Monday, November 19, 2018

Day 107, Monday, November 19, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX, Day 2

Presidio La Bahia
Monday, November 19, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,543.6 Miles for the Trip

Heavier rain off & on overnight, and still quite cool. Today's high was 49°F. No rain, but very damp & heavy.

I decided to tour some of Goliad's forts & missions. Not great for photography with the heavy, gray skies, but I needed something to do. I started with the Presidio La Bahia & the Our Lady of Loreto Chapel which is part of the fort, then stopped at the campground office & the Mission Espiritu Santo, which is part of the park. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After that it was back to the trailer. I have a new neighbor that has 4 large dogs. No leashes, but they seem well behaved - they stay behind their trailer & don't roam the campground, unlike a stray that was running around yesterday. They are in a relatively small (24' or so) trailer - must be crowded; probably even more so in the truck they use to tow the trailer!

I decided it wasn't going to get any warmer, and while there was heat in the bathroom, not much, still, I needed a shower. As to the shower (only one), a couple of benches, 2 hooks, a window sill that served as a good place for my soap dish & shampoo, a high pressure, low volume showerhead (although the design that actually produces a usable spray), a shower curtain & low wall that kept the drying area floor dry, and no light so you didn't see what the condition of the shower walls & floor were in. Lots of hot water once you learned how to turn it on with the campground provided vice grips (missing faucet handle). All in all, not too bad, although a bit cool getting dry.

I had a late lunch or early dinner (at 2:30) of left over chicken sandwiches & creamed corn. I'm still looking for succotash with no luck. About the only canned vegetable I like, and one that I miss. I check every supermarket I visit for it, and creamed corn is as close as I get. I did once find frozen succotash, but somehow the canning process blends the beans & corn much better than the fresh frozen variety.

Real dinner will probably be cheese & crackers a bit later.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Day 106, Sunday, November 18, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX

Site 21
Sunday, November 18, 2018 - Goliad State Park, Goliad, TX - 108.4 Miles, 6,543.6 Miles for the Trip

Very light rain off & on all day & all the way to Goliad. I'm in an electric & water back in site next to the bathrooms, site 21, for $20.00 per night plus a $3.00 daily entry charge. A parking lot with the utilities on the back edge, along with a shaded picnic table & grill. Only three other trailers in this section of the park. The full hook up section is about a mile away, and is a bit more crowded.

It is cool at 50°F and a light rain or heavy mist, and the predictions are for it to remain about the same for tomorrow. After setting up, I drove to the local grocery store, and picked up a few items.

Dinner was half a roasted chicken & applesauce.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Day 105, Saturday, November 17, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 3

Saturday, November 17, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,435.2 Miles for the Trip

A cloudy day, but warm enough - into the 70's. I headed out to Best Buy for a 4TB portable disk drive to replace my full Time Machine back up drive. I'm still amazed that I can buy a 4 TB drive for $129.00. I know I'm old, but I do remember paying close to $2000.00 for a 20MB drive for my first Mac. Of course everything I had fit on it, while one photo from my D850 would be more than twice the drive's capacity.

I stopped & got the truck washed on the way back to the RV Park, even though rain is predicted. I wanted to get rid of at least one layer of road grime.

That was it for the day. I probably should hook up the trailer tonight since rain is predicted for the morning, but I guess I'll just get wet.

Dinner was a ham & cheese sandwich & a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 16, 2018

Day 104, Friday, November 16, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 2

Site 50
Friday, November 16, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,435.2 Miles for the Trip

Reasonably quiet for a RV park in the city. The road construction stopped around 5:00, and the traffic calmed down around 8:00. Lots of lighting - my back window glows, even with the shades down!

I drove to the Apple store, waited 2 hours to get an appointment with the Genius Bar, and discovered that there is nothing wrong with me Ethernet adapter or the Mac's ports. The reason it didn't work has to be a problem with the Ubiquiti NanoStation. I stopped for gas on the way back to the campground - about the cheapest of the trip at $2.18 per gallon, and some grilled chicken for dinner.

As I noted, a bit tight, but typical of city RV parks. Most of the sites seem to be fairly permanent with porches, decks, etc.

I did laundry here at the park - $2.00 each for wash & dry, and took a shower next door while the dryer was running. Plenty of hot water, good shower head, difficult to adjust control, 1 hook, a shower curtain, but water ran into the drying area anyway. There was a bench. I guess I'd have to call it average...

As mentioned, dinner was grilled chicken.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Day 103, Thursday, November 15, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - Tejas Valley RV Park, San Antonio, TX - 181.2 Miles, 6,435.2 Miles for the Trip

A much warmer evening, plus I had hookups, so the electric heater was on. In fact, I woke up around 3:00AM, found it was 69°F in the trailer & turned it down. I prefer to sleep with temperatures in the low 60's.

I stopped on the way out of the campground to dump the tanks. A strange hose system - a long hose, but on the door side (passenger side) of the trailer, so you have to spray water all over the place after you open the valve & run around to the dump (driver's) side of the trailer. In any case, the tanks were at 2/3rds full and are now empty.

An uneventful drive down US 90 to San Antonio, and the Tejas Valley RV Park. Lots of construction on Potranco Road, the entrance road to the park, with traffic backed up in both directions. I'm in site 50, a full hookup site for $40.50 per night with the Good Sam discount. Very tight sites, although I do have a picnic table near the back of the site. Level enough that I wouldn't have needed to unhook, although since I am heading to Ford for an oil change & Apple to check the laptop, I unhooked anyway. A large park, and the bathrooms & laundry are at the other end from my site.

While there is AT&T as well as Verizon coverage, the AT&T speed is slow enough to be unusable (at least at dinner time). Verizon is showing 1.3MB download & 2.8MB upload. The campground WiFi has lots of nodes, but is very slow. I stuck with the Verizon Jetpack.

After setting up, I drove to McCombs West Ford for their quick oil change & tire rotation. While not standard, as it was with the Tacoma, I asked for & got synthetic oil. I prefer that when towing since it seems to hold up better under high loads & temperatures.

No site photo until tomorrow since it was dark by the time I got back from the oil change. I do hate city traffic (as well as city RV parks) but that is where I needed to be to get my current projects done.

I called the Matagorda post office to see if they do general delivery (Anne is going to mail me my new Medicare card & the trailer registration) and the answer is sorta. All the other places I've done general delivery just had you address the mail to me C/O General Delivery, but the post master (well, mistress) wants me to mail her a letter with my ID before she can accept a general delivery letter. I may try Bay City, although it is a bit further away from the Matagorda campground.

Dinner was a microwaved El Monterey Chicken Enchilada dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Day 102, Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - Seminole Canyon State Park, Comstock, TX,

Site 31
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - Seminole Canyon State Park, Comstock, TX, 219.4 Miles, 6,254 Miles for the Trip

Last night was the coldest of the trip, maybe even the coldest I've had in the Escape 21. It was down to 32°F by 11:00PM, and during the early morning hours, 23°F. Around midnight I turned up the furnace thermostat to 60°F to keep the pipes from freezing. I guess it worked - the water ran OK in the toilet & sinks. It was still below freezing as I packed up the trailer at 9:30AM, and didn't hit 50F until well down US 90, heading to Del Rio. Once I had phone service, I called the Ford dealer in Del Rio (Cecil Atkission Ford Lincoln), and left a message with the service manager asking for a first service on my F 150. Unlike my previous vehicles, the Ford gives you a percentage until needing an oil change, and mine is at 10%, the point where Ford suggests you start looking for a dealer. Unfortunately, they didn't call back. If I don't hear from them, I'll see if I can stay an extra day at San Antonio and find a dealer there. The plan is to get my laptop checked at the Apple Store in San Antonio. When I tried to use the Ethernet connection, it didn't work. Either the adapter or both thunderbolt ports are bad & I'd like to find out which while it is still under Applecare.

I stopped for the day about 30 miles from Del Rio at the Seminole Canyon State Park in Comstock, TX. $20.00 for an electric & water site plus a $5.00 per person entry fee for a total of $25.00. I'm in site 31, an almost level pull through (I didn't have to unhook). It is on top of a hill, with great views in every direction If the skies stay clear, it should be good for star gazing, although it is expected to get down to 34°F overnight, so I might not spent too much time outside.

Fast, but weak AT&T coverage, both phone (2-3 bars) & data (-111dBm with amp). No Verizon connection, either phone or Jetpack. I did discover a strange message on my Verizon phone when I checked it here in the campground. "Your LTE voice has been disconnected". It might have appeared there on the drive to the campground, along which there were a couple of towns with Verizon coverage.

Dinner was a chicken pot pie.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Day 101, Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 10

Rio Grande Hot Spring
Tuesday, November 13, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 10 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Not quite as cold as predicted, but a long way from a warm, cozy night. By 8:00 the furnace started cycling (set at 56°F), it was down to 36°F by morning, and only 48°F at 2:00PM. I finished Wilber Smith's Men of Men, and started Rick Riordan's Widower's Two-Step. So far, so good.

I decided to make use of the clear skies (on the solar panels) and microwave a Tai Pei Orange Chicken meal for lunch - I'll have a sandwich for dinner. Even after the 5 minute microwaving, the batteries are full at 2:00.

I decided to recheck the hot spring along the Rio Grande, mostly for something to do. Not much different from the last time a couple of years ago. There are a bunch of buildings near the parking area that, at one time was a resort. The park service is restoring them, although very slowly; not much has changed since the last time I photographed them. I'm glad the hot spring is hot - the air temperature was in the high 40's but it was full of people. I'm also including a photo of the clouds at sunset over the mountains behind the campground. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

As mentioned, dinner will be a sandwich.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 12, 2018

Day 100, Monday, November 12, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 9

On the Way to Panther Junction
Monday, November 12, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 9 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

I lied about the chicken patty for dinner - instead it was left over pizza, no better than it was the day before, but now it's gone.

I emptied one of my 20 pound propane tanks yesterday, so this morning's project was to get a refill. The campground store sells propane, $21.25 to refill a 20 pound tank. at 4.6 gallons, not the least expensive I've run into by a long shot, but the nearest next location for propane is about 80 miles away.

The weather prediction for tonight is "interesting" - 30% chance of snow & tomorrow's high around 34°F. Sure hope it is wrong, but right now at 11:00 it is 55°F and going down rather than up! At least I have full propane tanks and, by the end of the day, full batteries.

While paying for the propane, I remembered that I was reading my last book, and since the Kindle is not downloading books, I'm in trouble. They have a small book kiosk at the store, and there were three books by Rick Riordan, a "Texas style author". I've read one of his books - Big Red Tequila, and while I don't remember it, it wasn't on my "Don't buy any more by this author" list, so I bought all three. It may be awhile before I get to them since I'm in the middle of a 700 page Wilber Smith book - Men of Men, the second book in his Ballantyne novels, but I love his books, and they read pretty quickly. I would have preferred to read all 4 of the series in order, but since I've already read the third book, The Angels Weep, that isn't going to happen. If you are interested in historic novels about Africa or Egypt, I highly recommend his work.

Other than that, it is a pretty much "sit around the trailer" day. A mix of sun & clouds, with enough sun to warm up the trailer, but too much wind, and a little too cool to sit around outside.

I took a break from just sitting, and headed to Panther Junction (20 miles from the campground) to mail a couple of postcards to my grandkids. As long as I was there, I also decided to head to Chisos Basin just because I was within 10 miles of the store. I did find some large bowls at the store, something I was out of back at the trailer.

By the way, the description of the temperature differences during the winter between Chisos Basin & Rio Grande Village is that the Basin is actually warmer because the cold air drains off the mountain into the valley where Rio Grande Village is located. Maybe it isn't winter yet - it was 34°F at the Chisos Basin store, and 55°F at my campsite.

Maybe the chicken patty will be tonight's dinner...

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Day 99, Sunday, November 11, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 8

Sunday, November 11, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 8 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Not much going on today (as usual). The big news is it got cold enough last night (44°F) for the furnace to kick on for the first time here, maybe for the trip. Other than that, a relaxing day. There was intermittent sun & clouds, so the batteries are almost full. I am going to wait until later to try to post yesterday's (and today's) pages, hoping they get the internet connection back together.

Dinner will be a grilled chicken patty.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 98, Saturday, November 10, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 7

Saturday, November 10, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 7 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

I must have hit the laundry at the right time. The wind yesterday knocked out power to the campground (and the rest of Big Bend) for at least part of the day. No gas, propane, or internet (or washers & dryers). I never noticed - one of the advantages of dry camping. I am down quite a bit on the batteries. I was planning on baking a pizza from the store in the oven, but they only sold them in pairs, and I don't have room in the freezer for one. So, I made enchiladas. That required about 10 amp hours of Microwaving, but they were good. As of 3:00, I'm still down23 amp hours and it is partly cloudy, so I'm only getting 8 amps of charging from the solar panels. When the sun comes out, it jumps to 16 amps, but that isn't often enough to get me back to full by the end of the day.

I didn't do anything other than read, and take a couple of walks around the campground. The wind died down to minor gusts around 9:00 last night, and while cool at 57°F, it didn't get much cooler overnight. Unfortunately, it also didn't get much warmer until late afternoon - it is 69°F at 3:00.

Well, I'm at the store, and it seems the internet is still down, so I won't be posting tonight. I'll try again tomorrow. By the way, the campground is fuller than I've seen it during my stay. There are still a few shallow sites left, but most have RVs or tents. A few have tomorrow as their exit day, but others are here during the week. Lots of tents, most small backpacker styles.

As to dinner, I made enough room in the freezer to hold the second pizza, so it looks like a frozen pizza for dinner. It is "no name" brand, so it might not be worth the effort, but I'm running out of ideas out of the refrigerator. So, all the 2 piece, 12" pizzas are gone. I don't know if they thawed with the power outage, of all were sold after 4:00 yesterday, but I suspect the former. I do wonder about all the other frozen microwave meals that were ( and still are) in the freezer next to the empty space for the pizzas. In any case, they did have some Geno's pepperoni 14" refrigerator pizzas still in the freezer section, so I bought one. Hopefully, it won't kill me!

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, November 9, 2018

Day 97, Friday, November 9, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 6

Friday, November 9, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 6 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Well, what ever warmth was here at Big Bend, it's gone. Not only is it only 56°F at 2:30 PM, it has been very windy. The weather posting said to expect 30MPH winds; they are at least that. A few tents blown down, and everyone huddled (including me) inside their RVs or vehicles. I feel sorry for those in motorcycles. While most have tents, they are small; it can't be much fun.

I spent most of the day reading. After my 3:00 eye drops, I'll head over to post this page & maybe do a load of laundry & a shower. It depends on how many others have the same idea - there are only 2 or 3 machines covering both campgrounds. While the dry section is pretty empty, the full hookup section is near full.

Well, I'm here and all the machines are empty, so the laundry is underway. I'll do my usual shower while the clothes are in the dryer.

I haven't decided on dinner, but it will be something that can be cooked inside, but not in the microwave. I'm still down by 20 amp hours this afternoon, and with the heavy clouds, only making around 2 amps from the solar panels. While I haven't fired up the furnace, I do expect it will be running later. The wind makes it feel even cooler than it is, both inside & out.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Day 96, Thursday, November 8, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 5

A 79 Minute Exposure Star Circle
Thursday, November 8, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 5 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

A warm overnight - only down into the mid 60's, and still in the mid 70's at midnight. I set up my tripod & dug out the D800 for a star circle photo.

By the way, Amy's Mushroom Risotto Bowl is delicious! The only problem is it requires microwaving, and with last night's run, by morning, after toast & coffee, I was down 50 amp hours, at 78% battery capacity. It was also a bit cloudy this morning, so I was wondering if I'd be able to make it up. The sun came out around 11:00, and when I left for Chisos Basin for dinner (around 2:30) it was only down 3.5 amp hours.

As mentioned, I drove to Chisos Basin for an early dinner. The restaurant lunch service ends at 4:00, and dinner doesn't start until 7:00, so I went early. Dinner chosen from a fairly limited menu was a couple of soft fish tacos with rice & beans. Not bad, but with tip, $20.00, more than I usually spend even at restaurants. The dinner menu was entirely more different, with more substantial meals (and more substantial prices).

I took a couple of photos of the Basin mountains on the way out. I also stopped at the campground. It was now listed as full, and sure looked like it. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Day 95, Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 4

Balanced Rock
Wednesday, November 7, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 4 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Another warm day & cool (52°F) night. While it has been close, I haven't run the furnace yet here at Big Bend.

After breakfast I headed to Grapevine Hills Road & Balanced Rock. A gravel/dirt road in good shape that I followed to the campgrounds at the end (all were empty, but many closer to the highway had RVs or tents). I parked at the trailhead for Balanced Rock, filled my water bottle & headed out. A 2.2 mile round trip with only 80' of altitude gain, most of which was a bit of scramble at the end (and, which I did a bit more of than necessary when I took a wrong turn). The rest was a wide gravel or sand path. Lots of interesting rock formations along the way.  Many more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After the 7 mile drive back to a paved road, I headed back to the campground to process the photos. I'll head to the store to post them & the page a bit later.

By the way, one big difference between my winter (December & February) visits to Big Bend are mosquitoes. I never noticed them on the previous visits; this time they are pretty savage! Both mornings & evenings (around dinner time) they are feasting. While they haven't looked like a blanket on my legs like they did at Matagorda, there are enough that you are continuous slapping them, often more than one at a time. The flies also seem to be more numerous, but at least they don't bite.

So far I have not needed to tilt the solar panels. I've been down as much as 40 amp hours by morning (after listening to the XM Radio & making a pot of coffee, but made it up by early afternoon.

Dinner will be an Amy's Mushroom Risotto Bowl.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Day 94, Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 3

A Roadrunner
Tuesday, November 6, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

I spent most of the morning sitting outside reading, then decided to take the Boquillas Canyon hike. I took a bunch of photos, got back to the trailer, and while Lightroom Classic CC let me download the photos, it would not go into the editing mode. Of course I didn't have an internet connection at the campsite, but according to my subscription, I should be able to go for 90 days without a connection before it stops working. A window pops up that tells me I don't have an internet connection, suggests going to Adobe help, which, of course, requires an internet connection! I finally drove over to the store for their connection to edit the images. Not sure what is going on since the store connection is very slow & doesn't seem to be able to connect to Adobe's help forums.

Anyway, more photos from the hike are at today's LakeshoreImages Page.

So, I'm posting this a bit early. Not sure what dinner will be, but something simple. My stomach rebelled at last night's meal, keeping me up part of the night.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, November 5, 2018

Day 93, Monday, November 5, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 2

Monday, November 5, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

Just an interesting note - Knowing I was heading to the Rio Grande Village Campground, with its one pump (well, 2 - it also has diesel) gas station, I topped off the tank at Marathon at $3.35 per gallon, knowing it would be more expensive at the campground. Checked the pump at Rio Grande Village, and it was $2.93 per gallon. Oh well, it was only $20.00 worth.

A warm night, although the morning got down to 52°F outside & 59°F in the trailer. I had the furnace set for 56°F, so it never came on.

It warmed up quickly, and by noon, was in the 80's. I spent most of the day finishing setting up the campsite, trying again to get the NanoStation to work (no success), and reading. After my 3:00 eye drops, I dug out some shrimp from the freezer to thaw, then headed for a shower & to post today's page. The campground is still less than half full, with people leaving & new arrivals.

Dinner will be shrimp Alfredo.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Day 92, Sunday, November 4, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX

Site 72, Rio Grande Village Campground, Big Bend National Park, TX
Sunday, November 4, 2018 - Big Bend National Park, TX - 146.1 Miles, 6,034.6 Miles for the Trip

An uneventful drive to Big Bend National Park. I stopped at Alpine to pick up some water & ice cream. It reached the 70's on the way to Big Bend, and is now (at 5:30 maybe, since my phones say 4:30 and think I'm back in Mountain time) 81°F. At Panther Junction, all the campgrounds show available sites, even the parking lot with hookups at Rio Grande Village. While I'd like to be as Chisos Basin, the sites there are pretty small for my 21. They have a 20' limit on trailers, and while my 21 is actually the equivalent of an 18' stick built trailer (fiberglass manufacturers include the tongue in the measurement while stick built only include the body), I remember that most of the sites barely fit my 17.

I drove to the Rio Grande Village dry campground. Lots of open sites. I'm in site 72, a pull through dry site for $7.00 per night with the Senior Pass discount. Close to the bathrooms, but around 3/4 of a mile to the store, showers & laundry & WiFi. No cell service (or FM radio) here at the campground, so my entertainment will have to be my XM Radio (and, of course, books).

I tried setting up the NanoStation (a WiFi relaying radio) and while it did connect to the store WiFi, it is too far away through the trees to make a usable connection. I will still have to walk over to post pages.

After the frustration of trying to set up the WiFi system, I decided dinner will be simple - a chicken sandwich & salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 91, Saturday, November 3, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 3

The Milky Way Over the Trailer
Saturday, November 3, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 3 - 0 Miles, 5,888.58 Miles for the Trip

Much warmer overnight - only down to 51°F rather than Thursday's low of 31°F (which froze my water line for a couple of hours). I went outside last night around 10:00 to try for some star & milky way photos, but the traffic on the main road into the campground & my next door neighbors made it difficult - headlights, taillights & flashlights. It is also not the best time of year for the milky way. Too edge on so you don't get the full impact. I included a few photos anyway.  The other two are at today's  LakeshoreImages post.

I decided to go to the park restaurant for dinner. A nice adobe building that is also a lodge with many rooms. Only problem is it is only open until 2:00PM & I arrived at 5:00. No problem, I'll head to town only 4 miles away. There are about 4 restaurants in town, and guess what? They all close at 2:00. Doesn't anyone visiting Fort Davis eat dinner? What's more, one of them had outside tables with people drinking wine & eating cheese, but no one came to seat me & no one seemed to be in charge.

I headed to Porter's Thriftway, the local grocery store hoping they had fried chicken or other prepared meals, but while they were open, no fast food. I settled for a frozen packet of Tastee Choice Orange Chicken (a meal for 2, complete with rice). Actually, while I've never heard of it before, it wasn't bad. A bit too much sauce for the amount of rice, few Chinese vegetables, but plenty of chicken, and enough for 1 1/2 people.

I'm not driving back to the top of Skyline drive to post this, so you will have to wait until tomorrow when I drive through somewhere with cell coverage.

I'm now in Marathon, TX, found a good Verizon signal, so I'm posting yesterday's page. Who knows when the next post will be - no cell service at Rio Grance Village other than WiFi at the store.

Until Tomorrow?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day 90, Friday, November 2, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 2

Friday, November 2, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX, Day 2 - 0 Miles, 5,888.58 Miles for the Trip

As those of you that saw yesterday's post, I did drive into Fort Davis to get a haircut & post the page. I did find that if I left the Verizon connection up long enough, mail came through, although slowly. It still would not do web pages or stream radio, both of which worked fine off & on on the campground WiFi.

I headed to the showers after my 3:00 eye drops. Looking over the posting from the last time I was here, I complained that the showers were OK, except the water never got more than lukewarm. Plenty of hot water today, in fact, my only complaint was too much water pressure. A standard shower head, but the pressure was so strong that it hurt to stand under it. I guess I'll find something to complain about, no matter what!

Dinner was one of my chicken stews out of the freezer.

I'm going to drive the skyline drive to see if there is a better Verizon connection at the top. If not, this post won't happen until tomorrow.

I'm up at the viewpoint, and have 3 bars of 4G LTE service (-87dBm) compared to -116dBm at the campsite, so I have posted the updates.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day 89, Thursday, November 1, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX

Site 40
Thursday, November 1, 2018 - Davis Mountain State Park, Fort Davis, TX - 84.7 Miles, 5,888.58 Miles for the Trip

A short drive to Davis Mountain State Park at Fort Davis, TX. I'm here for three nights in site 40 at $26.00 per night in an electric & water site ($20.00 for the site & a $6.00 park admission fee). Enough front to back slope that I needed 7 Lego blocks under the tongue jack to level the trailer. Other than that, the site is OK. I was originally assigned site 41, a more level site, but there are tent campers in the site that are waiting until the last minute to leave, so I asked for the move. Reasonably close to the showers, although from what I remember the last time I was here, the hot water is only warm, and since it is only in the 50's, I'm not sure how much I'll be using them.

Strange connectivity. No AT&T, and while I have a 2 bar, 4G LTE Verizon connection (with the amplifier), no data. The park WiFi provides slow access to web pages, allows radio streaming, but not mail. It doesn't look like Dreamweaver is able to connect to 1&1 (my ISP) so no posting from the campground. As I said, strange. Davis Mountain is between the campground and Fort Davis, so I will haul the computer & my hotspot to town when I go for a haircut later today and see if the connectivity is any better.

So, if you don't hear from me tomorrow or the next day, (or maybe today) I'm still here, but didn't drive to find a connection.

If the weather holds, dinner will be a Bubba burger & Bush Bourbon & Brown Sugar beans.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Day 88, Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Oasis RV Park, Van Horn, TX

Site 19
Wednesday, October 31, 2018 - Oasis RV Park, Van Horn, TX - 178.4 Miles, 5,803.8 Miles for the Trip

I stretched out breakfast, hoping the rain would stop long enough to hook up, but it never stopped, all the way to Van Horn. Brief bits of sun, but mostly rain. It got colder the further south I went (something is wrong with that!) Anyhow, I arrived at the Oasis RV Park in Van Horn, TX around 2:30 (lost an hour with a time zone change to central time). A level, full hookup site (#19) on gravel/dirt for $27.00 with a Good Sam's discount. I stayed here in 2016, and complained that the shower head fell off when I tried to adjust it, and that it was difficult to put back on. Well, it finally completely fell off - no shower head, but because of the design, no threads to put my travel shower head on in place of the broken one. It is that kind of place. Clean, and it looks like the owner tries to keep it up, but very worn. Good AT&T & Verizon coverage, as well as park WiFi that I didn't try.

The original plan was to unhook & head to a laundromat, but there was a sign at the RV park stating it had a laundry, so I left the truck connected, tossed my clothes in the laundry basket and headed for the pool. Yes, the pool. The pool is also a laundromat, exercise room, used clothing sales, and stage for both movies & performances. A cold wind was blowing in through an open section of windows that didn't close. There were 10 or so washers & dryers alternating along one wall. $2.50 wash & $3.00 dry. Towards the end of my dryer run, the rain got heavy enough that the roof leaked a bit over the machines, the only place available to fold my clothes.

All in all, not high on my recommendation list, but OK for an overnight stop (although I do recommend finding a real laundromat). Oh, one more thing - an active railroad goes by next door.

I remembered enjoying dinner at Chuy's Mexican restaurant across the street the last time I was here, so I went again this time. Fish tacos (3) with rice & beans, and very hot green sauce. Again, a good meal for $12.00 with iced tea.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Day 87, Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Leasburg Dam State Park, NM

Site 29
Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - Leasburg Dam State Park, NM - 95.8 Miles, 5,625.4 Miles for the Trip

No rush to get out of Faywood Hot Springs since I was only planning to drive around 100 miles to Leasburg Dam State Park. On the other hand, if I left early enough, there was a chance of getting a site with hookups, a good idea for today since the clouds are pretty heavy, and predicted to hang around.

Most of the times I pulled into the Leasburg Dam after 12:00, the non reserved sites were gone. I pulled out around 9:30, and did find a small, back in site available for one night that required unhooking & parking the truck next to the trailer. I'm in site 29, an almost level electric & water site with a shaded picnic table a short walk to the bathrooms & showers.

As I pulled in, I discovered an Escape 21 parked in site 27. They are a full time couple that have been following my blog. They are staying in New Mexico long enough to make the out-of-state pass worth the $225.00 they charge (Only $100.00 for residents over 62). With that, I believe dry sites are free & sites with hookups $4.00/$8.00 per night. I almost made enough stays this year to make it worth it, but didn't get the ticket.

After setting up I read for awhile, visited next door, then headed to Walmart to restock the refrigerator. I hoped to find El Monterey Chicken, Cheddar and Mozzarella Cheese Empanadas, since I found them in the Las Cruces Walmart last time I was here, but no luck. While El Monterey still lists them on their web site & refers you to the nearest Walmart to buy them, I haven't seen them in over a year.

Dinner was a thin crust frozen pizza.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 29, 2018

Day 86, Monday, October 29, 2018 - Faywood Hot Springs Resort, Deming, NM

Site 17, Faywood Hot Springs Resort
Monday, October 29, 2018 - Faywood Hot Springs Resort, Deming, NM - 3.3 Miles, 5,529.6 Miles for the Trip

I packed up the rest of the trailer, my 9'X12' doormat, stove, etc and was ready to leave around 10:00. Since that was a bit early (official check in time at Faywood is 2:00) I sat around for an hour, then headed out.

While Faywood Hot Springs Resort is anything but a "Resort", it also doesn't charge resort prices. $27.44 for a full hook up site, although it is the first campground that has an extra charge for more than one person (maybe because the use of the hot springs is free to campers). In any case, I'm in a pull through (site 17) on gravel. Along with the campsite photo, I included one of the reflection of a Yucca in my entry door window taken at City of Rocks which you can see at today's LakeshoreImages page.

The site is a short walk to the bathroom & shower (yes, just one of each) and a bit longer walk to the hot springs. The have both clothing required, and clothing optional pools (as well as a clothing optional section of the campground). I did some soaking in one of the hot springs - not the nicest, but far from the worst I've been to. After a half hour of so, it was back to the trailer for some lunch & reading, then, after my 3:00 eye drops, back to the hot spring.

After a shower, thankfully with hard water, at least compared to that at City of Rocks so it didn't take 15 minutes to rinse, I sat outside reading until dinner time. Dinner was a microwaved Tai Pai Orange Chicken. While the chunks of chicken were barely recognizable, the rest of the meal was pretty good for microwaved Chinese food. A couple of advantages over most of the frozen Chinese dinners is that it included the rice, and was actually sized for one person.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Day 85, Sunday, October 28, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 12

Sunday, October 28, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 12, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Another quiet day, although it must have been Escape visitor's day. Three Escape owners stopped by to say hello, one of which is staying in a 19 on the other side of the park.

Other than visiting with people I've met on the road, I spent the day outside reading. I though about packing up like I usually do the day before leaving, but since I don't have to be out of the site until 2:00, and I'm only going a mile of two down the road (assuming there are sites available at Faywood Hot Springs) I can wait until tomorrow to pack.

Dinner was a couple of chicken & apple brats, along with some peaches and potato chips.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 84, Saturday, October 27, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 11

Saturday, October 27, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 11, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Well, today was boring enough that I almost forgot to make a post! I spent all of it sitting outside reading. I did go for a short walk, then walked to the visitor center for a shower. That was about it for the day.

Dinner was the rest of yesterday's fried chicken and potato salad.

Until Tomorrow - 

Friday, October 26, 2018

Day 83, Friday, October 26, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 10

Late Day Lighting & Interesting Clouds
Friday, October 26, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 10, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

After dinner last night I walked around the campground & took a few photographs of the nice sky & late day light.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

This morning I moved outside as soon as it warmed up, and did some reading, enjoying the sun. Eventually, I got a call from Walgreens that my prescription was ready so I headed to Deming to pick it up. I also stopped at Pepper's Grocery for a couple of items, as well as chicken & potato salad for dinner.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Day 82, Thursday, October 25, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 9

Bird Attack!
Thursday, October 25, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 9, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

A slow morning. I made bacon, eggs & home fries for a late breakfast to use up the bacon before its expiration date.

I walked around the electric loop to see what new RVs arrived, walked to the office & back, but spent most of the day sitting outside reading. The John D. MacDonald book Nothing Can Go Wrong is not one of his novels or Travis McGee mysteries (a wonderful series of 21 books that originated the "Florida" detective style. Instead, it is non fiction about his time on the last cruise of the last American cruise ship written by both him & the captain of the S. S. Mariposa. Much slower than his usual novels, but an interesting view of the cruise ship industry. Written in 1981 about a trip in 1977, it shows a very different industry than today.

A bird became very interested in the bird in my truck mirror - where do you thing the term "bird brain" came from? I put the 80 - 400 zoom lens on the D850 & took a few photos of him/her attacking the bird in the mirror. I believe it is a cactus wren, but the colors are a bit different from those in my bird book. In any case, a bit of entertainment for the afternoon.

Dinner was a steak, pepper & onion sandwich made with left overs from last night's dinner and today's breakfast, and a peach cup.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Day 81, Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 8

The New Running Boards
Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 8, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

I got a call that the running board shipment was in, so I headed back to Deming this morning. Took an hour or so to install, then headed over to Peppers to pick up a steak & some yogurt. I was back at the campground a little before noon.

A very nice day - I sat outside in the sun for much of the afternoon, then headed for a shower after my 3:00 eye drops. After that it was more reading. I finished Robert Parker's A Catskill Eagle, one of his better Spenser mysteries, and started a John D. MacDonald (and Captain John H. Kilpack) novel that I haven't read. I though I'd read everything that MacDonald wrote, but found Nothing Can Go Wrong.

Dinner was a "T" Bone steak & mashed potatoes.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Day 80, Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 7

Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 7, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

A boring day. Rain off & on, sometimes fairly heavy & steady. There was an hour break where I walked the main road around the campground, but no more than 5 minutes after I returned to the trailer, the rain started back again. I did a lot of reading. Finished Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach, which I enjoyed. That & my usual forums & blogs was about it for the day. Seems awfully wet for the desert, although I know this is the rainy season.

I thought about heading to the bathrooms for a shower, but I'd get soaked just getting there. By the way, the showers are only OK. No bench (in the regular shower; there is one in the handicapped shower), lots of hooks, the standard high pressure, low volume showerhead, push button that lasts about 20 seconds, and lukewarm water that is cool by the time it reaches half way down your body due to the fine spray showerhead. the other day when someone was in the standard stall, I showered in the handicapped one - the handheld showerhead was far more practical, and the water was warm enough to be comfortable. All of it is super soft water that takes multiple rinsing to get rid of the "slick" feel.

Dinner was a chicken thigh & leg along with the rest of the potato salad from yesterday's purchase at Pepper's.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 22, 2018

Day 79, Monday, October 22, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 6,

Monday, October 22, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 6, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Well, I was planning to show a photo of the new running boards on the truck, but when they attempted to install them, they discovered that running boards for a Super Crew Cab rather than the Super Cab were delivered. They didn't fit, so it will be another day or two before the replacements arrive. It would be nice if there were standard names for the different door & seating arrangements between brands (or even over the years for the same brand, but they don't, so ordering parts can get confusing. I had the same problem with the Tacoma; they had a couple of different names for the different models.

Other than that I did OK on the run to Deming. I picked up some supplies & groceries from Walmart & Pepper's Supermarket, had my eye pressure test at the Southwestern Eye Center, and got the address for their partners in Lake Havasu City, where I'll be when it is time for my visual field test. I think I'm doing OK pressure wise, but will talk with Oswego eye doctor later in the week to make sure she is happy with the results.

By the time I finished with everything, it was 3:30, so I picked up some fried chicken and potato salad for dinner at Pepper's Supermarket. Both were excellent.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Day 78, Sunday, October 21, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 5

Some of City of Rocks Rocks
Sunday, October 21, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 5, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Happy 48th Birthday to my son Kyle!

A cloudy Sunday. I started the day by sleeping late listening to the puzzle on NPR, then a lazy breakfast & forum reading. As it warmed up, I went for a walk with my camera taking some photos of the rocks. While I have lots of them, most of these were at a section I haven't visited before. More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I got an automated call that my prescriptions were ready, but I'll wait until tomorrow to head to Deming when I hope the running boards are here & ready to install.

Dinner was a chicken pot pie.

Until Tomorrow -

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Day 77, Saturday, October 20, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 4

Site E5
Saturday, October 20, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 4, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Well, the class C in one of the first come sites started packing up, and since the volunteer that checked me into the host site for the weekend told me I could move to the first available first come site, I packed up the trailer & headed to site E5. When I got there the ranger let me know that someone else had already paid for the site. Seems a different volunteer let someone else have the site. Oh well, I am no better or worse off than I was before the attempted move, although I did have to break down & set up for nothing. I can't really blame anyone since it was different people, and they don't really do reservations on the first come sites. I can still move to a dry site on Monday, although my favorites are still filled.

A warm, but windy day. 70°F at 12:30, but a bit too windy to sit outside. The clouds are heavier than yesterday; little sunshine. So far I spent the day reading. Current book - J. A. Jance's Remains of Innocence. I swear I've read it, but it isn't in my "read books" database. I did lose a bunch of records a few years back - that might be the reason. Almost like a new book with just vague hints of what is coming.

I got email & a text message from Verizon letting me know I have used 90% of this month's allotment of data on my Jetpack (15GB before it slows down to 600KB for the rest of the month). Not a real problem other than inconvenience since I still have unlimited on the phone & iPad. Both can be hotspots, and while the phone has the same speed reduction after 15GB, at least according to the Verizon website, the iPad does not have any data limit reduction. I'm using the phone now, and it is well under 1GB. Seems a bit silly on Verizon's part since I'll be using the same amount of data, just on different devices. AT&T's restrictions make more sense - after 22GB, they slow you down only on congested towers. While I've never been slowed down on AT&T, even after using 40GB, I can't use them here - no AT&T service other than very spotty phone service. I got a voice mail that I couldn't understand, and can't originate phone calls. Of course none of this makes much sense since both networks call their data service "Unlimited", and all their services are limited.

Well the site problem has been solved. The person who paid for site E5 never showed up. The office called & they didn't call back, so the site went to the next person in line - ME! I'm now parked in site E5 until Monday, the 29th. Same view out the back window, and a bit closer to the bathrooms & showers. You probably can't tell the difference, but I included a new site photo anyway.

Since it is still fairly warm out (although windy), I decided to attempt grilling a Beyond burger along with some Bush Bourbon & Brown Sugar Beans, and a cling peaches cup.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, October 19, 2018

Day 76, Friday, October 19, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 3

Sunset Outside My Back Window
Friday, October 19, 2018 - City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Today was a big move; from site E7 to E4, which involved backing across a gravel road. I did learn at least one lesson. I left my water hose connected & tucked the free end into the trailer bumper. While backing, it caught on the campground water spigot, and caused one side of the trailer connection to jump a thread, i.e. it cross threaded the water connection. Took about 10 minutes with a pair of pliers to straighten things out. The moral? Don't take shortcuts! I should be here in one of the host sites for three days unless the new hosts show up earlier than they planned, in which case I'll have to move. In any case, I will have to move Monday.

Other than that the move was simple. I now have a nice view out the back of the trailer. I took a few photos during the afternoon, and later at sunset. I'm not sure it will be a good night for star photos because the moon is already up & pretty bright. The afternoon was beautiful. Around 72°F and mixed sun & clouds. A little too much wind, but I did get to sit outside for a couple of hours.  More photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

Dinner was a chicken Parmesan frozen dinner (well, it wasn't frozen when I ate it!).

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Day 75, Thursday, October 18, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 2

Thursday, October 18, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

Another dreary day. Rain off & on, and a high of 51°F. While there is heavy cloud cover, on the edge of the sky to the south, there is a bit of blue.

I didn't do much during the day other than read both my current book (David Baldacci's The Camel Club) and some on line forums & blogs. I took a break when the rain did as well, and went for a walk around the campground. Lots of sites are blocked with cones - not sure why, but one of them is one I've stayed in before. My favorite two dry sites both have campers, so unless they leave, on Sunday I'm not sure where I'll go.

Dinner was a salad.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 74, Wednesday, October 17, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM

The view From My Site
Wednesday, October 17, 2018 -City of Rocks State Park, Deming, NM, 109.6 Miles, 5,526.3 Miles for the Trip

A cold morning, but warmer than yesterday. I packed up the trailer & headed out. A relatively short drive to Deming, where I filled up on gas, stopped at a laundromat and did two loads of clothes, then stopped at a garage and ordered running boards for the truck. While I usually don't have a problem getting into the truck, both Don & Anne do. We even carried a step stool for Anne to get into the back seat. So, now that I'm stopped for a couple of days in the same location, I decided to add them. Too late for Anne on this trip, but there will be others in the future.

I then drove the 26 miles to City of Rocks State Park, my favorite New Mexico park. I usually dry camp, but a powered site was available for two days, and it is cloudy enough that I wouldn't be able to put back my usual usage with the solar panels, so I'm in site E7, an electric & water site for $18.00 per night (normally $14.00 per night, but I reserved on line, and had to pay an $8.00 reservation fee.)

I checked, and little or no AT&T service (at least data, and my phone shows no service) but Verizon works fine, and a check of data speed shows 63.2MB download, and 7.7MB upload; not too shabby!

I headed for the showers - unheated, and it is only 53°F outside (and inside). It took 3-4 cycles of the push button for the shower to get warm (it never got hot) but it was nice not to have to worry about filling the gray tank in the trailer. Overall, a rather cloudy & windy day, with little change predicted for the future.

By the time I got back to the trailer, it was time to start dinner. Barber Chicken Cordon Bleu, a Knorr's Chicken & Broccoli side, with snap peas.

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day 73, Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM, Day 2

Tuesday, October 16, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,416.7 Miles for the Trip

Not much happening today. Rain off & on overnight and all day long. It did get up to 50°F, but is cooling off this afternoon. Other than sitting around the trailer reading both my Kindle & some forums, about all I did is make a chicken stew for dinner. Not bad, although I forgot to buy an onion yesterday, so had to use onion flakes - not as good, but it worked.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 72, Monday, October 15, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM

Elephant Butte Lake, NM
Monday, October 15, 2018 - Elephant Butte Lake State Park, NM, 172.9 Miles, 5,416.7 Miles for the Trip

We said our good byes this morning, with Don & Anne starting for home & heading to Santa Rosa State Park, while I'm heading south to Elephant Butte Lake State Park. Very sad not to see the rear end of a Scamp in front of me, and I'll miss traveling with both of them!

I arrived here around 2:00, and found a pull through site (#18) that worked as long as I pulled in backwards. Fortunately, the trailer is small enough that I could turn around. Like all New Mexico state parks, only $14.00 per night for an electric & water site, one of the best state parks prices in the country. I'm quite aways from the showers & bathroom, but that doesn't matter because they are unheated, and today's high was 48°F. I did hook up the water since the weather report says it is only going down to 36°F tonight.

After setting up I headed to Walmart for some supplies, then back to the campground. I took a photo of the lake. Like most of those in the southwest, it is way below normal level.

Dinner was a Kahiki General Tso's Chicken Bowl & Roll. The bowl was a bit hot for me, and only 2 pieces of soggy chicken (it is a microwave only meal) but the egg roll was pretty good.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 71, Sunday, October 14, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 4

A Rainbow on the Way Home From the Santa Fe Ski Area
Sunday, October 14, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 4, 0 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

For those interested, I added the evening glow & fireworks photos to yesterday's page. Sorry I didn't post it until today, but i got home to late to put it together.

Because it too so long to get into the park on Saturday morning (we missed much of the morning glow & dawn lift offs) we decided to leave even earlier this morning - up at 3:30 and on the road at 4:30. No traffic on the road, and we were directed to the closest handicap parking lot, just a short walk to the main gate, i.e., we were about an hour early. Only problem - it started to rain, and the wind picked up. The morning glow (about all that was scheduled for the day) was called off. The good - our tickets can be used next year. Of course that only works if we are back next year, but who knows?

After heading back to the campground at 7:30AM, we all napped a bit, then headed to Santa Fe to see some sites recommended by one of Don's designers who lived there before coming to Binghamton. It wasn't the ideal day for sightseeing with fog, and light to medium rain off & on (mostly on). We did see the Loretto Chapel with its spiral staircase to the choir loft. While claimed as a miracle in that it doesn't have a center pole, I can't see anything that couldn't be done by a good carpenter. Maybe I've spent too much time dealing with stage sets! In any case, a pretty chapel both inside & out.

We ate lunch at the Plaza Cafe, highly recommended by Jane & Michael Stern in one of their Roadfood series. Good food, although the first fish taco I've eaten that requires the use of a knife & fork; you can't pick it up to eat.

After that we drove to the Santa Fe Ski Area. While too early for skiing, it wasn't too early for snow. A couple of inches of wet show at the top of the mountain (which was around 10,500'). After driving to ski area we headed home, stopping a few times for photos. We did get a few photos of the turning aspen. Pretty, but not up to an Adirondack Fall. Photos of Santa Fe & the drive to the ski area are at today's LakeshoreImages page.

We arrived back at the campground around 6:45. It is definitely cooling off. Around 43°F here in the campground. It was 37°F at Santa Fe, going down to freezing at the Ski Area. Dinner, if any, will be cheese & crackers. Lunch was filling!

Until Tomorrow -

Day 70, Saturday, October 13, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3

The Evening Glow
Saturday, October 13, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

Another early morning. The traffic was so bad that we stop & go in the right lane of I 25 for over a mile. It only took a half hour to drive to the point where we stopped, but close to another hour to get into the park. As usual, there were those that passed on the left, then tried (usually successfully) to jam their way into the line further down the road. One even pulled in at the end of the exit ramp.

We ended up parked the furtherest from the ticket booth of any of our visits, even with Don's Handicapped tag. A long walk to the gate, but on the way out we got a ride from one of the golf cart shuttles.

We missed the morning glow, and it looked like a good one - about a dozen balloons. Very crowded liftoffs, with a light wind. Fairly heavy, low clouds, so most of the balloons stayed very low over their ride.

I posted a few images at today's page, all of them at a Lightroom Web page.

We were back at the trailer around 11:00 after getting the cheapest gas of the trip at $2.50 per gallon and driving by what would have been the most expensive dry camping ( $70.00 per night if we had stayed) both at the Sandia Casino.

Dinner was a taco salad at the travel center.

More later.

It's later. We headed into the fiesta & they found an entirely new place for us to park. Too far to walk, but they had shuttles, a combined bus & golf cart ride. Evidently there were still too many vehicles in the regular parking lots to use them. Today was the most crowded of the fiesta - they had to close the roads for parking because all lots were filled (they were still taking walk-ins). Even the evening field was crowded.

They did a "Night Magic Glow", with hundreds of balloons glowing, but not flying. Hard to shoot because of the light contrast between the glowing balloons & the dark areas, but I got a few. I also made a movie or two that I'll post at a later date. After the glow they did the last fireworks show. We watched it from the parking lot. Not an ideal location like our previous fireworks shoots, but again, I posted a few at today's page, more of both the glow & the fireworks at tonight's Lightroom web built page. Lots of wiggles in the fireworks images - All are handheld because I couldn't use a tripod; too many vehicles between me and the field.

Until Tomorrow -

Friday, October 12, 2018

Day 69, Friday, October 12, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2

A Collection of Balloons
Friday, October 12, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

As mentioned in yesterday's journal, we went back to the Fiesta for their fireworks after dinner, and I didn't add the images until this afternoon. The first two photos are a combination of sky divers & fireworks, an interesting combination. The rest are standard fireworks, 3 pages of them (I get carried away).

Again, as mentioned, an early start to the day, getting up at 4:00AM & hitting the Fiesta around 5:30. Very calm winds, and only high clouds, so lots of balloon launches, including a morning glow. Most of the "glow" is done in sequence, i.e. one balloon after another. That works well visually, and as a video, but for still cameras it often leaves one or more blanks between balloons. I wish they would do a "photographer's special" of all the balloons lit at the same time for a second or two. In any case, I did get most of them.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around the grounds taking photos of balloons. Around 9:30, Don dropped his camera & lens off at the Canon booth. They have a great set up - free cleaning of a body & one lens. They also have free "rental" of many of their cameras & lenses for a day. I wish Nikon did the same!

After Don picked up his camera at 10:00, we headed back to the van, stopping to take pictures of the sky divers, and ask Ford how my new truck lets me know it is time for an oil change. Again, far too many photos, but you don't have to look at them all! Photos are at a Lightroom web generated set of pages.

I'll probably post any photos I take this evening tomorrow, since it is going to be another early morning.

Until Tomorrow -

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 68, Thursday, October 11, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM

A Balloon Over the Escape
Thursday, October 11, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, 21.2 Miles, 5,243.8 Miles for the Trip

Well, as you can see by our location, we didn't manage to talk the campground staff into letting us stay for the weekend. We didn't really expect to since they were fully booked, but we tried.

So, we are back at the Black Mesa Casino, or is it the San Felipe Casino shown on my credit card receipt, or is it the Hollywood Casino, which is the name at least one of the locals calls it. In any case, we are here, and not at the Black Mesa Golf Course in Santa Fe, which is also on a reservation, and may or may not, depending on who you ask, have a casino.

At 6:30AM, as we were getting ready to leave for the Fiesta, a moving "Glow" went over the campground. I took a bunch of photos, mot of which were useless because I didn't know it was coming, and didn't have a tripod available. In any case, I put a couple on the web page.

Today was the Special Shapes Rodeo, and I took far too many pictures. There are 4 pages of them in a Lightroom web display starting here. (While there are a few at today's LakeshoreImages page, they are also on the previous link.

When we got back to the campground, there were a few balloons still going over my trailer, so I took a few photos of them as well. The lighting was rough - heavy clouds covered the sun much of the day, resulting in dull lighting, with quick breaks of sunshine off & on. All in all, a fun day at the Fiesta. We will be going back tonight for the evening's events.

Dinner was at the Travel Center Cafe. Much better food & selection than at the Kitchen in the Casino, although a bit more expensive. I had a so so country fried steak, but will try one of the Mexican dishes next time.

After dinner we headed back to the Fiesta for the evening Special Shapes "Glow", but it was windy enough that it never happened. After listening to some terrible singing, we headed back to the car and moved it to a part of the parking lot that had a good view of the fireworks. They started with a night time parachute jump, then did the usual show in two locations. I only photographed the one near me. I'm not going to add the fireworks photos until tomorrow because it is already 9:30 and I'll be getting up at 4:00AM for the 22 mile drive to the Fiesta grounds.

Until Tomorrow -

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 67, Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 3

An Unusual Chase Vehicle
Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 3, 0 Miles, 5,222.6 Miles for the Trip

We got to sleep in a bit, hitting the bus shuttle stop at 5:30AM, late compared to yesterday. We boarded the school bus heading into the campground, and made the loop around the whole thing. We have been very lucky. Our sites are near the registration tent, which I thought was at the center of the campground. Nope - there is at least 3/4 more campground after it. This place is huge! I hope it is large enough that when we ask for an extension tomorrow morning (the earliest they would let us ask) we can get one. There has been a long line of trailers entering the campground all day, but it still looks like there are plenty of spaces. One is next to Don & Anne, which is much appreciated.  The Class B that was parked there had the loudest built in RV generator I've ever heard, and he ran it almost all the time allowed. The other good thing is we are in a pair of small sites in which most of the arrivals wouldn't fit.

While it was cold & windy, there was no rain this morning. They didn't do the Glow, and the only balloon that inflated before 9:00 was the American Flag one, and they left as soon as inflated. A very fast takeoff.

Around 9:00 the green flag went up and slowly the balloons inflated. Again, it was quite windy. Any inflated balloon that had to hang around waiting for the launch directors to give them permission to launch were rocking quite a bit. A few inflated, then deflated rather than flying. I made a couple of videos of the early launches, starting here: Movie 1.

I also took the usual bunch of photographs which are posted at today's LakeshoreImages page.

After a quick breakfast burrito at 12:00, we headed to the Balloon Museum. $4.00 for Seniors over 65. Unfortunately, I didn't catch that part of the price list and paid $6.00 - the out-of-state charge. I don't mind the donation. An interesting place. I took a few photos, but much of the exhibits consisted of written information. Check out the photo of the Los Angeles Air Ship when hit by strong tail winds on a tall anchor. Almost completely vertical!

Don & Anne went looking for a place for showers while I spent some time with the guy from Action RV set up next to our sites. I have to put in a plug for them - he spent over an hour looking for a 200 amp replacement fuse for my inverter, then, when his suppliers couldn't come up with one, phoned all over Albuquerque looking for a source. He found one at the NAPA distribution center and gave me directions to get there. One of the best RV shops I've dealt with. They are in Bosque Farms, NM at 505 294 1654. If you need something for RVing, I recommend them! If Don & Anne get back in time, we will grill a pork loin, otherwise it is going to be another restaurant meal!

Until Tomorrow -

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Day 66, Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 2

Many, Many Balloons in the Air, Including Us!
Tuesday, October 9, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, Day 2, 0 Miles, 5,222.6 Miles for the Trip

Another early day, but well worth it, even though I had to put off my morning coffee because my inverter wouldn't start.

We were not sure the balloon ride we had scheduled for this morning would happen. Very little wind, but it was raining. We rode the shuttle from the campground to the main gate, then walked to the sign in area, then had an hour to wait for our "march" to the balloon. By that time the rain had stopped and the clouds started to clear. The pilot was great - Kris Braden flying Dust In The Wind, an 8 passenger balloon. The ride one of the most enjoyable things I've done. After bouncing around in helicopters, I wasn't sure ballooning was for me, but it is a completely different experience. I'm hooked!

We were in the air for a little over an hour, including passing within range (but not really with a 17 - 35mm lens) of our trailers in the campground, seeing hundreds of other balloons in the air, then landed in the back of a school. The kids mobbed us, and the pilot gave them a chance to climb into the balloon basket, even help push it across the field. We had a great time. Lots more photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

I made a short video of part of the ride & posted it at YouTube: The Balloon Video.

After the balloon ride we dropped off Don & Ann's van at Toyota to have the air conditioning fixed, and we went to do laundry. After returning to the trailer, I put the laundry away, then checked a couple of things with the inverter (no luck) then headed to Walmart for some supplies. I was hoping to get a new trailer tongue lock, but the only one they had had the bar code torn off & no one could price it.

Back at the trailer I dug into the battery connections and discovered the 200 amp fuse to the inverter was cracked. I'll have to find a new one (and a spare) but after fiddling with it (a technical term) it seems to be working. We will see with tomorrow morning's coffee whether it holds up under load.

After that we headed over to some folks we met with an Airstream, sat around & snacked & talked traveling. No actual dinner tonight - we had Subway subs for a late lunch, and with the snacks, no one was hungry.

Until Tomorrow -

Monday, October 8, 2018

Day 65, Monday, October 8, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM

Our Sites at the Balloon Fiesta
Monday, October 8, 2018 - The Balloon Fiesta Campground, Albuquerque, NM, 21.7 Miles and 10', 5,222.6 Miles for the Trip

Finally, a lazy day. Didn't get up until 8:30, made breakfast & coffee & sat around until 11:30. We headed to the Fiesta campground and waited in a very long line to register. After filling the fresh water tanks, we were guided to our sites. We were told there would be no chance of getting 2 sites together, but that is what we got. Only problem is the volunteer that guided us thought our spaces were 3 sites, rather than 2, and parked us way too close together. I thought it was just the fiesta cramming in as many as possible, but Anne complained that she couldn't even get her awning out, and someone in management came over & told us it was 2, not 3 sites. Of course that was after I had set up, so I had to pack up to move 10'. We are next door to the registration booth, a bit of a haul to the balloon launch area, but it is a large area and we could be much further away. There are shuttles, not sure how often they run or if they can get us to our early morning balloon ride tomorrow.

After setting up for the second time, Don & Anne headed to Sam's Club for a set of tires for the van, & I wandered over to the Action RV booth & bought an Anderson Leveler to replace the one I somehow left behind. I got a good recommendation for a Hot Spring in T&C, NM, so I might stop on the way south.

Dinner was pizza from Mario's, along with a salad. While they said they would deliver to the campground, Don & Anne brought it back on the way back from getting tires.

Until Tomorrow -

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Day 64, Sunday, October 7, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Lots of Ballons
Sunday, October 7, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 3 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, 0 Miles, 5,200.9 Miles for the Trip

I didn't post yesterday's page until this morning. I was so wiped by the time we got back from the fireworks, I just hit the sack knowing that today was another 3:45AM morning. So, I'll post this page before tonight, and add some photos of the fireworks if they happen.

They canceled all flights and the organized morning "Glow" because of bad weather. They eventually did a Propane Glow, with hundreds of baskets firing off their propane without a balloon. Later, as the day warmed up, there was a major inflation, but not flying of balloons. If they ever did a mass ascension with the number of balloons on the grounds, it would be impressive. As it stands, that many balloons on the ground was impressive as well. As usual, I used the Lightroom Web Generator to make a couple of pages of this morning's visit. I did add the panoramas I made here since the image size using Lightroom doesn't allow mixing 1000 pixel wide images with 8000 pixel wide, the width I use with large panoramas. Check the The 47th Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta page for updates

We wandered around the grounds taking photos, then headed back to the campground around 8:45.

After returning to the campground, I worked on the morning photos, then we headed out to visit the Petroglyph National Monument. Anne bought her pin, and Don & I, of course, bought "T" shirts. While I started the trip with just enough "T" shirts to get through 2 weeks, I now have a closet full, and enough for a month!

There are a number of trails at the monument, however because of the weather (very windy & light rain) we only did one of them at Boca Negro Canyon. A short, but steep hike up a "paved" trail )while paved, much of it was rocks, including using them as steps). Not too difficult & lots of Petroglyphs along the way.

On the way back to the parking lot Don discovered a Tarantula & I got a couple of photos. Photos at today's LakeshoreImages page.

We also stopped at a Sam's Club, my first. I need a larger freezer! Some interesting frozen stuff that I've never seen before, but packages of 8 - 12 pieces, more than my little 6 cubic foot refrigerator can hold in the freezer.

Back at the campground I took down my Easy Up. It held up well in all the wind over the last two days, but we are leaving tomorrow to camp on the Fiesta grounds, and there isn't any sun to hide from.

Dinner is going to be a sandwich at the Kitchen, the Casino restaurant. After that we will head for the fireworks.

The fireworks were interesting. There was almost no one in the park, if fact no one took our money for parking. We drove to the parking area we were in last night since it had a great view of the fireworks. No one was in the lot. We parked, waited about 5 minutes, and off they went. A great show (afterwards we shouted to the crew thanking them - they were that close to our parking spot). Here is a link to a couple of Lightroom web pages of fireworks photos.

Until Tomorrow -

Day 63, Saturday, October 6, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta

Pre Dawn Launch
Saturday, October 6, 2018 - Black Mesa Casino, San Felipe, NM, Day 2 & The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, 0 Miles, 5,200.9 Miles for the Trip

It was rise & shine at 3:45 this morning for a 4:30AM drive to the Balloon Fiesta site. Traffic on I 25 was backed up almost a mile at the exit for the Fiesta, and it was stop & go all the way to the parking lot. Lots of @%&$(%# (You can insert your own term here) drivers that drove past the mile backup at the exit and forced their way into the waiting traffic just before the off ramp.

The Fiesta in not inexpensive - $15.00 for parking, and $10,00 each to get in. What's more, they consider the morning & evening different "sessions", i.e. you need to buy new parking & entry tickets if you plan to come back at night.

The Fiesta is billed as the largest ballooning event in the US. I believe it. hundreds of balloons taking off in successive groups with new launches occurring all morning. It was ideal ballooning weather - Cool, and light winds in enough layers in different directions that many of the balloons landed back on the field after traveling all over Albuquerque. The "Glow" was interesting, as was the launches before dawn. The lighting got harsh as the sun came over the launch area, particularly when shooting towards it. Quite an experience!

Here are a few examples, more have links posted at a page I started for the Fiesta, or use the link at the bottom of the pictures to get to this morning's photos.

We waited in lines (Anne in a short one for a funnel cake) and Don & I in a very slow moving (45 minute) line to get pins & "T" shirts. After that we headed back to the campground to relax after the early morning.

Dinner was a couple of sandwiches, then back to the Fiesta for the evening fireworks.

Until Tomorrow -