Saturday, March 17, 2018

Desert View - Day 127 - T minus zero......lift off!

7:23 am - Saturday - March 17th - Wittman, AZ - 47º F, 64% humidity, wind 7 mph out of the east.....forecast for today is sunny skies with a high.......get this......of 67º, and a low tonight (47 º F) that will be higher than the high (45º F) at Desert View today!  I slept with my bedroom window open for the first time in months and months and did not get up until 7 am!  

I was awake earlier than I wished at 4:30 am on 'T minus zero' day.  It is my nature to be thinking about what needs to be done and by what time if we are to meet our 'Jello' departure time of 9 am, so my mind was racing as it checked off one item after another in its proper order that must be accomplished before we begin to back the Newell and American trailer out of RV site #2 in the Desert View residential area.  Of course there is that rascally 2" of snow that fell Thursday afternoon that is still coating everything outside in the predawn 26º F temperature.......

.......this is not my ideal 'roll the wheels' day.  Over the years I have prepared for lift off in driving rain, in 'whiteout conditions' fog, in hellacious wind and now with 2" of snow on the ground.  Thankfully as the sun rose over the eastern edge of the Grand Canyon for our last day in Desert View there were only a few clouds so we immediately began to be hit with its wonderful warming rays, and things began to thaw.

I didn't venture outside until after 7:30 am.....until then I busied myself with folding down my computer table, putting my laptop away in its travel bag, setting up my small HP laptop which runs my Delorme GPS program on the center console, and then entering our route for the day.

As I related above, our 'Jello' goal was to be backing out of our site by 9 am.  I had to disconnect the utilities (water, sewer and electric).....I had to connect our pancake compressor to the 'quick connect' in the right engine bay to air up the system before turning the big Detroit Diesel 6V92 over.  I do this when we have been sitting still for a long time as it decreases the amount of time to finish the airing up process when I finally fire up the diesel.  Once the pancake compressor had done its job I had to stow it away, then put away the portable fire pit, pull the tire covers off the Newell tires, pull the mirror and windshield wipers covers off (TLE actually did this), take down our wind chimes which hang from the passenger side view mirror, disconnect the trailer from electricity, put away the various 'welcome' mats, and entry step for the Newell, and finally drop the trailer on the hitch.

By the time all this was done it was just after 9 am and time to begin backing out of our site.....

.....backing out took about 5 minutes as I had to do a little maneuvering to extricate us from our shoehorn site......nevertheless, we were successful, and by 9:11 am I was driving away from site #2......

.....we had decided earlier that I would drive the Newell with trailer over to the RV parking area at the Desert View Watchtower parking lot where we would insert the VW without blocking traffic on Colter Lane where site #2 is.

Within a few minutes the VW was loaded.....I still can't believe we got it in......we have way too much stuff and need to seriously begin to discard some of it in the worst kind of way...... any rate, we were on our way out the east gate of the Grand Canyon by 9:30 am headed for lower elevations......and I mean LOWER elevations!  Our modest goal for the day was 240 miles away at the home of dear friends Tom and Darlene in Wittmann, AZ (near Surprise) which sits at the deliciously low elevation of 1,683'.....well over a mile lower than we have been at for the past 9 months.

As we slipped down the 30 mile decline towards Cameron, AZ I turned to TLE and said "It's good to be moving again", to which she replied "Yeah, it is good".  Our first stop of the day necessitated by the alarmingly depleted nature of our 60 gallon propane tank was the Conoco fuel station just outside of Flagstaff where they sell propane for $2.69/gallon.  They also have an extremely 'easy in, easy out' configuration that we love.  We took on 56 gallons of propane, which means we had about 4 gallons left......maybe another 10 days, or so before we would have no longer had hot water.  Thank goodness we topped off our tank in Page, AZ on November 6th the same day we arrived at Desert View!

From Flagstaff we picked up I-40 westbound to I-17 southbound and then it was just a matter of holding on to the steering wheel and 'jaking' down the 20 mile decline into CampVerde where we again had a 5 mile climb out of the Verde Valley.  

We took a brief break at the Sunset Rest Area and then continued our ever downward trajectory to AZ-74 (aka: Carefree Highway) where we turned west toward our ultimate destination in Wittmann, AZ.....

The big building is Tom's "workshop" where Tom keeps his 2002 Newell when he and Darlene are not traveling

......we arrived at Tom and Darlene's country property about 3 pm....within minutes I was wearing flip flops, shorts and a t-shirt and enjoying the 69º F temperature as I connected our utilities.  My ears are still 'popping' from the massive elevation loss!

We spent the afternoon and early evening catching up with Tom and's been almost 15 months since we were last here....that is difficult to seems like just a few weeks.  We'll be here for about 5 days decompressing from out 4.5 month odyssey at the Desert View General Store, and then head to Indio, CA where we will spend three days with good vagabonding friends Steve and Linda, then it is home to SoCal to visit with our children, grand children, and great grand child for 3 weeks.  Life is good!

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  1. Fire up that big bad diesel and head to warmer climates, Safe travels my friend! It was GREAT to spend some time with you and Elaine. Have fun in Maine and we will see you in Florida.

  2. Nice to be back on the road again and to lower elevations, enjoy the warm and continued safe travels.


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