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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,976

    Default A quick pass through OK and TX.

    It was mid afternoon by the time I left Joplin that Monday, without any clear destination in mind, so long as I kept heading in the right direction. At this late hour, there was no other choice than I-44, despite the tolls.

    Lightly travelled on this day, I-44 from Joplin to OKC can best be described as 'drab'. I tried hard to find something interesting, but the only positive was that I was able to set the cruise at 64 and only touch it at the toll booths. So I sat back and let the wheels roll. Of the only two plazas/rest areas along the road, one was closed. With limited access, getting off and back on was not an option. Certainly not a route I would choose if I had the time for the alternatives.

    Just as I was approaching OKC, in fact right near where I passed the City Limits sign, I saw an aeroplane, which had obviously not long taken off... still climbing. It caught my attention because it was not one of the latest. It was probably a Boeing, but I have not seen one like it for a very long time. Four wing engines, a slimmer body than modern planes, but what really caught my eye is that there was something ON TOP of this aircraft. Something large and round, just in front of the tail. I wondered if there was a military base nearby, or a NASA base. Never seen anything like it, and of course, was not able to take a photo.

    The late departure meant that I landed in OKC in heavy traffic. Finally arrived at the Pilot, a little later than I would have liked. Other than the plane mystery, an uneventful drive.

    My 'neighbour' that night was an F350 double cab truck. The back seat was made into a bed and when I met the owner in the morning, I wondered how he could have fit. He was quite a bit taller than what the truck was wide. On top of that, he had a not too small dog travelling with him. Working as a relocator of camping trailers, he was on his way to Chicago to pick up another trailer, but did not yet know where it would take him. He shared my sense of adventure of not knowing where the next vehicle would take him.

    Drove from OKC straight through TX to NM.

    Lifey

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,351

    Default

    The plane was a Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS, a radar early warning military aircraft based on the 707. Probably based at Tinker AFB in OKC.

    boeing_e3_sentry.jpg

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,976

    Default

    That's it. Thanks.

    I thought it looked like an old Boeing.

    Lifey

  4. #44
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,608

    Default

    Interesting, about the F350 crew cab and the guy who slept in the backseat. At least the crew cab seats are a lot more comfortable than the SuperCab, which is more than a bench ... or at least it is, on the older models. Either way, I wouldn't want to sleep on either as a matter of habit!


    Donna

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,976

    Default New Mexico.

    The Welcome Centre on I-40 as one enters NM is incredibly helpful with knowledgable staff. The TV is on with the weather channel, and there are comfy chairs to lounge a while; a table with chairs and free wifi. A true rest area and a welcome respite from the unrelenting heat.

    Tucumcari was my destination for the end of the day. That place always takes me back to the hit of the 60s..... or was it the 70s.

    I had planned to take US-54 south, at Santa Rosa and go by White Sands, but somehow I missed that turn off. On the other hand, while I was in Tucumcari I sent an email to a friend in Albuquerque, whom I had not seen for years.

    Along I-40 one is bombarded with the billboards about Flying C Ranch, much the same as Wall Drug on I-90. Another tourist trap I had no interest in visiting.... well, that was, untill the last two billboards which announced that they have free wifi. You can get me with that anytime... anywhere. Then it all came together when I had a response from friend. So that night we had dinner in Albuquerque, and I am yet to see White Sands. There's always next time.

    I am constantly surprised by the number of folk I meet along this route who are doing route 66. Two lovely ladies whom I met at the Flying J were doing it as well. They were most excited as to how much of it they had driven and how much they seen and photographed. Searching out the locations was half their fun. They were disappointed with all the negative comments they had heard about the route, including those from others who had set out to drive it. Very adventurous (senior) ladies who had travelled to other places and other routes together.

    Before leaving Albuquerque I thought I'd better do some shopping - fuel for my stove, groceries, etc. Got the run-around from some places, but eventually found all I needed.... and more. It was mid afternoon by the time I headed south on the Pan American Highway. There is a truck stop at Socorro - or more correct, 35 miles south of the town - for which I decided to head. However, when I arrived there, it was far from the sort of place where I would like to stay, and continued on to Las Cruces where there was both a Pilot and TA.... right across the road from one another.

    This was the day the odometre turned over 130000.

    Lifey

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,820

    Default Remind me.

    This was the day the odometre turned over 130000.
    Was it 80 something thousand miles when you purchased it !?

    Dave.

  7. #47
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,976

    Default It's at home.

    Dave, not exactly sure, that paperwork is at home. From memory though, the figure of 62517 rings a bell.

    Lifey

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,976

    Default Las Cruces.

    Along I-25, on the way to Las Cruces there is a rest area in Socorro county which is an interesting place to stop and linger a while. The Walking Sands rest stop is much more than just a rest area, and as such has 9 elevated picnic areas under cover, each with a view over the expansive desert landscape.

    My arrival in Las Cruces was again, much later than I would have wished for, especially travelling west when the sun is low at that hour. Spent the night at TA. The Pilot was quite a small truck stop. It was, and had been, a very hot day. I ran the air con for some time to cool the van before retiring.

    Next morning I awoke with great concern. I had noticed a bit of numbness in my left arm for a week, coming and going, though increasing in frequency. This Friday I awoke with just about the whole arm feeling numb. I found I still had full use of it, it just felt numb. When I called in at Pilot - I prefer some of their facilities - there, at Subway, was a lady with PARAMEDIC written across the back of her jacket.

    Cindy was very helpful going through all the possibilities, but recommended I do get it checked out....... just in case.

    Next came hours in the ER at the Mountain View hospital, where they did more tests than I knew existed. Finally Dr Butcher (no joke) walked in and told me I was good to go. Good to travel. Good to drive. Seems all those rear end collisions decades ago, which all resulted in whiplash injuries have finally taken their toll. The arthritis is pinching on a nerve. (Physiotherapist daughter in Melb has recommended exercises to try relief the pressure.)

    [If one does not have a heart attack on arrival at hospital, they sure plan on causing one on departure. Getting out my credit card to pay for services, I discovered that it was 3.5 times the credit limit on my card.]

    Spent the rest of the day checking out the various places in Las Cruces and making good use of the Library. Dinner that evening was at the only Chinese Restaurant I found open in town. A lovely meal, lovely company and ever so affordable. Back at TA is the first time I slept with the side doors of my van open. (The insect screens have been worth their weight in gold.) I was awoken by thunder and the most brilliant lightning show. When raindrops appeared on the windscreen I figured it might be prudent to close the doors. And went back to sleep.

    Lifey

  9. #49
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,608

    Default

    I am SO glad that it wasn't a heart attack or stroke that you were having symptoms. That's what went through my head (since my dad and brother have both been stroke patients, and my husband has heart issues). But yes, medical care is expensive!!!! We are fortunate that we are retired military, so we are covered no matter where we go in the US. I know there are insurance plans for those US citizens who travel to other countries -- do they exist for Australian citizens who travel to the US?


    Donna

  10. #50
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,976

    Default Insurance.

    Anyone, from anywhere, would be a lunatic to travel to the US without medical travel insurance. My insurance company said not to worry, just get them to send it to your home, and put in the claim after you return. (My insurance cost me $435 - 13th July to 17th Sept - after I added the $25 dollars to wipe the excess.

    I'm yet to hear about the Dr's bill.

    Lifey

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