Fulltime RVers and snowbirds, or anybody who travels a lot, know that saying goodbye is always the hardest part of going back to visit the people you love. And so it was when it was time for us to leave Arizona for the trip home. The good thing is that the highway runs in both directions and we can always get together with Terry’s parents and sisters and my daughter and her family again.
We left Apache Junction about 11 AM on Saturday, February 9, driving east on US Highway 60. The highway passes through some dramatic scenery as it climbs up toward the mining towns of Superior and Globe and it is not uncommon to see climbers making their way up the sheer sides of the mountains.
Not long after we left Globe we got onto US Highway 70, and before long we entered the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. It’s always sad to see how many dilapidated homes there are through that area. I had not been sleeping well during the trip, and about 100 miles into the drive I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer, so we switched over and Miss Terry took the wheel. After passing through Safford and Duncan we crossed into New Mexico, and then it was a short run to Lordsburg, where we picked up Interstate 10.
Somewhere between Deming and Las Cruces, traffic came to a complete standstill. Terry inched along with all the other cars and eighteen wheelers, sometimes stopping for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. Eventually we came upon a semitruck whose trailer had caught fire, causing the long delays. Once we were through that mess we stopped in Las Cruces for gas and I took the wheel again. From there it was a short drive across the state line into Texas, where we got a room at the Hampton Inn in El Paso. It was a 370 mile long day, and it wouldn’t be the longest of our trip home.
There was a Rudy’s Barbecue next door so once we get unpacked at the room we went to get a bite to eat. I know that if you are a Texan, two eateries are sacred; Rudy’s and Whataburger. I’ve eaten at both and they are okay, but I’ve certainly had better elsewhere. Terry and Bev ordered the smoked stuffed baked potato, and those things are huge! I settled for a pulled pork and sliced brisket combo, and there was more than enough to fill me up.
We were on the road early the next morning and rolled through town with very little traffic. Then it was a long, long drive across Interstate 10. We made a couple of potty stops and left the interstate at Kerrville, traveling south on two lane roads through the Old West town of Bandera, which calls itself the Cowboy Capital of the World. Bandera is a place I have always wanted to visit and spend some time, but it would not be this trip. We continued on to Hondo and got a room at the Best Western, with another 560 miles behind us.
Our dear friends Mike and Elaine Loscher were fixtures at our Gypsy Journal RV rallies, always pitching in wherever help was needed, from Mike helping park the RVs as they arrived for the rally, to Elaine assisting Terry to get everybody registered, and a lot of other duties they shouldered to take some of the load off of us and help make the rallies a success. Like so many of our friends from our fulltime RVing days, Mike and Elaine have hung up the keys and retired to a permanent site at the Escapees RV park in Hondo.
Both of them have had some health issues and Elaine is currently in a nursing home in Hondo. We had contacted Mike ahead of time to tell him we wanted to stop by for a visit and he met us there. And what are a reunion it was, with lots of hugs and happy tears all around! We love those two. They are a part of our extended family and very precious to us.
We would have loved to have stayed longer, but after a while we could tell Elaine was getting tired, so when we left the nursing home we went to the nearby McDonald’s to meet with two other very special people, Billy and Elizabeth Kring. Billy is a retired Border Patrolman who has turned his attention to writing, and I say without any hesitation that he is my favorite author. If you haven’t read any of Billy’s Hunter Kincaid books about a woman Border Patrolman who knows how to kick butt and take names, you have no idea what you’re missing. Billy is also quite the Texas historian, and I have been urging him for a long time to share some of his many stories about the Old West in a book. He told me during our visit that it’s going to happen, and I told Billy I want an autographed copy the minute it comes off the press.
Billy’s wife Elizabeth is a real sweetheart, and we managed to get a picture of the four of us together. I wish Texas wasn’t so far away, because I know we would all have a wonderful time hanging out together.
We left Hondo in the early afternoon and made it a short driving day of about 220 miles to Katy, on the west side of Houston. We checked into the Hampton Inn and got a real surprise. We always stay at Hamptons or Hiltons when we can and have never had a bad experience at any of them. But this one was amazing. We got a beautiful two-room suite that was as big as some apartments I have lived in for just $99 for the night. I was sure that price must be wrong, but the desk clerk assured me it was correct and told me to always try to find a chain hotel within sight of two or three others to get the best rates. Well, okay then, I can do that!
I was unloading our luggage when our friends Greg and Jan White showed up, and after visiting for a little bit we went to a Cheddars restaurant for dinner. Cheddars is a good chain, the food is always delicious and the service great. After we ate we sat around and talked for three hours or so, which is not uncommon when we get together with friends. It’s always good to see Greg and Jan and we look forward to getting together again the next time they come our way or we go theirs.
Back at the hotel, we relaxed for a while and then went to bed, resting up for the next two long days still ahead of us.
Thought For The Day – Some might call me delusional, but I prefer the term imaginative.