Tag Archives: interstate

The Road Less Traveled By

Any other highway but I-10 would be fine this time. So we started westward on I-20 and almost magically found ourselves entering the Sacramento Mountains on US-82. How could we have known how cool this was going to be? How many times did we not take this road?

We’ve crossed the continent, out and back, almost every year for the past ten. Every time we’ve been pulling our sweet 25′ Airstream home-on-wheels behind us. It seems like we’ve taken I-10 way too many times.

Really we probably used other highways at least half of the times we traversed the continent. We’ve crossed on The TransCanada Highway once, and each of I-90, 80, 70, and 40 at least once in both directions. Interstate 10 gets all our other crossings because it’s the most southern route and therefore the most suitable for towing our unwinterized RV in January, Feb, or Mar, which we often seem to do.

We were headed from North Carolina to Casa Grande AZ for the WBCCI Airstream Club’s annual winter Board meeting. Each evening on this trip we looked at the possible routes and weather a day ahead ahead. An overnight in Sweetwater TX on I-20 gave us a good look at a route we’d never considered. We saw a straighter line than I-20/I-10 offered from Sweetwater to Las Cruces, by picking our way from I-20 to US-82. We had no idea the adventure we were facing, the route simply looked more direct.

One hundred or so miles later we were in an incomparably beautiful area, the Sacramento Mountains in Lincoln National Forest. Without a doubt this was the prettiest part of our entire drive. The two lane road gently turned and climbed back and forth as it followed an ancient route through a gorge and then inexorably upward toward Cloudcroft NM at 8,650 ft above sea level.

There were long stretches of nothing but unspoiled terrain. This natural beauty reminded us of driving on Top of the World Highway between Dawson City YT and Chicken Alaska, where for as far as we could see away from our road there was no trace of civilization anywhere. Gradually we started seeing more homesteads, then RV parks, and finally stores. In Cloudcroft we even drove by a small ski slope filled with folks enjoying skiing on a sunny afternoon.

It took a little while for us to recover from the excitement of watching our engine and transmission temperatures climb on the mile-high climb and imagine our brake temperatures climb on the 4,300′ descent. Then we realized we were going to be driving right by White Sands National Monument. Several times we had driven on one border or the other of the White Sands Missile Range. We’d never been on this side of the area and hadn’t thought how to find our way to it. We had to stop!

img_1070

We spent a fascinating hour touring the Visitors Center and watching their very good video about the area. We learned some history and geology¬†about the area, and why the white sand is special – it’s gypsum instead of quartz. What surprised us most is the rule prohibiting taking any of this white sand out of the park. Sure enough, we saw little piles of it on the sidewalk of the parking area where people dumped out their shoes so they wouldn’t be absconding with the material.

I’ve friends who won’t take that road, the one less traveled. Their travel’s going to be on the four-lanes and GPS-referred routes. There’s nothing wrong with that. Those roads are likely to have good paved shoulders, softer grades, great sight lines, and perhaps other safety features. The best thing is that the really interesting routes might remain, in Robert Frost’s words, “the road less traveled by.” It did make all the difference for us yesterday.

See You Down The Road

Jim and Debbie,
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
©dreamstreamr odyssey 2017

Advertisements

Hard-driving Woman

Today is a driving day for us. We are enroute to Kannapolis NC after spending almost four months in Florida. The buyers of our vintage Argosy, Snow White, are on their way to purchase her. We’ll spend four nights in Kannapolis before heading south to Perry, GA for our Airstream owners’ association regional rally.

Last night after visiting with friends and playing a few hands of cards together Debbie and I agreed we were both excited at the prospect of today’s drive. We don’t relish long driving days but we do really like relocating. Does it affirm our footloose state of living, or does it appeal to our sense of adventure? I think both.

Ah, the wonders of technology. We have been watching on our gps, since departing Faver Dykes State Park this morning, our projected arrival time to Kannapolis. The gps doesn’t know or try to project our stopping times. So our arrival has slipped thirty-six minutes over the past seven hours forty minutes. Three bathroom breaks, one including refilling our fuel tank, account for the stopped time.

Debbie is driving her second two-hour stint today. She is a great driver and has no problems towing our Airstream on Interstates or secondary roads. I already knew this after she, by herself, gamely towed our trailer across the United States last September.

We’ll have supper with Debbie’s parents then go pick up Snow White to return her to their house. Debbie and I will work the next several days to prepare Snow White for her journey to Vancouver Island, B.C. Snow White’s buyers are enroute to purchase her and will take her home and renovate her. This will be an exciting project I wish I was undertaking. But it doesn’t make sense for us, already living the mobile lifestyle. Hopefully, the new buyers will share details of their restoration adventure.

Anyway, I love traveling with Debbie. Whether I drive or she does, we enjoy each other’s company and both enjoy being on the road. I like Debbie driving. She can pile on the miles, is pretty unflappable, and has so much driving experience. She is one hard-driving woman.