Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'm short and getting shorter!

Thomas and I worked today, and Caroline worked with us until 2:00 p.m. Patti came in and told me I could leave about 45 minutes early today. That means that I will "work" about 3 hrs tomorrow and that's it! I enjoyed the day which started out mild and sunny, but it has turned colder and has started to rain. I just hope the rain is gone from the southeast on Friday morning.

I have received a lot of comments about my route west, for which I am grateful. As much as I want to go the most direct route I accept the fact that the weather will play a major part in my travels, so I will just go with the flow. I am even considering whether or not I should just go south to I-10 at Jacksonville, and would be interested in hearing about the roadway, traffic, construction, etc. Would I have to go over a long causeway or bridge at Mobile Bay? How close would I pass by New Orleans (don't want to go there) and is the traffic heavier in that area? And the city which is my 3rd most dreaded city in the U.S. to drive around - Houston (just after Los Angeles and Dallas) - is it as awful as it looks traffic-wise? Some cities are congested mainly during the commute hours twice a day, while others, such as the Capital Beltway around Washington, D.C. are congested 24/7. What is Houston like?

While the inside of my 5ver looks kind of cluttered, experience has taught me that it can be travel-ready in a short amount of time. The most I have to do is with the outside hoses, and I had planned to take care of part of that this evening until the cold rain started falling.

I took one last picture of the fig tree in the Fort's parade ground. It certainly looks like it's more than one tree, but there is really only one. I tried to photograph the buds but they are out of focus - I'm including that picture anyway.

When I was driving home this evening I glanced over to the fields along the roadway watching for deer that might dart in front of me. I saw two huge blackbirds that I think may have been vultures. I parked the truck and walked back with my camera - didn't get a good picture of the two on the ground, and when I looked up at the trees there were several of them on the branches. Maybe if you click for a close up you can see them, and someone might be able to tell me what they are.


  1. katbulue.blogspot.comFebruary 24, 2010 at 5:04 PM

    I-10 goes north of New Orleans, no problems there. But if you don't like those big bridges that go up over top rivers etc. there are several of those. I don't like them but can do them if I focus on the vehicle in front of me and "don't look down". I have driven thru Houston with an RV on I-10 and had no problem, a little slow down now and then but not nearly as nerve racking as driving I-75 thru Atlanta. My GPS has old maps and it kept telling me to get on I-10 when I was already on it. Good luck with your trip.

  2. Gypsy, it is I-12 which goes on the north side of Lake Ponchatrain to avoid New Orleans (not I-10 which goes straight thru the city). You pick up I-12 off of I-10 at Slidell. We have also driven (towing) straight through Houston on I-10 with no issues. You will be on "bridges" from Baton Rouge to Lafayette (swamps) but it is interstate with wide shoulders so you can pull off if needed and those bridges are near the ground. There is a high bridge at Mobile Bay, another at Baton Rouge, and another at Beaumont, TX. San Antonio can be pretty busy (worse than Houston) so try not to be going thru at rush hour.


  3. I-10 through most of Louisiana is pretty bumpy or at least it was last time we were through.

    We went through Houston on a Sunday in the rain and the traffic was still pretty heavy but if you have to go through any day I would pick Sunday.

    Don't know if this helps or not.

  4. I generally plan our routes well in advance & avoid large cities if at all possible. If we have to do a city I try & time it to do early on a Sunday morning. Saturday morning is my second choice. If you have to do a city then try to hit it about 10 in the morning or 1 to 2 in the afternoon. Under no circumstances would I roll into a large unfamiliar city during rush hour. I spent too many countless thousands of miles running heavy traffic in & around the Toronto area for many years so I've had my fill of that nonsense!!

  5. Whoops! My error--there is a tunnel under Mobile Bay, not a bridge. According to what I've seen on some blogs, I-10 in Louisiana is better than it used to be. Dione

  6. Gypsy, I live in Baton Rouge. As other posts have said, I-10 to Slidell, LA is good. There is an elevated portion over Mobile Bay but it has wide shoulders. 5vers, Class A's and 18 wheelers go through the tunnel at Mobile with ease. I suggest that you stay in the right lane and take it easy. At Slidell take I-12 to Baton Rouge. You will miss New Orleans completely. On the east side of Baton Rouge you will pick up I-10 again. Baton Rouge doesn't have a loop. Traffic on I-10 west bound is very heavy until about 9 a.m. When you get into downtown you will bear left and cross the Mississippi River. The bridge is high but if you stay in the right lane it will become the middle lane you will a lane on either side of you. The bridge is high but short and you be over it before you know it. There is a long elevated section of I-10 across the Atchafalaya Spillway. This is the swamp mentioned by Dione. You should have no problems. The speed limit is reduced and trucks have to keep right. After Lafayette it's easy going all the way to Houston where you have the choice of staying on I-10 or taking the loop. The north loop is shorter. Time of day determines which way to go. As you are aware taking I-10 will take you across Texas at it's widest point but it does have a western border. Howard & Linda Payne took this route when they went east to Florida where they are now. God be with you.

  7. As long as it isn't during a rush hour, straight through Houston is a lot better, and quicker, than going around it.
    The I-10 west of there, is nothing but miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles! So don't fall asleep at the wheel!
    IMHO, that is the least scenic part of the whole big state of TX.
    I would like to see you go a different way, and see the 'TX Grand Canyon', Palo Duro, and some of the lovely State Parks in that direction.
    Are you in a big rush? It's the journey, not the destination. Please see:
    Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  8. Not a lot of detail in the pics of the birds, but they certainly do look like vultures by their profiles.

    the hermit

  9. We didn't have any problems at all driving through Houston early on a Sunday morning, traffic was surprisingly light and it was Thanksgiving weekend. We found Flying J truck stops for overnighting were very friendly and easy to pull in and out of, albeit a bit noisy, but it's free parking, they have nice clean showers inside...and they have an internet connection which is free (the first hour, I think...at least it was when I used it in November). Have a fun last day at the Fort and we're wishing you a wonderful, easy drive to your destination. :-)

  10. Gypsy, I'm thinking of that song "Waltz across Texas" - you are very fortunate to have the opportunity to travel across our beautiful country - relax, have fun, treat yourself, make it a vacation & enjoy the ride - put some azaleas in your hair in Florida, eat some shrimp in Louisiana, buy a cowboy hat in Texas and wear it ! CELEBRATE LIFE ! and you're living it !! Many friends are reading your blog & wishing you safe travels - so crank up the country music & lets GO !! Happy Trails - Cindy L (Moonfly13)

  11. Gypsy, because of the lighting, I can't tell if those birds were black vultures or turkey vultures, but they are vultures.

    For a large city, Houston is pretty straight forward to drive through. I think San Antonio is worse.

    I agree with Moonfly...get it on, girl!

  12. Marty,
    The birds are turkey vultures! I can tell by the little fleshy things hanging from the underside of their beaks.
    Having never driven across the lower part of the 48, the only advice I can give is to take your time and enjoy the view.

  13. Gypsy you could always make a detour through Mountain City TN its a really small town and there is free parking for your RV and free hookups too I might add!!