Today is our 10th day on the road. We finally made it to Missouri two days ago. Who ever thought one could drive from Arizona to Missouri and take this many days?
We are learning many lessons as we travel. What do we still need to purchase, and what was a wrong purchase? What mistakes have we made that we will, hopefully, will not continue as we drive around the country for the summer?
But, first, let me tell you about where we have been and what we have seen. We are staying at two different types of RV sites. The first one is traditional RV parks that offer full services. That means we can hook up the RV to electricity, fresh city water, and a sewer. The other is staying at Harvest Hosts locations. These are locations throughout the country (wineries, breweries, museums, and farms) who allow you to “boondock” on their property for free. For those who do not know what boondocking is, it is having none of the full services. We must rely on our onboard water tanks, and generator.
The first night we spent at the Rio Grande Winery in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This was a small winery, but they allow up to five RVs to spend the night on their lot. After we arrived, we went to their wine tasting, and then ordered our wine and a basket of crackers and cheese, sat on their patio overlooking the mountains of New Mexico, and just relaxed. I am looking forward to the other Harvest Hosts locations we have booked on this trip. One will be a farm in Georgia, and another an olive farm in California.
The next morning we moved on from Las Cruces to Carlsbad, New Mexico. Dennis is using an RV GPS that takes into account the type of RV one is driving so there are no roads, bridges or low areas that the RV cannot navigate. I am still not sure about this GPS. The trip to Carlsbad on a map is due east of Las Cruces, but the GPS took us northeast through the mountains. I have to say it was a pretty ride, but those mountains don’t seem RV friendly to me. As we got to Alamogordo, New Mexico, all traffic was directed off the highway through a border patrol checkpoint. My first instinct to yell was, “We are the Millers!” Okay, if you don’t get the reference, you have not see the movie! Of course, I did not do that. As we pulled up, the agent asked how many people were in our RV, and who we are. As we drove off, I commented to Dennis that they sure took our word at that. He then pointed out that it looked like there were several scanning devices pointed at the RV as we pulled through. It was an unusual stop for our road trip.
We wanted to visit the Caverns. Our trip took us through the mountains of New Mexico. We had been at Carlsbad Caverns eight years ago, and loved God’s underground creation. This time my camera took excellent photos of the cave. We missed the flight of the bats because they migrated to Mexico for the winter and won’t be back until the end of May. We chose to walk down 750 feet to the bottom, although if you have bad knees, you can take the elevator down. Since, fortunately, our knees are one thing that still work for both of us, we chose to take the 2 hour hike down on the switchbacks that lead to the most amazing room inside the caverns.
When we left Carlsbad, we took a short drive to Roswell, New Mexico. The next morning we visited the UFO Museum. It was well done and quite interesting. If was definitely worth the the additional day to our travels.
The rest of the days were basically travel days. Crosbyton, Texas was our next stay, and it was at a local park that offered free RV parking with full service. It was kind of weird, because we were the only ones there. The city allows one to park for free for two nights, and then pay $10 a night for additional nights. It’s on an honor system—no one manning the location. We spent our one night and moved on. I am not sure why one would spend more than a night in Crosbyton, Texas. There didn’t seem to be much going on.
We went from there to Chocotah, Oklahoma. I never heard of the place, but when I posted our location on Facebook, my cousin’s wife informed me that this is the town her parents are buried and she was born just miles from there. Who knew? Well, she did, but not me! It was a nice stop before we got into Missouri.
We decided to spend a few days in Branson. The hills/mountains of the Ozarks are breathtaking, and if you have never been there, at least one trip in your lifetime is due. We will take in a couple shows. Sight and Sound Theater is one of my favorites—they perform biblical based musicals, and their professionalism and stage production is beyond amazing, which includes live animals of all kinds that they raise and train on site. We will also see some family here before we move on.
What have we learned on this trip?
- Never ever, no matter what you do, forget to lock the refrigerator before you drive away. The first day, I pulled water bottles for our drive and forgot to lock the door. We were getting off the highway for gas and as Dennis made a big turn off the exit, we heard a crash. He pulled over, and what we saw was hard to see. Several beer bottles had flown out of the refrigerator and shattered on the floor, and beer was streaming down the floor toward our driving area. We pulled over, and started cleaning the mess. Once we swept up a ton of shattered glass and picked up the towels that were quickly thrown down that collected all the running beverage, we turned on the water pump so I could fill a bucket with water and soap to mop the floor.
- You would think the lesson would be learned by that disaster, but seven days later, guess who (me again), forgot to lock the refrigerator! This time it was coffee grounds all over the floor. We swept up, and then my little handy stick vacuum cleaned up the last residue. Now I lock even if we are not moving, just so I never forget to do so.
- Wastebaskets – I purchased all tiny wastebaskets that can easily fit in the cabinets when driving. That works in the bathroom, but not in the kitchen. There is just too much trash when cooking, and the tiny can with a cover just doesn’t fit the bill. We will be picking up a larger trash can with a cover. I realized that while driving, it can be put in the bedroom on the back wall of the RV. When the slide is closed the bed moves forward, and will hold that wastebasket in place.
- The RV has several compartments under the living area. After we had the the coffee grounds disaster, we were driving down the road and a car next to us started honking and pointing. The compartment that Dennis grabbed the broom from had popped open while driving down the road. We had to pull over (again) to close and lock the compartment. Although, the compartment can close tightly, it is best to lock them shut to prevent any non-closure issues.
- Some entertainment may be needed. We learned in our small travel trailer that a regular set of dominoes do not fit on an RV table without a lot of juggling. Doing an internet search several weeks ago, I was able to purchase a set of tiny dominoes! They fit perfectly on a small table. Another thing we learned, that even though the RV gives us 3 televisions (compared to our one and only at our home), network television has never been our thing. Fortunately, the RV is also equipped with 2 DVD players. We stopped at a thrift store and purchased several DVDs, and once we watch them, we will find another thrift store somewhere in the U.S. and donate these DVDs and purchase another batch of new to us DVDs.
It took us a while to figure out how to light the oven on the stove in the RV. We thought it was not working, but a good computer search help solved that problem. We still do not know why we cannot get hot water in the bathroom sink. Our shower and kitchen sink gives us hot water. We are still researching if it is operator error or an issue with the hot water line to the bathroom sink.
Our week has been lovely. This RV is large enough to relax. I am enjoying this trip so far, although we have completed only one week of a 19 week trip.
Stayed tuned—more RV adventures to come . . . .