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Old 08-09-2004, 06:36 PM   #1
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11 days in a Caravel!

We returned yesterday from our marathon road trip (my first road trip ever that took us more than a day drive from home). 4600+ miles, 11 states, 11 days with our Ford E150 and 68 Caravel. We left the pets home with the petsitters, anticipating hot weather, which turned out to be a good idea. Sometimes our only relief was finding a cool restaurant to hide out until it cooled off in the evenings. The heat index in OK was 107, I almost passed out!

I prepared the Caravel to keep my husband entertained before we left. We brought the laptop computer, a new Verizon phone to hook up to the laptopso he could check his email, the laptop also plays DVDs, so we brought Simpsons Season 3 and 4 with us, and I bought a PCtoTV box so if the campground had cable we could hook up to that and watch TV on the laptop. It all worked very well.

Our first night was in Twin Falls, ID. Our second night was in Rawlings, WY, where we ran into some other WBCCI members in a BVan. It was Ray and Abbie Joens of Utah. I introduced myself, and had a nice chat with them. They wanted to see the Caravel, and showed us the BVan, and we spent a while discussing the things the WBCCI needs to do to survive. It was nice to run into these folks far from home, but be treated like old friends, all because we share a love of Airstreams.

We spent Friday through Monday at the VAC rally in CO Springs, which was great. I enjoyed meeting all the other streamers, and forum folks. The hubby enjoyed all the touristy stuff. I think our favorite thing there was the Air Force Academy, particularly the B-52 on static display!

We continued on to Dodge City, KS the next evening. It was kind of a spur of the moment thing, because we just saw it on the map and thought it sounded like fun. It wasn't. Turns out they knocked down all their history in the 60s and all they had left were signs indicating what once was. Many of the little towns we drove through on the highway had more historic buildings remaining than Dodge City did.

We spent a couple days in Oklahoma with friends of the family, who showed us where my dad grew up in Sapulpa, and where my Grandma had her Cafe on old route 66. It's a Wok n' Roll now!

In Oklahoma City we went to visit the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, which was really a beautiful thing. Almost brought me to tears, and I am not normally very sentimental about such things. It was very touching. If you have a chance to see it, do so.

We cut through Texas and continued on to Grants, NM, getting on and off I40 to see pieces of old Route 66 along the way. It seems every town has a sign on the highway proclaiming THEY are the HEART of old Route 66! The next day we entered Arizona, where we swung by Meteor Crater in the midst of a terrible lightening storm, forcing us to mostly admire it from the safety of the visitor's center. We headed north, same way as the storm was going, and continued to have driving rains and lightening, all the way to the Grand Canyon. Because the lightening knocked out their cash registers in the booth we got to go in for free, had a quick peek at the canyon from the safety of The Watchtower, and ran back to the Caravel to continue the journey. We spent the night near Lake Powell.

Next morning we cut through Utah in a single day, ending up in Twin Falls, ID again. The next morning we headed home. Along the way we saw a genuine dust devil kicking dust high into the sky in a slow twisting funnel. Pretty impressive! By evening we were home with the dogs.

The only problem we had the whole way was a leak at one of the plumbing joints in the bathroom. Luckily we heard the waterpump running, which alerted me to the leak. If I'd been on city water it would have just made a mess! We tried to patch it with some rubber tape for sealing leaks, but it didn't work worth beans. I ended up keeping a pan under it, and turning off the pump when it wasn't needed.

So, we had a good safe trip. Loved the new axel, it rode like a dream the whole way. We hit some bad roads, road construction, and one railroad crossing in Kansas that I was certain left van and trailer momentarily airborn! Other than the gaucho cushions being on the floor, everything stayed put inside, even after that one. So, like I said, a good trip for our first road trip ever. I'm looking forward to many more with our much-loved little Caravel.

My favorite shot from the whole trip, the Caravel posed against the red rocks of Arizona. I'll see if I can upload some more to the photo album.
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Old 08-09-2004, 06:51 PM   #2
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Stephanie, I loved reading your trip! I'll bet Oklahoma's heat did hit you hard, used as you must be to the North West. It sounds like you might be able to give some tips to those who are planning a Rte 66 Caravan next year. So glad to read about your good times and safe arrival home. Wasn't it fun to meet Airstreamers enroute? I think we enjoyed that as much as anything on our summer trip. Best thing about leaving the dogs? Getting back home to them Wally, our Weimaraner, was an absolute sticktight for a day or so-couldn't get enough loving. I agree-your Caravel shot against the red rocks is stunning!
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Old 08-09-2004, 07:01 PM   #3
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yep, I'll second that. great trip...great story! great pic, too! post a bigger one!!

and LOL! about Dodge City!!
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Old 08-09-2004, 09:26 PM   #4
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Stephanie,

Your posts are always enjoyed!

We pulled our '67 Caravel (now "ex-Caravel") thru Denver last summer at 106 degrees. We can relate! Our old fridge couldn't keep up so we ended up buying dry ice to augment. That seemed to work.

Anyway, what a fun trip you had. Your pic is terrific.

Have you found a place where there aren't so darn many people? If so, let me know. We're looking for it.

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Old 08-09-2004, 11:04 PM   #5
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Go north to cool off and avoid the crowds...

We just completed our 3 week 6000+ odyssey from California through Canadian Rockies to Oshkosh WI for air show and back. Loved the stories of dodging lightning storms and multiple Centers of Historic Route 66... Experienced some of them pulling our trailer home from Texas to San Francisco area in July of 2003...

For Xray's benefit, we can confirm that eastern Montana and western North Dakota are almost certifiably people-free, so if you're looking to avoid crowds, anywhere off the interstate from Bozeman to middle of N. Dakota will do.

And for Stephanie's benefit, morning temperature in Lake Louise was 37 degrees, and ski parkas were appropriate clothing for wearing out onto the glacier between Lake Louise and Jasper in Canadian national parks... Great shame was that most of campers in rented motorhomes or owned campers up there were either Europeans or retirees who could afford more than a 7 day vacation..

Had great time finding and talking with airstreamers among the 30,000 campers at Oshkosh, most of whom also owned airplanes..

John McG
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Old 08-09-2004, 11:17 PM   #6
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Yeah, I highly recommend XRay head for Wyoming, there weren't many people there. It was the first time we have been somewhere where you can drive for miles and not even see a building from one horizon to the other.

BTW, we didn't even bother to try and use the fridge, knew it wouldn't keep up. We just kept an ice chest full of pop so we had cool drinks and ice water.

I'd love to head up to the Canadian Rockies someday. I've also heard Vancouver Island is a beautiful trip. Maybe someday. I think our next big trip will be next year, back to Illinois and see Yellowstone, Rushmore, Devils tower, Crazyhorse, etc along the way.

There's so much to see. I think you can't really realize how big the country is until you drive it. It was really eye opening to meet the people in different places and see how they live, and it was a relief to pull back into our own neck of the woods and come home.
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Old 08-10-2004, 12:02 AM   #7
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Lightbulb FYI...new thumbnail feature ~

Quote:
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great pic, too! post a bigger one!!
If you click on the thumbnail, a larger picture will appear...although this particular one is only slightly larger.

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Old 09-16-2004, 03:54 AM   #8
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I finally got around to updating my webpage with a bit more about our Oklahoma adventure, and more pictures as well. Even then I had to restrain myself - I took LOTS of pictures, and for my own journal, well, it's about 12 pages long - a page a day! This is the overview though

http://www.stephanies-mustang.com/caravel/oklahoma.htm
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Old 09-16-2004, 07:40 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Stefrobrts
I finally got around to updating my webpage with a bit more about our Oklahoma adventure, and more pictures as well. Even then I had to restrain myself - I took LOTS of pictures, and for my own journal, well, it's about 12 pages long - a page a day! This is the overview though

http://www.stephanies-mustang.com/caravel/oklahoma.htm
Stef,

Thoroughly enjoyed your trip. We've done much of the same roads you have; Colorado Springs, Wyoming, Grand Canyon, Utah... Funny, our last trip in our '67 Caravel was 11 days too (sold her for the CCD we have now). Thank you for sharing your experience.

Last summer we caught ourselves in Rawlings, Wyoming needing a place to camp and we were just so darn tired after driving up through Denver (106 degrees) and northern Colorado that we literally collapsed on a fire road in the Rawlings foothills. We hoped nobody would notice and we were right, thankfully (we didn't camp in a single campground the whole trip). Getting turned around challenged my driving skills in the dark but we made it and survived. Rawlings is a desolate place but pretty in its own sort of way. Take a look at the snow fences we parked behind to hide our camping spot...

Thanks for the journal. It was much enjoyed.
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Old 09-16-2004, 10:44 AM   #10
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Thanks XRay! That's great, what beautiful pictures. We finally had to ask someone what the snow fences were. We spent many hours speculating about them, and just couldn't puzzle it out. We don't have anything like that out here.

Some people like parks, and some people like to stay where they can. I went with the parks because my husband was so much happier with the Cable TV hooked up after a long day of driving. I would have been happy with a book, but we all have to make concessions

Actually, I found beauty everywhere I went on this trip. I was just amazed at how people make their livings out in what I considered the middle of nowhere. We only crossed a couple big cities, and were in the country the rest of the time. It's easy to forget most of America is country, it's just the city folks are louder, so you hear about them more.
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Old 09-16-2004, 10:51 AM   #11
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Congratulations Stephanie!

What a great trip.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and lovely story.

We've been planning a long trip for a long time now and it's always incredibly refreshing to learn new tips. Now I know we'll just drive...around Kansas

The Caravel with the Red Rocks is superb! Submit it to the AS website for pic of the month. It should win
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Old 09-16-2004, 01:51 PM   #12
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Thanks Kimili! That's a great idea, I went and submitted the photo to them. We'll see

You should do a road trip, it's good for the soul! Don't skip Kansas though, or you won't get to listen to the great farm report radio station
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Old 09-17-2004, 12:17 AM   #13
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Drats!!! I missed your initial thread back in August!! Now just catching up after working hard to finally retire (Sept 7 )
Sounds like a great trip with lots of challenges!! Not my favorite time to visit the Midwest (grew up in Kansas), but sometimes you can't be too choosy when you're still working. We're ready to embark on a 4K mile trip back to Kansas next week. Also, our first trip more than a days drive from home. Will be taking our time, since we both retired the same time. Our high points will be to spend several days in the Tetons NP, and Canyonlands NP on the way back. Will be spending time with family, so will have real beds to sleep in about half time. I too bought a pctv to hook up to laptop to maybe catch the TV news(should arrive tomorrow). Haven't quite figured out how we'll get email, unless have a telephone hookup...we're on AOL. Maybe I should check into Verizon wireless email, since we already have their wireless phone service. Instead of heat, we're a little worried about running into snow over the Rockies. Bought chains yesterday, just in case. Too bad you couldn't make it farther east in Kansas to Abilene, my hometown. There's a lot of history there (Old Abilene Town, End of the Chisolm Trail, Eisenhower Museum and home, Greyhound Hall of Fame, Brookville Hotel Family Style Dinners). We are looking foward to seeing parts of Kansas we never got to see growing up. Thanks for sharing your post. We hope to share our trip on return.
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Old 09-17-2004, 12:33 AM   #14
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Hi Jim, sounds like a great trip. I'm sure going home makes it a lot more interesting, it was all strange new country to us.

As for picking up your email, you can get a cell phone that will hook up to your laptop like we did, or if you have AOL it's easy to just connect up to a phone line, get the local number, and grab your mail that way. Almost every park we stayed at had a phone line for campers to use, usually in the office.

Hope you have a great trip! I wish we had the freedom to just wander, and not need to get home any particular time. It must be great to be retired!
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