A Travellerspoint blog

This Country is HUGE!


15.09.2018 - 26.09.2018

No pictures today, just going to try my hand at some prose, relating our thoughts from our journey so far from South Carolina to Colorado.

Van Broke Bad

If you’ve never been on the Elvis Highway, now I-22 from Tupelo, Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee, you’ve not missed much. It’s a mostly barren stretch of rolling road through the dense, green southland. And that’s the way it was going for us until suddenly, about two-thirds of the way down I-22, we came across a highway patrolman standing outside his car looking at a half-burned out, old, white van under an overpass, that looked like the back end had exploded and spewed at least fifty small, blue bags, probably about gallon-size, across the cement. Ok, we’ve seen “Breaking Bad” so we knew that, obviously, this was a drug deal gone bad! And it had apparently just happened before we drove by because the cop was on his phone appearing as if he was describing the situation to HQ. No sign of the bad guys, fortunately for us. And yes, we kept driving!

Roadwork Needed

When we got to Memphis, the roads turned terrible and continued that way into West Memphis, Arkansas. Cracks, potholes, bumps, you name it. Not fun for an RV. The next noticeably bad section of roads happened as soon as we entered Colorado on I-70. Jeez, spend that marijuana money on some road work and give a new meaning to the term "pot" hole.

Speaking of Pot

As soon as we arrived at Colorado Springs, weed dispensary signs and billboards were everywhere. In fact, click here to see the new venture Maggie started while I was asleep at the Walmart.

But Let's Back Up a Little...

It's not a big RV trip without a mechanical issue of some kind. This baby is 18 years old, after all. After Maggie's nephew, Dave, cleaned out the radiator for us in Ainsworth, our rig just sailed along humming like old on our way to Hazard. No overheating, it was great. However going over a small hill, we did feel a little jerk in the acceleration and the warning light flashed briefly. It reminded us of when we had a dirty fuel filter so when we parked at brother Rick's house in Hazard, I opened the drain on the bottom of the filter and let about a pint spill into a clean container to see if there was any sediment coming out. Nothing really, so the next thing we did was replace the air filter that was ten years old, hoping that was going to take care of everything. Then, a few days later when we left Hazard, more herky-jerkyness off and on until we got into Kansas when the acceleration effort became very difficult. Fortunately, we had a cell signal in the boonies of Kansas (we were on back roads, taking the scenic route to Colorado) and we were able to locate a Cummins engine service center in Colby, Kansas, about 50 miles away. We limped in, not able to go over 45 mph. They replaced the suspect fuel filter and told us the one we had was missing an O-ring which was letting air into the system and causing the fuel restriction we were suffering from. It was only mildly affecting things until I released some fuel out of the filter which allowed more air in. Way to go Mike! Actually, it was probably a blessing to have discovered the missing O-ring before we hit the Colorado mountains. The RV has been running great since. Fingers crossed! But this incident did put us a day behind because we couldn't get to Great Sand Dunes National Park before dark so we stopped to spend the night, as is our custom on quick overnights, at a Walmart parking lot, this time in Pueblo, Colorado.

We did have another RV issue that tends to occur when driving across the plains in high winds: one of our window awnings came out in transit. Yikes! So I did what I always do when this occasion arises, or should I say "extends itself" and pulled over as soon as safely possible, climbed up onto the RV, and secured the awning with bungee cords. Thank God every day in your daily prayers for whoever invented duct tape and bungee cords!

The Expansive Beauty of This Country

There is only one way to truly appreciate the expansiveness of the United States of America and that is to get out and drive. Drive, Forrest, drive. Every time Maggie and I take one of these trips, once we cross the Mississippi River and head out into the great beyond known as the American prairie, we look at each other and say in unison: "You just don't know how big this country is until you get out and drive it." That sentence becomes even truer when you hit the REALLY BIG states like Montana, Texas, and in this case, Colorado. Here's an excellent example: As we arrived at Limon, CO to get some propane and diesel, we noticed a mountain in the distance. It wasn't until we arrived in El Paso County, home of Colorado Springs, and we saw a sign that said we had entered the Pikes Peak region, did we realize that the mountain we had been driving toward since Limon was indeed Pikes Peak. We had seen it initially from 100 miles away! That's like standing on your roof in Blythewood, SC and seeing Paris Mountain outside Greenville, SC. Ain't gonna happen! It probably helped that Limon's elevation is 5,377 feet and Pikes Peak's is 14,114. But what was also amazing was that on that route, we seemed to drop down twice into two huge valleys right out of the children's classic dinosaur movie "Land Before Time", but every little town we entered, rather than giving the population, gave instead the elevation, which kept increasing by about 1,000 feet. What's with that! And of course, our view is greatly enhanced by the giant RV picture windows we are blessed to be viewing through.

History Lessons

It is so great to have the wonderful companionship of my lovely wife, Maggie, as we traverse this amazing country. Not only does she keep me company while I maneuver the RV through traffic, she serves me food and drink, laughs at my jokes, is attentive to the dog's needs, and disburses history lessons. That's right, we educate ourselves as we travel! Occasionally, we will see a sign or a building or something that we must investigate further and as long as Maggie can get a signal on her iPhone, she opens Safari (what a great name for a web browser while traveling!) and does some research. Probably the most memorable of these instructive episodes was when we saw a sign that said we had entered Peculiar, Missouri. Wikipedia informed us that the town acquired that name because much disagreement amongst the settlers resulted in them requesting of a judge that he name the town and to please give them a name that was peculiar because they wanted to be "different". So they got what they wanted and obviously embraced their new moniker because the town's motto is "Where the odds are with you"! Still not sure if we want to actually visit the place, though...

Here's to more happy trails. We'll be keeping you posted!

Posted by travelswitz 07:17

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