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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default West Coast to East Coast, July 2011

    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. :-)

    Donna

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Bonus of traveling!

    Quote Originally Posted by DonnaR57 View Post
    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.
    That sounds really cool -- thanks for the updates...

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,064

    Default

    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.
    To this date one of the things I miss most about living in the Desert, is the amazing smell in the air after a rainstorm. Actually, it may be about the only thing I miss about living in the desert!

    If memory serves, this should be about the start of the Monsoon season, so maybe you'll get to enjoy a few more rainstorms before you get a back out on the road.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    It wasn't until we stopped and had to idle, that the engine temperature crept up.
    Is your electric radiator fan working properly?

  5. Default Color me Green with Envy!

    I so jealous that you are on a road trip and I'm stuck home for the summer! It's been HOT in California too...we're suppose to hit 104 today!

    Thanks for the trip report so far....looking forward to the next edition.

    Utahtea

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    The radiator fan checked out fine in the shop the other day. It was just **** hot here. Gila Bend hit an official high of 120, and Tempe was 116. Maricopa was about the same, which is where we hit the traffic snarl.

    So far, none of the other places on our route are much above 100. Oklahoma City may hit 100 on Wednesday, but everything else is below that mark.


    Donna

  7. #7

    Default Maintenance is everything,

    ...isn't it?

    I'm comfortable with the new water pump, serpentine belt, belt tensioner assbly, idler, fresh coolant, and radiator protection on the old pickup. Ditto the fresh transmission fluid and filter, fuel filter, air filter,rear differential fluid, and chassis lube. Easy on the skinny pedal and the coast to coast heat wave shouldn't present any issues this week. Ideally.

    Foy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,749

    Default What I have learnt so far .

    Thanks for the report, I am looking forward to more !

    Some things I am finding out about when in AZ.

    1] A rainy day can put you in a good mood.

    2] You no longer associate bridges and rivers with water.

    3]The best parking spot isn't the closest, it's the shadiest.

    4]Your car can overheat before you have started the engine !

    5] You get hot water from the cold tap.

    6]You learn that Asphalt has a liquid state.

    7] You only hug a cactus tree the once in a lifetime.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default In Las Vegas it's a survival skill

    3]The best parking spot isn't the closest, it's the shadiest.
    Absolutely, any Las Vegas local will park 100 yards away if the space is in the shade.

    Mark

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    Day 4 - Tempe, AZ to Santa Rosa, NM - 598 miles, 10 hours 6 min.

    "Beep, beep!" went the alarm at 2:00 am. By 2:50 we were out the door, having said goodbye to my parents and packed the car. It took the first 40 minutes just to traverse around Phoenix, which is why we left at that almost ungodly hour: we wanted to beat the rush hour and leave when it was cooler. Yeah, right - the thermometer read 90F at 3:00 am.

    Once on I-17, things went swimmingly until 4:30. We came to a HALT on the freeway. In front of us, perhaps 1/2 mile, we could see yellow warning flashers. Once we had been there about 5 minutes, and it didn't look like it was going to move any time soon, most of us (including some semi's) shut down our engines. Some of us got out of our vehicles and started chatting with others. It took 45 minutes for ADOT to clear the mess and at least get us moving, and by this time, traffic was backed up probably 5 miles. (At 5:15 am, mind you, and still 40 minutes out of Flagstaff.) It turns out that a semi had plowed into a panel wagon, or so it looked like. I always say a little prayer when we pass something like that!

    At Flagstaff, we went out for breakfast as the sun was peering up right into our faces as we turned east on I-40. Choosing not to eat at a chain restaurant, we picked Little America. What a mistake - food was "just okay", but it was very expensive for breakfast. The good news: they were fast, and we were in/out of there in 35 minutes. That allowed us to make up about 25 minutes of the lost 45.

    Things went smoothly until Albuquerque. We had stopped for gas in Winslow with no problems. But suddenly, my husband's credit card started getting declined. He tried two different stations. Deciding that we had plenty of fuel to move on to Santa Rosa, I called our bank. Warning to others: warn your bank that you are about to go on a vacation, so that they won't notice "unfamiliar activity" on your card and put a sudden HOLD on it! Ours was rectified through the phone call. Whew!

    We are now at the Quality Inn at Santa Rosa. It was about 95 here when we pulled in, which was a darn-sight cooler than the 110's we were getting in Tempe for 3 days. It also DOES cool off here at night. The motel seems to be very decent for the price (one of those coupon deals), everything clean, the pool and hot tub were both open and clean. They didn't seem to mind renting out a room at 2 pm when we pulled in.

    I'll have to report later on dinner. I just read Howard's report of 3 places here in Santa Rosa, on someone else's thread (very timely!), so we'll have to choose. (My husband is determined to go for a DQ after dinner, though. Good idea - love ice cream!)

    LATER: We ended up eating, by recommendation of the gal on duty at the hotel, at Santa Fe Grill. The food was very good. Hubby had steak, shrimp and fries. I had the 1/2 order of stuffed sopapilla and was very happy that I had not ordered the full order! No room for DQ, though.

    Construction details: NMDOT leaves a lot of information off of their website, as did ADOT. ADOT lised the 1-lane over the bridge at AZ 77 near Holbrook, but failed to list 6 miles of single lane from exit 311 on, eastbound. The rest area near Munds Park along I-17 is permanently closed. In NM, there were several sections of "Road Work" signs where none was in evidence nor listed on their website. From mm127 to 133 there was a cone-zone. Eastbound wasn't very affected, but westbounders were down to 1-lane. At mm 140 to 141, both directions were single-lane on the same side of the freeway (with a barrier in between) going around a bridge that was being worked on. (An alternative would be to go drive on the frontage road and go over an old Route 66 bridge instead.)


    Donna
    Last edited by DonnaR57; 07-05-2011 at 06:15 PM. Reason: added info

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