The summer roadtrip begins

Yep, amazingly we got out on time yesterday, after weeks of prep.  Well, almost.  We aimed for a late afternoon start, just to get a few miles in before the real push started on Friday, and we got out about 5:30 p.m., which was 90 minutes later than optimum.  But that required only an adjustment to plan, and as you’ll see, everything worked out better than expected.

The Airstream is looking happy to be back on the road. It’s been tweaked, cleaned, painted, washed, lubed, and tested.  It So it was no surprise that our first 150 miles were completely uneventful.  I was particularly happy with the new position of the backup cam. Now that it looks down on traffic, it’s useful after dusk (when previously lights from cars would blind it) and I am getting a much more better picture of the traffic situation behind us.

We weren’t out to accumulate a lot of miles given our late start.  The plan was just to make it to Deming NM and crash for a night at Rock Hound State Park.  Since we were late, we opted to stop in Lordsburg NM instead, which is a small blip along a very lonely stretch of I-10, known mostly for having truck stop and hotels.  There is one campground there.  When we arrived in the dark, the office was closed (no surprise) and there was an after-hours board telling us the usual procedure: pay here, pick out a site.

I looked at that board for a minute.  Three people for a night, $37.  Cash only.  I thought about our three years of full-timing.  And then I thought, “Nah.”  We had just left home 150 miles ago.  We had full fresh water, empty holding tanks, and solar panels.  At 4000 ft elevation the night was forecast to be deliciously comfortable for sleeping. Why did we need, or even want, a campground?

So we went back to a restaurant we had spotted on the way in, which advertised ” RV parking,” went in to ask about dinner (they had just closed) and asked if we could park … Before Eleanor could finish her question, we got a “No problem,” and from there we spent a pleasant night with the windows open and cool breezes floating in.  I slept extremely well and had magnificent dreams, and I awoke thinking, “Being here in this Airstream, in this bed, with this person, is absolutely perfect.” Although we had hundreds of miles to cover, I didn’t want to get out of bed.  That was a bit of roadtrip magic, the kind that I miss from the full-timing days.

We delayed probably more than was ideal, dawdling over (very good) breakfast in the restaurant, puttering a little in the Airstream, but finally got moving and pushed on through New Mexico and west Texas, with a brief stop to pick up barbecue in El Paso.  We ended up, 417 miles later, at Monahans Sand Hills State Park a couple of hours before sunset in 102-degree heat.

Monahans Airstream campsite

I’ve been here once before, with the Caravel, but for Eleanor and Emma it’s the first visit.  After dinner (the barbecue we picked up along the way), they discovered for themselves how beautiful this park gets when the sun is low on the horizon.  Although it was still well into the 90s at that time, we took a walk around the campground loop and everyone went a little nuts with their cameras.

Monahans Airstream sunset

We’re going to be in the “logging miles” mode for a few days, so our stop here will be just one night.  It would have been nice to make our usual leisurely plod across the country, but to do that would have required leaving at least a week ago, and that just wasn’t realistic.  So we’ll bolt across the vastness of Texas, and through Arkansas and beyond before pausing.  Still, a few moments like last night and this evening’s sunset will make the hours of driving feel a lot more worthwhile.