2017: Homeward

Road Warriors

May 2-6


It was time to make the last push for home. Only 1300 miles to go! Our first stop would be in Albuquerque, 300 miles away. We'd spend two nights there so Mike could rest up before tackling the 515-mile drive to Needles, CA. We weren't happy with the American RV Park where we'd stayed before, because they wouldn't allow us to put up the cat cage. I found a new RV resort, the Route 66 Casino RV Resort, so new that Google maps is still showing a vacant lot! RV Park Reviews spoke highly of it, so we decided to give it a try.

Mike was starting to get in the groove of driving more miles. This leg was pretty easy because we didn't run into any wind, and we were parked by mid-afternoon. The RV park was a little hard to find, situated behind the Route 66 Casino and without adequate signage. We expected the park to be new, but not quite this new. First, it was completely barren. Barely a tumbleweed in sight. Second, it was huge. And empty. Their map indicated about 110 sites, but it seemed bigger than that, probably because there were only a handful of rigs sprinkled around.

When we drove into our space, we passed two worker with leaf blowers, or in this case dust blowers. I couldn't imagine what they were doing, but I assumed they would be done kicking up dust by 5 p.m. At least I was pretty sure we wouldn't be hearing any train horns.

Long entryway. Dust bowl. Wide open spaces.
A crowd.

Around dinnertime, we were joined by a next-door neighbor. We'd deliberately chosen a spot all the way into the park to avoid traffic; this was before we knew there was nobody in the park! And now, they'd sent another rig RIGHT NEXT TO US when the whole park was empty and available?!? Unreal.

Fortunately they were quiet neighbors and we hardly saw or heard them in our two nights. But it was still weird.

The next day, while I was being lazy, Mike went for a walk around the park. I was glad he didn't make it as far as the casino. He did find the deserted swimming pool with its curvy waterslide -- not open yet -- and an apparent gas pump in the middle of nowhere which was actually a cleverly-designed electric car charging station. He also found this cute little killdeer guarding its ground nest of three speckled eggs. Who knew gravel was a nesting material?

Water World.  Not what you think. Hatchery.

Later that day, I was working away at the computer when Mike jumped out of his chair, yelled something unprintable, and flew out the RV door. I got up and looked out the window, and I saw Mike approaching a man who was wearing a breathing apparatus and spraying something on the roadside from a tank on the back of a truck. The mystery was solved when Mike came back in talking on the phone to the RV park manager. Whatever was being sprayed was blowing onto our motor coach, into the windows, and most disturbing, into our open cat cage hung on the RV side.

After some wrangling on the phone, the park manager came up with the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the mystery substance, which turned out to be a herbicide to control grass and weeds. Its specs stated that both people and animals should avoid contact for at least 24 hours after application, so Mike went a little ballistic and demanded that they cease and desist. Carlos, the park manager, was very apologetic and got the spraying stopped; apparently the grounds maintenance is handled by the casino and was not coordinated with him.

Mike thoroughly inspected the outside of our rig and the cat cage. The cage was covered with his mesh sunscreen, so he removed that and hosed it down. He also replaced the cat litter in the boxes, just in case. Crisis averted, we thought.

About an hour later, we heard noise outside and saw ANOTHER work crew with a rake and a leaf blower, stirring up dust in the recently-sprayed area; good grief, Charlie Brown! Mike got on the phone again and got Carlos to stop the dust-busters. We held our breath until it got dark, figuring then we'd be safe.

Needless to say, we left very early the next day. Our experience is that the Route 66 RV Park is not quite ready for occupancy.

We made it to Needles in about eight hours. Poor Mikey, he does all the hard work. We spent one night in the Needles KOA, where we'd visited on our last trip through the area.

Day Four of the sprint for home. If it's Friday, it must be Bakersfield. We'd decided to try a different RV park this time, and it turned out to be a good decision. The Bakersfield River Run RV Park was a pleasant and quiet spot, without the freeway noise we'd suffered before. It was the perfect place for one last night in the tin can.

The next day, the 250 miles to home was a piece of cake for Mike. And boy, were those kitties glad to stretch their legs! The back yard was exploding with flowers and we were home early enough to plant some veggies for the summer. Eleven weeks on the road, another big trip under our belts. Next year, Canada!