Three thousand four hundred and five miles later, we have finally brought this baby home! It was a long haul, with heavy winds, tornado warnings, mechanical adventures, dust storms, rain, rainbows, snow, 78-degree temperatures and below-freezing temps. We saw mesas, mesitas, canyons, arroyos, gulches, prairies (no prairie dogs), grasslands, mountains, molehills, tumbleweeds, red rocks, gorges, rivers, streams, ponds, pondlets, and lakes.
We passed all sorts of cool auto salvage yards that I could have spent weeks photographing. No worries though -- I marked them on our maps!
In Kingston Springs, Tennessee, an alarm sounded, yelling "earthquake! earthquake! earthquake" I learned that kudzu is apparently deciduous. I saw that Tennessee has the most beautifully shaped bare trees I've ever seen.
We saw brown and dry desert vistas in Texas and lush green desert vistas in southern California. There were snow-covered peaks in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the best hamburger I've had in years outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Chris and I were most impressed with the Firestone folks at the Memphis/Bartlett city line, who were caring and competent. If we had to run into mechanical problems, this was the very best place for them to have happened. Thank-you Jeff and Trey. And thank-you to the local Best Western people, who, knowing of our predicament, gave us a discount on our motel room for the three nights we were there.
We enjoyed seeing signs for Peckerwood Lake, Toad Suck Park (Arkansas) and Bucksnort, North Carolina. Roman Nose State Park was another colorful name in Oklahoma. In Tennessee we heard shopping carts referred to as "buggies." "This yer buggy?"
We noticed that in Tennessee and Arkansas people don't tend to use their turn signals much. We were thankful for all the truckers who drove so courteously, who moved aside so that they wouldn't buffet us much as they passed. We were dismayed at the lack of courtesy of California drivers, their impatience, stupidity, and recklessness. We saw people texting, using their phones, reading books and magazines as they drove, oblivious to the fact that in a heartbeat something can happen and someone's life may end because of a moment's inattention.
Wish I'd gotten the name of the wonderfully friendly guy in Seagrove, North Carolina who owns five different pottery stores. He was intrigued with our Roadtrek and had to come outside and take a look inside. I swear, North Carolinians are the nicest, friendliest, most gracious people I've ever met. Thank you to Jill Margeson and her dad Chris Christiansen who made this Roadtrek purchase possible. Thank you to June White, who give us great snacks to take on our travels. And thank you to Gisela Danielson, who let us stay at her lovely home even though she wasn't there.
We're amazed that there are any skunks left in this world based on the number we saw flattened on the road. But the pronghorn antelopes we saw in Texas were alive and kicking and beautiful. And did you know that the Holiday Inn Express in Barstow is right next to one of the largest train facilities in the world? Believe it! The front desk provided ear plugs free of charge.
When we started out, we paid $3.19 per gallon of gas. It went as high as $3.99, with some stations charging $4.39 per gallon.
Time was of the essence on this trip, trying to get home as quickly as possible. Tension was high, learning to drive the vehicle, dealing with strange roads, strange weather, sharing the road with huge trucks, and living in such close quarters for two weeks. We both were exhausted and sometimes snippy with one another, but luckily the snippiness didn't last long. Our GPS navigator, Brenda the Bitch, whose exasperated "reCALculating" comments, with a barely repressed heavy sigh, kind of got on our nerves.
What's next? Acclimating Abby the Psycho Cat from Hell to the Roadtrek. Now THAT will be a story!