Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Whirlwind crossing of the USA #5

We settled in at the Elks Lodge on the hills of Lake Havasu City and watched the weather go by on the other side of the lake. I'm so glad we persevered with the tailwind down the Tehacapi and across the Mohave, because the next three days pushed one crazy storm after another, and they were a lovely sight from our elevated and safe position on the other side of the lake.

Mohave Storms on the West side of Lake Havasu

When the wind let up we rolled on to Phoenix and stayed with the Elks of Tempe. It's a lively crowd and we enjoyed our own carefully measured out space at the bar where we shouted at one another to overcome the 6' space between us.

Dim sum @ Mekong Palace in Mesa AZ

One of the good things about Covid is the extra elbow room in dining areas. I am a huge fan of dim sum but do tend to get a little claustrophobic with the heavy carts rolling close to my table, the extra breathing space is deeply appreciated.

The next morning we caught up with a friend for dim sum, then we took our full bellies on the road to Willcox, AZ. The RV park is overrun with tumbleweeds, roadrunners and rabbits in the day and coyotes at night. Chloe got her walks in early and we didn't have to coax her in to the RV at bedtime while we were there. She's smarter than she looks.

Another beautiful desert sunset. Way to put on a show for us Willcox!

Our goal the next day was Las Cruces New Mexico, home of the best sopapillas in the nation. It would have been a short trip, put since the predicted winds didn't turn up and we were making good time, we kept on rolling through El Paso and into Van Horn TX. When we fell into bed we thought we had beat the coming windstorm, the next morning my phone woke me up with an ugly red screen and a blaring alarm... 75 mph winds were on the way to Van Horn bringing possible tornadoes. We downed our coffee quickly, hit the road and got as far as we could into Central Texas to hide. The safest spot we could find was in Abilene TX where we hid for a few days from the worst of the wind, and let the rest of it pass over us. They greeted us at the door with "sorry about the pool, the winter broke it, and the season isn't done with us yet, tie down anything you don't want flappin'." Which seemed like good advice so we pulled the slide in when it seemed prudent, and while it howled its hardest we baked brownies and binged Hulu.

The most Texas thing ever, horse lodging at the RV park, just look for the elevated fiberglass horse sporting the Lone Star paintjob

Good advice from longtime sailor Carolyn Goodlander, when storms are threatening... nothing calms worries like the smell of baked goods in the galley

Texas has a very casual attitude about masks and Covid in general, so we regretfully traded the fancy Texas restaurant steak dinner I'd been craving for some basic Door Dash from whatever chain was delivering and kept to ourselves. Once we got into the green hills of East Texas the rest of our ride was uneventful, we spun podcasts and gobbled up the miles.

Yep those are the RV connections way up in the front of the bus. It's impossible to turn around and come in from the wrong direction at this park to make the connections work - we'd end up going the wrong way down a narrow twisting road for many a mile, unable to pass the folks going the proper direction. It's good to be self-contained. Connections - bah! Who needs 'em?

Even Atlanta denied us its usual drama. It was smooth sailing into North Carolina.

It always pays to run with the trucks through big cities. They know which lanes to be in, and communicate with one another about road blockages, etc. We have saved ourselves frustration time and again by noticing when the trucks suddenly shift lanes and following suit. This particular shift happened on the way into Atlanta and saved us from old wreck carnage being cleaned up in the fast lane, we slipped in behind this truck and went around it smoothly.

At the border between South and North Carolina is a complex called South of the Border - it's a restaurant, amusement park, RV park, motel, fireworks superstore, gas station; quite the spectacle. There's no missing it from the freeway, I think it might really be something to see in non-Covid times. Apparently there's even a crocodile park in there somewhere. We gawped at it as we rolled on by, and immediately afterwards we crossed the border into North Carolina and it started raining on us. Of course.

As we approached the bridge in New Bern, the last proper city before Oriental, Bohemian Rhapsody came on the radio. We head-banged our way into town, where friends were waiting for us at the dock and Minerva rested in her slip, beckoning us on to the next leg of our adventure.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Eastward Ho!

Northern California missions accomplished: plenty of loving lavished on family, medical attention received, trailer packed with scuba and boat gear, belongings deemed unnecessary for the foreseeable future sold. With tears in our eyes and a jaunty wave goodbye we pulled away from family and eased Loretta onto the freeway.

Kayakers paddle through the mooring field at Morro Bay

Each morning we were greeted by sunning vultures in the tree next to our campsite

First stop: Morro Bay for some camping time with the SoCal cousins. This is another one of those beautiful little towns I've often travelled through on my way to somewhere else but never stopped to study before. It's an adorable town with thriving waterfront restaurants, boat services and lots of kayakers paddling about. We pedaled around Morro Bay by bicycle and later explored the surrounding hills by motorcycle.

We sold Betty in Northern California, so all our riding for a while will be two-up

Avila Beach is just a short motorcycle ride from Morro Bay

Then we turned Loretta East. There are some notable Spring storms between us and Minerva so we'll be running and ducking to avoid the worst of them on our way across.

The landscape becomes quite surreal in Arizona.
These strange formations greeted us on our way into Lake Havasu City, AZ.

Loretta was reunited with the motorcycle trailer for the next lap.
This is how we roll.