Happy Alpiner’s doing what we do best (eating and socializing) 🙂
Evening social hour:
Stilla and I visited the Chicken Ranch (made famous from the 1982 movie starring Dolly Parton & Burt Reynolds) located just a stone throw away from the RV Park. They give G-rated tours for the tourists and have a nice bar area for visitors.
Another highly successful SoCal Rally thanks to host(s) Jim & Stephanie Archer along with cohost(s) Sandy & Debi Johnson! Read more about the Wine Stomp Rally on our Alpine SoCal Quarterly Newsletter “The Matterhorn” (←link here). Stephanie Archer did a great write up on our time here.
After a good nights rest at the Amarillo, TX Elks Lodge on Monday the 26th, we continued west on I-40 where we stopped briefly at the Cadillac Ranch (←link). Check out the link to the left or click here for more information from Wikipedia® on this popular roadside attraction that was created in 1974.
We were able to park the Urban Escape Vehicle on the frontage road alongside I-40 and walk out to the cars.
We even added our proverbial “2-cents” worth of spray paint, which is encouraged by the way.
Look at the many layers of paint that have been applied by tourists over the years (below).
There was even a young entrepreneur, who had set up a temporary stand (on his tailgate) by the entrance gate. He was selling chunks of the multiple layers of hardened spray paint that had fallen off the cars. He carved these chunks of multi-colored spray paint into various shapes and made key chains, refrigerator magnets, etc., Pretty cool, but we didn’t buy any. And sorry, I forgot to take pictures of them.
We finally made it to the New Mexico border around mid-day on the 27th.
Just after the Texas/New Mexico border we stopped at Russell’s Truck Stop & Museum (←link). Another cool Route 66 themed attraction, but this one was was free 🙂 We took a quick tour:
While at Russell’s Truck Stop & Museum, I noticed a tire service bay around back so I stopped to ask where I might be able to get a front end alignment and/or new tires. I’ve noticed that the Urban Escape Vehicle has been pulling slightly to the right ever since we left Bowling Green, KY and it’s been getting worse. I even wasted an hour or more a few days earlier when we were just outside Memphis because I stopped to check with several tire related businesses there to see if they did RV alignments and to maybe get it checked out. Every place I stopped at either didn’t do RV alignments and/or didn’t have reasonably priced new tires in stock. One shop recommended that I just rotate the tires because I still have plenty of tread depth, just abnormal wear. Anyway, I’ve been on the lookout for an RV service center or other qualified place ever since Memphis. Once again, this place (Russell’s) didn’t do alignments either, but they recommended a place just down the highway, Terry’s Truck Service.
Check out the unusual wear in the pictures below. The driver’s side appears to be wearing more on the inside of the tire whereas the passenger side is wearing more on the outside.
We found Terry’s Truck Service Center (sorry no website link) with the directions we got from the Russell’s Truck Stop & Museum service guy. Terry’s didn’t have the equipment to do an alignment but the technician checked out my tires and suggested I just rotate the tires and he commented that he’s seen this kind of wear before on some substandard brands of tires. My tires are 11R22.5’s made by Hankook. I had new tires put on a little over 4 years ago (March 2012) and have approximately 30k miles on them. As most RV’ers already know; it’s highly recommended that you replace tires every 5 years, 7 years at the most, regardless of how good the tread may still be.
They (Terry’s Truck Service) charged me $53 to rotate the front tires. It made all the difference in the world… the Coach tracks straight and true once more. It’s like driving a new Coach again. Weird, huh?!? But I’m still going to get an alignment soon along with new tires. I think I’ll just replace the front tires in the very near future and wait until next year to replace the rear ones in order to spread out the financial burden.
We continued on and finally made Albuquerque by the evening of the 27th. Another long travel day – about 290 miles.
We chose to stay at the Enchanted Trails RV Park & Trading Post in Albuquerque and paid $18 with our Passport America discount. The main reason we chose to stay at this park is because some friends and fellow Alpine Coach Owners, Mike & Donna Kuper happened to be there. I follow Mikes blog at FlyingtheKoop.com and was aware of their location which happened to be along our route.
Mike & Donna graciously invited us to eat with them outside their coach after we got parked and settled. We enjoyed some adult beverages while we caught up with each other’s recent travels since we were last together in Lake Havasu at the Fireworks Rally back in February. Thanks Mike & Donna! It was great seeing you again, and hopefully it won’t be so long to the next time 🙂
On the morning of the 28th, we hit the road again and set our sites on reaching Kingman AZ. We heard of an Elks Lodge there that has dry camping spots available to travelers at no cost. Additionally, we knew that if we reached Kingman, we could easily make the final leg of our trip to Pahrump NV in order to make it to our Alpine SoCal Rally in time for the scheduled Rally kickoff on the 29th.
470 miles later, yup! – you heard right – 470 miles later we pulled into the Elks Lodge in Kingman, AZ on the evening of the 28th.
We drove onto their old (no longer used) tennis courts and dropped jacks, put out the slides, and ran up the satellite dish. We went inside the lodge for a couple adult beverages and then went back to the coach for some much needed rest.
On the morning of the 29th, we left Kingman and headed north on Hwy 93 towards Las Vegas. The following pictures are coming up to and crossing the new bridge by Hoover Dam. This was the first time we’ve used the new bridge (←Wikipedia® link), on previous trips we always had to drive across the dam itself.
After skirting Las Vegas we continued west on NV-160 and made Pahrump by early afternoon… plenty of time to check in and join the Alpine SoCal group for social hour (meet & greet) and pizza.
My next post will cover our fun times at the Alpine SoCal Rally in Pahrump, NV. I promise to get caught up soon as I continue to work through the computer and photo issues that I discussed earlier in this post (←link). Stay tuned…
Okay… it’s “catch-up time” again on the blog posts; I’ve let the blog get waaay behind because of computer issues coupled with photo download problems. I’m still working through some of the issues and might end up having to get a new laptop soon. My circa. 6 yr. old MacBook Pro laptop has crashed several times, and once even required an extensive and time-consuming rebuild of our iPhoto Library (aka Pictures Folder). In the meantime, as a temporary stop-gap measure, I’ve upgraded my iCloud space limitation so I can let the iPhone automatically upload pictures to iCloud since they won’t transfer directly to my laptop anymore. However, this means every time I upload or download pics for the blog, I’m using mega-data on our already limited data plans transferring pics from my iPhone to the iCloud and then back down again to the laptop for resizing and posting. We have (I think) ~20GB AT&T service with rollover data on our iPhones and 20GB of data on our Verizon JetPack hotspot. And oh, by-the-way… don’t go over on the Verizon data because they’ll hit you with a $15 fee for every GB you go over!*! And don’t get me started on how lame Verizon’s usage data is… for instance, our jetpack data usage menu will show 18GB of data used out of our 20 GB at the end of the month (our data renews on the 2nd of each month) and naturally, I think I have 2 GB left so I’ll download a few more pics from iCloud and BAM! the next thing ya know, you’re 3GB over and looking at an extra $45 – $60 in fees!! Aaargh*!%#
So bear with me as I try to get the blog posts caught up to the present…
We left Memphis on the 23rd of September (hope you liked the Graceland Tour from my previous post), we took many more photos but only a select few made it into the last blog post, for the reasons explained earlier.
The next day, we headed on to Broken Arrow, OK to visit with good friends Jerry & Marilyn Baumgartner. Total travel distance for the day was 120 miles.
The Muskogee Turnpike toll caught us by surprise between I-40 and Broken Arrow. Fortunately, it was only $2.50. Here we are taking a break at a rest area (below) just south of Broken Arrow.
With a little help from Marilyn over the phone with directions on the last mile or so, we pulled into the Baumgartner ranch and hooked up to power from the garage. And you can’t beat the moochdocking rate 🙂
Jerry & Marilyn showed us around the ranch…
where we made friends with some of the livestock…
and even fed the fish in the well stocked pond.
Jerry & Marilyn showed us around town and we checked out a couple of local hangouts. Good times!
The next day we took a drive around the area to check out some nice rivers and lakes. We scoped out a few nice campgrounds for future reference. Thanks for the personalized tour Jerry & Marilyn!
Here we are enjoying lunch at a cool hangout near one of the local lakes.
On our last night before heading on west, we drove into Tulsa and spent a fun evening at the Hard Rock Casino.
Luckily we didn’t leave too much money behind at the casino. It’s all about supporting the local economy, right? 😉
We said our ‘see-ya-laters’ to Jerry & Marilyn on Monday the 26th of September and headed back towards I-40 to continue our westward trek. It was really great getting to stop by the Baumgartner Ranch… just wish we could have stayed longer but we had a deadline to be at the Alpine SoCal Rally in Pahrump by the 29th. Thanks for the hospitality Jerry & Marilyn! See you down the road again soon 🙂
After another long day traveling west on I-40 and after getting past Oklahoma City, we stopped to take a break at the Route 66 Museum (←link) located in Clinton, OK.
The entrance fee was $10 and in my opinion, well worth the money. I always enjoy anything Route 66 and car related. Follow along on the tour with the following pictures:
We finally made Amarillo after a 375 mile travel day. We usually like to average around 150 miles per day when we’re traveling, but unfortunately (for us), we hung around the daughters house in Bowling Green KY a little too long and got a late start. We have to push it hard in order to meet our rally commitment in Pahrump NV by the 29th.
We used our iPhone apps and the Elks.org website to locate an Elks Lodge in Amarillo. We paid $15 and pulled around back to hook up to 50 amp power. After a couple adult beverages inside the lodge, we settled in for some presidential debates on TV 🙁
Check back soon for my next post that will (hopefully) bring the blog a little closer to being up to date 🙂
We finally got everything loaded and said our goodbyes on the 21st of September so we could begin our trek westward in order to be at our next scheduled Alpine Coach Rally in Pahrump, NV by the 29th.
I mentioned at the end of an earlier post (here) that I’ve been having problems downloading photos and got behind on the blog posts… It was great staying at my daughters house for the last two months and we got a lot of renovations done on their new house, but it was finally time to get back on the road.
I was able to secure the new scooter on the back of the Silverado with a receiver hitch carrier that I got from DiscountRacks.com for around $200. I wrote about getting the scooter in an earlier post (here).
We stopped just south of Bowling Green, KY at a Speedco and got an oil change and lube for around $300. I like Speedco because they work fast and let you supervise the work. They also do an oil analysis and give you the results right away. After a relatively late start to the day and stopping for the oil change, we only managed a little over 100 miles for our first day back on the road. We found an RV park/campground that offered the Passport America (←link) discount near Dickson, TN. The Tanbark Campground only cost us $13.75 for our overnight stay.
We noticed a passenger just under the main awning when we set up for the night. I wonder if we brought him all the way from Bowling Green?
After a good nights rest, we traveled on to Memphis (~180 miles) and settled on a campground called the Agricenter International RV Park which is actually located in Germantown, a suburb of Memphis. A full hook-up spot (30 amp) cost us $27. We arrived early enough after our relatively short travel day to still make it over to Graceland for a tour. This was a destination that Stilla has been wanting to visit for a long time. The RV park was probably a half hour away from Graceland but some friends had told us about it and said it was in a much safer neighborhood than the other RV parks around Graceland.
We set up in our site and disconnected the Silverado for our drive over to Graceland. We took lots of pictures, but I’ll only leave you with these select ones (below). Enjoy the tour:
Our total tour price was $85.50 for the both of us.
Front view of Graceland:
Inside the house:
Rear view of the house:
Elvis Presley’s burial site; where he, his parents, and grandmother, Minnie Mae Hood Presley, are buried:
Okay… time to bring the blog up to date. I finally got some of my photo download issues worked out for the time being. So let me tell you about our day trip to Nashville and then I’ll follow up with separate blog posts about our trip back west to where we are now in Pahrump, NV.
Stilla and I drove the Silverado down to Nashville from the daughters house in Bowling Green, KY where we’ve been parked for the last two months. This was on the 18th of September, just before we started our westward trek to make it to the Alpine SoCal Rally which starts on the 29th of September in Pahrump, NV. But more about that in my next blog post.
We made the 67 mile trip from Bowling Green in about an hour and ended up in downtown Nashville for a little sightseeing.
The hardest part about visiting downtown Nashville was finding a parking spot. We finally found a parking lot a couple blocks from downtown that cost us $21 for 4 hours. Here’s some of our pics from the downtown area:
The pedal bar tours were pretty popular as you can see from the photos:
There were even “party barges” running around downtown:
There was quite a line of folks waiting to get in when we arrived. There isn’t an entrance fee, but they limit the number of people in the store at any one time. Definitely a popular tourist stop… they even had tour buses stop at the store which is only one small part of the larger Marathon Motor Works building which has been renovated to feature numerous different shops.
A popular photo op in front of the door to the Antique Archaeology American Pickers store (below). I think every other person that was waiting in line for their turn to enter the store took the same picture.
Inside the store: I recognized many of the items in the store from episodes of the television series. Maybe you recognize some items as well?
One of the other shops in the Marathon Motor Works building sold Jack Daniels items and had a Jack Daniels themed Indian motorcycle on display:
This Cadillac (below) was showing off outside the building when we finished the tour, so I had to take a couple of pictures, right?
It looks like someone put the old early ’60s Cadillac body on an old Army 2 1/2 ton truck chassis. What do you think?
We finished off our day trip to Nashville by stopping at the Parthenon which is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. It was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Read more on this from my friend Wikipedia (link here).
My friend Wikipedia® says: The Natchez Trace, also known as the “Old Natchez Trace”, is a historic forest trail within the United States which extends roughly 440 miles (710 km) from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee, linking the Cumberland, Tennessee, and Mississippi Rivers. The trail was created and used for centuries by Native Americans, and was later used by early European and American explorers, traders, and emigrants in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Today, the path is commemorated by the 444-mile (715 km) Natchez Trace Parkway and Bridge, which follow the approximate path of the Trace, as well as the related Natchez Trace Trail. Parts of the original trail are still accessible and some segments are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
I’ve been told that the parkway is a popular drive that I’d like to do sometime in the future with the motorhome.
The Parthenon building was pretty impressive but unfortunately we couldn’t tour inside because they had already closed for the day.
After a full day of touring around Nashville, we drove back to Bowling Green to get ready to pack up and start heading west for our next adventure in the Urban Escape Vehicle.
Hope you enjoyed the pics from Nashville as much as we enjoyed taking them. Stay tuned for the next installment which details our westward trek to Nevada…