Monday, August 11, 2008

Jeeping Back from Yuma 2005

As mentioned in last night's post...the Bar Stool Open was a success, although I missed the Eagles Lodge 50-50 by just a handful of ticket that would have topped off the weekend, the person or persons right behind Nick and me won the big bucks...O' Well! As before, photos, if Wally-World gets them out, will be up Thursday or Friday with the in detailed story of Miniature Golf on Grand Lake.

Football scrimmages began Saturday as well...I will have my first action Thursday afternoon here in Celina, a 7/8th grade in scrimmage to kick the 2nd half of my sports seasons off....the weather looks absolutely early fall like for the next few days...temps no higher than the upper 70s with Air Conditioning not needed.

Coldest Trip Ever December 2005

I've been in some cold vehicles in my days of driving and Air Force vehicles in winter...well over 40 years now. But the 2005 return trip driving the Jeep Wrangler, had to top them all.

Sam and I got a call that Gulf Stream needed some RVs moved from the State Fair Grounds in Louisville, Kentucky, to their new homes in Yuma, AZ. OK, that appeared to be a good run, probably pretty profitable driving together...but how to get to Louisville then back and home? We checked out airline flights from Yuma to Louisville, then from Phoenix or Tucson, if we chose to Greyhound from Yuma to the nearest/cheapest "big" airport. I can't remember the exact details, but none seemed to be a good option. So we packed up the Jeep, still without a plan and headed to Kentucky on December 1st. Now, I have mentioned a time or two, that Jeep 'Rag Tops" tend to wear out...I had owned the Jeep for 3 years and put some pretty nasty weather behind and on top of it. The top had become worn, and I had ordered a new one from California, but an E-Bay problem with the sellers had arrived(I paid up front, they were idiots, was the problem) and the top had not arrived(and would not until February). So the way it stood, I had a top that was "air conditioned"...the back window was out, and the rear windows were as Jeep had a bikini top and it was December...even with a good heater, this could be a problem. But being the cheap asses we were(at least me), I say.."Hell, let's tow the Jeep to Arizona, and drive it's only 2300 miles, most of the trip is through warm weather country, so what's the problem?

Off we went, me driving a 40 foot Diesel Pusher, Sam a 30 foot Class C. The trip out, with the Jeep in tow was routine....we stopped at the Phoenix Flying J Truck Stop for the night on December 3rd.....the weather was dry and warm, things were looking good. Up the next morning, we head across I-8 for Yuma in the desert. One of those towns, like El Paso, San Diego, and Laredo, where worlds seem to collide. We got there before noon and after completing the paper work, we were off, in our "air conditioned" open road Wrangler.

Things went well early, making good time, we decided to avoid the trip north on I-17 to Flagstaff...instead taking the scenic route, that being US 60 across central Arizona towards Show Low, Snowflake, then stay the night at Holbrook on l-40. The trip was a nice view, and we stayed warm, even after getting into the central mountains...the weather had cooled, but with jackets and the heat on...things were not bad....the next day would be different. Stopping at a motel in Holbrook, we got the ingenious way to keep the Jeep fairly warm...we rigged our sleeping bags across the back bar, and secured them...looking like a combination of the "Beverly Hillbillies" and John Steinbeck's Okie travelers from the "Grapes of Wrath", we headed out Monday morning 12/5/05 across the high desert of New Mexico towards the Texas Panhandle.....if you think New Mexico and north Texas can't get've never been there in the winter and early spring...especially driving a partially open Jeep. The ride from Amarillo to Sayre, Oklahoma, had to be the coldest I've ever been in a vehicle....even colder than my buddy Rick's non heated Mustang was in our college days, when we would go from Athens, Ohio, to Parkersburg, West Virginia, to do whatever we did in those college days, over 30 years ago.

Cold to the bone(the temps had dropped into single digits in the panhandle), we stopped for fuel and coffee at the Flying J outside of Sayre....then we came up with a plan that would get us across Oklahoma towards our night's destination of Tulsa. We took our extra sleeping bag, laid it across our laps, donned wool caps, hooded sweatshirts and our leather jackets, turned the heat up full blast and zoomed across the OK prairie through OK City towards Tulsa....after the strange looks we got during the daylight hours, it was good to be looking like fools in the pitch black of night where few could view us.

We made it to the Motel 6 on Tulsa's east side around midnight....I had grabbed a six pack, Sam a couple of sodas, and a pizza. We needed something to take the chill off...those items and a hot shower did the trick.

We got up early the next was still cold, but by the time we reached Joplin, Missouri, on I-44, things had warmed up enough to get rid of the lap blanket and the wool caps....The sun was out for the remainder of our trip across Missouri and Illinois, the night time part of the trip on I-70 through Indiana to Ohio was a bit warmer(in the 40s as I recall), and we pulled into the driveway in Celina, vowing never to drive the Jeep again until the new top came in....for the next 2 months it would be air travel or nothing for me, Sam still could stand taking a Greyhound on occasion...I would stick with airplanes or no trips until baseball season began.

Back Later>>>>>>>>>>

photos-The only photo I didn't get was one with the Jeep after we had Jerri rigged it to try and stay was a sight. Top is me with the RV after dropping, various photos along the way back on US 60, AZ 77, and I-40, and Sam looking down the canyon outside Show Low, AZ.


Buck said...

...if you think New Mexico and north Texas can't get've never been there in the winter and early spring...

S'true, that. Ask me how I know. ;-)

The Hermit said...

Those are some great pictures of the countryside. Makes me want to go back to Chaco canyon!