Hi, 👋🏼I know, I know, it’s been quite a while. We hadn’t been taking any trips to really speak of other than our Tuesday “Date Days” whereby we take our RV out to the beach and hang out together, take a walk, dine or/and nap. Date Day was originally on Friday for years when I was working, but now that we are both retired, we moved Date Day to Tuesday, so nothing much to write about.
However, of late there have been some major changes in our lives. Let me back up…
For YEARS I have wanted to leave California. I was born and raised there, in the Golden State, in Sunny, Southern California where the majority of the year is full of sunshine. Who would want to leave the beautiful sunshine, right? Well, having lived in that sunshine state by the beach for 67 years, I wanted a change, like, how about some seasonal changes? So, my husband and I began conversations about leaving the Golden state. It turned out that our very dear friends, Linette and Mike wanted to leave California too. The four of us would get together regularly, have dinner and play cards, specifically Phase 10, for HOURS into the wee hours of the morning. During our card nights we would have great conversations about life, relationships, the Word of God, family, health (basically everthing 😊), and talk about leaving the Golden State. We considered several states; Arizona, NM, Texas, Tennessee, and Georgia to name a few. Well, our friends made the leap earlier this year to North Augusta, SC.
After Linette and Mike moved and settled in, we flew out in August to check out the lay of the land and look at homes. We flew out again in October and looked again…this time we found our home and bought it. The house closed a couple of days after Thanksgiving. Now the clock is ticking! Time to schedule packers, movers and shipping of the vehicles. Fortunately for me, Linette had already done the research and shared her notes with me. (THANK YOU LINETTE!!) The first week in December we started purging and packing our valuable items and left the rest for the packers / movers. Our goal was to have the house empty by December 17th because our middle daughter Muneca and her family were moving in. Since they are on vacation the last two weeks of the year, we wanted to give them time to paint and make any changes to the house before moving their belongings in.
We had heard the news about an unusual cold snap that was to descend upon much of the US late in December. Craig and I discussed the possible routes, Interstate 40, Interstate 10 – to the 20, and Interstate 10 all the way across the country. A thought crossed my mind to delay the trip for another week, but the wheels were already in motion. Our belongings had already been picked up and were on their way to our new home. Our daughter, Muneca had already arranged for the movers…anyway like I said, the wheels had already begun turning…so we proceded with our plan. In preparation for this journey, we bought some 32 degree thermals, and packed some of our warmest clothes, jackets, beenies and gloves.
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
We had determined that taking Interstate 10 was the best route in hopes of missing that cold winter snap that we had been hearing about. We hoped to get in front of it and get to our destination before it hit. We knew that Interstate 40 would surely be affected by that cold snap, but we were hopeful that Interstate 10 would not be…or at least not as much.
Tuesday morning about 7 a.m we bid farewell to our home in Carson, and off we went. I was feeling pretty good knowing that this would be the last time that I would endure the Los Angeles traffic (for a long time anyway.) The drive went well and before we knew it we hit the Arizona border. We made our way to Chandler, AZ and decided to spent the night at a Cracker Barrel. We dined there on meatloaf and veggies, and afterwards took a brisk walk. It was a chilly evening, but nothing could have prepared us for what was to come!
Sidebar: My very good friend of 32 years, Carle, asked me if I was going to blog about this trip. My reply: “Naw, this is a Point A to Point B trip, no frills or fun to report.” Well, maybe no frills or fun to report, but oh my, this weather has been an adventure in itself!
Wednesday, December 21, 2022
Well, we THOUGHT we had a jump on this cold snap ravaging the country, but we were OH SO WRONG! Driving through Tuscon and El Paso, TX wasnt too bad; it was cold but not terrible. We hit Las Cruces, New Mexico and it was a different story. The combination of cold and wind was just so disrespectful! It was truly a preview of the rude and disrespectful weather we were about to face.
It was a long driving day in wind and cold and Craig was getting tired. We hopped off the highway and stopped at a Best Western Plus in Pecos, TX. I ran in and asked permission to park in their parking lot for the night and promised that we would be gone early in the morning. The young lady at the counter looked around and said, “sure, park right in front or around the back by the trucks.” We opted for around the back, by the trucks.
When we travel for longer than a few days I will typically prepare a couple of meals for the road. For this trip I had prepared some teriyaki short ribs and teriyaki chicken. This night we dined on the short ribs and a nice big salad before we turned in for the night. They were working on the roads in the area, so there were alot of pick up trucks of the workers who were apparently housed at this hotel.
Thursday, December 22, 2022
As promised we departed bright and early, at 5 a.m. It was dark and COLD.🥶 As we drove through Texas we experienced snow flurrys and a bone chilling COLD that neither of us had ever experienced. The snow flurrys continued on and off throughout the day as we drove thru Lorraine, then Abilene, and Midland, TX accompanied with HIGH 22 MPH WINDS. Between the high winds and the trucks speeding by our little Shorty we were being pushed to and fro. Craig had to keep a tight grip on that steering wheel and drive slower than he normally would.
We drove, well Craig drove, ALL DAY, 5 a.m. from Pecos, Texas until 7:30 p.m. when we arrived in Marshall, TX. Craig’s desire was to make it all the way across Texas; we fell a bit short because of that darn wind. We made our usual fuel and coffee stops along the way. We stopped at Panera for about an hour to take advantage of their WIFI and handle some business, like contact the utility companies to turn on our electricity and heat. And, while there we had a nice hot bowl of soup 🍲and a🥪 sandwich.
SIDEBAR: I have several apps on my phone and a couple of travel memberships to help us navigate across the country, i.e. Passport America, Harvest Host, Park Advisor, Gas Buddy, RV Dump sites, Rest Stops, A weather app and a couple of more.
I had scouted out Laguna Vista RV Park in Marshall, TX with the Passport America App. As a member, we only pay half price of the going rate to stay the night. Temps for the night were projected to be 9 DEGREES, and WINDY. William was the camp host who reached out to me and said that he had wrapped all of the water pipes and left them trickling so they wouldn’t freeze. He assigned us our spot for the night and warned us to be careful as there was alot of frozen water on the ground. He cautioned us not to hook up to the water source unless we had an insulated water hose, so we didn’t. We did however, hook up to the electric outlet for some additional power.
NEITHER of us had EVER experined single digit weather before, and staying overnight in this weather in our RV was an entirely new experience. We needed some expert advice so I posted on our Facebook View/Navion group for suggestions on how to prepare for the evening; do’s and dont’s in this type of weather. We received ALOT of feedback, but nothing for our immediate situation. So, we reached out to our friend Carle, who also has a motorhome and is a what I call “a motorhead.”🤭 I knew he would have some practical, sound advice for us, for the night. He did! We turned off our water pump and opened our faucets as he suggested. We put our little portable heater on the kitchen floor in an attempt to keep our pipes and battery warm. All night long we were warm and toasty at a comfortable 67 degrees inside of our RV.😊
We woke up warm and toasty, and thank God, nothing froze. Over night it had droppped to 8 degrees, but with the wind chill factor, it was -7 degrees. I bundled up with under layers, a beenie, gloves and down jacket, and went outside to take a look at our overnight accommodations. By this time it was about 10 a.m. and 16 degrees. I took a really quick walk to the little pond across the road to take a closer look. There were a couple of dozen geese relaxing on the grass and swimming in the half frozen pond. The cold didn’t seem to bother them at all. The scene was all very calming and peaceful with the exception of the cold air and disrespectful wind slapping my face. I was outside all of about 5 minutes, and by then my nose and cheeks felt frost bitten! I quickly headed back to the warmth of my RV to defrost. Shortly thereafter William checked on us as we were packing up to depart. I thanked him and then we hit the road.
Friday, December 23, 2022
Craig’s family owns 28 acres of land in Marshall, TX, that his grandparents purchased and farmed many, many years ago when his mother and her siblings were children. Craig tells me that his grandparents used to have cows, chickens and a nice garden where they grew various vegetables and 🍉 watermelons. He has very fond childhood memories of taking the train, in the summer, from California to Texas with his mom and siblings along with fried chicken and bread to eat on the train ride. He remembers his grandfather selling sweet watermelons out of the back of his truck, and how he would crack a watermelon in half and let Craig dig his hands in to get the juicy, sweet red watermelon meat. His grandparents, affectionately known as “big daddy” and “big mama” sounded like real down to earth family folk with a vision of living off of the land.
Since we were already in Marshall we decided to take a drive by and check on the land, as it had been some years since we had been there. His Aunt lived there until her passing a couple of years ago. Since her passing nobody has lived in the house or on the land. Upon arriving the home looked so small and in disrepair, but the land is pristine. The gravel driveway was overgrown with grass and the trees branches now blocked the path, the once bountiful garden with vegetables was overgrown and a few smaller trees had died and fallen. Once we stepped out of the RV and looked around the view was spectacular in every direction! Green fields and trees as far as the eyes could see. We left Mashall, Texas feeling a little melancholy mixed with happy memories flooding back from past visits. We talked about the land’s potential as we drove back to the interstate.
By this time we were hungry, and in the mood for some breakfast. We stopped at a little restaurant that popped up on our route. When travelling I try to look for little local mom and pop places to dine, but this particular one was a local chain called Huddle House. It was located in a parking lot directly next to a gas station. Gas station diners are not our first pick, but the choices were slim and we were hungry. We decided to stop and were pleasantly surprised. The diner had a 50’s vibe to it with red and white checkered tile covering the walls and old style metal tables with red table tops, accompanied with silver metal chairs covered with red vinly seats, the prices were reasonable and the food was good. Our server was friendly and efficient. She, of course got a great tip!
We left the diner full and ready to hit the road. We made it to Jackson, Mississippi and slept in a Walmart parking lot. While there we picked up some honey for our morning tea and looked for some portable floor heaters. Naturally all of the heaters were sold out. It was about 17 degrees that evening.
Saturday, December 24th, Christmas Eve
We departed Jackson Mississippi about 9 a.m., and stopped for fuel and propane on our way out of town. We stopped in Meridian for a cup of coffee. The temperature there was a cold 21 degrees, but after experiencing single digit weather, 21 wasn’t so bad!
We hit Alabama at noon and stopped in Tuscaloosa for diesel, propane and food. Chick Fillet was our stop for the day. We got a call from the Auto transport driver that he would deliver our car tomorrow on Christmas Day. We had to find a Wells Fargo Bank to withdraw some CASH to pay for the delivery. Today is Saturday and the banks are closed. Plan B call the bank to temporarily up our ATM limit for the amount required. Bingo, all is well.
It was 10 p.m. when we made it to Granitevill, S.C. to Mike and Linette’s home. They did not know we were coming, they expected us after Christmas. Anyway, we showed up on their doorstep and knocked. Mike answered and we yelled, “SURPRISE!!!” They were surprised!🤭 They introduced us to family members that were visiting from out of state. We ate, visited and then retreated to our RV for the night.
Sunday, December 25, 2022, CHRISTMAS DAY
MERRY 🎄 CHRISTMAS! We woke up warm and cozy in our RV beds and sent Christmas wishes to our family and friends via text. We celebrated Christmas in Graniteville with our friends, Mike, Linette and their relatives. We ate well and played games. Such a fun day! We had a zoom Christmas gift exchange meeting with our daughters, grandchildren and my brother. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!
Some stats / random info:
Health: While on our travels our morning routine consisted of ginger, lemon and honey in hot water along with our supplements consisting of echinacea/golden seal, vitamin C, garlic, vitamin D3 and tumeric. With all of this change in the weather we are doing our best to keep our immune systems strong. While at home I juice fresh lemons, grate ginger and measure that mixture out into ice trays and freeze them. Afterwards, I store these frozen cubes in a freezer baggie. These lemon/ginger cubes come in handy – drop one in a mug with some hot water and honey, and you have a nice hot healthy immune building drink.
Fuel: The cost of diesel prices ranged from $3.69 to $4.91/gallon on our travels. The total we spent on diesel for this trip was $641.47 for five full days of travel from the West coast (Los Angeles, CA) to the East coast (Graniteville, SC.) Propane total was about $70 total.
Accommodations costs: TUESDAY night: Cracker Barrel, FREE. WEDNESDAY night: Best Western parking lot, FREE. THURSDAY night, $19 Passport America. FRIDAY night Walmart parking lot FREE. SATURDAY night, in front of our friends home, FREE. Total spent for sleeping accommodations on this road trip was: $19.
Travel time: It took us five days to drive from the West to the East coast.
Food: Because I packed some food and snacks for this trip before we left, I estimate we spent about $150 between eating out and coffee stops.
This cross country road trip proved to be an experience and new adventure for us both. Until next time, remember to be kind, compassionate and share a smile. You never know whose day you could brighten. May you have a blessed 2023 filled with love, good health, peace and prosperity. Don’t forget to share a smile, they are FREE! PEACE ✌🏽 😊