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Western Quest: Leg 1 – Waynesboro, Virginia to Erie, Colorado

Day 0    Thursday, May 9, 2024 – Final Preparation

 

The weeks leading up to the departure were a flurry of upfitting and outfitting the new camper.  The original plan was to leave today, but life got in the way with things such as medical appointments, vehicle maintenance and reunion planning.  Despite all of the planning and good intentions, the last day became a scramble.  At the end, I found myself spotting things I might need and cramming them into the van.  The one thing I missed was the canteen that I had carried on my first Western Quest.

 

Day 1 - Destination: Hungry Mother State Park, Park Boulevard, Marion, VA, USA

 

The drive today was just a typical day on I-81.  There were a lot of trucks and other traffic on the road.  I stopped in Hollins at the Camping World to buy a surge suppressor and a few small items.  The two surge suppressors I found at home were both 50 amps and I needed a 30 amp surge suppressor.  I stopped at the Ace hardware store in Marion, VA for two eye screws for the dog barrier between the two front seats.

 


Arrival at Hungry Mother was a happy time.  There have been several enjoyable trips to Hungry Mother with family and good friends.  I spent most of the time that afternoon and evening reorganizing everything in the van, hoping to find a home for everything.  It soon became a reality that I had way to much stuff.  Items that were useful but nice to haves in the larger campers were taking up way too much space.  I put together a collection of things and gave them to a young couple camping nearby in a fifth wheel with their family.

 

Day 2 - Destination:  Home of Walt and Liz Wise,

 

Walt is a dear and old friend.  We met in 1973 while I was attending Virginia Tech for undergraduate school.  He is the godfather for my daughter Katie.  While we haven’t kept in close contact, our friendship has survived the decades.

 

The drive to Walt’s was uneventful.  He and Liz live in a beautiful area.  Their home, as one would expect with Walt, is in a remote area on top of a mountain.  The house sits on the side of a mountain with a gorgeous view of Apple Valley and several mountain peaks.  They seem to live a simple quiet life and appear to be quite happy.  They have quick access to a number of trails and hike often.  Walt plays golf with a number of the other residents.  Their primary avocation is travel which seems to bring them great pleasure.

 


Day 3 - Destination:  2495 Bryan Station Road Lexington, KY

 

I got up and had breakfast with Walt and Liz.  We chatted a bit and then I hit the road.  During the ride down the mountain, I began to learn more about driving the Ram Promaster.  It has an automatic transmission with a manual shift option.  While driving, it is easy to change to manual mode and then downshift or shift into a higher gear.  This is very handy on steep slopes.

 

The road to Walt’s house has miles of steep slopes and tight curves.  Many of the curves are safe only at a maximum speed of 25 mph.  Some curves require slowing to 15 mph.  The Promaster is a very top heavy machine which means that exceeding maximum safe speeds on curves would be suicidal.  If you drive one, believe the tip over signs on highway interchanges.  You will most certainly experience a high pucker factor on more than one occasion while learning to drive the Promaster.

 

Once hitting the interstates, my drive was quite straight forward.  I made it to Lexington, Kentucky in good time.  The property wasn’t hard to find and very near the interstate.  The property was in a quiet beautiful setting.  The site wasn’t particularly well thought out.  The campsite drive was made of either #1 or #3 stone which made it difficult for walking.  While this may be good for a base layer, layers of 57’s or crushed stone would have made it a much nicer place to camp.  Unlike other similar camping places, the campsites were near structures which detracted from the experience of camping on a rural property.

 


I set up camp and fixed our meals.  I tried to take Benjamin for a walk, but didn’t get very far.  Ultimately, we went to bed early.

 

Day 4 - Destination:  Airstream Factory Service Center, West Pike Street, Jackson Center, OH

 

I got only about 4 hours sleep.  Benjamin must have eaten something in one of the fields.  He was up from about 1 am to 4 am puking up grass and vomit.  I spent a little more time organizing and making a list of things to do with the camper.

 

The drive today was relatively short.  The drive was through the mountains from Lexington until I got to the Ohio River Valley.  Traffic really picked up after Cincinnati, but I got in a groove and made it without incident.  I arrived around 4:30 pm and got information from the lady at the Airstream service desk.  They have an ample number of sites with full hook ups at their “Terraport”.  We found an open site and camped there that night.

 

Day 5    Airstream Factory Service Center, West Pike Street, Jackson Center, OH

 

I had a decent nights sleep once I fell asleep.  My sciatica was really bad from about 9pm until midnight.  Benjamin slept all night and did eat a bit of breakfast.

 I had made the appointment at Airstream with only 1 issue.  The main vent/exhaust fan didn’t work at all.  When I made the appointment, they said I could only get the one thing done.  When I arrived, there were five additional issues:

·        The Timberline Hot Water/Furnace control system would constantly reset itself and not run the furnace;

·        A couple of the nut inserts on back panel were cross threaded nut inserts and needed to be replaced;

·        The screen door would not close properly;

·        The Onan generator needed an oil change, and;

·        The upper track for the shower door was improperly attached.

 

This is where the Airstream factory shines.  When I spoke to the service agent on the phone a couple of days prior I had asked how it would affect my warranty if I tried to fix it myself.  He said they would rather do it themselves.  When I checked in, there was no push back on the additional items and all is being taken care of.  The work seems to be reasonably good and I trust the techs.  Like always, I will have to check up on them after the fact to resolve minor issues.

 

I met a number of nice people here.  A guy from Vermont named Troy was quite friendly.  He started out selling truck bed liners and then did short haul truck driving.  A lot of people were loving up on Benjamin.  I waited almost all day.  The techs had warned that the Timberline might take quite a bit of time.  At the end of the day, they had not finished.  As a result, I shifted my next two camping reservations back a day without problem.  I made a run to Walmart to get some small storage boxes, a cane, heating pad, new dog leash and tie-out, and a bit of food.

 

Got back to Airstream in a light mist and setup camp.  Benjamin ate well and I fixed a salad.  I had to spend some time reorganizing after the techs shifted everything.  I am dreading what shape it will be in when I get it back tomorrow.  Benjamin ate well and went to bed without incident.  I watched the last episode of Pabol Escobar, El Patron de Mal, cleaned up the camper and went to bed.

 

Day 6 - Destination:  Wapakoneta KOA, Wapakoneta, OH

 

Benjamin slept well.  I had a tough couple of hours at first, but finally got some decent sleep.  I got to the front office about 7:30 am to check in.  I was wrapping up the shore power cord when the tech arrived.  He said no problem on the shower door track.

 

I met a former Marine pilot and chatted a bit.  He was a friendly guy, but ended up abruptly ending our conversation to start up one with a fellow jar head pilot.  They stood and chatted loudly right next to my table for quite a while which was extremely distracting.

 

Troy showed up again with his wife Jackie.  She was very nice as well.  We chatted about camping.  They told me that the Elks Club has camping at most lodges.  They joined, but don’t attend meetings.  They socialize with club members while camping there and said it worked out very well for them.  They also showed me an app called All Stays.  I decided to move to the local KOA.  My plan was to spend a down day there to reorganize the van prior to hitting the road west.

 

Day 7    Wapakoneta KOA, Wapakoneta, OH

 

Benjamin had a good night.  The dog run at the KOA has been a big help with my current walking limitations.  I was feeling good but tired and went to bed about 9 pm.  The sciattica pain kicked in and I didn’t get to sleep until after midnight.  Ultimately I had a decent nights sleep and got up around 7:30 am.  Things were shaping up for a good day when I noticed water coming out of the side of the van.  I did some quick diagnostics and determined there was a plumbing leak.  I called Airstream and they said they would work me in.  I rented a cottage at the KOA and unloaded a lot of the stuff in back since it would be in the techs way.  Benjamin stayed at the cottage. 

 

Google took me the back way on the drive to Jackson Center.  The route was on 2 lane county farm roads.  A small plane was dusting crops in one of the fields.  The pilot was incredibly skilled in making passes across the field and doing low altitude sharp turns.  It was a peaceful and heartwarming ride that filled me with positive thoughts.  It reminded me of other rides through the country.  This was a good moment in time.

 

I got to Airstream a bit after 1 pm.  The tech came out and thought it was probably in the Timberline water supply line.  Chatted with some people I had met before and tried to take a nap. Around 3:30 pm, the tech came out and said it was done.  Evidently one of the connections for the water pump was loose and leaking.  Knock on wood, all is fixed and I can move on.  After leaving Airstream, I went to Walmart for a few things.  I hope to make some real progress on getting things organized.  Hopefully, I can put together some things that can be boxed up and sent home.

 

One design oversight in the Rangeline is the bathroom and storage.  There is no provision for soap, shampoo and other bath items.  On the other hand, there is ample room for racks and shelves that could provide significant space.  I am working on it from my standpoint.

 

I hope to spend Friday working on the van and doing laundry.  Saturday is set aside for  a bit of rest a bit.  Neil Armstrong is evidently a native of Wapakoneta and his museum is here.  That might be and interesting sight to see.  Also, I would love to try riding my bike a bit.

 

Day 8    Wapakoneta KOA, Wapakoneta, OH

 

Worked on organizing my stuff and put together a pile of items to ship home.  After that, I went back in town to Lowe’s for moving boxes and to Walmart for a couple of items.  I spent the rest of the day putting items in their respective boxes for loading into the van.

 

Day 9    Wapakoneta KOA, Wapakoneta, OH

 

I stayed in camp all day.  The only time I moved the van was to dump the tanks.  I installed some handles along the side of the IceCo drawer top to serve as tiedowns for chairs and tables.  So far that has worked out well.  Re-packing the van was a major task. One victory was putting the IceCo refrigerator into its insulated jacket.  I was able to run the electric cord inside the jacket.  This solved a problem with the cord getting entangled when sliding the refrigerator tray in and out.

 I spent the afternoon roasting a pork tenderloin and some salmon.  The Rangeline comes equipped with a microwave, but no oven.  I purchased a Breville Pro convection oven which has the same capabilities of the Breville Joule I use at home, but is slightly smaller.  This was the first time that I had a chance to use the oven.  I rolled out the awning and placed the oven on one of the small tables.  This worked out very well and I was quite happy with it   I spent some time tying a carrying cradle for the oven.  My initial solution had been bungies and that was less that optimal.  The cradle will be an okay temporary fix, but I still need to solve that problem.

 

Day 10 - Destination:  7233 North County Road 500 E, Brazil, IN

 

The drive from Wapakoneta to Brazil was uneventful.  Lots of interstate traffic, but most everyone behaved.  I’m getting used to the way Rangeline handles and like it.  There is plenty of pickup for passing and climbing hills.  I got to Brazil at a reasonable time and decided to do a bit of shopping at Kroger.  I should have all of the necessities to get me to Erie.

 


The campground was several miles down back country roads from Brazil.  It is a well manicured residential property surrounded by farmland.  The owner has improved it with a pond, five full hook up campsites.  A pole barn for his fifth wheel and a small house off to the side.  They live in Florida three months of the year and run their mini-campground the rest of the time.

 

Day 11 - Destination:  Lazy Day Campground, State Highway J, Montgomery City, MO

 

The ride from the campground near Brazil started out very pleasantly.  Narrow back country roads under a lot of tree arches.  After making the first major turn, things changed a bit.  I got a chance to participate in some Indiana jousting.  That is when two BATs (Big Ass Trucks) come from opposite directions on a narrow road and knock each others driver’s side mirrors.  It would be fun to meet the other participants, but they run away and never come back.

 

I scratched my head and then went searching for all of the pieces.  I pieced together what I could and fixed it in place with about a half role of electrical tape.  The driver’s side mirrors were both in one piece but the mirrored surface was spider webbed into fragments about the size of a quarter.  A strategically taped stick held the upper mirror at the proper angle with tape wrapped horizontally at the middle to hold the mirror in place.  The spider webbed lower mirror snapped back in place.  A generous amount of tape wrapped around the mirror housing held it in place for the most part.

 

While working on the mirror a number of locals stopped to inquire if I needed help or directions.  When I explained the situation, all of their horror stories came gushing out.  The owner of the campground came by to see what was going on.  By the way, he was driving a red truck with towing mirrors extended all of the way.  My jousting friend’s truck was red.  Well the campground owner said how sorry he was, but offered no help.  Hmmmm.

 

Once I had the mirror pieced back together, off I headed for the Interstate.  I did have to pull over once on the highway to put an extra wrap of tape around the stick on top.  As I drove, I mulled over my options.  I was very uncomfortable thinking about driving long distance with a shattered mirror.  During an early lunch stop in Greenup, I started researching.  First I called the Ram Uconnect service.  They assigned me a case number and said someone would call me the next day.  They never returned that call.

 

Next, I started researching locations for Ram Promaster dealers in Indiana.  Fortunately, there was one 20 some miles away in Effingham.  After finishing my Subway sandwich, I drove on to Effingham.  The lady in the service department was very friendly and helpful.  She looked at the mirror, took the VIN number and headed over to the parts department.  Low and behold, they had one in stock.  The service department pulled their tech off of another job and went to work on the mirror.  I was out and back on the road in under one hour with a brand new mirror.  Okay, Mercedes Class B owners, try to duplicate that!

 

The rest of the drive was tiring.  There was a lot of road construction and St. Louis had a lot of traffic.  While reorganizing my stuff at Wapakoneta, I filled a medium sized moving box with things to ship home.  There was a UPS store just west of St. Louis that I had located a couple of days ago.  It was easy to get to and all my extra “stuff” stated its own way home.

 

I arrived at Lazy Days Campground in Montgomery City, Missouri quite tired.  The campground is very nice.  The have used a lot of landscaping blocks and pavers to terrace the sites and make them level.  Pool, huge dog run and a pond make it a very pleasant place.  The lady who checked me in was quite friendly and helpful.  While we chatted, she asked if I was related to the owners of Bratcher’s Grocery Store.  I allow as how I didn’t think so, but I am curious.

 

Benjamin had a good long run and burned up some of the road trip energy.  We have both eaten and I have pretty well gotten things in order.

 

Part of my quest is to see if human kind will renew my faith in them.  My quest of 50 years hence did just that.  So far, this trip is looking up.  Yeah, today had some bad moments, but the balance is still very much on the positive side.

 

Day 12 - Destination: Topeka/Capital City KOA, Topeka, Kansas

 

Got up this morning around 6 am and got into the morning routine,  Coffee to clear out the cobwebs.  Took Benjamin out for his first run and then fed us both.  I took a shower and packed up all the gear.  I moved the van close to the dog run and let Benjamin have some time.  He met three other dogs, which always makes him happy.  I had a telehealth appointment with Pat Clough this morning.  I didn’t have a lot to talk about and the connection wasn’t great.  It went well, but we had to cut it short.

 

We hit the road and took a short side trip to go to Bratcher’s Grocery Store.  I figured that I probably wouldn’t be back that way.  It was fun and learned that it is owned by Jim Bratcher (no relation that I know of) from Moberly, Missouri.  He has three stores.  It was actually, a really nice small grocery.

 


The drive across Missouri was a bit tense.  Winds were gusting as high as 26 mph the whole way to Kansas City.  The van gets kicked around a lot in high winds.  One of the safety features that I had to get used too involves the cruise control.  Evidently, there is some sort of cross wind detection that disengages the cruise control when hit by a strong gust.  It was disconcerting at first, but once I got used to it, I was glad for the assistance.

 

Of course, the rain held off until I got into Kansas City traffic.  It came down in buckets and visibility was pretty bad.  The rain started around the eastern city limit and ended just as I reached the western city limit.  Go figure, it had to gully wash during the peak traffic section of the trip.  All went well and the wind started to die down the further west I got.

 

I got set up at the Topeka KOA.  We made a couple of runs to the dog park, had dinner and tried to stay awake for a little while longer.  All in all, this has been a good day.

 


Day 13 - Destination:  C2T Ranch and Campground, Saline River Road, Plainville, Kansas

 

Had an okay night and felt reasonably decent when I got up.  I did the morning routine thing and packed up the camper.  I moved the van next to the dog park to let Benjamin run a bit.

 

The drive was reasonably incident free with a fair amount of traffic.  The route was through rolling plains with grass, scrub brush, rock outcrops and wind farms.  I was struck by the sheer size of the wind turbines. 

 

The Android Auto connection with the van quit working.  The Uconnect system ultimately rebooted and it started working again.  The ranch was very remote and the drive in was on yellow/gray clay dirt roads.  There was no other traffic and it was a very pleasant drive.  The lane into the ranch was about a mile long which passed by a crumbling stone barn.  I was met by a couple of friendly young men who showed me to the campsite. 

The campsite was on the bank of the Saline river.  While I am sure it fills during storms, it appears to normally be a small stream bordered by marsh lands.  The opposite side of the river was a line of yellow gray bluffs.  Junipers lined the bank on my side of the river.  After a couple of hours, two mules appeared.  They had been at the house when I checked in.  Evidently, they came looking for handouts.  Benjamin was quite interested in them.  At one point, Benjamin got behind the white mule.  He was jumping trying to nip its tail.  The old fellow had his head cocked around, one eyeball laser focused on Benjamin and his rear leg ready to dispatch the nuisance.  I reeled Benjamin in before the situation escalated. 

It rained that night.  Listening to the rain on the roof was calming. I had hoped to view the stars that night since this was definitely a naturally dark sky location.  Tired, I went to bed early.  As a result, I didn’t look for stars.  When I awoke the next morning, it was very quiet and peaceful with cool breezes.  There were cattle grazing in the fields.  I felt at peace. 


Day 14 - Destination:  Goodland KOA Journey, U.S. 24, Goodland, KS

 

We got up at a leisurely pace this morning.  I put Benjamin back out on the tether, which he seems to enjoy.  While it isn’t the freedom of a back yard, it gives him a bit of independence outside.  I have 10 foot, 15 foot and 20 foot tethers.  This gives me flexibility of giving him as much roam room as possible while avoiding opportunities to entangle himself or get wrapped around some obstacle.


After breakfasting, I broke camp and set out for Goodland, Kansas.  The first portion of this trip may have been the most enjoyable drive of the trip so far.  I chose to go the back roads rather than go straight to the interstate.  The route consisted of long open roads.  At first, the roads were unpaved dirt roads through open lands.  It was a trip to a time before urban sprawl and unchecked development.  Ultimately, I hit paved country roads.  Once I finally got to the interstate, the drive was uneventful with a lot of wind to buffet the van.

 I found the KOA without problem and got checked in.  I had hoped for a bit of shade, but was off by one campsite.  This was the land of silver van clones.  There was one couple that appeared to be newbies.  I was sitting at the table doing a bit of writing when a lady opened the door and was ready to climb in.  It caught me by surprise and I squawked a bit.  She was quite shocked and dismayed at invading my privacy.  She scurried away leaving behind a trail of apologies.  I laughed at her and myself.  My afterthought was that at my age, I should be welcoming any woman trying to climb in my van.  Eh, she wasn’t my type.

 

I took Benjamin to the dog run for a while which was pleasant.  He had a good time running around and sniffing every square inch of the ground.  After trying to mark the spot of each previous tenant, he decided it was time for supper.  We moved back to the camper for our evening repast and bed.  My back was hurting a good bit.  I had started the Prednisone regimen so was hopeful.

 

Days 15-29 - Destination:  2037 Tundra Circle, Erie, CO 

The drive to Denver was windy with lots of traffic and construction on the interstate.  Traffic screeched to a halt once I got into Denver.  Eventually, I bailed out of I-25 and took a surface street the final portion of the drive. I arrived happy but tired.  It felt good to be among family and loved ones.  I knew I was in the right place.

 

Over the weekend, Katie and I worked on the van.  Our primary focus was the bathroom and ways to make the most of various available spaces.  In the galley, we mounted a soap dish over the sink which is a perfect place to keep a sponge for washing dishes.  A small holder for USB cords mounted on the side of the kitchen cabinet rounded out that part of our improvements.  In the main cabin, we hung a paper towel holder over the side window.  Above that we put two broom holders mounted to the roof.  This is a perfect place to clip my cane for easy access.

As I have mentioned, the bathroom is the most lacking space in the Rangeline.  We mounted two single tray shower caddies at the base of the shower side wall to hold bath and shower supplies.  They were mounted resting on the bottom ledge so that the weight of any contents would be borne by the shower stall and not the caddy.  A multi-tray caddy was hung on the side wall to serve as a temporary holder of supplies during showers.  We placed two hooks high on the shower side wall for towels.  Finally, we put two small towel bars on the front wall above the toilet.  These are convenient places to put a hand towel and wash cloth.  Time will tell how well these work out.

 A lot of my time in Denver was spent running various errands and rounding out trip outfitting that didn’t get completed at home.  A month or so before we embarked on this quest, Benjamin was diagnosed with Cushing’s Syndrome.  He had been lethargic and was having tremor in his head and legs.  The vet in Waynesboro prescribed a medication which definitely made and improvement.  After a second round of tests, the vet increased his medication.  I arranged to have a third set of tests run by a vet in Erie that Katie uses for her dogs.  Ultimately, those results were positive.

 

My camera was one item that was apparently missing.  I couldn’t believe that I would leave such an important item behind.  The camera on my phone is decent, but I really wanted something of a bit higher quality for this trip.  After a bit of research, I decided that a Nikon Coolpix P950 would suit my needs.  It is a step up from my older camera so would be a decent investment.  Locating a local camera shop, I had them show one to me and ultimately bought it.  To my chagrin, I found my camera the next day stored under the bench seat in the van.  I had put it there so that I wouldn’t forget it.  Oh well, I still like the new camera.

 

Another set of activities here was to take the van to the Denver Airstream dealer to work on the side door.  The factory replaced the lower screen door track.  A few days later, the same dings appeared and the door closure again was a problem.  I figured out that the floor of the van had been improperly installed which caused a problem at the door.  I showed the problem to the Denver service manager.  They worked on it and made some improvements.  After a few days, it became clear that the problem was not entirely solved.

 

Sometimes, you just have to do things yourself.  I took the screen door rail and threshold off to look at what they had done.  It was clear that these techs had the right idea, but probably didn’t have the tools to complete the job.  I headed up to the local Home Depot and bought a multi-tool, as well as Dremel cutoff blade. After a couple of hours, I had the problem fixed.  The side door shut properly and it no longer hit the screen door bottom rail.  I will hold Denver Airstream to their promise to replace the damaged rail.

 

Navigating an urban landscape in the Rangeline has proven to be straightforward.  The length and the height of the vehicle are the primary characteristics to keep in mind.  The width and bumper to bumper length are almost exactly the same as my GMC HD 3500 long-bed crew-cab pickup, so that part has been easy for me.  The length of the unit is the primary concern in parking.  Some parking lots try to increase space count by narrowing and shortening the spaces.  You will find some spaces are too short.  To my surprise, I was able to parallel park the Rangeline in front of the Longmont Bicycle shop.  I was lucky in that the car in front of the space was pulled forward and the car in the space behind was toward the back.  I don’t expect to repeat that, but it was fun.

 

One annoyance that cropped up with the Rangeline was the Promaster Uconnect navigation system.  This is the same system used in most of the Stellantis brand vehicles.  Randomly, it would freeze and then go to a black screen.  It was obviously doing a hard system re-boot.  It is a bit disconcerting when you are relying on GPS to navigate unknown roadways.  Eventually, it would reconnect with Android Auto and all would be fine.  So, I ventured over to the Longmont Ram dealer for a fix.  What I got was a dumb look, a shrug and the explanation “You and everybody else”.  It seems to have been a known bug in the software.  It seems to have disappeared with one of the auto updates.

There were two main highlights of my time in Erie.  The first was an aerial tour of the area.  My son-in-law Jason is a private pilot.  He rented a Cessna and took Katie and I for a spin.  We flew south over Denver and Red Rocks Amphitheater.  From there we flew north between the mountains to Estes Park.  The original plan was to fly to Cheyenne, Wyoming, but the winds picked up enough to turn us around.  This was exciting for me since my mother had been a flight attendant on a DC-3 in 1944 based in Chicago.  Her primary routes were to Denver and Cheyenne.  I had the pleasure of experiencing the same view that she had on her approaches to Denver.

 The second highlight was attending a concert by James Taylor in the Red Rocks Amphitheater.  This is a special venue and I highly recommend adding this to your bucket list.  The acoustics left you swimming in the soulful music that filled the cool air.  I got a bit choked up as he sang Fire and Rain which had meaning for me with the recent loss of my wife, as well as star-crossed romance of my youth.  All in all, I shared a glorious evening with my daughter.  

The remainder of my time in Erie was filled with more mundane activities.  I was pleased that the pain in my back and leg was subsiding.  I did pay a price for climbing all of the stairs at Red Rocks, but that faded quickly.  The Prednisone was paying off.  I finished helping friends prepare for our 55th class reunion, got my hair cut, did a bit of cooking, got my hearing aids fixed and continued working on the van.  I started to feel a bit lost and was anxious to get back on the road.

 

On a whim, I sent an email to an old friend who lives in San Jose, California.  She responded quickly and seemed anxious to have me visit.  This will be a trip highlight.  I first met Cynthia in 1974.  I believe it was at the Foxfield Races steeplechase outside of Charlottesville, Virginia.  She has retained a special place in my heart, even though we haven’t seen each other for over forty-five years.  I have been able to keep up with her somewhat through Facebook.  I guess Mark Zuckerberg has added some value to this world.

 

My interactions with Cynthia and the prospect of seeing her renewed my spirits.  Over the next several days, I began to concentrate on preparing for the next leg of my journey.  I spent time stocking the camper, cooking and doing some writing.  One accomplishment was to come up with a final design for a carrier for the oven.  That will make things much easier.  With the everything loaded and final preparations made, the WABAC machine is ready to roll.

 

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