Thursday, February 5, 2009

RV Adventure Day 1 2/4/09

Pictures are in reverse - the bottom one I took first
Top - Sunset just east of Santa Fe looking at the Jemez Mts. (where Los Alamos is).
Middle - The back (east) side of the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mts. outside of Santa Fe.
Bottom - Welcome to NM sign!!!
After little set back on Tues. we were able to get loaded and pulled away from our home in Colorado Springs, CO at 10AM.

The back up camera quit working over the week end and needed to be replaced. Pikes Peak Traveland originally told us we would have to wait a day or 2 for it to be delivered to them (not a stock item). After playing bad cop (Gene) and good cop (me) lo and behold they found one in the 'back'. Why does everything have to be a battle? They fixed it and we had the rig back at 5PM.

We loaded all the listed eBay items and worked until we were exhausted and decided to finish in the morning, which had us leaving later that we had wanted.

The first real challenge of the trip was going over Raton Pass at the border of NM and Colorado. The crest is about 10,000 feet and the climb is approx. 3 miles long. For the most part our max speed was 35 until the last 1/2 mile. We could see the crest but kept slowing down to about 24 MPH.

At one point a semi pulled up to the drivers window in the left lane but at the same spot he too lost speed and we pulled away from him. Good thing we decided not to fill the fresh water tank with water. It is a 100 gallon tank and would have added a lot of weight. After several more small hills (!), we got to Gene's sons In Laws home about 7:30.

The trip is usually boring - nothing to see except prairie. Having lived here for so many years I am complacent over the real beauty of the wide open spaces. It is just raw land with a border of 11,000 + foot mountains that are snowcapped, just the way God made them.

Usually we see hundreds of prong horned antelope grazing but this trip we only saw about 20. Gene's son said that when they drove from NM to us in CO, a few weeks ago they saw at least 500 of the antelope in herds of 40 or more. They are easy to see. While they are grazing their heads are down but they have a broad white stripe on their sides, so they can be seen from quite a distance.

We also saw llamas ( a very popular animal that people are keeping, in the last few years) and cutey prairie dogs standing on the sides of their hills as a look out. Not a favorite of ranchers because their livestock can step in a prairie dog hole and break a leg.

At one point Gene was tired so we pulled into a rest area, I boiled some water and made him coffee in the French Press and a cup of tea for me. Just that one little thing seemed like such a luxary - a hot drink when and where we wanted, made our way and not some 5 hour old coffee from a convience store. LOL

When we got to Belen, Gene's son met us to lead us to the house. Because there are no street lights it is very dark and we didn't want to miss the turn. His in Laws live at the end of the street on 5 acres, so we are parked in the middle of their pasture. Gene's daughter and her son and daughter were here as was Gene's 96 year old mom (97 in March). We had called and told the to go ahead and eat since we were going to be so late, but our supper of stuffed homemade sopapillas was waiting.

After eating and son (Daniel) and Gene took his mom home, we came out to the RV so everyone could see it. While we were enjoying a bottle of wine, they leveled the rig so it would not move when we walked in it. After struggling with that for 10 minutes, they found out - (by reading the manual) that the emergency brake needs to be on.

Then they put the slide out, out and we just visited some more. When it was time for bed we collapsed and went to sleep immediately. Since it was so dark, the sky was full of stars and it was so quiet, only the occassional train whistle in the distance. I love that - knowing the trains are running - makes me feel all is well. Sorta a weird sense of security!!

Trivia question - Why is the train whistle 2 long 1 short and 1 long? Answer - That is morse code for the letter V. It started in England when officials wanted to alert the towns that the Queen was onboard so V for Queen Victoria!!!

Our plan was to leave today (Thursday) and really start the adventure totally on our own. But we need to get the water in, figure out the TV and finish putting stuff away. I also want to take a shower in here for the 1st time too so we know everything is working OK before we really hit the road.

The shuttle launch was postponed a week so we have alittle more leaway in when we get to Florida. And since we will have a late start tomorrow we may not keep to the original plan of where we are stopping. But then this is a working vacation, so we will sorta take it easy too.

We now know we really can't plan on more that 5 - 6 hours driving or 350 - 400 miles a day. Of course tomorrow will be downhill all the way to the NM - TX border (for the most part - there are some more hills but none as bad as Raton Pass). We will be back at sea level after a few hundred miles into Texas. And we also loose an hour tomorrow because we will cross into Central Time.

Facts - Travel time - 9 hours with 1 hour lunch stop and 2 rest area stops.
Miles - 415
Average MPG - 10.5.

No comments: