Friday, March 5, 2010

The Sprint

Jorge at Forrest Tire mounting the new tires.
This shows what they mean when they say there will be s__w down to 6000 feet. We were very glad the white stuff stayed in the higher elevations.
Nanc at the wheel.
What you see along most of route 90 in West Texas. We did see antelope, deer, longhorn steers, javelins, Brahma bulls and many other animals along the way.
Mike and Loretta sharing stories at happy hour.

Our plan was to purchase four new rear tires (we had to replace the front tires 18 months ago because of an alignment problem) in Phoenix and then "sprint" 1200 miles to Rockport in four days. As with all fulltiming plans, these were written in sand which can blow away in the desert and are subject to change. Upon arrival at Copperstate Tire we were greeted with the news that the tires would not be delivered until 2PM. Oh well, no problem, we will just spend the time reading and relaxing. Uh, at 2 PM the salesman appears and tells us the tires aren't coming and asks what direction we are heading so they could call ahead and find four tires somewhere along (the) I-10. None were found in Tucson, but they were available 435 miles away in El Paso. We left Phoenix late in the afternoon with the plan of spending the night at the SKP park in Casa Grande. But when we called, there was no room in the inn so we decided we could make it to the Saguaro SKP Park, where they had sites, 160 miles away in Benson before nightfall. This change in the plan gave us the chance to visit with Rick and Terry Traver, class of 07 mates, and Bob and Ginnie Huntley, who were our neighbors at the Rose Parade HOP. This chance change in plans turned into a great evening of conversation and visiting.

Day two of the changing plans was to get as close to the west side of El Paso as possible so we could be at Forrest Tires for our appointment early Wednesday morning. Since we were only going about 250 miles we did not need to depart too early because we had decided on a first for us, to stay overnight at the rest area in Anthony, TX. The drive out of Arizona and across New Mexico was easy and enjoyable as we watched the land change along the way. We arrived in Anthony early enough to get fueled up at the nearby Flying J and then take a little walk and stretch out our tired butt muscles. We were the only RV there but there were several over the road truckers and a security guard who patrolled at least until we fell asleep. This stay took me back to 1966 when my grandparents came to visit me at Fort Sam Houston and we drove to the Astrodome (then a wonder of the world) to see a baseball game. On the way back to San Antonio we pulled off along the road and they bedded down in their VW microbus and I slept on the picnic table. Shortly after falling asleep, two cars pulled in, one the local sheriff and the other the town drunk whom the sheriff was leaving there to sleep it off. The sheriff assured us everything would be alright but it did not look like we were going to sleep very soundly. Not to worry. As soon as the sheriff left, "Otis" fired up his car and sped off down the highway. Minutes later the spotlight from the police car scanned the place and our new friends were gone amid a blaze of flashing red lights. Our stay in Anthony was much more uneventful but we realized that, since we had traveled less than 500 miles in two days and had to get tires in the morning, we were not going to make Rockport in four days.

Day three started with a new personal record as we were on the road (without coffee or breakfast) by 7 AM to drive the 25 miles to Forrest Tire. When we arrived we were happy to see four fresh tires waiting to be installed. Freshness is a big deal for RVers since we rarely wear out tires but usually change them between five to seven years from their born on date. Ours were just over six years old and we did not want to push it any longer. (In some countries tires have expiration dates.) Jorge, our tire guy ,had the first two removed and remounted before I was done with my first cup of Joe. The whole thing only took about an hour and a half and we were once again on the road, but with much lighter wallets. Even a little lighter then we had planned on since we paid about $50 a tire more in El Paso then we were expecting to pay in Phoenix. I think this is what they call supply and demand. With new tires but still no breakfast and a plan subject to change, we decided to stop at at the Flying J east of El Paso for a personal fuel up. Nothing like a truckers meal to make the miles fly by. It was now near noon and we wanted to get to Alpine, TX on Route 90 for the night. Route 90 is a two lane road but in West Texas one can sprint on any road as there are few people, few towns and almost no traffic. This was a good opportunity for Nanc to log a some miles and before we knew it we were approaching our planned destination Alpine and thinking it was to early to stop. What's a plan for if you can't change it so we drove on to the Marathon Motel and RV Park where we had stayed last spring. This is a neat little place with a beautiful adobe courtyard and fireplace where travelers can gather and swap tales around the fire. Sharing stories is not unusual for RVers but in most motels guest just go to their rooms and never meet anyone.

Day four of the sprint plan was to stay at the SKP park in Hondo, TX which would leave an easy, less then 200 mile, drive to Rockport. Still not bad for us as it would be about 1200 miles in five days. Just before leaving Marathon we got mail from Mike and Loretta Kniseley, friends from last winters stay in Rockport, that they were staying in Uvalde, TX forty miles this side of Hondo. While Rockport was the goal we did not have a reservation so the plan changed again and we called Quail Springs RV Park and got a spot near them for two days so we could catch up with what they have been up to. We then prepared to leave but found the auxiliary brake on the toad was not working. We decided to go without it as I don't really think the CRV will push hard enough to cause the Dutch Star any problems and the brake is not a legal requirement in Texas. When we arrived in Uvalde Mike and Loretta were there to greet us and shortly after our arrival we got together for our own little happy hour so we could share stories of our last year of travel. One thing they shared with us was info about a new park near Rockport and when we called we got a spot for a lot less then we were planning on spending. Isn't life grand!! As to the brake issue it turns out that we had run down the battery in the car because we had only run the engine when we disconnected to get the tires and four days with this little bit of charge was not nearly enough. Mike came to the rescue with a charger and and I learned something new about RVing if you are going to sprint. The lesson is you always need a plan but you don't always need to follow it.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

That's one serious woman behind that wheel! Good job, Nanc!