Thursday, December 13, 2012
DAY 1—WE FINALLY LEAVE!!
Saturday, November 16, 2012
Our original plan had been to leave on Friday, Nov 15, 2012 at 8:00 am, but Gary had to work overtime all week and with the delay of doing the camper repair we found that we were just too tired to finish packing the last minute items on Thursday to leave on Friday morning. So we worked on packing on Friday, doing final chores and then hit the road today about noon.
We had gone to bed exhausted and decided that since we were on “vacation” there was no need to rush. After all we were not on a set time schedule.
So after hugging our son and critters good-bye we slapped the Sesame Street Alphabet tape in the truck player and as our family tradition has it sang “C is for Cookie” with Cookie Monster as we finally hit the road.
The first day we made it just past Weatherford, OK from our home just outside of Tulsa, OK. We could have gone further, but we try very hard to not travel after dark. We learned a long time ago that if you want a decent place to camp or boondock stopping early works better than stopping late.
We decided to boondock between Weatherford and Elk City at the Love’s just off of highway I 40 for the night. As we ate our dinner of Wiener Wraps, pork ‘n beans and chips we discussed that it was suppose to be in the low 40’s that night which could be a little bit nippy to get up and take care of personal business during the night. Campers are not that well insulated compared to your average home, for those of you who have never camped in a fifth wheel with slides.
Even though the slides have snug fitting rubber gaskets around them air still seeps in and that makes it a little cooler in the winter.
But that was not a problem, after all we had two brand new batteries on the fifth wheel with which to run the furnace. EXCEPT, while we were eating a semi pulled in next to us to park for the night and it became obvious to us that while we could run the sides out there was a good chance the semi would clip the bedroom one as he departed in the morning while we still in bed sleeping and that would be a heck of a wake-up alarm.
Besides we generally don’t run the slides out even for a few minutes when boondocking. Because you are suppose to be just sleeping, not camping.
The problem was that in order to turn the furnace on we had to run the slides out to get to the switch to do so. So we mulled over our options:
1. Move on to somewhere else to sleep
2. Re-park further down in the lot and that was already filling up fast. In fact as we discussed this option the one place we could have safely ran the slides out was taken by a semi.
3. Go to a campground and pay for hook-ups.
4. Tough out the temps and just put another blanket on the bed. I was not fond of this idea as I get up at least once every night for calls of nature.
5. The final option I came up with after we had heavily discussed the other four. Run the slide out, turn on the furnace and then run the slide back in, before the semi could pull out and clip it.
We went with number five. While I kept a close eye out for the semi driver getting behind the wheel, just in case he was just stopped for dinner and not the night, Gary ran the two slides out, got the furnace going and then quickly ran the slides back in. No problem.
Of course that meant that we couldn’t get to our closet or clothing drawers the next morning, but we could at least get into bed and sleep warm. Which we did quite well.
Again for you non-camper types. The way the slides are set-up on campers is they slide into the empty floor space while traveling. In the case of the bedroom for our fifth wheel the bed is snug up against the built in bureau drawers directly across from the bed when the slides are out. This also helps to keep the drawers from popping open as you go down our nation's fine highways.
The living room slide goes over the entertainment center that also contains the control panel for the furnace, air conditioner and the non-working read-out panels.
You can still walk through the narrow space between the sofa, recliners and eat at the kitchen table, as well as cook in the kitchen when that slide is in, it's just a little more snug.
Sure enough the next morning all the semis were gone, so opening the slides back up to shut off the furnace and get a clean change of clothes was not a problem.
If you have never been to Weatherford, OK the big highlight we see as we come through this town on our many a trips down I-40 is the wind mills, there are hundreds of the big white giants sitting atop the numerous hills of the region. Like silent sentinels they slowly turn and are fascinating to watch as you travel through the town. We never bore of watching their majestic arms slowly turn in the wind.
We always end up discussing the pros and cons of wind generators as we see such devices along the way as well. There is the inevitable discussion about cost versus output and of course there is the fact that it definitely changes the scenery from God’s wonders to man-made ones.
I always think of the Man from La Macha tilting at windmills and wonder what he would have thought of the silent white generators that graced the hills all around Weatherford.
Some are so close to the highway you can easily get photos of them. We didn’t stop and take photos of them this trip as we did so when we took this same route four years ago and again when we were traveling and mystery shopping in 2010. The photos shown with this post were taken in June of 2010, but they give you an idea of how huge and plentiful the wind mills are in this area.
In fact, as I write about this vacation I will include information about various landmarks and things to see from those trips as well, because I wasn’t blogging in 2008 at all and was doing limited blogging in 2010. The 2008 photos were from this near same trip and was in November 2008, so if you see a reference to 2008 in future posts that is the trip I am speaking about.
So day one was spent traveling, then stopping to cook a hot meal and going to bed early to move on to Day 2. Sorry it was such a boring post.
Since we didn’t take any photos this first day I’m including the windmill photos of 2010 and a map of the route we took for the trip. Maybe it will be helpful to “follow along” as we go.
Jan who loved seeing the windmills because it proved we were actually on the road again away from OK.