Got a bunch of miles in today, the weather cooperated, and all mechanical systems are working like they should. The weather is even starting to get better. I also have a few thoughts about driving conditions, and my return trip.
Got on the road today at 7:30am. My stay at last night’s Walmart was very cold, and noisy. Not the greatest. That Walmart was close in to town and the highway, so I knew it could be busier than my last parking lot stay, at a Costco. With the trailer not having any wall insulation, it was also very cold. I started up the truck a little after 7am, let it warm up, and by 7:30, I was on the road.
This morning the winds were starting to pick up, and it was beginning to take more and more effort to keep the truck going in a relatively straight direction. When I stopped for lunch, I considered stopping for the day, but conditions weren’t quite that bad, so I figured I’d press on for a while. I’m really glad I did.
Almost the entire afternoon I had a nice, steady tailwind that didn’t seem to upset the trailer at all. The roads leveled out after a while, the wind was steady, traffic got lighter, and I had several good hours of easy driving. I think the truck was enjoying it too as I got 12.6mpg on my last tank which is up significantly from my average of 10mpg. (When I’m not towing I get anywhere from 14-18+ in city/highway driving.)
Tonight I find myself in Pecos, Texas, which is about 200 miles east of El Paso, TX. There was a Pilot/FlyingJ’s here, and that worked out well to fill up on gas, grab some grub, and a spot to hide out for the night. Tonight I’m at another Walmart, but this one has a very small lot, which was very full, but I noticed when looking at the google maps satellite imagery that there were some significant sand/dirt fields around the Walmart that didn’t seem to be being used for anything. I am now parked in a small dirt field off of the rear corner of the Walmart parking lot in a spot all by myself. No noisy semis, no cars driving right by me, it’s pretty nice. I can still hear traffic noise from the local roads of course, but it’s a more distant noise, so I’m ok with it.
I also had a few thoughts about driving conditions. There are several “bad” conditions that I’ve found myself in, and if there’s just one of them, I’m usually OK, but if there’s two or more, then I’ll call it quits. Those conditions are, in no particular order:
- Ice on the roads
- Heavy traffic
- New metropolitan area
- Strong winds
- Gusty winds
- Modest or heavier rain
When I was driving my Lexus, none of those things mattered. It was so sure-footed and completely capable that I could confidently handle anything that came up. The truck and trailer is a whole different world of driving.
For my return trip, I had an idea. Instead of towing the trailer back to MN (and then later onwards to the Indiana factory it was created at to have the egress window installed), I would instead put it in storage somewhere in Arizona. I then don’t have to tow it back to MN, and I can drive speed limit with the truck and get back in three days, spending two nights at hotels. When I get back to MN, I’m going to work on selling my car, moving stuff into storage, and getting my place rented out. I can then drive back to the trailer in AZ, and start my wandering journey. I’ll have ATC ship me the egress window and I’ll install it myself, or find some other option. Either way, I don’t really want to tow the trailer to Indiana just for that. Of course, when my parents get a place in Texas, I’ll head out that way and stay with them for a while. For now though, I really like the idea of not putting another 2,000 miles of towing on the truck (and me). When I designed the trailer, I was only thinking about towing it once a week or so, and only for up to a couple hours at a time. This marathon towing journey wasn’t what I had in mind. These plans and ideas are flexible, so they’ll likely change as I continue to work through them.
Tomorrow I should get into El Paso pretty easily. The truck is about due for an oil change, so I’ll see if I can get that taken care of. If so, I probably won’t get very many miles in tomorrow, but at least I should be past the dagger of Arctic cold air that has followed me from MN all the way into Texas.