Saturday, March 28, 2015

We are Home.

Thursday was a kick-back day in Bouse.

We were waiting for Budd and Brenda to stop on their way from Mesa to Needles to drop off some rubber strip for me. I want to use it to try and stop water from getting on our carpet while driving in the rain.

We did meet them later and exchanged goods.

Karen made home made noodles and chicken for lunch. Scrumptious!

On Friday morning we left Bouse and headed for Boron, our destination for the day. By the time we got to Boron the temperature had risen to around 90 degrees so putting the AC on made it comfortable in the RV.

This morning we left Boron and headed for home arriving here about 12:45 PM.

The trip totaled 65 days from the time we left Quartzsite on Jan 23 until today, March 28th. I left home on the 4th of January so my trip lasted 84 days.

During that time, the truck traveled 7, 171 miles. I have yet to figure how many miles for the trailer (which will be less as the truck was driven without the trailer attached) or MPG, etc. That will come as I have time. I have taxes to prepare for next week.

What a great trip! It is what Clyda and I had planned to do so many times in the last 5 years but just couldn't put it all together because of one thing or another.

We also want to thank our friends Budd and Brenda for making this trip with us. For all the driving when we stopped, for Brenda's trip planning, and for all the places we might not have visited on our own.

Most of all, we thank them for being our friends.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Today we went in search of wildflowers.

We arrived outside Bouse, AZ at Bill and Karen’s compound yesterday afternoon. I managed to get the rig parked without running over anything in the yard.

We talked about the year we drove to Alamo Lake to see the wildflowers so it was suggested we do that again.

Bill knocked on the door this morning and said “pack up, we are going to breakfast on our way to Alamo Lake.”

We stopped at a cafe outside of Salome for breakfast and then drove to Alamo Lake. The lake is down but people are catching fish. We drove through the campground and then to Wayside, another camping area. No wildflowers. At least none like we saw in this area last time.

Alamo Lake in the background.

Bill decided to take the back road toward Wickenburg which is a “Primitive” road. It had been recently graded so it was in good shape. After several miles we saw wildflowers and Occitillo in bloom. Here are some photos.
 Occitillo in bloom.

Beavertail cactus.

We reached the blacktop and drove to Congress, AZ before driving back home.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Casa Grande, AZ

We arrived in Casa Grande on Friday early afternoon and parked at the Elks Club. We have been here many times before but they raised the price to $10 per night from $5. Still no water and no electricity however. We are “Boon-docking” but will make do unless the temp gets too high. Has been in the low 80's so far.

We are visiting Clyda's cousin Rod and wife Claralynn. Also had breakfast today with our friend George who we last saw in Port Townsend, WA last summer. Good visit with all.

Today Clyda and Claralynn visited a Greek Orthodox Monastery near Coolidge, AZ. For the visit they had to wear a long skirt, dark socks, closed toed shoes, a long sleeved blouse and a head scarf.

The monastery was started in 1995 by sending several monks from Greece to Casa Grande and having them start construction on the Main Church, living quarters for monks, a dining hall and guest facilities.

There are now 5 or 6 chapels as well as gardens, vineyards, courtyards, fountains, etc. Visitors are welcome to take a self guided tour.

It is quite an achievement in such a short time. About 40 monks now live here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

White Sands.

First, I want to add some photos from Old Messilla, NM that were left off yesterdays post.
 Entering New Mexico.
Typical adobe houses.

Catholic church.
Red chiles.

Now for White Sands.

White Sands National Monument, NM. A 275 square mile field of white sand dunes composed of gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the world located on Hwy 70 between Las Cruces and Alamogordo, NM.

We drove to the visitor center through dense fog over a mountain pass with low lying clouds overhead. It had rained yesterday and last night which the sand sticky. After watching a 17 minute movie at the visitor center we drove into the monument.

 They checked our Senior pass and waved us through. The road into the monument is paved for 4.7 miles and the remainder is hard pack sand and very smooth. The loop trip is 16 miles long with picnic areas, toilets, and lots of hills to slide down on. This being spring break here, also lots of kids on the hills.

We ate our picnic lunch then drove the remaining road with lots of stops for photos.

After driving out of the monument we drove the 16 miles to Alamogordo after passing Holloman AFB. The last time I was at either place was in the 1970's. I recognized nothing as the town has really grown.

While Budd was getting fuel he asked a lady where to get ice cream. She told us of a winery and pistachio farm north of town that served pistachio ice cream so off we went.

It is a really nice friendly place and they do serve ice cream and wine. Some of us had both.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day!

I am a little behind on the blog.

Sunday we drove to Van Horn, TX and stayed at Southern Star RV Park a Passport America Park. Nice RV park with wide sites and gravel roads and pads. Also, very good WiFi. Van Horn is just a stop on the road from El Paso to Dallas or San Antonio. We rarely stop here but it was convenient for our purposes and that was to drive to Carlsbad Caverns on Monday. It is much easier to drive the 90 miles or so without the trailers.

We Monday arrived at the caverns about 11 AM, got our tickets, which were free to us old folks with the Senior Access Pass, and then decided to eat our tail gate lunch before entering the caverns. It was a good decision as it is about a 2 hour stroll through all of the Big Room. There are guided tours but we elected to do our own thing which worked out fine.

Budd, Ed, and Brenda.
 Tail gate lunch.

There are 2 entrances to the caves, one is a 1 ¼ mile walking trail which is all switch backs and is very steep. That is for the young and those in good shape. The rest of us take the 750 foot elevator to the bottom. It only takes a few minutes to make the descent.

The Big Room trail is about 1 ¼ miles in length and takes about 2 hours to complete at a very leisurely pace. It is hard to see just how big this room is as the trail meanders and only part of it is visible at one time.. The temperature of the cavern is 59 degrees so a light jack is recommended.

The lighting is subtle but adequate to see but it is difficult to take photos in the low light conditions. Using a flash just blows out the photo. All of the trails are paved but water does drip from the ceiling in places.

Two hours to see everything was about right and we were then ready to come back to the surface and sunlight.

Budd and I walked to the natural cave entrance and down the trail a short ways but decided it wasn't for us. Way too steep.

We got back to the RV Park about 5:15, gassed the trucks and went to the Cattle Co restaurant next door for dinner to celebrate Budd's birthday. It was just as good as we were told by someone on the internet.

This morning it started to drizzle as we got ready to leave for Las Cruces and never rained hard but I used the wipers intermittently most of the way.

We arrived at Coachlight RV Park about noon and were only able to get two sites with water and electric only as the campground was full. Twenty Five dollars for two nights at the Passport America rate. Good Enough!

After lunch we took a drive into Old Messilla which is the original town site for Las Cruces. There are some very nice well maintained adobe buildings with mostly houses and a few commercial buildings.

We looked for a Dairy Queen but couldn't find it. Yelp said it was closed so I guess they are right.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Enough with the rain!

Rain, Again.

It rained yesterday afternoon about the time we got back from Dallas and picked up the truck at Ford. We stopped at Walgreen's to pick up a prescription for Clyda and also stopped for fuel.

We drove to Bill and Marilyn's house for one last visit while Budd and Brenda went back to the RV park.

After saying our goodbyes to Bill and Marilyn we also went back to the RV park.

We woke up to a light drizzle and did our hook-ups in the rain. I had a hard time getting out of the muddy camp site as the wheels had no traction. By backing up a few times I did manage to get out and on the road. I suspect I left big ruts in the site but don't feel to bad as there should be gravel on which to park and that wouldn't happen. Even a few shovel fulls would help. But no, my site was mud!

We drove in rain, heavy at times, until we were west of Ennis, TX where we got on I-35 south. Somewhere north of Waco we ran into construction. I swear it lasted for over 50 miles. I can't believe what the cost must be for all of that.

We eventually turned west toward Lampasas where we stayed for the night in a DRY RV park. No rain, no mud, warm temp, heaven.

And they had a BBQ place right next door. All the catfish you could eat on Friday night.

Today we drove south and west to Junction on I-10. We reached Junction at noon. I had complained as we drove through Llano, the home of Coopers Old Pit BBQ. I have been wanting to go there for years. It wasn't open. Too early.

Traveling the hill country backroads.

A side Note here: I keep a list of places to eat on our travels. It just so happens that most of them are in Texas. I have gathered them from various sources. On this trip we introduced Budd and Brenda to Madina, the Apple Capitol of Texas and now Coopers Old Pit BBQ. I still haven't made it to Royer's Round Top Cafe in Round Top, TX for the Best Buttermilk Pie in Texas. It never fits our travel schedule.

As we pulled off the road coming into Junction, Brenda pointed out a sign for Coopers Old Pit BBQ 1/3 mile ahead. So we pulled into the lot, parked by some big trucks and walked to the restaurant. The smell from the BBQ pits out back was heavenly but the line for food was out the door.

Parked for lunch at Coopers.

 Standing in front of the pits.
 Waiting in line.
The large brown smoker is the charcoal maker. 
Wood being added to the charcoaler. Finished charcoal will be used in the pits.

We waited anyway and decided to get takeout for dinner tonight. I bought 1 ½ lbs of brisket, a sausage, and a pint of red sauce. Budd bought the cobbler for dessert.

After a lunch of left overs we headed west and a couple hours later pulled into an RV park in Ozona. You must know that I have an aversion to Ozona from previous earlier trips. Few gas stations which are hard to get into with the trailer on behind and limited RV parks.

So limited that we are staying in an oil field RV park along with all the workers. Caliche dust blowing but we do have water, sewer, electric, and WiFi for $35 a night. High by most standards by cheap by oil patch standards.

 RV park in the oil field yard.
Camping in the caliche.

The town is dominated by pickups, oil trucks, and high prices. Yesterday we paid $2.45 for diesel. Here it is $3.09. Whatever the people will bear in the oil patch goes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Visit to Greenville,TX.

On Tuesday we decided to press on to Greenville, TX as the weather was supposed to be ok. It was. We arrived south of Greenville about 12:45, picked the only 2 spots available at the RV Park and set up. It is a barely passable RV park but there isn't much choice in the area.

We are here to see Bill and Marilyn, our daughter-in-laws parents, and to visit a few museums in Dallas.

We spent Tuesday evening with Bill and Marilyn and it was a nice visit.

Wednesday morning we drove to the SMU campus and visited the George W Bush Library. After about a 4 hour tour we had lunch in the library cafe. We returned to Greenville about 4 PM.
A four wall video display.
 Seal of the President in Oval office rug.

This morning I dropped the truck off at Ford for and oil change. Budd, Brenda, and Clyda picked me up there and we again drove back to Dallas and the Kennedy Museum at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.

Clyda and I had been here several years ago and some things have changed. They now give you an iPod to listen to as you view the displays. It took about 3 hours to complete the tour.

We walked to a nearby Subway for lunch.

After lunch we walked to Dealey Plaza and the “grassy knoll” mentioned so often in reports about the assassination. There is a white cross painted on the roadway where Kennedy was killed. 

The 7th floor window. 
The white cross.

No matter what theory you subscribe to about the assassination, a single person plot or a conspiracy theory, doubts do remain in most peoples minds. One hundred sixteen thousand papers from the Warren Commission were ordered sealed by President Johnson for 75 years or until 2039. Maybe the real answers are contained in those papers.