Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Friday, June 26, 2015

Countdown to Alaska

At home near Fort Worth, Texas...

The digital thermometer in the den shows the outside temperature reaching into the nineties now each day. As the digits creep inexorably toward displaying three in number--and they will--I sense the need to abandon my glorious state for cooler climes.

In a few days, we will begin (for us) an epic RV trip up through the mountains of the western U. S. to Seattle, where we will board a cruise ship to Alaska. (Yes, yes, I know what I wrote in previous posts about cruises, but perhaps third time is the charm, who knows?) On the way there, we will visit several national parks that we have not seen, including Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier and several others. We will stop in Colorado for a few days to visit friends on the way. The trip home from Seattle will be southbound along the west coast and over to the Grand Canyon.

Phannie will take us to Seattle, and we will leave her there during the cruise. Driving to Alaska would undoubtedly be a magnificent road trip, but we just don't have the stamina to do that. We admire those who have made the drive--especially those in RVs--but we are just too accustomed to the easy life and the modern conveniences and services that go along with it. For example, being without cellphone and Internet service for any length of time would make me nervous, but it would probably render Sandy comatose. Yes, we admit we are wusses, but go ahead and get your scoffing over with. It's still not gonna happen.

Since our return home from South Padre, we have been beehives of activity getting prepared for our time away. There have been more dentist and doctor appointments for me and, of course, Sandy's visit to her hairdresser. If that weren't enough, there were the hedges to trim (again) and bushes to prune back. Oh, yes, and our smaller air conditioner is on the fritz. Fortunately, we are somewhat over-air conditioned by design, so we will not suffer while the unit is being repaired. Keeping up the stick and bricks house still causes me to mutter under my breath about just why we're bothering to do that.

Phannie and Mae were on the to do list, as well. An oil change and wash job for Mae was due, and it was once again time for Phannie's annual service visit. Inland Truck in Irving performed this for us, changing oil and filters on the bus engine and on the Onan genset, as well as fuel filters and a lube job. We like dealing with these people, as they are knowledgeable and friendly. Moreover, for such a large facility, they generally have a very quick turnaround. On most days, if your rig is at their facility in the morning, they'll have you on your way in the afternoon, with no reservations needed. I recommend them highly. This was a far cry from Freightliner of Fort Worth, where it took nine days to do a fairly simple repair on Phannie. I haven't been back there since.

Don, the friendly service writer at Inland

Inland's Headquarters Building

I have actually been dragging myself into doing some trip planning, using the My Scenic Drives app. I think I have pretty much settled on the itinerary and campgrounds as far as Salt Lake City, but I think I may need to do the rest of my research in moderation. (Too much planning tends to remind me of w**k.) I also use Google Earth to find campgrounds and to see what they look like at the same time. If you type in a search phrase like, "RV parks near (city, state)," you should get a nice list, with pins on the map. Then you can swoop down and take a look. I also pay attention to the RV Park Reviews website, where I'll check to see if there are any issues at the various locations.

Prelaunch activities will become busier and busier in the next week. For example, Phannie is due an inspection and registration renewal, a task that must be handled right away, lest we get ticketed en route
when our sticker runs out at the end of July. As I predicted, Sandy is getting anxious about selecting her wardrobe for the trip. More often than not, she just stares into space at her closet door; I'm not sure what that means, but it probably isn't good.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; please forgive me if I don't appreciate enough each day.

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