On to Samarkand

Finally a hotel with a decent internet connection and five minutes to call my own. I will eventually write about Ashkhabad, Nukus, Khiva, and Bukhara. Here are just a few pictures from each:

Ashgabat – Turkmenistan:

Bridegroom waiting to get married

The Bride

The Wedding Palace first color phase

Nukus – Museum of Avant-Garde Art – Uzbekistan
Khiva – Uzbekistan
Map of Old City with Sasha our OAT Tour Leader

The reason for this trip!

I am out of time and there is so much more, I will post this now and update and add later!

At JFK – waiting . . .

Everything has worked as planned, so far. We got to the Elks Lodge in Blue Springs as the bar business was peaking and got set up in their camping area. Nice sites with an excessive slope so all my leveling supplies were required to get level. The PER (Past Exalted Ruler) had a bit of an issue about our leaving the coach unattended for 20 days. He invited me to a Trustee meeting they happened to be holding at which I was to answer any questions that might arise. The only thing I got to say was “Thank you” as the trustees couldn’t see any problem, especially since I was not asking for a discount from their normal site rental rate.

Caught an Uber to the airport and flights were mostly on time and tolerable, MCI (Kansas International) may be the most miserable airport in the  country. Clearly it was built before anyone thought about security and there are no decent airside amenities, no room for them. We got to the Hilton Garden Inn at JFK and found our reservation waiting and a decent room to boot.

Breakfast brought a surprise. We were seated next to a younger couple (not to say young, but all is relative) Ira and Mary and got into a conversation about life and travel. They left to get on with their day and after another cup of coffee I asked for the check. They had picked up our check and before we could thank them, or say anything the door to the shuttle closed on them and they were off. We are the beneficiaries of a delightful random act of kindness.

With time to kill, it is now noon and our flight isn’t until 11:55 PM. I found a nearby barbershop and took an Uber there and back to get what hair I have shortened for the trip. Naturally the owner of the shop is from Uzbekistan and he got excited to hear that that is where we are headed.

Now we sit, check out of the hotel room at 2 and we can’t check in for our flight until 9 PM. It is too hot and too late to go into the city so I guess we will be sitting around twiddling our thumbs and reading until we board the flight for another 11 hours of travel time followed by several hours of waiting in Istanbul for the next flight of 3 hours 40 min to Ashgabat.

Catching Up – 1250 Miles so far

1250 miles down the road, only 420 to go for this leg. This may be as long as the miles 🙂

We had a delightful stop in Phoenix. Josh, our grandson, was picking up his girlfriend, Rhoma, in Phoenix and called to see if we could meet for lunch at MIM. What grandparents could say no to that. After a delightful lunch in the MIM Cafe, they went on to run through some of the exhibits in two hours! while we devoted the same time to one room, the Dragons and Vines exhibit of wonderful inlay work on guitars and banjos. This is mostly contemporary work and now makes use of NC machines to be able to replicate the designs. After a break back at the coach for a bit we returned to MIM at 6:30 to meet Susan and Lee who were sponsors of the concert and had generously offered to provide us with tickets. Carol and I are sure they mixed the tickets and gave us their sponsor seats, center just behind the cross aisle about 4 rows from the stage. Anat Cohen and the Tres Brasileros were wonderful and we enjoyed the Brazilian Churros – the music not the food.

The next day we set off for Sedona. Well the Sedona area. A stop at the Red Valley Visitor Center yielded a map with good places to boon dock highlighted by the ranger. We set our selves up about two miles in on Forest Road 525. This is the Interstate of Forest Roads. it provides access to a couple of ruins and some housing on private land best reached via 525. The sites are primitive and getting level required some extra effort, but once there we were pleased to be paying nothing for gorgeous views and mostly quiet. We used the jeep to explore some of the primitive roads in the area ranging from good dirt which most any passenger car could handle to Jeep/ATV tracks requiring the use of low range 4×4. We concluded our time there with dinner at Asylum in Jerome with the Riddles from Jojoba Hills. We sat down at 6 and finally decided to vacate the table at 9.

That was Wednesday. Thursday found us driving up 89A to Flagstaff tp prepare for Josh’s graduation. 89A from Sedona to Flagstaff really is not meant for big motorhomes like ours. Carol negotiated the entire drive, seldom exceeding 30 mph on the narrow windy road. Rhoma and Josh joined us for dinner on the coach which I grilled – for the meat eaters. Friday Malena, Dan, Alexander and Corey drove up from Phoenix having landed there the night before. and we started the gathering on our coach. We all met at Copa Cafe for a lovely dinner and retired sort of early to prepare for an early departure to get seats for graduation starting at 10 AM. We were in place with seats for all before 9 AM. After the ceremony we drifted back to the coach where we had food, drink and dessert for all extending through the day and well into the evening. Between grilling and playing Frisbee and conversation I started preparing the coach for an early departure.  The next 364 miles of our adventure. After we were down to dessert and conversation one of Josh’s professors, the one who oversaw his independent study, appeared and we settled in for some interesting  discussion about education. Just in case I will leave that for private conversation. One thing I will note, we asked Joe how common it was for a student to undertake independent study at NAU Education. He said it is not part of the program and it required much effort on Josh’s part and presumably his to get the permissions to include it in his program. Not sure I remember the exact words, but he said a student like Josh is like dessert for him.

By 9:30 Sunday morning we were rolling East on I 40, next planned stop a small town east of Albuquerque, the home of BoondockersWelcome.com hosts. They opened the gate for us as we approached and provided us with a lovely level driveway to park in. As we were setting up Joe came out to invite us in for a drink. Spotting our prepared wine bottle, he told not to bring it in. We had a lovely conversation about RVing and retiring and life in general. They are looking to replace their current coach with one more like ours so of course we toured them. In the AM we hooked the car up and prepared to leave and Joe came out to say farewell.

Another 360 miles East, on I 40 to Tucumcari where we turned NE on US 54 crossing a corner of the Texas Panhandle and the Oklahoma Panhandle to stop in Liberal Kansas at the MidAmerica Air Museum. It was hot and the wind continued to blow and as I write we are experiencing thunderstorms of varying ferociousness and continuous rain.

Tomorrow 423 miles to Elk Lodge in Blue Springs MO. It may take a lot longer if this rain doesn’t let up. I have moved the suitcases into the car for easier access for packing on Wednesday. Thursday we fly to JFK, Friday night 11:45 PM we fly to Istanbul and on to Ashgabat.

On the move

We got off the road early ish so I have time for an update.

We came down the wonderful switchbacks on 74 into Palm Desert with Carol at the helm and many happy cars behind us as we pulled off into almost every turnout. We came through to Quartzite where we bought diesel and pulled into our favorite boondock area, called Hi Jolly STVA (Short Term Visitor Area) We are not all alone, there are three other coaches sharing a space that holds hundreds in prime season.

It is HOT. Currently showing 109 F. Expect it to cool off into the 70s so we will be able to shut down the AC and the generator to sleep. On to Phoenix tomorrow about 146 miles and 2 hours. We will take our time getting under way in the morning.

To those of you recommending MIM (Musical Instrument Museum). That is where we are headed for a performance Sunday night. We have been there several times. The first visit, about 4 years ago, we went two days in a row. We have been telling everyone we know about it, including some of you 🙂

No Pics, no map this time.

Departing in the AM

By the time most of you read this we will be preparing to get on the road or well on our way. We are planning our first stop on the way to Phoenix in Quartzite. The predicted high there is 105, we may keep moving, but it doesn’t appear to be any cooler in Phoenix. I guess we will be hot for a bit then cool later.

It seems strange to be getting back on the road. Even our cross country trek last Fall was more of a slow motion dash than an open ended wander. As I have said in prior posts, we are pretty well programmed from now until August 17 when we return to Nova Scotia from Newfoundland. I am using a new piece of software to plan the parts of the trip that require advance planning. It is RV Notepad and it is helpful although the interface is taking some getting used to and the developer is interested in documenting some things that I am less interested. I hoped to be able to share the route plan, but it seems that the only reports I can generate are after the fact. Here is our intended route for the next two days. We will be following the blue route over the mountain to I 10.

The golf cart batteries are taking their last charge before a long sleep, and the cover is on the cart. The umbrella is covered and the Jeep is set up for towing. All we need to do is cover the table and get the coach out of its snug berth under the awning. Hope to be rolling by 10 to beat the worst of the heat. We have had a couple of fair well happy hours, fun, as we agreed not to create a traffic jam as we all are exiting for the season.

Next post should be a review of the Anat Cohen concert in Phoenix Sunday night.