Travelin Tiger Archive

February 5, Portland OR

Today was the last drive of the shakedown cruise for Scout. Woke up this morning to 7 degree temperatures and snow. This was the coldest night of the trip that we spent in Scout. The heater ran hard all night, but we were comfortable enough to sleep with our arms and faces out of the blankets which is a sign of comfortable temperatures.

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We looked at our options to get across the Cascades this morning, taking into consideration we did not have chains yet. Our chicken route going down to the Columbia Gorge was not good, steady 35 mile per hour winds with 70 mph gusts. The short way across the mountains, US 26 had -7 degree temps and 30 mph winds, so we elected a longer route across the Santiam Pass. We ran into packed snow most of the way. The Malayan handled the snow very well with not one slip or slide. Ton was able to get some good pictures. It took us about an hour longer than usual to cover the 180 miles, which is not bad given the conditions.

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Detroit Lake Ranger Station, Oregon

February 4, Redmond OR

Tonight will be the last night in the Tiger for the shakedown cruise. We drove to Redmond OR to go by the Tiger dealer there to get an electrical item taken care of. We had called in advance and told them the part we needed, as had Mark’s team from Provan. When we showed up the part was there and it took about 15 minutes to install. We used the time there to look at Malayan #2 which was at the dealer for sale. Since it took much less time than we anticipated we decided to go to the DMV and register Scout. So Scout is now officially an Oregon vehicle.

Today the drive took us up US 395 through Lakeview Oregon and then OR 31 over to US 97. These are great roads to explore and I expect we will spend a lot of time out there in the future. As we got closer to Redmond the weather started to deteriorate and it began to snow pretty vigourously so any thoughts we may have had of pressing on to Portland ended. Instead we decided to toast the trip by going by a microbrewery (of course) in Redmond.

We are now in a RV park hunkered down for the night. If the weather forecast is correct this is going to be the coldest of the many cold nights at -2 degrees.

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February 3, Reno NV

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Today we drove across US 95 from Las Vegas to Reno. This is one of my favorite highways as it goes across some of the most empty land in the country. The mountains that are on either side of the highway for most of the drive are really beautiful. There is a lot of mystery in this area. Part of the highway follows the Air Force test range that is also known as Area 51. Once again we were disappointed that we did not see any aliens or secret aircraft along the way. I think this is an area that we will have to Scout again in the future.

We decided to spend the night in Reno as it is a nice distance from Las Vegas. As we were researching campsites, we on a whim checked the cost of a couple of the Casinos in Reno. One of the larger casinos was offering a good room for what was essentially $20 more than it would cost to stay in a campground. So we decided to endulge ourselves with a room and a buffet for the night, and we stayed out of the casino so the cheap room stayed cheap.


February 2, Las Vegas NV

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Had a short drive to Las Vegas this morning. Leaving Wickenburg on US 93 we came to an extensive forest of Joshua Tree’s. Do you call a bunch of Joshua Trees a forest? We pulled over a couple of times to allow Ton to take some pictures. We were discussing how we are both westerners at heart. The big vistas and the open spaces really make us feel at home. I can really tell with Ton as she spent a great deal of the day shooting pictures while we are on the move, something she did not due east of the Mississippi.

We arrived in Las Vegas early in the day and Ton’s Costco alarm went off as we were driving through Henderson. Sure enough there was a Costco there that she had apparently went to with our son on a trip she took to Las Vegas last summer. She used the stop to stock Alex ,our son up with some food, and to buy something to bring to the superbowl party.

We met our son and went to a superbowl party with him at the home of one of the teachers at the elementary school he teaches at. We got to hear some of the stories of teaching in an inner city school. The levels of dedication of these guys and gals, buying supplies out of their own pockets, and putting in long hours on the weekends doing paperwork and lesson plans is inspiring and disconcerting at the same time.

The game itself was a huge bust and was pretty much over in the 1st quarter. While the game was a non-event, it was nice to spend time with Alex.

February 1, Saguaro NP, Wickenburg AZ

Today was highlighted by a trip to Saguaro National Park near Tucson. We left El Paso and the dust storms the day before and ran into a couple of rain showers in the desert. This was the warmest night of the trip with overnight temperatures in the 50’s, it was actually disconcerting to not hear the heater going all night as we have been at or below freezing every night on the trip. The Malayan is very well insulated and despite the cold temperatures has been comfortable at night. It is really living up to Provan’s promise of being a 4 season camper.

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The Saguaro NP is located on both the east and west side of Tucson. We have been looking forward to visiting it for many years. We choose the east side as it is the most photogenic. We got an early start as both of us woke up early due to the change of time zones and arrived at the park around noon. It is an interesting place to visit as Tucson has sprawled out right to the edge of the park. We were questioning the accuarcy of the GPS as we were in a typical suburban neighborhood right up to the park entrance. The park lived up to our expectation and Ton ran the camera out of power takng pictures of all of the various types of cactus in the park.

We have given up on our backroads plan for this trip and are back on the interstates. Our plan for the day was to spend the night in Tucson. As we were looking for a place to stay, Ton pointed out we could watch the Superbowl in Las Vegas with our son, so we decided to press on towards Las Vegas. So that’s how we ended up in Wickenburg Arizona for the night. Seems like a nice town that will be worth visiting again in the future.


Jauary 31, El Paso, Texas

Today was pretty much a travel and maintenance day. We drove into El Paso did some shopping at Costco to stock up food for the rest of the trip, then moved on to a RV park in a dirt lot behind a Camping World where we washed clothes and Scout. This place takes two dubious honors, the most expensive place we have stayed and the least charming.

Having stayed away from cities for almost a month we both got a little shock when we hit some serious traffic near El Paso. Can’t say I miss traffic. El Paso was having a serious wind storm with blowing dust. Winds gusts were up to 50 miles per hour and Scout was blowing around quite a bit for the last 15 miles until we arrived.

Ton figured there must be good Mexican food in El Paso and while we washed clothes she did some research and came up with a local restaurant called Pepe’s. She made a great call as the food was truly outstanding and it was nice to see a family restaurant doing well. If you are on the west side of El Paso I highly recommend Pepe’s.


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