Heading South

Gosh, where did the summer go? Back last April and May, as we continued to enjoy “spring” in Alberta (with winter snow still filling most of the garden) October seemed so far away. Here we are, already a week-plus into our 13th snowbird season. And we’re enjoying better weather than we did all last summer. Go figure.

Okay, tell us how you really feel about heading south.

We leave on a gorgeous autumn morning.

We attended a great going-away party at the Chapter 44 lunch in Okotoks. More than 30 folks showed up. Thanks, Bill & Sharon, for organizing this get-together. Great food as always. It was wonderful to see Wilma & Terry from Lethbridge  — I sure hope we’ll see you back at more rallies & lunches this year.

Seems like a lot of us have the same idea this year as many people at the lunch were heading south from there. Marian & Bryant were going to Great Falls that afternoon. Jean & Doug were leaving the next day. We left with Mel & Ann for Warner, AB. Spent the night there and crossed the border early the next morning.

Some interesting questions at US Customs this year: “Did anybody ask you to bring anything down for them? Did you pack everything in the rig yourselves?” Friends who travelled through a BC border crossing were asked “Do you spend more time in the US than Canada?” The next question was “Where are you going?” She said “We have a home down in Arizona.” There was a noticeable pause. Then the customs official said, “The right answer is, you have a house in Arizona. You have a home in Canada.”

Day 2 took us down I-15 through Montana. Clear sailing all the way. Stopped at the Flying J on top of the hill at Great Falls. Sticker shock at the price of diesel — it was $3.18 last fall. Today? $3.91.

Fuel & coffee at the Great Falls Flying J on I-15. Ann and I get a little hot chocolate with our whipped cream 🙂

The four of us parked that night in Dubois in the gravel lot behind the Phillips 66 station. Fairly quiet. The nearby Rest Area was closed for renovations. Looks like they’re revamping the building to include a Visitor Center. Should be nice when it’s done.

Up early the next morning. As I twirled around the radio dial what to my wondering ears should appear but The Eyeopener on CBC Radio out of Calgary. Got to hear voices from home for the next half hour until it finally faded away. Went west at Pocatello and dodged potatoes and sweet potatoes to Twin Falls where we turned south.

I dunno, but I think somebody needs a shot of java.

Spent the night at Ely, NV. Once upon a time several years ago they had a lovely Rest Area at the north end of town. Separate areas for trucks and RVs (we got the pavement). Washrooms. Picnic tables. Water. Then poof! It was closed with no explanation. So now we boondock on the gravel alongside the cantina next to the Fireside Inn Motel. Quiet enough. Though the last time we were here with Mel & Ann we were all awakened by the sound of police sirens as some enterprising officers tried to herd loose cows off the highway and past our rigs. Ah, life on the road.

Cantina Campout

Saturday was an easy hop. From Ely we took Hwy 6, then jumped onto 318.

A striking rock canyon on Hwy 318 through NV.

Stopped for lunch under some gorgeous cottonwoods at the Jxn of 318 & the Extraterrestrial Highway.

A shady pulloff at the Jxn of 318 & 93, NV.

Confused? Nah, Gerry & Mel know exactly where we're going.

We arrived at the boondocking area south of Overton by mid afternoon. Yowzer but it was hot — 86F/30C. We spend the rest of the day sitting in the shade and visiting.

Sunday was a parting of the way. Mel & Ann headed west to the SKP park at Pahrump. We went to Quartzsite. We left early, about 6:30, and drove down the Lake Mead highway. For most of the trip there was no traffic at all. Wonderful. We got to enjoy sunrise on the surrounding peaks and valleys. Beautiful colours.

Desert sunrise, Lake Mead, NV

Sunday morning is the best time to travel anywhere near Las Vegas. We emptied off the Mead Lake road into Henderson (just a bedroom community of LV) shortly after 7:30. Very little traffic.

Stopped for morning coffee at the Cal Nev Ari Casino on Hwy 95. Four or five grey-haired pilots were warming up their small planes and taking off into the wild blue yonder. Looked like fun.

North of Searchlight.

We drove through Vidal Junction and Parker. (Never did find a convenient water source in town). All the while the thermometer in the truck kept registering hotter and hotter temps outside. Sure thankful for air conditioning.

Nearly there.

Just before noon we rolled into one of our favourite spots on Plomosa Road. For the first time ever there were absolutely no RVs parked at the front of the 14-day area. Down where we park there were 2 sets of campers but still room for us along the wash where it is shadier. Stepping out of the truck and onto the desert was like entering a blast furnace. It was about 96F/35C. Thought I was going to keel over by the time we got the rig parked and set up. Whoo-eee. Some kinda hot. But sure beats shovelling snow 🙂

The peace and quiet of our little corner of the desert. Plomosa Road, north of Q.

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4 thoughts on “Heading South

  1. Hi All
    Terry and Edith Brett here,
    We have been sitting in Oliver BC thinking we could stay the winter here but it is already colder than we would like, so have decided to go south this year again. We will be crossong the boarder on the 1st and look forward to meeting many of you on our travels.

  2. Great travel log Sally, the trips south are always interesting.

    We did the Lake Mead trip last year and found it awesome.

    This year our trip down to Kofa was “interesting”, arriving last Friday, well after dark, after 13 hours behind the wheel.A bad accident south of St. George Ut. closed I15 southbound, and we moved 1.5 miles in over an hour, then a real zoo with people risking life and limb jockeying to gain a few yards.

    To show what seasoned veterans we are, we tackled the Ogden/Salt Lake/Provo leg of I15 at rush hour!! Entered Ogden around 4PM, got through Provo around 6PM, and found a spot of empty concrete in Payson.

    Life is good!
    Bill & Sharon

  3. Hola
    We came through Ely on Monday (Oct17). It was 84 F when we left North Ranch at 9 am but woke to 31 F at Ely (Oct 18). It didn’t take long for the shorts to disappear and long pants to take it’s place. We are now enjoying the cool weather of the NW, picking the last of the pink tomatoes and winterizing
    everything as this weather is sure to change. Enjoy those hot days of Quartzsite, we will soon be envying you.
    Hugs, Roger & Liz

  4. October 23 rd and still scorching hot. We stopped at Quartsite on 21 and not a breeze to be had. Headed to Imperial Dam in hope of a breeze, but still 95 degrees. Atleast we found some water to cool off the dog. Have a great winter everyone.

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