So, Nancy and I were just hanging around in Flagstaff, AZ this past June when she said to me, completely out of the blue, “Hey let’s take a trip back to the East Coast!”
Ummmm … OK!
Since we both have family back in NY state that we hadn’t seen in way too long, I was on board. After crunching numbers, we had to beg, borrow and steal (well, maybe not steal) and after a visit to the pawn shop off we went!
Before we knew it it was the end of the short Northeast summer and time to head back to the warm desert.
Now we had make the trip BACK across the country, over 2600 longggg miles, to the warm desert we craved.
When we finally hit Arizona, after 13 days on the road, 2600 plus miles and 40 plus hours of drive time, we were befuddled and exhausted from the 13 days of driving and living in truck stops, it was HOT, and our favorite spot on the LTVA was already taken.
To top it off, what should have been the last 10 minutes of our epic journey had ended in a torturous hour stuck in a major slowdown in the i10. No big deal … unless your backside feels permanently numb from sitting in the drivers seat for 13 days and your destination is jussttt with reach.
It was one of those “questioning my life choices”moments that thankfully quickly passed. For a drive that took 13 days and 2600 plus miles, we rocked it!
We’re not newbies, this will be our third season on the Sonoran desert, but it’s been a minute. We’d spent the summer on the cool Northeast coast, still living out of our vans, but spoiled by our respective families with inside showers, lots of home cooked meals, and a roof when the weather got challenging. Now we were faced with getting back to the rigors of nomadic living on the desert!
Our Trip Went Something Like This:
Day 1. Leaving family behind again. Tears and excitement. First stop, Cicero, NY.
Day 2. Yay I’m on the road again! This is a great life! Erie, PA.
Day 3. Melancholy. Walked into a Walmart in Ohio and realized no one knew me there. London, OH.
Day 4. Starting to wake up dazed and wondering where the hell I am. Terre Haute, IN.
Day 5. Celebrating! We’re a little ahead of schedule! 5:30PM and we’re both in our jammies and ready for bed. Pacific, MO.
Day 6. Working the traveling zone. Sleep, wake up, coffee, drive, repeat. Joplin, MO.
Day 7. Feeling good, we push another hour to make it a four hour day. Hinton, OK.
Day 8. BORING. Tedious. Unending stretches of farmland and only two radio stations and zero NPR. Tired. Amarillo, TX.
Day 9. Caught in the COLD! We find a cheap but clean hotel room in Santa Rosa, NM.
Day 10. Roswell! Aliens! X-files! Oh my! Roswell, NM.
Day 11. Where am I? Who am I? What am I doing? NEVER AGAIN WILL I DEPEND ON MCDONALD’S COFFEE FOR CAFFEINE. We had to stop and find real coffee. Las Cruces, NM.
Day 12. Slept great. Back to warm temps. Tucson, AZ.
Day 13. Destination! QUARTZSITE! Arriving befuddled! Exhausted! Confused! Grateful!
Here Are Some Of The Highlights:
We made the cross country trip on Pilot truckstop’s organic sumatra coffee with 2 shots of stok (espresso shot creamers) every morning … oh and our love and support of each other of course!
We stayed at truck stops the entire trip, aside from the one motel room in New Mexico to get out of the freak cold front. Don’t get me wrong, we can do the cold, but it drains the life force out of you like you wouldn’t believe.
In Tucson, we came across the friendliest Pilot truck stop of the whole trip. The two ladies working there were welcoming and cheerful, with a wicked sense of humor. They put a plastic spider in the bananas and scared the s**t out of Nancy!
In the Hinton OK Pilate we saw 6 skinny feral cats living off handouts in the parking lot. So sad! Nancy fed and watered them and I contacted the local animal shelter.
My first time in a CASINO! Sugar Creek Casino, Hinton OK. I played a dollah, lost a dollah, Nancy played a dollah and won 45$!
All of the Pilot/Flying J truck stops we slept in were welcoming to nomads. As far as truck stop etiquette, we never take the trucker’s spots, and never leave behind garbage or any other questionable waste.
Some parking lots are noisier than others, especially if the car parking is right next to the trucks! At times you’re unsure if you’re still vibrating from being on the road, or if it’s the ground shaking from all the idling semi’s!
There are traffic jams, rough roads, rude drivers and aggressive truckers. The monotony of doing nothing but driving every day can be mind numbing. We both drive our own vehicles so there’s no one to talk to.
Our driving times was only between 3 and 4 hours a day. Neither one of us is up to long stretches, c’mon, we’re old ladies! (and one of us struggles with chronic illness.) By the time we got on the road, made the necessary pee stops, walk the dog stops, or food stops, it was pretty much a six hour day. We were both excited to make a side trip to Roswell!
Now we’re happily settling in at Quartzsite, waiting out the heat, getting some rest, organizing and preparing for our next nomadic adventure …. San Diego here we come!