Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Heading East Into the Sunrise

We're finally packed up and ready to move. The estate sale is over, we have some items in storage with a friend, we've decided what few items we'll take with us, and the Salvation Army came by with a truck to pick up the rest. Like a reverse-commute Grapes of Wrath, we're heading east from California towards the heartland to pick up our new rig at the factory. After decades of collecting things, it feels good to have whittled our belongings down to where they can fit in a small pickup truck and compact car (including two dogs!).
We made it to the Utah/Nevada border on the first day and stayed in the little Casino town of Wendover, UT, nestled at the edge of the Great Salt Lake Desert. West of Salt Lake City, UT is about 15 miles of dead alkali flats. Then you hit the equally dead Great Salt Lake. Fifty miles later and you've reached the desert. From that point it's 75 miles of the most blistering, desolate land outside of Death Valley. It's been a graveyard for oxen, horses and people since the early 1800's. It nearly killed the redoubtable Jed Smith when he made the first crossing in 1827; it's the same desert that betrayed the Donner party, killed off their cattle, weakened them, slowed them down so that when they hit the Sierra they were too late to make it across. Fortunately, we didn't meet the same fate as the Donner party and were able to get across the salt flats as the sun was rising.
That's not snow, just mile after mile of salt. Say what you will about old Wendover, but it must have seemed like an oasis after crossing this old monster on foot and cart.

After another night in Denver, and dinner at the Buckhorn Exchange http://www.buckhorn.com/ (some of the best rattlesnake, elk, and bison anywhere), we were finally into the great plains of western Kansas. This is a place very different from the mountainous west. Here the sky is a bowl, the earth is a disc, and the eye is invited to notice the small things because the large ones are so characterless. Slowly these plains give way to the rolling hills and ridges of eastern Kansas.

And now we sit happily in Junction City, KS, the home of New Horizons RV.
Our first campsite is a hook-up at the factory where we've been settling into the rig and learning how all of our systems work. Every system is different, from the on-demand heat/hot water system, to the solar controllers, to the operation of the toilet. Even learning how to tow and maneuver has been an adventure. Our first campsite comes with many free services and a first-rate manufacturing crew, making Junction City a great first stop.
And let's not forget our first experience with Tornado Alley. This little gem dropped down about 50 miles west of Junction City near Salina, KS.

There were over 100 tornadoes reported over the weekend. Luckily, Junction City seemed to be in the corridor between two major storm tracks. Although we didn't get much sleep Saturday night, we didn't see much more than a little lightning, modest winds and a few rain showers.


14 comments:

  1. Welcome to the world of blogging. It is nice to see you here. I am glad the storms missed you and that all seems well. Can't wait to read all about your adventures.

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  2. Great to read this and see what you are up to. Looking forward to following you through the journey!

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  3. Congratulations on realizing your dreams!

    Wow, not often you get to say that to someone...

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  4. Be happy, be safe and may pur paths cross again soon,
    Your New Horizons buddies
    Sue & John Donovan

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  5. This sounds like an excellent beginning to the future. I look forward to seeing both of you in a few days, and of course, drinking some wine. Have a outstanding adventure.

    Arnie

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  6. Nice to be able to accompany your progress, keep us informed :-)

    Safe travels,

    Gerald

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  7. Fortunately your maiden voyage from New Horizons did not include the tornado.

    Welcome to the world of nomadic travel. Awaiting your posts of winery visits. :-)

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    1. The winery visits are coming. So far it's been micro breweries. I've been following you and Boonie this Spring. It sounds like the weather and hiking in the Southwest have been perfect. Talk to you soon.

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  8. OH, WOW! You guys actually did it! I'm really impressed and a little bit jealous. I'll live vicariously through you for now....
    Have fun; be safe,
    Joanna

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  9. When are you coming to Texas?

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    1. Texas is in the cards for next winter. We'll work our way back west along the Gulf Coast after Christmas and New Year's in Key West. After all that sea food, we'll be ready for some big steaks by then!

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  10. This is great! Thanks for sharing and I'll look forward to "our" travels!!

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  11. awesome retirement plan. Enjoy the relaxing pace. I am looking forward to seeing your next post.

    Susan

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  12. SWEET !
    Did this rig come with any east coast maps? Carly and Mandi would love to entertain Karly and Jake for a visit and Fran and I would love to see you back that thing up our 300 foot driveway [grin]. Besides, we think we have (errr..we had) the largest Rocinante collection in the country. Be well...stay well and...come see us.

    Hugs and Kisses,
    Fran and Jeff

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