Tuesday, April 8, 2008

On the Road Again

We left Benson Monday morning after locking up the casita, reading our electric meter, and checking all the things that needed to be checked. Our neighbor on the west was also packing up, and we learned that they and we are following much the same route: Deming, NM (staying at the same RV Park!), Amarillo, TX (we’ll actually be a few miles south of Amarillo at Palo Duro Canyon) and then on into Oklahoma. We promised to get together in Deming.

As we headed east out of Arizona, we marveled at the spread of color in our desert. In addition to several shades of sand (sand IS a color) and green, there was the bright red of ocotillo blooms and the golden yellows, pinks and purples of wildflowers. Of course, also quite visible were the brilliant white of shopping bags, the shining black of plastic sheeting stuck on fences, and the glaring orange of highway maintenance trucks. What a colorful desert!

As we moved east beyond Texas Canyon, however, the colors diminished, and the only thing left was yucca. Even that faded until we approached Deming.

Along our nearly 170 mile journey, we had some interesting stops. At Bowie, AZ, we stopped for lunch at what was supposed to be a Subway and Baskin Robbins. Bowie appears to be a dying town, and the Shell Station with Subway and 31 Flavors was to be a major event. However, once inside we saw the building looking like a third world country. Turns out their compressor had recently exploded, and they were rebuilding. Subway was back in action, but there were no working soda machines, and 31 Flavors was down to about 14. We had a good lunch, however, and moved along I-10 satisfied.

Entering New Mexico, we pulled off the highway behind an ancient Winnebago motorhome. The driver stepped out and proceeded toward the “Welcome to New Mexico” signboard, carrying a small cardboard sign. I asked if he’d like me to take his picture, and he passed me his camera, moving up to the signboard and picking up his cardboard placard. I took his picture and he returned to where I was standing. His cardboard sign showed a child’s drawing of a boy, named “Flat Stanley.” The man introduced himself as Roger, and told me his granddaughter in Tennessee had sent him the drawing, asking for photos of “Flat Stanley” at landmarks along his route. He had started at the Pacific Ocean, had taken several shots of Flat Stanley along way, and was pleased to have himself in the New Mexico entry picture. I should have but didn’t take a picture of Flat Stanley for our own record.

We pulled into the SKP Dreamcatcher Park in Deming about 3:25 Mountain Time, having lost an hour crossing out of Arizona into Mountain Daylight Saving Time (Arizona refuses to set its clocks forward and back each year to pander to Daylight Saving Time.) What we found was a nice park, but with sites crowded together beyond belief, at least in comparison to our home park in Benson. I’ve had to remind myself this isn’t a “Home Park” like ours is, but it is a travelers’ park where most folks will stay just a few days.

The wind was blowing ferociously, and the ABC news programs were highlighting both wind and wildfires, as well as thunderstorms, along our chosen route toward Palo Duro Canyon. Now (Tuesday morning) we have learned of severe thunderstorms, ¾ inch hail, tornados, and just generally nasty weather forecasted for Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, just the area we are planning to spend two or three months in!

Guess what? We don’t have to follow that route, or if we do, we don’t have to follow it when we had planned. We don’t even have to follow it at all! We are retired. We have only three points we must hit: Canyon, TX in the next several days, because we’re having our mail forwarded there this week; Branson, MO, for the rally; and Mountain Home, AR, where our good friends are putting out the welcome mat for us in early June.

We’ll keep you posted as we move along … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Enjoying your journey as you guys make your way east. We can picture the sights and scenes along your route, having traveled that way less than a month ago. Love reading your descriptive blog. Do keep an eye on the weather as the OK/KS/MI/TX areas are prone to severe weather every spring. Maybe you can fill in "MA" on your travel map? If you do come this way, we have the welcome mat out . . . dear friends! Safe travels!

  2. How clever your fellow traveler's granddaughter is! Flat Stanley's travels would make an interesting photo album. Any idea how old she is?


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