Thursday, September 22, 2022

Interstate 40, KOAs, Seven States, and Avoiding COVID in 400 Square Feet

 September 13-20, 2022
North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona

Both of us are feeling good about our decision to head back to Arizona early. Bill is feeling better, but hooking up the Jeep is exhausting. So I make sure we have pull-through sites at all our stops across the country. With one exception we stay hooked up all the way.

We also don't hook up sewer until our last stop before getting to the house - we know that we can do a week easily. Not having to mess with the Jeep or sewer makes all our stops much less tiring for the outside guy. Yes, I could do the Jeep, but I can't hook up sewer to the rig because of the way the hose lines up :-(

Some people would power through in a few days, but except for extending the time I'm exposed in a small space, there's no urgent reason to take less than a reasonable pace. It's also double and triple what I normally drive on moving day :-) As we were covering all those miles and staying one night only, I couldn't help but think of all the amazing places we were passing by. And yet I know many travel that way all the time - and I still don't get it! 

We were fortunate to be on I-40 already, so it was a no-brainer to just get on and head west all the way. It's a great highway with mostly well maintained surfaces, good signage through cities, plenty of truck stops (OMG the number of trucks!), and KOAs where we needed them. Only Little Rock didn't have an opening for us so we stayed in a little private field/park just off the highway. The only complaint was the lack of rest areas - with few exits in some areas, there wasn't even any place to pull over. Having facilities onboard is good for the passenger, not as helpful for the driver!

North Carolina, Tennessee and Arkansas

One of the nicer KOAs with amazing green space.

We want to come back and spend time in the North Carolina mountains.

Feeling pretty special in Tennessee with our own pilot car :-)

Surprised we were able to get satellite at this Arkansas KOA.

Oklahoma KOAs are a little rougher, but they have more fun!

So cute. 

I have avoided KOAs in the past due to cost compared to others in the same area. But the Journeys we stayed at were all good options.

In Arkansas we test again. Bill is still positive, I'm still negative, and we both have no symptoms. N95 masks, lots of Lysol, and immunity supplements for me are working. Bill sleeps a lot which helps in his overall healing. And he's not smoking :-)))))

We drive through stunning views with space opening up the further west we travel. We're both pretty tired of all the trees we've been surrounded by for months, so when we get to Oklahoma those long, eye-stretching vistas are very welcome. Nice to get across Texas in the skinny part so we don't have to stay there, and then the absolute beauty of New Mexico takes over!

Ooooklahoma - our 47th state.

Lots of Mother Road identity the further west we travel.

At last something other than corn or soy beans, sorghum is a pretty crop in Texas.

It's rare for us to have more than 150 miles on travel day, but over 300 on one highway is a first.

Leaving Santa Rosa, NM, also means leaving the Interstate. So of course we start with an issue. In addition the coolant light comes on.

Bill is able to add coolant which resolves that, but our DEF is full so we head out. Within 10 miles the notification goes off and never returns. 

Mesas and railroad tracks. Several desert trains, over a quarter mile long.


Our last stop is Las Cruces, NM, where the KOA is above the city with narrow (our slide is right at the dividing line) sites and clean grounds.

And beautiful views all around the park. 



As much as I regret missing the six more weeks of exploring we had planned, I'm loving being back in the West. The gorgeous mountains and dryer air feel like home. 

We get an early start, back on I-10 where we started back in April. I'm glad I-40 wasn't as rough for all those miles we covered! Unlike all the other times we've been in New Mexico, there's no wind on either side of Las Cruces. 

With the time changing again in Arizona, we're turning onto Hwy 80 about 10:30 AM. Our beautiful San Pedro Valley is bright green, and the surrounding mountains all so familiar. 

Turning off the engine in our driveway, I take a deep breath - we made it! Wonderful to get some Jeff hugs, and to be back in our little desert home. 

Ahhhh!

Back in Tombstone.





16 comments:

  1. Welcome Home! That's a lot of mile to drive by yourself, glad you were up to it. I consider Fran and I travelers, not RVers, as we seem to always have a destination and timeline. That means we often travel more miles than I'd like in a day. It's just the way it is.
    We're not big fans of KOA either, this past trip we stayed at the 2 worst ever and the best ever. But at least the services can be expected.
    Stay safe, recover quickly at home.

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    1. Now that it's behind me of course it doesn't seem like so far :-))) I think that knowing I'd get what I expected at the KOAs was a big reason I used them this time. That and great signage off the highway!

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  2. Great post on zooming home. 300 miles is beyond my ability I fear. Glad to hear you found I40 easy. I'd love to see the route you took since you started relatively near me and I do still dream of coming west. Sounds like September is a good time. Love the city/country dogs. Too cute. Why did you choose KOAs exclusively?? Very glad you are safely home and that your two problems turned out not to be. Hope Bill continues to be well.

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    1. Thanks Sherry. Some days felt longer than others, and not always the ones that actually were more miles. I chose KOA Journeys because they are right on the highway, have pull-throughs with at least 30 amp and water, and there are enough of them to find one at the distance I want to drive. This time of year there was only the one with no openings.

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  3. Yay! You're home safely.....You have to be gutted after driving all those miles each day, even though you streamlined your arrival/departure procedures. We don't travel more than 200 miles in one day and always add a "relaxation" day after that long. We, too, love those wide open vistas. Having lived in the trees all of our lives, views are what we crave and the western states have them! Again, glad you're both home and OK.

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    1. Thanks Sue! I'm definitely glad it's behind us, and that in hindsight it was pretty easy. It also confirms that the max 200 miles is the only way we want to travel too :-)

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  4. It’s Gay…welcome home! There is no place like home! Wishing you both lots of healing and chill time so you will be up and at em and back to your healthy selves very soon. The thing I love about the west and it’s never ending vistas is being able to see the sky. That’s not as easy back east with all the trees. And I love the sky!

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    1. We are blessed with amazing skies!! It's been nice to get some rest and take care of a few easy errands now that we're back.

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  5. Those long days are so hard. And not having lots of rest areas is really difficult. We can't just zip off an exit and hit a fast food place. But you did have a very good reason to get back home quickly. Long drives and a mask...you are a true champ. So glad everyone is comfortable and now Covid free!! Sure hope Bill regains his strength and stamina quickly. It was SO nice to hear you were home safely.

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    1. Bill is feeling better every day although continues to be tired - I guess that will take awhile. I'm sure glad we were on I-40 but just a couple more rest areas would have made it even better :-)

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  6. Glad you guys made it home--you amaze me Jodee, driving that big rig! I drove our 40' motorhome some but not very often. Healing thoughts as Bill continues to improve and thoughts being sent your way that you continue to test negative.

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    1. Thanks Janna. After all this time driving the rig is pretty much habit now, but it does get tiring even when the road is good. Glad we don't have to travel like that all the time! Happy we're all still negative - although our friends here have it for the second time :-(

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  7. You look so comfy in your recliners in your beautiful home. :-)) I'm so glad that your trip went smoothly (except for needing more rest areas!) and that you are now safely home. You did a great job making the trip as easy as possible. But I bet you don't want to drive anywhere for a while!! Hugs to you both...rest up and stay healthy!

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    1. Comfy is right - it was a nice reward to come home to our pretty space. After rain every week pretty much the whole season, it's amazing to me that we had clear skies the whole week. But yes, I'm ready for no drives for a while!!

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  8. Glad you're home safe, lots of miles but sometimes necessary.

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  9. Phew, lots of fast travel. Sometimes, there's just no place like home.

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