Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Route 66: Topock, Az to Tucumcari, NM.

The Historic Route 66 from the California state-line to Tucumcari in New Mexico.
____ After nearly five months on the road, it was time to start heading North and slowly back to Canada and the deep freeze that had been going on since we departed on November 1st. From Quartzsite it was a small hop to Parker, then two nights at the Cattail Cove State Park on the shores of Lake Havasu. Desert landscape with the clear deep waters of the lake; colour from the cacti in bloom and hiking trails at a campsite 16 miles south of Lake Havasu City. Of course, we did the London Bridge and English Village tourist thing before heading up to connect with the historic Route 66; where it crosses the Colorado River from California into Arizona.

____ A quiet night on BLM land, just north of Golden Shores, was followed by an early morning stop at Oatman. The former ghost town is now a tourist-trap with the attraction of wild donkeys roaming the streets and gunfights every day at Noon. We saw the donkeys and quickly moved on; taking the narrow road over the Sitgreaves Pass; featuring a pet cemetery at the summit's scenic over-look. Weird. There were plenty of old Route 66 places to visit but we didn't do them all. A visit to the Grand Canyon Caverns was entertaining and worthwhile; a water carved series of caves that has dried-out over time as the Colorado River has cut deeper into the desert and lowered the water-table. Old style diner experience was taken at the Snow Cap in Seligman; ice-cream sundae eaten among 50's memorabilia while a sign on the wall said that they also sold dead chicken.

____ The Mack was now parking nightly among the big-rigs as we took Interstate 40 east to Winslow and the photo-opportunity of standing on the corner. Now a busy intersection with handily parked flat-bed Ford and souvenir shop. I could get angry about the fact that it was not even the title of the song but take it easy and move on. At Tucumcari, we turn north-east on Highway 54, cutting across Texas and Oklahoma before hitting Interstate 135 north of Wichita and retracing our tracks back to Canada.
Boat launch and beach at Cattail Cove State Park on Lake Havasu.

Most of the hiking trails at Cattail Cove State Park started from the overflow camping parking area.
London Bridge at Lake Havasu City; looking much as it did when I last saw it over 50 years ago in London. The water seemed a lot cleaner than that of the Thames.

Oatman's famous wild burros.

Sitgreaves Pass is not recommended for vehicles over 40 feet long. The Mack was the biggest thing up there but I've been over a lot worse in 18 wheel semis.

The Grand Canyon Caverns; 220 feet underground and three-quarters of a mile of tunnels and caves.

The Snow Cap at Seligman; one of hundreds of 50's style eateries that play the Route 66 card.

The Standing on the Corner corner, such a fine sight to see.
A map of the whole five month trip: November 2018 to March 2019.

The only other Mack RV that we encountered on the whole trip was in Tucumcari, NM. Bob from Minnesota was on his way home after a Winter in the Sun too.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

World's Largest Truck at the Yuma Proving Grounds.

One of two big guns at the Junction of Highway 95 and Imperial Dam Road which leads to the Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center.

The Yuma Proving Ground Heritage Center. North of Yuma and Interstate 8 in Arizona.

____|Turn-off West at the Big Guns on Highway 95; down Imperial Dam Road for about half a mile and call in at Visitor Center that is protected by all the old armoured vehicles. This is necessary to get the identity checks done and collect the pass that will give you entry to the main base which is further down the road. It doesn't cost anything to get in. Main object of interest for me was the Overland Train but there is other stuff outside and a large building full of stuff relating to what has gone on at the Proving Grounds. High-light of my visit was to climb up on-board the Overland Train. Not normally available, but an ex-Army veteran was doing some light preservation work and he let me checkout the cab and interior living quarters. 

Possible base for 6x6 Overland Expedition Truck that could be funded by the sale of the Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile.

Old tanks at the Visitor Centre of the Yuma Proving Grounds.

The Overland Train; built by Le Tourneau for the US Army in 1962 for off-road use in the desert and on the the Arctic Tundra.

The Overland Train could seat four in the cab and could pull 6 trailers; grossing 150 tons, making it the largest vehicle in the World in 1962.

A crew of six had all the comforts of home including toilet and wash-basin.

The power unit was a gas-turbine driving a electrical generator so it made sense to have an electric oven and hob.

Six bunks in two banks of 3 gave each crew member a place to sleep.

The Dash where power delivery to the electric motors in the hubs could be monitored. Steering is by the small joy-sticks at the corners of the main control panel.

The vehicle has been standing, un-used since the early 60's when the $2,000,000 project was abandoned. Groceries from that time are still in the kitchen cupboards.

A six-foot English bloke leaning on the rear-wheel gives an idea of the size of the Overland Train.

Cloud Museum

Old's Cool
The Cloud Museum in the fertile basin of the Colorado River, north of Yuma.
____ Jonny Cloud is more than willing to chat about anything and everything in his museum. Five dollars gets you past the pack of border collies and into a compound that has the largest collection of Ford Model T and Model A vehicles in the World. Not quite all the colours in all the sizes, but very nearly. There are tractors, trucks and a whole host of other antique stuff that will occupy well over two hours as you wander in and out of various buildings.

The Cloud Museum is well sign-posted and just before the Imperial Date Gardens in the village of Bard.

Impressive line-up of Ford TT flatbeds.

The restored vehicles are kept under-cover.

Nice Model A pick-up truck; up on blocks to save the tyres from flat-spotting.

The out-side line-up of Ford Model A; preservation is helped by the dry Arizona climate.
Fuel tanker that did local deliveries in the area.

Desert Taxi.

Bits of this and bits of that; put together to make a fun-looking buggy.

Ford Model A Pick-up Truck

Ford TT House-car; fore-runner of today's motor-homes.