Thursday, April 30, 2009

Grand Canyon Pictures. Enjoy..

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Verde Vally Thousand Trails

We spent 4 nights at this wonderful Thousand Trails park. It is located a few miles outside Cottonwood in the Verde Vally. We liked this park the best of any we've stayed in so far. Beautiful mountains surround the park. We will surely return when we are able. For two days we toured the area. Sedona, Prescott Vally, Prescott, Camp Verde and Cottonwood. The area is beautiful beyond words. And depending on where you are the terrain changes. The colors range from all shades of green to the richest shade of orange and red.

We visited Montezuma Castle National Monument and Montezuma Well. It is one of a number of well-preserved ancient dwellings in north central Arizona. We were told that it is probably the most spectacular; an imposing 20 room, 5-storey structure built into a recess in a white limestone cliff about 70 feet above the ground. When first (re)discovered the ruins were thought to be Aztec in origin, hence the name bestowed on them by early explorers, but they are now known to belong to the Sinagua Indian peoples who farmed the surrounding land between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries, before abandoning the area.
We hiked the short but very steep trail to the top of the mountain. Very impressive views of the surrounding area and the Well.
On Sunday we drove to Sedona. The rock formations in the area are indescribable. Beautiful. We ate lunch at a KFC. I tried the new grilled chicken. OK, but it needed more spice for me. I like a kick to my food.
On Monday we rolled out again. Our destination was going to be Kingman Arizona. we've said before "our plans are in jello". We stopped in Williams for lunch. Williams is the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. It is only 59 miles from the park. So, we decided we just couldn't pass that close to the park without visiting. So, we found an RV park and stayed for 2 nights.
Yesterday we drove up to the Park. We visited it with Van and Rita a few years ago. The day was cool and very windy. I was very glad to wear a jacket and hat. We walked along the South Rim. I took many pictures. I'll post some as soon as I can.
Today we moved on into Nevada.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

On the road to Arizona.

This morning we pulled out of Hidden Valley about 8:30am. First stop was the Holiday RV Dealer. When we arrived last week, our living room slide didn’t want to slide out. Mr P climbed under the house, held up the motor, I pushed the button and it went out but not made ugly nosies. We called Carriage and reported the problem and they had us contact Andrew at Holiday. Due to the RV Rally that they were participating in, we couldn’t get in on Tuesday. They were busy moving all of their RV’s back onto their lot. So, we stayed over an extra day and went this morning. God was smiling on us. Once it was determined the motor was bad, they actually had the part in stock. Sometime in the past they had ordered it for another customer but didn’t need all that came. So, they had about luck. At first we thought they’d have to order the part and we’d have to stay here longer. That wouldn’t be a problem, but it was nice to have it repaired so quickly. We were on the road again by about 11am.
This afternoon we’ve traveled I-40 heading to Holbrook Arizona. We’ll spend the night there and move on tomorrow to Cottonwood. The plan is to stay at the Thousand Trails for 4 nights. We’ll be able to tour around Sedona and Verde Valley while there.

Tuesday on the Turquoise Trail

Tuesday morning the rally was over. Several rigs that had been staying at the Balloon Fiesta Park moved into Hidden Valley with us. We spent the afternoon riding up NM 14 which is called the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway. We went as far as Madrid a small artsy town.
Afterward we took the Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway up to the Sandia Crest. The Crest is a mile above the surrounding countryside and 2 miles above sea level. The Sandia Crest Highway is the highest scenic drive in the southwest. The Sandia Mountains were created by an uplift, leaving the forested eastern slope we drove up, and a craggy, cliff-like western face. Part of the Cibola National Forest, the Sandias are home to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, mule deer, black bear and many other mammals and birds— including the golden eagles. Mostly we saw snow..snow and more snow. I think the only animal I saw was 1 little rabbit. Oh-well maybe next time. We carefully walked up the ramp to the overlook. As you can see from the picture it was partly covered with snow. The view overlooking Albuquerque was beautiful and worth the slightly cold feet I got.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Rally

The Infinity group which now owns the Good Sam RV Club, Camping World and Coast to Coast put on a 5 day Rally here in Albuquerque. We had planned this trip with our friends Gary and Suzanne Tomlinson. But, due to a health issue they had, they had to return to Michigan and were unable to come. We stayed at Hidden Valley RV Resort in Tijeras. This small town is about 15 miles east of Albuquerque.
At about 1500 feet higher elevation than Albuquerque it was a bit colder. We had night-time temps in the low 30’s every night. On Friday night we came home from the Rally evening entertainment to see that it was snowing hard. It had snowed, sleeted and rained all day but this was a bit of a surprise. We had about 1 ½ “ on the ground, trees and bushes. Our house too. It didn’t stick to the roads thank goodness. The sand trucks were out covering the bridges because I’m sure the roads froze overnight.

The Rally had 3112 rigs parked on site at the Balloon Fiesta Park. There were more of us scattered around at the various RV parks. And folks from the area were able to join in the fun for a $10.00 day pass. The seminars, RV show and Vendor booths were set up at Expo New Mexico, their state fair grounds. The evening entertainment was held in a very large tent at the Balloon Fiesta Park. Buses ran between the two locations to transport the RVers back and forth. The weather on Friday was pretty miserable and this caused some delays. The route normally takes about 15-20 minutes but with the weather and road construction on both I-40 and I-25 it was taking almost an hour for 1 bus to go 1 way. This made some folks very unhappy. Some even missed the Friday night entertainment because they had to wait so long for a bus. It got better on Saturday as they brought in more busses and more folks drove their own vehicles.
Friday night’s entertainment was Neil Sedaka. I don’t remember ever hearing him sing before. Gary had and was sure I’d be surprised. I knew he was known for having written many, many songs other singers have made famous. And Gary was right. He was great. He is 70 years old but boy could he belt it out. His back up band and singer were great too. You might have seen him on Tuesday morning when he appeared on LIVE WITH REGIS & KELLY.
Over the weekend and Monday we went to several classes, attended a wine tasting, looked at new RVs and enjoyed the many other festivities. Several classic rigs were on display. Very cute and I can't imagine actually living in one of them.

We went to hear Rita Coolidge sing on Saturday night but didn’t enjoy it and left early. We skipped Sunday night’s Osmond Brothers and Gary went to hear Daddy Do Run Run on Monday by himself. I wasn’t feeling great and just decided to hang out at home with Miss Ellie. Gary enjoyed Daddy..they sang many classic rock and beach music.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Visiting in Socorro New Mexico

On Monday morning we met them at the El Camino Restaurant. We’d eaten there when we visited before and I really enjoyed their huevos rancheros. Their version consisted of a corn tortilla fried lightly, covered with a fried egg smothered with refried beans and chili sauce. When ordering I was asked “Red or Green”. This means which kind of chili sauce did I want. I got the red with some green on the side. If I’d ordered both on the plate I’m told the correct answer is “Christmas”. This came with extra crispy hash brown potatoes and several slices of bacon. Can we say “heart-attack on a plate”? But it was sooooo good. Gary got his usual pancakes and bacon. It was pretty good too he said.

After breakfast we went back to the Coffeehouse so Prescott could make a list of the paintings and check on the labels they had applied for each painting. We met some of Prescott’s morning coffee group.

Afterwards they told us on a tour around Socorro in their four-wheel drive 4-Runner. The Quebradas Backcountry Byway is an unpaved county road traversing about 24 miles of rugged, colorful landscapes east of town. We spent about 2 ½ hours traveling a road I sure wouldn’t want to drive on without 4-wheel drive. We had great weather to enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.

We stopped to eat again at Manny’s Buckhorn Tavern in San Antonio. This is one of Georgette and Prescott’s favorite places to eat. The Buckhorn has been ranked 7th in the country by GQ magazine for the best green-chili cheeseburger in the US and is in an on-going battle for the title with the Owl CafĂ© which is just in the next block. I know I had one of the best Taco Salad’s I’ve ever eaten. And the burger Gary had was large and very tasty. This small town tavern may not look like much but the folks are friendly and tho food is great.
After a stop at our house so I could work for a bit, we went back to their home and had some of Prescott’s BB Q pork ribs for dinner. We enjoyed our visit with them and called it a night about 9pm. Thanks for the hospitality Georgette and Prescott. See you next time.



On Tuesday morning, we hooked up again and took off for the Rally in Albuquerque.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Sunday- Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to Us. Today is our 35th Wedding Anniversary. Can you believe I’ve been with HIM 35 years? And he’s still with me….I’m excited. We know we are so blessed with our life and enjoy each day we’re given. We love our family and friends and think about you all often. Watch of these days we’ll be pulling into a driveway near you.

We spent the day traveling from Roswell to Socorro. Along the way we went thru the Lincoln National Forest and stopped for lunch in Capitan. We enjoyed lunch at the Smokey Bear Restaurant. They were having a special ham lunch since it was also Easter Sunday. They gave us 2 pieces of chocolate cake since we were celebrating our anniversary. Very nice owners and family. And very good food. If you go through Capitan be sure to stop and check it out.

We stopped at the Valley of Fires Recreation Area to take pictures of the volcanic landscape. This is an amazing place. So quiet. All you hear is the wind whistling. They have a nice RV park and boardwalks that you can use to get out into the middle of the rock. The Valley has many square miles of buckled, twisted lava, part of an extensive flow up to 50 meters thick and over 45 miles long that originated from several volcanoes, including one vent now known as Little Black Peak. The volcanic action responsible was relatively recent, only between 1500-1000 years ago, but the lava has become quite overgrown with grass and small bushes so the landscape is somewhat greenish rather than black. A lonely place to visit.

In the afternoon we pulled into Casey’s RV Park in Socorro. After getting settled, we called our friends Georgette and Prescott Grey to let them know we had arrived in town. We first met them when we traveled to NM a few years ago with Van and Rita. Georgette and Rita were college room mates. Georgette is a watercolor artist. We joined them at Manzanares Street Coffeehouse where they were hanging some of Georgette’s watercolor paintings. They are going to be on display for a couple of months.

She does several shows in NM each year and teaches classes thru NM Tech. Visit her website to see samples of her beautiful paintings. You can also purchase from the site.

They took us to dinner at the Socorro Springs Brewing Co restaurant. Pretty good pizza at a decent price.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 11-12 Roswell and the Aliens

On Friday and Saturday we stayed at the Red Barn Campground in Roswell. This was a small family owned park with only a couple of traveler’s spaces. Most of the sites were in use by long termers. The lady that checked us in was very friendly and explained their honor system. Since she didn’t stay in the office all of the time, if you needed to wash clothes or buy snacks, you just did your laundry or choose your snacks. Then wrote down what you did on a yellow note and put the note and the money in a box. We thought it was a very nice way to do business. Very clean facilities with a bumper pool table and TV to enjoy while we waited for the wash to finish. Even though we have the washer/dryer in the rig occasionally it’s nice to do it in 1 or 2 big loads.

Roswell is known for being the “Alien Capital of the World”. We visited the International UFO Museum and Research Center. There are many exhibits, (bring your glasses…lots of reading) that explains the events of July 1947.

The town has many alien themed shops and restaurants and the museum even has an alien festival each year.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Carlsbad,NM

Before leaving Brantley Lake State Park this morning we drove back into Carlsbad to spend a couple of hours at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens State Park. This is a small park with a self guided walking trail through the exhibits. The exhibits change as you move through different types of terrain. We also saw animals, birds and reptiles.

One of the park's highlights are the endangered gray wolves. The Living Desert participates in the American Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Program, exchanging wolves with other zoos to help ensure their survival. They had 3 living on site (that we saw).
They also have a greenhouse called “Succulents of the World”. It was beautiful. Full of all kinds of cactus. We were lucky to see some of them blooming.
Overall, well worth the time and $5.00 admission fee.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

We spent Thursday at Carlsbad Caverns. The caverns are located under the Chiluahuan Desert. There are miles and miles of caverns under New Mexico.
We spent a couple of hours hiking through 1 cavern called the Big Room.

If you watch the slide show you'll see 1 visitor that we took pains to avoid.
You'll also see several of the formations named by the cavers that have explored the caverns for many years. 1 picture shows the original wire ladder that was used to explore the lower cave. Look closely so you also see the old man in the rock.

The Big Room is shaped like a cross and the self-guided tour follows around the walls of the room. There are lights spaced to high-light the most impressive rock features. But, overall it is quite dark and visitors are encouraged to speak softly.

Crossing West Texas into New Mexico

On Monday we left all the deer behind at Medina Lake and took off across the vast desert of west Texas. We stopped for the night at Fort Stockton. The park was pretty nice considering it is in the desert and therefore had some dust. They had a sign posted "Is the wind always this bad? No, sometimes it's worse." They didn't lie.

They have their own restaurant called the Roadrunner Cafe. We enjoyed both dinner (Mesquite BBQ pork ribs) and breakfast before pulling out to continue to New Mexico.
Having been told there were roadrunners on the property we looked for them. No luck. We saw and heard many birds, but none were the roadrunner. We did see this one in downtown Fort Stockton. It doesn't move too fast.

Along I-10 we came across a windmill field. Note the "old" style windmill next to the farm house, and in the distance the new wind turbines. HUGH!!!

Things were going pretty good until we started seeing signs that said "DETOUR". Ahead was a bridge with some kind of problem. All rigs over 11,000 lbs had to detour around. problem..76 miles later we had seen more of west Texas and entered New Mexico via a very bumpy road. Straight but BUMPY!!!

Along the way the detour took us through Kermit Texas. And guess what. They have Kermit painted on their water tower. Cute.

We were delighted to find the Wal Mart in Carlsbad and just stop for a while. We needed to rest up before deciding where to spend the night. We had thought I-10 coming through Louisiana was bad but this little road beat it out for sure.
Gary even asked if he could sue the state of Texas for the lose of the fillings in his teeth as he was sure they were popping out.

After resting a bit and watching the multitude of motor homes pull into the WM parking lot, we decided to get out of town. We called the Brantley Lake State Park which is located about 12 miles up the road. They had space so we took off. This State Park is located on the top of a hill overlooking the lake. Awesome views of the surrounding desert. I don't think the pictures do it justice.
We stayed there for a couple of days.

Our Home at the Lake.

The Brantley Lake Dam.

The Lake.

Santa-Rita (Purple) Prickly Pear Cactus


Thursday, April 2, 2009

And the Wheels go Round and Round

Yes, the wheels still roll and we rolled out of Rustic Cove on Tuesday. By the time we got everything put away, and I vacuumed the inside of the house to get rid of some more of Rustic Cove's sand it was almost noon before we left.

George, Steve, Bill and Nikki were on hand to help us out and wish us safe travels. We waved to Phyllis and Daryl as we pulled out of the park. See you next year guys!!!

We took rural roads to Medina Lake and didn't see any real traffic until we got near San Antonio. Only 1 small busy area before we turned away from town toward Medina Lake. The Lake is about 35 miles from San Antonio. The water level is very low because of the drought in the area. The boat ramp isn't usable as it ends at a concert cliff. Yipes!! Bad for the fishermen.

The preserve is very pretty. Everything is going green even with the lack of rain. The deer in the park are thriving. There must be a few hundred of them around. Even as I write this I can see one or two walking by outside my window. We also have rabbits, squirrels, cardinals, and doves as neighbors.

Can you see the deer in the woods?

Yesterday after I worked for a bit in the morning, we drove up to Boerne. There are many shops in the downtown business area that looked pretty busy for a Wednesday afternoon. We had a pretty good BBQ pork sandwich at Fritze's BBQ. Afterward we drove on up to Kerrville. This is busy town on the Guadalupe River. We went down to the river park and let Miss Ellie run around for a bit.

This area of Texas is called the Hill Country. And it is...lots of tree covered hills. Very pretty as the wildflowers and trees are starting to bloom.