We are presently in Texas enjoying a few days at Padre Island National Park. We are parked at Bird Island Basin facing this view from our front window. This is the #2 spot in the country for windsurfing. With a Bird Island Basin Annual Pass (available for $10) you can camp for free. This is the first time all winter we haven't had to turn on the heat when we get up in the morning. So nice!
We enjoyed our three weeks near my parents and our stay at Lost Dutchman State Park. We were told by the ranger as long as we "behaved" we could stay as long as we wanted. We had great weather for hiking, plus I loved the quiet and dark nights with only the sounds of the coyotes and owls. (Mark Twain’s description of the coyote).
Many campers string solar lights around the perimeter of their RVs, but I noticed there were several campsites with mechanic work lamps under their vehicles. Out of curiosity, I asked the campground Host what was the reason for this.
She explained it's to keep the Pack Rats from building nests in the engine. They don’t like light. So that also explains why so many had rope lights! The light also keeps the rattlesnakes away. We’d been there two weeks already and fortunately nothing had moved in. We didn't have electricity, so Dick put solar lights under the engine hoping that would deter them.
These birds were everywhere! We Googled how to pronounce
Phainopepla and practiced everyday. It is a tough one to learn!
While in the area we drove to Florence to visit Ed and Gerry Agnew, friends that I’ve kept in touch with from the park I stayed in while Dick hiked the Arizona Trail last spring. On the way we noticed the Gila River beds were dry. This once beautiful river has now been diverted. Ed said the River Bottom Grill in Florence has a sign on their menu that reads, "located next to the mighty Gila River where the water is so clear you can see the bottom."
|Renee and Jacques - picture taken at Glacier National Park 2013|
Loved being with Judy Preston again! (You also, Mike. Thanks for the nice photo)
The weather forecast through New Mexico and Texas finally looked good for us. Plus, Dick said we'd better get going before the gas prices go back up! Along our route we reconnected with several traveling friends.
Karen and Don Richardson who were our hosts at the Junction Creek Campground by Durango, CO
Ed Trautwein in his little home on wheels
We couldn't go through New Mexico without seeing the Fergusons one more time.
We've gone through several Border Patrol checkpoints in these southwestern border states. We wonder if they have devices setup that can hear what people are saying inside their vehicle. Dick wanted to test it out once by saying, "did you hide that kilo in the toilet?" but thought he'd better not. We read on-line that drug smugglers are putting containers with powerful magnets under cars in Mexico and then recovering the containers after they've gotten past the U.S. border authorities. Most of the time going through is uneventful, they just ask us a couple of questions and wave us on, but we stopped at one on our way to Benson, AZ and the dog sniffing the vehicle ahead of us went ballistic. They say with all the electronic, Big Brother survallence equipment the government has, the most successful method they deploy is the dog. Once the dog was on to something there was no way to distract him. The handler gave the agent speaking to the driver a two finger sign and the driver was asked for his license and registration. Another agent came over, took the documents and instructed the driver to pull into an inspection area off to the side. For their sake, I hope all they were hiding was a rear bumper full of Alpo.
We stayed a night outside of Marfa, Texas at the Marfa Lights Viewing Area. It was a Saturday night so there were several people waiting in the dark hoping to get a chance to see these mystery lights. One lady mentioned she read this phenomena only happens a dozen times a year. So what is the chance that we are there on the right night? Dick is still a sceptic.
The Marfa Lights Viewing Area
We traveled the backroad through Presidio along the border and the Rio Grande River to get to Big Bend National Park. Along this route is a movie set that was used for several westerns. One in particular we remember is THE STREETS OF LOREDO. We were in Marfa, Texas in 1994 or 95 when they were auditioning children for the school scenes. So we thought, what the heck, and took Maggie to try out. We figured we'd make it work if she got the part, but then again hoping she wouldn't because we knew we should get her back home to her real school.
The movie set for several westerns near Presidio, Texas
A rest area between Presidio and Lajitas
Big Bend is one of our favorite National Parks. It's an amazing place.
Dick did an overnight backpacking trip to the South Rim and I had some alone time.
We were pleasantly surprised to find Marv and Nancy Kelso in our campground. They're from Gaylord, Michigan. We met them last year at Big Bend. We knew they were heading for Texas but that was the last we heard. It's a small world. Dick is laughing because Marv just told us he told his kids he wants his ashes spread at Walmart because then Nancy will visit him twice a week. HA
One of my favorites in the Rio Grande Village campground - the Vermillion Flycatcher.
After a week in Big Bend we headed for the cute little western town of Marathon to get our
forwarded mail and then continued our trip east riding the belly of America!
MY TWO TRAVELING PARTNERS