Southwest road warriors

The transition from home life to road life can be jarring.  Things were moving in slow motion when I was in the house in Tucson, giving me the feeling that I was living in a world where Jello had replaced the air and I had to fight my way from one place to another.  Then suddenly the roadtrips began, and now things have sped up to the point that I have trouble keeping track of where I am and where I am supposed to be next.

My Friday return was classic Air Travel 101: the TSA confiscated my 3 ounces of toothpaste because it was in a container capable of holding 4.6 ounces, and I lost my watch in the confusion of undressing and dressing by the side of the conveyor belt.  By the time I realized that the watch was gone, I was in Terminal C, a solid 10-minute trip away from the security checkpoint by train and moving walkway.  I went back for the watch, which required me to go through the long security line again in order to retrieve it, and so 26 minutes later Southwest closed the door to the jetway and left me behind.  Brett got to Tucson at 9:30 in the morning with my bags, while I got re-routed through Las Vegas and arrived five hours later.

Saturday was quite a bit better. We blew off all accumulated work and spent the day up in the Santa Catalina mountains north of Tucson.  Not only was it much cooler than in Tucson but we had spectacular skies and great hiking weather.  The photo above is from Windy Point, an overlook along the Mt Lemmon Highway.

Near the town of Summerhaven we took a hike in the national forest that led us about 3.2 miles (roundtrip) past tiny waterfalls in deep canyons, then dropped in on the southernmost ski area in the continental United States for lunch at the Iron Door Restaurant.  The ski area is pretty minor when compared to those of Utah and Colorado, but for being located about 100 miles from the Mexican border it’s a minor miracle.

Sunday was another travel day, this time a long-anticipated road trip from Tucson to Palm Springs.  We’re in town to scout sites for next year’s Modernism Week Vintage Trailer Show (February 2012).  The entire valley is a tough place to park trailers, especially vintage trailers.  Some of the towns have rules against overnight parking even on private property, others have been intimidated by campground owners, some campgrounds won’t allow anything over 10 years old, some are “55+”, and many non-campground venues we approached won’t allow trailers on principle just out of pure snobbery.

Fortunately, the organizers of Modernism Week have good connections in town and had found a few prime spots near the center for us to evaluate on Monday.  We think we have a venue that will work very well, but won’t know for sure until we’ve had further discussions with the land owner.  I expect that by the end of September we’ll have the plan nailed down and can begin to accept applications for the show in October.  We’ll have only about 25 spots available, seven more than last year.

Let’s see, if today is Tuesday then we must be traveling again.  I would be tempted to spend the day in the valley here at the Indian Wells Resort Hotel (a golf course resort that is cheap in the off-season) but it’s scorchingly hot and the cool San Jacinto mountains are beckoning us.  Since we accomplished all of our site evaluations yesterday we are free to take our time heading to Los Angeles today.  I have a 143-mile driving route planned that is designed for pure pleasure (lots of twisties) and absolutely zero practicality; a real antidote to the sort of rush-rush straightline travel we’ve been doing.  We’ll start with the Palms To Pines Highway (Rt 74) from Palm Desert, and then pick up interesting roads to Temecula’s wine country and then Lake Elsinore, and San Juan Capistrano. We can take all day to do it, since we have no meetings planned for today.

So, time to get started.  It’s 7:28 a.m. and the heat is already building past 90 degrees here in Indian Wells, CA.  We’ll hit the hotel’s courtesy breakfast buffet, throw our road warrior gizmos into our bags, check that the cooler is loaded with drinks, and move on.  Another adventure awaits us along the road.

 

 

 

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Editor & Publisher of Airstream Life magazine