Elephant Butte Lake

Elephant Butte Lake
Elephant Butte Lake

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gulf Waters, Finally meeting our friends, Surf fishing and farewell

Well I'm working on catching up the blog and we finally made it to Corpus Christi to meet our friends Faye and Dave from The Wandering Camels. We will be traveling with them for the next 3 weeks on our way to Gulf State Park. They tried to get us to stay at the Mustang Island SP but we didn't know if we would be comfortable there so we made a reservation at Colonia Del Rey RV Park about 15 miles away. Now we wish we would have listened to them, it would have been right off the beach and only 5 miles from them. We learned a lesson...listen to your friends. Anyway, we had a great time when we finally got together at their park, Gulf Waters on the Port Aransas Island. They showed us around the park and we took a fun ride on a golf cart a friend let them use to ride up and down the beach. It has horns on the front and everyone that sees it give us a the thumb up or a big smile.


The next day we went back to the park and Dave, being the great fisherman he is, gave me one of his poles and we hit the beach to do some surf fishing.



What a fun time we had. I could really get used to this life on the beach. I actually had beginners luck and got the first 2-3 fish of the day. However they weren't really big enough to keep so we gave one to a Blue Heron that was standing near by and we threw the other one back in.

Dave calls him Steal a Fish

There were a couple other guys fishing near us and one of them caught a hammer head shark. It was a baby but pretty cool.


After a few photos we went back to our fishing and the guy on the other side of us caught a Black Drum and a Gaff Catfish. I didn't get a photo but they were big enough to keep and the guy didn't want them so we took them and Dave fileted them and we had them for dinner that night. Yum, Yum.

We used shrimp as bait and you could feel the fish nibbling at the bait and you would jerk the pole to try and snag them on the hook. Typically they would eat our bait without us being able to get them on the line. We would then walk out into the surf and cast the line past the breakers to get to calm waters so they would take the bait.




That was a fantastic time on the beach. The girls were out horseback riding while we caught our dinner. Everyone had a wonderful time. The girls joined us on the beach when they got back. That was one of Glenda's bucket list items. Riding a horse on the beach and she has now done it. Faye and Glenda had a great time and maybe they can do it again in the future when we come back and visit them there again.

Dave, being the ultimate chef, had a mess of shrimp and with the fish we caught and were given, we had a delicious fish, shrimp fry that evening. OMG, the batter he uses is so light and tasty. There is no way we can repay them for that great meal.

We were only in the area for 2 days so the second day we did some walking on the beach and because they were leaving the next day their friends had a happy hour for them and we were invited.

We met Pat and Reana and Duwayne and Jackie who provided some snacks to go with the drinks. Glenda brought some cheese and crackers and salami. The stories flowed along with the food and drink. It was a lot of fun meeting the folks that Faye and Dave were hanging with this past winter.




After our happy hour, Faye and Dave walked us back to where our truck was parked. We would be seeing them the next day at our next destination. Brazos Bend SP as we all travel through TX, LA and MS on our way to the big party in Gulf Shores, AL. Lots of folks to meet that are friends of Faye and Dave from their Alaska trip last summer. Lots more to see and do on our way. Make sure you stay tuned. You might see some interesting amphibians and wildlife as we travel. Until next time. thanks for following along. ARE YOU READY FOR SOME SEAFOOD? I am.




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Balmorhea State Park...moving further east

Our first stop after Las Cruces was in the west side of TX. We had a reservation at Balmorhea SP near Balmorhea, TX. Not a lot to do around these parts except for this State Park. The park has a pool that is made from a series of underground springs in the area. It's teaming with small fish and the canals near by have soft shell turtles. You are literally swimming with the fishes...as they say. Most are very small.

Our pull through site

The spring feed pool

There's fish in there

Cabins for rent

The canals

As we took our walks around the park we were able to get some good photos of the turtles. Interesting shapes with broad leathery shells and webbed feet.



The park was extremely busy with families on spring break and this being the only pool in the area with camping and picnicking areas. They also have several cabins that can be rented. We were only there a couple of days and that was enough. The park is a little tight and there isn't much else around he area. It was better than staying at an RV park right off the interstate and the price was right. $18.00/night for E/W. This LINK will give you more information about the park.

We moved on from Balmorhea and did an overnight stay in Junction, TX at a former KOA. The North Llano River RV Park. Typical park with seasonal residents and many pull throughs for overnighters like us. $37.00/night with Good Sam discount. Only about a mile off the Interstate.

We're on a mission to meet up with our friends, Dave and Faye who are staying at Gulf Waters RV Resort. They own a site there and have alternated years staying there and in AZ. We will be traveling with them across the Gulf states until we reach Gulf Shores, AL. They have some friends they met on their Alaska trip last summer that will also be joining us there. Should be quite a party but until then we have a lot of places to go, things to see and seafood to eat. Our next stop will be Corpus Christi near their park out on the Port Aransas island. Surf fishing, shrimp and fish fry and farewell to friends. Stay tuned. Thanks for following along.



Friday, March 24, 2017

Dripping Springs NA hike, White Sands National Monument and a roll over

In my last post I talked about the new friends we made and how we were able to meet at Leasburg Dam SP in Las Cruces, NM. Well before we left NM, we took a nice hike at the Dripping Springs NA(Natural Area). There's a lot of history in that area too. Col. Eugene Van Patten built Dripping Springs Resort in the 1870's. Dripping Springs Resort was originally called "Van Patten's Mountain Camp. In the late 1800's a stage line brought guests to the hotel from Las Cruces, 17 miles away. If you would like to read more about this historic area. You can go HERE. Today, the ruins of Dripping Springs Resort lie scattered along the canyon, preserving the memory of Col. Van Patten,

The hike started at the visitor's center and the trail was a wide gravel path for most of the way. The round trip, in and out hike is about 3 miles. All up hill to the ruins and back down. Of course there is an area with water coming out of the rock making it a Dripping Spring.

Enlarge the photos for best viewing




Out Camp

Ruins of Van Patten Resort


Boyd Sanatorium


Dripping Springs

The weather was perfect and we had a great time with some history thrown in. I got my passport book stamped and a sticker to put in it. Well we had an interesting event also happen at the park when we returned from sightseeing the area. A woman and her family were coming into the park and took the turn after the gate a little too fast. She lost control on the gravel road and the vehicle flipped onto its side. We happened to come shortly after it happened and called 911. The sheriffs department came along with the Paramedics. Actually no one was injured, miraculously. There were 5 children in the vehicle and all got our safely.

 



Glenda helped to keep everyone calm before the sheriff arrived and got some water for everyone.

I don't know if she was ticketed but we do know they were able to get a tow truck to get the vehicle back upright and she drove the vehicle back to El Paso. Very slowly with someone following behind.

They were all very fortunate.

We also made a trip to see the White Sands National Monument about 45 miles NW of us. This is an incredible area. As you drive to White Sands all you see is typical desert landscape then suddenly you come around a small foothill and then the white sands begin to appear.


They have a wonderful visitors center where I got my passport book stamped and a sticker.

White sand coming into view

Kids can buy plastic discs and slide down the dunes.

They give nature talks here

Amazing white sand

Look what I found a White Sands

Looks like this cactus slid down the dune

Shameless selfie

We didn't know very much about the area so we didn't really come prepared to walk around much. The sun on the sand really made it feel warm and it was difficult to walk in the sand without proper footwear. We did walk about 1/2 mile on the Alkali Flat Trail. It's a 5mile trail over the dunes. Rated at challenging due to the difficulty of walking in soft sand and the distance. We found out why in just that short distance.

Families were all over the dunes sliding down. Sitting with umbrellas reading, picnicking and enjoying the landscape. It certainly was worth the drive that day. IF you would like more information on White Sands, you can find it HERE.  Go to this link to read about the geology of the White Sands. It is fascinating.

We did pretty much everything we set out to do in Las Cruces. We could have gone to the missile range but passed it up for the more adventurous activities outdoors.

We left Las Cruces and made our way to West TX and stopped at Balmorhea SP. Very interesting area with a series of natural springs. More about that next post. Starting to get caught up on our travels. I'll keep working on it. Things are getting even more interesting. Hope you'll follow along.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Chiricahua National Monument, Whitewater Draw...Sandhill Cranes, Bisbee and Meeting people... New friends

While at Kartchner Caverns SP we made sure to visit the Chiricahua National Monument. We had so many recommendations to see it so we drove the 50 or so miles and were we ever rewarded in our efforts. This is a wonderful area for hiking, camping and horseback riding. We started at the Visitors Center and got our Passport book stamped and then took the scenic drive up to Massai Point. Incredible views of the surrounding area.





Typical high desert landscape with beautiful rock formations. After we took a short walk around the high point we drove down a short distance to Echo Canyon trail. This is a 2.5 mile hike down into the canyon and back up. They recommend hiking counterclockwise so there is less steep incline coming up out of the canyon. There was even a grotto area of rock that was very interesting.








Some of the rock formations reminded us of our visit to Bryce Canyon NP with all the hoodoos.




We spent about 4-5 hours exploring the trail and the landscape. We had a light lunch that we brought and then headed back to Kartchner. If you would like more information on the Chiricahua NM you can find it HERE.

I posted some photos in FB of our hike and visit and one of our RV friends, Mona Liza commented that while in the area we should check our Whitewater Draw to see the Sandhill Cranes as they migrate back north. So the next day we took the 60 mile drive to see if we could get a glimpse. We were rewarded for our efforts. The cranes fly off early in the morning, like 6 am, to go to other areas to feed and return to the marshy conservation area in the mid day. That's when we arrived. As we sat on benches around the marsh the cranes would fly in in groups of 20-40 at a time. They were specks in the distance and then suddenly appear. Enlarge the photos for best viewing


 
It was a cloudy windy day and the cranes were a ways off from us but I did get a few decent pictures using my zoom lens.





Sandhill cranes are very large birds with wing spans of up to 6 feet. The Audubon Society has some great information about them HERE. Scroll down to see the information on the link.

Because it is a marsh area we were able to see Coots, ducks and other water fowl. It was a fun activity and so happy we have friends that make those types of recommendations.

Well since we were so close to Bisbee we decided to make a quick trip there and check out the olive oil store and for me the Old Bisbee Brewery. We were in Bisbee 2 years ago and ate at the Mexican restaurant down the street from the olive oil store and brewery. Again a quick trip.

This time when we stopped at the brewery we noticed they had a vegan chili and root beer too. So We each got a chili, Glenda got root beer and I got a nice tasty Mayan Stout. Wonderful coffee finish and great balance. The chili was delicious and Glenda said the root beer was good too. I truly enjoyed the stout.



Well while were eating a gentleman sat down at the table next to us and we started talking. As we talked another couple sat down at the table next to him. The next thing we know the couple says "we weren't eaves dropping but we heard you say you are at Kartchner Caverns SP and heading to Leasburg Dam SP in Las Cruces". We're planning to stop for one night at Kartchner and we're dry camping at Whitewater Draw to see the Sandhill Cranes and then head to Leasburg SP too. WHAT A COINCIDENCE. Doug and Julie are new full time RV'ers and were traveling from CA to FL and then up the east coast for the summer. They're also world travelers and shared some wonderful experiences in Spain, Portugal, France, India and beyond just to name a few.

They're pulling a travel trailer and started off small...like 26 feet. Reminded us of our old Jayco 22 footer before we started full time. Anyway, after we talked and ate we parted ways thinking we would see them at Kartchner. Well they couldn't get a reservation on short notice there so they stayed at Whitewater Draw one more night and then headed to Leasburg SP. Now here is another coincidence....their site was right behind ours. This is crazy. We got to Leasburg about the same time and went over to say hi. We were both going to be at the SP for 7 days too.

So during the week we had them over to our site for a couple of campfires and some snacks and we also played spades with the wives, of course, winning. Lots of fun. They're both beer lovers like me but different in that they like more IPA beers and I like the dark beers. Lots of beer talk and sharing.




What a great  time we had this last week with them. We did our thing, they did theirs but we got together to share the experience and talk about our travels. What a coincidence.

We find this is happening a lot in our travels and are so happy to living this lifestyle. New places, New adventures and New Friends. We exchanged information and plan on keeping contact as we all travel and share this incredible journey. More on our stay at Leasburg SP in Las Cruces soon. Thanks for following along.