Tag Archives: Sightseeing

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

Thunderstorms Lead to Calming Weather

Yesterday started with me trying to check in to the RV Service 40 meter Net at 0730 hours. Band conditions and a terrific local thunderstorm made this doubly challenging so I waited until almost 0830 hours and checked in through a helping, or relay, station. I reported on the number of units at this WBCCI Region 3 Rally (80) and the weather conditions (skies clearing nicely and temperatures at 60 degrees) for Perry, Georgia yesterday morning.

Debbie and I walked to the meeting hall for pastry, fruit cup, and coffee and morning visiting with other Airstreamers. Ken and Ruth Dorn had room at their table so we joined them and enjoyed talking with them and with Dottie McElvine, Ruth’s mom. It turns out Ruth’s parents were Airstreamers 25 years ago and Ruth and Ken also had an Airstream. Ruth and Ken have recently purchased their first Airstream in many time, joined the Carolinas Unit of NC, and are attending their first rally in over twenty years.

We drove to Warner Robins Air Force Base to the Museum of Aviation. The first building required almost three hours for us to browse the first two floors. As we walked outside to attend to other exhibit halls we realized our tour time was expended and we needed to return to the rally campus. We were due to present a brief seminar on full-timing in less than one hour.

So we returned, ate a fresh tomato sandwich, and walked up to the meeting hall to greet all four attendees of our small seminar. No problem, we moved to a nice round table. We presented our perspectives on full-timing for almost an hour and facilitated another half-hour of discussion on full-timing issues. We enjoyed this and think the attendees did too. This was easier with only four people and is good practice for us. We’ll be presenting to ten times as many people in Madison, WI, in two months.

Enjoyed a cookout with some friends before we walked to the meeting hall for rally announcements, merit awards, entertainment, door prizes, and nightly ice cream. Entertainment last night was fabulous, a quartet from Columbus, GA, called Wynnbrook Quartet. We enjoyed them tremendously.

Two previous nights were cooler than last night. We opened our windows a little wider and put less covers on the bed. I was really looking forward to a good night’s sleep before a golf game in the morning.

No lightning and thunder, no rain, and no strong winds buffeted us this morning. We woke up to a beautiful orange sunrise and what seems like our first calm weather. This is a welcome change, even with the likelihood of warmer temperatures and more bugs. Jim has a golf outing and Debbie will join friends sightseeing.