Go West

go-west01Tuesday, June 10

The road is calling, and I must go! Bright and early I hitch up the RV, a task that isn’t as sweaty as I feared it would be with the clouds rolling in. Then I get on I20 West and…uh, stay on it like forever. Seriously.

Alabama comes quickly, Atlanta is always closer to the border than I think. Another thing that surprises me about Alabama, it’s quite hilly! I guess the Appalachian mountains terminate in northern Alabama, it’s not really mountains I’m driving through but there are some pretty significant hills, it’s no use trying cruise control here. It’s very pretty country though and I’m happy for the abundant clouds. See, this is the first time I’ve done one of these big repositioning trips in the summer, last year I got up to the Badlands early in spring and stayed until fall had started and I missed actually towing the Casita in the heat. I’ve pulled all the food stuff that might melt into Bertha with me (save the chocolate!) and hope that the ups and downs won’t affect the fridge’s ability to keep things cool with near 90 degree weather.

go-west2

Oh, did I mention that there’s a chance for severe thunderstorms today? As I’m leaving Birmingham an ominous dark wall of clouds stretches across the horizon north to south. I’ve been passing little thunderstorm cells since I left but there’s no avoiding this one.

It gets dark enough that the street lights come on as I and other motorists pass underneath the wall, I’ve slowed down expecting to get hit with something, and everyone else on the road is doing the same.

go-west3It’s wind, very strong wind. There is almost no rain at all and the lightning and thunder isn’t real intense, but the wind makes the trees along the side of the road go crazy. We’re lucky. Because the storm is moving west to east the wind blasts us head on and doesn’t cause any unexpected lane changes. It’s a very brief gust, and then the wall cloud has moved on and we get a more typical soaking from the lighter clouds behind it.

When checking for leaks after driving through the heavy rain (none, yay!) I discover that none of my battery powered electrics in the RV are working, merp. Well, at least I’m heading to Little House Customs anyway to get work done, no extra trip needed!

Tonight’s stop is a Walmart in Meridian, MS just off I20. The rain has cooled things down and sleeping isn’t too bad despite not having AC.

Wednesday

Today I get back on I20, and keep driving west. This part of Mississippi is hilly too, though not as much as Alabama was. The rain showers continue, but they’re not heavy enough to slow me down. Everything is amazingly green and the streams and rivers I pass are all high, must have been a lot of rainfall here lately.

go-west4Late in the morning I cross into Louisiana and for the second time manage to get a shot of the Welcome sign, wow, I rarely never manage that. Someday I want to come back and spend some time in these three states, this is the second time I’ve come through without being able to sight see, but time is of the essence. The bayous I can see from the interstate in LS are intriguing. I wonder if the bugs are really bad in them, I’d think so but then again I haven’t had a chance to get out of the truck and explore. Some day!

Tonight is another Walmart stop shortly after crossing into Texas in the town of Longview. There are a lot of birds in the trees in and around the lot, I can never remember what they’re called but they’re medium sized, males are black and females are brown and they have longer tails and make several distinctive calls. They sing me to sleep tonight, I keep a window cracked because it’s very hot and humid out and I need any breeze I can get. I’m not worried about intruders, the parking lot security guy came over and introduced himself shortly after I showed up, a kindly older man who enjoys talking. He says he’ll keep an eye on the rig over night.

go-west5Thursday

Well, I’m not too far from LHC now but not due in until tomorrow. As a full-time RVer that makes this a “vacation day”.

Tyler State Park sits between Longview and Yantis, and google reviewers have praised it for it’s hiking trails and nice lake, sounds good to me! By 10 am I’m at the park, anxiously awaiting in line while two other campers ahead of me check in at the office. Outside the sky has gotten dark and thunder is rumbling near continuously, it’s another severe thunderstorm watch day.

go-west6Luckily the rain holds out until I make it to my spot and check in. It’s a lovely park. If you’re coming here with a RV you have options: Water only, water and electric, water, electric and sewer, and water, electric and sewer with a lakeside view. Prices start at $14 a night for the first up to $26 a night for the last. I choose the Cedar Point camping area, with is water and electric at $20 a night and set on a hill above the lake with younger oak and mature pine. The sites all seem to be paved, there are back ins and pull-throughs located in every camping area so check a map before making a reservation if you prefer one over the other. Having shore power I confirm that all of my electric stuff is working fine, it’s got to be something wrong with my battery.

The hiking trails at this park are very well laid out. There are four of them and they’re all loops that allow bicycling – hikers travel one direction and bikers the other. Due to the rain I don’t have the opportunity to do more than peek at one of the trails: Loop B located on the northeast end of the campground. I do walk down to the lake however which looks particularly stunning with sky above being so dramatic with the scattered showers. Like in the other states I’ve passed through the water level is high, or at least higher than it’s been in the recent past with several smaller trees poking up out of the lake edge. Near the boat dock there is a wooden bridge that leads out to an island with several benches on it facing the water. I pull my kindle out and read in one for a while, life is good.

go-west7

Later in the evening I Enjoy A Shower. Normally this would not be an event worthy of mention in a blog post let alone being capitalized but you don’t understand. I’d been stuck using the teeny little showers on the festival grounds in Fairburn for months now and they were pretty awful. Compared to that, this state park shower is the height of luxury. I can adjust the temperature, the shower head is high enough that no stooping is necessary, the water pressure actually rinses conditioner out of my hair, and I have so much space inside! I can bend over and reach my feet to clean them. I can stick out my elbows to lather my hair without fear of bruising. I can do jumping jacks! Okay maybe not that last one but you get the point. It was a good shower.

Friday

Bright and early at the hour of 9…well that’s early for me… I depart Tyler State Park and drive the last hour to Little House Customs.

go-west8As always, Larry and Debbie treat me like family. I pester Larry with questions while he works which he answers fully and without complaint. I’m getting my hitch adjusted, and an emergency brake-away brake thingy installed. My friction pads should no longer wear away abnormally quickly, yay! I also complete and send in two more job applications while he works and do my laundry.

Larry brings it to my attention in the afternoon that someone who wishes to remain anonymous has donated $100 to my bill. I don’t know who you are, but I imagine you read my blog. Thank you very much, and thank you also to everyone out there who have ever done a random act of kindness for someone. Despite the prevailing thought that people are dangerous and selfish, I’ve found that most people are actually pretty awesome – particularly RVers. If you ever need your faith in humanity restored, go spend some time getting to know your neighbors in a campground.

* * *

Still a bit behind but it’s getting late and I need some sleep! Tonight I’m enjoying the drier climate of central Texas, tomorrow’s another travel day but after that I’ll probably be more stationary again for a couple days and can catch up on the travelogue. Hope everyone’s having a good weekend!

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Becky

Forget about what the world tells you your life should be like. At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and go full-time RVing before retirement. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

32 Comments

  1. Rick on July 1, 2014 at 6:28 pm

    Sounds like stop to see Larry is a must whenever in Texas…..



    • Becky on July 2, 2014 at 1:13 pm

      That’s how I tend to plan it yeah, hehe.



  2. LenSatic on June 17, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    If you are looking for interesting things to do in Lubbock, and like museums, the Silent Wings Museum is a nice way to spend a couple of hours: http://silentwingsmuseum.org/ It’s in the old Lubbock airport terminal just off I-27 north of the city.

    My wife and I were there in April and really enjoyed the stop.

    This being the 70th anniversary of D-day, the museum educates you on a long forgotten instrument of the invasion, the Glider. Highly recommended.

    Happy trails!

    Pat



    • Becky on June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Thanks for the recommendation Pat. Went to see the prairie dog town yesterday, will see if I have enough time for that today. 🙂



  3. Jodee Gravel on June 16, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Love the bridge to the little island and that you took the time to enjoy it with a good read. Hope you’ll soon be in cooler, dryer temps! I soooo get the shower-love! It is the one thing we expect to miss out there :-). Safe travels forward to your new most perfect summer job.
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..The House KnowsMy Profile



    • Becky on June 18, 2014 at 11:22 am

      There’s just something about a good shower Jodee. It’s relaxing instead of a chore.

      Dryer temps I’ve found, cooler…not so much. 😉



  4. Pleinguy on June 16, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Slow the pace and enjoy the ride. You might see some interesting spots along the way; west Texas is BIG. Hope the summer job becomes clear soon.
    Pleinguy recently posted..Red Rock CanyonMy Profile



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      Can’t afford to slow the pace right now, I made the decision to work at the renaissance festival and check something off of my dream list. It’s a decision I do not regret at all, but I made it knowing I’d have less time and money later in the year for other things. Life is a trade off. 🙂 Just because I’m traveling fast though doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the ride! Texas is interesting, I really enjoyed Tyler State Park and now that I’m in central-ish Texas it’s like I’ve entered a totally new ecosystem, it’s so different and neat. Every curve of the road reveals a scene I’ve never laid eyes on before. Take care.



  5. Becca on June 15, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    YES…I do need my faith in humanity restored. I am hoping to find it on the road as we set out next year to seek and find our faith in human kind. We enjoy all your posts but this one hit it!



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      RVers, travelers in general really, seem to be more optimistic and gregarious than the population at large. I think because people who travel, well, love to travel so they’re in their element and enjoying life more. And when you’re enjoying life more, it’s natural to pass that good humor on to others you meet.



  6. Reine on June 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Glad your trip is going well so far. We’re heading to Larry and Debbie’s next week for shock absorbers and a bigger storage door. They’re our birthday, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day presents to ourselves.

    If your battery is kaput be really glad you have an older Casita with the manual fridge. On the new fridges with electronic controls no battery = fridge doesn’t work. How did the fridge handle the temps on the trip? We have the same fridge and so far it seems to be able to keep the inside temp at 40 or below even when travelling in 90 plus temps.

    Enjoy your trip west. Central Texas is great with several nice state parks.



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Ooo, enjoy your trip there Reine. And yes it was an old dead battery that was the problem.

      On the hottest days I’ve encountered so far I keep the fridge at 4.5 out of 8 to keep everything inside the correct temperature, parking so that the fridge side of the RV is shaded in the afternoon really helps, the amount of stuff you put in the fridge makes a difference too. Right now my fridge is pretty bare and I can get by with 3 of 8 even with highs hitting 90.



  7. Susan on June 15, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Becky, We would love to have you come up to Yellowstone. There are opportunities galore here. It is always nice to share the experience with others we know. If you do come up this way, dinner is my treat!

    I love your perspective on traveling I-20. I have done the Florida to Texas route on a Memorial weekend and I must say you made great progress.

    Thanks for keeping smiles in our lives.



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      We’ll see which place I end up working for Susan, I’m loathe to drive to a location before I have a job lined up, it’s a waste of money if I can’t find anything once I get there. That being said I’d love to spend time in the Yellowstone/Grand Tetons area so I do hope it works out. 🙂

      I think I drive more in a day than the average RVer which has good and bad points. A lot of retired folks who don’t need to worry about earning money and setting up jobs make more frequent stops and don’t drive as long in a day, but they move more frequently, that’s not the kind of traveling I do.



  8. Angela on June 15, 2014 at 11:01 am

    Oh i had no idea the TSP was so pretty. I’m from Dallas and never been out there, so I’ll have to check it out. Thanks! Also, that’s really cool about the Walmart security guard. As a young female traveling solo, do you often get gentlemen who seem to want to help as opposed to intrude or make themselves unwelcomed/awkward?

    this is one of my fears of soloing….

    Really enjoy your blog, Becky.



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      Yes you really should Angela, it isn’t too far from where you live and it is really pretty. Also welcome to IO, glad you’re finding it helpful.

      In a nutshell, I’ve never in the two years I’ve lived in my RV had an encounter with someone that felt unsafe, and I’ve had countless people offer advice and help. The world isn’t as scary as the media would have us think. Just use common sense.



  9. Ron on June 15, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Safe travels, I think the birds were Grackles, very entertaining to watch & listen to. Safe travels, I too was wondering what your 12 volt problem was?



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:09 pm

      Old bad battery, all better now. And yes I discovered later that they were Grackles, good catch. 🙂



  10. Fireman Steve on June 15, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Sounds like you are enjoying your travels. Love the pics you post. Keep ’em coming



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      Yep I’m enjoying myself Steve and there are plenty more pictures to come.



  11. Brian on June 15, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Hope everything goes well the rest of your travels. Stay cool! Texas is hot right now. We’ll be escaping the Texas heat and heading to the mountains in a couple more weeks. Brian and Sharon.



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Yesterday and the day before actually weren’t any hotter than the southeast had been and the humidity was lower so it didn’t feel so bad. Today’s high is 95 though, meep.



  12. Sherry on June 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Hope you got your power problem fixed as well. We had tons of 12vdc problems when we had solar installed but they seem ok now. Just love your positive attitude and going after your bucket list to check things off. Safe travels.
    Sherry recently posted..Paddling the PlatteMy Profile



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      Was just an old dead battery, all better now. I wonder if dc power problems are usually encountered with solar installation…



  13. Rob on June 15, 2014 at 8:46 am

    I had to pull out a map and take a look at where I-20 was…. I am curious about your 12vdc problem too.

    Safe travels!
    Rob recently posted..A PassportMy Profile



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      My battery had just given out is all Rob. I bought a new one while I was at LHC and Larry got it put in for me. The date on the old battery was 3/07 which I guess is really old, so it had a good long life.



  14. Furry Gnome on June 15, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Glad you’re on the road again; look forward to hearing of your travels.



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm

      I’m glad to be on the road again too. 🙂



  15. James on June 15, 2014 at 4:56 am

    So you are on the road again Becky. Drive carefully.
    My TDN colleagues love you pictures.

    Good luck.

    James



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

      I will James don’t worry. 🙂 And I’m glad the pictures are going over well!



  16. Misty on June 15, 2014 at 12:59 am

    I think you’re taking the same route that I did to get to Texas last year. :> Luckily, you’re taking it more leisurely than I did! (Interesting coincidence that I chose today to write a blog post reminiscing about that trip!)

    I think we call those black/brown birds grackles, but I seem to recall that in my bird-watching book, they were called cowbirds. I’m sure they have a lot of different names, though.
    Misty recently posted..The day I wasn’t haunted by a ghostMy Profile



    • Becky on June 16, 2014 at 11:49 am

      Yes they are grackles! I looked it up online, good catch. 🙂

      And yes it is funny that we wrote about that same stretch of road on the same day, hehe. I had a lot of fun meeting you yesterday finally! I’m all for spending more time together before I leave Lubbock, now that I’m settled in a RV park I have a vehicle again so we could even go out somewhere if you’d like.



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