YUMA TO QUARTZSITE TO JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, WHERE TO GET GREAT PHOTOS, WHERE TO HIKE WITH FOUR LEGGED FRIENDS AND CHEVY TRUCK BUILT LIKE A ROCK…..

We headed to Quartzsite where we were treated to a nice boondocking spot at the LTVA BLM (Long-Term Visitor Area-Bureau of Land Managment).  We could have stayed there for 2 weeks for the cost of $40.00, there is a dump, trash and potable water available. Also there are people who stay for the whole season, (7 months) for something like $180.00. Pretty reasonable place to be.  It is about 2 miles from  Quartzsite, which is where the Big Tent (RV Show) is held as well as the gem show.  Oh, the rocks, were everywhere.  Poor Eris feet.  I tried doing yoga outside and I used the rocks under under my mat as pressure point relievers.  We can only imagine what this place was like during the rv show.  Quartzsite truly is a nomad mecca.  We do plan on coming back for the Big Tent next year. Our campsite was nice and private in a big field.  But no one really was that close to us.  It was super windy when we were there so the dust and sand was everywhere.  But can’t expect much different since it is the desert afterall.   We spent 4 nights there, had 4 beautiful sunsets and then  it was time to head to Joshua Tree.  

We arrived to Joshua Tree, South BLM after a couple hour windy drive.  We couldn’t have been any closer to the Joshua Tree sign even if we were staying inside the park.  First thing after we got camp set up was to head into the park to the Visitor’s Center, where we got the maps and lay of the land.  Of course there was not much we could do with Eris so it was a mostly drive thru park.  We did stop and see alot however.  The park is layed out and is condusive to pulling off and seeing and climbing up and over rocks, which we did.  We were able to take Eris on two trails, one honestly really sucked it was supposed to be an Oasis and the other was Keys View which was a beautiful overlook, not really a hike.  This is a beautiful park.  Joshua Tree is famous for it’s namesake the Joshua Tree, which is only found here.  The park roadway winds it’s way from the Colorado Desert to the Mojave Desert where all the Joshua Trees are.  It is such different landscapes.  We drove through the campgrounds to see what it is all about.  While they would have been nice to stay in, we were quite content to be right outside the south entrance for free.  We had the same amenities they have except we had a lot more space.  Basically outside the park on the south entrance there really is nothing.  We did find some hikes the pup could do we picked one called the Painted Canyon.  The drive to the hike was as beautiful if not in some spots as driving through the park.  We realized that Eris while she is a 3 mile dog in normal conditions she is a 2 mile dog in the desert.  After the canyons we went down to check out the Salton Sea.  Very interesting, it is a body of water that was made by accident.  Sadly the accident was pollutants.  There is the highest concentration of salt in this body of water that only two forms of sea life exist.  However, it was nice to smell the salt water as we haven’t had that scent since Mississippi. Also, what I noticed while we were having our picnic was the sound of the sea birds.   Down there they offer camping, fairly reasonable with hookups. But there really is nothing to do there.   

One day Mike had me drive him up the mountain from the campground so he could ride his bike back down.  He smiled all the way down. 

If in the area and need someplace to stay I highly recommend Joshua Tree South BLM, great space and super great cell service, amazing sunsets and great stargazing.

Best place for photos in this area is in Joshua Tree National Park at all of the pull offs.  Supposidly the best place for a sunset photos is at Keys View.  We couldn’t get a parking during the sunset so we came back in the daytime.  The sky was sadly hazy. I got better photos elsewhere in the park and I got amazing sunsets at our campsite.  Also, I highly recommend doing the other trails in the area outside the south of the park.  I got some amazing photos of canyons.

Oh where can the four legged friends go, all over Quartzsite and the BLM land around it, only two trails in Joshua Tree and mile and miles of trails by the Painted Canyon. 

We have done a lot of upgrades to our home, I would like to take the time to mention one a week. However, this weeks is not our camper it is our truck.  All I can say people if you are planning on going off road, make sure you have the proper vehicle to get yourself unstuck. Mike had to pull two people out of the soft sand. One couple spent the whole night in the sand in the park, the other rescue was in our campground.  

The weather was warming up so it was our time to move on and up, so follow along to see where our next adventures will take us.  

Don’t forget to explore, discover and dream and ask yourself what are you waiting for, life is short.

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Safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowerrider camping hound.

Tucson to Why….why you ask, well read all about it below….and then on to Yuma..

Last week I left off with us at El Pais in Tucson and we were headed to Organ Pipe National Monument.  We arrived at our boondocking (no hook-ups) spot at Gunsite Wash BLM (Bureau of Land Management) set up our home for the next few days and went to the National Monument to be able to make our plans for the next few days and to see what, if any, trails Eris could hike on.  

Gunsite Wash BLM is in Why, Arizona.  It was an excellent and free campsite with amazing sunsets, (and probably sunrises, they happened before I was up), privacy and amazing cell service.  While there was no trash, or hook-ups of any kind in the area we were able to go to a campground in Why, Coyote Campground to take care of all of that when we we left, for $12.00. Speaking of coyotes, we heard them in the distance.  Why (haha) stay here, because it is free and a great place to be to go to Organ Pipe National Monument, the beautiful sunsets and peace and quiet.  Why has a gas station and the campground and nothing much else. There is plenty of hiking that can be done in this area and/or biking.  We did take my bike off the rack for the first time and I went out exploring, it is huge and man am I out of biking shape. 

 Why you ask, that is the question and we don’t have the answer.  If you ask where we would answer Why.

There is another little town about 10 miles away, called Ajo. Ajo is an old, little mining town with a town plaza, built in 1917. Which has a train depot with a visitor’s center, which was closed at our time of visits.  Mining was the operation of the times and we went up to check out the Mine Lookout. It has a visitor’s center but when we were there it too was closed.  So all we could do was look through the fence. The mine pit is over a mile in diameter.  John Greenway was a business man who had settled in Ajo, he was the general manager of the mining company.  He was married to Isabella who was the first congresswoman for Arizona.  John built Isabella a beautiful home in Ajo.  He died shortly after it was built.  The employees made a cross out of flowers for the funeral.  Isabella had it caste in concrete and brought it up to the top of the mountain, which can be seen for miles in all directions.  Our trip to Ajo was to sightsee but mostly to do laundry and pick up a few provisions.  

The reason for even going this direction was to to go to Organ Pipe National Monument.  Organ Pipe has a visitor’s center where all the information can be found.  Our trip has been to be able to find hikes we can take the pup on.  There is not much in this park.  Organ Pipe is known as the “Green Desert”.  There are 2 distinct plant commuinities the Lower Colorado Valley and the Arizona Upland.  The Lower has adapted to North America’s hottest climate it is the dryest of the Sonoran Desert the Upland is the wetter of the Sonaran Desert.  There are 28 cactus species but most prevelant is the Saguaro and Organ Pipe. Organ Pipe is a  large rare cactus in the US. The Organ Pipe blooms in May, June and July, we won’t be here to see.   Organ Pipe is more common in Mexico, which is on the border of the National Monumnet.  There are warnings about illegal (I hate to call people that) about them being there, don’t pick them up, watch for people with black water bottles and carrying packages.  Border patrol is the most prevelant in the park. Border Patrol reports that there were over 4,000 arrests and they seized approximately 100,000 pounds of marijuan in Organ Pipe during 2013.   We did not see anything or anybody who didn’t belong while we were there.  We did  get to see the wall. There are two beautiful and yet distinctly different scenic drives.  I am glad we had a truck to to them in.  One is the Ajo Mountain which is 21 miles long we spent one day doing that one, because after all you can’t go fast and there are so many overlooks and hikes to see and the other is the Puerto Blanco Trail which is 41 miles and would only recommend doing with a high clearance vehicle.  It is 41 miles long and took us nearly 6 hours, of course we did do a couple hikes on this road.  While in the area be sure to make the trip into the park it is worth the time. While there wasn’t any hikes we could take Eris on we did do the few we could and our quest to find more hiking trails for her continues. 

After spending 5 super peaceful nights at Gunsite Wash it was our time to go, we headed up 85 to I-8 to Yuma.  There was a beautiful mountain pass we had to do.  I’m not going to lie, while they still freak me out they aren’t as bad when there isn’t construction and plenty of room. We made it to Yuma, we weren’t 100% sure where we were going to stay.  We ended up in Kofa Co-Op which is an Escapee’s only park and 55 + as well.  It has a pool and nice laundry facilities and super nice people.  

What I am digging about this lifestyle is the ability to take the time and stop and smell the roses.  On our way from Gunsite Wash to Yuma Mike saw on the map something about Painted Rock Petroglyph Site and Campground.  We needed to stop, because you never know if you will get the chance again. Take the time and pull off when you can.  Painted Rocks is an  ancient archaelogical site containing hundreds of rock etchings.  It does not take long and we were able to stop, stretch and and have lunch, because afterall we have our home with us.  This was worth the stop for sure.  

Yuma has it all.  Honestly if we didn’t have our homestead in Florida we could easily find ourselves spending our winters here.  It has a cute little “old town”.  While in the area we wanted to see the BLM land that was around, which is mostly in California.  While exploring we stumpled upon Tumco.  Another off the beaten path.  Tumco is an abandoned gold mining town and is one of the earliest gold mining areas in California.  In it’s span of 300 years or so, it had several periods of booms and bust.  It was pretty cool. Again, if you have the choice while traveling to stop and see things, do it.  

Back to Yuma.  We stayed in a full hook up site for 7 days.  Got laundry done and made many trips to The Home Depot.  We ate at a Chili’s for the first time since the pandemic.  Very interesting.  There are malls and everything here.  While we were here we did go on a 3 mile hike at the East Wetland Park.  Partly wooded and partly wide-opened.  It follows the Colorado River and it was a great chance to see some wildlife. There was plenty more hiking we could do.  But I needed to get some much needed work, well all of my work done as I am not sure what type of signal I will have for the next few weeks,  and Mike was working on more upgrades, we got laundry done.  

Of course even with having to work some we played alot.  We went to Mexico.  This too is a border town and on the other side of the border is Mexico.  Because of Covid when returning to the US we  must be over the border back in the US by 2 p.m.  Well we heard mixed things, like we needed to be in line by 2 or we had to be over.  Not sure we weren’t going to take chances.  We gave our neighbor the code to our door for the just in case we weren’t able to make it back so she could take care of our pup.  It wasn’t needed.  Next year when we go I plan on getting dental work and eyeglasses.  Where we crossed was Los Algodones.  We choose to walk over, which is very common.  Getting into Mexico they barely looked if we had any documentation.  Everyone was masked up, so made it feel somewhat safer.  It is like on a cruise where everyone trys to sell their wares.  Just say no thank you and they leave you alone.  However, not only are their wares the usual hats, ponchos etc., it is also dental and optical services.  A comparsion someone we spoke to had gotten a dental quote in Houston for $7,500.00 and had it all done in Mexico for $250.00.  Another comparson is my eyeglasses. I just paid nearly $500.00 for my glasses, frames included, there I was quoted $140.00 including frames, and eye exam.  So next year we will be back to Los Algondes for both of those services and of course a delicious Margarita and some lunch, both of which we had at 10:45 a.m. yup, 10:45 a.m. We figured it was noon somewhere.  After our delicious, intoxicating lunch we headed back to the border crossing.  We also heard that it could take hours to get across.  There the US Custom’s Agents actually did look at our passports, made us take off glasses, masks and any hats we may have had on.  But it was smooth.  When asked by the agent what I was bringing back I said alot of stuff I don’t need nor have room for, we did come back with a poncho, a jacket, a spoon rest, a wooden turtle, a bracelet and a dress oh and of course a bag.  We had a great time and we made it back in the US within 30 minutes.  

Another fun thing we did in Yuma was the Yuma Territorial Prison which is the historic prison in Yuma.  It was opened in 1876 and shut down in 1909.  It is named as one of the most haunted places in the US.  Over the course of 33 years it had 3,069 prisoners, 29 of which were woman. The crimes ranged from murder to polygamy with a little adultry in there as well.  This is the 3rd historic park in the Arizona.  There is a graveyard where there are 104 prisoners buried here.  After the prision closed down it became the high school while the new high school was being built.  There were movies made there, 3:10 to Yuma to mention just one of them.  It was said that the area was being stripped of anything valuable there, the citizens of the City of Yuma put a stop to it and made a historic site. There is a museum and a gift shop.  After touring the old prision of course it was time to go the Prison Hill Brewing Co. for lunch.  The beer was delicious and the lunch was equally as tasty.  We traded stickers.  When our server put it on the wall, one of the other server’s said wow that has to be the farthest away from us.  

We saved some stuff to do for the next time in Yuma and after a week of civilization it was time to get on some free land, so we left and headed north.  

Come back next week as our adventures continue up to Quartszite.  

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Until next week,

Hope and Mike

Extra, Extra read all about it: A lot has happended since Loma Paloma there was Carlesbad, Guadalupe Mountians, Tuson and Saguaro National Park

I left off with us leaving Loma Paloma in Presidio to Texas to go to Carlesbad Caverns National Park. The day we were departing it said that we would be having a lot of wind. Wind we did, however, it was a tail wind so not as scary as it could have been. When we were leaving Loma Paloma we realized our water pump in the rig died, so we had to find a place where we could get one as we were boondocking and wouldn’t have hook-ups for the unforeseeable future and we needed water. So while we had service off an on and on our way towards El Paso Mike made a ton of phone calls. There was a Camping World outside of El Paso, so our plans were gonna have to change and we thought maybe we would hit Carlesbad another time. However, as luck would have it there was an RV dealer with a store front in Carlsbad. Mike got a hold of them and indeed they had our water pump, so plans were back on to hit Carlsbad. We got to Chosa and dropped the rig at what became our home for the next few nights and headed to Carlsbad to get the water pump. It was a nice store and had everything you could need or want. We headed back to the camper, Mike fixed the water pump and we had a decent nights sleep. It was warmer then it had been and we had our windows open and there was a rig that ran his generator all night long. Anyway, we got up early and headed to Carlsbad Caverns National Park. We got to use our National Park Pass for the first time, which was a great gift given to us by our besties, Nancy, Mark and Nya. We chose to walk down into the cave and everyone takes the elevator up. Felt totally safe, everyone was masked up. It was truly beautiful. After we picked up Eris and did the scenic drive through the park. That too was well worth the time. We got back to the rig and relaxed the rest of the evening. Carlesbad Caverns is an amazing sight to see. Above ground is the Chihuahuan Desert of the Guadelupe Mountains. Pre-covid they had ranger led tours, now you are on your own. After walking down the 733 feet below the surface is a rest area with a lunchroom, that of course was closed because of Covid. We did the walk down and then went into the balance of the cave. We highly recommend the walk down as it was just as beautiful as the rest of the caverns. After about 2 hours we got in line to take the elevator back up to the surface. Because of Covid it is only one party at a time, which I imagine pre-covid the elevators would have held at least a dozen or so people. The visitors center and exhibits were open. After returning home the peace and quiet of the campground was great, until the evening when all the other folks were returning to the campground or coming in. This would be the time for me to say how grateful we are to have solar on our rig. We still have not even started our generator yet. Honestly, I am not sure what people need to run at night that their house batteries wouldn’t be ok, but a schoolie pulled in on the one side and another travel trailer on the other. The schoolies’ fumes were coming right into our rig, even with closing the windows. They were outside, I asked if they could turn it off as the fumes were killing us and they apologized and did. The other folks kept theirs on for a while but the other guy who ran it all night the first night, ran it again the second. Solar and Battleborns…way to go. The following morning we got up and went to Guadalupe Mountains National Park on our way out of the area and heading to El Paso for some needed stores, Cabelas and grocery story. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is amazing and the hiking mecca. Of course we were just passing through and decided to see if there were any hikes that we could do with the dog. Only two were to be had, one to the campground and one on a nature trail. We did both. Guadalupe Mountain National Park as the park states: “preserves the rugged spirt and remote wilderness of the American West. The views were amazing and I believe that was the first and second (first-heading to Carlesbad and second leaving Carlesbad) mountain passes I did towing the rig. Heck maybe ever. They had pull offs and honestly the best place to get a picture of El Capitan is from the rest area. The visitor center was open as were the displays. After doing our short hikes we headed on the road to El Paso. Cabela’s was waiting for us. It was a semi-quick stop. Then we hit the road again and made it as far as Deming, New Mexico, where we stayed a Harvest Host for the evening. D.H. Lescombes Winery, where we had some delicious wines (I had a beer) and a charcuterie tray and purchased a bottle of wine for the road. After a serene and quiet night we got up and headed to Tuscon, where we planned on staying a couple of nights at another unique Harvest Host. El Pais Motel and Campground is a Mid Centruy themed Motel and Campground featuring vintage trailers, airstreams with a pool, (it was cold so we did not use) a clubhouse with all kinds of vintage items in it and chickens. We paid to stay here as we wanted full hookups. While visiting Tuscon (which again had everything we needed and then some, including an REI) we went to check out Catalina State Park. Very beautiful. We arrived later in the day, so we were only able to get in one short hike. The big thing we did was go to Saguaro National Park which is on the outskirts of Tuscon and is a small part of the Sonaran Desert The park has two distinct parts that are bascially split by Tuscon. We went to both sides in one day. A lot of driving but so worth it. As we couldn’t really go on any of the trails (no dogs) we did the scenic drives on both sides. My suggestion is, if a scenic drive is offered take it. They have pull offs and you never know what you are going to see. Both vistor’s centers were open and we were able to get our passport stamped. I think the Saguaro is my favorite cactus. After spending a few days in Tuscon it was time for us to move on…catch us next week as we talk about Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and Yuma, Arizon.

Walkway down to the cave
Chosa
El Capitan
At El Pais

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Until next week have a great week…

Hope

Loma Paloma RV Park in Presidio, Texas and Big Bend Ranch State Park

After we spent a glorious 5 days boondocking in Amistad National Recreation Area we were due for some clean laundry and some a/c, even though now as I sit here writing this in Tucson, Arizona I have a heater down by my feet. But that was then and this is now.  We headed down US 90 from Amistad a little sad to be leaving that beautiful area, but the drive on 90 did not disappoint with the views either. 

 We made it down to Presidio after a long drive to a wonderful welcoming campground called Loma Paloma. For $22.00 a night it comes with free wifi, and full hookups.  Just an FYI they only take cash.  Their address is 17138 FM170 Presidio, Texas, their phone number is 432/229-2992. We were invited to happy hour which started shortly after us checking in. The laundry room has  3 machines of each washer and dryer and it is $1.50 each. Also, this is paid in cash in a honor system. This was a perfect place to get into Big Bend Ranch State Park and for the more ambitious you can drive through it and get to the west side of Big Bend National Park. We were told to take the beautiful ride through the State park and don’t underestimate it. Beautiful sunsets were a daily occurance.  

Presidio itself is a quant border town.  Doesn’t really have much of anything but it is cute nonetheless.  

We were at the Visitor’s Center of the State Park at 8:30 in the morning. Fort Leaton State Historic Site/Visitor Center, where we paid our entry money to get in the park and we went through the Fort and our daily pass gave us access to all the hikes we wanted to do. The reconstructed  Fort served as a trading post in the old Chihuahua Trail from 1848 to 1884.  It was interesting.   

We have a dog, so that limited us to the hikes we could do, but honestly the four we did do was enough.  We did not feel like we missed anything.  We did the short nature hike at the visitor’s center and then got in the car to drive the scenic road through the park and stop and see what we wanted to see.  We did a slot canyon hike and a hoodoo hike, which was a first for all of us. The Hoodos Trail is a 1.1 mile loop trail.  Has some elevation but not too terrible.  We got down the Rio Grande where the moutains on the other side were in Mexico.  Eris got to drink water out of the Rio Grande.  The Closed Canyon Trail (slot canyon) is about 1.4 miles long (round-trip).  It is a narrow slot canyon that divides Colorado Mesa in two. The Colorado Mesa was created about 28 million years ago.  The canyon leads to the Rio Grande but is unpassable without climbing gear. I had a hard enough time trying to climb over the boulders so when a sign said end of trail, I was good, I did not need to see what was beyond the sign.  If here be sure to do the Hoodoos trail first as it is exposed and the Closed Canyon is cool due to the canyon walls.  

The views on the scenic road were truly amazing.  This road is one of the scenic drives in the US and should not be missed if in the area.  Of course I was extremely grateful that it was just us and our truck, I would not want to have been towing the camper.   We did the short nature trail on the other side at the other Visitor’s Center and decided to head back through because the thought of driving the scenic drive at night was not overly thrilling.  We saw a moutain goat and some deer.  By the time we returned home it was after 7:00 p.m.  

So if you are in the area and can’t get into Big Bend National Park don’t underestimate Big Bend Ranch State Park it is so very much worth it and should not be overlooked.  

If you enjoyed this please like it and consider following us as we travel on to our next destination, Carlesbad, New Mexico.  

Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound

 

Our Adventure’s in Amistad National Recreation Area 

Amistad National Recreation Area has changed my opinion of Texas. It is beautiful in an undescripable way.  The rocky coast, the miles of terraces that were once the bottom of the water, the blue/tourquise water that was at the base of the rocky terraces, were a beauty that must be seen to describe it. 

Our campsite that we chose was Governors Landing, on a reservor of the Rio Grande.  While it is right off US 90 is still gets quiet at night. The view cannot be beat. It was the more expensive campsite at $10.00 per night. The other sites ranged from $6.00-$8.00 a night. It was so worth money.  Originally we were going to stay 2 nights and we quickly added an additional 3 on, only because we want to try to beat the heat further outwest, otherwise we would have stayed longer.  You are able to stay there for up to 14 days in each of the camping areas.  There is a total of 5 camping areas. All the areas  have a covered table, a grill and fire pit and trash cans available.  Ours not only had that but access to potable water and was close to Diablo East which has a marina and some great little hikes but also most importantly a free dump.  Honestly, if these make it to your bucket list places you can’t really go wrong with any of the campgrounds.  

Amistad means friendship in Spanish.  Amistad lies between the United States and Mexico border.  The park offers hiking, water sports, fishing, birding , canoeing, kyacking and bow hunting in season.  The reservior was created by the Amistad Dam  in 1969 for flood ontrol, water storage and power generation as well as recreational use.  There are two bronze eagles symoblizing the cooperation between the US and Mexico in building and managing the dam. We did not make it over to see the eagles but maybe next time.  Also, when not Covid times they give dam tours but well as we all know things are a little different right now.  So hopefully we will be able to do it next time.  

There are miles of hikes, all beautiful.  Diablo East has three short easy trails and the Sunrise Trail and Figueroa Trail.  We did all the ones at the main area but did not do the Sunrise nor the Figueroa trials.  We need to safe something for the next time.  Plus we only have a 3 mile dog.  But what we did do was go to Seminole Canyon State Park.  What a really great place.  They have miles and miles of hikes but again we have a  3 mile dog so pushing it with our about 4.5 miles was more than enough for her.  We highly recommend that you do this park if in the area.  All the trails we were on in the area are dog friendly. 

Connectivity (Verizon) was amazing while in all of the Amistad area, however when we went to Seminole Canyon it did not exist and we even received a text (when our service came back) welcoming us to Mexico.  

We met some super nice people, some heading east and some heading west.  Hoping our paths will cross again sometime.  

We had to move on, so next weeks blog will find us at Persidio, Texas.  

Until then, remember to like this blog, and considering following as we continue to head to the west.  

Take care and safe travels,

Hope, Mike and Eris (the lowrider camping hound)

Month  1-Louisiana-Texas and the Must To Dos  in San Antonio

As I sit here and write this we have officially been on the road for one month today.  Did it start out as planned?  The short answer is a big fat NO!! Today was the first day since we left St. Pete that we had any sun. Besides the lack of sun and basically crap weather, we got sick, got stuck in Louisiana because of the worse weather in Texas. We were grateful for Bayou Segments State Park for their hospitality while we were forced to stay.    However, we were finally able to leave our Louisiana home of 2.5 weeks and venture west. After a long, uncomfortable ride we made it to our home for the night in Beaumont, Texas.  I will never complain the roads in Florida again. I don’t think it would hurt them to  use a little concrete or asphalt every now and then. I digress, we stayed our first Harvest Host, Pour Brother’s Brewery. The beer as well as the hospitality was great and we spent the night in a level lot. Beaumont is a very cute little town and is home of the largest fire hydrant the is spotted like a Dalmatian.   We got up early and headed to San Antonio where we had reservations at and RV park.   We spent 4 days there.   

Honestly the weather was not great but for the most part it rained very little so we made due.  The first two nights we needed AC and the last night we needed heat.  The campground was interesting With its miles of trails and even had some elevation. The neighbors were horses, cows and chickens. On Sunday we met Deb and Larry (#gettin_there) and we went to Government Canyon State Park where we did a nearly 7 mile hike and saw dinosaur prints.  We highly recommend doing that if you are in the area. Then on Monday the weather was cold and blustery but we went to do the Missions anyways.  We went to all 4 that are run by the park service and went to Alamo. There was no charge to go in the Alamo like we heard there was, because We didn’t do the guided tour. We did not find the Alamo as impressive as all the others. After the Alamo we walked down to River Walk. We decided to do the river boat tour.  There was one other couple on the boat plus our guide.  It was so worth the $ 13.50 each we spent on it. 

 So the musts of to dos while visiting San Antonio are the Missions, take the cruise on the river boat and go to the Government Canyon Stare Park and check out the dino prints.  

Come back next week where I tell you all about Amistad National Recreation Area. Until next week give me a like and follow me. 

Till then,

Hope

Week Two of our Fulltime Adventures-NOLA, the Mardi Gras that Wasn’t, Record Cold Weather, and a Cold

Week  two of our fulltime living has found us heading to NOLA for what was supposed to be our trip to see Mardi Gras but what we found is little festivities, record cold weather and one of us getting a cold. Where I left off last week was that we were heading to NOLA for Mardi Gras, where we knew that it would be different but would make the best of it anyways.  So off we headed from Mississippi in the rain and ended up at our campground just has the rain has stopped for a brief moment.  We are staying at Bayou Segnette State Park.  This is a beautiful park, with level, asphalt sites, some (like our first one) have a deck and the picnic tables are all on concrete slabs.  If the weather would have cooperated with us we might have taken our bikes off the back and ridden them, but that has yet to happen.  Being that the roads are asphalt we are able to walk around and not get muddy so that is a huge plus.  We are after all right on the bayou so trails off the asphalt will have to be eiher boardwalk or plan on getting muddy and soaked.  We settled in for our week here and to get some needed chores done.  The first priority was that Mike had an appointment to get the truck’s ac fixed, which he was there for a couple hours only to have to bring it back on Monday for an appointment when he could get to it as it was going to take 5 hours to fix.  Meanwhile, I started doing our weeks plus worth of laundry.  Two laundry rooms, each with two washers and two dryers in it.  

One nice warm, semi-dry day we went to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park.  Jean Lafitte was a pirate that interrupted his pirating career to fight for the United States in defense of New Orleans in the War of 1812. They have hiking trails  but as we are seeing in the southern states most of the trails were either damaged by the summer’s hurricanes or were under water due to the current non-stop rain, however, there was one trail that we could do.  The ranger told us no dogs allowed.  We left Eris in the truck and headed on this short boardwalk trail, that was basically just decking over the swamp, like maybe a foot above the swamp.  That is where we encountered a fairly decent sized alligator.  We were happy that Eris remained in the truck. After getting my NP passport stamped we went to the little community of Jean Lafitte.   In this little town they had a really nice hiking trail (all boardwalk) and a cute museum.  There was a movie in the museum that talked about the people of the area.  It was very reasonable and at the time of this writing it was $6.00, and worth every penny.  

The next day we dropped Eris off at doggie daycare so we could go to the French Quarter.  The weather turned cold and was still gray out.  We got a ferry card which is good for 5 days and was $18.00 each.  We took off from Algiers Point and got dropped off at Canal Street.  Walking distance to everything we wanted to go to.  The $36.00 we paid for the passes would have been one day’s parking price in the Quarter so worth the money and parking at Algiers Point is free and unlimited time.  It was definately a different vibe than years in the past where we went (we went after Mardi Gras too), buildings weren’t nearly as decorated and the crowds were thin.  While there we went to the Louisiana State Museum, another reasonably priced thing to do, at the time of this writing was $7.00.  The downstairs display was dedicated to Katrina. It was a  great depiction of what happened during Katrina and to see the destruction and the loss and all of the inequities that came out of it was heartbreaking.  (FYI Katrina came in as a catagory 2, then increased to a 3 and then a 5, honestly if we were here we wouldn’t have evacuated either for a 2).  After seeing that we went upstairs for some fun-that display was all about Mardi Gras, so it was a nice way to end our tour at the Louisiana State Museum.  

The following day we took Eris to the Doggie Daycare again.  We asked them to cut her nails while they had her and of course they said no problem.  Not only did they cut them but they were bored so they painted them purple to get her her ready for Mardi Gras.  We highly recommend Shampooch. Reasonable prices and they love their guests we could tell.  Since we took her there we headed back over on the ferry, it was a dry day, which came far and few between, still ugly looking but at least it was dry, cold but dry.  We headed to Mardi Gras World.  Upon arriving at Mardi Gras World we were greeted with King Cake.  We learned more of how the floats were made and more history. We had no idea that a good portion of the accessories on the floats, ie the Scooby Doo’s etc. are made out of styrofoam.  It was worth the $20.00 we spent on it.  (If you go look for groupons).  After our great tour we headed back to the French Quarter for lunch and a stop at Cafe Du Monde for some beignets.  Again I got to say it was weird to see no bars open and less decorations and less people for what has become Mardi Gras 2021.  

Sunday our first nomadic Valentine’s Day was spent driving over the longest continuguas bridge over water in the WORLD-Lake Pontchatrain Causeway.  It is nearly 24 miles long over water.  Honestly, it was boring.  Not much to look at, especially since it was cloudy and gray.  However, we did have some fun on the other side, we went to 2 state parks, Fairview-Riverside  State Park and Fontainbleau State Parks.  Both are beautiful.  What I find weird is when hiking, you are clearly in swamp country yet the trees in the woods are all hardwood.  

On Monday, Mike left on this frigid morning to get the ac in the truck fixed.  Hard to believe that it is so cold and we were ever going to need the ac again.  The day started off cold and got colder.  While he was sitting in the frigid garage for 5 plus hours waiting on the repairs to be made it was sleeting outside.  I was not there to nag him so of course he did not put a hat on his head and now he has a cold.  (Side note-we did go and get Covid testing done just to be sure it is just a cold).  Honestly we were really ready to leave here after 4 days and if we didn’t have the appointment to get the truck fixed we would have left, but am grateful we did not as the big storm was coming and really bad where we are heading.  We attempted to get some insulation for our underbelly for the impending freezing temps and none was to be had.  So we just put on our electric heaters and opened our kitchen cabinets and hoped for the best.  We did fill our water tanks.  While it was freezing out we were toasty inside as the weather deterioated around us.  Tuesday (Fat Tuesday) there was nothing happened.  Staying off the streets is what was best for everyone.  It was super cold, so if there was a year that the parades didn’t happen it was good that it was this year.  

Due to the continuing impending doom (the bad upcoming weather) we have changed our plans and asked to stay until Friday, we had to move sites but they are very accommodating, we had to empty our tanks anyway so it was good.  As I write this we have another bout of crap coming our way but by Friday it should warm up to the upper 40’s and hopefully we will be free to move about the country and should be in the 70’s by next week.  If we have to be stuck someplace at least this is a nice campground to be stuck in and we still have electric and water.  

All and all we are trying to make the most of it and are happy to be just together and enjoying this crazy adventure together.

So until next week, take care, stay warm and stay safe…..and we will hopefully come to you from Texas.

Hope and Mike

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Week One of Fulltiming

We left St. Pete, our home forever to start our next adventure on Tuesday, February 2, 2021. We headed to the cabin for two nights.  We were able to get the utility trailer emptied before we left.  The cabin has always felt to me a great place to escape the city.  It dawned on me that while our mailing address is in St.  Pete our home is wherever we park it and our sticksnbricks is the cabin.  We got up early to extremely cold weather and unloaded the utility trailer, with Annette’s help and closed up the cabin for the next 9 months.  First stop was Topsail Hill Preserve State Park for  two nights.   

Topsail is beautiful with full hookups and concrete or gravel pads.  Nice size sites. Walk-in tent sites and cabins  mixture of bungalows and mobile homes.  The best part is its trails and proximity to the beach.  There are shuttles to go to the beach or you can just walk. It, of course, was raining almost the whole time we were there and when we left.  We were smart this time and put our chairs away before the rain. It was a beautiful first stop and we highly recommend this park.   We decided to make Friday’s our find our local craft brewery. We found Grayton Beer Co this week and were not disappointed.

We went through Alabama onward to Mississippi. We had reservations at Shepard State Park.  Nice enough site, but very uneven, gravel sites.    Apparently though they don’t clean the campsites between guests. We picked up a trashbag worth of trash left by others. There is 28 sites and a really new bathhouse.  There are some interesting hiking trails.  Deep woods and 1000 feet away is marsh land.Beautifiul in it’s own way.  The storms of last summer really paid a toll on this park.  There were picnic tables which we could tell were swept in by storm surge and thrown into the trees, plus a lot of “floatable”, ie cups etc., were washed in way up on the trails. We can tell alot of improvements are happening in this park.  They have a new ranger station which will also house a gift shop/campstore, which should be opening soon, they have a new boardwalk, which probably replaced something that was there but probably destroyed.  The trails have been maintained but I imagine there was more markings on the trail which is still missing.  There is an archery range, some of them only Catness can hit I am sure.  There is disc golf course, which looks pretty intense, a dog park, some primative camp sites.  All and all we enjoyed ourselves here.  The campground makes you feel like you are still camping.  The days were mostly nice and evenings even nicer.  We also got to put another state sticker on our map.  

We went to our first national park of this trip.  It was Gulfshores National Seashore.  Quite beautiful.  The visitor center was still closed because of Covid and some of the trails were destroyed in the storms.  The campground was open and I was able to get my National Park Passport Book stamped.  

While in Mississippi we also saw Buffett Beach, obviously we had to stop and get a picture of it.

The odd thing I find with all the marshes I would have thought we would have seen some wildlife, except for the stupid snake we really didn’t see anything.  

We are spending  4 nights here and tomorrow we head to NOLA.  When we picked 2.2 as our date to take off it was to attend Mardi Gras, well all the fesitivities for that have been cancelled.  But we will find plenty to do I am sure, not to mention just some basic life items.  First thing first is to get my credit card replaced.  Before we even left Florida my card got jacked.  So we immediately called Chase to have another one issued.  I called Bayou Segnette State Park, (our LA park) and asked if they would accept mail for us.  They said they would so hopefully when we arrive it will be there.  We also need to get the ac in the truck fixed, not that we have needed much ac now but we will soon, so we made an appointment for that this week, and while Mike is dealing with that Eris and I will hang at the campsite, get some work done and do laundry.  I don’t know how much help she will be. We will go to some of the things we wanted to see the last two times we were there but didn’t get to do.  We will have fun there for sure.  Then it is off to Texas. 

Follow along for our adventures, you never know where we will be, we certainly don’t…..

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Until next week,

Hope, Mike and Eris the LowRider Camperhound 

7 DAYS Till Freedom

As I write this there is only 7 days to our take off date. When this posts the countdown will say 5 days. We will be ready. We have reservations at our first campground on February 4. Eris the lowrider camping hound and I have been adjusting well to my retirement. Mike is finishing up one last job and then we will be moving his shop up to our part-time homestead. We will have to make a few trips up and back to get the job done. But we are thinking the last possible night in St. Pete will be Monday. Maybe earlier but we do have a few trips to the cabin to make for his shop.

We will be down to one vehicle as I am sitting here watching my Kia get it’s last oil change from me at least and she will be going to a new home on Thursday.

Another surreal feeling is that this Wednesday will be our last “run” night from 3 Daughters at least until November. Prior to Covid we used to run with Fit to Run the last Wednesday of the month. We would meet with our friends. After the world stopped spinning that was one of the big things we missed. So our friends, who we were quarantining with, would meet us at 3D and we would walk and do nearly 3 miles every Wednesday.

Another thing we will miss is our family nights held each week at my uncles. Of course these all started after it was safe to get together in small groups. Our last one will be on this Thursday until at least the end of November.

This month started with a mini trip to Atlanta to see Shan and Christian and went up with Jes and Chris and grand pups. While up there we celebrated Jes’ 30th birthday and went sightseeing of course. Went to Helen, Anna Ruby Falls, Nora Mill Granary, Fernbank Museum and Atlanta Botanical Gardens. While the weather was cold, it was beautiful out. The gardens were beautiful and I can only imagine how beautiful it is in March/April when everything is in bloom.

Needless to say we are getting excited. No more alarm clocks and new adventures coming our way.

Enjoy the pics below…

Until next time,

Hope

HAPPY NEW YEAR- WELCOME TO 2021

As I reflect on the year that none of us will forget, 2020, all in all it was mostly good for us.  Let me get the bad overwith, in March I lost my job, which I got another job quick enough, then in March we all know what plagued the world.  While speaking to someone on the other side of the country we were all doing the same thing, praying nobody we knew or that we wouldn’t get Covid.  All the while we were moving forward with our plans for our 2/1/2021 departure date.  In January I wrote in my dayplanner that on December 28, whereever I am working, to put my notice in (I actually wrote it that way).  The rest of the bad is that my father in law, a sweet, sweet man, became sicker and was in a hospital bed (at home-thank you Hospice) since July and passed away at age 98.5. He is missed but we all know he is in a better place.  My uncles got Covid but thankfully made a speedy recovery.  That’s all I got for the bad, while I miss hugs of my family and while masking up  is a pain, I do it for the better good.  

Christmas we spent our last year as homeowners in our backyard with family. It was great. Didn’t have as many people as we normally have but it was great just the same. Honestly it was the most relaxing year I ever had. We did a hobo dinner cooking over an open fire. We kept the fire going for warmth. It was a chilly year. Shan and Christian came down so the only ones we were missing was my son and daughter-in-law.

We picked 2/1/2021 as our shove off date so we could go to Mardi Gras, that of course as I write this is cancelled.  That’s ok we will plan on it for next year.  This year while we have our reservations we will just have fun in New Orleans anyway. We plan on heading west, stopping and seeing our besties,  who spend the month of July in Washington and a stop in Yellowstone and finishing in Savannah to do a half marathon in November, (assuming it will happen), spend the holidays with family and then back out.  

I started 2020 with a project of 52 Weekend’s to remember-well that took a hault because of Covid, which gave us more time to work on the cabin, camper or the house. We continued with our plans, spending most of the time working on the cabin, camper, or the house. To make it easier to work on the house we moved into the camper, started to box up, get rid of and get ready for a garage sale. I think it was somewhere in August that our kids came over to help us with cleaning up the Irma tree (huge tree that was toppled over during Irma) as we were preparing to put our house on the market, when they showed interest in purchasing the house. Which we finally closed on December 28, 2020, the same day I quit my job.  I have 3 days (including today) and I will be retired.  We will eventually have to go back to work, which will look different then what we are doing now, we are planning on doing some workkamping and have already applied already to Yellowstone 2022.  

As I sit here on my last Wednesday of my career I am looking forward to a healthy, happy and adventuresome  2021 and that I wish the same for everyone.  

The first picture is my wonderful father-in-law, who is missed but is in a better place.

The balance is Christmas.

Next week I will be back on to location and places to see blogs.

Until next time,

Hope