22 April 2014

One Thousand and Thirty - Five Litres

Of fuel. 

We've spent 6 days just driving and we're averaging a little more than 600 kms /  day.  This amounts to a long day in a truck camper - often 6 to 7 hours of driving time. I know it doesn't sound like a great distance - you can do 1000 kms + in a car easily, but we don't move as quickly, aren't nimble on rough roads, don't corner as quickly or climb hills as well as other vehicles. Plus, we're old, we move slowly, take our time packing up and having breakfast, make mistakes and errors in judgement that need to be corrected and accounted for throughout the day ... and quite honestly, we really don't need to do any more than 105 - 110 kms / hour to get where we're going.

We've travelled 3722 kms in total so far and passed through the states of Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Iowa - Nebraska - Kansas - Oklahoma - Texas and we're now into New Mexico. We'll spend a day or three here before heading out on the last leg of the drive to Moab, Utah. The weathers been mostly good, dry roads, some poor road surfaces, reasonable traffic. We purposely chose a southern route over a northern one across the Rockies in order to avoid any high altitude snow or poor driving conditions across the top of Colorado. We have heard reports of other travellers being stranded for a day or two due to heavy snow accumulation in previous years. This route adds distance to the trip, but it gives us sufficient time to meet the other paddlers in Moab in time for the Green River put-in.


The view from our front window on Departure Day: Tim's Lake is still frozen over April 16th.

The snow has mostly disappeared in the bush and LOAF's packed ... we're ready to head out.

The weather continues to warm as we head further south. The high hit 18C on Day Two. The grass is turning green and the buds are starting to pop out in Illinois. Huge RV manufacturing plants and truck distribution centres.

Iowa is quite pretty, similar to Pennsylvania with long gentle grades, valleys and distant vistas. These states are big into agriculture - grains and corn but not much livestock. Heavy traffic in places, 3 and 4 lane at times, lots of tractor trailers, speeds in the fast lane upwards of 130 kms/hr. 20C today, clear and warming.

Nebraska and Kansas sure are windy ... don’t bother combing your hair here! We had a high of 25C on Day Four. The blossoms are out on the fruit trees. The landscape is typical prairie and for us kind of monotonous and boring ... field after field, giant irrigation machines, some oil derricks, a few trees, small ponds, semi-abandoned towns.

Many of the fruit trees are blossoming.

The southwestern part of Oklahoma is quite pretty and seems prosperous. Large, well developed and maintained farms, rolling landscape, fertile land, small towns. 

Conestoga Barn in Oklahoma.

Texas - a tornado shelter.

'Pickin' Up Sticks on Route 66' .... I know, I know!

The drive along the I40 through Texas is not very interesting. Most folks here seem to support the ranching industry in some way, either as owners, cowboys, equipment dealers, long haul truckers, product or livestock distributors. Some of the farms are immense. We passed a Veal Cattle Operation that was quite disturbing ... imagine 1000’s of animals jammed into pens with each touching it’s neighbour and no room to move ... then imagine this scene in an exposed desert landscape with no shelter. Next to this was a huge processing plant that gathered the animals for slaughter and then a trucking facility that moved product to grocery stores. 

From Bob Morris in Response (via Facebook): The veal operation brought back horrible memories when I was a kid. I had a huge garden growing up. Always planted carrots in rows. Most of their lives are spent underground next to each other. When they are harvested I would cut their heads off and skin them alive then either eat the raw flesh or boil them like lobsters. Its inhuman I say!

Carrying on then ...

Once into New Mexico, the landscape slowly begins to change ... flat desert starts to roll somewhat, plateaus and mesas appear on the horizon as do extensive wind farms. New colours appear, some green bushes and small trees, shades of oranges and browns in the soil and rock formations dominate the land. We’ve paralleled Route 66 for the past couple of days. The old highway can still be driven and some businesses are still operational although there are many derelict buildings, rusting junkyards and abandoned homes.

On Day Six we stopped for the night at Enchanted Trails RV Park. The owner restores and collects vintage RV’s ... check out the 'wings' on the right hand unit.


We’re going to slow down for a couple of days and enjoy the immediate area. We slept in, did some camper chores, stocked up on some necessary supply and made a very short drive to an overnight camp just outside of Santa Fe that will give us easy access for hiking tomorrow. 

Tonight’s camp (Day Seven) overlooks Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the distance ... 

LOAF  has a superb view! ... @ Santa Fe Skies RV Park.

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty