A Pond of Semis
Originally posted 10/17/2012
This post is more for curious family and friends than for the average blog’s reader (both of them). I’m done for the day near Vinita, OK at a rest area. After yesterday’s post about the average beleaguered truck driver, I’m going to see if I can stay at this rest area overnight mainly because I want to stay in a free area, and I’m not aware of anywhere else that qualifies between here and my next stop in Texola, some six hours away. Hopefully, I won’t find a mob with tire irons outside my door in the middle of the night. Let’s see, I can say, “Dang, I must have fallen asleep listening to some old Merle Haggard CDs I have! I was supposed to be out of here hours ago! Dagnabbit! Thanks for gettin’ me up, boys!” I hope to be at Double D RV Park, a commercial campsite, tomorrow as a chance to recharge the CPAP battery. Me gots no generator, so without the ability to hang a solar panel, I’m having to find sources of shore power or simply hook up to a different battery pack to delay the inevitable.
Motoring down I-44, a Civil Defense “test” came over the radio, and it wasn’t a test – a violent storm was coming through the Springfield, Missouri area, reportedly with nickel-sized hail and 60 MPH winds. Guess where I was? I actually pulled off the nearest exit, picturing a 60 MPH sidewind on my new home. (The existing 30 MPH wind was from the south, and I’ve watched semi trailers nearly toppling over from sidewinds before.) I found the parking lot of a construction business and clogged his lot for awhile. He came out, curious about the idiot in the parked camper, and I was surprised to find that he was already aware of the storm and gave me the okay to sit for awhile. Nice young guy. Mind you, nothing was happening in the sky except a heavy overcast.
Ten minutes later, the wind reversed from south to north, and blew hard as a very heavy rain fell. A few minutes later, it was a moderate rain with no wind, and I was able to go on. While I was there during the blow, a couple of other vehicles with smaller trailers pulled in too. I’d been making frowny faces all morning because the sidewind was netting me a paltry 9.5 MPH. After the storm, with the wind shifted to the north, I could feel the effects more while driving, but mileage went up to 10.5. In case you are not aware, sidewinds are almost as bad for mileage as headwinds. It has to do with tire drag on the pavement.
The Super Duty also developed a stutter on cruise control when rolling onto the throttle to downshift up steep grades, but for once I traded in paranoia for apathy, shrugging this off. First, it disappeared whenever I was the one doing the press on the gas pedal and second, this rig has always been balky about fuel from this area since it was brand new. It ain’t the truck.
By Saturday, I plan to be in Winslow, AZ at a 15-space city-owned park with hookups available. I may stay there for awhile because the Long Term Visitor Areas at the NW border of Arizona are currently still baking at 95+ degrees during the day! Aaak! The park in Winslow is called McHood, and I can stay there for up to 14 days if needed. Nothing is available at the park except toilets and a coin-op shower with non-potable water, but the price is right and I can pray that maybe there is room to crank out the solar panels. If there isn’t, I’ll likely have to move along.
I’m seeing some potentially fascinating National parks to boondock in, but tempting as they are, I’m leaning towards sticking with my initial plan to park this rig long term at the Imperial Dam LVTA or similar, pay the very reasonable $180 seasonal (7-month) fee, and get some cobwebs going. Why, when I could park free at any of the huge “dispersed camping” areas throughout the state? Two reasons:
1] I’m just itching to set up house and get to work. Research, blog, photograph, read, and transcribe some old, eclectic LP records I have to MP3s. Can’t concentrate on that if I’m having to research and decide the best next place to go every couple weeks, then go through the “break camp” procedure. By February, finances allowing, I should be ready to make a brief foray to Barlett Lake Marina near Scottsdale, to make a more convenient location to find for my best bud, Matt.
2] The original goal was to minimize expenses, and not having to pack up and move a minimum of 25 miles (likely $15 or more in fuel) twice a month, adds up. It may wind up being more boring for you, the reader, than it is for me, but then you’re not having to finance this fiasco. The camping/tourist articles may stink, but the original-style That’s Obsolete articles on vintage stuff should be better, hey?