Thanks to everybody who made blog comments, sent e-mails, and posted on Facebook about Terry’s dad. His Valley Fever tests came back negative, and he is having a needle biopsy on the nodule in his lung early Tuesday morning. We plan to be there for that. He’s strong and has been in overall good health, but he is still 83 years old, and we’re very concerned.
Yesterday morning we hit the road early, continuing our fast trip to Arizona. We passed around the south side of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area, dealing with some road construction and lots of traffic.
Eventually we made it out the other side and into better driving conditions, but the wind kept me on my toes all day long, switching back and forth from a headwind that killed my fuel mileage to a crosswind that slammed us occasionally, making the motorhome want to bounce around. Last year I had a Safe-T-Plus steering control installed on our Winnebago, which is supposed to help us when driving in the wind, when big eighteen wheelers go flying past, and anytime we need to keep the motorhome pointed the right way down the highway. I have to be honest and say that overall, I am not at all impressed with it. I thought I saw some improvement when it was first installed, but since then it hasn’t seem to have made a bit of difference. I still find myself fighting the steering wheel a lot of the time.
We really like it down along the Texas Gulf Coast around Rockport and Port Aransas, but with all due respect to my many friends who call the Lone Star State home, I’ll sure be glad to put Texas behind us. When you’re not playing tourist and just trying to make time, it’s just miles and miles and miles of staring at the east end of westbound semis. As my pal Chris Yust posted on Facebook, “The sun is riz and the sun is set and I ain’t out of Texas yet!”
Somewhere near Abilene we stopped at a Flying J for fuel and had a Bad Nick incident. Just as I was pulling up to the RV fuel island some idiot in a station wagon came through going the wrong direction, and I had to stop or hit him. Then he pulled sideways across the front of our motorhome, made a U-turn and pulled up to the RV pump and then sat there talking on his telephone.
Now, I’ll admit that patience is not one of my virtues, and I don’t suffer fools well even under the best of circumstances, let alone when I’m making a stressful quick trip across Texas. So maybe I was wrong when I got out and knocked on his window and asked what the heck he was doing. He looked at me, then turned his head in the other direction and ignored me while he continued his phone call. So I knocked again, and things went downhill from there. He told me he had as much right to use the RV fuel island as I did, even if he was in a car, and he’d finish his damn phone call when he was good and ready.
That’s when Bad Nick showed up. There was a rather loud discussion of his heritage and of what part of the human anatomy he most closely resembled, but that didn’t seem to bother him as he leisurely pumped his fuel, wiped his windows, cleaned his tail light lenses, and eventually went on his way. I’ll tell you what, some people are living poster children for birth control!
I know some people prefer not to say anything or make any waves when some rude jerk ticks them off like that, but I kind of feel like I’m doing guys like that a favor. Maybe they really are completely oblivious and don’t know that they are complete A-holes unless somebody like me points it out to them. So I’m really doing a public service.
The west Texas oil patch is booming, and if you can find an RV site in the Midland/Odessa area, expect to pay premium prices to be parked between oilfield roughnecks and surrounded by empty beer cans and pit bulls. But I remembered that the Ector County Coliseum in Odessa was listed in our Fairgrounds Camping Guide as having RV sites for $15/night. We called and they said there was nothing going on and to come on in and make ourselves at home. Cool!
We arrived about 6 p.m., with 428 long miles under our belts for the day, only to discover that they have a carnival going on in the front parking lot and a gun show setting up for the weekend. But we did managed to park in a different lot and got plugged into strong 30 amp power. We walked across the street and had dinner at a little place called Keith’s Hamburger Station, which is supposed to have the world greatest steak fingers. I didn’t think they were quite as good as what they serve at Lucky Wishbone in Tucson, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t delicious! This place is a favorite with the locals, who also recommend the chicken strips and chili cheeseburgers. It definitely gets added to our Favorite Restaurants guide!
We finished dinner and got back to the motorhome just as the parking lot filled with hockey fans going to a game at the Coliseum. If this is what the lady in the office calls “nothing going on” I’d hate to see what this place is like when it’s busy. Between hockey fans and a lot of traffic noise, this isn’t a restful place, but I can handle anything for one night.
I hate driving through west Texas, especially the stretch from the I-10/I-20 merge through El Paso. The commercial truck traffic is a bear and El Paso traffic is always hectic. My Microsoft Streets & Trips mapping program wanted me to take an an alternate route, taking State Route 302 out of Odessa to US 285, then State Route 652 to US 180 through Salt Flat. That would take us over the Transmountain Bypass, which we’ve traveled before with no problems, and would bypass most of El Paso. It’s supposed to be fewer miles and just as fast as the interstates. But I wasn’t sure if the road was suitable for a big motorhome.
I asked a local gentleman about the route while we were having dinner and he said it was fine, but I’ve learned from hard experience that what some folks think is fine in a pickup may not be so great in a 40 foot diesel pusher. But just by chance, blog reader Don Adams made a comment yesterday suggesting the same route, saying it was all excellent two lane roads, no traffic, and much more scenic. Don said there is a climb at Guadalupe Pass and another on the Transmountain, but nothing to worry about. So that’s the game plan for today.
Now I’m going to get some sleep. It’s been a long, stressful day.
Thought For The Day – Relax, we’re all crazy. It’s not a competition.