Day 2- January 30, 1998 - Milepost 942 (435 today) - Roper Lake State Park, AZ

(SF). I wake up to bright sunshine streaming into the windows but the thermometer says 53 degrees INSIDE. Burr! I put on the heater and start the coffee before dressing. Bert is out you know where, looking at birds. We finally take off at 9:30 and drive a very uneventful day. We note on the Flying J brochure that the next location is right outside of El Paso. I just love those Flying Js. I usually hate to get gas but the Flying Js have nice big RV islands and we have a discount card for one cent off per gal. Their prices are usually lowest anyway and another penny is good. We fill up at $1.11 per gallon. They also have nice stores, restaurants and places to use telephones. Bert takes his computer up to the tables and I look around the shop. About five minutes later he is still punching keys on the computer. It won't work. Fifteen frustrating minutes later, I say let's go back to RTENT, grab some lunch and try it on my computer. We do just that and my computer has no problems. So I get the e-mail but all the e-mail to send out was on HIS computer. That will just have to wait for another day. Too bad since it had the first installment of our journal. We decide to make camp at Roper Lake State Park in Arizona. Automap routes us on US 79 from Lordsburg to Safford and then south 6 miles on US 191. I was concerned about running into mountainous driving but the road was unpopulated, smooth and had relatively small inclines to mount. RTENT did just fine and we pulled up to the gate at 5:45 PM, later than we like. Full hookup sites were all occupied so we are camping now in the area without hookups except water. RoperX1.JPG (34400 bytes)We can view a very pretty lake from our front window and the mountains to our back and sides. Bert is excited about daybreak for all birds he anticipates finding. We drive into town and have a very pleasant meal at Casa Manana. It is date night after all.

(BF). After a near freezing sunrise, the thermometer climbs quickly and the morning air feels pleasantly crisp as we set off on another day of driving. I put the motor home in autopilot as we rocket down the I-10 straightaway. We drive atop flat bowls of arid land, climbing over the rim every half-hour to descend to yet another valley circled by distant mountains. Distances are immense and give me the feeling of traveling through the valley of the Jolly Brown Giant, a cousin of one living in greener countryside. Looking like sleeping giants, the shallow mountains loom distant across the flattened desert and their lack of depth of field makes them look like they were drawn against a blue background by a Hollywood artist for a movie set. The artist chose purple and mauve and earthy brown for the mountains, providing little contrast to the yellows and browns of the desert scrub and cactus. The landscape changes abruptly as we reach the gravel pit decor of El Paso, a thriving industrialized city rapidly expanding into the surrounding lifeless mountains. For lunch, gasoline and e-mail we stop on the border at a Flying J. Our e-mail attempts are met with a series of frustrations: a telephone line that shorts in and out of a dial tone, my notebook computer with a used up battery and a backup battery in no better shape, then Shari's computer which solves the problems and retrieves our e-mail, but doesn't send yesterday's mail since we stored that on my computer. I think e-mail is the only frustration of RV travel. I can't wait until a portable satellite dish will provide 2-way communication. The miles zoom by as we cross New Mexico and enter Arizona, spurring northwest off I-10 into more rugged and less traveled terrain toward tonight's campsite beside a small lake in the desert.

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