Coffee Creek. Had nice campfire and after dinner played Cribbage and Dominoes. Bobby and Brian won both. Bobbie and Jim had planned to sleep outside but another camper told us that there was a 350 pound bear around so they slept in.
Day 11, Sept. 24
Days are shorter than nights now. Jim built a morning fire and Bobbie and Phyllis served orange juice and coffee. Jim convinced Phyllis it would be nice to fly somewhere for breakfast. So we all flew to Hayfork, 30 miles away and ate a late breakfast at Irene’s. Walked around town a bit and then flew back to Trinity Center. Bobbie and Jim took off for Alta Sierra and Phyllis and Brian headed out around the east side of Trinity Lake. The plan was to check out a shortcut to Shasta Lake. Before we got to shortcut our main road turned to dirt. And we got dust through everything we have even inside drawers. The shortcut road was impassable for our rig, so we continued south. Finally got to pavement. But it was steep and narrow. Arrived at Whisky Town Lake before dark. This time in temporary camping area at Brandy Beach. Nice place.
Checked vibration in drive shaft and found bad rubber mounting. Will find replacement at Dodge place. Sat on the beach for a drink and after dinner spent some time bringing these notes up to date.
Day 12, Sept. 26
Spent a couple of hours vacuuming and dusting out yesterdays mess. Brian went swimming. Water was 65 degrees on thermometer but felt warmer. We have a rumble in the motorhome and yesterday we discovered it was the rubber mount that supports the drive shaft carrier bearing. So we went to Redding and found a Dodge dealer, and bought a new part. $55.00 for whole assembly. It had to be pressed on shaft and Dodge couldn’t do it. A man who heard my conversation at the Dodge place told me told me of a couple of places that might do it and offered to take me there. He thought I had the parts out. Very nice of him. We went to four places before we found one that would do the press job. I took the shaft and carrier out, and the shop did the pressing and also replaced a universal joint. Started out for Shasta Lake. Stopped under a big tree which Phyllis said was a private tree. Went into an RV place to try to get a TV antenna and a propane valve. Didn’t get either. Drove on to Bridge bay and found that Weldys were on ship 22. Left a note on their car. May rent a boat tomorrow and also cruise the lake. Went to a campground at Antlers and as we were backing into a camp spot an air conditioning hose blew up with much hissing and vapor pouring out from under the hood. Said we’ll fix it later. We had a drink and then walked to a restaurant and had the special, “all you can eat spaghetti.”
Day 13, Fri. Sept. 27
Got up fairly early (for me) so we could rent a boat and go look for Pat and John and see the lake. Didn’t do it because the sky was overcast and it looked like rain, so we went to Bridge Bay for breakfast. After breakfast Phyllis saw a house boat towing a small boat. We got the binoculars and it turned out to be John and Pat and their party. After they landed we went down to the dock and talked to them. Then we went to the dam and took a tour of the whole works. After another of our many conferences on where we were going, we decided to head for Lassen Park and then east. We arrived at Lassen Park about 5 PM, fixed a couple of things on the motorhome and had dinner, Phyllis is washing dishes. Maybe we will play some cards.
P. S. Picked up hose and Freon to repair air conditioner with.
Day 14, Sat. Sept. 28
Installed new air conditioning hose and recharged air conditioning system with R12 Freon. Having no vacuum pump with which to evacuate system, had to improvise method to get air out of system. Did this by filling system with Freon and then letting Freon out. Most of the air that was in the system came out with the Freon. Filled the system with Freon again and let it out again. This further reduced the amount of air in the system. Then filled system with Freon again and this time left it in. There should be almost no air left in the system. It’s working just fine now. Hope it continues this way.
Left campground at Lassen and drove through park. Very scenic and several good views of Mount Lassen. Got to Sparks, Nevada about 4 PM. While leaving Sparks saw the Harrah’s antique car building and made a quick decision to go see the antique cars. After considerable driving around and a shuttle bus trip we got there and spent an hour and a half looking at a small portion of the immense car collection. We had dinner at Denny’s and then drove 125 miles to our present camp at Rye Patch Lake.
Day 15, Sept. 29
Got late start – about 10:30. Drove thru some rather bleak country on highway 80 in northern Nevada. Stopped for lunch about 2PM at the Cattleman’s Hotel Inn, Elco. Decided to make it to a state camp ground on Great Salt Lake. Couldn’t find it and there is a good chance that it is flooded out by the very high water in the lake. Found a place to park in back of a motel. As we were turning around to go to motel we heard a loud snap-crunch. It turned out to be a broken main leaf in the right rear spring. Tomorrow we have to find a way to get it fixed. Lost an hour of time today. (We are now on mountain time) so must get to bed.
P. S. Stopped to see Bonneville Salt Flats.
Day 16, Sept. 30
Last night I got a phone number from our motel manager of a mechanic who might fix our spring. I also considered the option of trying to drive the motorhome to Salt Lake City to a spring place. I opted to go to the mechanic, so I called him at 7:30 this morning. His name is Joe Moore. He is tall and black. His shop is cluttered and messy and is part of a wrecking yard. But he is a nice fellow and said he could get right on it. So our motorhome was pulled into the yard (it was too tall to go in the shop) with tires, parts, engines, radiators, etc all around. He got the spring out pretty fast after spending some time looking every where for his 15/16 deep socket.
No new or used springs could be found so the plan was to have one made in a spring shop in Salt Lake City, about 20 miles away. The spring place said late this afternoon or early tomorrow. It was the best we could do so we said OK and his wife took the parts of the broken main spring to the shop.
We had mentioned to Joe Moore that we might rent a car and sight see at Salt Lake City but his wife, a white lady, said why don’t we take one of their cars. Very nice of them. We did and went to Salt Lake City to a Visitor Center and then to the Mormon Temple Square. We saw the world famous Mormon Tabernacle and heard the world famous organ and saw the Mormon Temple and Brigham Young’s house as well as taking a visitor tour and seeing a couple of slide shows. The whole Mormon operation here is very well done. About 5:30 we came home to Joe Moore’s and asked him to lower his jack a little so the motorhome would be level. Will probably take his car later and go to dinner. Hope the spring will be done tomorrow reasonably early.
Day 17, Oct 1
Yesterday the sprint place told Joe Moore that the spring would be ready about noon today. About 10 AM Joe’s wife called them and they told her that it would be ready about 3 PM so we took their car again and went to a little town named Tooele and did our washing and I shopped for some material for a TV shelf. We had lunch at Tooele and we’re back at Joe Moore’s at 3 PM. He had the spring and told us it had been ready since 10 AM. He and two other guys went to work installing it. They had some trouble due to using an improper sequence of installation. Finally got through about 6 PM. Joe’s wife Regina came into the motorhome and talked to Phyllis for quite a while. She had married Joe in Germany, where there was no racial prejudice and was unhappily surprised to find that she, as a black man’s wife, was not well accepted in the United States.
We paid the bill of $208.00 in cash. Quite reasonable we thought. Then we left and drove to Rockport State Park on Rockport Lake, about fifty miles.
Day 18, Oct. 2
This evening we are in a paid campground - $8,00. Have just had hot showers using all the water we wanted and Phyllis washed her hair. This morning we left Rockport Lake and headed east on I 80. Phyllis wasn’t feeling well so I did most of the driving. When I got sleepy we stopped and took a little nap. We had lunch at Little America. I was glad to see the place as I have seen it advertised on signs hundreds of miles away from it. We have just discovered that there is a Little America in Cheyenne also. Could it be a chain? We got to Rawlins about 5 PM. The plan was to go to Medicine Bow Park. Phyllis had got to feeling worse, but after some discussion we decided to go ahead. About 20 miles out of Rawlins Phyllis asked me what the altitude was. I said 7000 feet—Why?
I have pain in my chest and my shoulder hurts and my back hurts.
These symptoms could be indigestion plus her tender right shoulder, or they could be a heart problem. We decided the best thing to do was to go back to Rawlins where medical help was available if needed. So we drove back to Rawlins and located the hospital and the emergency room. And then came to this campground a couple of blocks from the hospital. Phyllis finally got to feeling better and we went to a restaurant for dinner. She had soup and salad bar, and seems to feel OK now. She has said that she has never had so much gas. If she is OK in the morning we will head out for Medicine Bow Park and then on east.
Day 19, Oct. 3
Phyllis felt much better today so we continued east. We pulled into our present camp at Lodge pole Wayside Area, Nebraska at about 5PM. We have been traveling until after dark recently and thought it would be good to get settled early. It was very windy most of the day and we were in rain or snow a lot depending on the altitude.
This morning we dumped the holding tanks and filled up with water and headed for medicine bow national monument. Going through this involved a 10,800 foot pass and there were snow flurries and lots of wind. It rocked the motorhome. After going through Medicine Bow Monument we drove through Laramie. It’s just a town and not too attractive. Then went on to Cheyenne and drove around a bit. Saw the state capital. From, buffeted by the wind and rain we came to here. Hope the weather is better tomorrow. Would not want to get snowed in here.
Day 20, Oct. 4
We are camped at Mahoney Lake near North Platt, Nebraska. We are right on the water and can hear the waves lapping on the shore. They are lapping because the wind is blowing although it has subsided some. Today the wind was so strong that it made driving difficult. At times we only made 35 miles an hour as with the strong wind a higher speed didn’t seem prudent. We traveled through interesting country with rolling green hills and a surprising number of eroded features that might be expected in Utah rather than Nebraska. One such feature was Chimney Rock, a spire several hundred feet high. Tomorrow we press further into Nebraska. Called Margie and tried to get Jim, John K & Tom Smith.
Day 21, Oct 5
Three weeks from home! We are in a State camp in the edge of Iowa. There are many motor homes and trailers here. A marked difference from the last few nights when we were almost the only ones in camp. The weather was much better today and traveling was pleasant. Nebraska, much to our surprise, was a very pretty state to travel through. Our only stop of historical interest was at Gothenburg to see a Pony Express station. We called Jim and John Kierstead this morning. We drove through Lincoln, Nebraska, the capital, instead of going around it on the freeway so we could see the city. Apparently a football game had just got out because the streets were jammed with traffic and people were wearing red. Must be their color.
Day 22, Oct 6
Left our camp at Wabaunsee State Park in the corner of Iowa at 9:20 this morning. Stopped at visitor center and got some info on Missouri. Drove around St. Joseph and Kansas City. Going out of Kansas City a fellow in a car flagged us down. We stopped and he came over to the motor home he was from Victorville and he had seen our Apple Valley license plate frame. His name is Inman and he now lives in Missouri. He told us which route was best to where we wanted to go and we changed our route because of his advice. We headed for Harry S. Truman Lake on Highway 9. It was a narrow rough road and the amount of on coming traffic was unbelievable. Evidently people returning to Kansas City on Sunday afternoon from the Lakes. It was a hard drive. We are now in Harry S. Truman State Park. Had a nice fire after we got the dollars worth of hard damp oak, that we bought from the ranger to burn. I beat Phyllis at Cribbage again by just a little bit. Will call Tom Smith in the morning.
The ball joints on the steering drag link are somewhat loose. I plan to replace them tomorrow if I can find the part. Looks like the whole drag link will have to be replaced.
Day 23, Oct. 7
Got up fairly early. Dumped the holding tanks, got water. Tried three times to call Tom Smith. No luck. Then I decided that there was enough wind to windsurf, and the lake wasn’t too cold so I unloaded the windsurfer and got my wetsuit on (no jacket) and went out. Not enough wind for a good ride but Phyllis took my picture attesting to the fact that I have windsurfed on Harry S. Truman Lake. We then drove to Lake of the Ozarks. Planned to have lunch at Ha Ha Tonka State Park. However, this park is not on the water and we ate lunch in the motor home in front of O’Riley’s Auto Parts in Camdenton. While crossing a narrow bridge over an arm of Lake Of The Ozarks I scraped a wheel cover on a little stick out curb. It is somewhat flatter than before. I bought a shorter mounting bolt so that it could be put on in its new configuration. After lunch we went hunting for a drag link for the motorhome but found none in Camdenton so continued on to Lebanon. Got on the phone there while Phyllis shopped and finally located one at Lebanon Auto Parts. However it turned out that one of the bad ball joints was on the tie rod so it must be replaced too. While matching up the parts in the alley behind Lebanon Auto Parts the parts man pointed that both Idler arm bushings were loose too so will replace them too. The people in Lebanon Auto Parts were very accommodating. As a matter of fact it seems that people in Missouri are generally very friendly. I think I have everything I need to replace the drag link, tie rod and idler arms. Hope it all goes together well and doesn’t take too long. We are in a fairly good place to work on it in a private camp near Mountain Grove on highway 60. After my windsurfing the wind came up pretty strong and it was a chore to hold the motorhome on the road.
Day 24, Oct. 8
Installed the steering parts this morning. Not too much trouble. Had to shim out a bracket that Dodge had got out of alignment. It was OK for the original idler arm with a rubber bushing but not good enough for the replacement which has a bearing. I used my newly purchased pickle fork to separate some of the ball joints but on the ones where I did not want to damage the seal, I took them apart by taping a nickel to the end of the bolt to protect the threads and hitting it with the blunt end of a hatchet. With all of this good work the job was unsuccessful because we are still getting too much wander. Much more than when it was new. I now suspect the steering gear. It has too much input travel before there is output travel. I will try to see if it is adjustable and also have considered replacing it. First I want to have the alignment checked. After doing this work we got off to a late start. Had to stop in a real gas station and get grease in the new fittings. Went to lunch at a place with a salad bar and a buffet. The price was very reasonable. Things are a lot less expensive here. We traveled through some beautiful Ozark country including Mark Twain State Forrest. Phyllis was a little nervous because we still had fairly strong wind. Parts of the road, Highway 60, was narrow. Parts were OK.
About 6:30 we came to our present campground at Rags Boomland near Charleston, Missouri. About 20 miles or so ago the Ozarks just stopped. We are on flat land now at almost sea level elevation. The camp has the facilities so we are connected to electricity, water and sewer. Can take long hot showers.
Day 25, Oct. 9 Wed.
We didn’t go very far today although we got a fairly early start. I finally got Tom Smith on the phone and also called Harry Beckner. We left the camp at Ray’s Boomland (they sell fireworks there). About 8:30 crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois and drove about 60 miles through lots of fall colors to the Ohio River and then crossed into Kentucky. Both the Ohio and the Mississippi are wide and impressive. We decided to go to an area between Lake Kentucky and Lake Barkley called land between the lakes. One objective was windsurfing as the weather is warm, but again, when we needed it there was no wind. We ate lunch at a very well done place called Pattie’s Restaurant and Antiques, and then went to camp spot on Lake Kentucky. Phyllis read and I wrote a letter and I installed the new hose on the air conditioner. Since I had no vacuum pump I purged the system by letting a can of Freon run through it to waste and then closed it up. My hose was ½ inch and the fittings seemed to be about 7/16 inch. But the hose clamps seemed to pull it down OK. Time will tell if the job is successful. Tomorrow we will go to Mammoth Caves and if there is time maybe on from there.
Day 26, Oct. 10
We are now in a campground at Mammoth Caves National Park. It costs $6.00 per night. Seems high for a parking space. However I got in for $3.00 because I’m so old. So far this is the only good thing I have found about getting old. We left our camp at Between the Lakes this morning about 9AM, before breakfast. We drove about 25 miles to Eddyville and had breakfast at Nick’s place. Pretty good. Then we went to the Western Kentucky Parkway, our first experience with a toll freeway. They charge about 50 cents every 10 or 15 miles. Then we took the Green River Parkway, also toll, to Bowling Green. I saw an RV sign on a large building and we stopped to check for some parts and to see if we could check out the sloppy steering. The mechanic made an adjustment on the pitman arm and it seems to be quite a bit better.
We had been hearing a scrunching noise when moving slowly. The noise seemed to be about drive shaft speed. So we asked the mechanic to check the universals. There were two bad ones so we had them replaced. (There are three altogether. I had replaced one at Redding). The repairs took about 2 hours. (They got right on it). We decided to postpone seeing Mammoth Lake until tomorrow. We drove to Mammoth Lake and got there just in time (4:30) to take a 1 ¼ hour boat ride on Kentucky’s Green River. Not nearly as scenic or exiting as Utah’s Green River.
There are several Cave tours, from short and easy to long and strenuous. We will probably take the short and easy one if I can convince Phyllis that she and her claustrophobia are compatible with the cave. This short trip is one half mile and called frozen Niagara. I believe it had the best formations in the cave. It goes at 10AM.
Day 27, Fri. Oct. 11
We had breakfast at the Mammoth Hotel restaurant because we didn’t have milk for the cereal and the egg beaters weren’t defrosted. Phyllis finally decided to take the cave tour, although she almost backed out at the last minute. After she got into the cave the claustrophobia eased up and she was OK. The part of the cave we saw had many beautiful formations. The ranger said that 70 to 80 percent of the pretty formations in the cave were in this 4 mile section. Mammoth cave is the largest cave system known but is not as ornate and beautiful as Carlsbad Caverns. After the tour we headed east on the Cumberland Toll road and then south on Highway 27 into Tennessee and also into the Eastern Time Zone.
About 4PM we discovered that the motorhome was losing power going up hills and we discovered that the electric fuel pump was malfunctioning and causing the mechanical pump to have to draw gas through the inoperative electric pump. As we were driving around a little town named Oneida looking for a fuel pump replacement we noticed that our brakes would make a scraping noise as we were stopping. Deciding that Oneida was not a good place to get this fixed we headed for Follett using the brakes as little as possible. In the meantime the electric fuel pump seemed to get well, but I will probably replace it anyhow as it has been erratic for a long time. In what we thought was Follett a service station man offered to check the brakes for us so we had him do it. He did about the same thing as I had done before starting the trip and couldn’t find anything wrong. (He took the front wheels off and checked the pads and checked the rear lining through the holes in the backing plates). However we still have the scraping noise. We tried braking using only the parking brake and got no noise. This would seem to indicate that the rear brakes were OK. So in the morning I will pull the front wheels and make a more thorough inspection.
Our trip today was through the most beautiful fall colors that I have ever seen. Even more beautiful than Colorado and Idaho. The colors range from green to yellow, orange, brown, red, and almost purple and are unbelievably bright and vivid.
I think Phyllis has had almost enough of traveling and troubles. However after we got our place here in Cove Lake State Park she felt better after we went out to dinner and then we both had showers and Phyllis washed her hair. I got lost in the park on the way back from the shower room. Finally was able to make out the silhouette of the wind surfer on top of the motorhome.
Day 28, Oct. 12
It has been a long day. It started before daylight. The plan was for me to remove the front brake calipers to be sure the lining was OK. I did this and lining was OK and we were on our way by about 8 o’clock. We drove about 10 miles to La Follett to try to find a brake shop to check the rear lining. Couldn’t find a brake shop, so found a parts store, who according to their books, had replacement parts. The manager said I could work on it in a grassy field beside his building. I removed both rear drums, somewhat more difficult than checking the front. The lining was in good shape – will probably go another 40.000 miles. So now we don’t have to worry about lining and can use the brakes freely, but we don’t understand why we get that scraping noise (intermittent) when the brakes are applied. In removing the rear axle shafts I had trouble getting the little cones out that are on each of the eight axle bolts. I asked the part’s man if there was a special tool to pull them. He didn’t know but said he would get some one who could help me. We went to a little shop building where some men were working on cars and asked a fellow named Jim to look at it for me. He showed me how to hit the axle end with a hammer and the cones would just pop out. We bought a fuel pump from the part’s man although our present one is again working.
We left the grassy lot about noon. Decided to drive a bit before lunch. Well it was about 2 PM before we could find a place to pull off. This country is heavily populated and most every bit of land is used. Lunch was in a parking lot by a Visitor Center. The lady in the Visitor Center told us what to see in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. She must have told a few thousand other People the same thing because everybody and their car and their kids and dogs and bicycles were there. It was a parade! Being Saturday afternoon and what they call “color season” must be the cause. The colors were beautiful but not as impressive as we have seen on the regular roads and freeways. We were too closed in and could not see the forest for the trees. We had decided not to go clear on through the park as was our original idea, but to head out for flatter land and straighter roads. Phyllis was somewhat carsick from the twisty roads. We would have been glad to stop where we were but all the camp places were filled with the mobs of people. Quite a switch from Wyoming and Nebraska where we might be the only ones in camp. We started to head for the flat lands but inadvertently came to cars backed up and just crawling. So we found a place to turn around and went over the 33 miles of twisty road right over the old smoky mountains. As we drove we saw the thousands of cars headed in the opposite direction and just crawling. We finally came out of the Smokies and came to a town named Cherokee City. The place is like a big arcade like the Pike at Long Beach. We had a good dinner at the Best Western Restaurant. Then about 9 PM went to check out a camp ground sign we had seen. The office was closed but there were vacant spaces so we pulled into one. We’ll settle up in the morning. We are in North Carolina now the line is the ridge of the Smokies.
Day 29, Oct. 13
This morning we decided to go on east till we come to an ocean. So we headed out for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, driving mostly on the freeway. We got off for gas at little town and found that all the regular gas stations close on Sunday and that the little store gas stations don’t take credit cards. So back on the freeway. Finally came to a Gulf station that took visa. Then we decided to have lunch out instead of in the motorhome, and although there are usually lots of eating places when we don’t want them, there seemed to be none. We finally saw a sign that told us about Kent’s Café so we got off the freeway and drove the specified 2 miles and it was nowhere to be seen. We finally ended up at a Mc Donald’s. We stopped in a K O A in Florence about 70 miles from Myrtle beach. Phyllis did a big wash and I adjusted the steering a little closer. Tomorrow we will reach the Atlantic and that point will conclude our eastward travel.
Day 30, Oct. 14
This morning I washed the motorhome (it was probably against K O A rules), and put a little more air in the tires. We then drove to North Myrtle Beach. We got to Myrtle Beach and spent an hour or so in the Ripley, Believe it or not Museum. We found a camp place in a KOA Campground right on the beach. Our front wheels are about 10 feet from the high tide line of the Atlantic Ocean. Myrtle Beach is a typical beach amusement town, and all of the rides etc. are closed for the season. So are most of the stores in the beach area. We sat in our lawn chairs on the sand, had a drink and watched the sand crabs. Then we took a walk along the beach. This evening we went out to eat as Phyllis had been wanting to go to a really good seafood place where they had fresh fish. We ended up in a place similar to Long John Silvers where most of what they had was frozen, breaded and deep fried.
Tomorrow we will try it again. This time we will ask to see the menu first.
After dinner we called Margie, John Kierstead, Eina Davis and Glenn Mc Connell. By the way, I took a swim in the Atlantic Ocean this afternoon. The water was warmer than I had expected.
Day 31, Oct. 15
(I am copying this from a paper sack to the tablet.) We have been gone for one month and about noon today we started the journey home. I am writing this on a paper sack. We used all of the tablet paper so tomorrow we must get more and I will copy this. We got up this morning and I went swimming again and we took some pictures.
I took a nap while Phyllis cleaned up breakfast. Then we went for a walk on the beach. I spent considerable time negotiating the pros and cons of windsurfing. Finally decided to do it, so got the windsurfer down and rigged. Phyllis helped me get it out through the surf. I did quite a bit of falling but did get in a few pretty good rides. None of the rides were too long as the wind was parallel to the shore, so my best sailing was either out to sea or toward shore, and of course the turns are more difficult than the straight sailing.
After loading the windsurfer and our other things and cleaning the sand off things, had lunch and then headed out about 2:PM. We went over two long and skinny bridges at Charleston and decided to press on rather than see the town. It was the time of day when people come home from work. We went out of town on Highway 61. It was bumper to bumper for a few miles then got to be OK but very narrow.
We were heading for one of two state parks on Highway 61. Both were closed on Tues. and Wed. but fortunately there was a private camp a few hundred yards from the last state park. We are now parked under a tree by a tractor in these peoples back yard because all the regular spots seem to be taken. Some of them with permanent residents.
Day 32, Oct 16
(copied from sack 10/19) writing on paper bag again because we didn’t get a new tablet although Phyllis tried. I am afraid that we will get so much on paper sacks that it will get too much to copy and it will have to stay on paper sacks.
We started early this morning. Just barely light and foggy. Stopped at Boomberg for breakfast at Hardee’s. At The Georgia Visitors Center we found out about a couple of things we should see in Georgia. They have a computer there that you just touch the screen of and it tells you anything you want to know. Our first sight to see was Stone Mountain. The world’s largest hunk of granite with the world’s largest sculpture on it. Three Confederate Generals on horseback. The site also includes a cable car ride to the top of Stone Mountain, an antique car and music museum, and a train that runs around Stone Mountain, etc.
Our second sight to see was the Atlanta Cyclorama. This is a painting 50 feet high and 400 feet in circumference that completely surrounds the viewer. The viewers sit in a rotating auditorium and look at the picture of the battle of Atlanta. There are three dimensional forms and scenery in the foreground and you can’t tell where the foreground ends and the picture begins. The picture was originally painted in 1885 and has been restored and reinforced. We are now in John Tanner State Park about 16 miles off the highway. (We just barely found it.) And about 20 miles from Alabama.
Day 33. Thur Oct. 17
Finally got a tablet so no more writing on paper sacks. I saved some pages in the front of this tablet to copy the sack days.
Today we went all the way across Alabama and Mississippi and across a corner of Tennessee and are now in West Memphis Arkansas in a KOA. We had dinner in their little café. Not much of a dinner. We stopped at the Alabama Visitors center this morning. Had to wait 20 minutes for them to open as the time changed for us as we went from Georgia into Alabama. Didn’t find any points of interest to see close along our route so we just drove. Partly on dived highway and partly on two lane roads. We got a real good view of the rural sections of these states. We got all leveled up here in this KOA and then decided it was too noisy because that part of the camp is pretty close to the freeway so we moved. It’s quite a bit quieter here but still noisy at times.
Day 34 Oct. 18
The camp at KOA last night was noisy. Diesel trucks starting and shifting gears most of the night. Phyllis didn’t sleep very well. So we started early, about 6 AM and drove over an hour before it started to get light. We had a very nice breakfast at a Holliday Inn in Conway, Arkansas. Shortly after breakfast it started to rain and really rained hard for quite a while.
In the Visitor Center in Okalahoma they suggested that we see the National Rodeo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. However our timing was wrong as we got there about 5PM. Both Arkansas and East Oklahoma were pleasant to travel through being for the most part green and rolling with some fall colors starting.
Our camp tonight is at Little Rock State Park about 50 miles west of Oklahoma City. It is a pretty little canyon with red walls and mostly grassy bottom. We traveled over 500 miles today. Mostly on I 40 our farthest day yet.
Day 35, Oct. 19
We are camped in Santa Rosa State Park in New Mexico. We left Red Rock Canyon about eight o’clock this morning, finished crossing Oklahoma and crossed the pan handle of Texas and about ¼ the way across New Mexico.
Oklahoma and Texas were mostly flat country. New Mexico was the beginning of the typical western high plateau country. Santa Rosa Lake is at the 4000 foot elevation. We plan a side trip tomorrow through the Zuni Mountains up to 8000 feet. Quite a difference from parts of the previous stated that were just about sea level.
Day 36, Oct 20
10:21 Arizona time. We just pulled into the parking lot of the Visitor Center in Winslow, Ariz. We were looking for a nice rest area east of Winslow that we thought was there. But it didn’t materialize so we will spend the night here.
We left Santa Rosa State Park at 7: 30 Central time this morning. It was just getting light and was foggy. We headed out for Albuquerque and after about an hour stopped at Kline’s Corner for breakfast. Got to Albuquerque around 11AM. Stopped for gas and called Jim and Margie. Then went to the National Atomic Museum at Kirtland Air Base. Among other things we saw models of the Little Boy and Fat Man that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is frightening to think that a bomb 6 feet long and 28 inches in diameter can devastate four square miles and kill 70,000 people. Now they are putting more power into smaller bombs.
We then went to the Bandera volcano and the ice caves. The ice cave is in a lava tube where a section of the roof has collapsed. Water drips in and freezes. The constant temperature is 31 degrees even though it was in the 60s outside. We walked a long ¼ mile to the volcano. Not too spectacular.
Then we drove to Moro National Monument. Its main feature is a craggy cliff called Inscription Rock. After that we drove through a Zuni village where many “all the same” houses are being built for the Indians and literally miles of nice wide blacktop streets with curbs and gutters and sidewalks on both sides are being built and also a hospital. Built, I suppose, by the U S Government.
Along about this time it started to get dark and we didn’t have a camp yet. So we decided to have dinner at a Great Western motel restaurant and then go look for a place and so we ended up here at the visitor center.
Day 34, Oct. 21, 2:45 PM
Just arrived at Lake Mojave. Been having lunch at Jerry’s and shopping at Safeway. The wind is blowing and has been blowing all the way from Flagstaff. We left the Visitor Center at 6 AM. Just after it started to get light. Stopped for breakfast in Flagstaff at Denny’s. Called John Kierstead and Eina. Got gas and propane and got a guy in at the Exxon station mad at me because I didn’t agree that my tires were about to blow out and I should buy new ones from him. We are about to take our stuff down to the boat now.
Day 40, Thur. Oct. 24
About 9:00 PM have just been to Riverside Casino for dinner. Have been on boat since Monday afternoon. Pretty days but not enough wind to windsurf part of the time. The windsurfer is loaded on top of the motorhome, holding tank in boat is dumped and after cleaning up and closing up the boat in the morning we will be on our way home. Hate to face that mountain of mail (mostly junk) and dust and dirty pool but it will be good to see Patchie and get in the Jacuzzi. Tomorrow will be the 41st day (6 WEEKS!)