(New Mexico to Mississippi)
A Long Trip
The following day of the First Road Trip took me up and over the mountains through Cloudcroft NM at 8654 ft. Then down into the high desert of eastern New Mexico and across west Texas. The Lazy Daze performed well in all situations, including the climb up and down the mountain pass at posted speed limits; which are arguably low, but necessary on the winding and cut-back curves.
After coming down out of the mountains, it was a long stretch of two-lane highway, with a little town every so often. When I came to the cut-off to Roswell, I suddenly realized I had forgotten where I had to turn to put me in the right direction. So, I pulled off the side of the road, fired up the hotspot and laptop and found I had 3 bars of 1xEVDO internet way out in the desert. Satisfied that I was on the right course, I made myself a sandwich for lunch before continuing on.
I was surprised to see that much of eastern New Mexico is covered with pivot-pumps for oil. These fields had numerous pumps for as far as you could see, and went for miles well into west Texas. Mostly they were amongst sage brush, and sometimes with hay fields or cattle. On occasion there was a strong odor of kerosene, even though the windows and vents were closed. I wondered how anyone could live and work there.
As I entered Texas, I turned on the radio and found little else than Spanish and country music; I tried some of both. The announcer warned of forecasted high winds of 50 MPH and rapidly dropping temperatures for that night and the following morning.
Texas Safety Rest Area
Feeling the forecasted winds picking up I pulled into a rest area near Sweetwater a few miles west of Abilene. It was fairly close to the highway, but with ample parking for cars, RVs, and big rig truckers, a security patrol and restrooms. I pulled to a spot that would make it easy to leave in the morning. The road noise abated later in the night.
Along the way I heard a whistling sound that I attributed to the strong wind and possibly a window ajar. So, I climbed up on the roof to see if there might be a more serious problem. I found the large escape hatch cover had cracks on the corners near the hinge facing forward. (Note to replace it) These were taped up with good ol’ duct tape; all else up there seemed fine. It turned out that the two windows by the over-cab bed were unlocked so they were firmly secured.
Then I checked email, ate dinner, and settled in for the night. The furnace did it’s job again. I left at 6am heading toward my next planned lay over in Louisiana.
Wal-mart Parking Lot
I made better progress than expected, so found myself a bit south of Jackson MS at a Super Wal-mart at just about sundown. I parked way out by the edge of the lot then went in to buy a few things, and ask permission to stay overnight. I failed to find the night manager, but noted there were three semi-trucks parked for the night, but no RVs. Since it was pretty late, I took a chance that it would be OK. I ate dinner and hit the sack anticipating a knock on the door. However, I slept soundly with no interruptions. I awake about 5am, had a quick breakfast and pulled out toward my next planned stop in the Florida panhandle.
Both stops were satisfactory for a quick overnight stay, especially since they were free. These are not technically camping and are sometimes referred to as black top camping or dry camping. Many businesses like restaurants, big box stores, casinos, etc. allow RVers to stay overnight and provide security in anticipation of them making a purchase; and it is good etiquette to do so.
Camp: Rest area and Wal-mart
Scene: Parking lots