Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 3




Mon Sep 22

Berthoud Co to Rock Springs Wy -292 mi

Time to travel! But where should we go? Don’t laugh – we have another set of Escapee friends who are spending the summer work camping in Daniel, Wyoming. This is the only destination we had actually preplanned to see friends. So we head north out of Fort Collins through Laramie, WY, where our niece Jessie R. got her PhD in Astronomy and taught undergrad. Then on west to Rock Springs WY, a barren looking oil rig town, to overnight at a KOA, the only show in town.

Tue Sep 23
Rock Springs Wy to Daniel, Wy – 114 mi

We are headed north for three days with Tom and Diane, the camp hosts at a petite BLM park, Warren Bridge Campground.

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Warren Bridge on Hwy 189/191 crosses the Green River north of Daniel, Wy.

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BessyBus parked in Wyoming’s big sky country at Warren Bridge BLM Campground with our camp host friends Tom and Dianne.

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Steve and I get a daily bike ride around the campground on crisp October days

IMG_8756Near us is the tiny, adorable western town of Daniel, Wyoming. I wanted to shoot every cute little storefront but a downpour hit and drove me back into the bus after only a few shots. Rats!

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Daniel Gas Station

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Small residence. Daniel, Wy, has a dozen very small buildings actually used by mountain men.

Near Daniel is Pinedale, Wy., the mountain man capital of America and the site of historic mountain man gatherings. They have a fantastic museum to preserve it all.

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I love the Pinedale motto . . . “All the civilization you need.” There is no Wal-Mart within 100 miles of here. (Must go south to Rock Springs.)

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Green River winding through the rolling hills around Pinedale, Wy. This was the favorite spot in the whole US for mountain man gatherings in the 1800’s.

 

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Herd of antelope with nary a hunter in sight!

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Modern day grouse hunting camps along the Green River

Thu Sep 25
Daniel, Wy to Jackson Hole, Wy – 40 mi

We take a side trip in our car to Jackson, Wy. It’s just 40 miles north of us, but what a spectacular drive!

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We haven’t even made it to the Grand Tetons park yet. This is just the view on Hwy 26 driving north toward Jackson, Wy!

We cruise all over downtown Jackson, nestled in the valley called Jackson Hole, and notice that we are the only non-millionaires in town. We eat breakfast at the national historic, wood-floored Cafe Genevieve. Their homemade hash is so divine, we take an extra order and eat it for lunch. We stop next door to buy true French bread at Persephone Bakery, then spend the day touring Grand Teton National Park.

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We luck out and hitting the aspens at their peak at Jackson Hole, Wy.

Here are the Grand Tetons from the highway:

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The pioneers found the best view of the Tetons in the park and built a log chapel there in 1925 with a big picture window up front framing that breathtaking view.

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Picturesque Chapel of the Transfiguration inside the park. Great spot for a wedding!

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View of mountains with Chapel on the left.

Also in the park there once was a busy ferry crossing the Snake River, built in 1892 by Bill and brother Holiday Menor. Their home and general store are preserved and still selling dry goods today to tourists. Of the two Menor brothers, one was menor than the other.

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Dry Goods for sale, Menor Ferry General Store

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On our way home, we stop for 30 minutes to visit our friends Nancy and Dave, “Shadowtracks.” They are summer employees at Jackson Hole Tourist Center, and what a madhouse that place was!!!

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Big Steve with Escapee friends Dave (“Shadowtracks”) and Nancy, on 4pm lunch break from their job at Jackson Hole Tourist Center.

At night we invite a 20-something couple to come over from their pup tent and sit with the four of us at our campfire. They are both engineers from Prague, Czech Republic, speaking perfect English. They share with us their homemade drink, Slivovitz, and we, luckily, have a loaf of true French bread to give them.

On Saturday morning we bid adieu to dear friends Tom and Dianne, who are also leaving the park. It’s the end of their summer job as camp hosts. Old Man Winter is driving the Polar Express into Daniel, Wyoming.

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Sat Sep 27
Daniel, Wy to Provo, Ut

Now I have a problem. My lip has a small sore that hasn’t healed in three months. Dianne gives us a great tip about a lovely Elks Club in Provo Utah where we can live cheap but comfy, and the town is just the right size to visit a dermatologist. My other choice would be Jackson, Wy, where prices would be more Hollywood-style. I call Provo and get a Monday morning appointment at Central Utah Clinic, which has several dermatologists. We drive to Provo and park at the Elks on University Ave with Brigham Young University all around us.

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The beautiful Elks Lodge, downtown Provo. They made chicken soup for me on the day of my surgery, and passed the hat in the bar. What fantastic people, our Elks friends!

Provo is a fascinating town with a gorgeous bank of Wasatch mountains that runs for miles right alongside Main Street, so close you can reach out and almost touch them.

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The beautiful Wasatch Mountains run right alongside the main street in Provo.

 

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The gorgeous Wasatch Mountains at sunset. You can see this view from anywhere in town, including from our bus parked at the Provo Elks.

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Hilarious game of bubble football on the campus of Brigham Young University.

The much-loved jewel of downtown Provo was this spectacular Mormon Temple built in 1883 in Gothic Revivial style. Tragically, it burned in 2010 but is actually being rebuilt. It wouldn’t be Provo without her.

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The queen of downtown Provo is this magnificent Provo Temple built in 1886 and burned in 2010. It is being retuilt on the same spot with subtle improvements such as vast underground parking.

 

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Impressive construction underway for the new temple, renamed Provo City Center Temple. For a fascinating video of this architectural feat, see……………… http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/provo-city-center-temple-stilts

 

Tue Sep 30
Sundance Lodge

We drive up the mountains on Provo Canyon Rd. to Hwy 92, the Alpine Scenic Highway. Halfway around the loop you arrive at Sundance Mountain Resort, the movie festival and ski resort owned by Robert Redford.

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We have an elite lunch there with movie directors, socialites and Robert Redford wannabes. This place is indescribably beautiful but what we most enjoy is the fascinating history — land surveyers (Scott and John Stewart) came in the 1890’s and picked this mountain valley as the most beautiful of everything they had seen out west. They bought it for their own homestead. In 1944, their sons opened a ski resort with a T-bar rope tow. Redford bought it in 1969. There are tons of wonderful photos online.

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Sundance Ski Lift

While we are here at Elks we take advantage of our fixed address to order Tupelo honey from the tupelo flower that grows in Tates Hell Swamp near Apalachicola, Fl.  There is nothing in the world like it.  I got four one pound jars for $10 each from Smiley Honey. Tupelo honey will never crystallize on your shelf.

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end chapter 3

To find Chapter 4, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”

From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 4.

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 4

Fri Oct 3
Overlapping Escapee friends

We drive 20 miles north to Orem, UT to meet Escapee friends Mike & Debby “Coldsmoke.” We eat at Joe’s Crab Shack and see movie “The Judge.” Mike & Deb lived for 30 years near Denali, AK, and their kids are still there. After retiring they hit the RV trail in the lower 48. What an exciting life they have lived. Their only problem is the great expense of getting back to see family and grandkids!

Sun Oct 5
The Spectacle of Temple Square, Salt Lake City

We find ourselves parked at the front entrance to the Mormon Temple Square grounds in downtown Salt Lake City at 10 am. The four acre grounds are covered with shade and grass, fountains and beautiful buildings. Hundreds of followers are camped out on blankets, having a fine Sunday morning family outing. They are eating, drinking, and listening to a sermon on the loudspeaker.

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While shooting pictures, I am greeted warming by cheerful teenagers working in pairs. I don’t know how they picked me out of the crowd, just because I am the only female wearing shorts on Sunday morning.

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 They could have resented me for intruding in their world, but instead they chat me up sweetly and gently start to convert me. It’s assertive hospitality and effective marketing. Hey, you old standby religions should take a lesson from this playbook. I am also surprised by the high percentage of Koreans and Hispanics here, many are speaking English as a second language

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Iconic Salt Lake Temple, site of the coveted wedding sealing ceremonies.

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Salt Lake Temple and other LDS buildings, viewed from tenth floor of Joseph Smith building.

The Latter Day Saints have two required-attendance General Conference events per year, and we have lucked into one of them. There must be 5000 cars parked in the lots nearby. Dozens of police are taking up positions at street corners to handle the dreadnaught of traffic and pedestrians about to explode out of their gynormous conference center. We are at the ground zero spot on ground zero day of ground zero month. What luck! All the men wear black suits, white shirts and conservative ties. The women are fashionably dressed in long skirts, but many of the younger ones look quite sexy in tight skirts and 4″ heels.

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At the moment service lets out we are on the tenth floor viewing area of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, with a stunning view of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center. Attendees are pouring out of a door on the second floor and flowing downward on ramps – S shaped ramps going in two directions. This exodus lasts for fifteen minutes, an unbelievable river of humanity. It was a privilege to see.

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Endless stream of faithful pouring out of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center on Sunday morning. This shows only half of the exodus. There is an idential ramp on the right side, not shown.

 

Tue Oct 7
Provo Surgical Trick

This morning I have lip surgery for non-serious squamous cell cancer, and this is the reason we came to Provo. It’s very annoying but its good not to be dead.  I thought they would cut off a little circle where the scab was. Instead the doctor cuts away my entire bottom lip surface! Then he pulls the inside out and sews it shut to make a new bottom lip. Shocking! I did not sign up for this. I get meds and go home to bed.  About 9 pm, an RV blogger named “RV Cruzer” posts his RV for sale on the Tiffin Owner’s Form Classified.

 

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Should I delete this photo? It’s awful but fascinating. Many people have skin cancer at one time or another, but some locations are more disfiguring than others.

 

Wed Oct 8
Our life changes

This morning we are discussing where to spend the rest of our warm fall days. We are thinking Yosemite, which has to be less insane after school starts. Steve gets a cup of coffee and opens his laptop to read his favorite blogs. Immediately he discovers Cruzer’s post. It is for our exact dream bus, one we have shopped for five years with no luck. It is very reasonably priced too! We spend an hour wringing our hands and checking our finances. We must make the leap before someone else grabs it, which they surely will. We send an offer by email.

(Why this bus was so hard to find – see additional article that specifies our specific specifications. Haha. Actual title, “Specifications of BessyBus 2 – Our Dream Bus”)

Thu Oct 9

Cruzer calls us back with a counter offer.
We close the sale and make a deposit by credit card.

All our other travel plans are done for. Thus begins our odyssey to take possession of our new home and sell our old one. We make a plan to drive to Yuma first and leave our old bus there because there are more buyers in southern Arizona in the winter. Also, we stayed here before at the modest RiverFront RV Park and know that there is a perfect spot to park (“dry camp’) our old bus until we can sell it. We call ahead and the owner agrees to put our old bus right near our new one and only charge $75 per month until it sold. We will save $30,000 by selling it ourselves instead of trading it in to a dealer. But this way is more scary and complicated, and we will have to get a loan to tide us over.

Today we decide to make one last outing as tourists here. We drive up into the mountains on Nebo Loop Road (FR015) south of Provo, going past 11,929 ft. Mt. Nebo, highest point in the Wasatch range. We are savoring spectacular views, drop-offs, s-curves and Aspens at their peak. We always take lunch with us.

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Tue Oct 14

Case of the Missing Jalapenos

We can’t leave Provo till my stitches come out. I have an appointment for 1 pm but talk my way into coming at the crack of dawn so we can leave town by 9 am. Or so we thought. Remember those Trappey’s Sweet and Hot Jalapeno’s? We ordered six jars shipped UPS ten days ago from Florida and they’re still not here. We endure a fiasco of phone calls the night before. Amazon is involved, UPS is involved, the shipper is involved, the Elks are involved. One person says they never left Florida, another says en route, a third says “on the truck!” It will cost us $30 to reship these if we don’t connect. At 10 am, we hijack a UPS truck driver in an industrial parking lot and yes, our stinkin’ Trappey’s are on board. Give us our box, sweetie! We are so disgusted we don’t even feel like eating them anymore! But NOW we can leave town! (I am buying these exclamation points! They are twelve for $1!)!!

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Tue Oct 14
Provo to Vegas – 380 mi

The temperature has gone from 60 degrees at Pinedale, Wy to 70 at Provo, to 85 at Las Vegas. We make it here by 4 pm and park at the Clark County Shooting Range and RV Park, recommended by Escapee friends Terry and Jeri. This place is so big and fancy it’s dumbfounding. It is built for international competitions and must have a half mile of trap and skeet shoot stations, each with an RV site.

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Can you count how many skeet shooting stations are here? Goes on to infinity!

Plus multiple rifle and pistol ranges. We are almost the only ones here. We are looking down on the twinkling lights of downtown Vegas. I am riding my bike like a queen. Steve is in a lawn chair drinking Jamison and talking to friends on his cell.

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View of Vegas strip from our bus, downhill and south of Clark County Shooting Range & RV Park

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See Steve far left in his lawn chair with Jamison & cell phone. Drink in that gorgeous sunset over the Las Vegas strip.

 

Wed Oct 15
Las Vegas, Nv to Yuma, Az – 310 mi

I wake up at 3 am thinking about those $500 flights from Yuma to Milwaukee. I check my phone again and find two one way tickets leaving Friday morning for $250 each. Whohoo! I order them on my phone – Oh this modern world!

In the morning we drive south on I-95 through downtown Vegas, past old faithful Binions, past the Stratosphere and new Ferris Wheel, past Sam’s Town on Boulder Highway, and then south out of town. Last chance: Needles, Ca before the endless desert of I-95.

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Look at this crazy wacky road through the desert south of Needles, Ca. on I-95

By late afternoon, we reach our old haunts – Parker and Quartzsite, Az, and finally Yuma, last stop before Mexico.  We pull in to our old familiar RiverFront RV park, pretty whipped. BessyBus says she is home

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This is what we see out the front window of our bus – the cute clubhouse at RiverFront RV Park, Yuma, with old timey 1950’s theme.

While driving, we were also struggling to get our money ducks in a row. We have to get a loan from the Oklahoma state employees Credit Union. We have to sell mutual funds and wire money to our checking account. This is complicated. Some want 48 hours, some want four days. We don’t have much time.

Thu Oct 16
Rats Nest

After three days of phone calls and effort, the deal decides to collapse at the last minute! We are about to lose our airline tickets. The Credit Union has given us a loan, but they refuse to release the funds until they have a signed title in their hands by overnight shipping. The seller refuses to release the title until he has the funds in hand. It’s a Mexican standoff! Surely we’re not the first people to buy an RV! At the last minute a third wrench is revealed – there is also a large lien on the bus. The lien holder, Bank of the West, wants THREE WEEKS after payment in full before they will send lien release. This is absurd. More appropriate would be one week. Either way, we can’t take possession.

The seller is using an RV dealer for paperwork only. This dealer has been very neglectful – hasn’t even called us once. This morning the seller gets a new RV dealer involved. At the last minute, Brandy Elliot from Youngblood’s RV Center, Mayfield, Ky., COMES TO OUR RESCUE!

At 2 in the afternoon, after the Mexican standoff, Brandy says “I’ll give you a loan! And I’ll release those funds! And I’ll take the risk that the lien release will eventually be released. What a doll! Brandy takes a loan app from us over the phone in ten short minutes. Within one hour she has a loan for us from a bank!!! It’s 3 pm Mountain time, 4 pm Central, 5 pm Eastern. The banks are closing! That’s how close we came to losing our airline tickets. The loan is with CFSB Bank, Benton, Ky. They even have better interest and longer term than our old credit union!

Brandy overnights a bunch of papers to the seller’s home in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, so it will be there on Sunday morning for us to sign. Then SHE carries the risk that – not only will the lien be released when she pays them off — but the other funds from our checking account will also be wired to her on Monday morning. She has talked to our local banker and knows that those funds aren’t even in our account yet! But our banker vouched for us (Sue at Vision Bank, Shawnee, OK) and Brandy believes her. What fantastic trust. What great people.

We both have grey hairs over this situation but the deal is back on and sealed by 5pm Eastern closing time. We can actually breathe again and pack our bags. We never know what time it is in Yuma because Arizona doesn’t spring forward or back. Mexico wraps around us to the south and northwest (weird!)  Also, when we drive due north for groceries, we go through California for one mile and then back into Arizona. If we keep our phones on auto time, springs fly out of them. Also, if you don’t tell ATT to shut off your roaming feature permanently, you will have $2000 per month of international roaming charges.

end of chapter 4

To find Chapter 5, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 5.

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 5

Fri 10-17
Yuma to Milwaukee.

Oh the irony of a perfect bus! We would have flown/driven anywhere in the US to pick this thing up, but it appeared 30 miles from my sister Sharon’s house. My sissy sweetly picked us up at the airport, gave us a ride home, fed us, and insisted we sleep in her bed while she and Gordy took the guest bedroom. I tried my best to talk her out of it. The next morning we intended to rent a car but she insisted we use hers for the weekend. And how about this – on this weekend, Enterprise Rent-A-Car costs $200 per day from the airport, or $30 per day if you rent from elsewhere in the city.

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Carol and Steve with sister Sharon & hubby Gordy at their 30th wedding anniversary surprise party, Aug, 2014, Milwaukee, Wi

Sun 10-19
Mequon Wi to Sheboygan, Wi – 25 mi

We drive north from Mequon to meet Mark (“Cruzer”) and his wife Leann at their lovely home in Sheboygan, on Lake Michigan. The fall trees are at their spectacular best. Weathered old farms and fancy new ones dot I-43 along the way. When we turn the corner onto his dead end street, we see our bus down at the other end, facing us, surrounded by golden fall foliage. It is a beautiful sight.

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Mark, Leann, and their 100-pound German Shepherd, Dakota, greet us warmly.

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Sellers Mark and Leann, (www.rvcruzer.com) meet Steve and Carol – who bought their bus in 24 hours, sight unseen.

Mark is a nationally known RV expert. He did many upgrades to this bus over the years, and blogged about it thoroughly at www.rvcruzer.com. Because we had seen so many pictures of it, and knew the upgrades to it, and Mark’s reputation, we felt we knew this bus head to toe. This is the only bus in the country we would have or could have ever bought sight unseen.

As soon as the handshakes are over, and before I can even peek inside my new home, Steve and Mark begin reviewing the outside of the bus. Mark thoughtfully gives me a movie camera so I can follow along and record every aspect of owning and managing this bus. How brilliant was that!

During this shakedown tour, we encounter many more lovely “fringe benefits” we didn’t know about, such as a Corian backsplash added to the wall behind the bathroom sink, which had been wood before. I whisper to Steve, “Seventh heaven!” We go inside to sign the paperwork. The bus is ours. They hand us the keys to drive it home. But there’s a catch. We need driving insurance. We called Blue Sky on Thursday and didn’t hear back from them while we were flying on Friday. On Saturday they were closed. Now it’s Sunday. We tell Cruzer we must go back home without our bus and return Monday morning. We’re not sad after all because we’ve been pretty much in shock this whole time, and driving off with it would be just too much. They send us off with a loaf of freshly baked bread hand made by Leann with non GMO Einkorn wheat from Europe. It was the best bread I’ve ever had in my life. Leann grinds the wheat herself. Amazing, Leann!

Mon 10-20

Quck! Get some insurance!

We leap out of bed (just kidding) and secure the insurance within 30 minutes. Got big plans today! We figure out that we must email it to my sister so she can print it out for us. She drives us back to Sheboygan to fetch our BessyBus 2. It was good to have an extra person along to make a picture of the four of us. I was so shook up when we left Yuma at dawn that I forgot my good Canon camera. I have nothing but my Samsung phone to record the moment. Waaah!

Steve starts up the bus and off we go. The sellers stand in their yard, waving and shedding a tear.

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It was shoot through the screen or get no picture at all!

We are looking out this gynormous picture window at glorious yellow red orange Wisconsin fall foliage, something we have not seen in twenty years while living in Oklahoma and Arizona.

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We formerly parked our 40’ bus on sister Sharon’s grassy front yard. But last time we tried, we barely made the turn into the driveway without falling into a ditch. We know with this new 42’ bus that we can never park here again. We get permission from the pastor at Trinity Evan. Lutheran Church on Cedarburg Road to park in his paved lot for a few weekdays. We need to stock this totally empty bus with a few supplies for the 2,027 mile trip home. Leann has thoughtfully given us one roll of toilet paper. What a peach! (In actuality, we drove 2,252.2 miles.)

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Our old bus could make the turn into the driveway and fit in my sister’s yard.

I remembered to put kitchen towels and four pillows in our suitcase, but that was about all.  We had to buy sheets and a blanket, one plate and one glass. We joked that Steve used the left half of the plate and I used the right. It was confusing to be in a home that looks and feels like your normal home, but is not. For example, we bought wine but had no opener. We bought hamburger but had no frying pan.  I gave myself a silly challenge – don’t spend more than $1.98 each for the little stuff  – a paring knive, a fork, a scissors, a waste basket. Some food and paper towels. Our biggest investment was a $39 Mr. Coffee Espresso Maker from Wal-Mart, to stand in for our nice Breville Espresso Maker back home. The $39 machine was a wild animal that liked to explode milk all over the kitchen. We did not tame it or have a decent cup of coffee until we were halfway home.  (One espresso maker for sale, cheap.)

Mon night, 10-20
First night in our new home

Our first night in our new home, sleeping on a new  mattress. The temp drops to 35 in Milwaukee. I wore two sweat shirts and two pairs of pants to go with the skinny Yuma-style blanket I had bought. I froze to DEATH and woke up sick the next morning. The idea of turning the heat up never entered my mind. I’m a danger to myself. The next night we borrowed a quilt from my sister.

Thurs 10-23
Mequon, Wi to Secor, Il – 216 miles

Goodbye loving family. Day One on the road to Yuma in our new 42’ Allegro Bus.  Steve always does all the driving (which is another topic for later). He is using the new in-dash Garmin GPS, which is part of a Kenwood Stereo system, installed by the seller in place of regular AM/FM.  I always navigate from the passenger seat with my Samsung phone on Google maps, which gives us the big picture. You cannot have too much help when knowing which lane to get in for turns.

As Oklahoma residents, we have to get a bus tag in Oklahoma. Luckily it is right on the way to Yuma, and we will also get to spend time with our son Stephen and family.

We are trying to make it to the Bloomington, Il Wal-Mart before dusk but can’t. Steve cannot see well after dark. Luckily we find the Hickory Hill RV Campground east of town and arrive in the nick of twilight. Night One on the road. RVer’s can tell many funny stories of arriving after dark, only to find out the next morning that they are parked dead in the middle of the roadway instead of in a site.

Fri 10-24
Secor, Il to Washington, Mo – 257 mi

Today we will skirt around St. Louis via Hwy 50/I-255. We are avoiding the downtown bottleneck near the arch. Because we don’t have a tow car behind our bus, we cannot go to McDonalds or Albertsons or any small parking lot. The only place we can set this puppy down is in a huge parking lot. In spite of everything Wal-Mart may do wrong, they are very kind (“smart”) to RVer’s. They allow us to park and stay overnight free. We always park in the far corner along the grassy perimeter so we can put one bedroom slide out after dark. (Otherwise you have to climb over your bed to reach your clothes closet.) Then we walk to Wal-Mart to restock our overstocked refrigerator.

It works great. There was a Wal-Mart right on I-44 but Steve drove me an extra 10 miles north to a bigger Wal-Mart that has a mani-pedi department. Guess who got a gel pedicure tonight! Oh look – there’s also a steak restaurant, Colton’s, here in the parking lot. How convenient.

Sat 10-25
Washington, Mo to Claremore, Ok – 334 mi

We’re tracking down I-44 to Norman but have some dear friends parked near Tulsa. It’s right on our way – How could we not stop! We became close friends when parked at the fairgrounds in Norman but didn’t think we’d cross paths again for five years. They were flabbergasted when I texted and said, “Hey, what are you doing tonight?” Kevin and Keri travel all over the country in an RV for Kevin’s job as an ironworker, supervising the installation of huge machines for W.R. Grace, Tulsa. Sometimes they have to take the roof off the building to get the machine in. We park next to them at the KOA campground attached to Cherokee Casino and Will Rogers Downs, a new race track. The quarter horses run right past our RV.

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Quarter horses running on saturday at Will Rogers Downs, Claremore OK

We have a lovely burger barbecue and visit. They are shopping for a new bus, so are combing over the details of our purchase.

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Kevin’s high dollar smoker makes our awesome dinner.

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Carol & Keri – what a doll baby.

Sun 10-26
Claremore, Ok to Norman, Ok – 153 mi

We say goodbye at noon and hike down I-44, to Hwy 177, to I-40, stopping at Choctaw road exit to show our new bus to our old friends. Guy and Cindy. They bring us a fresh warm loaf of banana bread. Thank you Cindy! Also we meet up with Wayne and Barbara, photographer friends who are loaning me, and trusting me with, their expensive Canon camera so I can make baby pictures this week. We drive on down Sooner Road to the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Norman, Ok, our old stomping ground, arriving at 3 pm. We find only ONE spot open and it has our name on it. Ironically, this space only opened up because the couple that WAS parked here just left for Tulsa to visit guess who – our mutual friends Kevin and Keri! There is severe shortage of RV parking in Norman since Wal-Mart bought out our only park to build another store. Because of the giant tornado in Moore, Ok in 2013, this area is also overrun with construction workers from all over the U.S. We don’t have a car here so our dear ex-sister-in-law Dee picks us up for dinner. Tomorrow we will see our son Stephen. He is sore and exhausted from a 3-day weekend riding Razor ATV’s with buddies at Little Sahara State Park in western Oklahoma.

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Riding ATV’s at Little Sahara State Park

 END CHAPTER 5

To find Chapter 6, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 6.

Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 6

This is the last chapter of our 2014 adventure:

Mon Oct 27

Dinner at Scratch Restaurant, Norman, with Stephen II, Julie, and our beautiful new grandchildren – Arjuna and Amina.IMG_7917

 

Tue Oct 28

We borrow “Steeboy’s” truck to drive to Shawnee to visit our bank, our post office, our storage unit. We take flowers to Sue at the bank and send flowers to Brandy at Youngblood’s RV. Years ago, we took two chairs dining chairs out of our first bus and put them in storage. We replaced those rigid torture chairs with two comfy secretarial chairs that recline, adjust, and support arms. It’s time to grab those old chairs, but they have vanished from storage. What were we thinking?!! Luckily, there are two chairs in the new bus we don’t want either. They don’t exactly match the old bus, but who’s checking?!

Wed Oct 29

I do a six-month photo shoot for my great nephew, River Runnoe, assisted by his mommy Jessi.

Jessi and baby River William Runnoe

Jessi and baby River William Runnoe

River Runnoe, 6 mo, 10-23-14

River Runnoe, 6 mo, 10-23-14

Afterward, she cuts and colors my hair. Jessi is a genius artist with hair.

Before Jessi - After Jessi

Before Jessi – After Jessi

Julie, our son Stephen’s wife, cooks a divine dinner for us at their new home. Pork roast, homemade pumpkin soup, wild rice, tender crisp mixed veggies. The tables are turned – the young are cooking for the old. What a feeling! I get to help the kids take a bath and read before bedtime. What a joy. We are sad to be leaving them until next spring.

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Stephen and Julie finally together in their newly remodeled home. Julie is a decorator deluxe!

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World’s luckiest grandma and grandpa with Arjuna, 5 and Amina, almost 4.

Thu Oct 30

Alignment

Steve says the bus has been driving like a giant floating porpoise, so we need it aligned. We had to wait these five days for an opening at DeShields Trucking in the Stockyards section of Oklahoma City. I love the Stockyards. The side streets are home to derelicts and ne’er-do-wells. The main drag is paved with million dollar cowboys and $500 boots for sale. We arrive at 12:30 and are still waiting at 3 pm so we walk one block to the world famous Cattlemen’s Café for late lunch. Steve says it drives a lot better but not as good as Bessy 1.

Fri Oct 31
Norman OK to Paducah, Tx – 224 mi

We can reach Yuma by the northern route, I-40, or the southern route, I-10 through El Paso, or the diagonal crow fly route thru rural Texas.

Cotton picking mosquito looking monster machine, southwest Oklahoma

Cotton picking mosquito looking monster machine, southwest Oklahoma

Well, I-40 is too boring, and Steve hates driving through El Paso. So the crow fly route is our choice, more scenic and less traffic. And as a fringe benefit, it goes right by our dear Escapee friends, Freddy & Delsie in Paducah, Tx. Here we are spending Halloween night enjoying all-you-can-eat a fish fry with Texas farmers at the Double G Restaurant, a remodeled corner gas station in the center of this tiny town. Freddy & Delsie know everybody in the restaurant, but hey – there’s only 10 tables.

Sat Nov 1
Paducah, TX to Artesia, NM, 280 miles

Straight west out of Paducah on 70/62, through Matador, then west to Floydada. The scenery is great on this route, and you feel so close to nature when you are driving on a two lane road, kind of like being on a motorcycle. But we are saddened by each and every small town we come to – from vibrant, humming little metropolises, to death and decay. The main streets are boarded over, the buildings abandoned, all the children have moved away to the big city. At Floydada, turn south on 62 to Ralls, turn west on 82 to Lubbock. Bust through the center of Lubbock on Saturday afternoon, past the big Texas Tech football stadium, and head southwest out of town on 82 to Brownfield, then west on 82 to Plains, where you have a three way choice. Steve picks southwest on 82 to Lovington. Suddenly we are in remote territory with no people. The road gets sketchy – narrow, rough and a bit scary – for the first time. Bad choice, but who knew! We could do research but we didn’t bother. As we push our way west on 82 to Artesia, NM, we drive for a staggering 50-100 miles through a forest of oil pump jacks, “Texas grasshoppers,” pumping as far as the eye can see in all directions. This is the gynormous Permian Basin oil field in west Texas and New Mexico.  We park overnight at the Artesia Wal-Mart.

Sun Nov 2
Artesia NM to Deming NM, 236 miles

On the west side of Artesia, a sign gives you fair warning.

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Steep, dangerous mountains lie 90 miles ahead, and no detour, no way! We’re ready for it. We continue west on Hwy 82 and climb into the gorgeous Sacramento Mountains, driving through the quaint, cool-in-summer tourist town of Cloudcroft, NM, at 9,200 feet. (Google “The Cloud Climbing Railroad.”) By midafternoon, we slide down the mountain’s west side and land in Alamogordo, NM, then continue southwest on I-70 to Las Cruces, NM.

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Driving west out of Las Cruces NM on I-10, we approach the Florida (Flor-IDE-a) Mountains, near Deming.

Now we catch I-10 and stop in Deming, NM to meet up with our dear Escapee friend, I-Y-Q, (I wike you!), at the LoW-Hi RV Park. We are delighted to see another Escapee friend, Denise, and a new friend Margie. IYQ takes us all for dinner at The Adobe Deli, a dimly lit restaurant on the edge out of town. We are seated in the auditorium of an abandoned grade school. This place is a classic Mafia hideaway The food is five star, with nothing for vegetarians.

Scenes from the spooky cool Adobe Deli, Deming NM

Scenes from the spooky cool Adobe Deli, Deming NM

Lightning and thunder kill all the lights and power the restaurant for a brief thrill. Our three friends are solo RVer’s and belong to the club LOW – Loners on Wheels. Denise owns a toy hauler RV and drives a 1400 cc Harley. Our new friend Margie is retired from importing expensive antiques from China to Portland, Or., and she ran the store all by herself.  You meet the most amazing people in the RV life.

Mon Nov 3
Deming NM to Tucson, AZ, 245 miles

We can’t believe it’s a chilly 60 degrees and pouring rain all night here in the Chihuahua desert. Even tho Deming is just 40 miles from Mexico, you have to keep reminding yourself that it is up 4,300 feet, a high desert plain, with monsoon season in the fall. We once got in a hellacious snow blizzard here on New Year’s Eve, 2010, when we were trying to make it to Phoenix the next day to use our Christmas present – expensive tickets to the OU Sooners national championship football game.  We have breakfast with IYQ and then make pictures of him in a brand new wood carving workshop that he built on the grounds of Lo-Hi RV Park. It’s beautiful and his carved wood pieces are works of art to die for.

IYQ in his beautiful new wood carving shop, Deming NM

IYQ in his beautiful new wood carving shop, Deming NM IYQ is the grandfather and the godfather of all the Escapees, and the glue that holds us all together. We love you, IYQ!!

It’s Monday morning and we are starting to get anxious and road weary from our long journey. We both want to get off the road. We normally never drive this much. Plus we are in an empty bus.  Everything we reach for is not there. We have hamburger but no pan; wine but no opener. (Never mind, we used a screwdriver. Clever Steve put two screwdrivers, a pliers and some duct tape in his boy suitcase!) We have looked at the clock on the wall a hundred times, and it is still not there. We still have two days of solid driving left to complete our giant circle back to Yuma. We head west from Deming on I-10 and are driving through an unusual sight – endless miles of lakes have formed overnight in the desert. The view out our front window is of beautiful mountains, blue sky and fluffy white clouds, all reflected double in the shallow desert lakes on both sides of the highway.I am sorry I didn’t get a picture of that. We should have stopped the bus on the highway but that’s beyond dangerous.

We must stop our bus at Camping World, Tucson, because they don’t have one in Yuma. We need wall mounted Kleenex, paper towel holders, etc. How did the previous owner get by without them! We are warned that the new Camping World, an RV store, does not even have parking for RVs to stop and shop. What insanity! We manage to double park along a curb painted red. Just one mile away is a brand new Wal-Mart, also on I-10, where we can park for the night. I rent the Cesar Chavez movie from Red Box and feel honored to learn that he was born in Yuma and died in a San Luis, a border town 20 miles south.

Tues Nov 4
Tucson to Yuma – 245 miles

We are on the last leg of our journey.  Continue west on I-10, wrap around Tucson and shoot out the north side on I-10 to Casa Grande. Go west on I-8 through the Sonoran Desert and the Fortuna Foothills, finally home to Yuma. Exit south on I-8 by the Yuma Territorial Prison. Go south over the bridge that crosses the jugular vein of the southwest – the Colorado River. Turn west on first street, then south on 22nd street, then west on Water Street, so named because it has the Colorado river on one side and the huge Yuma Main Canal on the other side. Cropland for hundreds of miles around Yuma is irrigated to grow countless acres of vegetables which are picked by poor Mexicans and end up at your favorite supermarket. I appreciate these workers with all my heart. We turn right at 2200 Water St., into Riverfront RV Park. , for $300 per month plus electric. Jean, our British-born manager, who always wears a scarf, is waiting for us with our mail in hand, and gives us a great spot back in the corner all to ourselves. We are home!

Now all we have left to do is figure out how to move BessyBus 1 out of our full hookup site and move Bessy 2 into it. Then transfer all our stuff. That could take weeks. Then start advertising Bessy 1 for sale. She has been a good old gal for us. We will miss her dearly.

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Steve & Carol in Yuma with an extra bus to sell ASAP! We are just two lovebirds loving the RV life!

 

Total miles from Sheboygan to Yuma: 2252.2 miles.
49.9 running hours for the 400 hp Cummins.

Total number of peak fall foliages overlapped: 4.
–Wolcott, Co., past Red Sky Golf, up Bellyache Ridge Road to 9,120 ft.
–Grand Tetons, Jackson Wy
–Provo, Ut, Wasatch Mtns.
–Mequon/Sheboygan, Wi

Total number of friends visited (not including family),
who just happened to be strewn along our path
: 21

Irene Dan
Brad Marilyn
Tom Dianne
Dave Nancy
Mike “Coldsmoke” and Debby
Kevin Keri
Wayne, Barbara
Guy Cindy
Freddy Delsie
IYQ, Denise, Margie

 

Here’s the crow fly route:

Robinson St. to I-35 to Hwy 9 to I-44 through Chickasha, to Lawton, Ok. West on 62 out of Lawton, south on 183 thru Frederick, Ok, then west on 70 to Vernon, Tx. Continue due west on 70 to Paducah. Straight west out of Paducah on 70/62, through Matador, then west to Floydada. Turn south on 62 to Ralls, turn west on 82 to Lubbock. Bust through the center of Lubbock on Saturday afternoon, and head southwest out of town on 82 to Brownfield. West out of Brownfield on 82 to the three way choice at Plains. Steve picks southwest on 82 to Lovington, then west on 82 to Artesia, NM, then west on 82 through the Sacramento Mountains. Down to  Alamogordo, NM, then southwest on I-70 to Las Cruces, NM.  Catch I-10 past Deming, NM, past Tucson and wrap around to the north. Catch I-8 at Casa Grande, then west through the Sonoran Desert, up over the Fortuna Foothills, and finally home to Yuma.

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This bridge goes over the Colorado River on 4th Avenue at the north end of Yuma. I ride my bike underneath it every day on a fantastic bike trail along the river, that starts at my front door. Our bus also backs up to a Wetlands wilderness park that is dreamy for walking. We could not be more spoiled in this location.

end chapter 6

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