|Luggage collection at home|
After an uneventful, but eerie drive from Arizona Joan and I are back home in Michigan.
Our last week at Voyager was quiet with much of the time preparing for the time we would pack up and head home. With more and more departures from the park, things were getting quieter and quieter. We did see (at a distance) some of our friends still at the resort and said our goodbyes over the last few days.
We did have a chance to get in one more hike on the Gabe Zimmerman Trail with Joan, Denny, Diane and I.
We spent quite a bit of time social distancing with Diane and Denny before our Thursday, April 2 departure. While the park was willing to extend stays for people already in the resort, more and more amenities (if you can call a laundry and bathrooms an amenity) were being shut down leaving us with little option but to pack up and go.
On Thursday morning I finished prepping the trailer for departure and at 11 a.m. with help from Denny I hooked up the trailer and he and I drove it to the nearby Camping World so it could be winterized and prepared for storage in Flagstaff.
|Social distance dinner in Casa Grande|
Joan and her sister watched the trailer pull out and then went back to Diane and Den’s park model to wait for Denny and I to return about 1 p.m. We had lunch with them and too soon the time came for us to leave for good this year.
Our departure was bitter sweet as we had a lot of fun with Diane and Denny but with the cancellation of so many of our beloved events (concerts, dances, end-of-the-year parties) it left a little bit of a hollow feeling. Don’t get me wrong, the park did everything it could and should have done to keep everyone safe. Especially when you consider the vulnerable age of everyone there.
One of our favorite couples, Mike and Suzy, departed the Saturday before we left on their trek back to Indiana for repairs to their motorhome and eventually their final destination on the east coast to visit family. They live in their motorhome when they are not at Voyager in their beautiful home there. (More on this later).
So about 4 p.m. we headed out of the park and to Camping World to pick up the trailer. As we always do we shifted our luggage from the back of the Tahoe into the trailer to balance our load and improve the ride up the mountain to Flagstaff.
|Our night stop|
We were on the road at 4:27 p.m. On the way to our dinner stop in Casa Grande we noticed that the Pinal Air Park was overflowing with commercial aircraft which had been brought there to store during the massive slowdown in air traffic. There are always some planes parked in the desert at Pinal Air Park, but we guessed a 10-fold increase in the number of planes from when we passed by in early January that option was closed. Buffalo Wild Wings was offering take out dinners so we both got a hamburger and fries and then ate our dinner outside the trailer in a mall parking lot in our patio chairs. Joan purchased a bottle of Pinot Noir from the restaurant and she sipped on that treasure until it got dark. We presented quite a sight and several people gave us big smiles as they drove by.
We always wait until the sun goes down in Casa Grande so as not to pull the trailer up the mountain during the heat of the day. We also watched out final 2020 Arizona sunset which was beautiful.
In Phoenix I donned my mask and gloves and topped off the Tahoe tank as the trip up the mountain sucks a lot of gasoline. (We also make another gas stop halfway up the mountain just to make sure we have enough fuel).
At 9:40 p.m. we pulled into the Maguireville/Prescott rest area at about 4,000 feet and went to bed. We parked between a motorhome and a running semi-truck and trailer.
Because of the current issues we did not use the rest area bathroom to brush our teeth and get ready for bed and instead used our trailer bathroom.
|The truly open road|
We were up early (about 6:10 a.m.) and headed back up the mountain for the rest of the journey at 6:33 a.m.
We arrived at the storage area at 7:38 a.m. and the outside temperature was 30 degrees in Flagstaff. Luggage was removed from the trailer, loaded into the Tahoe and I spent the rest of the time covering the wheels, securing the trailer and removing our battery before heading out on our trip to Amarillo, Texas.
By the time we got to Albuquerque (sounds like a Glen Campbell song) it was 70 degrees and beautiful outside. Traffic was scarce through what is usually a very traffic laden city. We climbed up out of Albuquerque and the temperatures dropped to 57 degrees for much of the rest of the time in New Mexico.
There were some pronghorn antelope along the freeway so that was cool. By the way this day was our 21st wedding anniversary. Usually we spend it in Bakersfield, California but not this year. New Mexico and Texas are a major improvement over Bakersfield as an anniversary destination.
A local taco place was doing take out for dinner in Amarillo which we took back to our hotel room and devoured. We missed eating out at on this trip, but a small price to pay to stay safe.
|Loving these gas prices|
Saturday morning was cool (37 degrees) but sunny as we headed out of Texas heading for Springfield, Missouri. We saw llamas and longhorns in Oklahoma. Gas was incredibly cheap in Oklahoma down to .99 cents a gallon at one station and $1.09 at most others. Unfortunately I filled up in Amarillo so no need to fill up needlessly there.
Cows, cows and more cows as Joan would say along the route. With speed limit
s of 75 mph the day went fast and we only had to stop once for gas later in the day. We tried to minimize our exposure and always used masks and gloves during refueling stops.
On Sunday, we departed Springfield about 9 a.m. and tuned into our church’s online broadcast for Palm Sunday. Halfway through the sermon we lost our signal so we had to finish the sermon later at the hotel. Again traffic was minimal, mostly trucks and it was like the world was slowly crawling to a stop.
In addition to beautiful purple flowering bushes along the road we saw plenty of not-so-beautiful dead armadillos on the road. At one point we drove by a farm field just at the right time to see a back hoe pushing over a very large tree in a field along the freeway. Sorry no photo of that to share.
Our high temperature was 59 on Sunday. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Cloverdale, Indiana and had a meal delivered from a small restaurant across the street from the hotel. Fried chicked, I think.
|A final hike|
We have been through Indianapolis many times and we usually have to contend with oodles of traffic, not so this year. There was some traffic, but nothing like usual. Once we got north of Indianapolis we and the trucks had the freeway to ourselves.
At one rest area we passed there was a solo car in the rest area and a man playing his guitar on a bench there. Everything was very surreal.
For one of the first times ever the sky was clear and bright as we entered Michigan in the early afternoon. Predictably the roughest roads we encountered were as soon as we entered Michigan. The weather did get greyer as we closed in on home.
We are thankful for the easy travel home and continue to pray for the safety and health of all our friends.
Before I end this I want to go back to our friends Mike and Suzy who headed out ahead of us from Voyager. I got a text from Mike Friday night that they had gotten as far as Little Rock, Arkansas and then found out they could not find a park that would let them stay overnight further east. They turned the motorhome around and headed back to Arizona to wait out the virus situation.
Thanks for following along with us and we pray for a better rest of the year for everyone.
Mileage out from Camping World in Tucson: 38036
Time out from Camping World in Tucson: 4:27 p.m.
Mileage in to storage at Flagstaff: 38313
Time in to storage at Flagstaff: 7:38 a.m.
Time out from storage at Flagstaff: 8:18 a.m.
Mileage in Amarillo, Texas: 38932
Time in to Amarillo, Texas: 7:17 p.m. (CDT)
Time out of Amarillo, Texas: 8:35 a.m.
Mileage out of Amarillo, Texas: 38932
Mileage in to Springfield, Missouri: 39496
Time in to Springfield, Missouri: 4:46 p.m. (CDT)
Time out of Springfield, Missouri: 9 a.m.
Mileage in to Cloverdale, Indiana: 39919
Time in to Cloverdale, Indiana: 4:28 (EDT)
Time out of Cloverdale, Indiana: 9:12 a.m.
Time in to home: 2:48 p.m.
Mileage in at home: 40295