On the last Thursday in October we awoke to frost and fog in Lomond, Alberta. It looked like a nice day for a drive, so 10am found us on the road, faithful trailer behind, headed south. It took nearly two hours for the fog to lift and the jackets to be shed. By that time we were experiencing the easiest border crossing ever and bee-lining it for Helena, Montana. A night in the Walmart parking lot, another cold morning, and we found ourselves at Ennis, Montana after a short but steep side trip to Virginia City. This little hub of tourist activity is almost a ghost town after Labour Day, but we were able to stroll the street unhampered, and the men were able to find a hamburger to eat. My friend and I had a very satisfying cheese sandwich assembled in her trailer and I took lots of pictures of the old buildings and historic sites to share with my readers, especially my daughter-in-law the history buff. The temperature was a balmy 21 degrees Celsius. We were indeed happy campers.
Back to Ennis for fuel,and back on the road, stopping overnight in a free-for-one-night park right on the Snake River in Idaho Falls. We saw beaver from the window of Roy and Linda’s trailer. Very early to bed and awake at 4:30, not from need, but unable to stop thinking. Had a pile of peanut butter toast at home then coffee at Dad’s restaurant while our friends had their breakfast. Filled the water tank there as well. Insert a collective sigh of relief here. I guess I was getting a little cranky about being unable to shower.
A departure from last year’s route, as we remained on the I15 after the Pocatello exit, with the intention of going past Salt Lake City to get to Payson, Utah.
We negotiated the I15 through Salt Lake City with strong headwinds. Winds continued at 50 mph. Rain had been predicted, and we saw a smattering of it but we were unprepared for these winds!
We arrived safely in Payson around 3:00pm and went to Roy and Linda’s to watch the Stamps lose to Winnipeg in the snow. The wind had died down where we were but rain showers and chilly temperatures kept us largely indoors. That and the fact that we were in another Walmart lot. Another early night and awake nearly every hour either to pee or to wonder what time it was. The lights outside had me thinking it was morning, every time. Then when six o’clock finally rolled around, I realised it was only five, as it was Fall Back Sunday! So we had an early start.
It rained all the way to a rest stop north of Fillmore, then it slowly turned to snow . It felt like home, and not in a good way. The temperature was 6C when we got up, minus 1at the height of the snowstorm. An hour more on the road and it was just scattered showers, but the sky remained ominous.
The sun seemed to come out just as we crossed the Nevada state line at 1:35pm. Temperature 18C. We could smell the creosote bushes. This felt like home in a very good way.
We met some very good friends of Roy and Linda’s in the Virgin River Casino parking lot in Mesquite, NV. Shared a drink and snacks in their trailer, then we all went to the casino cafe for seven-dollar prime rib, for which Roy generously paid from his slot winnings. Had breakfast there this morning…pancakes, eggs, hash browns, bacon and sausages for four dollars. Then we were on our way for the last leg. The weather was glorious. I had been so busy basking in the warm temperatures that I neglected to record them. Suffice it to say that we were down to T-shirts and Capri pants.
After an un-rushed and uneventful five-hour drive through three states and two time zones, where Nevada, California and Arizona intersect, we were home. We backed into the spot we occupied last year and proceeded to officially open the Fall 2014 Quartzsite Snowbird Season with Happy Hour among friends who had arrived ahead of us.