All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone
|The complete circle|
A quick look at the numbers on this latest trip:
4,800 miles of towing Liberty
19 campgrounds (12 public, 5 private, 2 Walmarts)
My memory pictures are at the bottom of this post with captions. There are a lot more pictures than I planned, but oh well.
The beautiful things about trips are that no matter how well you plan them, something always comes up to change the plan. Sometimes those things aren't nice, like Liberty's water pump going out on this trip. Most of the time though it seems the unexpected becomes some of the highlights of the trip.
On this trip some of the unexpected/unplanned things were:
** the bird attack while I was walking on the trail at Copper Breaks State Park near Quanah, Texas
** the Raton Museum in Raton, New Mexico
** the road trip over and past Blue Mesa Reservoir Dam, west of Gunnison, Colorado
** Skyline Drive in Canon City, Colorado
** Box Canyon Falls Park in Ouray, Colorado
** the campsite at Massacre Rocks State Park in American Falls, Idaho
** the two Walmarts I over-nighted at in Laurel, Montana and Sidney, Nebraska
** Petit Jean State Park near Russellville, Arkansas
All of these unexpected gems are covered in the posts from the trip.
A few quick observations from the trip.
1) There is not a bridge in Wyoming that doesn't have a dip before and after it. It is the worst state in terms of bad bridge ends.
2) Although Wyoming has problems with all of their bridges, Louisiana has the two worst bridge ends on this trip and any other trip I've taken recently. They are located on I-49 southbound, between Louisiana highways 1 and 2 in Caddo Parish. About a dozen or so miles south of the Arkansas/Louisiana state line. If you hit these dips at highway speed, it can cause serious damage to your trailer. If you pass through this area, try to situate yourself where you have another vehicle ahead of you by about a half mile. This will give you enough time to slow down to about 40 mph before hitting the dips. I reported these dips to the authorities about a year or so ago, but they have yet to repair them. Be careful, very careful.
3) There seemed to be a lot more homeless people in the larger cities than I've noticed in the past. It is still hard to tell if they are con-people or truly people in need of help.
4) Love's Truck Stops have moved up my list of places to look for when towing. Most of them are newer than other truck stops and they are designed to handle large RV's. They also have a variety of pre-packaged, easy to eat while driving, great burritos, 2 for $4.00. Too many "truck stops" are not designed so RV's can maneuver around the gas pumps. I will continue to look for Flying J's/Pilot because most of them are RV friendly as well as most will give Good Sam members a $0.05 discount on fuel.
5) Freedom did a fantastic job towing Liberty and me over the high Rocky Mountain passes. Never had a problem either going up or down. I do wish the states would post more signs. They need more signs showing how far ahead the downgrades begin as well as signs saying how far it is until you reach the crest or when you will finish the steep parts of the downground. Something like "Greater than 5% downground next XX miles". There are some states that do an excellent job with signing, but there were a few places that caught me by surprise due to the lack of proper signing.
6) Walmart camping is OK for me under certain conditions. Two of those conditions are having night-time temperatures between about 55 and 65 and not having anything to explore in the area. The temperature is important because I don't want to sleep in a hot trailer. Also, since I'm not going to drop my RV in a Walmart parking lot, I won't be able to explore anything in the area. Thinking back over my years of traveling and 250+ campgrounds, I can think of maybe a dozen one night stands where I could have used a Walmart and saved time and money. Oh well, live and learn.
7) The trip was nice, but I wish it had been a little cooler. I did use my ceramic heaters a time or two to warm Liberty up a little bit. Mostly though, the heat wave seemed to have followed me everywhere I went as if I were a "weather Jonah". I did bring a little cooler weather to Louisiana but it seems to have been short lived as the mid 90's have returned.
Here are the pictures. I've chosen the ones that will spark my memories when I look back on them in the years to come. I have several pictures that do just that from all of the places that I've visited over the last 5+ years of RV'ing.
|This was my first view of the "open road". This picture is taken somewhere just west of Fort Worth. Prior to this, all of the views between Mansfield and Fort Worth are essentially the same.|
|The view from the campground at the top of Raton Pass in Raton, New Mexico. It was a great view of the storm approaching from the south.|
|Not counting the mountains around Raton, New Mexico, these are the first sightings of the Rocky Mountains. It is from west of Pueblo, Colorado near Haggard's RV Park.|
|Sitting in the parking lot at the top of Monarch Pass, Colorado. It is the location of the Continental Divide and a lot to take in before going down the other side.|
|Snow capped Rocky Mountains in the distance. I never got a real close up view of them on this trip, maybe the next time.|
|The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. That is the Gunnison River in the bottom. I have had this place on my "to see" list for a few years. I was not super impressed by it, but I attribute that to my expectations being too high.|
|This is at the bottom of the Black Canyon. I enjoyed a picnic lunch in the cool temperature and quiet serenity of this location. It was very peaceful and whenever I think of this place it will bring me a sense of peace.|
|The Rockies as seen from The Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Sometimes when I look at them I think of the mountain men who explored this area. They experienced true freedom.|
|In my mind, this is what Northern Utah will always look like.|
|How lucky was I to get such a great campsite in Massacre Rock State Park, American Falls, Idaho. I randomly chose it when I made my reservations and it blew me away with the view. Great campsite.|
|Another old homestead. This must have been a very fancy house at some point in time since it is a two story home. If the house could speak, what kind of stories would it tell???|
|Looking down on the Arkansas River from Petit Jean Mountain near Russellville, Arkansas. The view was great and the legend believable. It was a nice day.|
|Murray Lock and Dam on the Arkansas River with The Big Dam Bridge on top of the lock and dam. It was a nice walk on a semi-warm morning. As usual, I was mostly alone with my thoughts.|
|That's the Arkansas River on the left and part of Maumelle Corp of Engineers Campground on the right. The RV with the sun shining on its side is Liberty. This was taken from a nice bench located in the shade of a tree.|
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.