It was a dark and stormy….. Ok, lets just say that as September came to a close with the cooler weather it was very apparent we needed to be heading South! I think I must have the bird flu.
Although it is tough to leave these two behind we had things to do and places to be that did not include the inclement weather of the NW. (I’m adding the finishing touches to this in January not realizing just how bad it was going to get)
Following a major overhaul of our trailer in late summer 2021 it was ready to go (we hope). This season we are splitting our winter between some sailing in the Sea of Cortez and a trip through the Southern states to the East Coast so the trailer was going to see a lot of country! (Update: we are in East Texas and it has not broken 45 degrees today)
We pulled out of our home in Snohomish on September 29th heading for Hell’s Gate State Park in Lewiston, ID.
We were meeting Linda’s brother, Greg, and his wife, Maureen, there for one night before heading off to Boise to see her other brother on our way down to Arizona. Greg, is a wonderful guy. I kiddingly had requested our camp site be raked and two Old Fashions be waiting for us upon arrival….
True to form he had everything prepared. The drinks were very welcome after a long day on the road towing the trailer. We had a really nice visit with them and a group of friends we had camped with in St Regis, Montana over the 4th of July weekend. Next morning we were up early and headed for Boise down Highway 95. We really wanted some time to stop by and visit the gravesite in Cascade, ID where Linda’s parents are buried but when we arrived at the turnoff in New Meadows we found the road closed. A little disappointed, we continued on down to our spot at Mountain View RV Park in Boise.
We were supposed to meet Linda’s brother Kevin and his wife Melinda for dinner but they must have got the bird flu too as they were not feeling well so we left the truck and trailer hooked up, had a quick dinner in the RV and hit the rack early in preparation for an early departure the next morning.
Morning arrived right in schedule and we were headed to Ely, Nevada. This is a pretty long run for us with the trailer but we were on a mission to get the trailer to storage before heading off to the Sea of Cortez and Pellucidar. We headed West on Interstate 84 to Twin Falls then turned South on Hwy 93 to Ely. Let me tell you this is a very desolate stretch of road. It’s beautiful in an odd sort of way. I remember a sign stating no services for the next 160 miles or so. Crazy. We did stop in Jackpot to take a break and grab some lunch. I’m happy to say not one penny left our pockets to the slot machines!
We arrived at our RV site and decided to unhook to explore the town a bit. We will need to come back and visit when we have more time. Ely has a lot of history along the Pony Express route and Central Overland Route. There is a deep seated heritage in mining and railroading that would be fun to explore. We also discovered with Ely at almost 6500 feet above sea level it gets really cold at night. We woke up to below freezing temperatures! Luckily nothing cold enough to freeze up the trailer but enough to make a note and pay more attention in the future. No wonder we burned a ton of fuel between Boise and Ely.
The next day driving from Ely, NV to Needles, CA we dropped from 6500′ to just under 500′ elevation. Again another desolate drive down Hwy 93 until we hit Las Vegas but we burned a lot less fuel! I had no idea were drove right by Area 51. It would have been cool to take a little detour.
Dragging a trailer through Las Vegas traffic is not my idea of a fun time but we made it through unscathed. They not only gamble with their money they put their lives on the line anytime they hit the streets. Leaving Las Vegas we took Hwy 95 and dropped down into the Mohave Valley to our KOA spot in Needles. We had put a lot of miles on in a short period of time and decided to take a break from driving for a day. We booked a round of golf at a local course. Fun fact. California and Arizona is separated here by the Colorado River. Gas in California was over $5.00 per gallon and there were a number of big motorhomes filling up as we drove past the station. Over the bridge, less than a mile away, gas was $2.69. I almost broke into song, “you better shop around…”
We needed food! Looking through the reviews it looked like the Wagon Wheel , just a short drive from our campsite, would fit the bill. The décor was fun and being along the old Route 66 highway made it special. Food was ok.
The next day was our break from traveling and a date with our golf clubs. We arrived at the course to find it in great shape with the emerald green grass contrasting against the clear blue sky.
Most of the courses in the area had just gone through their re-seeding process and were just beginning to accept golfers. We practically had the course to our selves. There was one other couple in front of us and we joined them to finish the back 9 together. We didn’t even slow them down too much!
Our break was over so the next morning we rose early as we had a long day ahead of us. We left Needles, California heading for Gilbert, Arizona just outside of Phoenix. We decided to give the trailer a quick wash and found a great little spot near our storage.
Now that she was all bright and shiny we backed the trailer into her spot at the storage yard, put the cover on, unhooked the batteries and were off to see Pop in Yuma before we headed toward Pellucidar in Mexico.
We spent a fun week with Pop doing a few projects and trying to get the AC working on the truck. The AC had quit the day before we left for Lewiston. The ride down had been a bit warm but nothing we were used to spending the winter in Mexico on a boat with out AC. We figured the further South we went it would be hotter traveling so decided to take it in to get it fixed. The shop did an AC service and all was cool…. until it wasn’t. The next day I got in the truck to go to town and no AC. I checked under the hood and the clutch on the compressor was not turning. I called the shop and they asked me to bring it that afternoon as they were booked up in the morning. Of course it was a Friday and I had seen a race car on the trailer out if front of the shop the previous day. That is never a good sign. I’ve been in this industry long enough to know the focus tends to drop off as one gets closer to race day. If the race is on Saturday this usually begins on a Tuesday. By the time I got the truck back down there for the appointment, the AC was working again. I tried a few more times that week before we finally had to leave for Mexico. Every time the truck was headed for the shop the AC worked so there was no way to diagnose it. I did manage to stop by once when it was acting up but they were too busy to look at it. Honestly that left a bad taste in my mouth. I did give them one more shot when we got back from Mexico but eventually ended up having it repaired else where. That was a whole next level of education but we will talk about that in a future post. We left for Mexico and and the AC teased us working for about 5 miles before it quit all together.
My pop has about the same luck with repairs on his place as I do with the AC guy. He has hired two different roofers for the cover over his outside patio with poor results each time. HE is 89 years old and really can’t (ok, not supposed to) climb ladders to watch what they are doing. And really shouldn’t have to. The last crew left the gutters hanging my a thread and they were leaking between the gutter and the face board. We got those installed properly and installed some lattice on the ends to keep the birds from flying through.
It was a fun week of visiting and puttering around town but soon it was time for these birds to head South.
On the way to Pellucidar we have always stopped in Green Valley, AZ for the night before crossing the border. It allows us a little bit of downtime and puts us close enough to catch the crossing in Nogales / Mariposa at 6:00am when they open. This is the truck crossing and even though they are only open from 6:00am to 10:00pm it is a much simpler place to cross. This time we took one extra day and played another 18 holes of golf before we crossed. Again it was a very nice course that was not too busy. We were paired up with a young man who was moving to the area. We played pretty well (my opinion is if I loose less balls than the number of holes I played that is a win!), enjoyed a nice dinner at the hotel and had lights out early.
Next morning I got into the “correct lane” and we drove through the border without incident. That is until we got to the Aduana where we pick up our FMM (Visa) for our stay in Mexico. Being as efficient as possible, I had applied and paid for our FMM in advance. I had gone to a brokerage site instead of the real website so had paid 3 x what I should but I always write this stuff off to education. I’ve paid more than I should for education as well but I digress.
I had all the paperwork ready along with our passports, cup of hot coffee from the hotel in my hand and our award winning smiles. We were fully prepared. Or so I thought. The young lady looked over the paperwork and said, “I need to see your receipt for payment”. I promptly showed her the email they had sent confirming my payment and she looked at me, smiled and said “No senor, I need the paper”. She had no printer so being quick thinking and adept in spending much more than required for most of my other educational experiences I quickly told her we would pay again! Without the extra brokerage fee of 150% it was amazingly cheap.
We made it the rest of the way unscathed and found Pellucidar looking magnificent with her new paintjob.
We checked into our Air BNB and started preparing Pellucidar for her launch and the Surf portion of 2021.
One comment on “Surf & Turf 2021 – 2022 – The beginning”
Can’t wait to live vicariously through your adventures this year!