This is the last chapter of our 2014 adventure:
Mon Oct 27
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.
Afterward, she cuts and colors my hair. Jessi is a genius artist with hair.
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.
Thu Oct 30
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Total number of friends visited (not including family),
who just happened to be strewn along our path: 21
Mike “Coldsmoke” and Debby
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.
end chapter 6
To see the article/blog entry
“Why the 2007 42’ Tiffin Allegro Bus has our Dream Specifications,”
go to top of this page, click “Home,” then scroll down until you come to the article.