Daily Archives: 9 April 2013

Hey look! What is it?

Rover Sightings:

It’s funny, when The Rover was weeping oil, no one acknowledged us at all. In fact, from Missoula to San Antonio, it’s like we didn’t exist. No one made eye contact; no one tried to strike up a conversation.

Filling up before hitting the Kansas City maze, I had to go into the station because the gas pump didn’t like my zip code. Along the way, this fellow in a Royals jersey shouted out, “What is that?”. I didn’t fall to my base instinct and shout back, “A gas pump?”. Instead, I played along, supplied the make & year of the truck when prompted and shook the man’s hand when offered. Twice actually, because he had to shake it again when he heard I was from Alaska. “That’s insane!”, he said. Yes, I’ve heard that before, and from good friends too.

Later in Missouri at the motel, I went outside after checking in because I thought The Rover stood out a little too much. I figured I’d park it between two large vans that were in the parking lot. That way only the Jerry cans on top stood out.
I no sooner climbed in the cab, when an Avalanche spun around and drove up to talk. The husband was a “huge Land Rover fan”, but his wife hated the things. For her part, she said that “hate was a strong word”. I guess he spent a lot of time in the UK & would have talked Rovers all night if the wife & I had let him.

This morning I was on my daily fluid check before starting out and a girl who was outside smoking a cigarette came over to chat. The motel was full of 18-20 year old kids, all running around flirting, smoking & trying to find someone to buy them beer. I wasn’t sure what the story was.
It turns out the girl & her boss were examining my truck last night. She claimed it was an Old Time Rover right off, but the boss said it was a Land Cruiser. She said the key was the emblem. I had to laugh at that, and agree that assuming emblem malfunction was the definition of being stubborn. I had met her boss when checking in and the first adjective that came to mind was, “slick”.
When the subject turned to Alaska, she said her “crew” did a turn in Alaska and would be heading up there in a couple of months. I automatically assumed oil industry, and all I could think of was that these kids would be eaten alive by the folks at Prudhoe.
Oil workers, no. It turns out they were a pack of door to door salespeople selling cleaning supplies. I guess the company puts these kids up at a cheap motel, then turn them loose on the population door to door. I didn’t realize companies still did that. Seems like a banner on Yahoo! would be more productive, but who am I to question archaic practices?
Then things turned awkward, because I was just sure she was going to try to sell me some sort of degreaser that smelled like orange juice. Maybe she was just a trainee, because someone practiced at the art of sales wouldn’t have let that opportunity go by.
Maybe she sensed that I was immune to any pitch. Bringing on board any degreaser/cleaner would have been bad karma in my case. Sort of a “if you buy it, the leaks will come” situation. Over 1000 miles and not one fluid level has dropped. I didn’t know life could be like this! Hellfire & brimstone, who knew?!
When you’re on a roll like I have been since San Antonio, you can’t let something like Someone’s livelihood screw it up.
I would have been polite about it though, backing away while making a cross symbol with my fingers, saying “Begone you vile fiend of darkness.”

Knoxville Iowa


Home of the world famous Kone Korner!

A nice, easy drive today. After pushing the truck hard yesterday, I had only 158 miles to do today. I took it easy, keeping the speed at 60 or slightly less, and in the cool air The Rover purred along. In fact, my restraint allowed us to hit a new Turner record of 18.87 mpg.

Turney, MO

The wind that was blowing over my campsite last night continued to blow across the highway today. Any west to east travel forced us to battle it, but the south to north runs were a breeze. We hit I-35 north of Oklahoma City and drove that to the Kansas border, where we jumped on US 160 to do battle with the wind. North of Coffeeville, we turned onto US 169 which again took us to 35 and our crossing of the Missouri River. It’s always fun for me to cross the Mighty Missouri, but this time I was preoccupied with the maze filled with traffic.

We did hit a Turner high of 18.75 mpg in Oklahoma, but that was aided by both a tailwind and two fills of non-ethanol gasoline.

It was a long day behind the wheel, over 9 hours in fact, driving 486 miles. Some road deconstruction, lots of towns insisting on 25 mph, and early bedtimes in Missouri all played a part.

I had planned on camping again tonight at Wallace SP, but the gates were closed at 8pm, and I arrived at 8:10. I was not impressed. Who closes their gates at 8? The Show Me State. What did they show me? Closed gates. I guess I’m lucky I crossed The River by 7. Its my fault for not googling the park, but it never occurred to me that a state park would close their doors so early.

I was looking forward to another night in the tent, but hunger & temperament suggested I simply find a place to sleep for the night.

Red Rock Canyon


A nice run up to Red Rock Canyon State Park, where I camped for the night. It’s the first time in almost a year that I’ve been camping with The Rover. It is a good feeling.

A beautiful night here in Oklahoma, the stars are out and a wind is blowing up above, but none is making it down here below the rocks. Kind of strange to hear the wind blow, but not to feel it.

The Rover ran extremely well today, and I felt I made good time. I spent much of the day on Hwy 281. Oklahoma did get me with a $1.50 toll tax. 281 merged with I-44 conveniently where it coincided with a toll section. I did dive off at the last free exit to keep the extortion to a minimum. One of the risks with running with a 2005 road atlas.

From the GPS:
450.5 miles traveled
48.7 mph overall avg speed
54.2 mph moving avg
8hrs 18mins behind the wheel