Maybe they're not rules, per se, but more like guidelines. Based on what we've read from other fulltimers, there were a few principles that we wanted to adopt when we ventured out on the road. The first was to not travel during bad weather. The second was to limit the number of miles we drive each day. The third was not to travel at night. After all, we are no longer in a hurry. For the most part, we don't have to be anywhere by any specific date. So we should be able to relax and take our time, right?
Well, on our first 2 days on the road, we broke two of the rules and came close to breaking the third. We left Golden on Tuesday. It was quite windy in Denver and we were headed east through Kansas. We should have known better and should have waited until Wednesday to leave. But for some unknown reason, we felt like we had set a schedule and had to stick to it. I guess old habits die hard.
As soon as we got east of Denver, the wind picked up and it got progressively worse the further we drove. We stopped a couple of times to contemplate, but decided to continue on. Finally, about 7 miles over the Kansas state line, we pulled into a rest stop and decided to wait it out. This was further than we probably should have driven. The high wind advisory was scheduled to end around 7pm. Hmm, what to do? This was only about half as far as we had planned to get, but neither of us wanted to continue. We thought about trying to make it to the next town, about 15 miles away to find an RV park, but decided it wouldn't be worth the money to pay for a site. It was too windy to put the slides out and we wouldn't be spending any time outside anyway. Kansas allows overnight stays in their rest stops so we decided just to stay the night.
We were a little nervous, even though there were a lot of truckers and a couple of other RVs hunkered down for the night. Neither of us slept well and were anxious for morning to arrive. To make things even worse, once the wind let up a thunderstorm rolled in. Hunter hates thunder and lightning so he was stressed out too. I think the only one who slept well was Jasper, and that's only because he meowed the entire time we were on the road and was exhausted.
We were up and on the road by 6:30 Wednesday morning. About 20 miles down the road, we crossed into the Central time zone; we just started and already lost an hour! The weather improved greatly and we were making pretty good time. 5-6 hours, or 300-350 miles was supposed to be our daily limit. But by 3:00 we were still feeling good and didn't really want to stop. Our planned destination for Wednesday night was Oklahoma City, which was still about 200 miles away. For whatever crazy reason, we decided to push on. We hit the outskirts of OKC around 6:00. The campground we had planned to stay at is in Purcell, about 15 miles south of the city. So we just kept going. We finally rolled into the campground at about 7:00 and dusk was rapidly approaching. All 4 of us were happy to get out of the car. It was much too long of a day. We drove about 550 miles. We were able to get electric and water hooked up before dark. We then ate a quick dinner, took Hunter for a short walk, took showers and collapsed into bed.
It would have been nice if we could have learned our lessons from others; after all, isn't that probably why they follow these rules? But sometimes I guess we just have to learn the hard way. From now on, we will check the road conditions before taking off and wait if they're not favorable. And we will never drive for 12 hours unless we absolutely have to.
But the important thing is that we arrived safe and sound. We are staying at the Chandler City Park. It's nothing fancy, but is quiet, relaxed, convenient, and reasonably cheap. Here's a view of our campsite, with Chandler Lake in the background:
Today (Thursday) we will head into Oklahoma City to visit the bombing memorial and then will be meeting up with some fellow RV-Dreamers who live nearby. More on our adventures tomorrow...