Return to CA: Part 2

I mentioned in my previous entry that I arrived in Flagstaff under moderate snowfall. I settled into my hotel room and enjoyed an early evening inside. Silly me, I didn’t look at the weather forecast before going to sleep. I awoke early the next morning at around 4am. I don’t know why, but I STILL didn’t think to look at the forecast to check for more snow. I guess I love surprises! I went outside to discover that a bit more snow had fallen, maybe two inches. After taking this photo, I opened the trailer to grab my snow removal tool. I KNEW it was a good idea to pack for snow!

I didn’t plan to take a second photo, as if to say “Look, I cleared my car all by myself!” But I knew I wanted a second shot when I saw that mountain. I can drive in the snow, having learned in a Chicago winter, but any amount of skill can be diced away by driving a front-wheel drive car on slick roads while towing 1060-lb trailer. I talked to the hotel front desk to get some intel about road conditions. I was assured that the highways are very well maintained and that I’d be fine. So, I took my chances, first by seeing if I could even pull out of the parking spot. Sure enough, the car pulled out without even a little bit of wheel-spin.

The roads were okay, with a few wheel-slips from time to time. The interstate was clear, but not enough to drive the speed limit. Some drivers flew by me, but I wasn’t going to be the buffoon that shutdown an Interstate by crashing a trailer that some would argue shouldn’t have been there. So, I drove at around 50 mph with the big trucks. Flagstaff sits at around 7000 feet. Google Maps seemed to indicate that normal speeds (clear roads indicated by green?) were just 30 miles away. My goal was to get below the snow. I hadn’t had breakfast, but I expected to just wait… until I discovered a problem: In my haste to get out of the frozen rain and into a hotel the previous evening, I hadn’t refueled and was sitting at 1/4-tank. Knowing how fast the bottom half of the tank disappears while pulling a trailer, I took the first exit I saw with my preferred fuel.

This fuel stop was in Williams, AZ. I had traveled 38 miles down the mountain, but the roads certainly were not clear, not by this southern driver’s standards. Williams appeared to be a sleepy town with only limited snow removal teams. There was a layer of ice under the snow; so, my traction control and ABS were certainly working and making plenty of noise. I went a little deeper into town to find breakfast. I was determined to keep the car moving to avoid getting stuck. Ordinarily, the GTI does well on snow. But the trailer presents more weight and friction for a FWD car to overcome. Thankfully, no one was on the roads, except my dumb ass!  😉  Well, that wasn’t entirely true since the grocery store was busy. I got breakfast and headed out of town. Life was good on the interstate. It wasn’t long before the roads and my surroundings looked as if it hadn’t snowed at all.

I stopped in Seligman, this time during daylight. I was there before most of the town had opened for business. Still, I didn’t see anything there to warrant a stop. I had already seen and photographed a cool mural there in November (photo below). Nothing else caught my eye. I might have felt differently if I had been traveling in an RV and had no timeline. But I had a goal for the day. I took this photo, just to say I was there. I took off my heavy coat while I was stopped. It was good to be back in warmer weather. It’s amazing how quickly things can go from ice and snow to comfortable and dry.

Next, I stopped in Kingman. My only goal there was to reshoot the banner sign at the locomotive park. I looked for a coin-operated car wash so that I could make the car pretty for the next two photo locations. But I was out of luck. Regardless, a dirty car says something about the miles of a trip. I had been itching for a “country-fried steak.” There is a Cracker Barrel in Kingman and I was fairly certain that they served it. However, it was VERY crowded and had a long wait to be seated. In my opinion, nothing tastes good enough to wait in a horde. I found a faster option and continued west to a scenic stop along historic Route 66. No country-fried steak for me.

This photo was taken in Cool Springs, AZ. I had learned about this place last fall after I had already passed through the area. I think someone shared it in my previous travel thread. I knew I had to visit since I was so close by. I attempted to get a decent car photo in Las Vegas. But the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign was not as expected. Not wanting to prolong my stay in the crowded city with a trailer, I made a swift exit and continued west. My destination this evening was Pahrump, NV, after 350 miles of driving. It would set me up for the following day’s cool attractions.

After just 350 miles of driving, I arrived in Pahrump plenty early enough to find a car wash, get a much needed haircut, and sit down for a meal. I happened to had parked in front of a Denny’s during my haircut. It was early enough to be ahead of the dinner rush. Guess what they have on their menu: Chicken-fried steak! Theirs is a breakfast meal; so, it included white gravy, eggs, and pancakes. Obviously, this is not a fine dining establishment. I’m pretty sure their country-fried steak came out of a box. But I enjoyed it anyway. Eight years on ships has enabled me to develop an appreciation of ordinary foods.

Next, I will enter the place that compelled me to pack extra fuel in the trailer: Death Valley. Services are scarce there, especially fuel. I’ll share my Death Valley experience in my next entry…

Fresh and Clean,



About Scott

I grew up near Houston, TX and served in the U. S. Coast Guard for over 30 years. I have an electronics background and continue to work in the electronics engineering field. I taught myself the basics about automotive systems as well as how to perform some of my own maintenance (cars and bicycles). I became involved with Amateur Radio and computers in 1995. The explosion of technology has made my job and several of my hobbies quite interesting. My hobbies include Volkswagens, bicycling, photography, electronics, amateur radio, web management, and reptiles. Visit my websites to learn more.
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