Monday, April 29, 2019

I Forgot A Few Things...

   There were a few things I forgot to include in yesterday's blog.

   One afternoon, while we were in Alpine last week and after Suzanne had finished work for the day, we took a ride to the Fort Davis National Historic Site.

    Fort Davis was built in 1854 to protect Army garrisons from winter weather. It also...

"...was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail, and to control activities on the southern stem of the Great Comanche War Trail and Mescalero Apache war trails."

It was a very interesting place - one of the best preserved forts from this period in American history with some fascinating stories associated with it. The Wikipedia link I included above (and again HERE) is well worth the read!

    Also, at the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center, in addition to the Jersey Lilly was the Opera House - which really wasn't an opera house at all - but rather Bean's house. 

    He called it an opera house in the hope of luring Lilly Langtry, a famous actress of the day with whom he was apparently obsessed, to travel to his little S#@!hole town in West Texas (that he named in her honor) and perform there. 
   She didn't.


    Then there was this picture I took from our campsite in Alpine. It looked as if the clouds decided to complete the top of this mountain...


     And finally, this photo of Suzanne and me at the Rio Grande in Boquillas Canyon in Big Bend National Park...

    I guess that's about it.

    Thanks for checking out the blog!

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...


    The 83 mile drive back down SR180 from Alpine, Texas to Terlingua was pleasant and uneventful. We had gotten an early start so we could spend the afternoon at the National Park and arrived at BB RV park sometime after 11:00am.  I requested site 19, the same site we had when we were here last week, but as it was occupied we were given site 18 - right next door. With temps in the mid 90s I was kind of excited to see there was a big shade tree on the passenger (south-facing) side of the coach. The site was just long enough to accommodate us but I had to park the car across from our site in an area where employees park. After carefully positioning the coach I had to attach a wash brush to one of my extendable handles so I could break off a dead branch, about 10' up, that was in the way of the slide on that side.
   What I hadn't thought about was the problem this lovely shade tree might create for my recently acquired satellite dish. And after leveling, deploying the slides, connecting to water, electric & sewer and completing all the other little tasks we perform upon arrival at a new location, I powered up the dish and it began it's search of the heavens. Soon thereafter a message appeared on my TV screen advising me that the dish was unable to locate a satellite. Our only option was to move to another site and neither of us felt like doing that. Big Bend RV Park doesn't offer cable service and there are no over-the-air antennas within at least a hundred mile radius of this very remote location. Luckilly we have a pretty good DVD/Blu-ray library and, over the next two days, contented ourselves with watching a few Sherlock Holmes episodes from our "Complete Basil Rathbone Collection" and a Bond movie. It's all good.

    Anyway, after getting set up, we walked and fed the dogs, hopped in the car and headed for the Chisos basin area of Big Bend National Park. There are three main areas of the park we wanted to be sure to see: the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, which we had done before bugging out the previous week, Chisos Basin and the Rio Grande Village/Boquillas Canyon area. Thursday was our day to see Chisos Basin.
   It was about a 30 minute drive to the visitors center at Chisos Basin. After checking out the visitors center/museum we headed outside to take a 2 mile loop hike. A couple hundred yards in the path became very rocky. Expecting a smoother walking surface, neither of us had worn hiking shoes. That and the memory of Suzanne's fall during our Borrego Springs Hellhole Canyon hike last month convinced us that it might be wise to turn back - so we did, and instead took the short 0.5 mile paved loop. Still, the scenery was spectacular. I didn't take many pictures but here's one I took with my phone. 

   On Friday we drove out to the Rio Grande Village/Boquillas Canyon section of the park. I think it may have been our favorite. This time we came prepared and, wearing our hiking shoes, hiked into the canyon and to the Rio Grande.

   Pictures never capture the grandeur of places like this. In the second picture above there are people standing in the lower left corner of the frame. I included them in an effort to add perspective - but they're almost impossible to see. Suffice it to say - that's one big-ass rock wall!

   Saturday morning we packed up and headed back into the park, this time in the coach with the car in tow. There would be no sight seeing this day other than what we could see through the windshield as our purpose for heading back into the park was to reach SR 385 North to Marathon.

   I did see something very cool a few miles along SR 385 - a BIG tarantula crossing the road!

Not the tarantula, but a tarantula

   He was scooting across the road at a pretty good clip, right in front of me! Luckily I managed to avoid squishing the fuzzy little critter.


   Our destination for Saturday was Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site. I had made reservations at their RV park for one night - water & electric for $20! What a bargain! 
   About 23 miles west of SCSP&HS on SR90 in the sleepy little town of Langtry is a uniquely American tourist attraction... the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center.  It's just a hundred yards or so off the eastbound side of SR90 on the 1.5 mile Rt.25 loop. 

   We learned some interesting stuff about this eccentric dude. Thankfully, the dispensation of justice in west Texas has come a long way since the days of Judge Roy Bean.
    This is the original "Jersey Lilly" (named for Lilly Langtry, a famous actress of the day for whom he also named the town) where he served liquor and held court.

   We told the woman behind the counter at the visitor center that we were heading for SCSP&HS and she told us that there is a guided tour at 3:00pm. In fact, you can only tour the canyon with a guide and tours are conducted just twice daily - one at 8:30am and the other at 3:00pm. It was 1:45pm so we hurried back to the coach and out onto SR90 east. We arrived at the park about 20 minutes later and while Suzanne took Winnie for a walk I went inside and registered for our one night stay and purchased two tickets for the 3:00 canyon tour. We quickly unhooked from the car and Suzanne followed me as I drove the coach up the hill to site E-8 where I deployed the slides, plugged into the 30 amp service and turned on the AC so the dogs would be comfortable while we were away.
    The canyon tour was fascinating.

4500 year old pictographs

300 year old mesquite tree

    The RV park was top notch and a short walk to the top of a scrubby knoll afforded a vast 360 degree vista of the West Texas desert. The sunset was incredible and the lack of artificial light made for a stunning night sky on a moonless, cloudless night. 


    So today is Sunday and we're in Uvalde, Texas at Quail Springs RV Park where we will remain until Thursday. Suzanne will put in her three days of work and then we'll head for South Padre Island. We're about 325 miles away and I planned to do it in a day... but we may break it up into two.

    Thanks for checking out the blog!




Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Big Bend: Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive


   We arrived at Big Bend RV Resort & Adventures in Terlingua, Texas last Friday after a one night stay at Desert Willow RV Park in the sleepy little town of Van Horn, Texas. Van Horn is one of those places that time forgets when the interstate (I-10) gets completed... and passes you by.

   What Wikipedia has to say about the place...

"Anglo-Texan[7] settlement began in the late 1850s and early 1860s supportive of the San Antonio-El Paso Overland Mailroute.[8] Although U.S. Army Major Jefferson Van Horne is believed to have passed near the area in 1849 on his way to take command of what would later become Fort Bliss, the town is instead named for Lt. James Judson Van Horn who commanded an army garrison at the Van Horn Wells beginning in 1859. Lt. Van Horn's command was relatively short-lived, as the post was seized by Confederate forces in 1861 and Lt. Van Horn taken prisoner.[9] Settlement was further stimulated by the construction of the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881.[10][11][12] The town has several buildings on the National Register of Historic Placesincluding the First Presbyterian Church (now Primera Iglesia Bautista), built in 1901."

We walked around town Thursday afternoon, taking the free guided tour of The Clark Hotel Museum...

And a quick peek inside the El Capitan Hotel...

   We've traveled through and visited so many of these little towns - but each has it's individual story and unique charm. It's always fun exploring these places. There's often so much to see and experience just off the interstate.

   So... back to Big Bend...

   As I said, we arrived Friday afternoon. I had concerns about Verizon coverage in the greater Big Bend area after doing some online research a few days before our arrival.
   Here's why...

The Red areas represent Verizon coverage

   I called the RV park and asked about cell signals and was told it was spotty and that the only way to know for sure was to come on down and give it a try. There are red spots in the area of the RV park so I was hopeful that we would receive a good signal. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, Suzanne works part time, Monday - Friday, and we need to have a good Verizon signal in order for her to participate in conference calls and connect to the internet via our Verizon hot spot(s). Both our phones have hot spot capability and we have a dedicated Ellipsis Jet Pack. In addition to our hot spots we have a Weboost Drive 4G-X system installed in the coach which will significantly boost a weak signal.

   As it turned out, even with the aid of our Weboost, we had a very poor signal - strong enough to make phone calls, but not strong enough to get online. The RV park had a room in their main building, available for guest use, where there was wifi, a wireless router and a desk at which one could sit with his/her laptop. Suzanne gave it a test run Saturday afternoon but with the noise from the adjoining rec room, deemed it unacceptable. I walked to the office and arranged a Sunday departure (we were booked through Thursday), returning Thursday (4/25) through Saturday (4/27). Sunday morning we packed up and drove the 83 miles back up to Alpine - a town we had passed through two days earlier and that I knew had a very strong Verizon signal. We have been at The Lost Alaskan RV Park in Alpine since Sunday afternoon and will be leaving tomorrow (Thursday) and returning to Terlingua. We were able to do some exploration of Big Bend National Park on Saturday. It's a beautiful park - the size of the State of Rhode Island and requires more than a day to experience. We drove the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive  which terminates at the bank of the Rio Grande after winding through some of the most spectacular landscape this side of the... um... Rio Grande.

    After our drive and upon our return to Terlingua, we visited the Terlingua "Ghost Town". There were a couple of cool looking restaurants/watering holes that we'll probably investigate further when we return. 
   Here are a few shots from a quieter side of town...

   Thanks for checking out the blog!


Sunday, April 7, 2019


     From the "dog park" at Coyote Howls RV Park looking west into the desert...

 If I told you we are staying in a very remote area in Southwestern Arizona and you replied,               "Why?" 
  I'd say, "You're absolutely right!"
  To which you might respond, "What?"
  "No! Why!", I'd quip.

   And round and round we'd go.
   Oh, the fun we'd have!

    And that is because...

   We're in Why, Az. (pop.116) where we will spend the next three or four nights.

    "Why Why?", you might ask.
    "Why not?", would be my response.

    Actually, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is on our To-Do list and Why is just a few miles from the park entrance. 
    That's why Why.

    Why spend so much time in Why?

    Because we prefer to remain stationary Monday - Wednesday when Suzanne is working. We need a good Verizon signal and the internet connectivity it provides in order for her to transact business.

    Yesterday we traveled 65 miles from El Centro, CA. to Yuma, AZ.. Our first stop was the Yuma Territorial Prison State Park where we parked the coach in the RV parking lot, ate a small lunch and walked the dogs before paying our combined $12 senior admission (age has it's perks) and taking the self guided tour. 
    It was very interesting.

     One thing I found interesting is that John Behan, of Tombstone fame, was superintendent for a few years.

     Both women and men were incarcerated here. One woman I read about spent a year or so at YTP for committing the crime of infidelity. Not sure if men were held to the same standard.
     Prisoners who misbehaved (and misbehaving could be something as minor as "insulting a guard") could be made to spend time in the "Dark Cell".

   ... not a good place to be.


  Our travel route since leaving Indio, CA.

   Thanks for checking out the blog!