Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 (our slightly newer, 2′ longer RV Bus) – Chapter 1

Chapter One!

Steve and I have been out of touch in the last two months. 20140702_203936 @50 We have had the adventure of a lifetime buying a slightly newer RV home. 20141109_134831 ret @20We now live in a 2007, 42 foot Tiffin Allegro bus (on right). We have for sale our beloved first bus – a 2005, 40 foot Tiffin Allegro. Here’s how it went down, from August to November,  2014:

Wed, Aug 6 – 326 mi

Norman, Ok to Marshfield, Mo During the spring months, Steve and I have been visiting our son and family in Norman. We park at Cleveland County Fairgrounds on Robinson.FB_IMG_ @100 I had total knee replacement with Dr. Steven Schultz on June 17 at Norman Regional HealthPlex.  Amazingly, I am in walking distance to the clinic for knee therapy three times a week. Today is my last visit and I take them a big box of cookies from Dara Marie’s. I just love my PT, Dwight and all the other cheerful PT’s there. Steve has our bus ready to head out as soon as I return. We are going to Milwaukee to help celebrate my sister Sharon’s 30th wedding anniversary to hubby Gordy Hinrichs. This party is a big surprise and they don’t know we’re coming.  By dusk on day one, we make it to Marshfield, Mo, RV Express 66, where we have a swimming pool all to ourselves.

Thu Aug 7

Marshfield, Mo to Chatham Il After driving all day we arrive at Double J Campground. It has poured all day here and the big Illinois State Fair in Chatham is rained out on opening night.

Fri Aug 8

Chatham, Il to Jackson, Wi We gas up in Beloit, IL. About noon we park on the street in front of our nephew,  Brian Powell’s house. All our nieces and nephews gather us up for the great Wisconsin fish fry Friday night at MJ Stephens Pub, Hartford, WI.  They have a killer breaded Atlantic Cod but some of us got it covered with hollandaise, crab meat and asparagus!!

Sat Aug 9

Jackson, Wi It’s 6 pm, the guests are assembled, the food and drink flowing, the oompah band poised, the lights turned out. And here comes the anniversary couple down the hall. They both almost fainted.IMG_6959 collage @150 What a great surprise it was!! A fantabulous party, thanks to the planning and hard work of nieces Beth, Melanie and Becky. Everyone got their picture made with the anniversary couple. IMG_7051 best crop @200The Hinrichs, Powell families to honor Gordy & Sharon’s 30th wedding anniv., 08-11-14 .

Sun Aug 10

Mequon, Wi Now that the surprise is over, we can move our bus from Brian’s house to the front yard of Sharon and Gordy’s, on Arrowwood Drive in Mequon. 20140816_192434 ret @100 It is a beautiful house and we have parked here twice before but the bus doesn’t want to fit this time. We sweat bullets trying to make the turn into the driveway without dropping the back wheel in a deep ditch. We finally make it onto the pretty green grass, where we are guaranteed to sink the wheels a bit and tear a few ugly divots. But they always insist. They are so sweet.

Fri Aug 22

Mequon, Wi to Davenport-East Moline, Il – 220 mi After a lovely 12 day visit, we leave our sissy and bro in Milwaukee and head out for the wild west. We park overlooking the Mississippi River at a Corps of Engineers Campground, “Fisherman’s Corner” for $8 !!! We notice when writing a blog that all the sentences start with “We.”  Darn it – wish I could change that. Now WE are riding our bikes to the locks to watch the big barges locking through, and to take pictures of two wild swans gliding through the weeds. IMG_7315 IMG_7348

Sat Aug 23

East Moline Il to Des Moines, Ia, to Kansas City, Mo – 368 mi We fuel up at Osceola, Iowa and head west on I-80 for Denver, Co., when I decide we have to make a major change. My tooth is killing me.  We must turn south and go a thousand miles out of our way, back to Shawnee OK to visit my dentist. We turn south at Des Moines on I-35 and spend the night north of Kansas City at Wallace State Park for $19.

Sun Aug 24

Kansas City, Mo to Shawnee Ok – 385 mi We arrive at day’s end Sunday and park at Shawnee Fairgrounds. I’m at my dentist’s doorstep at the crack of dawn Monday morning. I had a brand new crown put in but it has been catching food like crazy. My dentist saws it off and gives me a lovely temporary cap. Steve and I now drive the old crown straight to the dental lab in Oklahoma City so I can get a replacement in 3 days instead of 3 weeks.

Wed Aug 27

Shawnee Ok Back to the dentist to have the second new permanent crown put in. For some reason, the temporaries work like a dream, but the permanent crown wants to catch food, I mean seriously.

end chapter 1

To find Chapter 2, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 2.

Why the 2007 42′ Tiffin Allegro Bus has our Dream Specifications, and Newer Ones Don’t

This article covers why we would actually prefer an older bus, 2007, over newer models – say 2010 to 2014. . . and why a step-up of only two years – from 2005 to 2007 – was a good deal for us.

 (Written by the wife, Carolie, with all facts provided by the obliging husband, Steve.) 

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Twins!  Old(but loved) 40′ Tiffin Allegro bus on left.               New 42′ Tiffin Allegro on right.

First of all, going from a 40’ bus with six tires, to a 42’ with eight tires (“tag axle”) gives us a lot more room and more storage. But the bus handles almost identically because the wheel base from center of the front wheel to the center of the duals is only 6” longer.  Neither of us would ever want a 45’ bus, the biggest one made, because they are a challenge to drive, to turn corners, and to find RV parks to accommodate. So many RV parks were built after World War II, when RV’s were 30’ tops.

Replacing a 2005 Allegro Bus with a 2007 does not seem like much of an upgrade. But the 2007 was just new enough to have major upgrades, yet still old enough to have features we wanted that are becoming extinct – such as a queen size bed.  Since about 2010, the king size bed has been a no charge option, and most all buyers are taking it.  As the years go by, it’s getting harder and harder to find a used RV on the lot with a queen bed. The king bed might be fine in your home, especially if you have a big dog in the bed with you. But in an RV, the king leaves absolutely no room left to walk around the bed, and no night stands! How can you live without a nightstand for your Bose radio?

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We prefer a queen bed with two generous nightstands and spacious floor area, and now we have it!  If you factory order a bus, you most certainly can have queen bed. But we cannot afford a custom build, and we don’t think it’s financially smart to drive one off the showroom floor anyway. So when we say “new” we mean “new to us”!!  A new bus like ours would cost over $400,000, but we paid just $159,000 in 2014. What a deal!

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See, this 2010 Winnebago Tour with king bed has no space at all on left and about 8″ on right. Where do you put your book, coffee cup, Bose clock radio? How do you reach the corner to make the bed without kneeling on it?

Second feature disappearing – gas range. The new motor homes lean toward all electric, or the new induction surface. They are dropping the gas refrigerator and gas range. Who wants to cook with induction or electric? Not us! We are gas or nuthin! We have a 10×22” ribbed grill pan that covers two burners and we use it weekly to make divine steaks and tender crisp veggies – indoors with no muss or fuss. Yes, gas ranges are a pain to clean, but its so worth it. And hey- we’re retired now.

Third feature gone – dual gas/electric refrigerator. If you want to really enjoy the RV life, leave the crowds behind and go “dry camping” in the desert or beside the ocean. This means you have no electricity to plug into. Old style RV refrigerators could handle this – running on electric in town, then switching to propane out in the country, “off the grid!” How can you beat that? We refilled our propane tank once a year at most. (RV’s that heat with propane are a major headache in cold weather.) All the new RV’s use large, all-electric household type refrigerators that the uninitiated female RV shopper swoons over. But you might have trouble dry camping with this electricity hog unless you start your generator every morning to recharge your nearly dead household batteries. (It also depends on how much tv/computer and coffeemaker you use.) One workaround is to have solar panels on your roof, but the reality is, the sun does not shine every day.

(Editor’s Note: Whoops! We actually did have to settle for an all-electric refrigerator on our new ’07, but we took it because the seller had upgraded this bus with four 120-watt solar roof panels We should be able to dry camp without over-using the generator.)

Fourth feature – A bus without a dishwasher is becoming very hard to find. We actually prefer to handwash our dishes for two, and we get the bonus of a huge, deep storage area for all our pots and pans, directly under the stove, sooo handy! But darn it – we had to take a dishwasher on our new bus. I now have pans dispersed everywhere – in bedroom closet, under bathroom sink, above sofa, in hallway. Fun!


 Here are the major benefits we enjoy by stepping up from 2005 to 2007 bus:

–Three air conditioning units instead of two. This is a critical benefit. We could barely keep our bus cool in the Oklahoma summer. It can be 100 degrees and humid there for weeks, and it doesn’t cool off at night. Our AC was working nonstop to blow air out of the ceiling vents, and it is so loud you have to holler at your guests, and turn your TV way up.

— 10K Onan generator  vs. 7500. The new one is single speed, more powerful and super quiet instead of noisy. You don’t even know its running.

–3000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave inverter, versus a 2000 watt Xantrex modified sine wave  inverter.

–Bigger house battery bank. The 40′ bus has four six-volt lead acid batteries. The 42′ bus has six six-volt lead acid batteries.

—  Side opening basement doors. This is a biggie for us. To access your bay storage on the 2005 bus, you had to kneel down and crawl underneath a top opening door, which was horizontal to the ground. It could not open any higher because it would hit the open slide above.  It is hard to lift 50 pound tubs when you’re on your knees and can’t get any leverage. The new bus has side opening doors so you can remain standing, no more kneeling on worn out cartilege-free knees. No more bumping your head when you stand up.


New Way!

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Old way!


–A separate washer and dryer. 40’ buses have a single, European-style combo unit, which is small and slow. You can’t put more than one sheet in it at a time, so it takes three separate loads to wash your sheets.

— Longer couch for guests. Two can sleep on our new, jackknife style sofa bed. Before, one sleeper had to lie diagonally to fit.

— Spartan chassis (larger radiator capacity for hill climbing).

— Tag axle (more carrying capacity and better driving in the wind).

.–Three windows in bedroom. Steve has his own window for the first time, and we are enjoying cross ventilation).

–Hydro-Hot (new name, Aqua-Hot) Even tho this feature is included on both our old 40′ and new 42′, I have to mention it because it is so critical we could not live a day without it. Hydro-Hot gives us unlimited hot water on demand for showers, and instant cozy heat when we get up in the morning, from the diesel heater booster. This is all radiator hot water heat that doesn’t dry you out like a gas furnace.


Here are additional upgrades the seller added to this 42′ bus:


  1. — Complete solar setup with four 120W rooftop panels and a 60V controller. This will allow us to watch TV, use our computers, make coffee, and keep the refrigerator running when we are dry camping.
  2. MCD Shades with all-electric remote. This divine upgrade is standard on Tiffins from 2009. It’s truly heavenly to have MCD shades, especially if you’ve lived with the old curtains.
  3. The seller upgraded our new bus to a 3000 watt Magnum pure sine wave hybrid inverter instead of 2000w modified sine wave. We now have more power and cleaner power. It automatically supplements with power from the house battery bank for overload demand, whereas our old bus would just pop a breaker.
  4. The seller upgraded from six lead acid batteries to eight six-volt maintenance free AGM’s. Steve once tried to make me look in a tiny mirror and add water to the old batteries up to a line I couldn’t see at all, without overfilling or splashing acid on my hand. I ended up shaking and crying, “Do it yourself, Steve!”
  5. The seller removed a dreadful large box in the clothes closet that just ruins your ability to hang and store clothes. This box is an electrical cabinet holding two breaker panels and a 12V fuse panel. The box is way bigger than it needs to be anyway. The seller cut a hole in the floor and moved two of the panels into an empty space under the closet floor, adding an access door. Then he relocated the fuse panel onto the far right wall in the closet. What a HUGE improvement this is! Now we have an unobstructed closet like we had in our 2005 bus.
  6. The seller installed See-Level Gauges with read-outs both inside the bus and in the wet bay. The usual factory gauges for black and grey tank levels are notorious failures because their sensors are inside the tanks, collecting muck. They like to read “full” no matter what your true level.  See-Level gauges are outside the tanks and shoot through for accurate readings.
  7. –Two roll out bay drawers instead of one. These are wonderful for accessing your stuff.
  8. — SilverLeaf Engine Management System with read-out on dash. This monitors all engine functions and is programmable to display favorite.
  9. –SWM equipped Winegard satellite (with multiplexed wiring, you can watch two different shows at the same time and record several if you have two DVR’s.)
  10. Bose sound system added to both front and back.
  11. A Kenwood Stereo unit with Garmin GPS was installed in front dash to replace the factory radio/CD player. This thing is amazing! It gives you an IPod input port, wireless telephone, GPS navigation, XM radio as well as AM/FM, and a USB port.
  12. In the wet bay, four heaters have been added to keep our water lines from freezing when we are stuck in snow, as we have often been. Two are pad heaters under the fresh water tank. Two are forced air heaters by the hoses and valves.
  13. Norcold 2.12 cubic foot basement freezer added
  14. The seller hard-plumbed a water line from the city water source into the black tank. so you can flush and clean your black tank with fresh water at the flip of a switch, instead of hooking up a garden hose.
  15. Seller added a fresh water pressure gauge inside the wet bay. This allows you to monitor the city water pressure coming in and to add a regulator if needed.
  16. You must protect all your RV electronics from electrical surges. The standard solution is to buy a $300 surge protector and plug it outside between the power pedestal (“current bush”) and your cord. These hang unprotected in rain and weather, and, sadly, are sometimes stolen. The seller equipped our bus with a Progressive Industries Electrical Management System (EMS) hard wired safely inside the electric bay.
  17. Most RV’s come standard with a whole house water filter, and a second for the refrigerator. This bus has two additional filters. Thus, our kitchen water is double filtered and our refrigerator door ice/water is triple filtered. I cannot tell you how wonderful this is for the clean flavor of the coffee and iced tea we make daily, no matter where we drive to in the country. In our old bus, we went from one crazy water flavor to the next. Sometimes we hauled heavy gallons home. Now we feel so spoiled, and we are drinking a lot more water.
  18. Seller modified the Hydro-Hot system to make it easier to service. My husband worked on the Hydro-Hot in our old bus and had to crawl to the back end of a small bay over three days. He came out bleeding and miserable. On the new bus, the seller moved the vacuum cleaner out of the Hydro-Hot bay, onto the ceiling of the next bay, out of the way. Then he moved a wiring panel on the back wall up, creating a large opening below, directly into the Hydro-Hot. We can’t live a day without the heat and unlimited hot water from our Hydro-Hot, but they do need servicing annually and can wear out. Most commonly, a cracked drain tube (loss of antifreeze) or dead heating element.
  19. The toilet has a maintenance switch that holds the flap open but that switch is impossible to access – it’s up inside the back of the toilet where you can’t get your head to look. Our switch has been moved out within easy reach.
  20. The outside front steps have a switch. If you leave the switch on, the steps will open every time you open the door, and retract every time you close the door. Most people prefer to keep the steps out all the time while parked. Because if you accidentally have the steps in, and then turn the step switch off, you can actually step out of the bus with no step below you and fall! This happened to our guest because we had turned the ignition key on. (Lawsuit?!) There is a light but it is tied to the step switch and only comes on when the steps move in and out. Our steps are always out, and our light has been rewired to come on whenever we open the screen door.  This is a much better, safer scenario for a complex system.


So, in summary, we are very happy with our “new to us” 2007 Tiffin Allegro, 42’. This is only the second RV we have owned, and we fully expect it will be our last one. We are going to live in this “BessyBus 2” from now until the cows come home to roost. Please get in touch if you have any questions at all!

Carol & Steve Dwyer


Nov 17, 2014




Journey to Capture BessyBus 2 – Chapter 2

Thu Aug 28

Shawnee, Ok to Hays, Ks – 374 mi

This morning I visit dentist once more for an adjustment. Then we must go! We need to be in Denver by Sept 2 to celebrate Steve’s big 70th birthday with his sister and family.  We fuel up at Tonkawa, OK and park for the night at Wilson Lake State Park on I-40. A big storm rolls in right over this beautiful lake.

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Fri Aug 29
Hays Ks to Firestone Co – 355 mi

This morning we call Rob B. for breakfast. He is our son’s old roommate and our renter for many years. He was part of our family in Norman but recently got his very first job teaching Philosophy at Ft. Hays State University. Surprise! Rob is packing and leaving for China in two hours. No socializing today. We drive on to Firestone, Co and park at the lovely home of our niece and nephew, Monica and Steve B.

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You can see from this photo that Monica & Steve have a view west of the Rocky Mountains from their front door, and plenty of parking for BessyBus with no other houses around. It is spectacular!

We get to see their son darling Camden, now one year older. We love to sit on the living room floor early in the morning, visit and drink coffee while we watch the baby play.


Rocky Mountains, Front Range view from Firestone & Longmont at sunset. This view is never the same twice, and always breathtaking. You will leave your heart there.

Mon Sep 1
Firestone Co to Berthoud, Co – 21 mi

We move our bus to park on the street in front of Steve’s sister’s house, Karen and Tom Gavin.

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They host a fantastic party on Tuesday, Sept 2, for big Steve’s big 70 birthday. All the family is there, including the far flung family – see niece Erika from New York with her two children. And Steve’s brother Paul and Dee from Seattle, with niece Katy from Los Angeles. It’s the first time we’ve all been together in a couple years. Karen and Tom are also celebrating their ninth wedding anniversary this week.

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We take in a Rockies baseball game. We enjoy the Chilhuly hand blown art glass exhibit at the Denver Botanic Gardens, and drive up to Estes Park for the Scottish Festival.


Dale Chihuly hand blown glass pieces are planted everywhere among the flowers and foliage of Denver Botanic Gardens.


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Heavy armor jousting still exists on giant horses at Scottish Festival, Estes Park, Co!

Karen and Tom keep a huge garden and are wicked good cooks. Karen won the state fair cherry pie baking contest. She has two cherry trees in her back yard, and her mom Louva’s pie crust recipe. No wonder!

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sister Karen’s state fair prize winning cherry pie from Karen’s real, not canned tart cherries.

Wed Sep 10
Berthoud, Co to Kremmling, Co – 146 mi

After ten nights with the precious Dwyer family, we head west up over Vail Pass on I-70. BessyBus is chugging along to climb 10,662 ft. We are going to meet friends that we haven’t seen in five years. We keep in touch online but this is the first time they have been close enough to overlap in person!  We meet Dan and Irene at Wolford Reservoir, north of Kremmling, Co, an isolated high plain with few trees, a place of stunning, severe beauty. The town is loaded with hunting outfitters.


Fancy log cabin of the lone pioneer on Wolford River, later dammed to Reservoir


Irene is Italian and a fab cook. You should have seen her baked lake trout, served on fine embroidered linens and cut crystal, while we sat parked in the beautiful wilderness beside the lake. Does it get any better than this?

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Irene’s freshly caught baked lake trout.



Our two RVs, parked all alone at Wolford Reservoir, with a sweeping view of big game country

She also served us Trappey’s sweet hot jalapeno peppers on cream cheese on celery. This became an obsession. I later visited about 20 stores looking for it before finally ordering six jars online. We first (and last) met Dan and Irene at twilight in the parking lot of Cape Flattery, Washington, at the furthest northwest land point in the contiguous United States.


Walking path to the tip of Cape Flattery


View of Pacific ocean from tip of Cape Flattery

We were about to spend the night sleeping in the front seat of our Dodge truck when Irene came along and invited two total strangers to sleep in her bus on the living room floor! She made us a lovely bed with air mattresses. She told us all about their life in Hawaii. She cooked us spaghetti for dinner and bacon/eggs for breakfast. And thus a treasured friendship began. No wonder we are beholden to them and willing to drive over Vail pass just to see them again!

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Cute log cabin on Hwy 1 southwest of Kremmling Co


 Fri Sept 12
Kremmling, Co to Wolcott, Co – 68 mi (@35 mph!)

We had a longstanding desire to see the Glenwood Canyon area of Colorado on I-70. We passed through there once before in a downpour and saw nothing. To view pricey Glenwood Canyon on a budget, we decide to stay 20 miles east of town at the tiny, cute, very tight BLM site –  Wolcott Campground. To reach Wolcott from Kremmling, we take Bessy on the small, scenic state Hwy 134 west through the mountains, past Toponas, Co., then south on 131 and across the Colorado River at State Bridge. This is a land of sheepherders and beautiful wild country.

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Looking down on Colorado river and rafters at the tiny town of State Bridge, Co on Hwy 131

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This Great Pyrenees is so fearless and fiercely loyal, he will kill any wolf or tourist who comes near his sheep. There were warning signs saying “Do not approach the dog!!

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Even tho he spoke not a word of English, we had a long conversation with this sheepherder from Peru. See his wagon house in background.

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We are driving our car on the primitive Hwy 700/Muddy Creek Road, in the mountains above Wolcott. Far down below is the sheepherder’s wagon.

Also on Hwy 131 near Wolcott is the beautiful Four Eagle Dude Ranch so I’ll have to add two photos of that:

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Wolcott BLM costs only $5 per night – what a guilt trip! We stayed here once before when our niece Monica and Steve got married at Red Sky Golf and Country Club nearby. Our bus is sitting right beside the bubbling, sparkling Eagle River. From our bedroom window we can see fly fishermen casting.


Sat Sep 13
Glenwood Springs, Co.

Every day we take our car and bikes from Wolcott east on I-70 to Glenwood Springs, or west to Vail/Aspen/Avon area. You cannot believe the beautiful drive on I-70 through the fabulous Glenwood Canyon.

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We did it coming and going several times, with me hanging out the window with my camera, yelling “Slow down!” Glenwood is famous for hiking and white water rafting, and the over-touristed Hot Springs Spa of the Rockies swimming pool. We saw a bear for the first time in our lives and made several shots of him munching on a bush at – appropriately – Grizzly Creek Rest Stop. It was shocking to see tourists walk right up to the bear with their cell phones. One idiot with not even a phone (or shirt) just wanted to feel macho by invading the bear’s space. I wish the bear would have eaten him.

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Hi, I’m cute.


There is no better bike ride than on a trail right along the Colorado River.

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Our bike trail is right on top of the Colorado River in the Glenwood Canyon on I-70.

We also watched people catching a wave at the Whitewater Park waterfalls near Midland Ave.

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We ate at the old grand dame, Hotel Colorado, where Teddy Roosevelt and other wealthy aristocrats stayed while on big game hunting trips.

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Lobby of grand old dame Hotel Colorado, built in 1893. Has its own ghosts, of course.

The hotel tells a charming fable about how Roosevelt was supposed to bring a bear back for his daughter. When he returned empty handed, the staff made a little bear out of stuffed rags for him to give his daughter instead, thus inventing the teddy bear. You can read the truth here:

Before leaving Wolcott, we take a picnic lunch and drive up Bellyache Ridge Road, past the Red Sky Ranch & Golf Club. Up here at 9,120 feet the aspens are at their peak.


Tue Sep 16
Wolcott, Co to Colorado Springs, Co – 183 mi

We drive back down the big mountain on I-70, asking alot of BessyBus to do this twice. We turn south on I-25 to Colorado Springs to spend two days with Escapee friends Brad and Marilyn from Ontario, Canada.  It’s another coincidental overlap of friends along our route! We enjoy Garden of the Gods together and park at the super tight Goldfield RV Park.

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Happy RV friends Brad and Marilyn

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Garden of the Gods park, Colorado Springs

Brad tells us the story of how his dad owned mineral rights to land around a lake in Canada, and sold the those rights just a few years before millions of dollars worth of graphite was discovered there. Email me for a copy of Brad’s “riches to rags” mining story, with photos.

Wed Sep 17
Colorado Springs, Co to Berthoud, Co – 127 mi

We drive north back to Karen’s house at Berthoud to complete the second half of our visit with Karen, Tom and the Dwyer family. We have a three hour dinner at Star of India Restaurant in Ft. Collins with their dear friends, Vish and Sherry.

end of chapter 2

To find Chapter 3, go to top of this page, then click on “Home.”
From Home, scroll down until you come to Chapter 3.

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.



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!)!!


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


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.


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, ( 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 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.


Kevin’s high dollar smoker makes our awesome dinner.


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


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


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.


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

 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.