Jeff and I made it back to Arkansas. We had 10 days to attend our nieces wedding and prepare for our long awaited trip out West. We are now on the road to Albuquerque completely exhausted from our final push to get out of town.
Every time I am away from Bentonville for any length of time I go back with a new appreciated for my city. It’s beautiful, it’s clean and it’s familiar.
Jeff and I made a quick run out to the lake to check on our cabin. It’s a place that my soul connects to and I always get a little weepy every time we pull away to drive back to town. Even when we stayed there every weekend it pained me to leave our little Bella Cottage on the shores of Beaver Lake.
But as much as a I love NW Arkansas I know that our next adventure awaits in the land of burning sunsets. One look at those expansive views and mountain trails and I will be filled to overflowing with food for my soul. I love the West too!
While in Bentonville we received our shipment of Solar Panels from AM Solar. They arrived two days before we were to leave, which didn’t leave us enough time to completely hook up our system. We ordered four 160w panels that Jeff mounted on the roof of the Domani (one arrived broken)and two 100w panels that we will either mount on the roof or use as mobile panels on the ground in shady situations. That’s 840w of juicy power…once we are all hooked up.
Jeff researched batteries and found NorthStar Battery in Springfield Mo that offered to donate two batteries for us to test out on the open road. They were originally designed for marine use and NorthStar is interested in some feedback for RV application. Sure. We will try out your big batteries!
The hardest part of this Solar installation so far was trying to lift the 150lb batteries (each) into the basement of the RV. We used a little ingenuity and backed up the truck right up to the bay door to slide them into place. The batteries can be installed upright or on their side, making installing in the right spot easier.
Jeff installed our Victron 3000w hybrid inverter graciously donated by Technomadia. Victron is coming out with a new Solar Controller but it is on a slow boat from China (literally). It’s the last piece of equipment we need in order to complete our system, so here’s hoping it arrives soon.
In the mean time, we started our westerly migration. We tried to leave Arkansas by noon on 9/24, but by the time we squeezed in our last family visit and reloaded the RV we pulled out of the driveway about 4pm. We thought we could get through Fayetteville before rush hour hit but we completely forgot about BBBBQ.
Bike Blues and BBQ started this week which is the 3rd larges motorcycle rally in the country. It is held every September to the local non-motorcycle riders frustration. There are around 100,000 motorcycles that crowd our roads and 300,000 spectators that call NW Arkansas home for 5 days. It’s loud, it’s crowded and we were stuck in the middle a sea of motorcycles pulling a RV.
We made it through Fayetteville without running over any hotwheels and headed to Oklahoma City for our first stop over. Jeff’s college swim coach lives there and we parked our rig in front of his house before moving on the next day to Dumas Texas.
We stayed at the Dumas (Texoma) City Park Campground about 1 ½ hours North of Amarillo. We found this campground on our All Stays App that was an awesome surprise in such a small town. It ‘s free (donations accepted), level, has 30/50 amp hookups, dump station and water available.
It’s your basic chip and seal parking lot adjacent to a nice park with picnic tables, grills and restrooms. There is a train track very close by, but compared to our train experience in Elkhart Indiana the train noise is tolerable. The campground was only meant to be a “quiet” place for travelers to get over night rest, so they ask that you only stay 24 hours. There were two other people here when we arrived around 5pm, but by 9pm there were 12 rigs total. Most all campers had moved on by 10AM.
We normally would not have even gone to Dumas Texas, but Jeff had entered the Texas Tumbleweed 100 Bike Ride that is held in Dumas. It’s part of his Ironman Arizona training before the big day in November.
Since Jeff’s ride will take around 7 hours our plan is to rest for another night here in Dumas (with the cities permission) before continuing our trip west. We are going to camp somewhere between here and Albuquerque for 4 -5 nights before pulling into the Balloon Fiesta dry camping lot this Friday.
See you next time from Albuquerque!