Texas: 1/1 – 1/12/2020

Bright and early on the first day of 2020, we arrived in Texas.

We spent two days at the Jetstream RV Resort at NASA in Webster, just southeast of Houston.  

During this time, we continued our search for a new trailer.  I had become obsessed with the prospect of upgrading.  We were becoming more educated with the options available to us.  We learned that the Montana is higher priced because of its interior looks but is not necessarily well built.  We learned that two of the top makers for quality built RV’s are Jayco and Forest River, but everyone has an opinion.  We checked out a Jayco Eagle at Lonestar RV in Houston, but left empty-handed once again.  It just wasn’t right.  I couldn’t get that Mississippi Montana RV out of my mind.

We arrived at Northlake Village RV Park in Roanoke, only 20 minutes from our friends in Keller, Texas. This resort was not only closer to them, but much nicer than the Fort Worth RV Park where we stayed last year.

It was great to see the Miller Clan again and to be able to celebrate Kate’s birthday in person.  We had four days together, which included a day trip to Six Flags and dining at the movie theatre.

Six Flags Over Texas

 

On Tuesday, January 7, we headed northwest towards Amarillo.  We had found online a Coachman Fifth Wheel for sale at Century RV that looked promising.  Scott and I had agreed on a rear-living layout with three slides and an island kitchen.  Below is a picture depicting the type of center island kitchen/cooking area we were looking for. 

Our current RV is made by Coachman, and we have had no issues with it thus far.  We found a RV Resort not far from Century RV, so we booked a night at Oasis RV Resort so that we could continue looking at RV’s the next day.  It was a brand new resort with almost 200 sites.

The next morning we got to Century Auto RV Sales to check out the Coachman Fifth Wheel.  We liked it but it had a residential refrigerator, which would require upgrading the battery system for boon docking.  Except for the fridge, it pretty much had what we were looking for.  

Dale, our salesman, suggested that we look at a Palomino Columbus Compass that was on his lot.  Within a very short time, we knew we had found our new home…a 2020 Palomino Columbus Compass 329 DVC, which is made by Forest River, Inc.

For the next few days we remained in windy Amarillo, waiting for our new home to be readied for sale.  Scott had to remove the cap from the bed of the truck, take apart the built-in-drawers, and empty all contents to make room for the fifth wheel tow. We had to rent a U Haul to take our “toys” to Durango where Molly would store them for us temporarily. Scott ordered a new trailer hitch to hold our bikes, kayaks, and SUP.

We had to kill some time, so we drove to Cadillac Ranch, one of the worlds’ first roadside sculptures. It features ten Cadillacs buried nose down in a field. You are allowed to bring your own paint can and be creative. You are also encouraged to take your empty cans to the on-site dumpster. It seems like many people forgot that simple task. We didn’t partake in this activity.

The Entrance

Our next tourist stop was at The RV Museum, which featured RVs, camping and lifestyle exhibits from the 1920’s through today.

The Juke Box reminds me of Hagler’s in Oradell.
This looks like our first TV set from the 60’s.
My Grandpa Joe Finnegan traveled around the country in one of these.

The next morning, we were ready and on our way to pick up our new home. Notice the empty bed in the photo below.

It was time to shake hands with Bill and Dale and get on our way again.

If you would like to see the inside of our new home, check out the “About Us” page.

Our planned ski trip was delayed by four days, but we were truly happy with the reason for our delay.  Next stop, Taos, New Mexico.  Woo-Hoo!!

Texas and New Mexico: 3/30 – 4/1/19

We said goodbye to the Guadalupe Mountain and headed west towards El Paso.  The scenery was barren, flat at times, and unfortunately littered in some places.

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B2388792-B30D-4234-9CA5-7CF67A2D836AThis made my heart sad.  We passed areas where old shacks were dilapidated.  I couldn’t bring myself to take pictures of what I saw.  I am guessing that at one time, people were able to call this area their home, but obviously they had moved on.  As we got closer to Las Cruces and El Paso, I realized that this is where they may have moved on to.

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d5b7f942-9fde-4c94-8ed8-82948486d780.jpegWe found a RV park just outside of El Paso off the main highway in a town called Canutillo.

01DBF18D-4DBE-40C0-985D-A784ECFEC016

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FD913AD8-CA80-4E60-92ED-8A133E92B86BOur neighbor Matt, had a puppy named Crazy.  He was soooooo adorable!  The paws on this ten-week old pit were massive.

E90D5C21-CC0B-485A-9E30-AAC76D3C7AA5We only stayed for one night.  The next day we were back on the road heading north into New Mexico, yet again.

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34C14E79-6F9D-4F06-B395-3347A1508DEFOur next destination was Gila National Forest.  On the way, Scott wanted to stop by Fort Bliss Military Reservation in Oro Grande where he had his desert training back in the early 1980’s.

2CEA9A90-CEDA-4345-B8B7-962FE52722D8We were able to get on to the access road and saw this very welcoming sign.

083C939A-91E9-4D5D-81D6-6642FABF5E99Scott was trying to remember what it looked like 35 years ago when he was last here.  There had obviously been some changes.  The following sign looks weathered and outdated.

5745A0A3-2846-4CDC-BA09-EB6940922832We reached a point where we could no longer gain access and turned around.  Now, we would have to travel the long way to get to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument.  It really wasn’t too far out of the way.  Before we knew it, we had arrived at our next campsite.

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5786DDE2-F16F-4B94-B272-CA2B57BCFD4BWhen we woke up the following morning on April 1st, it was 31 degrees outside and 41 degrees inside the trailer.  We are talking COLD!!  We got up and hiked Pine Tree Trail Loop, a 4.2 mile easy trek.

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59433E98-60CF-44BD-B0F4-01EE638F4801We haven’t seen many streams in New Mexico while hiking, instead we will often see a wash, where water will only travel when it is raining.  All of a sudden, I was mesmerized by the sound of running water.

Later that day, we drove to White Sands National Monument.

E15ED858-B73F-4170-A63E-B3CA77E81642We’ve made it a practice to stop in the Visitor’s Center first to watch an introductory movie and get a National Park Service brochure.  This complex was designed in Pueblo Revival style during the Great Depression of 1930’s.

1C35C0E8-CA7D-4973-8555-275818690787The Why of White Sands:  “When the Permian Sea retreated millions of years ago, it left behind deep layers of gypsum.  Mountains rose and carried the gypsum high.  Later, water from melting glaciers dissolved the mineral and returned it to the basin.  Today, rain and snow continue the process.  For thousands of years, wind and sun have separated the water from shallow lakes from the gypsum and formed selenite crystals.  Wind and water break down the crystals making them smaller and smaller until they are sand.  Steady, strong southwest winds keep gypsum sand moving, piling it up and pushing dunes into various shapes and sizes.”  We started on the one-mile loop Dunes Life Nature Trail.

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6C7A6282-24DF-41D9-9598-05AC418FBC2DWe decided to do a little advertising and wrote our blog in the sand.  I wonder how many new followers we will get?

 

A023F6A4-0D9E-4DCE-9BCB-45336611A655Signs of spring?

 

F8F41C35-3FD9-4EC6-A640-345775668C85We got back into the car and drove to the end of Dunes Drive.  As you drive down the sandy road, it almost looks like a snow-covered road.

FF1FC54B-83E9-47D6-AB3F-D49C8D8223CEAlong the way were various hikes, straight out and back, with lengths of 2.3 – 8.0 miles, as well as shaded picnic areas.  But where is the water?

CDA5F56D-48EA-4962-81E5-394DFA1CBB50We left White Sands and headed on 70W back to our campsite.  There were fields of beautiful, yellow flowers which brought such vivid color to the barren landscape.

675736D2-4DA3-4454-BEE7-40A184BB4434Scott needed to get up close and personal.

C111D946-D858-4CE4-886F-54EF2854E318Simply stunning!

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Guadalupe Mountains, Texas: 3/28 – 3/30/19

If you look on a map of Southwestern United States, New Mexico, Texas, and the country of Mexico are nestled together in the most western section of the state of Texas.  This where you will find El Paso, a very populated and modernized city.  Haven flown to Texas many times to visit my best friend in Keller, Texas,  I never thought I would be in this part of the state.  I find myself intrigued by the fact that we are so close to Mexico.  My mind keeps taking me to thoughts of a border wall.  Crazy, right?

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Guadalupe National Park is located just east of El Paso, Texas, and directly south of Carlsbad Canyons in New Mexico.  The drive from Carlsbad to Guadalupe was only about a 45 minute ride away.  From about 20 minutes away, you could see El Capitan (far left) and Guadalupe Peak (to the right of Capitan) in the distance.

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690F1BAE-22C1-41C9-8356-16E4E3F09F69We parked the trailer in the Pine Springs Trailhead parking lot for $15 per night.  There were already quite a few RV’s parked there with only a few empty spaces.  Nobody was around except for the workmen using heavy equipment not far from us.  They were obviously doing work that was needed, but the noise really shot right through you.  It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and we wanted to get away from the man-made noise.  It was after 3:00 p.m. but we ventured out anyway on a short 4.2 mile round trip hike on Devil’s Hall.  At this trailhead, there are four different hikes that you can choose from.

2433940D-01EA-45A5-BE27-12696ACF13EBGuadalupe Peak Trail is what brought us to this National Park, but due to the time, we chose to hike Devil’s Hall Trail today.  On the way up, we turned around to capture a picture of our campsite.

957FB260-3D6D-482F-9D20-7F5CA7D0042DDevil’s Trail was rated a moderate hike, but it was really easy.  Most of the terrain looks like the image below.

9FED78B6-E4CE-483F-9B52-0B3EABB33DDCAt the one mile mark, you drop into the wash (a dry streambed that only gets water when it rains), and the walking becomes more fun as you have to navigate over large boulders.  Just below reaching Devil’s Hall, you have to climb a 15-foot wall to gain access to the hall.

0FF7B932-5240-4152-95E8-3E3D2AC2EEEB

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2A497E72-F53D-4D65-A1C3-500A7B7D0418At the end of the “hall”, there was a slight drop off.  I was startled by a family of three that were quietly sitting off to the left enjoying their solitude.  They told us that we could not hike any further as sensitive species grow beyond that point.  She had read in a pamphlet that the park didn’t want anyone hiking up there during this time of year.  We chatted for a little while, and then we retreated back to camp.

The next morning we got started early on the 8.4 mile hike to Guadalupe Peak at 8,751’ with a 3,000’ elevation gain.  We were excited to catch the beautiful sunrise.

986A8A23-4414-443E-800F-F31AD1EE104CIt wasn’t long before the morning light was upon us.

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941AC3F7-782E-447E-B4A1-428102BD664FAlthough the sun was shining, it was extremely windy.  The wind kept the temperature down.  The higher we ascended, the windier it became.  Long pants would have been a smarter choice for today, but we did have extra top layers – including our hoods which were up most of the time.

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1E2E3388-C695-4CBE-A605-622325B993FEShortly before you reach the peak, you have to cross over a small bridge.  The long drop below reminded me of the Titantic.

67A194F0-C6C2-418A-BB18-E31453177501Less than three hours from the start, we arrived at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in the state of Texas.

82A6DB60-B5E1-4F58-8AB1-910B71A30974At some mountain peaks, there is a register book so that you can record your name and the date of your hike.  Here I am filling out the necessary information.

252B4145-1AF5-4FAB-96E9-4E32CA8D7541Enjoying the view.

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FCD66F14-4EF0-451B-8C03-EC3B35E7DEC0In the picture above, I am looking down at El Capitan.  Thank you, Scott, for modeling.

818264E5-C4E3-4A9A-858E-E028CD7FEDE0It was way too cold and windy to stay at the peak for long, so we quickly began our descent.  Here is another view of the trail and the parking lot below.

CC08BECE-CEC9-474B-B146-A5CEADF0B66COn our way out of Guadalupe National Park, we stopped about four miles down the road to capture a picture of El Capitan from another angle.  From this vantage point, it looks taller than Guadalupe Peak, but it is not.  As you can see, the wind is still howling.

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Fort Worth, Texas: 3/19 – 3/25/19

 
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Nice sign!  We traveled north on 25 to 285S to 40E to 287S into Childress, Texas.  We had been in the car long enough and knew we wouldn’t make it all the way to Fort Worth today.  We found a free spot for the night at Childress Fairgrounds in Texas.

37A6510A-B41B-4831-9ADC-D92E2BF78807There was a ball field close by where a girls softball team was going on.  We actually watched it for a little bit.  Behind us in the background was a man made lake.

BCCB0DF2-9908-4CE2-8666-9211F48B2F3CI wanted to take a walk around the lake after we got settled, but it was way too buggy by the water for me!  Instead we walked three blocks to the main road and had dinner at a Texas BBQ joint.   The next morning the bugs were not around, so we took a walk around the lake before leaving.  It was very peaceful.

6DF4A8D7-0955-4D11-88A8-41D3B2AA7691The next morning, we were back on 287S heading to Fort Worth.  We had to postpone our November trip to Texas to visit with my best friend’s family since that is when Scott went to stay with his dad and I went home to Jersey to stay with my mom for six weeks.  Now, we were finally able to spend some time with some of my favorite peeps.  I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Sharon’s second grandson, Elijah.  The last time I had seen him was shortly after his birth.  He will be two on Cinco de Mayo!

We previously booked a full hook up site at Eagle RV Resort in Fort Worth about 30 minutes from our friends in Keller, Texas.

99702B54-5A64-4519-9BA9-5C8F0005B702The RV Park had a lot of people who lived there year round rather than just short term renters passing through like us.  The restroom was a bit run down, but the owners were very friendly and hospitable.

486B8D05-F5A6-488B-895C-BACC2FFE9CFBLook at the pretty road leading up to this park.

3b1d3c62-7630-4b95-a520-5c4353a8555a.jpegThe next morning the temperature was in the low 70’s.  It was great to finally put on a pair of shorts!!  We decided to take the truck and find a place to go for a hike.  We drove a short distance to Marion Sansom Park, and walked to a dam at the edge of the park.  We even saw signs of spring!

Later that day, we met Jake and Priscilla, her dad, and Daniel at The Eagle’s Nest for dinner.  It is a huge sports bar with tons of televisions.  We caught the First Round of March Madness.  My team, Villanova, won!!  The next day, Kate had us all over for dinner.  The entire gang stopped by.  It was so good to see everyone again!  Elijah was not too sure what to make of me, but there is still time to become besties!

The next morning we got together with Sharon’s dear friends, Debi and Susan, at Debi’s beautiful home.  Debi insisted on having breakfast for us.  It was like going to brunch!

B4E7A90F-E2FA-4F68-A099-84A3E0CDD180 I got to meet her daughter, Melissa, and her precious little boy, Wilson.  I tried to get them to all look at me at the same time and say cheese.  I tried.

6357CDEC-9220-46F9-AE77-2DAC8E1E6815Seconds later they were off and running.   Below is a typical look that Elijah gives me when I try to pick him up.  I think he is telling me that he will stick with mom for now.

02CDC92A-7191-4848-BC82-965B9B426A7BAfter breakfast, I went back to Kate’s house and Elijah was beginning to accept the fact that I was going to be hanging around for awhile.  He is so stinkin’ cute!!

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340E14DF-93B3-4B07-A739-11FCCC1B98F7On Saturday afternoon, Michael had his first flag football game.  We were able to get a quick photo together.  He is very fast and easily grabs the opponent’s flags.

258CFF4F-7746-4708-855E-FCD03226748DThat evening, Scott and I went to Jack’s gig at the Pour Shack.  This was the place that they had a Memorial Jam in Sharon’s honor last year.  It’s an outdoor/indoor venue and this stage is located outside.  I took this video and when Jack saw it, he said he couldn’t hear the harmonica that he was playing.  I could.  You decide.  He is on the far right.

On Sunday, Vicky and Michael drove out to Fort Worth to see our home on wheels.  Then, we went to the Fort Worth Nature Refuge and took a short hike.

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33854B4B-7B3D-43CC-BA65-7A37678759B1That evening, we all met up for one last dinner together.

DA382692-93EC-47A5-8FDD-D7FE9E355DEBIt was wonderful to see y’all.  Till next time.