Home from our Girls Road Trip 2018 - The Story Begins

We are home!

Our daughter graduated from the university, came home long enough to get engaged and then she and I were back on the road.  We planned another Girls Road Trip, similar to what we did last year.  (Last year we camped and hiked across South Dakota from Eastern to Western borders).  This year we were camping and hiking across Arizona - Southern border to Northern border at the Grand Canyon.

The best laid plans.....  and all that.

It started off on a 'weird' foot from the get go.

A schedule glitch, massive construction and road closures right in our own city.  Seeing a truck go up in flames on the side of the road, our iphones and GPS all giving weird information and none of which agreed with each other.  We finally got out of the city and onto the first major highway only to realize 45 minutes into the drive that our 3 ring binder with all the reservations, information, maps, directions and the National Parks Annual Pass was sitting at home on the desk....

And that is how the trip STARTED in the first 45 minutes.  We should have known it was a peek into some of the craziness to come in the next two weeks!

Two weeks in a duffle

Many of the photos are of snapchats and texts sent to Mr. Coffee (husband) and family so you'll see comments written across the photos.  

Our first stop was to our oldest daughters home in Missouri.  We opted to stay in a motel there - but you have to realize this is a small town... not your Mama's big city hotel. This particular motel has individual little quirky cabins. Every one is different. Most of the decor is from the 60's and 70's. They smell like a great-great grandparents house and the bed is in the kitchen, etc.  We love it.  Ha ha.

When I made reservations I mentioned my name and that we had stayed there last year as well; could we get room 7 again for May 11th?

Sure.  See you then. (They don't do confirmation numbers... she just scribbles your name down in her notebook).

We arrived around 6:00 pm to find a note on the door telling us to go on into the room and stop in later to register.

Okay... but we weren't going to be around.

We were heading to our daughters house and wouldn't be back to the room until about 9:30 pm.  So I dug a sticky note out of my purse and scribbled a note to her letting her know this and stuck it on the door.

When we arrived back that night we went to the cabin and went to sleep.  Got up around 6:30 to get ready to go.  STILL had not registered or paid.....

So at 7:00 I called the number.  She answered. (They have a woman who runs the little place for the owners.  She lives on site.)  She said sure, come on into the office.  So at 7:10 am I went to the office to finally register... as we were leaving.

I filled out the card and she asked if I wanted to keep it on the same card?
Uh... yeah, I guess so.  But I don't think I gave you my card number yet.
She got out her little spiral notebook and her pencil and flipped to a page from last year - found 'me' and told me she would charge it to my card I used last time.  She wished me a good day and....

I glanced at the notebook.  Uh, that's not me.
Yep - she was ready to see me off and charge my stay to another woman from my state with the same first name... yes I pointed out it wasn't me and gave her MY credit card and paid for the room.

And then we left.

Our day was spent driving about 10 or 11 hours - arriving in Tucumcari, New Mexico late that afternoon.

For the record; Oklahoma, we hate you.

And we hate your toll roads.  Because no, paying MORE money every 5 miles to be stuck in construction zones, is not worth it.  And your bill change machines don't work... just sayin'.

We entered the first toll road without really realizing it; we were hot, tired, it had been an all day, long drive and our GPS and iphones both had us going the same route.  Before we knew it we were on a 'turnpike' - and I commented that usually means toll roads but we hadn't seen a sign for how much it would be.  At the end of the turnpike we found out it was almost $5.  And this was SO not worth it.  It was heavy traffic, HUGE CONSTRUCTION ZONES, we were dead stopped in traffic many times when it was down to 1 lane, rough, narrow roads.  (For the record on the way home we avoided the toll roads - and they were BETTER than the toll roads.  Faster, little to no construction, not bad traffic and no 'dead stops').

By this point (the 5th? unexpected toll) it was un-manned and we were out of change so I had to use the bill changer they had.  Except I couldn't.  It would not accept any bills - no matter how crisp and perfect they were.  Not ones and not fives.  Luckily we were able to scrounge up enough in the end but I did see in my rear view mirror, the lady in the car behind me had the same issue and the last I saw of her, she was out of her vehicle, standing next to the machine trying desperately to get it to work.....  

The first toll booth was almost $5.00 then every few miles was another one ranging in the $1.35 area.

But you needed exact change - which, not expecting toll roads, we didn't have.

4 of 5 toll booths were manned but one of them was not - and surprise, the change machine did not work!

Luckily we scrounged up enough change by digging through every inch of the car, our bags, purses, the floor.... desperately as this was our 5th? toll and we were depleted.

We had nickles and pennies - which, surprise, the machines don't accept.

Luckily we found a spare quarter on the ground as well, which saved my butt.

But New Mexico?  WE LOVE YOU.  Seriously.
New Mexico has our hearts...


First stop was an actual campsite in Tucumcari.  I don't usually like campgrounds because they are busy, loud and you are packed in like sardines next to people.  However I booked a sleeping cabin this time.  These are simple wood structures with a wooden bunk bed and a tiny table.  Most of them have electricity but they don't have bathrooms or kitchens and you are not allowed to cook or eat in them; they really are just for sleeping. 

We booked it as it was a quick stopover between two 10+ hour drives and doing so meant not only that we wouldn't have to unload all our gear and set up a tent... but it was our last access to a bathroom and a shower until the next Wednesday night.

When we checked in, the owners of this campground weren't very friendly, barely talked and wouldn't crack a smile, but after a 10+ (?) hour drive and dealing with Oklahoma we were just ready to eat and go to sleep!  (I did break through the ice when we stayed again on the way home and got him to chat and even smile - but he's a tough nut to crack!) 

We had another full day of driving the next day as well to get down to the Southern border of Arizona near Mexico.



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