[Note: I had to post-date a few entries due to no Internet, so you may want to scroll down and start with April 5, Lake Mead NRA.]
Our trip is winding down now. We’ve been on the road for two weeks and it’s time to head back to home base. Work and home projects await. My Airstream “to do” list has grown to an impressive size as a result of this trip, and I’m eager to get going on it because it won’t be long before we head out again in May.
We have to be home by Tuesday night at the latest, which is quite a lot of time to cover about 470 miles starting on Sunday. The general plan was to break it up into days of 210 miles, 160 miles, and 100 miles so that we wouldn’t have a rushed ending.
Departing Valley of Fire and heading back into the Lake Mead Nat’l Rec Area, the ranger at the entry station told us that there was a high wind warning for the desert southwest. At the time the air was entirely calm, and we’ve had plenty of experience with high winds, so we thanked him for the warning but didn’t think much of it. The drive back down the north shore of Lake Mead was as beautiful as before, and then we were flying high above the Hoover Dam, and before I really thought about it we were somewhere on Rt 93 heading south in Arizona.
That would all be fine but I had not done my fuel calculations well. Eleanor had even asked the night before if we were going to have to make a stop for fuel and I said I thought the half-tank we had would be fine to reach I-40. But at Boulder City (our first fuel opportunity along the Lake Mead shoreline) it should have been clear we were not going to be fine. There was a touch of wind by then, and it was knocking down our fuel economy by 1 MPG. That may not seem like much, but going from 13 MPG to 12 MPG represents a 9% loss of range. I forgot to double-check the fuel status as we passed Boulder City, and out in this part of the country you need to double-check fuel consumption because stations can be a long way apart.
Fortunately we encountered the charmingly-named Uranus Gas stop midway on Rt 93 (between Hoover Dam and I-40). Despite a “we gotcha” price of $4.85/gallon for diesel, I was grateful to find the place and buy four gallons to extend our range. At that point the trip computer was saying we had 45 miles of range left and 48 miles to the next gas stations at I-40…
We stopped in Kingman AZ just before getting on I-40 to pick up more diesel. The last mile of Rt 93 north of I-40 is a traffic nightmare, and I don’t recommend stopping there for fuel until they get some stoplights and maybe another lane installed. Also, although at least four stations offered diesel, and they were all basically next to each other, the prices ranged from $3.79 to $4.49. Go to exit 51 instead.
Our route took us along I-40 a short distance, then back on Rt 93 where it is named the Joshua Tree Forest Parkway. Not far down here, just north of the unincorporated town of Nothing (seriously), the Bureau of Land Management has placed a very nice campground called Burro Creek. The sites are pleasant, the facilities are limited, there’s a nice view of the Rt 93 bridge over Burro Creek and from a few sites you can see the creek, and it’s quiet. $14 is a lot for no hookups but it felt worthwhile anyway. I broke out the grill for one last fiesta and we grilled everything we had: shrimp, salmon, pineapple, and green onions. Eleanor made a marinade, jasmine rice, potato soup (using up some leftovers), and a salad. It was too much but we loved it anyway, and then we slept with the windows open to let in the blessed silence and cool night air.