Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Journey to Colorado Springs

Sunset the night before departure from our home in Mission, TX

On the road again!   It has been a while since our last post.  Last September on our return from the Canadian Rockies, we stopped for a couple of nights at one of our very favorite RV parks in Colorado Springs, Mountaindale Cabins & RV Resort.  Since our last visit the park has significantly improved its wifi and now has cable tv.  We decided to book a month-long stay for the month of August in this one spot to escape the extreme heat at our home in extreme south Texas.  Soooo.... we are posting again.  BTW...  to our friends at Retama Village, I am outside wearing jeans and a sweatshirt on a sunny day while writing this.  This post describes the trip to the Springs.

Our first stop was at Buckhorn Lake RV Resort in Kerrville, Texas.  This a favorite recurring stop for us as we leave (and return) from our home.

This full-service park is in the Texas Hill Country, where the scenery is beautiful and calming.

We visited the campground dog park three different times during our one-night stay.  Bandido, Tequila, and Dianne all enjoyed the grassy setting under the trees.

Where's the ball, Dad?

Just scratchin' my back, Mom!

A six-hour drive (long day for us) led us to Davis Mountains State Park near Fort Davis, Texas.  

Davis Mountains State Park Campsite View

The welcoming views from our campsite made the long drive worthwhile.  We were here for three nights, drinking in the vistas from our lounge chairs.

No wifi or cell phone coverage here, but so relaxing.

The skies, away from the cities were an amazing azure color.  

We did force ourselves off the lounge chairs a few times.  We drove along the Skyline Drive to the top of the mountain one afternoon (where our cell phones worked).  The panoramic view was spectacular....

.... as was the sunset.

We hiked both days.  Dianne and I compromised on the first hike.  She does not like going up steep grades for more than a few steps.  I enjoy uphill hikes.  So, I dropped Dianne and Tequila off at the top of the mountain next to the Skyline hiking trail.  I then drove back to the bottom of the mountain with Bandido to find the trail head.  Bandido led me up the trail.  Dianne and Tequila went down.  We met in the middle then walked back down to the car.  It actually worked out pretty well.  On another day the four of us walked along a flatter trail that was constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) during the Great Depression.

All the pictures that we took of the local wildlife turned out to be too fuzzy to publish.  Dianne got some shots of javelinas exploring our campsite one night on her wildlife cam.  The enclosed bird blind had an amazing variety of birds. Before a hawk chased them all away, we saw blue grosbeaks, black-headed grosbeaks, red tanagers, ladder-backed woodpeckers, lesser goldfinches, etc.  

Dianne here:  We also saw a Smith's Longspur, a new sighting for my life list, and a bird that is only occasionally seen in West Texas.  Its main habitat is Northern Alaska to Hudson Bay and usually only migrates to South-Central U.S. in winter.  

Davis Mountains State Park is pretty far south of Interstate 10.  I was not entirely sure how we would get to our next stop in Roswell, New Mexico.  I knew that US 285 in that part of Texas was a mess.  There were a couple of other options through the mountains, but I was not sure about the grades and the twisty turns.  The day before departure, we traveled in the car on a scenic circle to check out the roads.  It was a pretty drive, as shown in the photos below:

We traveled past the McDonald Observatory, too twisty for the motorhome, but a little later we did find a route that would take us back to civilization.  As we neared the town of Fort Davis, we stopped at a very...

... unique rest area nestled in the boulders.  Too bad we didn't bring a picnic along.

Dedicated to the brave Stagecoach drivers who drove this route
There was a plaque on one of the boulders commemorating this rest area as a long-ago stage coach stop.  Interesting.

Departure day at Davis Mountains:  The motor home had 3/8's of a tank of gas.  (3/8s of a tank is when I normally try to get gas.) I knew we could make it to Van Horn, Texas, but not much farther.  Worrying about running out of gasoline before finding a station big enough for us to negotiate is a recurring irritation. We made it to Van Horn via a couple of isolated, but decent, roads and found a good gas stop.  Or did we?  When I easily pulled in next to the pumps, I immediately noticed that the angled pumps (right next to an I-10 exit ramp) were angled the wrong way for us to make the sharp-right turn.  If we attempted the turn and did not make it, all traffic on the exit ramp would have been blocked (not an option).  

A lady employed by the gas station said, "just go the wrong way on the exit ramp and turn off to the left up ahead.  People do it all the time."  I thought "like hell!"  

Dianne here:  As I was pumping the gas, two women in the adjoining car struck up a conversation, joking that they'd trade vehicles.   I quipped that I'd trade gas bills with them instead.   They witnessed the conversation between Roger and the gas station attendant, and knew our predicament.  They bought tacos in the convenience store, then moved their car and parked with their doors open so they could watch to see what happened next.  

Roger again:  Great, I love being the local entertainment.  We ultimately decided to unhook the Toyota and back up to the side of the station where I could re-hitch to the motor home.  Dianne directed traffic at the station while I backed up the motor home and safely re-hitched.  I am quite sure that the women eating the tacos were very disappointed when we safely departed, spoiling their fun.

Guadalupe Mountain (along with a bug splat on the windshield)
With a full tank of gas, we escaped Van Horn, Texas and headed up Route 54 toward Guadalupe Mountain National Park.  Our Retama Village friend, Dave, suggested this route to Roswell.  Good call.  Thanks, Dave. 

We spent the night in Roswell with a view of a cell tower, a coca cola plant, and a storage facility.  It was very hot (upper 90s) so we enjoyed a bottle of Dianne's favorite Texas wine from the Grape Creek Vineyard inside.  It was our 45th wedding anniversary.  My brother called to wish us a happy anniversary and asked how we were going to celebrate.  I told him that a group of local aliens were throwing us a party at the local community center.

Unfortunately, the party fell through.  We did not see any aliens until we drove out of town the next morning.  

The last one-night stop of the trip in Raton, New Mexico was uneventful.  We arrived at our home for the month of August, a few miles south of Colorado Springs, at noon the next day.  More to come.

The Pet Picture of the Day....  the normal doggie behavior while the humans have a snack.

"I just KNOW he'll drop a crumb!"

1 comment:

Bill and Nancy said...

Glad to see you rolling again!! We still need to visit Colorado so we will be paying close attention:o)) Enjoy the cool temps. We have been in the Mid 70s here in Maine since mid June:o))