Deep in the Heart of Texas

Paso Robles and Mountain Lioness resting on the dash after a long days drive

After enduring a fifteen hour tornado watch in Lafayette, the storm clouds cleared on Monday morning and I escaped unscathed. Others were not so fortunate. A tornado killed two people in a trailer just east of Lafayette. I didn’t sleep much on Sunday night.

I feel now the tour has begun. I spent the first week all along the Gulf of Mexico, delayed by several days waiting out storms. The trip didn’t feel like the west trip yet because the vegetation and climate were the same as home. The drive Monday morning to Shreveport LA was easy, the distance being only 221 miles, and I arrived just after 1 PM. I spoke to some folks that tried to make the drive from Lafayette to Shreveport during the storm. They said they had to pull off the road because they couldn’t see, and there were many other cars pulled of on the side of the road too. I can’t imagine why people would drive during such dangerous conditions. Being inside a car when there are tornadoes around is not a good idea. I’ve seen the movie Twister.

After the easy drive to Shreveport, I decided to keep most days to about 200 miles and 4 hours. Well that plan did not last one day. While planning to head north of Dallas towards northwest Texas and northeast New Mexico I checked the weather. I saw the dreaded red blob on the weather map indicating another region of potential severe weather north of Dallas and stretching into Oklahoma. Winds of 25+ mph were forecast. Setting out early on Monday morning, I set the GPS NAV unit for north of Dallas. I did not want to drive through Dallas. After a few miles I stopped, looked at a map of Dallas and checked the weather forecast for Dallas. Winds around Dallas were forecast for 20 mph, but I figured that was better than the 25 mph winds forecast for north of Dallas. I rerouted the GPS NAV  through Dallas and Ft. Worth on I-20.

The same low pressure system north of Dallas causing high winds also caused 20+ mph winds south of Dallas. The good news is that getting through Dallas on I-20 was very easy. The road is in great shape, and there were not too many trucks. There was some traffic around Dallas, but not nearly as much as I thought it would be. I arrived in Dallas around 11 AM and cleared Ft Worth around 12 PM. The Dallas Ft Worth metro area was about 60 miles wide. The traffic was very moderate which surprised me.

The strong winds from the south made driving difficult. The cross winds constantly buffeted the high-profile RV. Sometimes the wind would gust and push the coach to the right. Then the winds would calm a bit and the coach would lurch to the left since I was steering against the wind.

Finally I ended up all the way in Abilene TX, 363 miles and seven hours later. So much for the 200 mile/day goal. I think high winds are just part of the west, but the winds are really high now because of the change of the seasons. I intended to go to Santa Fe and Taos when I made my way to New Mexico. Santa Fe is now having snow and very cold temperatures. I think I might just head west to Roswell New Mexico and see little green men and their flying saucers.
Link to Bob Seger “Against the Wind”

Comments

Deep in the Heart of Texas — 13 Comments

  1. If you get to Roswell, there is a very “unofficial” museum at 216 N Main Street called Area 51 or Alien Zone, I can’t remember which. Inexpensive admission, but you can get great pictures of yourself in dioramas with aliens…at the alien bar, cooking barbecue. Very hokey, but great fun.

    If you have the time, Alamogordo and White Sands are worth a detour.

    While traveling, I highly recommend an app called RoadsideAmerica.com. Many years ago, you could get small portions for free or the whole US for about $5.00. It has all the off-beat tourist attractions, like the alien museum, and the world’s largest pistachio nut in Alamagordo!

    While traveling we tried to average 200 miles too, but, just as you found, we had long days and short ones… Just 30 miles one day, between campsites at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons!

    …Dotty (one of the three D’s who travelled with Darlene and Doris in our Views and Navion, but each with our dog companion!).

    • Thanks Dottie. I am about 170 miles east of Roswell, and plan on going there tomorrow. The “unofficial” museum sounds like just my kind of place. I will check out the RoadsideAmerica app, sounds like a fun and useful app to have.

    • LMAO about that museum in Roswell and the world’s largest pistachio nut in Alamagordo. Thanks for the share, Dottie. I’m looking forward to both of those. Joe

  2. Hi, Rob – Wow. You’ve expressed my own dreams and words perfectly! I’ve driven in my SUV from Houston to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia a couple of times, but my favorite trips are when I listen to my heart and I ended up driving 3 times to Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Now ready to purchase a View or Navion and spend the entire summer on the road. Can you please help me? I’ve been looking locally – to no avail – for a good-quality, pre-owned View-Navion with the corner bed (model J). There’s a model H (sofa bed) available and I’m considering buying it b/c I’ve waited for years, and I’m ready to get into the RVing lifestyle. Could you share your thoughts about the model H (sofa bed)? Is it “doable” for several months on the road? Or should I continue searching for the model J (corner bed)? Thanks! I hope to see you as we’re road biking in the west sometime this summer!

    • Thanks for the kind words Joe. Driving to the Yukon, and the NW territories, that is quite impressive. Finding used View/Navions can be challenging. People tend to hold on to them, and since they are diesel powered, they tend to hold their value well and sell quickly if they are well cared for. I prefer the J model since this floor plan provides the most open floor space. Some folks don’t like the corner bed, but I always seem to get a good nights sleep in it. I really don’t know much about the other models/floorplans, have not seen or been in the other ones. The H floorplans no longer seem to be available, so there might be a reason for that. Sounds like the H might not have a permanent bed since you refer to it as a sofa bed. This might provide more flexibility. I would continue to search for exactly what you want. The vehicles are a bit pricey so you want to be happy with what you end up getting. You might need to expand your search to other parts of the country, and then perhaps go there to get it, and drive it back home. I know there are a lot of these vehicles out there because I see them on the road quite frequently.

  3. Moved from Boston to Houston 33 years ago for a great job opportunity. Now that I’m retired I’m casting my eyes toward the Pacific Northwest or even New Mexico or Colorado. I intend to take about a year bumming around in a View or Navion, looking for perhaps a new retirement community. Taos is really terrific: culture, educational ops, hiking and cycling galore, creative arts, emphasis on ecology and sustainable living. Long, difficult winters though. Maybe northern California.

  4. Santa Fe and Taos are good places to visit. (I lived in New Mexico for five years.)
    Another recommendation, Acoma Pueblo, 52 miles west of Albuquerque and then 12 miles south of I40.

  5. Thanks tremendously for taking the time to respond with your advice. I’m going to follow your advice b/c it’s also what my gut tells me also. Thanks very much! I’ve been to Roswell, and it’s a hoot. I was glad to read the comment from Dottie. I need to go find that museum. Happy trails to you, Rob! Have a blast on your travels, and thanks for your blog; you’re an inspiration.

  6. Hello Rob,

    So glad you are traveling again, and this time of the year there are storms but weather changes quickly. I do think you would enjoy Santa Fe and Taos! Be safe and enjoy!

    Debbie

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