Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Del Rio to Columbus

After we left Del Rio we fought the winds headed towards San Antonio. There was a huge storm coming and we wanted to get out of its way if we could. Friends had let us know they were close by so we checked our options as to where we could hunker down for a couple days. They were in Stonewall, which was too far north, and out of the way to take the rig so we wound up at Medina Lake Thousand Trails Park. The above picture was our sight.

I spotted this little creature rolling this mud ball around. It was comical watching it, it would position its rear legs on the ball and its front legs on the ground and start rolling it. Soon it would have to stop, climb up on top of the ball to look around. I guessed it was looking to see which way to go, and then it would start rolling the ball again, but the ball didn't always go the way the bug wanted it to so it would have to change directions after climbing up and looking around. You can always find something interesting if you slow down enough to look around.

This area of Texas is blessed, (or cursed if you a garden) with plenty of deer. The couple in the site across from us bought a bag of feed and would feed the deer. every time he left and returned in his jeep the deer would gather around. He almost had them eating out of his hand.

We hunkered down here while we waited on the storm to pass. It rained really hard, and a tornado hit about 50 miles south of us, but we were just fine hanging out with all the deer.

This is Medina Lake, or what was left of it at this end. You can see where the shore line used to be on the other side of the water that is there now. The day before I took this picture I could step across the water, but the rain the night before was filling the lake.

Here is Roger and Brenda, two of the greatest people we have met since we started full-timing. We took the jeep and drove to Stonewall to visit them on Wednesday. Roger drove us around showing us all the beautiful wild flowers. The blue bonnets that Texas is famous for were blooming, and since Roger spends a lot of time riding his motorcycle enjoying what ever area they are in he knew where some nice fields of blue bonnets were. We stopped at Coopers BBQ and had a terrific lunch, and when we got back to their rig Brenda had a very special desert waiting on us. Thanks Roger and Brenda for a great day.

This is one of the fancy gates we saw on the ride, and I don't know why I didn't take any pictures of the flowers. Oh well....

We couldn't get CBS on our batwing antenna at Medina Lake and the NCAA tournament was going to be on CBS so we decided to get closer to a larger city so I could watch the games. As most of you know I'm no sports fan, but I try not to miss any Kentucky football or basketball games, and since the cats are #1 ranked this year I am not going to miss watching them play.

We were passing through San Antonio and Marcia needed the stamp for the Alamo, (she is trying to get a stamp from all the National Parks) so a stop was planned. To our surprise we saw a sign to Mission Concepcion NP.

We got educated that day, The Alamo is NOT part of the National Parks. We were told it has so much meaning to Texas, it is a state park. The National Park around San Antonio is Mission Conception, a series of 4 or 5 missions in the area. We got Marcia's stamp and learned a little that day, (and we didn't have to go down town San Antonio in the rig.

We made it to the Thousand Trails Park in Columbus Texas. Close to the park some group was having  a big shooting event. These guys and gals were all dressed as they dressed in the 1890's. It was a 4 day event for them so we got to hear a lot of gun fire going off all weekend.

I had to go check it out. It was cool seeing everyone dress up in their era outfits, and the guns were awesome. One guy even had a Gatling gun, and for $20 he would let you pop off 20 rounds. (that didn't take long)

Here is one of the families attending the weekend festivities.

Tomorrow, (today really) we will be moving to Dickson TX so we can visit with Neiel and Sue, a couple we met in Knoxville several years ago. Neiel has had a bad winter health wise, (Yuma don't have the best doctors) after having heart problems all winter in Yuma, he found out when he got back to Houston he has more problems. we will spend a couple days there before heading to The Big Easy for the weekend.......

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Quick Update

We spent a couple days at the Ranch in Lakewood NM. The Ranch is the second (I think) co-op park started by Joe and Kay Peterson. The story I got was Joe wanted a park close to where he grew up so he ask a childhood friend about some property. He was offered 15 acers anywhere on the ranch, so he picked 15 acres in the middle of the ranch.

 So"The Ranch" got its name, it also has an electric fence around it to keep the cattle out of the park. The Ranch also has the reputation of being the friendliest park, and I have to say everyone we saw was very friendly. They have recently added R/O (reverse osmosis) water to every site in the park, and it is almost worth the drive to the Ranch to fill your fresh water tank with the R/O water.

 Another good thing about the Ranch is it is miles from anywhere, which is also one of the bad things, so we only stayed long enough to visit Roswell and see the park. We headed to Pecos TX where the last of the 9 rainbow parks was for us to visit. We can now say we have been to all the rainbow parks, and need only 3 more co-op parks to have been to all the escapee parks.

 The park in Pecos didn't impress us at all, and I was really happy we didn't go there when Marcia was camp hosting. The office is open from 8 to 10 am and 3 to 7 pm, and I "assume" that is to accommodate the workers that stay there. The clubhouse is an old mobile home and it was locked at 11 ish when we arrived, and that was all I needed to tell Marcia we were not staying. We have been there and that is good enough for me.

 We fought the TX winds all the way to Del Rio TX where we found the fam-camp at Laughlin AFB. A beautiful little park where we just sat for two days waiting on the winds to settle enough to head on east.....

Friday, March 16, 2012

Carlsbad Caverns

I really can't say anything that would discribe this huge hole in the earth, so I'm just going to show the pictures I took. Please keep in mind these pictures were taken with my phone and the color you see in the pictures aren't the same as the colors you see in the cave.

THis is a HUGE cave, we skipped the largest room and maybe 2/3 of the trails inside the cave because I don't walk too much. And please remember the colors aren't the same in the pictures as it is inside the cave, so you really need to see it for yourself...........

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

White Sands National Monument

 This is our third time going through El Paso TX heading east. The first time was in 2008 after our graduation in Q. We met Fay and Jay Carter at one of the truck stops for lunch that day. I had called Fay to ask where they were and when she told me I realized we were only a few miles from them, so I ask her what was for lunch. I told Marcia we were going to the Carter Cafe for lunch, and she was shocked to see the Carters sitting at the truck stop when we pulled in.

 The second time in 2010 we were on a mission to get to the RGV. (a big mistake) So this time we stopped at the Fam-Camp at Ft Bliss and spent a few days. We both had White Sands NM on our bucket list. The weather was terrible the first couple of days. We didn't get out much because we didn't want to break out the heavy coats again. Monday was the first decent day with highs in the lower 70's, ( I like 70's) so we took advantage of the weather and headed to White Sands NM.

Once we got things ready I set the GPS, May Be Leen, for White Sands NM. We were both surprised when she said continue on hwy 54 77 miles. I was thinking it was only about 50 miles away. Oh Well!!!

When we arrived Marcia got her stamp in the visitors center and I got my sticker. We elected not to buy the $14.95 saucer to slide down the dunes on, even if they would buy them back at $5. Then it was on to the gate where my inter agency pass got us in without paying. I love my pass!!!!

Here Marcia is standing beside the Jeep, and if you didn't know where we were you might think this stuff was that dirty four letter word, SN**.

It is amazing how white the sand really is.

Kids young and old were having a grand time playing in the snow, I mean sand.

It really is a beautiful place, and if it is a sunny day you do need sunglasses.

More at play.

I thought this couple was going to belly flop and slide down the dune because at the top they were simulating a diving position as if they were on a diving board. But they chickened out and just walked down with him helping her all the way.

The park has a couple picnic areas with several of these shaded tables for anyone to enjoy.

Marcia did have to get some sand between her toes, but unlike snow she didn't sink in.

The 8 mile road that takes you through the center of the dunes is an easy road for any car or truck, and even though it looks like that dirty four letter word you won't get stuck if you stay on the roadways.

It was a good day and well worth the drive from Ft Bliss.

Monday, March 12, 2012

After Tucson

  I knew we was going to encounter some cool, or cold weather after we left Tucson. The extended forecast told me all about it, but I figured we would be at Ft Huachuca with full hookups so I wasn't worried. We arrived at Ft Huachuca Monday afternoon and all was well. We was able to get Jon's stuff and load it on the motorcycle rack.

 The thing I had not figured into the plans was "reservations", and apparently the fam-camp at Ft Huachuca does reservations. The weather was forecasting heavy winds for the 7th and 8th so I thought we could stay put and wait out the wind. Well because of "reservations" the park was full on the 7th and I chose not to move into the overflow area for one night.

 So Wednesday AM we pulled out fighting the wind. I was happy the wind was blowing the direction we were going. we made a stop in Douglas AZ and walked across the border and back so we could get another cheep carton of smokes. $10 a carton sure beats the $50+ they cost most places in the States. We did have a lot of dust to tend with driving to Columbus NM, some places you couldn't even see the road for the dust blowing across it.

 We did make it to Pancho Villa's State Park in time to slide back across the border to the pink store. We try to eat there when ever we are close because we get good food for a fair price, and they throw in free Margaritas. While there two guys made a comment on my U K sweatshirt, and after talking with them I found out one was a student and the other a teacher from northern KY. The teacher brings a group of students to El Paso where they stay in a shelter for 5 days. This was their 6th days so they were celebrating at the Pink Store.

 We did meet the remaining students as we were leaving, and the teacher said he may try to visit us this summer while we are at the Cumberland Gap National Park. It is strange that we can meet a group from KY while we are in Mexico. After we left the Pink Store we returned to the rig and rock and rolled all night with the wind.

 The next AM the wind had died down and we pulled out headed to Ft Bliss TX. Ft Bliss was my last duty station as a soldier. Coming back to Ft Bliss brought back many old memories, but everything has changed. We drove out to Biggs Field where I worked and lived, but nothing there was the same as when I left. All the buildings have been replaced with newer buildings.

 We spent an afternoon at the new Post Exchange Complex, WOW is all I can say. I see it as a total wast of good money. It isn't just a new PX, it is a complete mall. There is a new commissary, large class six store, 5 screen theater, a complete block of unrented stores, and then the PX and all the little shops you usually find in a PX.

 Yes the weather did turn cold for us, but we were able to keep warm running the heat pumps and electric heaters. I didn't get out much for a couple days so we didn't do a lot while we were here. Today we did make the trip to White Sands National Monument, and I'll do another blog on it after I down load the pictures.

Until the next time......................

Sunday, March 4, 2012


 What a title for a blog? Well we visited a town and the name is WHY. Why is located 10 miles south of Ajo, 27 miles north of Lukeville, (which is on the US Mexican border), and 100 miles south west of Tucson. There isn't much to Why, a couple campgrounds, some BLM land, three gas stations, and a casino.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is about 5 miles south of Why, and the visitors center is about 20 miles south of Why. The NM is a beautiful place, some very nice scenery, and the only place in the US the you can see Organ Pipe Cactus growing wild.

 Why being so close to Mexico and being sparely populated makes it a good place for smugglers to bring dope and illegals into the states. Normally these things don't effect the average person but it does cause alarm and you should always be aware of the things going on around you. It really wouldn't be good to get caught in the middle of these activities. Not that they don't have these things happening almost everywhere in the US, it is just almost a daily happening near Why.

This is where we parked the rig on the BLM Land just south of Why. It is a 14 day free area with plenty of vegetation all around, and winding roads cutting through and around the vegetation. A nice place to boondock for a few days.

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument starts a few miles south of Why and extends to the Mexican Border with the Campground and visitors center about 5 miles north of the border and Lukeville.

One of the "don't miss" things to do at the OPNM is the 21 mile loop into the Ajo Mountians. Allow a couple hours to make this run, and carry water, or even a picnic lunch.

It is mostly a gravel road and awesome views.

You will see Organ Pipe Cactus, but not as many as you will see around the Campground area.

They are a spectacular cactus/

The 21 mile loop takes you into the mountains and across some flat areas.

Notice the arches, we had not seen the likes since we left Moab. It amazes me as to how these things form.

Once we left Why we headed to Tucson, one of our favorite places. Not so much Tucson its self, but the family we have here in Tucson. Aunt Arlene is always a lot of fun to be around and enjoys company,  Cousin Bill is handy with anything and is always willing to help out and I respect his opinion on just about any subject. Pam and Jon are just great hosts and if I didn't know better I would say Pam and Marcia were sisters they way they get along. Brian is always willing to do anything that needs done, but I have to be very careful remembering his girlfriends name, ( it changes almost every time were here ) but maybe this one will be the keeper. Andrew and keeps pretty busy working as a security guard at the hospital, and taking care of his two babies so we don't get to see him and his wife Mel very much.

Marcia is an animal lover, (maybe that's why she sticks with me) and has always wanted a dog. I'm not keen on the idea of having a dog in the house so we haven't had one since we let Major Duffas go a month after we moved into the Santara almost 5 years ago. This week that changed, I gave in and bought Marcia a puppy!!! Yes we now have a little puppy for her to care for. The agreement was she would do everything for the puppy, that includes walking it, cleaning it, cleaning up after it, and all the other chores involved with a puppy. I did agree to help her change the battery in the puppy when it needed changing.

One day here in Tucson we got together with several RV Friends that are in the area and went wheeling. Bob and BJ that we met in Key West, Bill and Priscilla that we met in Moab, Mark and Lydia that we met in Yellow Stone, and Marcia and myself met just south of Tucson and took off towards Reddington Pass.

We followed Reddington Pass Road which is a state maintained gravel road into the mountains. We enjoyed many great views and a few eyesores where people have gone into the mountains target shooting. The problem is they leave their trash, targets, and empty shell casings lay creating an eyesore for sure.

We took a road off the main road and got to use the four wheel drive on our jeeps. It is always fun using the four wheel drive as long as we don't bend or break anything.

It is nice to go where most people never get the chance to see.

Last night we met Bill, Arlene, Andrea, and Danny, (our cousins visiting from Ohio) at Club 21. Yes I too thought Club 21 was some kind of strip bar, but it really is a very nice Mexican eatery. We try to eat there once every time we come to town.

Today we will be rolling the wheels, all the way across town to a casino. Pam and Jon will join us for "an evening out" at the casino, and we will have our home there in case we decide to indulge in some adult beverages. Andrea and Danny will be taking Arlene to Los Vegas for a few days of rest and relaxation, or maybe a lot of sight seeing.

Until the next time...........................