Day 1 - Yesterday (July 2nd) we set out for our long-awaited trip to New Jersey, our car sporting a brand new windshield. Why a new windshield? When we brought it to the mechanics for a "trip check" and oil change, they discovered a crack in the lower windshield on the driver side, so low that you wouldn't notice it because it was right in front of the dashboard. But it was long enough that it warranted replacement vs repair. Fortunately we were able to get it done before we left, without delaying our start.
The trip from San Diego to Hotel de la familia, in the Phoenix area, was a good one. We left later than we usually do for the 1st day of vacation, primarily because we were heading east (and not north through LA) and we didn't have a long day of traveling. As we passed Buckman Springs Rest Area, we noticed that it WAS OPEN. The next thing we noticed was a threatened construction area between In-Ko-Pah Road and Mountain Springs Road, in the mountains. Being Saturday, all the vehicles were off the road. Travelers are warned to be careful in that area, because it's on a blind curve.
Seeley Rest Area was open, on the west side of El Centro. (I think this rest area actually has a different name. However, we call it Seeley because that's the exit name that's closest to it.)
When we stopped in Yuma, we were only down a few gallons. After looking at the "cheapest gas in Yuma" station...crowded...we decided to go get some lunch at IHOP just down and across 16th Street. Here, I presented a coupon that I'd been sent via email, a thanks for joining the IHOP e-club. It had expired last week, but the store allowed me to use it. So my breakfast was FREE. Gotta love coupons!
As we drove yesterday, the HEAT was obnoxious. I know that car's temperature gauges, which show in our rear view mirror, are probably not completely accurate. Ours read 124F at one point. I look a picture at 122, but missed the 124 reading. As long as we were moving, our 9-year-old vehicle hung in there very well. It wasn't until we stopped and had to idle, that the engine temperature crept up.
We use AZ 84 and AZ 347, through the town of Maricopa, to go from I-8 to I-10 (rather than cutting off at Gila Bend on AZ 85, or going to Casa Grande to catch I-10 north. We've been using this route for years to get to my parents home in Tempe, as it's a "short cut". When we first started, AZ 347 didn't have a number and was just known to us as "Maricopa Road", and was a 2 lane highway all the way. Now it's 4 lane divided, but it's NOT a freeway. There are so many more stop lights than there used to be. Sometimes progress really isn't progress!
At one of those lights, we were delayed and watched our engine temp creep up. It turns out that there was a 3 car crash, and there were emergency vehicles on the scene. I said a little prayer for the people in those vehicles as we were directed around by a DPS officer.
We had an unexpected pleasure - as we pulled onto I-10, we "ran into" some rain! Now, those of you who live in other states might think, "She's excited about RAIN?!" Well, Arizona is a very dry state, and rain is amazing. Our brand new windshield, which was sporting dead bugs in places, got spanking clean. We also could test how well it was installed. (The installer said wait for 24 hours to wash the car. Nature's Car Wash happened 28 hours after the windshield was installed.)
We drove a little more than 360 miles in 6-1/2 hours, and that included one bathroom stop and one 50-min lunch stop. We came in on 1/4 tank, getting 26 mpg despite the A/C being on for 4+ hours.
In the evening, my parents, husband and I all went to dinner and entertainment. If you are ever in the Mesa area, ORGAN STOP PIZZA has good pizza and you are treated to a professional organist playing one of those Wurlitzer organs. The organist plays in 45 minute sets, in all sorts of music. In his second set last night, for instance, he played a Disney tune, an old-old-old standard "I Love You Truly", a disco tune "Play That Funky Music", and Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. It's definitely made for families. My parents introduced us to this place years ago, when it was in Tempe (or was it Chandler, can't remember). It's been near the corner of Southern and Stapley in Mesa for years.
We're on layover here, and won't depart until Tuesday. This was planned all along, to avoid (as much as possible) travel and sightseeing over the 4th of July weekend. So this thread won't be added to until then - this is a road trip report, not a family-visit report. :-)