Saturday, May 31, 2014

Ogden, Utah

Just a quick post as I’m weary after a 299.8 mile day. 

The view from Sam’s Club – my home for the night.



Many long days in the saddle this week.  Nothing like it for an appreciation of what the original Oregon Trail travelers went through.  And they had no ice, no GPS, no pay-at-the-pump, no audiobooks.  O Pioneers! 

Are we there yet?

I feel as though I’ve reached a milestone now that I’m in Utah – a state I’ve never before visited!  I look forward to returning to the south end to explore those phenomenal National Parks one day.

Yesterday, I made it to Wyoming.  

Best state flag EVER!


A rest area affords a gander at the Big sky. 



The big news: I finally found the temps I’ve been seeking.  As I write this, it’s 76 degrees and the humidity is …. wait for it …. 12%.  YES !!!  No more running the generator for some A/C or continually looking for a shady parking spot.    

It’s lovely here in this valley town.  I arrived about 2:30 and spent several hours in this large deserted Weber State University parking lot catching up on crossword puzzles and admiring the view.  


So, on to my first NP site tomorrow – Promontory Point, Utah.  Then Idaho. 


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Sidney, Nebraska

Driving my age.




Yep, that’s me in the right-hand lane with the cruise-control keeping me in the mid-to-high 50’s.  I cling desperately to my 15.2 MPG knowing that gas prices will only increase as I head further west. 

Halfway there!

Over the past few days, the GDB has cruised through Missouri, Nebraska, and a little slice of Iowa.  Tomorrow will find us in Wyoming.  After about 1,200 miles, I’m now at the half-way point to Crater Lake, Oregon!

Here is one of many stops at interstate rest areas over the last 3 days.  Every one I’ve seen in Nebraska allows overnight parking.  This one even had a shower. 



The hot weather I am so eager to elude pursues me like a villain.  Oh well ... rather oppressive heat than tornadoes, right?  It’s 92 right now in Sidney and, after much searching, I found the one shady spot in town.



Only the low humidity makes the oppressive heat bearable because – all together now – it’s a DRY heat.  This should be my last hot day as I'll be in the 6,000-feet elevation range by lunch tomorrow. 

Today I decided to get off the road earlier than usual after 5 days of hard driving since leaving home.  

Web Photo


I’m overnighting at Cabela’s – an oasis in this vast sparsely-populated high-plains region of Nebraska.  The store not only allows overnight parking, but has a walking trail with a small lake, along with a free a dump station and water station.  Score!  This location also has a nice-looking RV park with all amenities. 

Note

I added a link in the right margin for the Overnight RV Parking website.  Best travel purchase I ever made.  The modest membership fee ($24.95/year) has paid for itself many times over in saved campground fees.  Without this resource, I would not have known about the free dump and water stations at Cabela’s.  Confirm or add new sites and your membership term is extended.  Mention my blog and we both get a free month! 



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Kansas City, Missouri

Hello from the RV parking area at the Ameristar Casino on the banks of the Missouri River.



I didn't realize I had stayed here one year ago on my Rockies/Dakotas trip until I pulled into the entrance!  The casino is (still) huge.  I’ll have a great place to do some walking to help make up for 2 days of no exercise.

The last few days of driving have put me over 800 miles into the trip.  Most of those miles have been on good US highways with light traffic.  The sights out the windows have been expected



and unexpected.




The heat I’m desperate to escape persists – it’s 84 at 5PM.  But at 40%, the humidity has improved as I’ve traveled north.  But I’m having to run the generator and A/C as I catch up on email, blogs, and work.

Tomorrow I glide into Nebraska and begin the long long two-state journey on I-80. 

Of course, the hours and miles disappear faster in the company of good books.

My audiobook is riveting.



My kindle book is equally compelling.  



This is the account of a journalist who seeks to discover whether if it’s possible to cross the USA coast-to-coast without a single penny.  Can one depend upon the kindness of strangers? 


Talk to you soon.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Day 1 - See The USA In My Chevrolet


How can you not sing along with Dinah Shore?  




I left home after lunch today.  Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be racking up the miles – about 2,500 of them.  It’s a long way to Crater Lake!  

With temps already in the high 80’s in the sweltering south, I’m eager to reach more temperate latitudes soon.  But I'm staying cool for now as both the generator and the A/C are purring along as I write this post just before sunset.

I’m over-nighting at the Itawamba County Welcome Center in Mississippi.  

I learned about this spot from the Overnight Parking Database.   It’s a lovely shady spot nestled in rolling hills along US 78.  I received permission from the 24-hour security office to park for the night.  The guard directed me to a lovely shady spot and even encouraged me to use my noisy generator.



As you can see, I’ve got my very own picnic table (!) in addition to free wi-fi, a dump station, spotlessly manicured grounds, and the promise of coffee and doughnuts in the AM.  I consider myself welcomed.  Thanks Mississippi!  

So, a fine first day on the road.

The downside, of course, is leaving home and family.

See what I mean?

It's so very hard to leave but .... I just gotta see Olympic National Park! 

I want to share my new techno-gadget for audio-books.  I like this set-up.  My Sansa Clip MP3 player attaches to the Kinivo speaker.   Thanks to Joni, a fellow Roadtrekker, for the suggestion on the teeny tiny speaker with the big sound. 



That's it for now.  Tomorrow I'll continue north-by-northwest through Mississippi and Tennessee. 






Friday, May 16, 2014

Road Trip Prep

Well, it’s been a while!  

One of the drawbacks to having a travel blog is when you don’t travel .... you don’t blog.

I’ve stayed busy since my last trip in March with teaching, housekeeping, and getting ready for my next big adventure.  The biggest one yet ...

Spending the entire summer in the Pacific Northwest!

Not only will I miss out on the worst of the heat and humidity the swampy Southeast can inflict but, most importantly, I’ll see a new-to-me region of the USA.

The Route

As always, my route is guided by National Park site locales.  It's going to be an epic journey.  With some epic stops.


Craters of the Moon


Crater Lake 

                                                       
Olympic

Mt. St. Helens 
                                           
Mt. Rainier 

North Cascades

 Glacier 

Yellowstone
                                                                                                                       
Grand Tetons 
 
I plan to meet-up with the WINS (Wandering Individuals Network) in Oregon and travel with them for a bit.   Here's their Summer Circuit.  



Some international travel is on tap too - with a couple of crossings into Canada.  The passport is packed!

The Ride


My van is now even more livable.  By culling and consolidating supplies, I’ve created more room in the rear cargo area.  I figure I’ll need the extra space just for the 4-season clothing this trip requires.

The biggest change was the decision to remove the TV.  There is vastly more room now without the flat screen on its swing-arm to bump my elbows against.  


Best of all, the view out the right living room window is now wide open.  In a space of 115 square feet, every inch makes a difference.



Notice the little butterfly sticker above.  I'll be adding more to cover up the holes left by all those screws.




That's all the news for now.

Talk to you soon from the road!