Travel Reports

Note: Please see the Travel Reports item on the main navigation menu at the top of each page for a more comprehensive list of Travel Reports than you will find below.

A Peek Inside an RV Factory

Unfinished Class A Coachmen
It  feels very odd to see a rig in the process of being constructed when we are so used to seeing only the finished product.

Coachmen, in business for 50 years, makes RVs of many styles including: travel trailers, 5th wheels, Class A, both diesel and gas, Class B and Class C motor homes, popups. I think they also have a housing division that makes mobile homes. I could be leaving some things out. The campus is huge. I was really floored when I saw all the Ford E450 cutaway vans parked in different places around the campus. That’s the chassis on which they build most of their Class C motorhomes, the chassis upon which the whole RV industry builds most of their Class Cs. I was told Coachmen keeps enough E450s around for a 3-6 month supply and that they build up to 20 a day. That would be up to something like 2,400 E450s. The sticker price on those is $32,660. That equates to over $78,000,000 worth of E450s. Even at 25% off sticker it’s still near $60,000,000. Wow! READ MORE…

What Did I Get for My Birthday? Lost!

Mountain Laurel
Mountain Laurel near New Paltz, NY. I love the shape of the buds before they burst open. The individuals I’ve seen have varied from pink to white.

Like a mountain lion stalking a helpless deer my 64th birthday caught me unawares. That’s nothing new for me, mind you. As a relatively reclusive sort they tend to come and go without much notice.

The difference this year–and I suppose I should say last year as well because this is the second birthday running that I’ve celebrated on the road–was that when I woke up in the morning not only did I not realize what day it was, I also didn’t know where the hell I was! I don’t think it was because of my aging gray matter as much as it was due to the fact that I’ve been living on the road, changing location from day to day. Hey! It’s hard to keep track! Now, where was I?… oh yeah…

The Spectacle: Quartzsite in the Eyes of a Newbie

Looking Sout at La Posa West LTVA
Looking Sout at La Posa West LTVA

Quartzsite, for those of you that may not know, is a little town in southwestern Arizona. Among other things it is home to an RV show that takes place about the middle of January for some 10 days.

From the home page of the show’s web site: “Every January something happens that is hard to believe, unless you have seen it! According to the Arizona Highway Department, as many as 750,000 to 1,000,000 people, mostly in RV’s, converge on this sleepy little desert town, located just 20 miles east of the California border on Interstate 10, for the rock, gem and mineral shows, plus numerous flea markets and the Quartzsite Sports, Vacation & RV Show. This phenomenon started over 40 years ago and is now billed as “The Largest Gathering Of RVers in the World”…” I couldn’t have said it better myself. That’s why I quoted the show’s site! Ha! READ MORE…

Three Weeks, 1500 Miles: Austin to Quartzsite

Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park

Three weeks ago I left Austin Texas headed for Quartzsite Arizona, a journey of some 1500 miles. Why? Good question. Two reasons: to see the spectacle that is Quartzsite (more in a moment) and to find warmer climes in which to spend the rest of winter. Hey, it’s been cold in many of the places I’ve been lately. In Big Bend National Park there was an icicle about 18″ long hanging off my RV one morning! READ MORE…

Big Bend National Park, Texas

Hannold Draw, Big Bend
Looking north at sunrise to the Chisos Mountains from Hannold Draw in Big Bend National Park.

Today I awoke to absolute silence. I’m camped at Hannold Draw in Big Bend National Park which at its southernmost portion borders on the Rio Grande river on the other side of which is our southern neighbor, Mexico. Hannold Draw is more centrally located in the park, about 5 miles north of Panther Junction where one of the park’s five Visitor Centers is located–it’s a sizable park. READ MORE…

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

Beautiful. No? I mean like wow!

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: Q: How do you tell the difference between a dead snake and a dead lawyer in the road? Ans: By the skid marks leading up to the snake.

I was reminded of that joke yesterday when driving the 14 mile park road in the North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota. I came to a sudden stop to avoid hitting a motionless snake in the middle of the road. I climbed off PeeWee–my trusty little Yamaha XT250 motorcycle–to have a closer look. I could see it was a rattlesnake so I wanted to be very careful before assuming it was dead. As I circled the creature at a safe distance–they can’t strike without first coiling up and even then their striking distance is short, generally preceded by rattling–it looked pretty dead to me but as I moved around to its side from the back I saw the telltale flickity-flick of the snake’s tongue, a sure sign that it was anything but dead. READ MORE…



I’ll Miss You, Colorado

Red Mountain #1
Red Mountain #1 outside of Ouray, CO

It was June 22, 2014 when I drove across the border from Utah into Colorado. Today, August 16, I drove across the border from Colorado into Wyoming. That’s one day short of 8 weeks I spent in CO. At that rate, with the (rather unimportant) bucket list item to visit all of the 34 states I’d not yet set foot in, it would take me 272 weeks to visit all those states, a mere 5 years, but who’s counting? READ MORE…


Ouray’s Queen of Beer

Yours truly with Ouray Brewery's BrewMaster Pacie
Yours truly with Ouray Brewery’s BrewMaster Pacie

In July of 2014 I passed through Ouray, Colorado on my see-the-USA-in-an-RV trip. I’d come to the mountains of Colorado to see and photograph the sensational scenery as well as to get away from the often oppressive heat of southern Utah which is common during the warmer months. My last significant destination in Utah had been Capitol Reef National Park, a lesser known but spectacular park. From there I entered Colorado stopping first at Mesa Verde National Park. Next, Durango where I camped at Junction Creek, the southern terminus of the Colorado Trail, and after that Little Molas Lake outside of Silverton where I spent two weeks. READ MORE…



Little Molas Lake at Sunrise
Little Molas Lake at Sunrise

What’s up with me is that I’m nearing the end of a 2 week stay at Little Molas Lake outside of Silverton, Colorado, preparing to begin my 10th week on the road tomorrow. Separately, I’ve written a Campground Report about this lovely spot. As I write I’m sitting outdoors in the delightful warming sun of early morning looking at the scene you see in the sunrise photo included in this post. The air is still and filled with the sound of many bird songs. A very gentle and delicious breeze is beginning to blow. Voices from nearby campers can also be heard, as well as a couple making love a couple campsites away, and occasionally a vehicle passing by on route 550 which is maybe 3/4 mile away as the crow flies. READ MORE…

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