Our Trip Across America – Part 6

14 Nov

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites



We stayed on US-285 North thru Roswell till we were able to picked up I-40 (Old Route 66) West into Albuquerque.  The visit with my family and friends in Albuquerque was great. It was a restful time in familiar surroundings with my mother, aunt and grandmother who were thrilled to see us and our kids.  I was able to show the kids the houses where my DiVoran and I grew up and the schools we attended.



We took them to “Old Town” and had dinner in one of the restaurants on the original 250+ year old town square.  After dinner, we walked around the square, checking out the sidewalk Indian jewelry displays and visiting many of the shops that carried beautiful handmade Indian jewelry, crafts and artwork.

I was able to have short visits with two of my childhood friends who still lived in Albuquerque and catch up on how the years had been treating them.






We replenished our food and water supplies before heading West on I-40 (Old Route 66) thru Grants, over the Continental Divide, and thru Gallup into the Arizona desert.  We stopped in the Petrified Forest National Park long enough to get a good look at those age old wonders.

 Then it was on West into the Arizona mountains thru Holbrook and Winslow toward Flagstaff to visit high school friends.  It was the slow going in the mountains on the way to Flagstaff that the station wagon engine got so hot the transmission oil boiled over.  The oil ran down on the exhaust system and when I saw this huge cloud of white smoke in my rear view mirror, thought “oh no, we’ve burned up the engine, out here in the middle of nowhereWhat are we going to do now?

 As it turned out, we were just coming up on a rest stop, and were able to pull in to let the engine cool off.  This is where that extra transmission fluid I had brought along came in handy.  After the engine and transmission had cooled, I was able to replenish the missing fluid and we were on our way again.

When we finally got to Flagstaff, we had a wonderful time reminiscing with our friends about our high school days, Charlene and DiVoran’s time in beauty school together, Jim and my chance meeting in Japan while in the Navy, and  how fast our kids were growing up.







But, the next morning, after that great visit, I discovered we had a flat on our station wagon.  It was Sunday and there were no tire repair places open.  So, the repair entailed disconnecting the camper, and unloading everything in the rear of the station wagon to get at the spare tire and jack.  This was not in my plans for the day’s travel and got us off to a late start toward our next destination.

Our friends had told up about this wonderful Sonora Desert Museum that was a must see, so we headed South on I-17 to Tucson.  They were right!

It was a very unusual museum in that many of the exhibits were cutaway underground burrows showing how the desert animals survived the harsh environment they normally lived in.  There was an interesting temperature farm that showed air temp, surface temp, and the temperature every 6” underground.  It is amazing how fast the temperature drops the further under the surface of the desert you go.  The day we were there it was 120 degrees F in the shade with 140 degree F surface temp.

I can’t imagine how hot the asphalt walkways between the underground exhibits were, but it almost melted our tennis shoes.  We literally had to run between the underground exhibits, and then take our shoes off to let our feet cool.

   When we got back to the campground that afternoon, it was still so hot that we jumped in the pool and were enjoying ourselves, when all of a sudden the wind came up so strong we were afraid it would blow the camper over.

That was the most miserable night of our whole trip, trying to sleep in all that heat.



—–to Be Continued—–

2 Responses to “Our Trip Across America – Part 6”

  1. onisha Ellis (@onisha) November 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Bill always seems to have just what he needs for every situation. I love how you don’t allow circumstances to ruin your adventure.


  2. DiVoran Lites November 14, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Bill always was adventurous about setting out in a less than perfect car and knowing he could fix whatever came up. I certainly trusted him and admired his expertise, but I would never had done it alone. Never!


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