2017 Southwest CHRPA Trek
Baker City to Ely, NV
Well, we are off again…. In spite of the weather forecast! We knew it might not be a smooth day…and it wasn’t in the middle! We left Baker a little before 6am with temps in the high 20’s. After a week of ‘spring-like’ weather in the 40’s which melted 80% of the snow, we awoke Wednesday morning to an inch dusting of white stuff and colder temps again. But most of that melted by later in the day.
Rick drove until the Travel America on the far side of Boise where I took over. In and out of light blowing snow and some drifting across the road due to some high winds. By the time we passed Glenn’s Ferry and Bliss, however, it was getting a little more serious. Twin Falls was forecast for 3-5 inches today and Salt Lake was snowstorms both today and tomorrow. We figured if we got through Twin, we wouldn’t follow the storm all the way, and instead turn south towards Jackpot and Wells, hoping we would drive out of the mess. I drove 100 miles to the exit for Buhl and gratefully gave Rick the wheel. It was getting uglier than I wanted to drive in! One exit too soon which involved a turn around in some ranchers driveway! (NOTE: Exit 157 is the one you take for the shortcut to Buhl and Filer and Hwy 93 south!)
|South of Buhl...|
The shortcut was NOT great! Drifting snow, very bumpy, and not always plowed well. But….we got to Buhl, gassed up, and headed south on 93. It wasn’t snowing anymore, but the wind was so strong the light powder was blowing all over the road. Rick will tell you that I can’t comment much about the road here because I wasn’t looking!! I deliberately had my needlepoint on so I could concentrate on that. Keeps my blood pressure down! We put Toby Mac CD on to keep Rick’s spirits up!
|China Mt south of Jackpot|
|Snow accumulation in Buhl - later spare|
time was completely covered!
By Jackpot we had dry pavement for the most part and fairly clear sailing the rest of the way! Even patches of blue sky and sunshine at times! The Nevada mountains and their snowy peaks were beautiful. Cloud banks over the mountains were thick – in one place over the Ruby Range it looked like ocean waves of clouds breaking into the valley. The sun was bursting through the clouds in rays of light. I really don’t mind the drive through the valleys of Nevada this time of year.
We had made reservations last night at the Jailhouse Hotel and Casino in Ely. The forecast for the night was 7 degrees, colder than we wanted to endure in our still-winterized trailer! Hadn’t expected to make it two nights, but with the change in route and an added 200 miles, two days of travel only just wasn’t going to make it.
I drove from Wells to Ely, we stopped for gas, and checked in to the Hotel, located on Hwy 50 West. We’ll have to backtrack a few blocks to get to Route 6 and our road south in the morning.
|I thought these clouds looking like an ocean breaker.|
A typical older small town hotel and casino, but everything is clean and quiet. We are able to park the trailer in a parking lot within view of our window. Rather than go out to dinner, we enjoy cheese, wine, bread, and some hummus and dip.
Ely, NV to Flagstaff, AZ
Another early morning! We got up around 5:15am Pacific time and were on the road by 5:50, deciding to skip the small discount on the breakfast at the motel. We had cakebread with us, afterall!
|Driving down 318|
Rick drove up Hwy 6 to the summit and the beautiful vista that awaits you of rolling mountains and juniper covered hills, all snowy patched. In fact, it snowed last night lightly while we slept, but no problem with the roads this morning.
Yesterday was a first for us in traveling with this fridge in the trailer. It measured 32 degrees when we left Baker. We did NOT have the gas turned on to run the fridge while we traveled, figuring it was a cool enough day. Well, for the first time, the fridge got COLDER without any help at all! It was 31 degrees when we arrived in Ely! Better yet, when I checked this morning it was 25 degrees!!! (Hope those little mandarin oranges don’t rot too fast!) (Note, when we got to Flagstaff it was 33 degrees, with a forecast below 20 for the night – it will NOT be turned on yet!)
|Vista west from 318 rest area.|
At the junction of 6 and Hwy 318 I took over the wheel for the 120 miles down to Alamo. The first half was a beautiful drive of snowy mountains to the east and the west, sunrise tinted clouds all around. But when the sun came up, the light was quite bothersome coming in the side driver’s window! Rick finally put his jacket up in the window to help me out. I just don’t sit up tall enough for the window shade to help very quickly!
We stop in Alamo to gas up at the Sinclair and grab a couple of Bacon and Cheese Egg Bagels for breakfast at the little grill located inside. Nothing too fancy, but they hit the spot! As we headed south, the vista gradually lost snow and gained more and more yucca plants along the way!
|Mts. just north of Vegas|
Into Vegas around noon with a quick stop at the Pilot on I-15 for gas and to weave our way through all the traffic and construction of the city. Not our favorite part of the trip, but it beats Salt Lake City in the snow! Rick drove to Kingman, where we gassed up, ate at Burger King, AND found a car wash to give the truck and trailer and quick hose down – SO DIRTY from all the snow and slush and road grime. While Rick hosed, I called ahead to the Rodeway Inn and got us a room for the night in Flagstaff.
I drove from Kingman to Williams (around 120 miles) and Rick took us the rest of the way in. Interstate 40 from Kingman to Flagstaff leave a great deal to be desired in terms of quality highway. I couldn’t count how many ‘Rough Road’ signs we passed. Needless to say, I didn’t miss numerous potholes and the truck and trailer got a good shakedown by Williams. Rick didn’t fare much better, although he tends to see the holes faster than I do and is better at avoiding them.
|Humphreys Peak as you approach Flagstaff from west.|
Humphreys Peak at 12,000 plus feet dominates the skyline to the north of Flagstaff and is beautiful to see as you approach the city with its snow laden summits. The juniper forests near town were covered with snow buried deep under the trees. We got off at Exit 198 and found our Rodeway Inn on old Route 66 east of town. Nothing fancy, but I think it will work for the night.
Flagstaff, AZ to Camp Rembold, Edgewood, NM
|AZ-NM border rest area - typical NM rocks!|
The final leg of our journey today! We are up around 6:15, having gone to bed relatively early! Decide to just shower and hit the road, so by 7:30 we are on our way! Rick drives to Winslow, AZ where we gas up again and switch to make the long haul across the rest of AZ to Gallup. After passing Meteor Crater to our south, we see some rock formations and mesas to the north, otherwise LOTS of dry grasslands and no trees!! As we near the New Mexico border, the vistas improve considerably! Unfortunately, except for a few smoother stretches, I-40 road quality did NOT improve to a great degree!
Gas, Subway sandwiches, etc. at the Flying J travel center 16 miles east of Gallup, NM. Rick drives us on in to Albuquerque and through to Edgewood. A few texts with Rachael and Patty and it is clear that we’ll have dinner with them tonight. A later call to Mom R indicates she doesn’t want to go to church in the morning. L Just too early! (Editor’s note: Time for Mom and her friends to find a new church with later service hours!)
Visits with Rach, Patty, and Ryan, hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, and a trip to Wal-Mart round out our day. We are back in the trailer early with the heater running and our blankets all cozy around us! Forecast tonight should be in the 20’s.
Wow! Rick says there is nothing like 11 hours of sleep to create a new being! He was in bed before 9 and didn’t get up until after 8am. I did a little work on the internet downstairs in the house before breakfast. Plus a little visit time with Rachael.
|Moving Grandma's chair into Luke's storage unit.|
Overall, a pretty lazy day, although I did get a King done in Needlepoint and got some postcards off in the mail!
It is 42 in the trailer when we get back to Edgewood! Could be a pretty cold hike in the morning with Luke!!
|Sunset leaving Mom's Sunday night|
Hike with Luke – Waterfall Canyon
Brrr! As I write this morning with hat and gloves on, it is 21 degrees outside and 43 in the trailer with the heater going full blast. But….the sun is shining! Last night the sky was so clear and beautiful – the stars so bright. (The air so cold!)
We meet Luke at Sprouts at 10, drop off his car, and then head out Tramway to the north end of the Sandia Mts. Luke has directions to the trailhead, but from there on we are at the mercy of the short conversation he had Saturday with a man who had hiked it that day. Our destination is Waterfall Canyon and the ice falls….or just a nice hike in the mountains! Whichever comes first!
This was a new area for us to explore as well which made the outing fun and adventuresome! It ended up about a 3 mile hike with over 1000’ foot elevation gain (at least! It FELT like 4000’!!) We finally found the canyon, but no waterfalls. We didn’t exactly take the easiest or most direct route (understatement!), due to the fact we cut off the main trail a little too soon and ended up high on the ridge above the canyon. But….we got a great view of the hidden little niche of the Sandias, a view you can’t see from the valley floor. We found plenty of pinyon and ponderosa pines, cholla cactus, prickly pears, mesquite and wild roses. A little snow, plenty of loose rock, and LOTS of dried oak leaves covering the forest floor. It was exhausting, but fun.
Back to pick up Luke’s car and then down to G-Ma’s for dinner out at Papa Felipe’s. Good meal. By 6pm we were fading fast so said our goodbyes and headed home.
Shouldn’t be as cold tonight as the clouds have come in for the predicted snow and rain tonight and tomorrow.
Tuesday - Friday, 2.28.17 – 3.3.17
Lazy days in ABQ
Tuesday. A lazy morning, then a movie with Mom. We saw Hidden Figures (good movie!) and then took mom shopping at Walmart. Dinner together at the apartment and we left around 7. VERY windy in Edgewood this am – we closed up the front end of the trailer just to make sure the 50 mph gusts didn’t do any damage!
|Rick and Jax model their 'shades'|
|Jax and Grandma read a story.|
Thursday. We had very simple plans for today. Trailer part fix. Oil change. Walmart run. Maybe visit Luke office. Luke was going to leave for Phoenix after work. Well….ended up with a loaner car as the truck is at the dealership waiting for a new oil pan to arrive. Still working on trailer parts fix. Ran out of time to visit office, but Luke turned back an hour into his trip to Phoenix saying, ‘this is not the time to do this!’ (Smart kid!) I did pick up a new pair of jeans at Walmart! We had dinner at Mom’s apartment with Luke before he headed out to Placitas.
|Sunrise walking into Rand's.|
|Reg cuts Rick's hair|
|Luke in his new office|
Friday. Morning in Edgewood. Regan and Jax came over and Reg cut Rick’s hair. A little visit time. Stop at hardware to pick up part for trailer water heater. There we found out the bad news: Honda sent the wrong part and truck won’t be fixed until Tuesday noon at earliest. ARGH! In to see Luke at his office and meet his ‘boss’ lady (so to speak, not really). Didn’t get to Mom’s until 3:30!! Rick and I walked over to Subway and Twisters for dinner items. Sat and visited until 7 when Rachael texted me – do you want to watch ‘Arrival’? So we headed back out and watched the alien movie Luke recommended so highly. Interesting show!
|View from recliner in Rand's living|
room of South Mt.
|Outside Presbytery office|
|Classy new business card!|
Old Town Albuquerque!
|Modeling the goods|
|San Felipe de Niro|
|Wanted to eat here, but|
|The wheelchair worked perfectly!|
|Luke in one of the squares.|
It was a beautiful day in Albuquerque! Warmed up to the mid 70’s – perfect!! But during our 7pm drive back out to Edgewood, we once again watched the temperature drop from mid 50’s in town to 40 degrees as we turned into Randy’s gate. Clear and cool, but the stars and the moon are gorgeous! I took out my phone with its star app for a little bit to play around. It worked!!
Family time –Fence Building!
After a bit of a confusing morning, Rick and Randy headed over to Regan’s house around 10 to begin helping Dom with work on the new fence for their house. (Fence building was our trade-off for having to stay a few extra days!) Regan had to work all day today. Luke went to church up in Placitas (8:30 service!), then picked up Grandma and brought her out, arriving at 11:30. We all went over to join the guys, partly to check out the inside of Regan’s place and to see Jax! Mom and I came back to Rand’s after Patty and I picked up trash from the fence line. Luke, Rick, Rachael, Randy, and Dom worked until 3:45 trying to dig fence post holes through the clay hard colleechee soil….unsuccessfully.
|Dinner at Denney's|
The seven of us went out to dinner at Denney’s (Ryan declined to go, and Dom and Jax were waiting for Regan). The fence builders were famished, having basically skipped any sense of lunch. We sat around the table until nearly 6 pm, visiting and talking! A good time.
Luke drove Grandma back to her place, and then went on home to Placitas. We should see him one more time tomorrow and we also have a final visit with Mom. A little TV time with Rand’s and then we head out to our little house.
One More Day….
Laundry this morning while the wind outside raged at 35 mph or so. I told Rick I didn’t want to live where the wind was this bad for this much of the time!!
Into town around 12:30 to pick up Mom and head over to the Olive Garden for a late lunch. Luke drove up from work to join us. At the end of the meal, Rick realized he had a voice mail, which turned out to be from Liz. Evidently Mom had taken a fall and ambulanced to hospital. Later learned broken hip and taken to Coos Bay instead. Lots of communications rest of the day on this, including two conversations with Liz, one with Sabra, and tons of text messages!
Got MomR a seat for her shower tub and Rick installed the handheld shower head. Back out to Rand’s for evening.
Tough saying goodbye to Luke while concerned about Mom!