Saturday, March 05, 2011

A major mystery!!

New places. New faces.

We headed out this morning about 9am. Our destination for the day is Marfa, Tx. A long 5 hour drive. I never realized just how big El Paso, TX is. The congestion on I-10 goes on forever. Once we got to Van Horn we were able to take US 90 south to Marfa. No more I-10 in Texas.
Hwy 90 goes through cattle country. Huge ranches & feed lots. There was a very small town of Valentine; population of just over 200. Valentine has seen better days. Over the years, we've driven through hundreds of towns all over America much like Valentine. We wonder what they must have been like during their heyday. Wonder who owned the HiWay Cafe & when it thrived and when it closed. One of the exterior walls and roof collapsed many years ago. No open stores in Valentine but there was a library. Interesting.

When we got to Marfa, Carol spotted the DQ sign. We got one small Blizzard and split it three ways. We're trying to get better. The last time I took Gopher to the vets I got yelled at. She's not supposed to weigh one pound over 50#. Of course Dr. Gill could stand to loose 25# or more. I always wonder why some doctors are fat nd why some smoke.
At any rate, we drove around Marfa looking at the old buildings, courthouse, etc and then continued on to our "campground" for the night. The Marfa Mystery Lights Viewing Center located about 8 miles south of Marfa on Hwy 90.

The website and attached photograph, explain it all in detail but in a nutshell "Since the beginning of recorded history strange luminous phenomena have been observed frolicking low above the desert west of Marfa in a region known as Mitchell Flat,". Marfa has built a cottage industry around these lights. The State built a very nice viewing area with two large parking areas, bathrooms, telescopes, benches, etc. Overnight parking is permitted to allow viewing of the lights. It's just us once again. Nice after being "camped" in "resorts" for the last week. We swapped the Casino airport noise for the I-10 noise at the "resort" we just left for train noise. Tomorrow we should be camped along a nice lake. Quieter I should hope.
I might have gotten a picture of the Mystery Light, but it may also have been the Visitor Center bathroom window. Can't be sure. The Chamber of Commerce wants it to be the lights.:-)
Another most interesting day.

Friday, March 04, 2011

On to Texas

We said our goodbyes to our friends this morning and headed out about 10:00am. The final rig count was 16 with 8 being from the SW states. The rest were visitors like us.
Drove to Deming, NM via a Safeway & WalMart. We're staying at the Dream Catcher SKP Park. It's not much as SKP parks go; basically a parking lot with FHU. $12.50/night + electric of about another dollar or so. It's very convenient to I-10. Can't complain. Did the laundry for only a dollar. We needed one last place to take long, hot showers, dump our tanks and take on water. This will be the last opportunity for the next week. Back to boondocking.
It was very windy today. Fortunately it was a tailwind all the way. I don't keep track of my mileage but if I did, I might see 10mpg vs a more typical 9.
In the morning, we continue on to Marfa, TX; a five hour drive. Ugh.
Gas around here runs from $3.49 to $3.79/gallon.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Benson SW Lazy Daze Group GTG


We're all settled into the Pato Blanco Lakes RV Resort in Benson, AZ.
The last two nights we camped in the parking lot of the Desert Diamond Casino in Tucson.
Compare & contrast:
Desert Diamond: Paved sites,view of RV's, airport noise,walk to some good restaurants,no hookups,well lighted, roving security patrols,free.
Pato Blanco Resort: Dirt sites,view of RV's, I-10 noise,no nearby restaurants,full hookups, minimal lighting & security, $24/night.
Were it not for the Lazy Daze GTG, we would not be here. I would get water & dump tanks in Tucson, and head to the desert. To be fair, it is nice having electricity with such cold temperatures expected and Carol's having fun flipping through 50, or so, cable TV channels. There will be time enough for boondocking next week as we explore the Texas Gulf Coast.

Jack & Jennette Walker from the SE Group are here. Chatted with Jack for a while until we both got too cold. Jim & Gayle Cummings stopped by. They are attending the GTG but staying elsewhere in town tonight. Good choice, Jim & Gayle.

Woke up to 25* this morning. There was a layer of frost on the picnic tables. By days end, it was in the high 60's; just perfect weather.
Jim, Gayle & Debby scaled Mt. Pato Blanco today. The crest provides a panoramic view of I-10. I tried to get Gopher to hike the hill with me but she just wasn't interested. Some types of terrain are hard on her paws. Sometimes she just stops walking and, from the look on her face, it's clear she doesn't want to proceed so I don't force her.
A number of years ago, before Carol had her stroke, Gopher & I were hiking in the woods; don't recall just where. The trail was easy; nothing to hurt her feet. All of a sudden she stopped, looked into the woods, turned around and started pulling in the direction we just came. I tried to get her to continue where we were heading but she just wouldn't do it. I finally figured that she had sensed something that frightened her that I was not aware of. Trusting her senses, we turned around and headed back at a pretty good pace.

Don't have a clue what it was. An animal? person? A dogs sense of smell and hearing is just so superior to ours. Sometimes I think dogs have a sense of some type that we don't; some type of a "feeling" about people. I've come to trust her and will not force her to go where she simply doesn't want to go.

I didn't take a rig count, but someone said there were 17 rigs here. States represented: CA,AZ,OR,OH,TN,FL,IA,NV& SD. We knew about a third of the people from either the Balloon Fiesta, "Q", or previous GTG's we've attended. Of the 17 rigs, I think less then half are active members of sponsoring SW Group. Not at all surprising. At our SE Group GTG's a lot of those attending are people wintering in FL. Dick & June from the Great Lakes Group were here. We've camped with them a few times before.Don & Carol Ashley were here as well. When we were picking up our '08 LD, Don & Carol invited us to attend a Caravan Club Rally.
All in all, another wonderful day.

The group photo was taken this morning. The photographer lined everyone up against the side of our camper because the lighting was good.
Besides the good company, today's highlight was the Pot Luck Supper. As always, more great food then people could eat.
It's nice having the time to get to know people better. Our next door neighbors are from Oregon. Al & Anna; two very nice people. We spent a good bit of time chatting with them.

Today most people went to the nearby Karchner Caverns SP. Carol doesn't like going into deep holes in the ground so we stayed behind to hold down the fort. Tom Gatchell asked if I would dog sit Penny so I did. Mostly she layed around in the shade keeping cool. It's supposed to hit 80* today. Now & then I took Penny for a little walk.
Mt. Pato Blanco kept calling to me so after lunch, I got Gopher, my sometimes reluctant hiking partner, and we summited the peak. The hike wasn't worth a Rocky Balboa type celebration, but it was OK.
Was it worth it? Well it wasn't Yellowstone but to the north was a great view of the I-10 corridor. South was the campground and housing developments.

Nothing else on todays schedule. Just hanging out with some really great company.

Had the pot luck breakfast this morning. We made an apple sauce cake that went over very well. a very simply, one bowl receipt I picked up on the Escapee Forum.
It seems that half, or more, of those in attendance, are Escapees.
At breakfast, we were reminded that Spring Break is starting in waves all across the country. Our plan is to follow the Gulf Coast all the way to FL. Time will tell how our travel plans are impacted. Just depends on the timing of Spring Break for the colleges. Someone pointed out that colleges are really discouraging trips to Mexico so the US beaches are likely to be worse then usual. Rats!!

Had an interesting chat with Al from Oregon tonight about the prospect of $4-$5 gas. He observed that at his (any my) age, there are only a limited number of years left. He's not going to sit out a year or so of that life, just because gas is expensive. Carol & I reached that conclusion years ago. We don't care what gas costs. It will not slow us down even a little bit.

The evening social was as enjoyable as ever. I bought a SW Group decal from Lisa to put on our back window. Lisa designed the decal; she's very creative. Carol gave everyone a Maxine print her brother Johnny had autographed. Wherever we're anywhere even close to a SW GTG, we'll attend.

In the morning we head east to the SKP park in Deming, NM with a stop at WalMart & Safeway along the way. Then south to El Paso followed by a slow drift to Corpus Cristi, via Del Rio and then to the Padre Island National Seashore. I've set aside a week to get to Padre Island. Depending on the Spring Break insanity, we may stay at the Amistad National Recreation Area near Del Rio until things on the coast settle down a little.
We'll see.