Sunday, October 12, 2008

Jeremiah II is finally ready!

Oct. 10 to 13, 2008

After a little more than two months, I finally picked up my sweet motor home. What a beauty! My dealer, Rocky Mountain RV in Albuquerque, tackled the job of replacing the motor home walls – not a simple or easy job. (If you missed previous posts and emails, Winnebago determined that there had been a chemical reaction between the exterior fiberglass and the paint, causing the paint to bubble.) Jeremiah II was sparkling clean inside and out.

My sister Alice and I flew from Phoenix to Albuquerque the morning of the 10th and went straight to RMRV and then drove Jeremiah II to my Rio Rancho home to get it loaded and ready to travel the next morning.


By the time Alice and I were ready to leave, storm clouds were gathering, the wind was blowing, and the weatherman was predicting rain. And it did rain! Somewhere west of Albuquerque – between Laguna and Grants on I-40 – the rain came pouring down. Visibility was very low a good bit of the time and the Interstate shoulder didn’t look wide enough for me to pull over. Thankfully all the traffic slowed and we just kept going. I was reminded of something my sister Linda sent:

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.

We mentally danced as the rain continued. When it finally stopped we were on two-lane NM Highway 53 and headed for the reservation town of Zuni and the New Mexico-Arizona border.

The ranger station at El Malpais National Park was a welcome stop, more so than expected. The park was having a special fall open house and was serving hot apple cider and hot chocolate along with cookies. Inside were a couple of Navajo weavers at work and all books were discounted.

We took advantage of the pine country to take photos. Here’s Alice enjoying the cool breezes.

In my quest for books for my winter volunteer job, I bought two books: “Tread Lightly, venomous and poisonous animals of the southwest” and “Naturalist’s Guide to Observing Nature.”

Hwy 53 is lightly traveled and goes through a variety of landscapes. We talked and laughed, discussed politics.

Along the way we drove through 7.1 miles of construction – the recent rains turned the now-dirt road into sloshy potholes. As we crept along at 5+ miles an hour, we took this photo:

Freshly painted Jeremiah II was no longer shiny, rather it was caked with New Mexico soil.

The next stop – after an unplanned tour of the village (I had unknowingly passed up the last possible place to park the motorhome) – was Turquoise Traders, a wholesale/retail business just loaded with beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry. Between the motorhome and the store, several Indians offered to sell us their hand-carved fetishes. With jewelry in mind, we declined their offerings.

Our day ended at Lyman Lake State Park on Arizona Highway 191. It was windy, but a pleasant evening. Alice and shared my traditional champagne toast before getting beds ready.

Alice played the Bejeweled computer game and after brushing her teeth declared that she didn’t like my toothpaste at all – Arm & Hammer toothpaste made with peroxide and baking soda. I’ll admit it takes some getting used to, and I actually like it now.

The evening was so pleasant that we had windows open and only set out flannel sheets for bedding. I didn’t even think of turning the propane on.

Along about 1 a.m., I was cold and got up to put warm pajamas on and an afghan for my bed. I also got a warm blanket for Alice. At 4 a.m. it was colder. “This is crazy,” I muttered as I tossed on a sweat shirt and went out to turn the propane on so we could run the forced air heater. Yea! In the morning we learned that it got down to 28 degrees! Brrr.

The morning was bright and clear and not windy. I took a photo of Jeremiah II at the campsite.


Our route today will take us through Show Low, Payson, Camp Verde and south on I-17 to Cave Creek Regional Park and all the small towns in between.

Although roadside signs told of elk and deer, and in the past I’ve seen wild critters, we only saw a dead skunk on the road’s shoulder. I was glad that someone else’s vehicle was reeking of skunk and not mine. It’s one thing to have a stinking car, but I certainly wouldn’t want my rolling home to be the recipient of this lingering odor.

At one point, there was a flashing sign announcing “Elk Crossing Test”. What?? Alice suggested that maybe along the way an elk “statue” would pop out to test our reflexes! Were they testing to see if elk would cross the road at this place? Go figure. At any rate, we didn’t see any elk.

We oohed and aahed over the rolling amber hills and mountain meadows as we rode the roller-coaster roads.

I was unhappy that Jeremiah II was so dirty – and pondered what to do about it. I didn’t want to spend the winter in a dirty motorhome. At Payson we found a do-it-yourself car/RV wash. I had never used one before and when I asked for help from the attendant, he took pity on us and after putting money in the slot he did the washing for me! He got most of the dirt off, and now I’ll just do the finishing a bit each day while at the park.

It was nearly 4 p.m. when we arrived at campsite # 9 at Cave Creek Park. Alice did a great job of directing me as I backed in. She is a great travel companion.

Later in the afternoon my brother Ed and his wife Debby delivered my Ford Explorer (I had left it at their house before flying to Albuquerque). They took Alice back, and Cat and I settled in. We'll be here until spring.