We planned to head out between 9:00 and 9:30, hoping to miss the rush hour traffic through Phoenix. Plenty to do to get ready to roll. With utility stuff put away, the truck hooked up, slides in, and Izzy in the truck, all we had left was to roll the cargo trailer to the street and hook it up to the HitchHiker. There is a downhill slope to the driveway on our site, so it was pretty easy to get the cargo trailer moved into position. We hooked it up, locked up all the compartments on the HH, and check lights... we are good to go. Just before 9:30.
The traffic was light as we made our way to the 101, then onto I-10. I didn't have to touch my brakes all the way through Phoenix - fortunate timing on our part!
The forecast was calling for winds 20 to 30 by afternoon, with blowing dirt... OK, so not the best timing. The wind was building, so it was time to hit the road.
"So, what about that new woman?' you're asking. "Did Joan get a makeover or did she dump your sorry ass?"
Well, Joan doesn't need a makeover, and my ass isn't sorry. We have been traveling with a GPS for a lot of years. When we first got to Phoenix, we bought a new one. Just like the old one, we call this one Jill. This version of Jill has some nice improvements over the old one: voice recognition (you talk to her, she talks back; kinda like Siri on an iPhone), photos of Interstate intersections, including an illustration of what lane to be in. Plus, we found out as you move from one time zone to another, she automatically sets the new time.
As you can see from the photo, she also works in a vertical format; which makes more sense to me than horizontal, since you want to know what is in front of you, not to the side. Yes, she will work in either orientation.
We have used her around town and on our trip to Vegas. But, with custom POI (points of interest) for RV parks and truck stops, she is a champ.
We had a quartering headwind from Phoenix to Tucson... and saw about 9 miles per gallon on the truck's trip computer. Heading east out of the Tucson area, it turned to a quartering tailwind and our MPG went up 2 miles per gallon.
We stopped for fuel at a Flying J north of Tucson...
No, we didn't eat at Denny's (even though I qualify for their Senior Disount); it is co-located with the Flying J. Joan made sandwiches, Izzy got to have lunch in the truck, too... and we rolled.
The weather weasels were calling for winds gusting to 40 mph, but we didn't see that along our route... it was nice when we made that turn to the east - the truck ran quieter and the MPG started to climb.
Eastern Arizona and western New Mexico have areas that are known for blowing dust...
It wasn't bad. Big Red ran like a champ. We started to consider where to stop for the night... I suggested a place in beautiful Deming, New Mexico, that we haven't stopped at before. We usually stay at the Escapees park there, but it is seriously dusty when the wind kicks up... which it usually does in this area. So, we are in 81 Palms for the night, on the west side of Deming. It is still a gravel "parking lot," but it is more gravel than dirt like the Escapees park - should be less dirt blowing around. Yes, we are passing through this area (all of NM and most of west TX) during the Annual Blowing Dirt Festival, January 1st through December 31st each year.
No way around it - stopping here means we will be stopping tomorrow somewhere in west Texas. By Wednesday, hot weather is supposed to move into south central Texas (in the 90s)... back in the Tropical Tip, it will be in the 70s. But, that is a few days down the road.
And, we are not on a schedule. Well, except it is time to take Izzy for a walk.
On edit: Little Izzy walking about...
What looks like messy fur is her silky fur blowing in the wind. She was not a big fan of the loose gravel in this park, so we spent some time on the picnic table before venturing out further.
I saw this interesting heavy-duty truck as a tow vehicle...
It looks like it has a cut-down pickup bed. Nice sleeper cab.
Walking back to our rig, Izzy spent a little time by the little bit of a tree on our site...
Spring hasn't arrived like in the Valley of the Sun - the elevation here is around 4,300'... supposed to get down to 42º tonight. I believe we'll be running some heat.
And the last bit of daylight off to the west...