We headed to Las Vegas, the City of Sin, Vegas, the 26th largest City in the US and largest in Nevada and also the Mojave Desert. I had a long list of photography goals for this City and it did not disappoint. The one thing we didn’t get to do was the Fremont Experience, not that we need an excuse to go back but this gives us just one.
This is going to be a different type of blog post. Enjoy some of the pics of our visit to Sin City.
Time sure does fly and a ton has happened and so many sites have been seen since I last blogged from Seattle. I will just give a run down of what we did since Seattle and catch up to today, where we are sitting until next month in Florida. I will also talk about all the things we learned while on the road, so stay tuned.
After Seattle we headed to meet our friends in Olympia, where we stayed for nearly a month. We went to the San Juans, and Olympic National Park. We also participated in our first in post Covid road race in Olympia. One of the best things of being rootless is that we got to see our friends across the country where any other normal summer that would not have been an option. After Olympia we headed down to Cathlamet, Washington, a cute little town on the Columbia River, to see Mike’s cousins. We spent a few days there, hanging with family and seeing the sites. We went to Astoria, Oregon while there, where we climbed the tower and went through the Goonies’ Museum. After spending a few days we needed to head towards our next “rock-destination” which was the Xscapers Convergence in Driggs, Idaho.
First stop was a casino in Pendleton, Oregon. Well we weren’t going for the casino we were there for the campground. The campground was Wild Horse Casino and was clearly set up by a Rv’er as the all the sites were easy to get into and spaced perfectly. While in Pendleton we did the underground tour. Which was a great tour about the history of Pendleton. The campground had it’s own pool but we were able to use the pool and all the other facilities at the casino. There was an indoor pool, there was a gym, movie theater, bowling alley, and game room, not to mention the actual casino. Mike and I don’t gamble but decided to “blow” $10.00. We had no idea how to even play the slot machines. We left $166.00 richer. We stayed there for a few days and headed onward toward Driggs.
Next stop was in Idaho at a campground, Green Canyon Hotsprings, that had some natural hot springs. Which we did not use as they were really crowded. It was just a stopping point as we were getting ready to boondock for the next month. Our first stop after the hot springs was Driggs, Idaho where we were doing the Xcapers Convergence. We had such a great time there, even when the weather wasn’t great or when the smoke filled the sky. We met some new people who we will have as friends for lifetime. We volunteered to set up, park and knock down the event. Which I think volunteering makes it even more fun. We went kayaking as a group, ski lift and hiking as a group. All of it was fun and it was sad to leave but I am sure we will see these folks down the road.
After we left there we headed back to Yellowstone where we had reservations in the park for 3 nights, then it was on to the Tetons. Of course Yellowstone was amazing. I did a photography tour where I got some amazing shots. I will do this tour again when we go out in May. After Yellowstone we had a week in the Tetons, at Gros Ventre. After spending 8 glorious nights there and seeing alot of Moose we headed back up to Atherton Creek. We we spent another week up there and met our friends from the convergence. Then it was time for us to go our separate ways as we had a lot more we wanted to see and we had the next big boulder in Savannah that we had to get to, plus the weather was changing daily before our eyes. It was getting colder and the trees were literally changing colors daily. We haven’t seen fall before at least not like this so it was really cool.
Next stop was Colorado as we made our way east. First stop was in Rock Springs, Wyoming. I could live there. We stayed for a few days and did things like laundry, dog grooming and just basic normal household chores. We spent over a month boondocking so it was nice to have full hookups for a few days. After Rock Springs we headed down the road to Dinosaur National Monument via the Flaming Gorge passes, where we found a great campsite in the Monument to boondock. The sunsets were amazing. We did some touring. Half of the park in in Utah and half of it is in Colorado. I will go into more details about the park in another blog.
After a few days there we headed to Delta Colorado (Grand Junction), where we went to Colorado National Monument, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Colorado National is one of my favorite parks. It has a little bit of everything. After we spent sometime there we lucked out and got a campground in Ouray. Where we spent 4 days there. The campground was in town. Ouray was an amazing little town, with history, sites and views. To head to our next destination we had to drive the Million Dollar Highway. It was a scary pass but not the scariest I think I have ever driven. That being said, I don’t have any need to do it again. There is no shoulder and at times we were at something like 15,000 feet in elevation. To say I was happy to see the town of Silverton is an understatement. While staying in Ouray we did a day trip to Telluride. Another amazing ski town that has a free ski lift to take you up and down the mountains. Like a bus but a ski lift instead. We also watched people doing the Via Ferrata. Mike became hooked and couldn’t wait to try this himself. A Via Ferrata is basically rock/wall climbing, on ledges. That is a big NO for me.
While we did not stop in Silverton we may return some day, we had a destination and that destination was Durango. Where we stayed at a great campground right on the narrow rail train tracks. We took the shortened train ride. We both loved it. So beautiful, however it was cold and drizzly all day but that was ok we brought stuff to keep us warm and know what to bring next time. While there also went to Mesa Verde National Park. It was ok, that’s all I can say. After a few days there it was time leave and we really wanted to boondock for a few days.
As we were headed east we stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park. Where there is some amazing boondocking opportunities right outside the door. We did a hike while there but there was no way I wanted to climb the sand dunes. The one thing we love about this lifestyle is you never know who you may come across again. While boondocking we ran into someone we met the month before in Gros Ventre.
Then we made it to Colorado Springs, where we did a Harvest Host one night and did a couple nights at a KOA. We went to Garden of the Gods, which was really cool and the dog got to hike with us as well, so the always makes us happy.
Onward we headed and made our way to Kansas. Two nights later we were in Kansas City. While we stayed on the Missouri side that didn’t stop us from enjoying the Kansas side. Totally surprised as to the beauty that was there. We wish we would have had more time to spend there.
Next stop was St. Louis. The Arch was on my bucket list. Friends told us about the casino to stay at, while it was no Wild Horse like we had in Pendleton it was good. The view was the arch and a short walk away over the Mississippi River via the Eads Bridge, which was the world’s first steel truss bridge. The campground was in Illinois and there was a state border sign on the bridge. Well we were officially east of the Mississippi, where things just got damper or so it seemed. We had to drive over on the day for our tour at the Gateway Arch National Park because of weather. After we toured the Arch, (again I will dedicate a full blog post to all the parks we went to) we met my sister-in-law for lunch. Again it is so cool, getting to meet family on the road.
As I said we are now east of the Mississippi. so it is a good time to say good bye and I will tell you all about the rest of our Season One in the next blog, which I promise will not be months away. Stay tuned for all the eastern states we stopped at and Mike’s first Via Ferrata.
So after spending a wonderful, memorable week in the Teton’s it was time for us to move on, in order to do this we had to go through Jacksonhole and head over the Teton Pass, after traveling across the country I have driven a lot of mountain passes but I gotta tell you Teton Pass is not for the faint at heart, it is never ending or so it seemed. We made it through and I assume it was beautiful but my hands were firmly placed on the steering wheel and eyes on the road and I kept peeking at gages as well, maybe someday without us towing our home we will go up it again and check out the views, but honestly I wanted it overwith as did Eris. Eris is not crazy about passes, we can tell, just wonder if it is because she cannot “pop” her ears or if the twisty turny road hurts her belly. Either way, I am with her on that, this Florida girl is not happy driving them either.
Well after we made it to that we went through Driggs (where we will be going to the XCapers Convergence in August. Cute town and are looking forward to heading back. We found a perfect campsite in Island Park, Boot Jack Dispersed Camping, it was free and it was easy to get in and out of and close to West Yellowstone. After getting settled we did what we always do with a national park, headed in to get the way of the land. We have been there previously (3 times to be exact, once just Mike and I, once with Annette and Cathy (we did a backpacking trip) and once with the girls, however, even though with the girls we did stay in West Yellowstone we never really did much on that side of the park. We did do the required stops like Old Faithful, but mostly we just kept heading over to the Canyon area.
One day we went to Mammoth area, saw some elk just chillin’ on the lawn, and we did all the pull offs and hiked the Mammoth area. The weather in early June was perfect (mostly).
Of course we got stuck in our fair share of “bison jams”, which I always like, got some great shots of some bison. Also a lot of animal butts, a little cooperation would be lovely but I am certainly not one to ask them to move or smile for the camera.
We did spend some time in West Yellowstone. They have a great camera shop there (Yellowstone Camera). I got a great zoom lens, which will be great for my wildlife photos when we come back. When we come back we will be going on a scenic boat ride but what I am most excited about is the photo safari. Honestly, we didn’t know these exist but not only do the exist they are reasonable. Scenic boat ride is $19.00 per person and the photo safari is a little over $100.00. They will take me and a few others to the areas where wildlife is present, I am hoping for a bear.
One very cold morning (puffy jacket cold) we got up super early and headed into the park in the dark, to try to beat the crowd for the Grand Prasmatic shot, well, the steam washed it out. But we had a great hike and got some great shots regardless. Then we headed to Old Faithful and had breakfast at the Snow Lodge. We walked the boardwalk around Old Faithful and made it back to what I think was a great place to see it “blow”. We then headed to do the scenic drives. Scenic drives are nice and relaxing, they have pull offs where they need to be and ususally have ample parking to see such. I highly recommend doing any scenic drives that are available. The ones in Yellowstone do not require a 4 wheel drive truck, but if any of the parks suggest that you have a 4 wheel drive truck, heed that advise oh and be sure to know how to use your 4 wheel drive properly. On the scenic drives we did, one had a ton of thermal features and the other had some waterfalls and mountains. While we were freezing when we left home in the morning our Waggle went off that it was 94 degrees inside the camper. It was a hot night, so we made our plans to move on.
After a few days, I needed to go see Canyon, as that area has been our favorite part of the park. I am excited to be spending some time on that side in August but wanted to see it just the same. Oh my has it changed. We did the scenic drive to the Yellowstone Canyon, of course.
We ended up staying a full week in our free campsite. Very unique area and can’t wait to return. Yellowstone for sure is our favorite national park and if you haven’t been, make plans as pictures do not do it justice.
That’s all for this week, hope you enjoyed it, and if you did please consider following us and liking it. We will be back next week as we make our way to Deer Lodge, Montana, a surprisingly interesting cowboy town and if we weren’t looking for air conditioning we might have missed it and then back boondocking in Missoula.
So until next week, keep exploring, discovering and dreaming…
We left Bryce and our glorous spot in search of groceries and some Amazon deliveries. While we were sad to go we needed a little bit of civilization. We went to Flight Park State Recreation Area right outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The fee for it was $15.00 per night and included a pit toilet only. With it’s proximity to Salt Lake City they needed to charge otherwise it may become overrun by homeless. This location was a great place to see all that Salt Lake and surrounding area had to to offer plus it wasn’t hard on the eyes either. We woke up to paragliders taking off every morning (unless the winds were too bad). The location was on the top of a hill with a 9% grade to get up to the top. While the sport itself is quiet, people would show up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready to fly by morning light. Then they would all be leaving by 8:30-9:00 a.m. I assume to go to work.
We found some nice hikes there, with amazing views and beautiful wild flowers. One of the hikes was a dog off leash hike, Eris enjoyed that.
In between picking up our packages we did do some touristy things like we went to see Temple Square. Temple Square was built in 1853 and is 10 acres and owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located in the center of Salt Lake City. It was very interesting and we were saddened that we could not go into any of the buildings (stupid COVID) but we found the grounds and buildings interesting just the same. We will make a trip back to check it out when all is opened. It is said that Temple Square is the most popular tourist attraction in Utah, bringing in more visitors than Grand Canyon or Yellowstone, attracting 3-5 million visitors a year. Of course I am not sure that is a current asssessment during these of times of COVID. We may make a trip back after COVID but during a different season to see all that it has to offer.
Another day we left Eris at home and headed to Park City, Utah. It is a cute 11.35 square mile ski town. Of course we weren’t there in ski season and all the slopes and slope activities were just closed for inbetween seasons. We went to Wastach Brew Pub and had some delicious adult beverages and some great food as well.
We spent about a week there and again when we realized we didn’t need Google Maps to get us around we knew it was time to move on.
This weeks favorite addition is: my desk and the peg board (we got this idea from VanFest in Hurricane). My desk folds down and is out of the way but it gives me a place to leave the computer set up while doing other things. The peg board we got at IKEA and is great for storing extra items to try to keep our little home uncluttered.
I hope this will inspire some to check out Salt Lake City, we will return and participate in some local events that start after Memorial Day. After leaving Salt Lake we knew we needed to be buckled down someplace for Memorial Weekend so as we got in the car we asked or Son and Daughter-in-Law which way-Tetons or Flaming Gorge. Flaming Gorge was where we headed to and we were very glad that was the choice we made.
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Until next week, remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming,
After a very dusty, windy few days at Parowan Gap we decided we needed to head to Bryce. We picked a camping spot on Tom’s Best Road. To get to our perfect place we were on Scenic Byway 12 which goes right through the center of Red Canyon. Which has it’s own hikes and views for sure.
After arriving at Tom’s Best we did do a little survey of the area and found our perfect spot. It was about 6 miles from Bryce’s entrance and we had our own little slice of heaven.
Of course after getting set up we decided to make our way in to Bryce to check out the visitor’s center and learn the way of the land so to speak. Bryce Canyon National Park is both of our national park thus far. It is accessible and easy to get around. The shuttle is there if you want to take it but you do not need to make reservations, so it makes it easy to get on and off at the different locations. Bryce Canyon is the home of the largest collection of hoodoos in the world. They were truly amazing. In 2019 Bryce became one of the designated dark sky areas. While I didn’t get the star shots in Bryce I did get them in our campground. After finding our way we made plans for the next few days. As pets can’t go on the trails we left her home with Waggle to watch over her and went into the park. We hiked the rim trail, we were heading from the parking lot at the gift shop to Bryce overlook. But as we headed we realized that it would be all uphill, that was after already hiking 1.5 miles so we did what we should have done to begin with and hopped on a shuttle to take us to Bryce Point and hiked back. The views were amazing. After that we headed into the gift shop for some delish pizza.
Another day we did the scenic drive and did all the view points and also did the Bristlecone Loop which was a short hike through a sub-alpine fir forest with bristlecone pines. The smells of the pines and the wind whipping through the trees made us think of the cabin.
Mossy Cave hike was one of my favorites. It was short but the views were amazing just the same. It had a creek and a waterfall.
In Grand Staircase Escalante we found a hike that sounded perfect and one we could take our pup on. After heading down about 20 miles down a sketchy, twisty-turny narrow dirt road, with drop offs on boths sides sometimes and a creek to cross we made it to the trailhead. The trail was amazing there was water to walk in and horses to pass and slot canyons to go through. It was called Willis Creek Narrows Trail. The only thing that was scary was the drive to it other than that it was a beautiful hike and that was the day Eris became a 4.2 mile pup instead of 3 miles.
We did the hike behind the visitor’s center at Red Canyon, which Eris could do as well. However, I could not. We started up the hill and it was ledge after ledge. I figured how bad could it be, after all it was an interpretive trail with benches and sign posts. Ohhhh it was bad after I got to signpost number 2 (out of 13), I said oh I can’t had basically a panic attack. It was high, slippery and ledgy (not sure if that is a word but it is for me). We continued on to number 3 and it was getting worse, so I said, I am heading back and not going back down from 2-1. Mike went along with me as we made our way down to the bottom of a wash and walked out and found the trail and then continued on.
We headed into Bryce about every other day and were able to fill up our water. We did laundry at Ruby’s and while we were waiting we saw the cowboy show called Ebenezer’s Barn & Grill. We said if we could get in that night or the next we would go. We were able to get tickets. It was the first time in 14 months that we had live music. It was a treat for sure. After spending 8 glorious, star filled sky, nights there it was time for us to move on. We were sad to be leaving but we will be back again someday.
Our favorite addition to our camper is our utensil holder. Our camper came with one, just one, very small drawer. We needed to have someplace to put our utensils. In my past life I was a barista that pedaled down to my hometown everyday with a bike cart and we had the silver utensil holders leftover. Mike drilled a hole in the countertop and it fit’s right in there and holds all of our cooking utensils.
I hope ya’ll enjoyed about our time in Bryce and the area and be sure to check back next week when we talk all things Salt Lake City.
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Until next week, remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming, Hope, Mike and Eris, the lowrider camping hound
After leaving Glen Canyon we headed to Kanab for our free boondocking spot and to explore the area. Actually, the campsite we chose was called Kitchen Wash BLM in Grand Staircase Escalante. It was a very peaceful place that was near some hikes we wanted to do. The three nights we were there we were the only ones. It was super windy and a couple of the mornings we woke up to below freezing temps, one of those mornings to 15 degrees, however it warmed up quickly.
We scored some permits to do a hike in Wirepass/Buckskin Gulch. The permits can be scored at Rec.gov for $6.00 each. If you are in the area we highly recommend doing this hike. It was so beautiful and made us feel like we didn’t miss anything by not being able to go to Antelope Canyon. There were some people but for the most part it wasn’t as crowded as it could have been. The drive up there however is much to be desired. It is an 8 mile horrible road to get to the trailhead. The trailhead shares the same parking area as if you were doing the Wave. We had a nice day and the views were great. We could have brought Eris, however we decided she would be happier at home, after all it was a 5.6 mile hike and we had to go down this sketchy ladder. Ok maybe it was sturdy but it had a huge boulder in the middle of it. Anyway, that was the only sketchy part. I am glad we did this hike. Basically, we did what we wanted to and turned around. If we were to hike the whole thing it would have taken us to Lees Ferry. Of course that would have been 4 days later and 40 miles more. Mike, being the smart man that he is, did not tell me that Backpacker Magazine rated this as the most dangerous hike in the United States as there is no escape in certain/most of the trail. After that hike we felt bad about leaving Eris at home so we took her to Box Canyon. Short easy hike. There were many other hikes but we were ready to move on, so move on we did.
We went into Kanab a couple times. One was to do laundry. What we also found was the headquarters for Stampin’UP. It was fun to see where a good portion of my money went. Beautiful facility, however, when I went in there wasn’t anyone at the receptionist desk. Oh well, still sort of neat. As we were only there for a few days we didn’t do much else.
Oh and the other thing that happened we got stuck in a cow jam. But look how cute.
This is a short post this week, however, next week is all about our time spent in Zion, so be sure to check in next week.
This weeks favorite addition to the camper is our door mat. We got this at the recommendation of my sister inlaw at the Tampa RV Super Show. It is a little spendy coming in at $50.00 but is worth every penny. It is handmade in Florida and the name of the company is Florida Outdoor Mat Company, their phone number is 727/258-8162. We love this thing so much it is the very first thing to go down when we set up camp and also, when we may plan on getting another one when we return to Florida for our cabin. Anyway, if you need a good, durable mat, give them a call.
So enjoy this weeks pics and we will check in with you next week from Zion, and remember to like and follow if you find these interesting and useful or at least entertaining.
Remember to keep exploring, discovering and dreaming and keep asking yourself whatrwewaiting4…
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.
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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.
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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.
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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