Life's Journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, totally worn out, shouting "Wow...What a Ride!"

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

West To NM & AZ

October 20-25, 2017

Friday

We were up and on the road by 8am for our 375 mile ride to Las Cruces NM. After a 7 hour uneventful ride we arrived at Leasburg Dam State Park. This is a small park with about 30 sites which less than 10 are reservable, water and electric (mostly 30amp but a few 50amp) and is about 15 miles north of Las Cruces NM.






 Site 19 water & 30amp






After setting up we took a walk on the Mollogum trail, their longest trail. The trail starts out above the Rio Grande river then winds its way down to the river to the park's day use area. We enjoyed the shaded walk along the river to the dam for which the park gets its name. This dam on the Rio Grande is a diversion dam and not used for flood control. Along the river is a canal which is used to divert the water to nearby farms. We saw lots of pecan orchards along the river, seems to be the biggest crop in the area. Our walk then returned us back to the campground and home. Just what we needed after sitting so long in the truck today.



 Rio Grande 1/2 mile below dam



Rio Grande, the dam is in the back ground



Behind the dam the silt has piled almost as high as the dam. The Rio Grande is a brown, muddy, silty river...one day we'll get our canoe on it.



The locks for the canal. I did a little reading and in El Paso there is another diversion dam there. Which explains why we saw lots of pecan trees when passing through there early.




Saturday

Not feeling to ambitious we took a ride into Las Cruces to check out their Farmers and Craft market. While there were lots of crafters there weren't too many farmers,  we did stock up on a few jams, had a not so good bagel for breakfast and picked up some local pecans and pistachios. Went back home and never did much. We lost an hour yesterday and tomorrow we loose another one, our bodies will be so confused.
Sunset Leasburg Dam State Park
Sunday


Another travel day, another  hour lost, 311 miles and we arrived at our friends Alex & Paul's home in Tuscon AZ. Our plan was to camp in their driveway, well that was not to be. After a few valiant attempts to back up their steep drive we regrouped and headed to Catalina State Park where we found a nice back in site, we're about 30 minutes away. Jello wiggling again.




 Catalina State Park Site B72







After setting up and relaxing for a bit we headed over to Alex & Paul's house for a visit and dinner. Great friends, good food and a beautiful evening sitting outside talking... before we knew it 7pm was upon us and Dave and I were beat, for us it was 9pm...almost bedtime. Thanks guys for a wonderful dinner and great company.

Monday

This time change is wreaking havoc on my sleeping, awake around 4:30 (which just 3 mornings ago was 6:30) and up at 5:30. We headed out to hike one of the trails here at Catalina State Park. We chose the Canyon Loop Trail rated an easy 2.6 miles. The trail takes you out of the canyon wash and up above the canyon where you hike among many familiar cactus, we enjoyed hiking again among the cholla and saguaros.








After our hike we headed for a visit with Alex and Paul. We decided to do some window shopping at the Lazy Days dealer in Tuscon.



Think this might be a fun way to travel, one of these days maybe.









Alex and Paul then took for an auto tour of Tuscon. We found some great views from Sentinel Peak.




Tuesday

Dave and I headed to Sabino Canyon, we missed the tram up to the top so decided to hike up instead and ride back down.













After a great hike we headed back to Alex & Paul for a drive up Mt Lemmon











One last group photo. Thanks Alex and Paul for a wonderful time. We can't wait to see you soon.








 Wednesday

About 9 we headed towards Cave Creek Regional Park. We wanted to get in early as we had dinner plans with friends in Phoenix. After getting set up, we checked in with our fellow hosts from 2 years ago.  We met up with Curt and Glenda, Steve and Debbie to introduce them to Chino Bandido's, a great visit with friends we hadn't seen in awhile.


 



Our host site this winter.










This post is so overdue but do to a lack of data I am way behind. Lots has changed since we arrived but that's a blog post for another day.

Until next time...


Thursday, October 19, 2017

On To Big Bend National Park

October 15-19, 2017

Sunday

We left Gulf Waters in Port Aransas TX right about 9am, after an uneventful ride, we arrived at South Llano River State Park in Junction TX about 1:30. Lots of people trying to check in, the first site, 31, they gave didn't work. Our power is in the back and the power pedestal was about halfway between the back of the pad and the road, we had to back in as far as we could because of the shortness and narrowness of the site.


We talked with a host and they said we could park on one of the ADA sites which they had 3 of. These sites are wider so we wouldn't have to park the truck right in front of the rv. Texas state parks are going to a reservation by site system, if you come here with a big rig find a site with parking nearby because you won't fit. Also be aware that there is no cell service in the park, we did have satellite service and we knew coming in we'd be disconnected from the outside world.

Monday - Remember the Jello

Up and ready to go around  8am, Dave says the truck is throwing a DEF system code, in 100 miles speed will be limited to 65mph and after another 100 will be limited to 55mph. We've got know cell service here so we can't stay here. Get up on I10 and finally got a call out to the Ft Stockton Chevy dealer, they can't get us in for 3 weeks...yikes that won't work we need to figure out a plan. Pulled off in Sonora where we had a good signal, found All American Chevrolet in San Angelo TX.  They could get us in as soon as we got there and had a place we could park the rv. So 65 miles north we went to San Angelo, we arrived right around 10am and soon had the truck in the shop. We did some window shopping, got a quick bite to eat, sat in the lounge where we could see the truck, about 12:30 we talked with our service advisor and he said it would be a few more hours. Decided to go sit in the rv for awhile, about 15 minutes later our tech was knocking on the door and we were ready to go. We can't say enough how much we appreciated them getting us in and taken care of so quickly.

By 1pm we were back on the road and Big Bend was still 315 miles away, ETA 6:30pm. If all went well we'd be there before dark, so off we went. I took a spell driving from Ft Stockton to Alpine but when the sign said we were now on the Texas Mountain Trail I thought it was time for me to be done. It was a hilly ride all the way to Maverick Ranch RV Park in Lajitas TX between Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. We arrived by 6:20pm with plenty of time to set up in the daylight., we will be here for 4 nights. Another one of those jello days.
Site 82 Maverick Ranch RV Park

Tuesday

We were up and out by 9am and headed to Big Bend National Park, the ranger at the entrance station didn't know how to process our volunteer pass which was fine as we planned to go to the Panther Junction Visitor Center first and figure out how we would plan our 2 days we'd have in Big Bend NP. Since we didn't get an early start we decided to do some of the auto touring with a few hikes thrown in. We took a ride down to the Rio Grande Village but the area is all closed up except for the FHU parking lot camping area and the small store.
 
 
 
We then drove to Boquillas Canyon to hike the trail down to the Rio Grande River. Along the way we encountered a Mexican gentleman selling trinkets and singing. It's against the law for them to be here or to buy from them, we saw the canoe which the gentleman used to cross the river, there's a shack across the river they must use for something. The 1.6 mile roundtrip took us down to the Rio Grande River where we enjoyed the company of seeing some of the local wildlife down at the river. 
 
 
 
 

After our canyon hike we continued our auto tour, heading back to the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. We've had some recommendations from friends on what hikes to do here in Big Bend NP, one of those was the Burrows Mesa Pour-off Trail. We opted to do the upper trail which entailed a 1.8 mile hike down the wash that forms the pour-off. As we neared the end of the trail we met a young couple, Brendan and Chloe, who had stopped there, they were trying to figure out where the end might be. We all continued on down the trail, ran into another couple coming up the trail who said we were almost there. We made it to the pour-off where you could get some expansive views. We started walking out with our new friends, when we got to the scrambling area we told them to go on. Dave needed to get gravel out of his boots and I needed a break. For me it ended up being a rough hike out as I got a touch of heat exhaustion. A few times Dave poured water over my head which really helped and we finally made it out. It was time to head home for the day.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday

Today we headed to Big Bend Ranch State Park, we were in search of a slot canyon hike. River Road/FM170 is labeled as one of America's most scenic roads. It is a roller coaster road with lots of ups and downs, 20mph curves and a 15% grade. Not something we'd pull our 40'+ 5th wheel over but we did see a small Airstream traversing it.

 
 
 

After 20 some miles of beautiful scenery we found the Closed Canyon trail, we were soon in a slot canyon enjoying the cooler air. We navigated the canyon till we got to a water crossing that was too big for us to make and the walls were too slick to try crossing. We sure needed our canyoneering buddies MonaLiza and Steve for this hike.
 
 
 

Made it around this one
End of the trail

Our next stop was the Hoodoos trail where we got in a bit more walking.
 
 
 
 

Big Bend Ranch SP has more to see than one day will allow, there is a whole other northern area which will have to wait for another visit.

Thursday

Up and in the truck about 8am, made it the Lost Mine trail head a little after 9. We had talked about what kind of hike we wanted to do as our last big hike here. The last few days we'd already done a slot canyon, walked among Hoodoos and followed a wash to it's pour-off. I wanted a hike that went up first, Lost Mine Trail fit that bill exactly. The 2.4 mile hike is almost all uphill but at a great grade except for the last push to the top after which it then winds along the ridge for a bit. Love trails that start with the trail going up and it's all downhill on the way back. Temps were in the 60's when we started out, great hiking weather and we had pinon trees and other shrubbery to shade us some of the time. What a great hike with some unbelievable views at the top.
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 

After spending about a half hour at the top, we made it back to the truck by noon. Small world moment, as we were almost to the bottom of the trail we ran into Brendan and Chloe whom we'd met hiking a few days earlier.

We finished driving the Chinos Basin Rd then headed over to the road to Santa Elana Canyon. You can only look at the canyon as it's across the Rio Grande in Mexico.
Santa Elana Canyon

After the canyon our choice was a 13 mile dirt road or to back track 30 miles, we chose the road less traveled.
 
The park we are in,  Maverick Ranch RV Park, is part of Lajitas Golf Resort and Spa. There are rentals of all sorts around nearby, shopping, restaurants and lots of activities. Our last evening we decided to go to dinner at Candelilla Cafe which with a beautiful and wonderful food turned out to be a nice treat.
 

Tomorrow we head west to Las Cruces NM where we'll spend 2 nights at Lordsburg Dam State Park. Maybe tomorrow we'll have another beautiful sunrise, which can be seen right out our back window, to send us off down the road.
 


Until next time...