Road Warriors

Be Bright.  Be Brief.  Be Gone.  (These are presentation tips from an old friend.  I’m going to endeavor to follow them for this post.)

Two Days.  1319 Miles.  Rain.  Sleet.  Snow.  30-40mph winds.

Objective:  Somehow, someway….get to Vegas for Christmas!  First time my family has all been together for Christmas, ever.

Day 1.  We (finally) depart Grand Rapids at 7:30am.  Dark when we (finally) arrive at destination at night after 11 hours on the road.  We’re sharing the driving, although John got spooked when I drove at the last leg in driving rain.  Old, worn road markings made it difficult to see the pavement markings. Not only did I have a death grip on the steering wheel, but I was hunched over it like Quasimodo due to severe back pain.  Give up my turn at the wheel?  No!!!  Perhaps not my finest moment.   The good thing? Comfort Suites in Council Bluff, NE is wonderful.  Comfy and clean.  We slept like babies.  Saw low gas price of $1.889 in South Haven, MI.  Paid a high of $2.599 somewhere in IA.

Day 2.  On the road at 6:30am. In an all-time low point, we made SIX stops for gas today – headwinds of 30-40mph for hundreds of mile severely cramped our fuel economy.  It was unbelievable!!!  In spite of this, we forged on and covered lots of miles, owing to the fact that we gassed up, took Jezzy out for very brief pee stops, hopped back in the truck and kept on driving.  For 13 hours.  696 miles!  But, the wonderful part of this odyssy?  The stretch of I-70 West of Denver.  As we headed into the mountains, the wind lessened, and darkness fell quickly.  The snow-covered mountains were magical.  Passing thru Vail was unforgettable – the fir trees decorated with lights were enough to make this vocal cynic silent with amazement –  many of the trees must have had a couple thousand lights each on their boughs.  So, picture this…..narrow, twisty, mountain road, with just a bit of twilight left.  Enormous fingernail moon, shrouded in snowy mist.  Dozens (maybe a couple hundred) enormous trees with white lights or dazzling multicolored lights, and huge clumps with electric blue tops, a white mid-section, and red bases.  Hundreds of thousands of lights against the tree and snow-covered mountains.  It was a spectacular sight.  Our tired eyes snapped to attention, and we powered through the last 50 miles through swirling snow and 10degree temps to get to our Glenwood Springs, CO destination.  An unbelievable finish to a tough day.

To help us get more miles out of each day, we decided not to camp in the Fireball, but to hotel it for our nights on the road.  We hit the jackpot with Comfort Suites in Council Bluff, and Quality Inn in Glenwood Springs.  Huge rooms, luxury linens, and perfect locations.  Breakfast! 

No photos to document this mileage extravaganza.  Christmas Eve, we’ll be sleeping in the Fireball, securely parked in the driveway of my sister’s home in Las Vegas.  This will be the 172nd night of 2014 that we’ve slept in the Fireball.  For the year, it will (probably) total 179 nights!

It’s been a good year for the Campshaws.  Hope you all can look back at your year and say the same.  Seasons Greetings.  Happy New Year!

Sorry, no photos.  Next time, ok?

28 thoughts on “Road Warriors

  1. You have become first class road warriors! Kudos to you Judy for taking on more and more of the driving—isn’t it fun. Wishing you and John the Merriest of Christmases and looking forward to pics and stories of your winter camping adventures. I’m so impressed and jealous of the amount of time you are in your fireball. Have fun and continue sharing your journeys. HUGS!


  2. We’ve had long days of driving like that. Not the best, but you get where you’re going.

    Gas prices keep going down. I saw $1.81 on my way through Grand Haven this morning.

    Merry Christmas


  3. Merry Christmas to all of you.
    It felt like the beginning of Spring yesterday in GR, 50 degrees, some sun, went for a “roll” withe the kids and had a great time. Now back to sh…y weather.

    Have a great trip!


    • A roll in December is always a bonus, isn’t it? Sorry you have to pay for it with crappy weather now. We are happy to have pushed on to get here in three days – the weather behind us is crap. We’d be fighting it if we were still on the road.

      Merry Christmas, Pierre. Hope you, Jolene, and the kids enjoy the holidays. Say hi to all the Schulerites for me.


    • This is way beyond what we have ever done – think we topped off at 425 miles one other time. It was painful, but the end result is oh so worth it!

      Hope your travels go smoothly, and that the weather cooperates. Merry Christmas, Lynne.


  4. Beautiful imagery. I felt like I was there with you. So glad you are having a good trip. Hotels are a good idea to make quick time. Loved the description of gas mileage in the headwinds. Explains my exhaustion after battling headwinds all day on ODRAM. Glad I didn’t have to pay for the equivalent in gas prices for that day. LOL Enjoy your family Christmas and be safe.


  5. Way too familiar with that route. We lived in Las Vegas in the 90’s before moving to Colorado. Too many trips back and forth to northern Illinois to keep track of. Glad you made it safe although I’d recommend day time travels on I-70 through Colorado. Black ice is no fun! Have a wonderful Christmas and visit with family :-)


  6. Blast away, over the mtns, thru the hills…the Campshaws rock the hwy. Great idea on the hotel!!! Merry Christmas!! And a ho ho ho…..


  7. What a magical post – guess this is how Santa feels each year. Safe travels to meet your loving family. And thank you for sharing your gifts of friendship, wisdom, and adventure. What a journey! Peace and Joy to all – the Waltzes


  8. The hoteling idea while high-tailing it to Las Vegas sounds like a good one! Hope the rest of the trip is all down hill with the wind at your back. Have a wonderful time in NV with your family!
    Merry Christmas to you and the two Js.


    • I’d make a lousy long haul trucker, for sure. With towing, we max out at 65mph. That adds a lot of time.

      But hey, we made it!!

      Merry Christmas, Jerry. Hope to get out and get some photos of Christmas, Vegas-style!


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