Lake Mead N.R.A.

Lake Mead N.R.A.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Wrapping It Up at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort

January 30, 2011 Buckhorn Lake RV Resort.

Today we made preparations to move on to Corpus Christi in the morning. We are on our way to visit our daughter and son in law. He was recently assigned to Corpus Christi to continue his flight training and learn to pilot the P3 for the Navy.
Today was absolutely beautiful and warm reaching the upper 70's. However about mid week the temperatures will be plummeting to the teens at night and 30's and 40's for highs! So, we will be getting out of here just in time!
We really enjoyed meeting some of the folks staying at Buckhorn. We met Mike and Leslie after one of our blog readers sent us an e-mail to let us know these fine folks were here. They are full timers out of New Mexico. We spent a few days and evenings hanging out and together we checked out a local Bar-B-Que restaurant: Bills-Bar-B-Que. It was very good and I would recommend it for informal dining.
Mike, Leslie and Joyce (raccoon eyes)
We met Paul and Mary after Mary discovered our blog one morning and realized we were three sites from them. She promptly introduced herself and her husband. We are glad they did. They are a very nice couple. As couples we are about the same age. It's unusual to find full timers our age. We had some interesting and spirited conversations. Unfortunately we didn't get to spend much time with them as they had out of state relatives that came to visit. They have a blog: Bullwinkle's Travels, that we will be sure to follow.
Paul and Mary standing with Bullwinkle.
We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort. The weather cooperated with cold nights and mornings but generally pleasant afternoons. The park was beautifully maintained and they had events or social gatherings almost every evening. Friday's Margarita night was conducted at the small bar and grill below. This was literally across the street from our site.
Except for the first night of our arrival, the park was relatively empty with perhaps 1/3 to 1/2 capacity.

Entrance of Buckhorn Lake RV Resort.
The Red Barn used for social activities.
We didn't do a lot of sightseeing in the Hill Country this time around. It's much more enjoyable to be out driving when the spring flowers and bluebonnets are in bloom. Instead, we enjoyed just hanging out in the park riding the bike and participating in the social events, dinners, karaoke and gatherings at other rigs. We did manage to get some sun and we both have "raccoon eyes" from wearing our sunglasses.
I did get the oil changed and the tires rotated on the Jeep while we were here. Life on the road can't always be about sightseeing. We still have domestic chores and responsibilities like everyone else that require our attention. Sometimes all we want to do is just stay home, decompress and socialize with friends, neighbors and those of like minds!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Luckenbach Texas and Fredericksburg Texas

January 24, 2011. Buckhorn Lake RV Resort.
Today we awoke to the awful news that law enforcement officers in St. Petersburg (Pinellas County Florida) had been shot and taken to the hospital. The two officers from the St. Petersburg Police Department were assisting a Pinellas County Deputy Sheriff and a Federal Marshal in executing an arrest warrant when the fugitive who was hidden in the attic shot at the officers hitting 3 of them. We learned later in the evening that the two St. Pete. officers had died and the Federal Marshall was wounded. 
Names of Two Fallen St. Petersburg Officers Released

Our hearts and prayers are with the fallen officers and their families. As you know, I retired from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office so this kind of news hits home.

Prior to learning of the awful news, we took a ride out to Luckenbach, Texas.  Made famous by the song,  Luckenbach, Texas (Back To The Basics Of Love) by Waylon Jennings.
Luckenbach sits along both sides of ranch road 1376 approximately 17 miles south of Fredricksburg, Texas. It is about an hour drive north of San Antonio and an hour west of Austin. You should stop and ask directions! Luckenbach is not easy to find. You better hurry! It might disappear before you get there.
Tree outside the Luckenbach Post Office

There's not much at all in famed Luckenbach save a small souvenir store and bar formerly a Post Office and a dance hall along with a few homes.
It is hardly more than a bend in the road. A couple of shabby old buildings stand beneath a grove of spreading oaks. The whole town covers less than ten acres. A sign as you enter town says: "population 3". The Luckenbach post office stands at the center. It includes a general store and saloon. Out back, folks sit on benches under the oak trees sipping Lone Star Beer and listening to country music. A cowboy strums his guita
The post office ceased operation in 1971 and became the souvenir shop.
Former Post Office

Now a Souvenir Shop
The only other significant structure is the dance hall. It is a genuine old-fashioned Texas dance hall. Local bands play western music on most weekends. Folks from all around the area come to dance and party.
Luckenbach Dance Hall
After the very short tour of Luckenbach, we drove to Fredericksburg to do some sightseeing which of course includes shopping and lunch.
Main Street Fredericksburg
Fredericksburg was founded in 1846 and named after Prince Frederick of Prussia. Old-time German residents often referred to Fredericksburg as Fritztown, a nickname that is still used in some businesses. The town is also notable as the home of Texas German, a dialect spoken by the first generations of German settlers who initially refused to learn English. Fredericksburg shares many cultural characteristics with New Braunfels, which had been established by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels the previous year. Fredericksburg is the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. It is the sister city of MontabaurGermany

Admiral Nimitz Museum

We had lunch at one of the local German restaurants. I forgot the name but, it really wasn't worth remembering. We enjoyed walking around in the bright sunshine just leisurely taking in the views of the historic buildings.  
While waiting for Joyce to come out of a shop, I helped a shop owner replace some bulbs on the porch of their business as she was vertically challenged. She rewarded me with some fantastic fudge. I got a sugar rush and then the dreaded crash. 
On the way home we stopped in downtown Kerrville and washed the Jeep which helped me to regain some energy. 
While relaxing in the sun on our patio, a couple from down the road stopped by. They are also bloggers and had just coincidently discovered our blog this morning. Their blog is: Bullwinkle's Travels. Seeing the pictures in our blog they realized we were a few sites from theirs. It was great to talk with them for a while as the sun was setting. However, once that sun went down it got cold which broke up the party! We hope to see them again while we are here. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buckhorn Lake RV Resort, Kerrville, Texas

January 22, 2011 Buckhorn Lake RV Resort.
We actually got up later than we expected at 8:30. We hadn't set an alarm and we had entered the Central Time Zone yesterday. Our bodies thought it was 7:30. We were pretty much set to take off having left the rig hitched to the truck. However, it was cold outside having dipped into the 30's overnight. Thankfully the sun was out and shining brightly. After walking the dogs and making our final preparations we pulled out of Comanche Land RV Park just before 10. There was a Shell truck station at the intersection for Interstate 10 so we stopped to fuel up. Yesterday I got close to 12 mpg towing with a tailwind. We got on the interstate just after 10 a.m. headed for Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas.
Maggie and Rico sleeping in the back of the truck.

Out on the interstate, the rig was getting buffeted by strong cross winds. Whoever thinks Texas is flat has never driven on Interstate 10 through west Texas. We hit some pretty long grades. That coupled with the wind was grossly affecting my fuel mileage. We stopped for lunch and more fuel in Sonora Texas. Based on my overhead reading of 9.8 mpg, I'm betting I got barely 9 mpg. I'll have to manually calculate the mileage later.
After about 4.5 hours and 250 miles we arrived at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort. We decided to splurge and took an "executive site" with a water view on a corner lot.
Site 6094B
 Our first impression of this campground is very good. They let us pick our site from those available after checking them out in their golf cart. We will be staying at least a week with a weekly rate of $275 plus electric. This is certainly more than we've ever paid before. However, it's so nice to have a concrete slab and a level site with grass and a view! This resort may be a budget buster, so hopefully we can enjoy it and have some good weather. We have a western exposure on our door side so at least we will have warm sun if it shines.
Our back window view.
We had spent several weeks in the Texas Hill Country last year in March and April. We like the area but wanted to see more of it.
The "Red Barn" and Outdoor Patio across the street.
Since we are headed to Corpus Christi to see our daughter and son in law we decided to stop in Kerrville for at least a week to maybe check out some of the things we missed last year.
View out front.
We paid $14 for fresh made pizza in the "Red Barn" tonight. An event put on by the resort. The pizza wasn't bad and it was in the barn that is right across the street from our site. The resort has a calendar literally filled each day with available activities, potlucks, prepared meals, trips and socials. From what we've seen the resort is very well maintained as the grounds and buildings are spotless.

In the pictures below, Rico wanted the pillow but after whining, couldn't get Maggie to move off.
So, Rico laid down behind her and laid his head on her. Before long, Maggie got up and went into her crate...mission accomplished!
Stay tuned as we explore the area. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Travel Day to Fort Stockton, TX Comanche Land RV Park

January 22, 2011 Comanche Land RV Park.
The last few days, we spent time visiting with relatives in Las Cruces. We also checked out the local mall and the Barnes and Noble. 
When we arrived in Las Cruces I put our Cannondale Road Tandem up for sale on Craig's List. We found a buyer and after spending some time with the couple that bought it from us, we bid farewell to the long bike. I had grown tired of hauling it around and moving it. We weren't riding it as most of the time we were in unfamiliar areas and surrounded by gravel roads or highways. We do however, ride our mountain bikes.
Last night we had dinner at my Cousin Bonnie's home. She made us enchiladas with the enchilada sauce that had been given to us from the kind stranger, (Ella) from Mesilla, NM (refer to the previous post). Bonnie is such a fantastic cook! The enchiladas, beans and rice were excellent. The enchiladas were New Mexico style, flat and with an egg on top! She also made a carrot cake from scratch that was amazing! Unfortunately the picture of the meal didn't come out at as well as the dinner!
We got off to an early start this morning and were on the road by 9am. We continued to have problems with our portable radios and again had to rely on our phones to communicate as Joyce drove her Jeep behind our rig. We headed off on I-10 to Fort Stockton, stopping once in Van Horn for fuel and lunch. 

View Larger Map

We were both surprised at the size of El Paso. It seemed that we drove forever on I-10 through the city.
The remainder of the trip was thankfully uneventful. We arrived at Comanche Land RV Park in Fort Stockton after about 285 miles and 5.5 hours. 
It's just a dirt/gravel parking lot on the North side of I-10. No amenities other than cable. We paid $16 for the night (regular rate) with 30 amp, water and sewer. I left the rig hitched and leveled it with the BigFoot in manual mode. We are poised for an easy get away tomorrow. 
We are headed tomorrow for Kerrville, Texas another stop on our way to Corpus Christi.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hanging Out at the Mercados in Las Cruces

January 18, 2011 Sunny Acres RV Park Las Cruces.
The last few days have been spent relaxing, visiting relatives and the local markets (mercados).
On Saturday, we went to the downtown mall Farmer's Market. We weren't looking for anything in particular, but wanted to just stretch our legs and look around. 
Las Cruces Mall Farmers Market

Las Cruces Mall Farmers Market

On both Saturday and Sunday morning we awoke to see several hot air balloons floating in the skies out our back window.
Ballons out our back window.
We were told there was a ballon rally going on over the weekend.

On Sunday, we picked up my Cousin Bonnie and her daughter Stella. We spent the day in the town of Mesilla at their downtown market.
This market was much smaller and located in the town square. However, the buildings in the town of Mesilla are filled with history and old charm.
We had a fantastic lunch at El Comedor passing up the more expensive but popular restaurants like La Posta de Mesilla.
While browsing the many shops before lunch, we came across an art gallery. Now to be honest it had a sign with the words "tortilla factory" so that's what I thought it was. We went inside and determined that it wasn't a tortilla factory. It was an art gallery that at one time had been a tortilla factory. As we browsed the shop we heard two ladies, at least one of whom was an employee, laughing and having a good time. I struck up a conversation with them as they seemed very cordial. At one point I asked about the best restaurant in town and they gave me their opinions. However, Ella (pictured below) said that none of the restaurants made enchilladas and especially the chilli sauce as well as she can. I joked that we would be over for dinner and she actually invited us. However, I graciously refused. Next thing I know she's offering to give us a jar of her homemade chili (enchilada sauce). Long story short, we came back after lunch giving her time to walk home and come back with the sauce.
Ella and her enchilada sauce.
I thought that it was such a sweet and kind gesture for her to give us her homemade sauce. We haven't had the chance to sample it yet and hopefully, my cousin Bonnie will make some enchiladas for us with the sauce before we leave! 
Later in the afternoon we stopped off at another relatives home for a short visit before calling it a day.
You meet the nicest people on the road.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Travel Day to Sunny Acres RV Park, Las Cruces, NM

January 14, 2011 Sunny Acres RV Park.
We were up by 7:00 to get ready. It was a travel day. While I walked Maggie and Rico, Joyce got the inside ready for the slides to go in. I had not unhitched so the truck was already connected. We had the slides in and all I had to do was raise the BigFoot gear on the fifth wheel. After raising the four landing gear, I noticed the left rear had not retracted completely. It needed to come up another couple inches. I tried the control panel again to raise the rear to see if the errant jack would continue to retract...but, it wouldn't. Great! I quickly called the customer service number for BigFoot but got directed to a voice mail. Isn't that what usually happens! 
RR BigFoot Lever in the down position.
Looking at the jack/leg I decided to extend it and then retract it. No deal. Finally I decided to lower the right rear jack lower than the left and then raised them both and that worked. When I had initially raised the rear jacks in unison, the left rear had further to travel than the right rear due to the uneven ground. So it stopped retracting when the right rear finished retracting. By using the control panel I was able to lower the right rear lower than the troublesome left rear and retract both. It appears the limit switch is not working on the left rear. Needless to say, I lost some time figuring that out.
After finally pulling out, we headed for the dump station in the back of the campground and took care of business. In our haste, we failed to check our walkies and discovered that I couldn't communicate with Joyce in her Jeep as we left the park. So after driving down the road and pulling over to figure out what was wrong we discovered that one of the walkies was nearly dead already. Apparently it hadn't been placed in the charger cradle properly. So we were left with only our phones to communicate down the road.

View Larger Map

Out on Interstate 10 we decided to stop for fuel in Benson, Arizona. We pulled into a Shell Station large enough to accomodate our rig. I was shocked to see the diesel was $3.69! I needed the fuel, so I bit the bullet as we had over 200 more miles to go.
We stopped at a truck stop in Deming Arizona for a quick lunch break and to walk the dogs again. By then a BigFoot technician had called me back. He also suspected a bad limit switch and promised to mail one to me.
Down hill to Las Cruces from Hwy. 70
290 miles and about 6 hours later, we pulled into Sunny Acres RV Park surrounded by the urban strappings of Las Cruces. After checking-in, we were given a golf-cart tour of the available sites and we were impressed with the size of the sites. We chose site 24 which is a pull through at the end of a row of back-ins.

We paid for a week long stay for $230 which includes full hookups, WiFi and cable. It's a nice RV Park that originally was a mobile home park, thus the large sites. The roads however, are very dusty dirt.
After unhitching and getting level we opened the slides and discovered that the kitchen slide tore the linoleum.
This happened because a screw fell off one of the ceiling fan blades while in transit and got jammed under the slide tearing the linoleum when we opened the slide. It's not the first time screws have fallen from the ceiling fan blades. I need to get some Loctite to put on the screws!
In summary, it wasn't our the best travel day, but I can't complain too much!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park

January 13, 2011 Gilbert Ray Campground.
We got up early...well sorta, to prepare for our visit to The Arizona Senora Desert Museum. After all, this was the reason we were staying at Gilbert Ray Campground. So after walking the dogs, we jumped in the Jeep and headed off for the museum a short drive away.
McCain Loop enroute to AZ Senora Desert Museum
Approach to the entrance
After paying the $14.50 each entrance fee we scanned the brochure map of the museum and were amazed at the size and all that it had to offer. We had thought this would be a 2-3 hr. visit.
Joyce at the entrance and the outside paths behind her.
There were outdoor pathways all through the museum/zoo. There were enclosed aviaries and animal exhibits to include a bear, mountain lion, wolf and other desert animals scattered through out.
Shady concrete path
Along the path I found these Saguaro Cacti growing out from the shelter of a tree. This is typical of young Saguaros which eventually out live their tree shelter.
Saguaro Cacti and shelter tree
One of the loops in the museum/zoo is a desert loop with spectacular views.

We stopped to witness a Harris Hawk demonstration. The park had four of these magnificent hawks soaring over the small crowd that had gathered and resting on the tops of saguaros. This one landed near me in a dead saguaro.
Harris Hawk perched in dead Saguaro
We believe The Arizona Senora Desert Museum was well worth the visit and the fee. We thoroughly enjoyed it. After about 6 hours, we left the museum/zoo and drove another mile or so to Saguaro National Park. We had actually driven through a portion of the park on Sandario Road when we were initially traveling to the campground. 
We stopped at the visitor center and checked it out. It was nice with the typical souvenirs and some nice desert displays. We stayed for a short slide show on "The Voices of The Desert". The visitor center was certainly less than impressive after having toured The Arizona Senora Desert Museum. If we had planned to hike or park our vehicle in the Saguaro National Park, then we would have been required to obtain a pass at a cost of $10 if we didn't have our volunteer parks pass.
It was getting late so we didn't have time to do anything more than drive through a portion of the park. Its actually no different than where we are staying within Tucson Mountain Park. Plenty of saguaro cacti of various shapes and sizes.
It was a beautiful day and the weather certainly cooperated with sunny skies and temps in the low 60's. By the time we got back to Maggie and Rico, we were tired from all the walking and standing so they got only short walks!
We had been conserving water at our campsite working off the approximately 20 gallons I had in the 80 gallon tank of the fifth wheel. So far we were doing good and I wouldn't have to stretch a couple of hoses to put more water in the tank. Sponge baths were in order tonight! Tomorrow we hoped to get an early start and head for Las Cruces, New Mexico.