There is so much to report! Unfortunately internet access hasn't been as plentiful as I'd hoped, so I'm already quite far behind, but I'll try to catch you up as quickly as possible. We left on Saturday, but much later than we'd planned. There was no end to the junk we had to somehow fit into the PODS. They appeared full on Friday night, but all day Saturday we managed to cram more in there. A lot of the equipment from the garage had to end up in the bed of the truck--the lawnmower, table saw, air compressor, and even my brother's old 900 watt speaker box that used to be in his car. My trunk is full, my mom's trunk is full. I've got Comet in his crate and the cat box in my backseat, while mom has the doggies in their harnesses latched onto the carseat hooks. I feel like we didn't have enough time to go through stuff as thoroughly as we should have, so we ended up taking a lot that should have been tossed, but we did get rid of a lot. At the end we were just putting things on the corner with "Free" signs on them, like a dresser, a desk, patio furniture, and a practically brand new barbecue. Hopefully these things find new homes.
We finally departed around 8:00 pm, WAY too late to drive all the way to Laughlin as planned, so we drove just to Acton. My parents belong to Thousand Trails, which is kind of like a campground club, and we could stay there for free in the fifth wheel. Setting up in the pitch black dark was somewhat of a challenge but we managed (or should I say, my dad managed). The animals had a few scuffles in these close confines, but overall it was okay.
We did not get an early start the next day (Sunday) either. We were all so tired, and we had not established routines yet, so everything took much longer than it should have. Plus, my mom's car wouldn't start. She'd had her headlights on for about 30 minutes the night before, to provide some light for my dad to hook up the RV to the water, sewer, and power; I guess the car battery couldn't handle it. Luckily my dad is prepared and he had his battery charger with him. We finally left around 1:15.
Driving in a caravan is very slow going, because my dad can only go so fast towing the fifth wheel, especially up hills. In addition, we had to make a couple stops so the dogs could go potty and to get gas. We wanted to stay at the Avi resort and casino, right outside Laughlin, on an Indian reservation--they have both an RV park and a hotel. But we didn't know exactly how to get there. We have basic maps, but they're not very detailed, so I was on the phone with the front desk several times trying to get directions. We finally pulled into the campground/hotel around 8 pm. We both checked in, and I discovered that the hotel had a no pet policy...uh oh. My solution? Sneak Comet inside. I'm usually such a rule follower, but for some reason I didn't even think twice about this. It was kind of absurd. I went out to my car, took him out of the crate, put him in a zippered tote bag (which he tolerated amazingly well), and walked right to the room. Then my dad carried in the litter box covered in a blanket. I felt kind of bad breaking the rules, but I knew that Comet would not cause any damage. He loved the room. He was very relaxed and comfortable. We had dinner at the buffet (my parents and I, not Comet and I!), and then gambled a little. I won five dollars on the nickel slots, which isn't much, but it was fun nonetheless. I also enjoyed looking through the coins for Lewis and Clark nickels and buffalo nickels. I'm such a nerd.
I got up early this morning to get things organized--everything I needed was scattered in different bags, so I got everything consolidated so it's more manageable. We had breakfast at the hotel, then snuck Comet back into the car. Disconnecting the trailer took a little while, and of course the dogs take time as well, making sure they've gone potty, hooking them into the car, etc., so we did not hit the road as early as we hoped, once again. After we got gas and were finally on our way, it was 10:50.
We drove toward Kingman, climbing, climbing, climbing, to about 3500 feet, which is hard on the truck's engine. At some points we were only going 45 miles an hour. I thought I would be itching to go 80, but it's actually not bad just poking along. Gives me more time to take pictures out the window. :-) My dad was getting about 5 miles per gallon (!), so we had to stop for gas a lot. It's not an easy proposition when you're hauling a 6 ton RV. Just pulling into and out of the station can be tricky. I've been getting about 25 mpg, so I don't fill up every time he does. I've paid $2.97/gallon in Victorville, and $2.73/gallon in Kingman.
Our goal today was Flagstaff, and we made it just before 3 pm. On the way we saw lots of mountains and trees and red rock formations, much more pleasant scenery than yesterday. I'm staying in a Quality Inn right off the 40, and my parents are staying in a KOA up the road a bit. Thankfully this hotel allows pets, for a $10 surcharge, and has free wireless internet access! After I got settled in the room, I watched a little television while I checked my email. Then I went to the campground to see what it was like, play with the doggies, and do a load of laundry with my mom in the little laundry room there. The weather here is SO much cooler than Laughlin, due to the elevation (about 6800 feet). We went to dinner at a neat little restaurant called the Railroad Cafe, where they had a model train circling the room above our heads. Then we went to the grocery store so I could get postcards, and now I'm back in my room. So it would seem you're caught up, but I feel like there are so many little details I have yet to share. It's getting pretty late though so I should probably get some sleep. I wish I could post a ton of pictures tonight, but my computer is very s l o w because it has practically no RAM. I'll try to post pictures tomorrow. For now, just this one: