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Friday, November 30, 2012

Got It Sold and Rented

It sure was a busy day. We got started with getting our trailer to the dump station this morning. All went well, even though I must admit that it used to be easier with the motor home, the maneuvering back into our site that is. :-))

The days went on with one of our neighbours coming along looking at the motorhome for sale. He came repeatedly and late in the afternoon I made him an offer he just couldn’t refuse.   There was a condition on my offer. The condition being that we could rent it out to a nice lady from California for two months before he takes possession. That being accepted we got a sale.

It’s a triple win-win situation for everybody.

I wonder whether the temps will come down soon. It is still very hot during the day and we spend most of the time in the cooler shade of the trailer. Had myself a little snooze after lunch – ah.. how good is that.
I’m currently trying to stay away from smoke-filled bonfires as I noticed that my breathing gets worse of it. Still that nasty cold looming in the background I suppose.

Planning a trip to Yuma tomorrow, maybe we’ll find
Toni and Doug some wheres around “Pilot Knob”.
A little note about having Wifi out here. We do have a Verizon MIFI2200 for the time when traveling. However, we have a max. output of 5 Gigs on it. So whenever we are here at the Hot Springs we activate our account with “Beam Speed” and a couple of days later a young man comes out and installs the receiver for their wireless service. Now, it won’t be cheaper than the MIFI 2200 pr. month with that service, but it’s unlimited Gigs. One less thing to worry about.

Now thanks for stopping by and keep your eyes on the road.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I’m That Kind Of Guy

I’m getting advice to go slow in the process of recovery after a bad cold. Thank You!

BUT holding me back when I’m feeling good is like trying to stop a freight train with a stick on the tracks. Nah…can’t really do that. I know, I know some times I have to pay the price.

There were things to do today and I was determined to get it done.
Before I launch into today’s program I need to tell you something. We have good friends in Canada who used to be down here in the desert with us. Well, one of them got ill and they can’t come down for a while, so they asked us to sell their motorhome and most of their belongings. And that was what we started today.
Got the motorhome out of the storage, washed it and brought it into camp.
Went through a lot of stuff and even began to sell things. Of course it’s a sad task, but somebody has to do it, and since I felt so good today I couldn’t restrain myself.

Oh, and I was up at 5.15am, but there was an entirely different reason. I hoped to see a penumbral moon eclipse, meaning the slight and partial darkening of the moon when it moves into the shadow (umbra) of the earth. I’m pretty sure Al from the
Bayfield Bunch can tell you all about the phenomenon.
Anyway, either I was up too late or the slight cloud layer we had early this morning obscured the view. The only sensible picture I got was before the moon-set. And it was quite beautiful to watch.
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Since I have been squandering a lot of time by watching a movie tonight, I’m really running out of time. So this will be it for today.

Keep it between the ditches!
 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gettin’ Over It

Thank you all well-wishers! Seems it helped a lot. At least we had a somewhat quiet night, and I say WE as it sure affects both of us when one is coughing all night. Tanked with antibiotics, cough medicine and Chamomile steam  I kind of got over the hill with my usual optimistic being back today.
1-DSC_0585We have been experiencing problems with getting the desired solar panels from Phoenix as they are temporarily sold out for the low-voltage panels they usually have in stock. Got my name on a list, so I hope for a call when those panels will be available again.
Meanwhile a neighbour offered to lend a single panel until we can get ourselves fixed up with solar equipment. Boondocking is not nice without having access to home-made power.

And here are a few pics of camp taken today by Bea.
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Thank you for stopping by and keep the fingers crossed!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Bad To Worse To…

Since nothing of any meaning was happening today I’ve gotta bore you with the story of how I spent the last night. Again I made my bed over the Dinette. Bea was probably fast asleep then. I tried to lure Molly outside, but all friendly whispering didn’t help. That dog didn’t move at all. So I went to bed.

I slept for a little while, that is until 2am when I woke drenched and with a violent cough. It was beyond anything I had ever experienced before and it took a good while before that was over. With my throat burning I finally slept again until approx.5am when the whole thing repeated itself. That was when Bea got out ready to spring into action. First I got from the nasty cough liquid, brrrrr….. then she made a hot Chamomile in a pot and with a towel over my head I had ti inhale the hot steam from the Chamomile. Even though it helped a great deal I was totally exhausted and felt absolutely terrible. Stayed in bed until after 7.30am when I had finally recovered a good deal. Bea had planned a visit to her Mexican dentist that morning but canceled out. I think she was really concerned about me being alone. Friends brought an antibiotic over and that really seemed to help a lot.

I spend the day more or less suspended between feeling good and knowing it wouldn’t last. Not a good feeling really.

I don’t know what it is that the symptoms of having a cold, (or is it the flu?) increases towards evening and night. It’s almost 8pm now and I can feel it creepin’ up on me again. Mercy my soul… I just want a good nights sleep!

Toni from “Palamine” has had a facebook chat with Bea. They are camped at Pilot Knob and if I somehow survive the coming days we might slip over for a visit on Saturday.

Thanks for hanging in.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why Are We HERE?

When we first coincidentally discovered Holtville back in the fall of 2005 we had no idea that we would come back here year after year to camp in a stretch of desert which, admittedly doesn’t look very appealing at first sight.  Instead our mind was set to lush palm trees and maybe the blue surface of a lake. So, arriving out here, we figured we stay a coupla days, then move on.

Well, one day followed the other and before we knew it we made friends with other Rvers out here. Our stay lasted from November 7 to January 16. First after that we moved on to Texas. Thinking back, when we left we were already “infected” with what almost turned into an obsession in the future. The area around Holtville or the Imperial Valley all the way to Yuma,AZ turned out to be consistently the warmest….and driest in the Continental United States. And wasn’t that the reason why we had gotten on the road in the first place? To find a summer climate which would last all winter through.

I remember talking to mom from a phone booth in Holtville on Christmas day 2005. The phone was mounted outside on the wall of a gas station. It was almost 90F and sweat was pouring from under my cap. Over in Germany it was a cold winter day and I remember I told mom how hot it was.
We had our Christmas dinner outside – in shorts and T-shirts. It was an experience I will never forget.

We are camped only 7miles from the City of Holtville, which is the nearest place to go shopping,- basic shopping that is. There are other places like City of El Centro, City of Calexico, City of Imperial and City of Brawley. If one likes to drive the distance one can also get to Yuma,AZ (40miles) But lets have a look at Holtville for now. They’ve got an interesting history:

The city of Holtville, or Holton as it was first called, was founded by W.F. Holt and incorporated in 1908. Holt was a banker from Missouri who moved to the west for health reasons. Holt had a vision of what the Imperial Valley would become, and in the process he was the first to envision a town east of the Alamo River. In 1903, the city of Holtville was born. Construction of the new town was slow in the beginning because of a town policy which only allowed brick construction. That policy was later changed. On June 20, 1908 the city of Holtville was incorporated.

The city of Holtville had a master plan for its downtown district. The city was designed so that businesses faced Holt Park, which formed a town square. Holt Park is the focus for the city of Holtville which boasted large, lush shade trees, and the City Hall building... a two story structure that was built in the center of the Park.

There have been several changes in Holt Park but it still remains the gem of the city. At one time, the Park even had a monkey cage and a fish pond. However, what remains today is a time capsule which is to be opened in the year 2015.

As to many other places, Fire has been a major tragedy to the city of Holtville and, in some ways, has affected all the citizens of Holtville. In the 1960's, the Holtville Unified School District, which consisted of a two story structure, was destroyed by a fire. A theater that once graced Main Street in Holtville was also destroyed by fire in the 1970's. And sadly, a large section of the Holtville Business District was also destroyed by fire in the 1980's.

All in all, Holtville is a wonderful town that has a lot to offer. With its colorful past and bright future, people will continue to call Holtville home. Once you have visited Holtville, it will always be the place you will call your second home.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Oh So Hot And One Week Gone

Temperatures keep rising out here and having this head-cold it isn’t the most pleasant thing for me. True, we came here for warm weather, but 86F is enough. Last night was a bad one as my coughing made it impossible for both of us to sleep. Bea left the bedroom and crashed on the couch – crouched or balled up. We do have the dinette area to make a pleasant bed though, but one has to lower the table. And that table is the one major problem. First of all it is very heavy, secondly it is almost impossible to lower and completely impossible to raise it up again without having at least another person to help you. With other words a typical product of non-thinking RV-engineers. Besides, a part underneath broke after only 3 days of use.

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Company says they are gonna send a new one to us. But I guess the ordeal will just continue. Luckily the table is the only issue we have – for now. Lets just hope it stays that way. For a while we thought the bathroom fan had quit working, but there was a trick we weren’t informed about. You gotta hit the light switch to start the fan.

Odd? you bet it is.

And tomorrow is Sunday  and the first week of our stay here is gone. If time is passing fast at home  - over here it is record breaking. At least that’s the way it feels.

Over the past years we have always enjoyed sitting by a campfire in the evening. However, the access to firewood has gotten extremely difficult. With the decline of the construction industry there are no left-over materials from construction sites anymore. And the Californian desert isn’t exactly known for its beautiful and lush wood stands. If one is lucky one gets a stump of an old tamarisk. which is a stinkin wood to burn. Pallet wood which has been used here for years was already prohibited last year because of all the nails lying around after the fires. Guess some people coming in here over the summer getting flat tires complained to the BLM-office.

 

I have decided to let Bea have the bedroom tonight as I will be sleeping over the dinette bed.  Just a fair thing to do I think.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Still Battling The Cold…And Then OMG!

I’d thought I would be done with it within two or three days, but my cold seems to be more persistent. Yesterday, at Thanksgiving, I was doing just fine – until the evening when everything got worse. Went to bed very early and took an Ibuprofen, which kept things under control for most of the night. Feel sorry for Bea who probably lost her sleep as well.

Thanksgiving was a hot day and what else can a fellow do than sitting in the shade. But hey, it’s better than a cold Norwester blowing from Quebec.

Speaking of Quebec, did you know that the province of Quebec has a language police? I’m not kidding. If you run a business there you have to put your business name into French. That goes also for Walmart, Best Buy, Target and all the other big shots. The name must show what they are selling. If the merchant doesn’t change its name fines up to $20,000 are looming. A few of the big outlets have started to fight the thing in court. I really hope they win. What happens in Quebec is going straight towards a dictatorship. What’s next? No English learning in schools, or only French speaking folks are riding public transit? It seems to fit in with what’s going on in Alabama where separate schools for blacks and whites are in the discussion.
The fact that it goes on right smack in the middle of Democratic Canada and the Feds don’t do nothing against it is outrageous.  You can read about
here.

Ok, I had to let off steam. It has been boiling for a while. Now I’m feeling good.
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Despite my cold I went along yesterday with our friends to the Golden Corral for Thanksgiving Dinner. Normally, we would have it right here in Camp, but this year not many people are here, and so it was decided to go eating outside. It was all good and of course, I ate too much. There was no more food for this guy, the rest of the day.
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As this morning ran up with a deep blue sky and the desert heat was looming just 30 minutes away, I made for a quick run to the hot tub. Thought it would be good for fighting the cold. And I still think it’s good, but then what happened?
I had been under the shower and was now standing in the deep-water tub, trying to get the water out from my eyes. Doing that, I accidently pushed my glasses too much of my face and they disappeared in the water. Everybody who knows me, also knows that I’m a blind fish without my glasses. And of course, I would never ever been able to find them in 5ft. deep water. A gentleman being with me in the tub dived after them and brought them up again. Thank you, thank you for being there at the right time!

Thanks for visiting and stay cool out there!





Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Solar From Phoenix

"Jeri" from Wanderin' wondered where we would be getting our solar panels. After having been RV'ing for 7 years in North America we have tried several companies for purchasing solar equipment. The one we going to check out now is Sun Electronics in Phoenix. According to their website and from what we have seen they are having the lowest prices of all. And the good thing is we have a few neighbours right here who have already purchased solar panels from this company earlier. The panels are good and they are priced right.

Only a few years ago we have paid over $500.00 for a 130W panel. Today we can buy a 195W panel for $210.00 in Phoenix. And if you think they are too big (they are quite large) you can find a 150W for $192.00.

What else would you need to build a simple solar power system?
You need a charge controller which prevents your batteries from being "cooked" from overcharging. You would also want an Inverter transforming the 12V DC into 120V AC. And last but not least, you need an adequate number of deep-cycle batteries to store the harvested power from your solar panels. 

On previous rigs we have had 2 panels with a total of 260W, matched up with 6pc. 6V deep-cycle batteries. This time we will go to 2x195W with the same number of batteries. 
260W is not enough if you want to run your TV most of the day. But it is certainly enough for a few hours every evening, the toaster in the morning or the coffee machine. There are simple formulas out there to calculate your daily need for power. It is always good to be a little bit on the upper side, especially after solar panels have become quite affordable.

Some people just want a solar panel to trickle charge their single battery. A small panel of 60-80W will be enough for that.

Solar panels can be mounted permanently in a flat position or hinged so they can be tilted up against the sun. Clearly, the tilted mounting is far more efficient as the rays of the sun are hitting the panel in a perpendicular angle. We have tested that earlier. Watching the charge on the meter it went up when I tilted the panels and it went down when the angle became too steep or too flat.

As we are spending most of our time in one spot we will not mount the panels to the roof but have them set up on the ground. That will also give us an edge as we can turn the panels from a morning position to an evening position. 

And even if you are not a boondocker you will benefit from your solar panels, as you can be off the grid in your RV-park thus not paying for the use of their power. And if you travel long distances you have your own power supply in any overnight spot without having to run your generator (if you happen to have one)
We have a few neighbours out here, who have literally "plastered" the roof of their RV with solar panels and they don't even own a generator and still have all the power they want.

Thanks for stopping by and hopefully a full charge in your batteries.

Caught A Cold…I Think

   
I wonder whether it was the anticlimax or simply something I picked up underway. But this morning I woke with a sore throat. Not much to begin with, but it was bothersome, as I know where things like that are going. Throughout the afternoon, a small headache joined in and I feel fatigue throughout the body. I also seem to have a stiff neck this evening.

Not good!

Aside of that we had a wonderful day, the temps going to 82F (28C) which is a lot for a guy who’s just been coming down from the cold white north… and has caught a cold.

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We have been spending most of the day in the shade of our rig. A few more friends arrived in camp and I finally caught up with the camp host to pay him the seasonal BLM-fee of $180. Most people we talk to have problems comprehending that this little fee is all we ever pay for camping the entire winter in southern California. And as a bonus this place even offers free hot showers and two hot tubs to get soaked in. We find that hard to beat.

We have to wait getting those solar panels from Phoenix. One of the buyers needs to get his monthly check in. But right after December 01 we should be going to pick them up in Phoenix.
So until then we have to run our little Honda, which is just puttering outside to keep the battery charged up. 

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Bea has cleared up the interior of the trailer and did some picture-taking. What do you think of it?

I tried the new flat screen TV this evening, but the programs they offer are obviously made for idiots. There is extremely little in the way of interesting stuff out there. Political bickering we sure as heck have had enough of, the latest hard-core crimes along the Mexican border and some unfathomable silly sitcom soaps seems to be all our beloved media can come up with.

I’d rather go to bed trying to cure my cold. Bah….


Thanks for hanging in here!


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Relaxing Day In Camp

What a great way to start a day, when you can just slip in your bath robe, grab a towel and get into a wonderful hot spring for soaking. Sun’s rising up from the horizon, and there’s just no place on earth which is better than this.
It was just 7am when I dipped into the pool this morning. Bea came along as well and we did spend considerable time there, having a chat with a few other people who are in the same habit of taking an early bath.

After such a delightful morning, it is doubly nice to also enjoy a breakfast with freshly brewed coffee under the awning in the nice quiet desert air.
Every year we come to the same conclusion, getting here is worth every driven mile, every tday spent on the road. It would make me sick if I couldn’t be down here.

Of course, after being away for 7 months there were things which needed to be taken care of, so I drove the 8 miles to town and dropped by the post office to pay the fee for our PO Box, next thing up was a visit to the privately run dump station where I prepaid for dumping and water fees for this winter. Pre-paying has the advantage that I can access the dump any time, also when nobody is in the office. With the given code I can open the gate myself even on a Sunday.

We also needed a few groceries, so i continued my way to the grocery store.
Wallymart was full of Christmas music and I must say I don’t appreciate it that early, but I guess they don’t care about my opinion.

I have been looking out for good deals on Solar Panels and landed on a company in Phoenix. We will make an order for 200W panels together with a couple of other guys. It’s just not boondocking without having the quiet access to 120V AC power. Right now our little HONDA EU2000i runs, providing us with AC, and we are glad to have this back-up, but in the long run we don’t want to use it.

I hope my recent remarks re. people who choose life in RV-parks haven’t sparked up any hard feelings. I understand that some people prefer life in an RV-park, but for us it wouldn’t be a way to spend our winters. And of course, there are huge differences between RV-Parks. In some of them you park wall-to wall, have no shade and no greenery, while others offer roomy lots, shade under palm trees and green lawns or even swimming pools for their guests.

Actually, boondocking is something we first learned about in North America. You simply can’t do it over in Europe, as every property is either privately owned or governed through restrictive laws. The only country I know of, where limited free camping is possible is probably Norway, but mostly up in the mountains only. (And it’s COLD there)

We enjoy boondocking as we feel free out here, free from restrictive covenants, from over-curious neighbours……you get the picture.

Hanging out with a coffee and a few home-baked cookies in the afternoon and later sitting around a campfire with friends made our day complete.

There are no pics today, but I like to encourage you to go back a year or two in our blogging list, you might find stuff you haven’t seen yet.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 19, 2012

We Made It!

I know that quite a few of you guys out there have already been poring over your computer, hoping to see the last update of our trip south. But we just have been too busy- until now, to sit down to make a new posting. Also Bea has taken a lot of pics today, which needed to be processed. I will just give a very short outline of today’s journey and the rest will be pics, as they can tell more than thousand words.
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The “train-night” was over at 6am, even though I was hesitant to get up as I had heard a light drizzle on our roof.
But we had 500 miles to go and I hate to set up camp after dark. So off we went. It rained quite a bit but stopped after 7am. In fact, as we were driving due west the clouds moved into the opposite direction, so pretty soon it was dry.
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Today’s price shocker was a gas station between Deming and Benson,AZ. No price signs were posted so I was suspicious and asked the lady behind the counter. $4.67/gal for unleaded was the answer. Now, compare that to $3.07 at that Texas station the other day. Both were mom and pop shops, owned privately, yet the lady behind the counter told me that weren’t gettin’ the same price cut than the big corporations. While that might be true, there is still no basis for a price gouging like this. Needless to say we left without buying a single gallon.

I always love to come up from Tucson, and today was no exception. The air was crystal clear as we ran along I-10. It was still only 8:30am.
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No smog in Tucson this morning

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1-DSC_0509Texas Canyon is another beautiful place and Bea took a picture of something we have never seen, or should I say NOTICED before. Two old Inkas were hiding among the rocks. You can see them to the left.
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Yuma seems to grow with every year we come visiting. Some Rv-parks were packed while others still had lots of space. I am always wondering why people would like to be in one of these parks, set up like herrings in a fish barrel. No shade from trees and bare concrete under their feet. HORRIBLE! I’d rather stay home than be in a place like that.

Well, seem this posting is growing longer than I first anticipated, so I better shut up and let the pics do the rest of the talking.

Thanks for following us on this journey.
1-DSC_0499 1-DSC_05141-DSC_0526  Arizona celebrating its Centennial Year

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Picacho Peak between Tucson and Phoenix
YUMA and
Imperial Sand Dunes
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Old Mission Church in Yuma
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Dune buggies in the dunes
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No desert here: Colorado water brings out tons and tons of vegetable at Yuma
And finally:
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Above: Today’s trip

and below our entire route

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Does The Union Pacific Keep Going All Night?

From earlier journeys we knew about the railroad connecting San Diego with the east, and we also knew that rest areas along I-10 are exposed to the 20-minute-drive-by-tact of the train sets, (and there are always coming two, one from either direction) But being parked with the trailer just 30 yards from the tracks is like they are running through your RV. The question which we don’t know the answer to is “do they keep going all night?” Or can there be a chance for sleep just a tiny wee bit in the small hours?

It doesn’t help to be in an RV-Park either. Everything is close to those railroad tracks. We shut down today at about 4:30MT. yep, we have passed into yet another time zone, and it is not the last one either. Tomorrow we will arrive at our winter destination at the Hot Springs. Hope those folks are busy preparing the great Thanksgiving Dinner. My teeth are running in water already.
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                              These guys were to be seen at Hatch

1-DSC_0473 It’s gonna be a long run tomorrow though. We still have over 500miles to cover, as we are just a bit west of Deming,NM.
Originally we had thought of going via I-40 and Flagstaff, but we just don’t like that cold area at almost 7000ft. Much warmer down here, Sir!

Had a great day of travelling today, no wind and after we were down to Albuquerque not much mountain climbing. From Hatch at I-25 we took Highway 26 which is a dream of a highway.  It is flat, keeps you on the same elevation until Deming and it is 30miles shorter than going via Las Cruces.
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Not sure whether these solar panels were producing, abondaned or just not finished yet. But it was a huge area with panels.

Apropos shorter: We do short cuts to safe on fuel right? Right! Down at Hatch we met a guy with a big fiver. We had been in the same campground days earlier at Pratt,KS. While I was doing the RV-dumping, he came over to say hello. Over the course of our conversation it transpired that he was heading to Tucson to stay there all winter. He and his wife had made a change in their travel patterns as well. While they used to travel all over the States, they now intend to stay in the same place all winter. The reason of course are the increased  fuel prices. His diesel Ford F-350 is not cheap to run and we have only seen a very places where diesel was priced under $4.00/gal. Mostly it was significantly above the $4.00 mark. I am eternally grateful that we made the change from Diesel to Gas. The lowest gas we filled was $3.07/gal.

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Today’s travel route

And that was that, as they say. have a great evening and see you tomorrow!
 
PS.: There hasn’t been a train for about 30 minutes now. That really makes me hope.

Destination: The South West

DRAWINGMolly showed no mercy on me. It was 5am, and I had heard her whining for a while. tried to ignore her – to no avail. If a dog needs to go out it needs to go, regardless if the owner is trying to catch some more sleep. So finally i gave in and got dressed. It was biting cold in the rig, so i turned on the furnace. Molly was so good to have it done real fast.


Once I was up I made coffee and breakfast for both of us, which finally brought Bea out as well.
The van was all frozen up around the windows and I turned on the engine before we left to thaw it out. At 7.30 we were rolling down towards the Oklahoma border.
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Following Highway 54 which has a fair amount of truck traffic, we got down to Texahoma and into the State of Texas. Texas must be the state with most rest areas along any highway. They came like pearls on a string. Weather was beautiful and it warmed up quite a bit.
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After joining the I-40 at Tucumcari we had put our hopes on the first rest area for an overnight stay. But New Mexico government had closed this area. Very disappointing! The next possibility was the TA-Truck-Stop at the Santa Rosa exit 277. It was an unbelievable busy place and we could not find a spot for the night. So next best was the Santa Rosa Campground. The place is located a bit off and below the main drag, which should ensure a quiet night. We paid $27.00 for electric and water. We don’t need water, but have the trailer hooked to power.
screen-capture-3             Today’s nice 642km stretch gets us within 1295km to Holtville,CA

Weather was nice all day, and it warmed up gradually over the day. But then we got a problem. This was the problem:

goatshead

It’s called Goatshead, and Molly had one in her mouth. She probably pulled it out of her paw, got it lodged somewhere else. All-of-a-sudden she went beserk and we couldn’t do anything but watch helplessly how she desperately tried to get rid of it. Surprisingly, she succeeded. We found the sucker on the floor. Apparently, outside are millions of it. It’s hell for a dog, and I wouldn’t want any of them in my shoes either. We would not be able to stay in a place like this for more than a night.

Well, I’m tired again and need to relax a bit in front of our new flat-screen TV.

 

Thanks for trudging along here!