Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Traveling by the Numbers

I am back on the road, and I'm not taking pictures along the way, because I'm on the freeway most of the way. I have seen some awesome big red ball Soaring Sunrises and Soaring Sunsets, but my photography skills don't do them justice.

So, today I will use numbers as graphics. This will also simplify (I hope) the computer skills required, since I have no batteries left in my mouse and am using the touchpad with limited skill.


Thirty-one cents is the cost of a Senior Coffee at the McDonald's in Shamrock, Texas, where I'm using the free Internet to write this blog entry. This is the cheapest Senior Coffee I've found anywhere in my travels.


Three is the number of days I've been back on the road. I was done with my housesitting duties in Georgia on Sunday evening. I had the Guppy all packed up, with my cat Sonja living back in the motorhome, by the time the homeowner returned from her fabulous Italian bicycling trip. So Sunday night, I slept in my rig, and I took off from Serenbe, just southwest of Atlanta, by about 6 a.m. on Monday morning.


Zero is the cost of my overnight stays so far. I stayed at a Love's Truckstop somewhere in Arkansas on Monday night and a Flying J Truckstop just west of Oklahoma City last night. My friend Brian is right--Flying J is the best. They have a nice big parking lot for RVs so you don't have to be right next to the noisy trucks.


Miles per day covered so far, at Guppy Speed, which is pretty darned slow. The Toyota Dolphin has a small 4 cylinder engine that would be more appropriate for a little pickup. Instead it has a motorhome on its back. So it was overloaded from the time it was built nearly 30 years ago. I usually don't go over 60 mph. Engine temperature is optimal at 55 or less.


Miles on the Guppy's new engine that was installed in San Francisco, closer to the beginning of my trip. Actually I'll hit 6000 today when I reach Amarillo, so I'll stop at a Walmart for an oil change.


The number of hours I thought that Sonja was missing on Monday. I stopped to take a break when she sounded very distressed. Parked in a shaded spot in a church parking lot somewhere in northwestern Arkansas. When I went to the back of the rig to check on Sonja, I could not find her anywhere and one of the windows was wide open. So I assumed she'd jumped out. I spent four hours calling her, offering Fancy Feast, crying, cursing God, begging God, reaching out to friends during the limited time my Internet was working (cellphone did not work at all there), etc. I finally drove sadly away, convinced I would never see her again. However, at my next stop, I went back into the rig to change clothes and there was my idiot cat. Apparently she'd hidden in a cupboard under the stove, a place I had not checked.

Four is also the number of cups of coffee it takes me to drive this much every day.

And four is the number of months it took me on the road to figure out some of my onboard electronics, such as my invertor and GPS. When it comes to technology, I'm a person who gives up easily, but fortunately I tried again as I started my trip back West.


Number of lives, out of the original nine, that I figure my cat has left. Sonja was dumped in a park in Edmonds, Washington, along with her littermates and mother back in 2008. I got her at the pound. Since then, she's had two major times of being missing from my care (once on the first day I got her in Edmonds, and once in San Francisco). Monday's faux escape doesn't count.


Pounds I've lost while traveling. I weighed myself yesterday for the first time since leaving Oregon in February. I knew it was a lot. I've had to buy all new summer clothes as I've traveled across the South.


Times I've filled up the gas tank since leaving Georgia.


Temperature in Fahrenheit degrees that it was yesterday as I entered Oklahoma City in the early evening. I saw it on a church electronic reader board, so it must be the God's truth. Fortunately about the same time I stopped at Flying J, a wind came up and cooled things down, so I had the best night's sleep I'd had in a while. Unfortunately, the same wind was blowing really hard this morning, so it felt like I was driving a billboard or a four-masted ship for the first several hours of driving today.


One precious life is what I've been given. Still trying to get it right. I think I might be getting closer.

Also, I'm down to one last nerve sitting here in this messy, noisy McDonald's, so I'm outta here!


  1. Sue... I'm sitting here in my nice cool living room reading your blog entry and sweating just thinking of you in that 99 degree heat. And I think I remember you saying that you don't have AC in the cab of your coach. Goodness gracious, how do you stand it? Even if it is windy, it is hot wind. Please stay safe and sound. Keeping you in my thoughts.

  2. Do you have to show ID to get a senior coffee? Because most days I look 65.

    Keep the grimy side down and keep us up-to-date.


  3. I'm really okay with the heat. It is better than the humid heat in Georgia and other parts South. And I've figured out some tricks. Since I thought I'd lost Sonja, I've been keeping her in her traveling bag, cooled down with either a cold water bottle or ice bag. I just keep switching them out. For myself, I dump water over my head when I stop. And I drink lots of water.

    No ID needed for senior coffee, Roxanne. I think you qualify at age 50, and I've never been questioned about it.

  4. You made me chuckle several times whilst reading your post, Sue. Smart idea for keeping Sonja cool. We used to travel cross country with no a/c years ago, sweaty kids in the back seat. You are made of strong stuff.

    After your description of the Guppy, I think my dad had something similar....

  5. Yeah for you!!! You are fabulous!


    YFS Sharon

  6. I liked the last number the it to the fullest! Looking forward to reading your past and future posts..