VegasTrailer East to West and Back!

Once upon a time there were six travelers......but because of scheduling problems only three spanned the nation and back, in 18 days. There was a Momma Oasen, a Poppa Oasen, and a son Oasen. Mom, Dad and I set off from New Jersey on April 25th, 2009 from Manahawkin, NJ heading for Solvang, CA. It's a Danish community in Santa Barbara county that my parents had visited a number of times twenty something years ago when my sister had lived nearby. This would be my second time on the west coast, the first 46 years prior during a family vacation to visit friends who had moved to Anaheim.

Saturday

We began our journey at 5:00 a.m., and after a trip around the block to pickup a couple of forgotten items, we headed towards Delaware. The driving was split into two hour shifts, usually with a fuel stop and bathroom break. Our navigator was a new Tomtom GPS unit that Dad had purchased, and the night before we had told it to plan our trip all the way to Solvang. It responded with a route that led to route 81 south through Virginia, then changing to route 40 west to Texas.This was a southern route that I hadn't been on before. Our first campground was the KOA in Bristol, VA which Maggie and I had stayed at many times on our trips to visit the Pattersons.

Sunday

The next morning found us traveling in Tennessee and we passed an unusual road-kill, a 200 lb. black bear in the divider We had a headwind that would slow us down all the way to the west coast. About this time our furry mascot, Mom's cat Pixie, established her riding position on the center consol between the front seats. She could roam the car while on a leash visiting her litter box and water bowl in the rear of the Pathfinder.

Pixie the cat

Later that day we passed over the Mississippi river into Arkansas. The road turned into a washboard, with all of us bouncing up and down so badly that we could hardly talk. This would be a common occurrence on route 40. A few miles down the road we saw a fast moving car heading in the opposite direction with a couple of police cruisers in hot pursuit. A few minutes a pack of about 4 came flying after them. Dad found out from a fellow traveler the next day that it was probably a drug bust, because in the spot where we had seen the pursuit there were a bunch of cops walking around checking the ground.

The trailer had a fiberglass cover over the front window to protect it from stones which began to shake loose, so we pulled over and duct taped it in place as best as we could. That night at the Little Rock KOA we added tape and rope to try and secure it.

Monday

The next day we were back on route 40 ("The Shaker") when I saw the cover coming off as Mom was driving,
so I said we should pull over. As soon as the car stopped it fell to the ground. We left it uncovered until Vegas .The KOA in Amarillo, Texas was alongside an airport, and had train tracks nearby. Two aircraft from the Air National Guard were making passes until about 9:30 that night. My kind of entertainment! In a field near us were at least a dozen jack-rabbits.

tigershark rabbits

Tuesday

I started driving on Tuesday and probably misread the GPS, because it took us toward route 40 on a different road then we came in on. It was pitch dark as we came up to a train parked at a crossing on a two lane country road. After ten minutes of waiting I was pondering the logistics of a U-turn with a 22' trailer when the train started to move. Soon we were speeding down the highway.

The one thing I remembered about New Mexico from our last trip was how beautiful they painted some of their overpasses.

NM bridge

It seemed like they were up upgrading them one by one. By this time Pixie had assumed another position.

Pixie's tail Navaho Land

Scattered through the desert are Native American tourist shops that sometimes appeared in unusual locations. In Flagstaff, AZ we hit an altitude of 7,335 feet, our record for the trip. At the next town, William, we had stopped for gas and coffee when a local mechanic came up to tell us the trailer tires were looking very worn. That's when I found out that they were the originals, about twelve years old! After replacing three of the tires we continued the trip a half hour later. In the distance we could see mountain tops near the Grand Canyon that still held snow, while our local temperature approached 100 degrees. Barstow, CA was our stopping point that night, and the next town, Calico advertised on the mountainside.

Snow on mountain Calico

Wednesday

The campground, near Yermo Marine base, had a pool, so I changed and jumped in, continuing the "Pool Flounders" tradition. A couple more images from the Barstow KOA; lots of cactus, and a caboose for the kids to play on.

cactus caboose

Next stop, the west coast.

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Foto Ace