Friday, May 11, 2012

5-11-12, Home in Warrensburg

Yep, we finally got home.  4433.7 miles over 18 days, covering parts of 8 states.  We hit town about 1:30 PM, topped off the tank, picked up the cats, and pulled in at home at 2.  Another hour to offload, get the laundry going, rearrange the cars, reconnect all the electronic devices.  Then a trip to town for supper and some groceries. After supper, Bill got the books caught up so he can reconcile all the charges, and start downloading pictures so we can get them processed if necessary.  Still have a lot of emails to deal with, not to mention the mail.  May get to the magazines & papers by Monday.

Next step is to redo the trip plan to reflect the actual travel, and Sandra will get started on her trip journal.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

5-10-12, Santa Rosa to Pratt

Mostly a travel day - first stop was Tucumcari to take  a picture of  the Blue Swallow Motel for the NM Centennial contest.  It's an old Rt 66 motel & is set up to look period with some murals & old cars.

Then it was on to Dalhart, where we bought an 18 pack of Lone Star - we'll take it home intact as we finish our Happy Camper IPA from Santa Fe tonight.  Next stop was lunch at Liberal (refer to day 1 for details), and on to visit M.T. Liggett, the folk artist, at Mullinville,  If you've ever driven past Mullinville (about 10 miles west of Greensburg on US-54), you've likely seen his "totem poles" whirling along the fence lines.  This is our third visit with him, a real character.  Here's a story about him.

Stopped at bustling Greensburg for a snack (& more antifreeze), then drove to the new HIE in Pratt.  Dinner at Playa Azul (mediocre) and a dip in the hot tub.  Tomorrow we go home!  Today 403.9 mi /4115.5 for the trip.  30.7 mpg/53 mph.  330 mi to go!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

5-9-12, Las Cruces to Santa Rosa

Never let be said Bill has no flexibility in his travel plans.  The 245 mile trip for today ended up going a very different route for 375 miles.  We did go to Ft. Selden, bought some green chile at Hatch, then headed north to TorC (that's Truth or Consequences), talked to a nice Brit lady at the welcome center, then had a great lunch at Maria's Cafe.  Next it was up I-25 to the El Camino Real memorial - have no idea how they packed so much museum into that space.  Next stop, Ft. Craig, near the Battle of Valverde site; the BLM runs this site and had arrows pointing to the centennial picture site.

By then, Bill was concerned about overheating (again!), so we took a 20 mile detour to Socorro for gas & anti-freeze, and returned to US-380 for a cross-country trip to Carrizozo - forget painted ponies, pigs, cows or hound dogs, this town is full of painted burros, appropriate for a town near an old mining district.  Finally, we drove the last 120 miles to Santa Rosa.

For the day, 375.8 miles, 3711.6 for the trip.  Tomorrow it's Tucumcari for a photo, Dalhart for Lone Star, Liberal for lunch, Mullinville for 'totem poles' and Pratt for the night.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

5-8-12, Tombstone to Las Cruces

No time to post pictures today, but maybe I'll be able to process some & add them tomorrow.  Left Tombstone for Chiricahua National Monument at 7:10, MST, via back roads.    Very scenic, rhyolite pillars & weird formations high above the deserts.  No wonder the cavalry couldn't catch the Apache warriors  in here.

Then, it was on to the interstate to get to Las Cruces.  First stop was Lordsburg, where we had an excellent lunch at a 6 table cafe, Ramona's, recommended by a lady at the welcome center.  On to Deming, for some pictures for the NM Centennial contest.  We got to Las Cruces at 4 PM, called Sandra's Uncle Murray Kugler (Wbg College High, 1949) and picked him up to go to dinner at the famous La Posta in Old Mesilla (hint - Ramona's was better).  Also met his son, Darren, Sandra's 1st cousin, at dinner - Bill talked general politics with him as he's running for judge.

Oddly enough in this desert region in the middle of a drought, a series of heavy thunderstorms blew up and deposited lots of water around the area.  We even drove thru a hail core between Lordsburg & Deming.

Today 's mileage - 346.5, 3335.7 on the trip mpg down to 27.9/48 mph.  Tomorrow we'll jaunt up to Hatch and Ft. Selden, then to Alamogordo, Carizozo & Santa Rosa.

Monday, May 7, 2012

5-7-12, Phoenix to Tombstone

We really felt safe at dinner in Tombstone - about  a dozen guys in period clothes and wearing 6-shooters came in to join other Masons & half-fill the restaurant.  We 'slept in' until 6 AM, and were rolling about 8.  As it turns out, we had only about 200 miles to go, so we took a detour thinking we'd stop at Kartchner Caverns, but found that tours were $22.50 each - as Emily Littela said, "Never Mind."  Had lunch in Sierra Vista and got to Tombstone about noon.

Tombstone sure knows how to be a tourist trap.  It's set in 1881 and at least 4 different groups stage gun fights (including one at the old O.K. Corral location).  They also have tram rides, stagecoach rides, mine tours, bordello/gambling hall tours (with pictures/short bios of the main participants in each activity).  Not to mention an old courthouse with a gallows.  Most of the locals downtown are dressed to period. 

For the day 197.5 mi/2989.2 for the trip; 29.1 mpg/50 mph avg.  Tomorrow we go to Chiricahua National Monument (where Cochise & Geronimo used to hang out).  Then it's on to Willcox, Lordsburg (think "Stagecoach"), Deming & Las Cruces to see Sandra's Uncle Murray.  We're on the way home, at last.

5-6-2012, Las Vegas to Phoenix

Here we are in Phoenix, with the LP convention over & done with.  Pretty much a house-cleaning, but it took forever because the old guard didn't want to let go.  Bill had hoped all would be done by noon, ahead of the 2 PM official end time, but it took til 3, followed by a 300 mile drive in 6 hours (including stops for gas, a traffic jam at Boulder City, and a slight case of overheating).  The area we drove thru between Kingman & Wickenburg, was spectacular in an arid sort of way - lots of saguaros and even a joshua tree forest.  Anyway, here we ar eon the south side of Phoenix, 319 mi on the afternoon, 2791.6 on the trip.  MPG raised to 29.7, speed to 51 mph.

Tomorrow we sleep in a bit, then on to Tombstone for the rest of the day.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

5-4-2012, Las Vegas

What's the plural of Elvis?  While Bill spent the day at the convention, Sandra caught the shuttle to the "Strip".  She saw 4 Elvis impersonators on a street corner, who dutifully posed for the tourist.  She walked thru several casinos, including the Venetian.  Sounded like a fun trip.

While the platform debate at the convention was boring (there's a reasonn these aren't televised), Bill met a lot of folks from across the country & learned a lot of details the typical party member doesn't hear about the current leadership.  Those votes later Saturday will be as important as the nominee.  The televised debate had only the two front runners, so we got a close look at both of them - the vote is Saturday & could be close.  Then the after-debate parties!

Saturday is another day for Bill at the convention, while Sandra basks in the sun by the pool.  Also, getting rady to pack for a Sunday departure.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

5-3-2012 - On to Vegas

Here we are in Las Vegas, on the 18th floor of the Red Rock Resort, with a far away view of downtown Vegas & the strip.  However - the high point of the day was a visit to the Little A'Le'Inn in Rachel, NV.  This is a neighborhood bar, cafe & tourist trap all rolled into one.  Friendly, good food, souvenirs with an alien/Area 51 theme.  Worth the 80 mi round trip (actually more, since I-15 would have been considerably shorter than the Extraterrestrial Highway.

Got to the hotel at 3 PM local, checked in, and Bill went to register for the LP Convention while Sandra explored.  We had dinner at the buffet, then played a bit - Bill made $2.50, Sandra lost $5. 

Enjoy the pictures.

Today was 338 mi, 2472 for the trip.  Tomorrow Sandra explores the Strip while Bill conventions.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

5-2-2012, Kanab to Cedar City

Zion!  What a fantastic park.  On the drive in, we stopped at many cross-bedded sandstone overlooks - this was a desert at one time, so each shift in prevailing wind gave another direction of the rock.  Then, there's alooong tunnel.  Then a series of switchbacks down into the base of the canyon to the visitor center.  Have to go there anyway, because the only ways up the canyon are their bus or hiking, and we got in enough hiking as it was.

Anyway, this was a fantastic photo opportunity, when not gazing in awe at the cliffs and some crazy free climbers going up them.  There are lots of trails, but we took only the paved trail up the Virgin River and one other short one.  Had lunch at a neat cafe in a little town outside the park (took a picture of a hummingbird nesting on an electrical wire), then drove to the Kolob Canyons road sector of the park - more spectacular scenery.

Finally, headed to Cedar city, where we visited a local museum, stayed at the local HIE (room has a double shower!), ate a good Mexican meal (not SW cuisine) and downloaded pictures.  For the day, only 117.3 miles,2133.7 for the trip.  Mileage down to 28.4 mpg due to mountain roads, 45 mph.  Tomorrow to the Little A-Le-Inn in Rachel, then to Vegas & the LP Convention (Bill works/Sandra plays).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

5-1-2012, Winslow to Kanab

Time is confusing.  Winslow is on Pacific time, while Utah & the Navajo Rez are on Mountain time.  So we went forward yesterday & back today, all while moving further west/north.  We left Winslow early after a breakfast at the local McD's - you've heard of fast food, this was half-fast at best. A couple of locals appreciated the quip.  I-40 to Flagstaff, then US-89 north.  Stopped at a Navajo museum/info center in Tuba City, which is much larger than we expected.  Big surprise/small world moment - a familiar face said hello.  It was Dr. Terry Simmons, retired professor of tourism at UCM, also touring the SW.

Then, on to Page, via a long climb up the face of Red Mesa. After a break, we headed for Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument, which is administered by the BLM.  BLM wasn't there at any of the ranger stations - maybe they were out on strike as called for by the occupy movement.

Arrived fairly early at Kanab, were upgraded to a 2-room suite, and had a great meal at Escobar's restaurant - we highly recommend it.  Today was 283 miles, 2029.1 on the trip. Avg mpg up to 29.1, mph to 48.   Tomorrow to Zion NP, and Cedar Breaks if it's not still snowed in.