Thursday, February 3, 2011

Big Bend National Park

Here we are in Big Bend National Park and we haven’t been this cold since Yellowstone in 2000 (before the catalytic heater). It is warm inside the rig, but outside the temp is 22 degrees with a wind chill of minus 7 and overnight lows in the teens.

Monday was our first full day at Rio Grande Village and we did a walk around the area. The campground at Rio Grande ($14 per night or $7 with senior pass) is very beautiful and has a ‘no generator’ and a ‘generator area’. Of course, we are staying in the no generator area and hoping that the sun will shine and that our solar will be enough to power everything. There is a store, laundry, showers, RV private park ($32/night), amphitheater, picnic area, and visitor’s center. We sat outside in shorts and enjoyed the nice weather knowing that things were going to change soon.

Tuesday was a fairly nice day in Big Bend. We drove 125 miles rt over to Costolon Historic area and the Santa Elena Canyon, which is in the Southwest corner of the park. First we stopped at the visitor’s center at Panther Junction where I purchased my senior pass – I don’t feel 62! Then we took the Russ Maxwell Scenic Drive to Costolon, where the La Harmonica store (dating back to 1921), some old buildings, and Cottonwood campground are located. This campground is a no generator campground and very isolated. Eight miles further SW is the entrance to the Santa Elena canyon. Dean and I took the 1.6 mile hike into the canyon. The views were fabulous as you can see from the pictures below. It is hard to imagine that Mexico is right there across the water, so close that I could throw a rock from the USA to Mexico. On the way back we stopped at Sotol Vista for beautiful views of the Chihuahuan desert, Homer Wilson Ranch, and Sam Neil ranch. When we got back to Rio Grande village we took a long hot pay shower ($1.50/5 minutes). It was wonderful!

Wednesday we stayed in the rig. It was just too cold to get out and do anything. We are sure glad we drained everything and put RV antifreeze into all tanks and lines. I walked Chica and walked over to pay for 5 more nights (are we crazy?). The rest of the day I stayed in the rig where it was very comfortable. The campground is pretty deserted.

Today we are hanging out in the rig because it is still so cold. Forecast for tomorrow is in the 40’s so we will get out of the rig and try the hot springs and some hikes.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Boomerville, Quartzsite, Arizona

What a wonderful time we had in Boomerville this year. We arrived on January 13 and stayed two weeks. Dean and I were the fourth rig arriving. It was really neat to be one of the first arrivals: we could meet people as they arrived. When we left on Thursday, January 27, there were 119 rigs.

We loved being with our friends Chuck and Jan during the holidays and Boomerville. Going to the casino, Algodonas, Blythe bluegrass festival, playing cards, hiking, and sitting around and just talking. We will miss them on our long journey East but we will see them next year.

Of course, we also loved being with all our old friends at Boomerville and meeting new friends. We enjoyed the potlucks, Pace’s movies, daily hikes, shopping in Quartzsite, Happy hours, chili cookoff, newbies skit, and other activities. And the weather was marvelous!

The first night on our big adventure we stayed at the SKP park in Casa Grande. We went to the social hour, were introduced, and got some good information on Big Bend.

The second night on the road was at a visitor’s center in Lordsburg. A little noisy with highway traffic and trains but it was free.

The third night on the road was at the Vista Park in Sierra Blanca, TX. We were planning on driving through El Paso on Sunday but we had a tailwind so we took advantage and went through on Saturday. Sierra Blanca’s claim to fame is the location of where the Transatlantic trains meet in 1881. The town is pretty dissolute but the campground was $10 with Passport America and we had full hookups. We are now at Big Bend where it is suppose to be in the teens during the night so we winterized: no water in rig and lots of antifreeze. We have no phone service and internet is at the store. But it is gorgeous and we love it! More to come about Big Bend later.

January 13 at Boomervile

Dean and Bruce at the Big Tent

The group at Happy Hour

Newbies skit our last night there.