Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arizona and New Mexico

Early on the 14th we left Bakersfield and drove toward Barstow, California. Believe me when I say that Barstow is no place you really want to be, but it is the connector town where we leave CA Hwy 58 and join Interstate 40 to Arizona. They have a very large outlet mall in Barstow if you are a shopaholic or just a bargain hunter. We did not even slow down. After we got onto eastbound I-40 Bruce decided that it was my turn to drive our diesel motorhome. I've driven all of our other motorhomes before this one but since we got the new 40 footer I've enjoyed being the navigator and co-pilot much more. We pulled off at a truck stop and switched places. I got back onto the interstate and drove the motorhome towing the car (about 60 feet long) for about 5 miles until we came to a Rest Area pull off. OK that was enough for me. In case of emergency I wanted to know how to drive the darn thing. Bruce is a very good driver with this big rig and he can steer it through city streets, parking lots jammed with cars and into the truck stops with all the 18-wheelers. Here is a photo of our motorhome with the car attached by the tow bar.

While we continued on our way to Arizona the desert was really pretty at this time of year. There was a green hue to all the desert plants and the desert grasses. All too soon this will turn to various shades of dull brown.
We turned off I-40 at Needles, CA and went to the small Arizona town of Fort Mohave. This is just south of Bullhead City and Bullhead City is just across the river from Laughlin, Nevada. We got a site at a membership park for 2 nights. It was a glorious 80 degrees here! I had Bruce get my summer clothing out of the basement in the RV and put on some shorts. Fantastic. We did lots of laundry and grocery shopping in this town. Dennis called us Sunday morning to report that Tumwater (our home town) got an inch or more of fresh snow the night before. Ahhh, too bad but we're enjoying the sunshine.
Monday, March 16th:
We left Fort Mohave and took a small highway around to the north and then south unil we connected with Kingman, Arizona and Interstate 40 again. We enjoyed the scenery on the smaller highway with it's jagged mountains. We refueled the RV in Kingman...diesel $2.00 a gallon....and then ate our cereal for breakfast. We continued on our eastbound path and drove past the town of Flagstaff. The elevation there is 7,335 feet and there was still plenty of snow to be seen off the highway in many places. We continued on to the town of Winslow where we parked for the night at the Flying J Truck and Auto Plaza. We got a nice spot way at the side where we could extend one of our slide out sections.
Tuesday, March 17th:
Left Winslow, Arizona early and it was only about 23 degrees. Brrrrrr. I had to put my sweats on this morning until it warmed up to the 70's again. We drove along that northern Arizona Interstate and saw lots of brown landscape here. There were also homesites with lots of rusted junk in huge piles strewn about. It probably cost too much money to have the stuff hauled away and so folks just let it pile up. Talk about living out in the middle of nowhere!
Across the border into New Mexico we stopped for breakfast in our motorhome. I took the photo you see at that location. It shows some of the beautiful, colorful rock formations that are in this area of New Mexico.
Once we'd eaten, we continued along on I-40. This takes the driver through some Native American reservation areas and the landscape is dotted with large billboards. They invite the traveler to stop and buy a Navajo rug or a pair of hand sewn moccasins. Sorry....can't use a rug and we already have slippers. Time to keep moving.
Later we drove through Albuquerque. We hadn't been here in 12 years and the town has really grown. We were quite impressed and I made a mental note that we need to come back and explore the area at another time.
We ended our travels for this day in the town of Tijeras, New Mexico. It is about 15 miles east of Albuquerque. We got a full hook-up spot for FREE! It is one of our membership parks and we can stay free after paying our annual dues. We could stay for 7 nights free, but we must press on tomorrow morning.
We've had 2 days of interesting scenery and leisure driving. The desert areas are not our favorite spots to visit but we do appreciate what they have to offer and there is beauty to them also. Tomorrow we head for the big 'ol state of Texas.

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