Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Saturday, March 30, 2013

At the Ranch

Hello all,
 Well the past few days were just spent getting caught up with laundry and restocking groceries.
  We relocated with a few short drives. The first stop was Alpine, TX. We camped at the Lost Alaskan RV Park. I had spied that park on our drive down from Fort Davis to Big Bend.Thinking it looked like a well kept park we decided to stay there. It was very clean and the camp host and young owner were super friendly.
 We then drove to Pecos, TX  for a quick one night stay. We stayed at TraPark, an Escapee park. The reviews on this place were not good so we didn't expect much. That was good because it was just gravel lot parking. Oh well it was cheap and probably safer than in the Walmart in this area.
I think it was used for target practice
 So today we arrived at The Ranch in Lakewood NM. It is another Escapee park and kind of unique.When you arrive they ring a loud bell and people wander over to greet you. The Escapee organization incorporated hugs as the main greeting. I must say we got hugged by more strangers today than ever before. They also host a daily happy hour and introduce newcomers.
Our backyard
  The park is located 25 miles north of Carlsbad and maybe 60 miles south of Roswell, NM. We plan to hold up here for a week or two. We will do the Carlsbad Caverns and there are a couple other parks to visit.
 Wendy brought it up that we have been retired and on the road for six months. The time has gone fast. It's hard to believe we are doing what we planned on doing for so long. When we left Nate (our son) had made us a travel cd, Wendy still puts it in whenever we move to listen to Free by Zac Brown.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Big Bend days 5&6

Hi again,
 Well our time in Big Bend has came to an end. We had a great time and Wendy has some great pics.
 After covering most all the main drives and some hikes it was time to log a good long hike. We headed for the Lost Mine Trail. It was said to be a moderate 4.8 mile trek, actually listed as moderate but steep. It was a busy day on the trail with minimal parking and we ended up 1/4 mile from the trail head. Now the fun part of this hike is it was like climbing a mountain. The front half was all uphill with some steps and switchbacks. Then a fantastic view on top, elevation 7550. Well what goes up must go down and so did we.
 It took about 4 hours with stopping for snacks and pics' ). It was a beautiful day for hiking about 75 and sunny. The wind blew pretty good at the top and was gaining strength as we descended. We will surely be sore after this.
That's the parking area
 Our last day to visit we were in debate as to what to do. We just set out to the park and while driving came across Ward Spring Trail. This was not listed on the maps we had. The sign said 1.4 mile (2.8 round trip) and after the hike up yesterday we thought this would be a good leg stretcher.
 It was a well marked trail rising slowly across the desert to a gorge where a small spring existed. The spring was so heavily forested we only saw a few glimpses of water. Views in the gorge were nice.
 In a visit to Big Bend you really get to know your cacti and this trail seemed to have a good variety. I know that sounds exciting to you all. We learned there are 22 types in the park and that doesn't count the four different yuccas. Well we thought it was neat trying to figure out what we were looking at.
  Lastly in the park we took a off road trek called Dagger Flat Auto Trail. A nine mile jaunt that heads to a prime area for spotting yuccas. The limestone area produces numerous yuccas with some reaching to 20 feet.
 With the park being so big and camping outside it we were never in for prime time animal viewing. We did finally see a few javelin and a mule deer, along with the elk and great horned owl earlier mentioned.  Oh and sorry Mandi we never got to see a rattlesnake.
Today we left the park and drove to Alpine Texas. We are staying at Lost Alaskan RV Park. We will get caught up with laundry, grocery shopping and cleaning up the truck.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Big Bend days 4 & 5

Hello again,
 Well, we're back in vacation mode. We can't help it and maybe don't want to. We will slow down when we get to South Dakota for our work camp job.
 We are having to drive a lot because  we are staying six miles from the park entrance. That and the fact the park is just so big. They have one campground that does have RV hookups, but it is on the further southeast area and you would still have to drive to most places. Also hookup camping in the park cost $35.00 and we are paying $23.
 Just in case you're wondering diesel is available in the park for $4.43.
 Thursday we got out for a hike. It was about a four mile round trip hike to Dog Canyon. This was an out and back trail. The first mile was pretty much flat across desert. The rest we followed a dry wash to and through the canyon. It was a calm day but the wind blew like crazy in the canyon.



 A sign along the wash pointed to Devils Den furter down the wash. We were a bit confused as this didn't show on our maps. We followed the dry wash for about a half mile then decided to head back as we had no idea how far this was to be.
 The extra walk did pay off for something, as we spooked a great horned owl from its roost. It flew ahead a couple times then when we approached he flew back to his original roost. We didn't have the zoom lens but Wendy got a couple shots.
 Later in the day driving back I spied something and told Wendy to stop and back up. I couldn't believe but here in this dry place with no water for miles was a young bull elk. We later asked in the park office and they said that there are probably a dozen or so. I would have thought maybe in the mountains but not in the lower desert.
 Friday we drove to Rio Grand Village on the southeast side. We took a short hike to Boquillas Canyon.
 On the hike we saw places where the Mexicans sneek over and place hiking sticks and wire trinkets. You are not to buy these as a sign says. All I will say is Wendy never saw me buy anything ')
 We then went to a nearby hot springs along the Rio Grande. Water temp is 104 and today barely warmer than the air. I reverted to cool in the river after a bit.
 Our good deed helping the hiker the other day paid off. A couple gave us a ride back to the truck, as duallies had to park 1/2 mile away. We were thankful, it was 92 and no air moving.
Flowers growing in the desert

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Big Bend day 1 and 2

Howdy all,
This is from our first two days visiting Big Bend National Park. The views here are amazing. Sometimes it is 360 degrees of incredible view.
 The first day in we decided to take a long drive. We entered on the north end and took the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive to Saint Elana Canyon on the south west end. The drive was about 77 miles.

Rio Grande River at Santa Elena Cayon

 Man this is a BIG park. How big is it you ask- Over 800,000 acres, the southern border covers 245 miles of the Rio Grand River, They have five visitor centers, and diving is roughly 50 miles east to west and 75 miles north to south. That is using main roads. The park has many dirt and four wheel traffic roads also.
 There are also three different ecosystems from desert to mountains and the river.
 Enough of that I'll let Wendy's pics do the rest of the talking.
Part of Chisos Mountains Basin drive
 We got a great hike in today to an area called The Windows. It was just Gorgous ( I told Wendy that and I know that's not how you spell it.)

The Window
Didn't see any mt. lions or rattle snakes

 While on the hike we came across a couple and the guy was sprawled out on a log bench. We asked how they were doing and they said not good. His knee had gave out on him and he was in a lot of pain. We discussed what we could do as they probably had about a 1/2 mile walk back and almost all uphill. There was also no way a vehicle could get to him. He was trying to walk with 2 short hand made sticks. Wendy came up with the idea to give him 2 of our poles that he could lengthen to better help him. They could just toss them in the truck box later. We made sure they had enough water and they insisted they would slowly manage it back. They left and said the poles were helping.
 Another couple we ran into said they met them at the trail head and gave them a ride to their vehicle.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hanging in Southwest Texas

Hello all,
We camped for two nights at the back of a motel just outside Fort Davis. The state and national parks are all booked with Texas spring breaks.
 We took a scenic wildlife drive of about 75 miles. We saw a few antelope shortly after we set out but other than that only saw cows a turkey. We really wonder what these cows eat as it looks like only cactus and sage brush.

 But it was a beautiful drive and the landscape had us in awe.

 Along the way we toured Davis Mountains State Park. It had a nice overlook on top of a mountain.

  We also took in Fort Davis. There was a short video then you take a self guided tour. They have some buildings set up as they were in 1884. There are many foundations from the original time.
 Some friends had told us we should to visit the McDonald Observatory. While we would have liked to we were just to pooped. We will save it for another time.
While at the state park we chatted with another rv couple and they raved about taking in Big Bend national Park. Wendy wasn't to sure of doing it at this time but I said we may never get this close.
   We know we won't get to camp in the park due to the spring breakers. So we researched some blogs and found Stillwell Store and RV Park.
 We will spend the next week exploring Big Bend.

(This is a reposted blog after it was deleted)