Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Homeward Bound

Heading home Via Houston . . .
Traders Village Flea Market in Houston provided a nice overnight stop at their campground. We thoroughly enjoyed the flea market and I almost came away with a puppy, but since I'm allergic to all dogs I suppose its best that I left it behind. They have a vendor there that has the healthiest looking pets I've ever seen at a flea market. I doubt seriously that these were puppy mill dogs. They are very particular and take great care of the little babies.

We drove the back roads thru Louisiana along the Gulf and got lost trying to find a Wal-Mart. Finally found one and spent the night - then on thru New Orleans. You can still see much of the damage that Hurricane Katrina did.

Panhandle . . .
From the Big O we drove the white coastal sands of the coastline over to Destin, FL to spend the night at another Wal-Mart. The worst storm I have ever experienced came through that night and I was sure a tornado was going to drop down and blow us away. I actually heard something that sounded like a train at one point and the next morning I heard on the news that a tornado had touched down a few miles up the road from where we were parked. I would say that we were blessed that night.

Florida Panhandle
Florida Panhandle Boats

Beach on Florida Panhandle

Lake Rousseau and Rainbow Springs . . .
Intending to go to Cedar Key, we opted instead to drive on down to Crystal River and spend a couple of days at Lake Rousseau Campground. This was a good resting place as I really needed to lay back and take it easy. I had developed a bad cold. We did visit Stokes flea market at Lecanto where we ran into my first cousin's hubby by surprise. Since I was sick we didn't try to visit family on this trip.
Lake Rousseau RV Park

Guy at Lake Rousseau

Lake Rousseau 

Lake Rousseau RV Park

Also, we visited Rainbow Springs and had a short little walk around a beautiful garden. And last but not least, we ate bbq at Loafer's Restaurant in Dunnellon - a really good meal.

Me with one of Rainbow Springs Waterfalls

Rainbow Springs
Almost home - Savannah . . .
We stopped briefly in Savannah at Keller's Flea Market, a favorite haunt of ours with old buildings and farm implements. And of course a trip thru Savannah would not be complete without at least going downtown. Since we were on a short timeframe and we have been to Savannah numerous times, we chose to follow a trolley around town to see the highlights and then drove over Talmadge Memorial Bridge for our last leg home. 
Savannah Trolley

Savannah architecture at Halloween

Talmadge Memorial Bridge

It's always good to return home. Where will our next trip take us?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ah, San Antonio - now that's a town you don't wanna miss!

The Beauty of San Antonio  . . .
The world famous Alamo
Arriving in San Antonio we stayed a couple of days at Traveler's World RV Park. A beautiful park like setting right on Roosevelt Avenue downtown, it was a great place to get a few morning and evening walks in.
Travelers World RV Resort in San Antonio
A Whirlwind Bus Tour  . . .
We were able to book a tour bus to take us all over San Antonio and show us the city and all it had to offer. David, from Alamo Trailways, was our tour guide and driver and he was simply great. He manuevered the bus around places that only an ant could go and he was so knowledgeable about the area.
Our Tour Bus - Alamo Trailways

The wonderful David - our driver and escort
We toured The Alamo first and I gotta say that I was surprised to see that it was right in the heart of downtown San Antonio. The whole town must have been built around The Alamo. It was under reconstruction when we visited. The whole left facade was being rebuilt. Originally there was so much more to this place than what we saw. There was a huge courtyard surrounding the Mission which is now gone and has been replaced with large stores, streets and a large obelisk type statue honoring the many soldiers who lost their lives here. And of course we found a little possum hiding among the foliage beneath a large tree in the courtyard.
Me at The Alamo

Outside one of the Alamo Courtyards

A sweet little possum trying to hide 
Showing the Alamo with construction on the left side
We spent some time at the San Juan Mission, a very beautiful structure with fabulous old carvings in the walls and doors. Also Mission Concepcion was a very pleasant stop. This was a much smaller Mission than San Juan.
Mission San Juan

Door to Mission San Juan was carved with messages from early travelers

Inside the Chapel of Mission San Juan
Mission Concepcion
Downtown time was spent at a very colorfull marketplace, walking around as well as riding the boats on the Riverwalk, visiting the Buckhorn Saloon and Wild West Museum and of course lunch at The Hard Rock Cafe.
Lunch and Beer at Hard Rock Cafe

The eyes have it . . 

The Marketplace
A stop at the Japanese Sunken Gardens was one of the last stops on our tour. This also is under reconstruction and they had just filled half of the ponds with water - no fish yet. The gardens are a beautiful cool respite in the middle of a hot day as was the Riverwalk ride.

Super large Pagoda at Japaanese Garden
Japanese Sunken Gardens
Tune in to our next adventure . . .

Monday, December 15, 2014

Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Out of Arizona - into New Mexico, Texas and back to New Mexico 
Cottages at entrance to Carlsbad Caverns with sunset and moon
We bypassed El Paso and took Hwy 395 which goes around Bliss Air Force Base. This is a huge base and you could actually see the tanks doing manuevers out on the desert. We lucked up as we got on Hwy 180 heading toward Carlsbad and found an RV junk yard. This was the only place we have found (and we have looked high and low) for some lug nuts. Of course, they weren't cheap either ($10 each).Driving to Carlsbad was a little boring as we traveled on some very desolate road with a few old buildings and one picturesque white salt flat basin.

White City RV Park and Carlsbad Caverns . . .
The entrance to Carlsbad Caverns had one campground. White City RV Park, which I thought was a National Park campground, but I later found out that it is an independent and also a Good Sam camp which turned out to be rather expensive. No place to boondock at all. We learned a lesson about campgrounds.  Always ask who the host is and how to reach her/him after hours. We pulled into the campground around 4pm. Around 9pm a large class A pulled in beside us and did not hook up to electric and water. They ran their diesel generator ALL night.  At 10pm my throat started getting sore and I developed a headache from the obnoxious fumes. I don't understand why our detector didn't go off as it is usually very sensitive. We had to unhook and move down by the trash dump to escape the fumes and get a nights rest. The next morning one of the occupants in the motorhome laughed and said it was too late to hook up and that someone up the road was selling tickets to the campground. I wonder if they were even there legally as they left out right after we talked with them at 7am. We later spotted them at the Caverns.

White City RV Park sunset
The office refunded our money without hesitation and apologized. They took the license tag number that we gave them and were going to check and see if they had checked in the night before. Sounds a little fishey! Anyway, that's one lesson learned. Make sure there is someone to contact if problems arise. We did not want to go up to their door knocking in the middle of the night.  The way people are today, if someone comes to my door in the middle of the night I'm going to be meeting them with a six shooter!

Carlsbad was a nice sidetrip. We didn't take the strenuous mile long walk down to the big room. I don't think my knee would have lasted and I know Guy would have trouble with his legs as well. Instead, we took a ride in the elevator 700 foot down into the large room. It was nice, but not as colorful and nice in my opinion as the Mammoth Cave in KY. I wouldn't go out of my way to see this place again. And the photos taken here were not very good either.
After a terrible nights sleep we are at Carlsbad Caverns

Guy observing some of the formations

And back to Texas . . .
Driving down Hwy 285 to Ft Stockton was boring as well, but the road was lined with oil rigs for as far as you could see. We were told that all the campgrounds in the area of Carlsbad and Stockton were filled to the max with oil workers.
One of the many oil wells

Our campground in Ft Stockton was very large and half full with nothing but oil worker's rigs. This was Ft Stockton RV Pk. A beautiful park with a real western feel that we really enjoyed. There was a cafe that had a "we don't dial 911" sign posted very  prominently, so needless to say, I felt right at home here. The mailbox outside was designed like a 6 shooter. Super nice people, beautiful sunset, great walking and biking, and a great breakfast made our evening's stay enjoyable. The last photo is of our neighbor's car. He blew a tire on his car while towing and made quiet a mess.
Camped at Fort Stockton RV Park

Beautiful sunset coming in
6-shooter mailbox

Sign, mailbox, trailhead and moon

The moon and our little Lexi
Damage on neighbors back wheel
Now for a long hard drive to San Antonio.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Of Birds, Ghost Towns and Tombstone

Traveling on down the road . . .
We hit Phoenix at rush hour and didn't even stop, instead opting to drive into Casa Grande to boondock at a Love's truck stop. Very noisey place. Think I've had my fill of staying at noisey truck stops for a while. 

Birds of Patagonia, AZ . . .
The following morning we hit the road for Patagonia, a place I had only heard of on TV documentaries as being the in place to see hummingbirds. A beautiful drive over the mountains brought us to this small quaint little town. We found a hummingbird research center where I was able to set up my camera and click away. I learned one thing for sure and that is I need more experience with photographing birds. There were four different species of hummingbirds there among other species of birds and they were all over the place, darting here and there.The center had a little courtyard set up with feeders and water displays with seating to view the little birds. Guy gets bored easily and left me there to do my picture snapping while he heads to the RV for a nap. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted! But I did enjoy my little time with the "birds". 

Tombstone RV Park . . .
We headed over toward Tombstone and found a nice RV park about 10 miles from Tombstone in a little hole in the road town called Huachuca and located right beside the abandoned town of Fairfield, AZ. I took a little hike as the sun was going down and the heat deminished and found a nice sunset to photograph. This was a beautiful park with nice people running it. A large community room, library, indoor pool, exercise equipment and pool table, I would definitely come back here. Very clean and neat, but be forewarned that the weather is hot. Definitely desert weather.
Tombstone RV Park
Sunset at Tombstone RV Park
Ghost town of Fairfield, AZ . . .
The next morning we made our way to the deserted town of Fairfield to explore some old buildings that a group of  people keeps repaired. This was the main hub of transportation for the area around Tombstone. There were three different trainlines that came into the depot. In order to get to Tombstone, you would come here by train and take a stagecoach into Tombstone. I could just imagine the many train robberies that took place. This was also the place that Tombstone miners brought their silver to have it melted and processed.
Fairfield, AZ Ghost Town
Fancy two-hole outhouse complete with limestone
An old buidling in Fairfield

Guy shows the way to the cemetery

Another old Fairfield building
Tombstone Territory . . .
Tombstone was a treat with a real stagecoach ride that was smooth as glass - very comfortable. Picked up a Tombstone hat pin. We learned that the famous gunfight at OK Corral really didn't happen at the corral, but on Fairmont St behind the corral. Silver was the main draw for the town with over 300 different mine claims in the hills behind the city. Big Nose Kate's Saloon was absolutely amazing inside. And of course it wouldn't be a proper visit without seeing Wyatt Earp house. I also learned that the Chinese also played a major part in the town. A section of the town was called "Hoptown", meaning that they had a section of tunnels that they hopped thru to take them from place to place. A leading lady named China Mary ruled the Hoptown area. If she didn't like you, then you didn't work here. I even photographed her gravesite as you will see below. 

Guy outside of The Famous Bird Cage Theatre
Our Stagecoach and Driver

Me having a relaxing ride thru Tombstone

Sign outside Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Interior of Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Guy walking to our RV showing the hills that were mined in Tombstone

John Slaughter's House

Wyatt Earp's House

Little Egypt inside the Bird Cage showing the unrepaired bullet hole in her belly
Boot Hill Cemetery

Boot Hill Graves

China Mary's Gravesite

On the road again . . .
Leaving Tombstone, we ran across a border patrol roadblock. All they do is ask if you are a US citizen. Guess they could have figured that one out just by our hick southern mountain accents and our redneck vanity tag.
Border Patrol outside of Tombstone. See the German Shepherd?