Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Long Drive January 7, 2016

On Thursday, January 7, 2016 I hitched a trailer, filled with my "stuff", to my van. And then, somewhere around 10:00 am EST, started the drive from Massachusetts to California. It was a quick ride through Rhode Island and Connecticut.

I crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York. Pennsylvania was a long ride and at the end of the first day I made it to Middle of Somewhere, Ohio. I pulled into a rest stop crawled into my nest and slept for about 4 hours. I woke, grabbed breakfast to go and got! It was getting colder and I wanted to get in as many miles as possible. I phoned JoAnne along the way and she kept giving me weather updates that made me nervous. And Matt phoned a few times and offered to fly out and help with the drive.

Hotel Routan

I made decent time on Friday through Indiana and Illinois stopping every couple of hours to gas up, eat, or stretch. Friday late I was in Missouri. Tired (wondering when I thought this trip was a good idea) and having trouble finding a good rest stop. I pulled into a stop very close to the highway. It was dark and I knew I was in a somewhat mountainous region. A couple of cars and truckers were there so I felt safe enough. I slept from midnight to about 4:00am on Saturday when the tapping of raindrops on the rooftop woke me. I checked the weather forecast. Heavy snow was expected. I checked the safety chains on the hitch and hoped I could get out of Dodge in a timely manner. And then the snow began. Traffic slowed, but I was headed out of the storm's path. A couple of hours later all was clear and I was halfway across the country...too late to turn back.

I had an uneventful ride through Oklahoma, but as I drove through the Pan Handle of Texas my low tire light came on. I pulled over and it was freakin' cold! Wind was blowing snow dust across the road and it was as flat as any place I've ever seen. If I became stranded out here.... Checking the tires, I could find no problem so after checking the hitch and safety chains, I headed out. A few miles later the warning light went out.

As I entered New Mexico I called my brother and asked if I could stay over. I had the pleasure, as I drove toward the Sandia Mountains, of seeing one of the most beautiful sunsets. And then had one of the most nerve racking drives as I pulled the trailer, in the dark, through the Tijeras Canyon. Once I passed through the Canyon and into Albuquerque it was a long 40 minute drive to Tome, NM

I arrived at Santos and Camille's about 9:00pm on Saturday evening. I did battle with his dogs and finally made it into the house. We ate dinner and chatted about my trip and the new house in California. It was nice sleeping in a bed again, but in a strange way I had grown accustomed to my little nest in the van. Santos wanted me stay another night, which I should have, but I was anxious to get to moving. Santos then gave my van a thorough checkup ensuring a safe finish to my journey.

Uncle Santos
I said goodbye around 10:00am Sunday morning. I decided to take the original Route 66 which ran through Los Lunas until 1937. It was a clear but cold morning for beautiful drive through Western New Mexico.

Along Historic Route 66

Entering Arizona I was unsure if I could complete the trip today. Snow was predicted for Flagstaff (RT40 to 17) so they (Santos and Camille) advised me to exit at Holbrook and make my way to Phoenix. I took Route 377, the Hashknife Pony Express Route. It was another beautiful drive taking me through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Snowy Drive in Arizona

Finally arriving at Phoenix and Interstate 10 it was a straight shot to Riverside County, Ca! But it was getting late and I was getting tired. I grabbed some coffee and thought that with a little luck I could be "Home" by midnight. I called Jennifer and told her my plan. She had the house keys and agreed to meet me. Crossing the border into California, I was waved through without question. Passing through Joshua Tree and Palm Springs I was getting close but it was almost midnight. Exiting at the 215 it was straight south to Murrieta. I pulled into the driveway just after 1:00am Monday morning. Jen was there with some snackages and a bottle of wine. And it was cold. The heater wasn't on. The battery in the thermostat was dead. Quickly I pulled the battery out of my camera and voilĂ , heat! We shared the wine and talked. I sent text messages to everyone that had followed. Then I went to bed.