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And Now We’re Caught Up!

Last post of the day (I promise) … just felt this OCD need to bring everything up to date on our travels so I can be more extemporaneous in future posts.  Of course, it’s so freaking hot here … or raining so hard … that there really isn’t much to do except sit on the picnic table.  I can leisurely type while I’m looking at this glorious scenery and listening to the “Coffee House” channel on SiriusXM.

Fortunately, I feel rested enough to see about putting my walking stick to good use – Frank and I will spend some time walking around the campgrounds tomorrow.  I don’t see how some of these people do it!  There’s one lady who walks around the entire campground 3 times every day in the heat of the afternoon.  As Frank lays under the picnic table, he lifts his head to follow her as far as he can see her, then looks at me, then gives it a “Pffft” and puts his head down to go back to sleep.  We’ll see how he enjoys tomorrow mornings walk.

Anyhow …

On Friday, Frank and I visited the Cordele State Farmers Market, about 10 miles from the campsite. It’s pretty large … a series of about 100 truck bays. Some are set up as “stores”, with tables have baskets of produce laid out for you to pick from. Most are simply docks where trucks are parked and you purchase produce directly off them. We visited a couple of the vendors … bought a cantaloupe that had been picked the day before along with some plums and four ears of corn. Everyone there was incredibly friendly, from the guy at the entrance who gave me the lowdown on the market, the two vendors we visited, and the guy who was carting out some rotted melons with his truck, who exclaimed “New Jersey, huh? I lived in Seaside Heights for 15 years!”, which started a conversation about how you can’t find good clam chowder anywhere in Georgia. I was taken aback when he asked, “You ever been to Spike’s on the road into Point Pleasant?” Wow! Spike’s serves the best clam chowder I’ve ever had in my life, and I made a point of going there at least five or six times a year. The world keeps getting smaller and smaller!

As we were driving over to the next row of bays, I noticed two young kids sitting in chairs next to the back of a pickup truck that was loaded with corn! I instantly decided that four ears weren’t quite enough! We stopped – I rolled down the passenger window and one of the boys got up and came over to the car. He was immediately taken in by Frank. Frank aka “The Attention Hog” stood up on the door and started wagging his tail a mile a minute. The boy turned to his brother and yelled, “Come over and see this cute dog.” We sat and talked for about 5 minutes, after which I asked for a half-dozen ears of corn. He ran back to the truck, at which point the younger one started asking a bunch of questions about Frank. “How old is he?” (Eight) “Does he like other dogs?” (Yep, we used to go to the dog park in Charleston, South Carolina all the time and he’d play with his buddies there.) “What does he eat?” (Anything except anchovies.) “What’s an anchovy?” (Tough room!)

“What’s the damage?” I asked when the older boy returned with my corn. “Two dollars, and I game you an extra two ears.” I said, “Yeah, that’s not enough … here’s $3 and I’ll be back next week to pick up some more” and thanked him. Total cost of our little excursion to the Farmers Market – $10 … I gave four of the ears of corn to my neighbors for helping me with my tent and canopy earlier in the week.

By the way, here’s the website I used to find this Farmers Market. I posted it a few months ago and this was my first chance to test it out.  I’m pretty happy with the results … and I’ve already verified they’ve got a couple more listed in Spanish Fort, AL, our next stop.  I think they’re providing a great service and encourage you to check them out  If you happen to reach out to the owner, tell him “Jeff, the guy on the long-term camping trip” sent you!

gvsp congestion

Maybe everyone in the area has a really bad cold?

http://eatlocalgrown.com/

On the way back to camp, I had to stop and take a photo of this sign … I’ve seen it a few times on the way back and forth to town for a few things during the week and have chuckled every time. “Congested” must mean something different in central Georgia than it does in the New York Metropolitan Area!

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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Travels

 

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Frank Says “Toto’s Got NOTHING On Me!”

Wednesday evening, I think Frank was reconsidering the value of that crate …

About 5 o’clock, the sky started rumbling and the wind picked up. I looked under the picnic table and there was Frank. He had already started shaking and panting. I started picking up all the stuff from the table and bringing it into the tent. It didn’t take more than 10 minutes to clear the table, roll up the car windows and check all the stakes on the tent, the fly and the canopy. By the time I was done though, the drops had already started to fall.

I let Frank off the cable, but instead of standing there waiting patiently for me to attach his leash, he bolted for the front of the tent … and then went into a panic when he saw I had zipped it shut to keep the bugs from getting in. (As an aside, that’s a pain in the ass! Every time I walk in or out of the tent, I have to unzip it and then zip it back down. By the time this journey reaches its course, I’m either going to have the back of an Olympic swimmer or that of an old lady suffering from osteoporosis!)

When I got the zipper up enough for him to squeeze through, Frank made a beeline for the northeast corner of the tent … in a tiny space between the air bed, the box where my C-Pap sits and the two tent walls. I pulled him out (that was a chore!) and put his thundershirt on, having to pull him out twice again to finish the job. (“No Frank, I need to wrap it around your body.” “Frank, I have to fasten it!”)

I laid down with him, trying to get him to calm down. And that’s when the wind started in. I wound up standing back up, with my hands against the west wall of the tent … where the wind was coming from … and pushing against the inner wall so that the tent wouldn’t collapse in on itself. The whole time I was praying the tent fly would stay on – the top of the tent is mesh, so whatever downpour was about to happen was going to fully inundate the two of us and all our stuff.  For a while, I was wondering if Frank should have officially had his name changed to “Toto”, and if we were going to encounter a bunch of little people when I opened the tent flaps in the morning.

The fly stayed on, thank the Lord. The wind died down, with the exception of a few gusts. But then rain came. And the thunder. And the lightning. Some of the bolts must’ve hit the lake because there was no time between the crack of the lightning and the boom of the air rushing back together. You could smell the electricity in the air. At that point, I was lying on the bed, holding Frank. I had pulled him out of his hole and just held him as close as I could. I didn’t know whether he was going to die of fright or suffocation! He was panting so heavily, I thought his heart was going to pop out of his mouth!

The booming went on for over a half-hour. In total, I think the storm lasted almost 90 minutes. It might have been less time – I might be exaggerating because it seemed like an eternity!

We didn’t come out of the tent that evening. When we finally did leave, it was about 5:30 Thursday morning. On either side of the campsite … which is leveled out with gravel and has a wooden perimeter … there were two big washes of mud, leaves and small branches headed from the road behind us to the lake in front of us. We looked at each other. I said, “Frank, I hope Mother Nature’s gotten this out of her system and that we don’t have to endure too many more storms like THAT!” Frank gave me a look like he was saying, “Feed me. I’m hungry!”

Later that afternoon, I was up doing laundry when one of the crew passed by in his golf cart and then pulled to a stop. In this deep southern drawl, he said, “So! Ya’ll made it through that gullywasher last night, huh? All of us at the Ranger Station were worried about you. You’re the only tent in the park this week. The Chief had us driving by your site every 15 minutes to make sure you were still standing! I made two runs myself. I looked for you and your little buddy in the car, but didn’t see you.” I told him we just weathered out the storm in the tent, to which he said, “Alright!!! Nice to see there are SOME Yankees that aren’t afraid of a little water. You must have some southern roots, boy!”

Yep … only 5 weeks before I trade in those Jersey plates for Texas ones. Then I’ll just be sneered at for being a Texan instead of a Yankee!

Seriously though, another blessing … to think that these guys were looking out for me … and that if something WERE to have happened, that they would have been down there pretty quickly to give me a helping hand. I’ve definitely met more good-hearted people in the first week of our travels than I expected to. And I’m very grateful for that.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Travels

 

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Frank: 1 … Crate: 0 (By Technical Knockout)

Continuing with the story of Frank’s and my experience our first week here in Georgia …

Early Wednesday morning, I got up to make the trek to the bathroom. I put Frank in a crate I had bought for the trip – not a metal one (I can’t stand the idea of a cage for my beloved companion). No, this one was made out of material, with a wire frame and a zippered front.

I have to say, I had my doubts about whether this crate would do the trick, so after putting him in it and leaving the tent, I decided to sit at the picnic table a bit, just to make sure it would hold before heading across the field. I’m glad I did …

I couldn’t have been seated two minutes when a ruckus arose from inside the tent. It sounded like John Cena and the Rock had teleported in and were in the middle of a WWE extravaganza! The crashing started at the back of the tent where the crate was initially stationed … then moved to the center of the tent … and then finally to the front, where the tent shook as it hit the corner.

Then silence … and a nose peeking through the zippered door on the tent. Frank scooted himself through and stood there for a minute, getting his bearings. I loudly whispered, “FRANK”. He turned, saw me, and then ran full speed to where I was sitting and lunged into my arms. The only thing I could do was laugh and say, “Geezus, Frank … what the f**k???” I set him down and he wouldn’t leave my side. It was like he was glued to my calf! He nearly tripped me two or three times as I walked back to the tent … and he wouldn’t go back in until he saw I was going to do the same thing. When I entered, I saw the crate up on its side, leaning against the corner of the tent, with my neat pile of clothes strewn all over the place! I asked, “Frank, what did you do here, huh?” He just went over to the end of the bed, laid down and when “Pfftttt” … and he wouldn’t come over to me, despite me calling him four or five times. (“The nerve! First, I have to suffer the indignity of being locked in this THING, and then you leave???? And NOW you wnt me to come over to you? Yeah, right!”) The crate is now packed back in the car trunk.

We got up early that morning … I still hadn’t hit the head. I attached his tie-out cable to his collar, pulled the stake from the ground, grabbed the mallet and began the trek to the bathroom. I now have a new morning procedure to follow:

  • Toothpaste – check
  • Toothbrush – check
  • Towel – check
  • Washcloth – check
  • Soap – check
  • Hairbrush – check
  • Mallet – check
  • Stake and dog cable – check

I wonder how many guys in the world have to follow THAT checklist?

I staked him down where he could see the bathroom door … pets are not allowed inside. I couldn’t have been inside for more than 15 minutes. Now you have to know what a sacrifice this is. My typical morning showers last twice that long (and that doesn’t even count my morning constitutional), but I guess that’ll be a thing of the past.

When I finished and came out the door, Frank was sitting as close to the door as the cable would allow. He started jumping up and down … kindergarten girls could have used him to man one end of a jump rope!

He’s been at the same spot the other four or five times I’ve visited there. I have half a mind to get some chalk and place a big “X” on the end of the walkway where he camps out waiting for me. I’m quite certain he doesn’t miss that spot by more than a couple of inches as he waits for me to take care of business.

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Travels

 

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Random Photos

I’m still decompressing. In the next day or so, I’ll post more of a story about whats gone on since arriving at Georgia Veteran’s State Park on Monday.  In the meantime, here are a few random photos from the journey so far:

vienna ga mural 1

Mural – Vienna, GA

Here are a couple of murals on facing sides of an alleyway I passed in Vienna, GA, about 30 minutes short of our first destination.  I drove about a mile before saying to Frank, “We’re not on a deadline, right?  I want to go back and take a photo of that … it was pretty cool!”  Frank was cool about it … just so long as food was going to be part of the equation in the next hour or so (it was). I took this as a good sign that healing was under way though.  I could just as easily have raced on to Cordele instead of slowing down my “pace” from how I’ve lived most of my life – in a hurry to get somewhere.  There’s truth in the old saying “The hurrieder I go, the behinder I get,” though … at least as it pertains to me.

vienna ga mural 2

Mural #2 – Vienna, GA

There was a couple sitting outside the store on the corner where the mural began.  Judging from the nonchalant look they gave me, I wasn’t the first person who’s stopped to snap a shot.  Probably won’t be the last, either!

Frank is pretty funny … whenever I’ve gotten out of the car on this trip, he always slides over into the driver’s seat.  I still haven’t figured that out.  Don’t know if he’s giving serious consideration to taking the reins on this journey or figures it’ll be that much easier to greet me on my return.  I’ll tell you one thing though – it’s hell getting him to move back over into the passenger seat!  He has a little stubborn streak running through him – tere has been more than one occassion where he’s moved over tothe navigator’s seat, plopped down and let out a big, Pffffft” through his jowls.  Frank does “indignant” better than any dog I’ve ever seen!

gvsp campsite

Here’s our first campsite. There’s a story behind the setup that I’ll share in another post.

Here’s our campsite.  I’ll tell you  that I learned a lot setting up camp for the first time.  I’ll share more of that in my next post.  The view is great.  I know at some point during our stay, I’m going to have to get off my ass and walk around a bit.  Right now though, I’m very content to sit in the shade at the picnic table and just chilllllllllllllll.

There’s a pretty good story surrounding the setup.  I’ll share that in a day or two.  Actually, there’s more than one story, one very positive and the other one … well, let’s just say I misunderstood how far away I was situating myself from the loo!  Not the type of “adventure” I was really planning on signing up for.  Frank’s laughing because he knows he gets to go anywhere!  As an aside, if we are ever visited by beings from another planet and they notice humans walking around behind their pets, picking up their poo and putting it in little plastic bags, don’t you think they’re going to get the wrong impression as to who exactly is in charge down here?   :o)

gvsp camp view 1

We have a marvelous view from the picnic table. Very relaxing, to say the least!

Here’s a view from the picnic table looking off to the southwest.  The tent door opens to the south, facing the lakeshore about 20 feet away.  It’s pretty narrow there … but we’re at the end of a little inlet.  The lake opens up to a huge expanse to the west … we can only see a little bit of it.  But what we area ble to see is quite serene and restful.  Except for the gator warnings.  We still haven’t seen any. Knock on wood!

That’s it for now.  I have to say that I’ve been sleeping like a bear in winter. I’ve been getting up early, but have been asleep by 9:30 – 10:00 each night since arrival.  And naps … I’ve rediscovered naps.  Pretty cool.  I think I’m off to take one in now. I can’t go to bed early tonight. I want to catch the NBA championship opening game between my Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. After suffering through painful years of rooting for a pitiful team, there’s no way I’m going to miss Game 1.  Go Dubs!!!!

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Travels

 

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Yes, we have liftoff!

freedom 7

All packed and ready to leave Charleston, with Frank in the navigator’s seat.

Well, we’re off! I’m sitting at a picnic table, with Frank stretched out on his side under it as he tries to escape the central-Georgia sun. His snores are echoing up from underneath, the cement table adding a bit of resonance to the sound.

I’m looking out over Lake Blackshear right now. We’re camped at Georgia Veterans State Park and have pitched our tent about 20 feet from the edge of the lake. Frank isn’t happy that he’s not allowed in the water. It’s on instructions from the rangers when I checked in. If Frank goes swimming this afternoon, there’s better than an 80% chance he’ll be gator shit in the morning!  Something I can’t figure out though … they also said theres no danger of them coming up onto shore in the campground area.  So they’re in the water, but won’t come up onto land, even if they spot a couple of tasty morsels laying out on the ground?  What, do they have some “No Alligator Crossing” signs posted?  Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

We arrived here on yesterday afternoon … Monday, June 1st … after a whirlwind two weeks since my last post. A lot happened as we wound down our stay in Charleston. Good and bad. I’m still trying to figure out how to include it all in the blog. I think it’s going to take several posts to catch you all up. And right now, I’m still in “recovery mode” so to speak.

The last two weeks alone were enough to wipe me out. Not much sleep, continuing to fight the anxiety, having to trick myself into getting stuff done a little at a time in order to leave on time. Add to that all the work associated with setting up camp in 90 degree heat and relatively high humidity … well, suffice it to say that I was asleep last night at 9pm and with the exception of a brief midnight excursion so Frank could take care of business, I slept until 9am. Add a two hour nap around 11am and there you have it!

I’ve learned a LOT in the last 48 hours. Stuff that’s going to make the next setup at Meaher State Park in Alabama in a couple of weeks go a lot smoother than the one yesterday. Yet another blog post.

I’ve already been recipient of more than a few random acts of kindness that I want to share. Yet another blog post.

I’ll also say that I feel like a weight has been lifted off me now that I’m actually on the road.  I am still fighting anxiety, but the level has dissipated considerably since getting behind the wheel.

I really just wanted to come on and say, “Yes, Frank and I are still alive. Yes, we started our journey.” I’ll post more over the next several days to catch you all up on an eventful two weeks.

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2015 in Travels

 

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Itinerary – June to July 2015

I re-read the blog last night, from front to end.  I wanted to make sure I had corrected typos and the like, but in doing so, I realized how fluid my plans are, even as I’m trying to plan with meticulous detail.  I’ve made several changes to my original itinerary and what I intended to bring along for the ride.

Here’s the current itinerary. I intend to update this page as things firm up.

June 1, 2015 – June 15, 2015
Georgia Veterans State Park
Cordele, GA

A Georgia Veterans State Park campsite

I’d love to get this campsite for Frank and my first night as vagabonds!

Georgia Veterans State Park is about 5 hours from Charleston if you drive straight through … I’ll probably make it in 6!  It’s on Lake Blackshear. It looked like a nice place to start off the journey and was about halfway between my starting point and the Florida panhandle.  Reservations are made, deposit is paid.  If I buy their annual Senior’s pass for $25, I save 20% on the campsite and they waive the $5 entry fee.  (I think I’ll add a resource page, outlining what different states offer in the way of camping discounts).  My site offers water and electricity.  They sell firewood.  Cost after discount – $20/night.

I plan on taking in the lake, do a little bit of hiking, and decompress.  This will be a nice place to sit, ponder and come to the realization of the life change I’ve made.

June 15, 2015 – June 29, 2015
Big Lagoon State Park
Spanish Fort, AL

If you read my earlier posts, you know that my intention was to stay on the Florida panhandle.  But that changed when I discovered their State Park system requires full payment in advance.  (I’ve since discovered that Texas does pretty much the same thing … and while I’d like to say “Screw you,” to them as well, that’s just not in the cards.  Oh well.)

Instead, I wound up making a reservation here. It’ll be just a wee bit longer drive than the drive out of Charleston, and I only added about 20 minutes when I decided on this park instead of the one near Pensacola that was originally selected.  Reservations are made (without requiring any deposit, I might add). Alabama offers a 15% discount to seniors over 62, except for Friday and Saturday nights.  My site offers water and electricity.  Average cost after discount – $18.93/night.

They have a special place where Frank will be able to swim.  The website makes mention of the fact that alligators also reside there – we have the same warning at the local dog park in Charleston, too.  The Ranger I spoke with said that no dog’s been “et” (gotta love the South, right?) since he’s been there and Frank had a look of relief when I relayed that to him. As long as he’s on a leash elsewhere in the park, he pretty much can go anywhere. I intend to spend some time on their fishing pier, hopefully to catch some dinner.  I’ve been using a couple of review sites to check out potential places to stay, mostly Trip Advisor and RV Park Reviews … one of the reviews mentioned “spectacular sunset views” from this park.  I’m hoping the sun won’t have much of an impact during the day since it’ll only be the end of June.  Knock on wood.

June 29, 2015 – June 30, 2015
TBD

Frank and I will be back in a regular bed tonight as we’re going to stay in a motel.  My goal is to spend no more than 5-6 hours of drive time (excluding stops) as I go from place to place.  This is a lifestyle, not a vacation, and I’m not going to “hurry up and get there”.  I can remember going somewhere with my grandfather once when visiting him down in Knoxville, TN.  I think I was about 10.  Some guy with New York plates came roaring up behind us on a two lane road and recklessly passed us on a curve.  After a few moments passed, he quietly said, “He’s probably going to rush to where he’s going and just sit down!”  I don’t know why that stayed with me … I don’t think I got it at the time.  But as I look back at how I’ve lived my life though, I wish I had “gotten it” a bit more.  Maybe I’m finally getting it now.  Sorry, another digression.

Anyhow, today’s drive will be about 4 hours, and the plan right now is to stay in the booming metropolis of Scott, LA, about an hour due west of Baton Rouge, LA.  I have a place picked out but haven’t made reservations yet.  I’ll get that done by the end of the week and will update this itinerary then.

June 30 2015 – July 14, 2015
South Toledo Bend Reservoir State Park
Anococo, LA

South Toledo Bend Reservoir State Park, Campsite C1041

Campsite 1041 will be our home on the Fourth of July!

My first wife’s father had a place on Toledo Bend Reservoir and I used to enjoy going down there for bass fishing.  The only thing is that this time, I’ll be on the Louisiana side of the lake instead of the Texas side. Frank and I will be in the car for about 5 hours today, traveling the back roads through the Louisiana bayous, “dough’n chew no!”  (I am enthralled by Cajun accents!)

The park doesn’t offer any discounts of their own … instead, they honor the “America the Beautiful” Seniors Pass issued by the Feds but only if your state of residence does the same thing.  Translation?  No discount.   I’ve reserved campsite #C1041, an end location right on the lake, again with water and electricity.  Firewood is free (they evidently still have a lot of wood left over from the cleanup after Hurricane Rita years ago).  Since it’s a premium site, it’s a bit more expensive than the first two parks.  Cost (no discount) –  $28.43 / night and the reservation’s been made.

Not much to do here except fish … and I plan to spend a lot of time looking out over a fishing rod at the lake.  Hopefully by this point, I’ll have gotten back into walking more with Frank as well, and be able to do some more hiking.  According to the website, it’s a “nesting ground for bald eagles”  Hey Frank!  Stay close … you don’t want to be dinner!

July 14 2015 – July 21, 2015
Somewhere in Texas

This week is up in the air right now.  I have to spend a couple days in Livingston, only a couple of hours due west of Toledo Bend.  For good reason.  First off, I need to establish residency in Texas (as mentioned earlier).  The attorney I’m working with is there, and he will have prepared some legal declarations of my intent.  And secondly, a company named “Escapees” is headquartered there.  Escapees was set up to primarily serve the RV community, specifically RVers who have decided to do essentially what I’m doing – leave everything behind and hit the road, without any home to go back to (the only difference is that they’re doing it in style and at 2 miles per gallon).  But they also offer services to vagabonds like me as well … the primary one of which is their mail forwarding service. For about $100/year, they’ll act as my legal mailing address, notify me via email when something arrives and forward items to wherever I designate.  They’ll even open the mail and read it to me over the phone if I ask them.  The simple truth is that I don’t get much mail – all my bills are paid online – I’ve requested that all my statements be sent to me via email, and 99.9% of the rest is junk mail.  I expect that this is going to be the easiest $100 they’re going to earn all year!  One other thing … the attorney said that the Polk county DMV is used to dealing with the folks being sent over from Escapees and that I’d probably have less questions addressed to me about claiming them as my “home”.  So that’s that.  Frank and I will motel it again – there’s a Best Western in Cleveland, TX not far away – the AARP rate, with tax is about $70 night.  For the record, that will be the most I’ll pay this year for living quarters once I’m on the road! (in the middle of east Texas! Go figger!)

From there, I was planning on spending another three days in Dallas with the hope of connecting with some old long time friends from high school.  (The strikeout is in deference to those friends who may not consider themselves old.  Me?  I felt old at 25!) There are a few people I’d like to see, but it would be hard to see all of them unless we get together at one of the places Tommy Lucas uses to set up the “Class of ’71” luncheons.  Once I get closer to letting everyone know about my plans, I’ll throw that out there.  As far as accommodations, I found a couple in Dallas who offer out their back-yard cottage for overnight stays via a hostels website … cost right now is about $47/night.  I’ll make reservations before the end of the week.

The last two days / nights will be on the road again, on my way to the Rockies.  Again, I’m not in a hurry, so I plan on stopping two nights along the way.  The plan is to spend night #1 about 20 minutes west of Childress … night #2 will be in Colorado City.  I’ve got a bit longer drive to Colorado City. I left a little more time to get out of Big D, just in case I wanted to have breakfast with some friends (plus, there’s nothing reasonably priced once you go too far past Childress, and I didn’t want to drive all the way to Amarillo).  Besides, even if Frank and I leave at 9am and stop for lunch, we’ll still be in Colorado City by around 4pm! The hotels I picked out will each cost about $60 a night.

I have to digress again to tell you all a little story …

The last time I was on this road was over 35 years ago, in 1979, when I was moving back to Dallas after a couple of years in Denver.  My brother Andy flew up to help me drive the U-haul. Pretty uneventful trip, unless you count the run-in Andy had with the roof of a Dairy Queen in Chillicothe as I was asleep in the passenger seat.  Not understanding the concept of “clearance”, he tried to use the drive-thru and sheared off about 25 feet of their overhang.  I’m jostled awake as my brother sharply turns across traffic into the parking lot.  I come full awake to a loud crunching sound as metal meets wood.  And then the next thing I hear … from my brother … is “Shit. I didn’t bring my driver’s license.”  My immediate response was “You flew up to help me drive a f**king truck for 14 hours, and you didn’t bring your driver’s license???”

The only roofer … and the only cop … in town were both eathing in the Dairy Queen.  They come out while I’m yelling at my brother.  After we make restitution arrangements with the DQ owner, the cop tells my brother, “Son, I’m not gonna give you a ticket – your brother sounds like he’s gonna put you through hell the rest of the way to Dallas and I think that will be enough punishment for ya.”

I never thought I’d see Chillicothe again in this lifetime.  Andy, if you’re reading this, I’ll give a little wave to the DQ as I drive by!

July 21, 2015 – August 13, 2015
Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground
Howard, CO

Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground

Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground. Doesn’t that river look fantastic?

Frank and I have about a two hour drive this day. A half-hour on I-25 up to Pueblo and then about 90 minutes due west to Howard.  When I called these folks to ask about their facilities, I found out they didn’t offer electricity in their tent sites.  I asked about using my generator overnight, to power my c-pap machine. She said it would probably be okay, but they’d put me at the furthest campsite so I wouldn’t disturb anyone else. I called back a week later to make reservations and reminded her about the c-pap conversation, as a way of helping her remember who she was speaking with.  She said, “Okay … yeah … I told my husband and he said, ‘he’s not gonna disturb anybody, just let him have any damn site he wants!'”  (I’m going to really enjoy dealing with reasonable folk especially after some of the clients I’ve had!)

She told me she’d give me the monthly rate.  The type of guy that I am, I said, “Just to be clear, I’m going to be there about 6 days short of a month,” and she told me not to worry about it.  Very cool.  I’ll be right next to the Arkansas River (take a look at the photo) and it looks like it’ll be a great place to chill, do some fishing and relaxing.  Cost at the monthly rate – $16.14 / night and the reservation has been made.  I’m thinking about going down to the local Charleston Angler shop – I’ve always wanted to learn fly fishing (having focused mostly on bass when it comes to fresh water).  They have a 6-hour class on February 21st and I think that would be a good use of a Saturday afternoon.  Lord knows I’m going to have plenty of time now to practice!

Oh yeah, I’m planning on exercising my legal Colorado rights while I’m there, too.  The first time in 23 years I’ve indulged.  I’ll probably stick to edibles so as not to disturb any of the families there.  I checked it out – there’s a retail outlet about 15 minutes away, in Salida.  I’ll stop by there at some point my first week.

If things go according to plan … and I fill the TBD’s with the places I’ve penciled in … my camping / motel fees will be a little over $24 a day. Get this, though – that’ll drop to less than $11 a day for the following 6 1/2 months!  But I’m jumping ahead of myself. Tomorrow, I’ll fill in the details on the rest of the plan through October.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2015 in 2015, Itinerary

 

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