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Another road trip


The Jester
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This Wednesday we leave for GeoWoodstock - well, there are a couple of other stops we'll be making (the main reasons for the trip), GeoWoodstock just happen to fit in the schedule on the way home. 

 

First stop is California, we'll visit a nephew & family in Mammoth Lakes, then over to Paso Robles for a Aliner Owners Club rally (we just became the NW Regional Directors for the club).  A couple of stops along the way will fill in our I-5 counties for that Challenge (San Joaquin, Kings & Orange counties in CA are all we need). 

 

Then a "quick" trip across the country to Virginia for the National Rally for the Aliner Owners Club in Virginia.  We have 11 days between rallies to make the distance.  We'll follow I-40 for most of it.  There will be time for a few brief stops to see sights - Petrified Forest NP in Arizona, Petroglyph National Monument in New Mexico, Cadillac Ranch in Texas and Jester Cemetery in Oklahoma - and, of course, various caches along the way (that's how I heard about Jester Cemetery).  A week spent near Lanexa, VA (between Richland and Williamsburg) for the rally before heading south.

 

We'll visit a nephew & family in Tallahassee and a cousin in Baton Rouge before getting to GeoWoodstock in Fort Worth.  Then down to Midland TX to visit another nephew & family.  Then we aim for home - with another stop at Petroglyph NM, a ride on the Cumbra Toltec RR and a hike to Delicate Arch in Arches NP along the way.

 

There are also a few favorite restaurants along the way - Pea Soup Anderson's in CA, Lambert's Cafe in AL, and the Dinner Bell in MS, plus a few others that we may run across that we don't have around here - we tend to eat our way across the country, but the funny thing is I always lose weight when traveling.

 

We'll be home early June.  I'll try and keep up better this trip than last years with updates here.

 

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9 hours ago, The Jester said:

Jester Cemetery in Oklahoma

 

We lived in OK for a year and a half, but I don't recall this one.  And I'm not getting the search to load today, otherwise I'd try to figure out what cache is there.

 

If you're in that area, though, may I recommend going through Medicine Park, Oklahoma?  It's a lovely little town, and if you're detouring off I-40 to Mangum, you might as well just head down back roads to Medicine Park, see the town, and spot some bison on the nearby wildlife refuge (and perhaps grab a burger at the Meers Store).

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Ah - the name connection just clicked.  Of course you want to get that one.

 

We also lived just down the road from Lanexa, Virginia, for a couple years, but I never knew that was a town.  We still have some earthcaches in the area.  If you are into paddle caches, KWrightVA has some excellent paddle cache series around the area.  And if you're not, his non-paddle caches are also excellent. 

 

The Virginia Capitol Trail is a nice series to bike or hike if you have some time to kill, but it's micros at the edge of the forest - good for numbers or to break up a walk, but nothing to write home bout.

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Well, the first day on the road went well.  We got off on time (rare for us), had a nice lunch at Izzy's Pizza in Albany OR, DNF'd one cache (The Office Covered Bridge) and found another (just before camp) along the way.  Our first night is in Crescent OR.  Tomorrow we'll pass thru Reno and stay near Carson City NV - or so says our plan.

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Hey Jester! I'm in California right now. Contact me for someone to cache with while you're there.

There are a number of really good ones in the area I can show you, but also a few that takes more than one person the three of us could get.

Let me know.  You might have my phone number. Or just message or email me.

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Well, with poor internet and busy schedules I haven't had/found the time to get back to this.  We made it down to Mammoth Lakes - Boy! there was a lot of snow still hanging around!  (five or more feet in many yards) - and then down to Paso Robles for three days at the trailer owner's rally.  There were about 35 units in attendance  but not much planned except in the evening.  We're not in to wine, so the majority of tours weren't for us (IMHO you seen one winery you've seen them all...).

 

We started our cross country run with a dip into LA to find a cache in Orange County (for Shop99er's I5 Challenge) - Man! What a zoo!  All estimates said we should arrive at the RV camp about 5-6pm - we got there at 10:30pm!  Of course, the jackknifed rig on Hwy 91 that backed up traffic for 12 miles didn't help (we were averaging about 3 to 4 miles an hour).  Yesterday we just drove across CA & AZ to near Holbrook & the Petrified Forest National Park.  We were along side Route 66 for much of it. 

 

Today we spent in Petrified Forest NP - so much to see.  We started at the south end and worked our way north.  Seeing so many logs laid in the valley bottom was incredible!  Ginko Petrified Forest in Eastern WA just doesn't hold a candle to here.  When you can see logs (up to 171 feet long) laid out and knowing that they tons each, it's hard to take in.  As we moved north we got into the bad lands and could see logs hanging out of the walls with sections tumbled below.  The Northern section is the Painted Desert (well, all if is, but the section north of I40 is the brightest) was quite the sight also, but having seen many section like this, we spent most of the time in the Petrified Wood area.  We made Gallup NM for the night. 

 

We haven't done a whole lot of caching, I'm trying to time GeoWoodstock as #9000 and have about 72 caches to go.  That averages out about three a day, but I know at the national rally I won't be doing many caches during that time.  Well, it getting close to bed, I'll see if I can get this to post...

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Well, we've survived a few thunderstorms since the last post, and have driven in the rain - some very heavy showers - for the last four days.  

 

From Gallup we drove to the Petroglyph National Monument in Albuquerque NM.  There many thousand of Petroglyph in the area but we only saw hundreds on a couple of trails.  The weather was plenty hot for us Northwester's and we were running out of time for much else.  But we will be passing thru on the way home and will check out another section then.

 

Our next stop was Amarillo TX where we saw Cadillac Ranch - a set of ten caddies planted nose first in the ground.  Kind of cool in a strange sort of way - which appeals to me.  Later at a Weight Watchers meeting we got word a severe thunderstorm was close - with hail the size ping pong balls!  So instead of going out for dinner we headed back to the trailer to eat and monitor coditions.  We got wind and rain with a little small hail but the center of the storm pass east of us.  Whew!

 

Our next day was on and off rain to Oklahoma City and a visit to the bombing memorial.  Very sobering.  We also got the chance for our dinner out - a different steakhouse then where we planned, but very good.  Again we heard that T- storms were expected - higher winds but without the hail.  Just before bed a tornado watch was announced - oh joy.  We were buffeted and rained on but nothing the the trailer couldn't handle.  Besides we were parked next to the storm shelter.  

 

A soggy morning pack up and we headed for Memphis.  We drove for several hours thru rain - some pretty heavy showers - until we got passed Nashville, then it dried up until evening.  The campground we planned to us - on banks of the Mississippi - was flooded so we opted for a Motel 6 room.  It rained for most of the night and next morning.

 

Our drive to Pigeon Forge was a study in frustration.  Rain, heavy at times, thick traffic in city or two, construction on the road and accidents all used up every bit of slack time we had.  We had tickets for Dolly Parton's Stampede (dinner and horse show) starting a 6pm.  The preshow started 5:15 which when we arrived in town.  So we took the trailer with us to the show and checked into the RV camp afterwards.  Good food and very entertaining show - would you believe they did a short square dance on horseback?  

 

The next day was more relaxed.  We started later and enjoyed mostly dry weather while drove the one small section of the Blue Ridge Parkway that was closed last year.  We did hike out Linville Falls and endedour day in Boone NC.

 

This morning started a little damp and proceed to get worse.  A couple 'showers' were so heavy we almost pulled off the road to wait them out.  But after a few hours we drove out of the storms and finished with clouds and occasional showers.  We arrived at the campground where the National Rally for the Aliner Club is being held.  The starting day tomorrow should have some rain but is supposed to clear on Monday.  We're here for week - I hope to get some caching done as the last few wet days didn't "produce" many finds.

 

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Boy, the lack of good wifi in RV camps makes it a pain to keep up with things. 

 

The week long National Owner's rally was a good time.  We were off the road during it (no get up and pack trailer and drive for hours...), we met new & old friends and enjoyed exploring some of the area.  One day was a tour of Jamestown, the first successful British colony in the New World, a fascinating look at life at that time.  It was a little short (too much to see) so we went back another day to see more details.  We also did a few caches around Williamsburg, seeing part of the recreation village.

 

After leaving the rally, we headed south towards Florida.  It finally got hot & muggy enough to use the AC (brand new, installed just before we left) - it worked one night and then died!  So we've had very warm nights (daytime temps in 90's and humidity near that level too) using fans to keep more or less cool.  Just as we entered Florida some dashboard lights came on.  We checked with a dealer in Jacksonville but the couldn't say for sure what was going on, so reset them and we moved on (we didn't have time to spend letting them 'tear' the car apart).  We visited with my nephew & family in Tallahassee (they had their first child in January).  The on to Foley AL where we had dinner at Lambert's Café (one of three - it's the 'home of the throwed roll').  Then on to the Baton Rouge area to visit one of Cathy's cousins (which was nice since we could sleep inside in AC).  The next day we took them to another favorite restaurant of ours, The Dinner Bell (in McComb MS - a round table restaurant where you sit at a table with 16 of your closest relatives - whom you'll never see again ;) - and they bring out platters of food to the big lazy susan in the middle of the table.  As it passes you grab the dish and serve yourself.  Good southern cooking!).  The car started acting up even worst, at times the accelerator wouldn't.  We found if we turned the Vehicle Dynamics Control off it worked fine.  The next dealer we passed still couldn't tell us much without a few hours (or days as they were small and might not have the parts we might need).  So we 'limped' on.

 

We got to Fort Worth the night before GeoWoodstock and found our fridge had popped open and everything was warm. :o:( The RV camp owner was helpful and offered a fridge they had outside to put what wasn't spoiled while we chilled ours - which takes most of a day - and we ate what leftovers were good.  The next day we headed out to GeoWoodstock - the first indoor GW, which was a blessing in the heat.  I'd timed just right and GW was my 9000th find!  We met quite a few cachers from the NW, and many others we've met at events and caches around the world.  There were several virtual caches on the grounds we were able to get and then go inside to cool off.  Afterwards we grabbed a few other virtuals in town on the way back to the trailer.  We then went to the movies to stay cool until the late evening when the trailer is 'livable' - the temp is still quite warm, but the humidity is much less here than along the East and Gulf coasts.

 

After church on Sunday we drove to Midland TX to visit another nephew and where we were able to get an appointment it have the car worked on (from now on we don't have a time schedule).  Since it's a holiday weekend, we have to wait for Tuesday but we're camped out in the nephew's extra room.  Hopefully we didn't do too much extra damage driving it this far/long.  I'll add more when we're back on the road.

 

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There are some fun caches in Midland. I was out there for a while. Look for caches by GrumpyOldTexan, SKnight579, or PPanther.

And remember, in that area if it doesn't sting you or bite you, it will poke you or scratch you.

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We've found a few around Midland during other trips, we'll check for some of those recommended.

 

We'll be here another few days.  The shop found the bearings in both rear wheels shot, and we'd run far/long enough to damage the axles and rotors.  Parts need to shipped in, so we're 'pinned down' for the time being.  The nice thing is the loaner they gave us is one of the new Accents (three row seat SUV), which we've been thinking about upgrading to for the tow vehicle (more power, higher tow limit, more room to store stuff).  This will give us a chance to try it for longer time than a test drive.  The weather is still warm/hot (we must be getting used to it) but the humidity is lower than along the coasts, still higher than is comfortable for a pair of northwesterners.  We are enjoying the down time from the road.  An thank the Good Lord for relatives, especially those that have an extra bed we can crash on.

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Well, the "good" news just keeps getting better and better.  The axles we need were backordered thru Subaru, so we decided to go with after market ones.  Today when they went to put the car back together they found the axles shipped are the wrong ones.  New ones won't be here until Monday!  Not a whole we can do about except wait it out.  But, man, this is getting old.  Who knows what else is going to happen.  Hopefully we'll be back before some other scheduled activities happen latter in June.

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Well, we'll be back on the road tomorrow!  The parts came in and fit so they were able to get everything put back together and it sounds much better.  We've found a handful of cache around town - the weather is pretty hot & humid for PNW people.  We'll take about a week to get home, with stops at Albuquerque, the Cumbres Toltec RR, and Arches National Park. 

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Well, I should see about wrapping this up, as we survived and are back home.

 

The car really does sound better and seems to be towing the trailer a little easier, maybe the problem started earlier than we thought.  We left Midland and headed for Albuquerque so we could spend a little time (second shot this trip) at Petroglyphs National Monument - in particular the western side, "the volcanos", the splatter cones left from the fault that formed the area.  Plenty warm (still) but we did the hike early enough that it was too bad.  It gives a nice view of the valley that the town sits in. 

 

From there we headed north to Antonito CO - one end of the Cumbres Toltec RR.  The next morning we boarded the train for an all day ride to New Mexico (actually we entered NM something like 10-11 times on the train).  It was a blast riding the narrow gauge tracks ( 3 foot) up and over the mountains to Chama NM.  It was part of the Denver Rio Grande railroad, this branch headed to Silverton back in the gold/silver rush (the Durango Silverton RR uses another part of the tracks for their ride).  The weather started off clear, but clouds developed later in the day, with a couple of short showers that sprinkled on us, but never enough to get wet.  The lunch at Osier Station was great - turkey or Meatloaf dinner with all the fixings and a salad bar.  Several desserts finished off the meal.  We happen to be riding on the 75 anniversary of D-Day so there was a short presentation done after lunch.  At Chama we found one cache near the station and then hopped the bus for the ride back to our car in Antonito. 

 

The next day we drove the same route the bus took last night back thru Chama and then to Pagosa Springs CO (anybody remember the song "Wolf Creek Pass" by CW McCall?).  We headed west thru the SW corner of Colorado (picking up enough caches to bring my find count in CO over 100 - another challenge cache qualified for!) and passed thru Delores to see "The Galloping Goose", a strange mix of truck and train car (also star of another CW McCall song "The Galloping Goose").  #5 still runs and makes appearances on both the Cumbres Toltec and Durango Silverton lines.  We crossed into Utah and spent the night at Moab.

 

The next morning we headed into Arches National Park to hike out to Delicate Arch (which we didn't have time for last year when we passed thru).  A beautiful day - a touch warm, but we did it early - and lots of other people.  But we got our picture taken at the Arch and watched a proposal happen there - a lot of cheering from the crowd when she said Yes.  We enjoyed the scenery and memories of last year on the way out (and in), and then headed for Salt Lake City.

 

The next day we swung out thru Arco ID to check out RV camps for a Rally near Craters of the Moon.  We found a great spot that offered us a wonderful deal, so we'll be back out this next year (on our way to Mount Rushmore where the National Rally is being held).  It was a fun drive past areas we've been before and will see again.  We pushed a little harder and got to Nampa ID for the night.

 

Our last day was a little longer than normal, but we wanted to make it home.  We did pick up one DNF from the Pendleton Cache Machine, and ate at a restaurant in Pendleton that we'd seen but didn't have time to stop (Rooster's) during the CM.  We arrived home about 8pm after seven weeks on the road, covering 9345 miles in 21 States (22 if you count the state of confusion).

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