Friday, October 22, 2010

Donkey in a Red Pickup

Finally... finally, we got our cross-country trek underway this 2:15 AM Pacific time.  Our final day in Mariposa was almost non-stop work. Save the time we took to savor the sunset (always a delight there), we spent the day packing the final boxes, a job that for some reason seemed to grow with every box we packed... the end, while ever "near" seemed determined to test our tolerance.

Just One More Box... REALLY!!
Final Mariposa Sunset
Stovepipe at Sunset
Still, we did finally batten down the last hatch, and set out on our journey...easily two days after our targeted departure date/time, but with more good memories woven in the process.

I, for one, was tired.  I had not slept well Tuesday night, lying awake most of the night reminding myself of how little time we had to complete this maneuver.  The redundant reminders served little purpose and only managed to tire me further.  Joe, who at least slept through the night Tuesday night, albeit, a short night, waking and starting the final packing day at 8 AM, assured me he was fine to drive. So, even at that ridiculous hour and with so little sleep, we took the plunge.  Predictably, within an hour, I was snoozing in the truck, taking advantage of the pillow and blanket Joe's mom insisted I take.  Joe drove the truck, now heavy with all of the boxes, down the steep grades and back up the next steep grades... something I am just as happy to have slept through!

Judy, Refreshed Feeling After a Nice Truck Nap

The dawn was quite spectacular, and we were offered a variety of picturesque landscapes to capture, though through the dirty windshield of the truck, our cameras met some challenge.  Still, when day ended, between the two of us, we'd happily snapped more than 900 photos.

Windmills on the Hill

Judy and Joe -- On the Road
Windmills at Sunrise
California Skies and Mountains

Now, even though I am on "vacation" from work, I am still expected to attend meetings, make presentations, etc.... (I ask you, what IS a vacation these days?) So, with the MANDATORY meeting/presentation time approaching, and the next steep grades shortly ahead, Joe decided the gas tank, then reading 1/4 full, would do well to be filled. He pulled off in the "quaint" little town of Needles, CA.... a stop we immediately regretted.  Though he drove the oversized truck around the town, checking ALL of the gas stations, we discovered the LOWEST price for gas was $3.69 a gallon... highway robbery, even when compared to the $3.09 we'd paid outside of Barstow, CA.

Still, not knowing whether we had sufficient fuel to make it up and over the next grade, or to the next available gas station, we poured 18 gallons of the liquid gold into the tank.  True to form, when the time came to get the receipt, the printer at the pump was not working and a trip inside to the attendant was required. And even then, as it turns out, the receipt given was not ours, but the previous customer's. It seems the happy gas station owner/operators were too busy laughing and chatting with each other about how the customers were complaining their prices were too high, to actually pay attention to minor details such as giving the correct receipts to their highway robbery victims.  All said, by the time we pulled out of that miserable little town, whose the MOST memorable feature BESIDES the overpriced gas was the ridiculous number of FLIES, we agreed there was nothing there that would inspire us to EVER stop in Needles, CA a second time.

Just Say "NO" to Needles, CA

Since time was now running very short, Joe found a place where I could hope to enjoy a bit of quiet and shade, in the middle of the desert, while taking the conference call for boss had ASSURED me it would only be about 10-15 minutes for the call....  One hour later, with more flies trying to make their way into the cab of the truck, and the cell phone battery, in constant "roam," just about to give up the ghost, my part of the presentation was complete, and I was allowed to return to my "vacation."  (Of course, they also gave me an assignment to complete tonight, but I suppose "vacation" means different things to different people.)

Shady Desert Mobile Work Spot
On Our Way Back to Rt. 40....Truck
Having Trouble Making the Turn onto Rt. 66
Lake and Mountains
Joe, Taking a Shot

And so we were back on the road. Hard work and long hours of driving were finally catching up with Joe.  It was time to locate a place to eat and a motel to catch some shut-eye, before the next long haul.  We started our exploration for the motel first, opting for the fine town of Kingman, AZ.  It appears that "inexpensive" and "clean" are mutually exclusive, as not only the first motel we tried, but the second as well, offered us rooms at 150% of the price advertised on the marquee outside, and BOTH featured DOGFOOD on the bedspread and floors. I am completely serious!  Apparently motels that are "pet friendly" are also "cleaning optional."  The first was, admittedly, worse than the second, with the additional feature of a WORM on the animal hair covered carpet, but the second room was still unacceptable, and we went to motel number three, where, like Goldilocks, we found the room to be, "just right."

An added bonus to the room we rented was the discount at the local diner just across the parking lot.  The food was good, the service was decent and the price was acceptable...all's well that ends well!  As I write this, Joe is snoozing.  I will complete my work assignment before turning in, but decided I'd rather unwind with a blog entry BEFORE tackling the work project.

Good Food After a Long Drive

The first leg of our journey ended without mishap, and we did get to see a lot of interesting things along the way.

Donkey in Red Pickup Truck
Train -- Kingman, AZ
Joe is NOT Climbing on the Train....

Iron Horse and Joe
Beautiful Landscapes

I am looking forward to a good night's sleep, and hope the decent weather we have enjoyed today continues to grace our journey tomorrow.

Moon Through Palms -- Kingman, AZ


mixednut555 said...

Stay safe! Beautiful pictures! Thank you for your comments on my blog posting. I had to delete it because IMMEDIATELY after posting we got bad news that the sale is put on FREEZE. Don't know what that means, except that I guess foreclosures across the country are on freeze and though this one was supposed to be exempt, apparently the word today was that it is not. This is after several thousands going out for inspections, escrow, etc, etc. I am hoping this is just a temporary misunderstanding. Poor Rachel. We drank a bottle of Sangria to drown our sorrows and I felt guilt for jinxing the process, but have decided that God is bigger than that. Anyway, have a safe trip.
WV: redshe

Judy's Corner said...


Thanks for the compliments and the good wishes...

I am so sorry to hear about the freeze on the sale of the property...I hope it is just a temporary one... I had heard there was a lot of freezing going on... I'll keep you guys in my thoughts and prayers.

Sharon said...

Gee, doesn't sound like much of a vacation at all! I'd never be able to sleep while somebody else was driving in the mountains! I am white knuckle all the way. LOL! I know what you mean about finding an acceptable motel room, while on the road, I think they believe we will take anything because we are so dog tired!
As always - beautiful and interesting pictures!
Have a safe trip!!!

Canyon Girl said...

I think after age 40 in Seden 6 weeks vacation is mandatory. Can't swear to it, but something like that. I came to CA on Rte 66 in 1972 and also slept in a motel in Kingman, AZ. So I am really looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip.--Inger