The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #5

 

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure

 

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 

 The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #5

 The following photos taken along the Texas Mountain Trail should have been included in our last journal.  However I had a “Seen-your Moment” and forgot so I will insert them here.  A lot of folks believe the desert southwest is, well…..nothing but flat plain old desert.  However there are large mountain ranges that slice through the various southwestern states.  These pictures were taken in the Davis Mountains which is located near the Texas-New Mexico border and top out at an elevation of 6,300 feet. 

 

 

Saturday, January 16, 2010:  Stayed the night in a nice campground at Holloman Air Force Base outside Alamogordo, New Mexico.  We spent the morning at the Base Exchange and commissary to replenish our stores.  It was a nice mild and sunny day so I took the opportunity to wash all the accumulated road grime off the truck and trailer.  Here you see the job partially complete.  All the northern road salt combined with all the southern dirt road grime made for a pretty filthy unit.  I and the rig felt better after the pampering.

 

 Our next major layover is in Tucson, Arizona, some 340 miles away.  And since our reservation at The Doobie RV Resort and Riparian Desert Oasis doesn’t begin until Monday, we decided to stay a second night at Holloman AFB to take in the White Sands National Monument.

Sunday, January, 17, 2010:  After a nice breakfast and the usual morning routine we headed for White Sands and stopped at the visitors’ center for a map and some information:

 

 In the gift shop they were selling those round plastic snow saucers that we have all tried at one time or the other only to find out at the worst possible moment that you can’t steer the things.  Concerned that there may be a major snow storm I asked the lady what they were for.  She said they were for sliding down the sand dunes and that they sell about 800 of the things a month!

 Driving along the park road we were struck by how the sand dunes looked like cresting ocean waves.  So, since I had my kayak…..and I haven’t been able to use it yet…..and I’m not too bright…..a perfect “Darwin Plan” was hatched.  Here is the sequence of events:

 Try number one…..unsuccessful.  Stuck on the side of the dune like it was Velcro.

  

 Try number two on a much higher and steeper slip-face.  Will he make it?  Betty won’t!  (I’m Will, Kit is Betty…..I change her name daily, makes for an interesting relationship).

 And…..SUCCESS!!

 I shot out onto the parking area like the folks at the Toboggan World Championships upta Camden Hills back home…..much to the amazement of Kit and other onlookers.  Everyone who drove past looked at us kind of quizzically…..some stopped to take pictures.  What a blast, so much fun I had to do it a few more times.  Today’s shenanigans goes to the heart of one of my philosophies; you have to grow old…..but you do not have to grow up.

 White Sands National Monument is a very interesting place.  It is nestled in a mountain ringed valley located in the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert.  The sand is quite rare…..it is actually gypsum which normally dissolves in water; however there is very little water in this part of New Mexico.  And what does fall quickly evaporates or percolates down into the sand and is held in suspension.  On cold nights the water near the surface will freeze and the ice looks like nothing more than a lighter shade of the surrounding sand.  Here, Betty is picking up some ice for her evening Margarita:

  The dunes are a product of the winds and are constantly on the move.  The winds tumble the gypsum crystals until they become granular and the sand grains gang up on the normally flat terrain to develop into large mounds.  These dunes rise, shift and dissipate constantly with the wind.  Plants and animals have adapted to this unique environment.  The Yucca starts growing on the valley floor and as the dune is being formed the yucca grows higher.  It is common to see a 6 foot Yucca on top of a 20 foot dune……actually the Yucca is 26 feet!  When the dune inevitability moves on the 26 foot Yucca falls over and dies.  Below is a photo of a cluster of Yuccas awaiting their demise:

  There are also Dogwoods bushes that take root on the dunes and as the dune moves on their roots hold onto a column of sand creating towers as shown below:

  In addition most animals that live in the park have developed a camouflaging white hue to help them in hiding from predators.  Nocturnal, they are rarely seen, however their telltale tracks are evident at first light.

 All in all, an interesting and fun place to visit.

Monday, January 19, 2010:  Up early and heading for Tucson in cool temperatures and light rain.  Hopped onto NM-70 and soon came to a large sign that read “Entering the White Sands Missile Range”.  Now this was a bit disconcerting in itself, however, the sign also said “Please Drive Carefully”.  I’ve driven in downtown Boston, this couldn’t be any worse…..and it wasn’t.  We made it without being pierced by any of the latest military hardware.

We moved onto I-10 to make better progress west.  We normally shun the interstates highways preferring to travel the back roads.  However, with all the small towns, rough roads and interesting things to see we don’t make very good time.  Normally this wouldn’t be an issue but we are getting anxious to see family in Tucson.

Entered Tucson from the south and stopped to see my mom who was recovering from a stroke at a local skilled nursing facility.  She has battled back from a few strokes in the past and appears to be improving from this latest one. 

 A very resilient and courageous woman, she has never followed the traditional path for a women reared in the 1930’s.  Those who know her admire the strong will and free spirit.  Raised in Philadelphia she left home at an early age to serve in the US Navy during World War II.  Settling in San Diego as a single mom of a herd of boy’s we didn’t make life easy for her.  She did have a totally optimistic outlook on life and a very strong faith.  All “her boys” turned out pretty well…..even little black sheep Billy.  Until old age began to take its toll a few years ago, she was the ultimate “Party girl” out dancing most nights and enjoying the company of her many friends in Tucson.  A bit incapacitated now, she still has her famous smile and that old twinkle in the eye.  We love her very much.

 Arrived at the Doobie RV Resort and Riparian Desert Oasis around 1600.  This incredible facility is very exclusive; consisting of only one camp site it is very accommodating and it its guests are pampered and well cared for.  The resort is owned and lovingly managed by Dewey and Bea, accomplished hosts and all around great folks.

Kit’s Corner:

Will, or whatever this guy’s name is, has pretty much covered it all.  About all I can say is, we had a nice stay at Holloman AFB – had fun at the “dunes” and I was eager to get to Tucson to see family. 

Stay tuned for the doings in Tucson,

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

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Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure, Issue #4

 

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 

The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #4

Friday, January 15, 2010:  On the road and continuing north on US-90.  It is 54 degrees and raining.  Almost immediately we were stopped at a Border Patrol checkpoint.  Now, coming off a road that leads directly to the Mexican border and towing a 22 foot trailer I just knew we would be searched.  Nope, the nice agents chatted with us for awhile and sent us on our way.  They must have been impressed by my mastery of the Spanish language.

Passed the turn off for Seminole Canyon State Park where we stopped to explore last year.  Great park and campground; if interested in seeing our time there please refer to our 2009 Journal #18 which is archived at http://www.bilnkit.com.

Weather in these parts changes faster than the weather in New England.  The two pictures below where taken less than ten minutes apart:

It was kinda otherworldly, as the weather cleared there were shafts of light that shown through the clouds which illuminated our rig and made the surrounding prairie grass glow like gold.  I expected to hear angels singing at any time.

Rolled through Sanderson, Texas…..a nice little western frontier looking town.  Many old adobe and wooden buildings.  Purchased gas at Uncle’s Store and noticed everyone was wearing cowboy hats, driving Ford F-350 trucks with brush guards which had Farm Vehicle license plates.  Obviously we stuck out like a sore thumb.  Why does a sore thumb stick out anyway?  Seems it would be more vulnerable to injury…..that’s odd.

We joined the Texas Pecos Trail, so named due to the fact that it is in Texas, it crosses the Pecos River and that the Texas Tourist and Information Bureau thought it sounded more interesting than Highway 90.

Noticed a sign that said “Entering the Chihuahuan Desert”.  I believe it was named after the little Mexican dogs that grazed in these parts.  Kit looked intently, mile after mile, at the 3 foot prairie grass for signs of the critters…..but no luck.  They must be nocturnal.

Rolling along at our usual 60 MPH heading west on TX-90, oh…..excuse me, The Texas Pecos Trail, I cycled through the readouts on the trucks information center.  I usually do this a few times a day to check tire pressure, miles left on remaining gas, Average MPG, transmission temperature and trip miles for the day.  When I came to average MPG I took a double take.  7.2 MPG!!!!!   Our usual is 10.5 MPG.  Then Kit who was online checked the weather…..we were battling 35 MPH winds coming out of the west.  The effect on the truck and trailer was like doing 95 MPH!  I was tempted to turn around and drive in reverse the rest of the way!!!!

Decided to pull into the Davis Mountain State Park for the night.  We stayed here last year for a few days and really enjoyed the place.  Check out our time there in our 2009 journal issue #19.

Unlike the last time we stayed, the park was near empty so we had our pick of camp sites.  Set up in this nice one with great views:

 

We took a walk up to the Nature Center where there are a number of bird blinds set up around the feeding and nesting areas.  The Davis Mountains is famous for the variety and quantity of wild birds.  Sitting in a blind I noticed some movement in the bushes and what do you know, this fellow popped out.

It’s a Javelina, rooting around for dropped food below the various bird houses and feeding stations.  It didn’t even notice us and was intent on, um…..well, just making a pig out of itself.  Frankly I thought the Javelina was more fun to watch than all the birds flittering about.  But I guess that makes sense because back home I like to watch the squirrels perform gymnastics to get to the bird feeders…..I’m just strange that way…..actually I guess I’m just strange in a lot of ways.

It is now 0200…..we are at a campground at over 5000 feet…..it is 22 degrees!  Yikes, got dressed, went outside and disconnected the water supply.  The water faucet was 90% frozen as was the hose.  After managing to shut off the faucet I disconnected the hose, brought it inside and placed it in the shower stall.  The sky was clear and I quickly admired the plentiful and very bright stars in the dark night sky.  Feeling chilled, I quickly jumped back into the warm bed.  After Kit stopped yelling we were able to drift back off to sleep.

Saturday, January 16, 2010:  Woke at 0600, made coffee, reconnected the water hose and took a walk around the park.  The sun was coming up over the mountains and the temperature was rising rapidly.  Everyone I met on my walk complained about frozen hoses and no water.  Guess it was worth the effort to get up at 0200.

On the road at 1045 and the temperatures have risen to 46 degrees.  Passed by the Macdonald Observatory and noticed signs for visitors center and overnight star parties.  Another “must do” for our Life (Bucket) List.  Maybe next trip.

Jumped on TX-118, The Texas Mountain Trail, and headed northwest.  Drove through some spectacular mountain scenery topping out at 6,218 feet.  Entered a high meadow which contained many cattle grazing on the prairie grass.  Stopped to use the “facilities” in the camper and these fellows visited us.

About noon we came to I-10 and headed west toward El Paso where we jumped on TX-54 toward Alamogordo, New Mexico and White Sands National Monument.  A bit up the road we came upon this unusual and somewhat disturbing sight:

I’m thinking it’s a camper van getting frisky with a large truck…..I bet that’s where all the huge motorhomes we have been seeing come from.  In order to give them some privacy we backed off.

Crossed over into New Mexico around 1500 and started climbing into the high desert area.  As we reached the 4000 foot level we started noticing snow in the surrounding mountains.  Will we ever get to a warm (anything above 60 degrees) and snow-less place?

Kit’s Corner:  Very nice ride from Davis Mountains State Park to Alamogordo, NM.  One thing that happened is, when we stopped to visit the cows, we noticed a smell of propane gas in the trailer.  Evidently, when Bill made coffee earlier, he didn’t turn the burner entirely off.  Fortunately the safety feature shut down the gas flow and only a little gas escaped.  We opened all the windows so lots of fresh air to come in and all was fine after a few minutes.  Have to add “checking stove burners” to our departure check-off list.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure, Issue #3

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure

 

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 

 The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #3

 Sunday, January 10 to Wednesday, January 13, 2010:  Spent three great days with Kit’s sister Charlotte and her husband Donald.  They are a couple of California expatriates who recently moved to the Texas hill country south of Austin.  Don and Char have a really nice new home in a nice development…..perfect for “door yard surfing”:

 

 Notice anything different?  Yea…..no snow.  In fact it was in the mid sixties while we were there.  And that was a bit below normal for this time of the year.

 The first night Don gathered the Crowe clan and threw a good old fashioned Texas Barbeque with a pile of beef brisket, potato salad, cole slaw, beer and wine.  A Texas Barbeque sandwich is kinda unique.  It consists of white bread, sliced beef brisket, onions, dill pickle slices and Texas barbeque sauce.  Different than southern barbeque but still very good…..just to make sure I liked it prepared that way I had three of them……and twice as many beer’s.

 The next day I left Kit and her sister alone for some bonding time and took off up to Austin for a visit to Mellow Johnnies Bicycle Shop.  This unusual named shop is owned by Lance Armstrong, champion bike racer and an Austin resident.  The shop’s name came from the French word for Yellow Jersey, “maillot jaune”, which Lance wore many times in his Tour De France victories.  The place is huge and is part bike shop, part museum, part training facility and even has its own coffee shop.  If you are a big bike nut, like I am, than this is a must see.  Below are some photos I snapped:

 

 While I was in Austin, Kit and char had a nice afternoon shopping at Hobby Lobby, having lunch and enjoying each others company.  That evening we all went out to a Mexican place called Los Vega for some truly authentic Tex-Mex.  It was in an old home owned by a Mexican family and looked to be very popular with the locals.  I asked our waitress, Juana to snap the following photo:

 

It was a BYOB joint and we brought a lot of B.  Those Texas wine glasses the ladies are holding hold ½ a bottle of vino as evident by the empty bottle.  Kit made friends with Juana and had a nice conversation even though Juana did not speak English…..and Kit speaks no Spanish.  I had some of the best Carne Asada in my life.  All in all a great night with great folks.

On the final day in Kyle, Kit and I did a little shopping…..well Kit shopped while I walked laps around the huge outdoor mall.  It was 68 degrees, sunny and felt really good!  Back in Kyle, I did some maintenance on the truck, trailer and towing gear and otherwise just goofed off while Kit and her sister spent the day relaxing and chatting:

 

 They really enjoy getting caught up on each others lives.  Here you see them using their new “pink” Dell Netbooks to share family news via Instant Messaging.  When they tired of that they e-mailed each other or communicated via Facebook.  An amazing time we live in when two sisters can stay in touch via the internet.  It’s almost like actually being there!

 Speaking of Kit’s new “pink” Netbook we are traveling with two laptops this year.  I have the hand-me-down Dell Inspiron running DOS while the princess has the newest, fastest and most capable of the two…..and to make sure I don’t touch it she ordered it in pink!  Anyway, this arrangement makes for a more pleasant morning when we both want to check our favorite web sites and check e-mail or I have a hankering to work on these travel journals.  Kit’s Netbook rides in the truck so when she “needs” to check e-mail, Facebook or what’s happening in the world she plugs in the Verizon Broadband Aircard and surf’s away.  Having internet connectivity in the truck as we are rolling along also helps research what’s coming up down the road. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010:  Enjoyed our final morning having breakfast with Char as Don had to go to work early.  We got on the road at around 1100 and headed southwest toward San Antonio.  We stopped at Lackland AFB campground so we could dump our holding tanks.  However we also took the opportunity to visit the Base Exchange, which is like a modern shopping mall and drop by the Commissary for groceries.  Since it was getting late we decided to stay the night at the base campground where we enjoyed full hookups.

Thursday, January 14, 2010:  Keeping with our evolving plan of heading more westerly we decided to take US-90 out of San Antonio.  We originally thought of heading south into Corpus Christi and then to Big Bend National Park for a few days however decided to save that trip for later.  We gassed up at the Lackland AFB service station and picked up some “road snacks” at the Class Six Store (That’s for you, Bob). 

Not on the road ten minutes and we noticed a mosquito in the cab of the truck.  A good sign actually…..mosquitoes mean warm weather.  It’s 57 degrees with drizzle, fo shizzle (that’s for you, Balz). 

Our rough destination is Del Rio, on the Mexican border.  Passing through Castroville, Texas we spotted a Bush’s Fried Chicken Stand…..glad George is keeping busy after his eight years in the White House.

In Medina, Texas we spotted a store called Ima Antique Shop.  I bet the owners name is Ima….or maybe just has a since of humor.  Didn’t stop…..we were afraid she would put us on display. 

Crossed a bridge over The Blanco River…..which was dry, The Frio River…..which was dry, The Dry Frio River….which, you guessed it, was dry, and The Mud River…..which actually had some water in it.  Go figure.

All along US-90 there were those hunting preserves that seem to be everywhere in this area.  A lot of the places appeared to actually be private hunting ranches covering hundreds of acres.  At one there was a large lodge with a barn alongside.  Affixed to the side of the barn there must have been a hundred deer antlers bleached starkly white by the sun which was a striking sight against the side of the red barn.   

Came across a banner across the street in a little town of Brackettville, Texas that read “Kinney County Livestock Show and Barbeque, January 23rd and 24th”.  I’m guessing if the livestock in the show don’t win a ribbon then they are invited to be the feature at the evening’s barbeque.

Kit needed some “retail therapy” so when we spotted the Wal*Mart in Hondo, Texas we had to stop.  Kit went shopping and Bill went for a stroll around the attached strip mall.  You know…..a strip mall isn’t what I thought it was.  Talk about false advertising…..really disappointing.

We decided to stop for the night at a camping facility in Lake Amistad which is about 20 miles west of Del Rio, Texas.  Amistad National Recreational Area is the United States portion of  the International Amistad Reservoir, which is formed on the Rio Grande along the border of the US and Mexico.   With the damming of the Rio Grande, an interesting boundary was created…..the international border is now in the middle of the lake.  According to the campground literature, there is reported to be great fishing and citizens from both countries can fish freely from boats in any part of the lake.  However if an American citizen should inadvertently happen to set foot on the Mexican shore line than they must proceed to the nearest border crossing and be processed back into the United States.  If a Mexican citizen should inadvertently happen to set foot on the American shore then they will likely run really fast…..due north.

Since it has been raining and part of the road was under construction it has been a long day.  So we just hunkered down in the trailer, had dinner, checked e-mail and followed the terrible news out of Haiti.  Turned in early to get an early start tomorrow……well actually because we are old.  Most likely we won’t get underway until 1000 or so.

Kit’s Corner:  Even though mosquitoes mean warmer weather, I DO NOT like them.  I’ve been plagued with mosquito bites all of my life.  Loved the Hobby Lobby store in Austin!  Tons of neat things, I bought a tray to use with “Pinkie” which works well.  Would have bought more but have no space to store it.  We are easily falling into “retiree time”, not getting going till 10 am and stopping by 5 pm.  We used to be able to make it across the US in 5 days – no more.  Oh, one more thing… my so called “retail therapy” includes a few laps around the store and grocery shopping.  J   

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure, Issue #2

 

 

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure

 

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 

The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #2

Disclaimer-We are keeping a travel journal for our enjoyment in later years and to share our life on the road with family and friends.  If this is of no interest to you please feel free to delete without reading.  You will not hurt our feelings.  We are giving these travel notes wide distribution so we do not inadvertently leave anyone out.  Also please feel free to forward these journals on as you wish.

 

Friday, January 8, 2009:  Well we made it!  Woke to 20 degree temperatures and it was 12 degrees in Brunswick.  Finally…..warm weather!  Well at least warmer than home and being the optimist that in itself spells sucqsess!  You know… the word “optimist” always intrigued me.  Sounds like it should be the brand name for glasses one would wear in the fog to see well.

Anyway, the Artic Fox, true to its name, was smart enough to keep us warm and cozy.  Being a four season trailer with heavy duty insulation, large capacity heater, Thermopane windows and heated holding tanks it proved up to the challenge.  I didn’t hook up the water hose as I didn’t want to futz around with the heat tape which would have been necessary to keep the external water hose thawed.  We used a few gallon jugs of water we had brought along in the cab of the truck for our overnight water needs.  All and all everything worked well.

Lounged around camp until about 1000 then hit the road after filling a depleted propane tank.  The tank wasn’t full when we left Maine however having two 30 gallon propane tanks and an automatic switchover regulator provided us with uninterrupted heat throughout the night.

Back on I-81 toward Hattiesburg, Mississippi where we passed close by Lake Forgetful.  Legend has it the lake got its name from the many boaters that forgot to install their drain plugs before launching.  They had to relocate the boat launch three times due to the sunken hulks scattered about.

In Hattiesburg we jumped on US-98W for about an hour.  Passing through Columbia, Mississippi we came to a large field chock full of FEMA trailers.  There must have been hundreds of them…..rotting away in that field, kind of a waste.

Stopping at a traffic signal in small town a car pulled up alongside and motioned to roll down the window.  He was a retired Marine and had noticed my Navy and Viet Nam stickers on the back of the trailer.  Had a nice chat until the light turned green and the horns started blowing.

If the south is the Bible Belt then this area of the south must be the Bible Buckle!  Every few miles there are huge crosses (some 50 plus feet tall), houses of worships as big as the entire town and billboards extolling the power of Jesus.  As a strange juxtaposition there are as many bars, billboards advertising law services to help with divorces and DUI’s, roadside “Exotic Dance” places and smaller signs advertising “Slap Yo Mamma Hot Sauce”.  Gotta try some of that…..not all the above, just the sauce. 

We then hopped on I55S toward Hammond, Louisiana where we had arranged to meet some good friends from our earliest Navy days.  Meeting Eileen and John Laurences at a Cracker Barrel for lunch was a must do as we were passing close to their home in Covington, Louisiana.  We had a great visit, catching up on all the news.  John had just retired from Government service and they both appeared to be enjoying the good life.  Upon leaving I asked one of the Cracker Barrel staff to snap this picture of us.

 

 

Jumped on I-12W and stopped for the night at the Frenchman’s Wilderness Campground in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana.  It was 1930 and the temperature was in the 20’s.  All the pipes in the park were frozen and no one had water.  Now one would think that an area that experiences hurricanes wouldn’t freak out about a little cold weather but everyone was dressed as for an artic expedition and came out of their warm buildings as little as possible.   I mentioned to the campground manager that I saw people ice skating on their “cement pond” but she didn’t laugh…..just got up from behind her warm desk and peered out the window.

She let us stay the night anyway.  All we needed was a flat spot to park but we did connect to shore power to avoid using the batteries. 

Speaking of batteries, learning from our dry camping experiences on previous trips I installed a second deep cycle battery over the summer.  I wired both batteries through a marine grade A-B switch so we can run on either one, both or shut the batteries off.  This improvement should give us up to 5 days of power when needed.  Here is a picture of the set up:

 

 

Saturday, January 9, 2010:  Enjoyed a very warm and restful night.  It is still warmer here than back home…..22 degrees vs. 19 degrees.  We did notice the sad news that was racing around the internet…..Mr. Art Clocky had passed away last night (go ahead…..Goggle him, you know you want to).  The passing of a great American is always hard but his contributions to the acceptance of minorities was unheralded.  The funeral will likely take awhile as mourners passing his open casket won’t be able to help themselves and will be overwhelmed by the urge to place his limbs in unusual positions.

After breakfast and checking e-mail we packed up and hit the road by 0900.  The Southern Palms are taking a hit due to the cold snap.  All along the road there were trees in distress such as this:

 

 

Crossed into Lake Charles, Louisiana.  There are oil and petrochemical refineries as far as the eye can see.  I bet gas is cheaper here.  Nope…..$2.67…..just about the same as in the middle of nowhere.  Why are prices the same regardless of the distance to the source.  Discounting The Gulf, of course.  By my estimation the transportation distance from the refinery to the nearest gas station was about 35 feet!  Speaking of fuel prices, so far the per gallon price has ranged from $2.49 in New Jersey to $2.76 in Pennsylvania.

Crossed over into Texas mid day and Lucy became hopefully lost in Houston.  Then we realized we were riding on a brand new highway.  Lucy’s database is about two years old….she was hysterical in informing us that we had left the road.  Good thing we had let our On Star subscription lapse or I’m certain 911 would have been called.

Noticed some albino cows in Katy, Texas.  Not really interesting…..just kinda funny looking.  I wonder if that’s where the “other white meat” comes from.  It was kinda sad actually, as all the black cows made them graze at the back of the field.

Passed a number of game preserves advertising a day of hunting for a fee.  Apparently these are big business in these parts.  They use a sophisticated system of various height fences to coral the deer and other game in specific areas.  Your hunting fee determines the perimeter which you may hunt.  The further out from the center of the preserve the larger the animal.  Seems kind of funny they are called game preserves when you can shoot them.

Stopped at a grocery store by the name of Heb.  As Kit shopped I poked around to determine the origin of the stores name.  Apparently the patriarch of the family was Harold E. Butt and he started selling dry goods around 1907.  Old Harry, realizing the buying public may not warm to his name decided to use his initials…..H.E.B.

 

 

Pulled into Kyle, Texas and the home of Kit’s sister Char and her husband Don for some fun with the Crowe’s and a little door yard surfing.

Love, Dad/Mom, Poppy/Guma, Bill/Kit

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure, Issue #1

 

Bill and Kit’s 2010 Excellent Adventure

 

Latitude: Wherever ••• Longitude: Who Cares

 

The Bill and Kit 2010 Excellent Adventure Journal-Issue #1

Disclaimer-We are keeping a travel journal for our enjoyment in later years and to share our life on the road with family and friends.  If this is of no interest to you please feel free to delete without reading.  You will not hurt our feelings.  We are giving these travel notes wide distribution so we do not inadvertently leave anyone out.  Also please feel free to forward these journals on as you wish.

 

Monday, January 4, 2010:  Prepared to depart with a Willie Nelson song on my brain.  On the road again…..Just can’t wait to get on the road again…..Oh Crap!

 

 

Shoveling snow again…..Oh how I hate to be shoveling snow again; so I can get on the road again!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010:  On the road again…..just can’t wait to get warm again.  I can’t wait to get on the road again. 

 Kit tells me it is 0618 which I have to take her word for because since I retired I don’t wear a watch and the clock in the dash is blinking “12:00”.

 It is 27 degrees under overcast skies…..much warmer than the start of our 2009 Excellent Adventure.  Which, by the way, is now posted on our new website as well as the “Gofetchit Trip” journal from the fall of 2009.  Check it out:

www.bilnkit.com

 Now I’m not smart enough to develop a website.  The fine web page work is the product of my brilliant son-in-law Kevin.  Thanks, Kevin!

 Our goal this trip is to post these journals on the website as well as send them out as a Word attachment.  Hopefully this will satisfy those folks who just want to go online to check up on us while accommodating those that have mentioned they like to download and print the journals.

 Traveled the traditional “Lucy” route from home through New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  Remember Lucy?  Traffic was light and for the most part the roads were good.  Kit took her traditional kit-nap and Lucy and I managed not to go awry.

 We passed north of “The City” on the Tappan Zee Bridge and encountered a sign that said “trucks, buses and RV’s move to the right lane”.  Dutifully following the road sign we stayed right and were shuttled off the turnpike to encounter a toll booth.   There stood a toll taker and another person (her supervisor?) who asked for $4.50.  All the other traffic passed by toll free on the other side of a string of Jersey Barriers!?!?  Apparently the purpose for collecting tolls from just some of the traveling public is to pay the lone toll takers salary….and that of her supervisor.  The state of New York couldn’t even afford a proper sign…..all they could muster up was a hand lettered cardboard one!

 It’s getting late and after driving over 500 miles while passing through 7 different states it is time to stop for the evening.  We considered Hamburg, PA but settled on Hershey, PA.  I guess we were getting hungry.  How about that….two Pennsylvania towns next door to each other that basically cover all the major food groups.

 Since the trailer was still winterized and it was cold we stopped at a Comfort Suites and stayed the night in a great room with a mini kitchen, a whirlpool tub next to the bed and a sitting/office area.  All for $65.00!  The desk clerk even panned one of their security cameras to watch the truck and trailer to keep an eye on it for the night.  The recession has really driven room rates down.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010:  Up early and signed onto the web.  When our home page came up we noticed it was 27 degrees and clear up in Brunswick.  We smugly called up the weather in Hershey, PA…..27 degrees….AND SNOW…..yikes!  Then looked out the motel room window and saw this:

 

 

 Gotta keep heading south and to warmer weather.

 Normally we like to travel the back roads but in order to make better time, we decided to take I-81S through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia and on into Tennessee.  For all the bad press I-81 gets we found it to be a great road to make quick time toward the southwest.  There is a lot of large truck traffic but I usually feel more comfortable traveling in a group of long haul trucks then in the company of the average automobile.  If you give the long haul trucker the courtesy they deserve then they will usually reciprocate.  Besides traveling amongst professional drivers gives me the confidence that they won’t do something stupid like pull around and get in front of you just so they can slow and get off at the next exit.

 As we traveled through the Shenandoah Valley I noticed on the GPS an interesting squiggly road and was tempted to pull off and check it out.

  

 But Kit noticed the squiggly line on the GPS was blue and likely not a road but a river.  Still tempted to check it out as I brought my kayak this trip…..but the truck thermometer read 24 degrees.  Maybe on the way back in the spring.

 Stopped at an RV friendly Cracker Barrel restaurant in Kingsport, Tennessee for an evening meal and then decided to stay at a local Comfort Inn.   Still to cold to camp…..the desk clerk mentioned there was a major winter storm coming tomorrow and we may want to get an early start. 

 Thursday, January 7, 2010:  Up early and checked the weather.  19 degrees and clear in Brunswick and 12 degrees and overcast with a “Winter Weather Advisory” In Tennessee!…..double yikes!!  Then we learned the predicted snow accumulating was 2 inches!  All the local schools and businesses had closed…..some already closing Friday as well!?!?

 Enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and climbed back on I-81S.  Traffic very light…..just the long haul truckers and us.  Roads were fine, a few flurries with little accumulation on the road.  The biggest problem was visibility with all the light snow being blown around.

 One of the ironical ironies of road trips occurred this morning.  I-81 in this part of Tennessee was designated “The Albert Gore Parkway”.  Now…..the outside temperature is currently 17 degrees…..in Tennessee…..so much for global warming!  His former constituents are freezing their bajingles off.  Good thing he invented the internet so we can see how cold it is.

 Along The Albert Gore Parkway we did see this interesting sight:

 

  My guess is that it is hauling bathroom tissue and the load had gotten loose.  Kinda like when the paper gets stuck on the bottom of your shoe and you walk through the airport terminal and no one has the decency to tell you they just laugh and point…..you know, kinda like that!  Or so I’ve heard.  Anyway, it was an interesting and unusual sight as we followed the truck for many miles…..cheap entertainment.

 The snow did pick up as we neared Lookout Mountain.  Following the lead of the truckers we reduced speed but kept traveling with the understanding that if it got much worse we would pull off for a few hours and wait it out.

  As we descended into Birmingham, Alabama the temperature warmed to the mid 40’s and the snow turned to rain.  Noticed the fields and lawns were green and the hardwoods had most of their leaves.  At least it has been warm in these parts recently. 

 Pulled into Meridian, Mississippi for the night and stopped at the Bonita Lake Campground.  Now a Bonita is a species of tuna which is obviously a salt water fish so not sure how the lake actually got its name.  Maybe Al’s global warming has melted some of the polar ice caps and they swam the 500 miles inland? 

 We decided to stay in the trailer even though the overnight temperatures were predicted to be in the 20’s.

 Did we survive? 

 Stay tuned,

 Love, Dad/Bill/Poppy and Mom/Kit/Guma