Day 3, Big Bend National Park, Texas

December 21st, 2008
Oh the places we will go

Oh the places we will go

Day three was a bit cooler than the past two and we woke up to 35 degrees (high of 53).  Rumor has it we are still having a heat wave compared to home.  We heard there is a major snowstorm… Hope all are warm and safe.  Today we headed out in the truck to check out possible camp sites for later this week and to get in some hiking.  We stopped at Rio Grande Village, taking the last major road we had not yet explored on the bikes.

HO HO HO Merry Christmas, Kim and Chris in the Hot Spring

HO HO HO Merry Christmas, Kim and Chris in the Hot Spring

After that we checked out the Old Hot Springs where we met a nice couple from Ohio, Peggy and Joe.  They were nice enough to share their Santa hats for our hot spring photo.  The water gets up to 105 degrees.

Ms. Smiths shop at the Hot Spring

Ms. Smiths shop at the Hot Spring

The Hot Spring area was the site of a spa with lodging and shopping many years ago. The place Chris and Kim are standing in the water was actually the ruins of the old bathhouse. Kim is standing in the doorway of the old store.

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

From there we headed to the Grapevine Hills Trail that leads to Balanced Rock. This was a great canyon with colorful and shapely rock formations.  It was quite chilly and as you can see by Kim’s hair, quite windy…

Talk about bad hair days or a hair raising experience...

Talk about bad hair days or a hair raising experience...

Roadrunner

Roadrunner

Yes, roadrunners do run across the road.  This little guy was quite quick but we got him at the last minute…. Kim felt like Wile E. Coyote trying to track him down for the shot even if it’s not the best- they are fast!!! (Kim could have used some “rocket skates” from Acme…)  We know… some of the younger readers will not get this.

Day 2 at Big Bend National Park, TX

December 20th, 2008

Day two was as great as day one.  View, after view, after view…  After having pancakes and sausages with our new friend Dave from San Antonio we headed out on the bikes again.  We did over 180 miles, thankfully mostly on roads that allowed Kim’s bike to stay upright.  We bumped into friends (Ontario) from our last campsite on our journey who were enjoying the scenery as much as we were.  It’s really amazing how small the world can be.  We visited Santa Elena Canyon via the Ross Maxwell scenic drive, Study Butte via the Old Maverick road (dirt), and briefly stopped at the Terlingua Ghost Town today. 

We bumped into a few other motorcycle riders who were very friendly and very excited about riding in the area.  Looking forward to more… 

The next few days are supposed to be cooler so we plan to do some hiking and explore more of the park with the truck.

Day 1 at Big Bend National Park, Texas

December 19th, 2008
First, we want to say hello to ALL of the students in Ms. Benson’s class in Spencerport.  We are so happy you are enjoying our website and learning from our adventures.  There are way too many questions to answer but we will try and be sure to include exciting things that you all may enjoy.
Campsite at Stillwell Store
Campsite at Stillwell Store

We arrived on Thursday evening and again set up in record time.  The Stillwell Store was pretty empty and we had our pick of sites.  We noticed a fellow camper from our previous location, who had also made his home here. We didn’t know it then but we would be inviting him for breakfast on Saturday.

Entering the Park
Entering the Park

Finally, the weather cooperated and we headed out on the bikes. 

Kim enjoy's one of the billions of picturesque vistas
Kim enjoying one of the billions of picturesque vistas

First day at Big Bend was great.  We set out into the park which was about 9 miles from our campsite.  Once in the park, it was still quite a drive to get to the good stuff.  We decided to try an off the beaten path road called Ore road. The first 8 miles or so were great, however the trail got tougher as we went on.  Although Kim insisted on trying it, things didn’t go as planned, as you can see by the location of her bike.  That was one of 4 dumps for the day and a few good bruises to show for it.  The views however were well worth it.  We also had the pleasure of chatting with two couples (Ontario and Texas) who were 4 wheeling and lunching on the trail. 
Kim dumps her bike for the first time on Orr road
Kim dumps her bike for the first time on Old Ore Road

 

Timer shot in front of Casa Grande in the Chisos Basin
Timer shot in front of Casa Grande in the Chisos Basin

 

 
 After we made our way out of Orr road we headed for the Chisos Basin. Holy Cow!!!!This place is tremendous. The pictures cannot do justice to the majestic views.

 

 

Big Bend is one of he largest but less traveled of the National Parks. All we can say is you really should find a way to check it out. We can’t wait to see what the rest of the park looks like.

View of the Window from Chisos Basin
View of the Window from Chisos Basin

Guided Tour of Seminole Canyon

December 18th, 2008

Before breaking camp to head for Big Bend National Park we decided to take the guided hike/tour of the Seminole Canyon. Our guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the pictographs, the people of the time, fossils, plants, and other items of interest in the area.  We snapped a few pictures of the pictographs, views from inside the cliff dwelling, and the canyon view.  There is also a very cool statue as you leave the visitor center and enter the canyon area.  The statue is an Indian Shamen and depicts a human figure with a deer head, common in the pictographs found all over the canyon.  

  

While here at Seminole Canyon and the surrounding area we have had the pleasure of meeting several other travelers.  Hazie and Shorty, who are heading down to Falcon Lake State Park, Gail and Ken who are traveling south to meet some friends, and two couples from Ontario Canada traveling together and headed to the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena.  Everyone one is friendly and each conversation sheds new light on places to go and things to see.

 

FYI… We do not expect to have service in Big Bend and plan on being here until Tuesday. 

Wine and Sunsets in Del Rio, Texas

December 17th, 2008

After checking out the canyon we headed into Del Rio to visit the Val Verde Winery, which as been in operation since 1883 under the same family.  They had a nice variety of wines and we surprised ourselves by liking one of the sweeter wines, popular in the area. Since we can’t have “ground fires”, as there is a fire ban in this area of Texas, we stopped to get a grill so we could have some steak for dinner.  The rush was on… we also wanted to stop by the Amistad National Recreation Area to catch the sunset.  We made it, but the quality we were looking for was not there.  Better luck next time.

 

Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas

December 16th, 2008
We arrived at Seminole Canyon State Park on Monday night at about 5.  We set up in record time, which could be due to the practice we have had or due to the fact that we were freezing our butts off.  It was about 35 degrees.  Once again we found the cold…  After setting up we were able to enjoy the sunset from our campsite… not the best but is any sunset a bad one?  Tuesday/today was our first day here and we were able to enjoy the hiking and biking trails along the canyon.  We did pretty well on the bikes for a couple of out of shape “older people” (it’s all relative).  We took our usual timer shot to a new level and tried it on moving targets, as you can see with the bike shot below.  The views were incredible and as we approached the Rio Grande the sun finally made an appearance.  It is a pretty impressive piece of topography.  This afternoon we are checking out Val Verde Winery that was established in 1883 (I’ll let you know Sue) and tomorrow we are taking the guided tour of the canyon to see the rock paintings and pictographs the canyon is famous for.  Once again we do not have cell service but the State Park has wireless… Who would have thunk it?

Wilderness Lakes RV Resort near Lake Corpus Cristi.

December 14th, 2008
 
The freindliest RV resort in the world????
The friendliest RV resort in the world????

We arrived at Wilderness Lakes RV Resort after finding them online while driving toward Lake Corpus Christi State Park .  We hadn’t stayed at a private campsite yet and based on thier website we decided this would be a good one to try (compliments of Blaine and his web work www.wildernesslakesrv.com).  We arrived at 5:10 and Jerry, the owner, informed us the “Pot Luck” supper was starting at 5:30 and to “shake a leg”, as there was plenty of food.  After setting up in record time we were soon introduced to over 100 new friends.  Everyone made us feel very welcome.  It was a far cry from the state parks and just our own company.  I can’t say I have ever met a friendlier bunch.  Thanks to all for making us feel welcome.

Oru Wilderness Lakes RV Resort campsite

Our Wilderness Lakes RV Resort campsite

We were on spot 22 which was front and center.  It was a great, spacious site and everyone stopped by regularly to chat.

Wine tasting at Wilderness Lakes

Wine tasting at Wilderness Lakes

The second night we were here was the annual wine tasting party (go figure- Kim found a wine party).  We were happy that we had a few bottles of NY wine on board, as the theme was to try wine from everybody’s home state.  The cards came out at 7 and Chris enjoyed playing some 31 with the boys.

The next day we set out for Padre Island National Seashore, which is the longest undeveloped stretch of barrier island in the world.  There  was beach after beach, lots of sea birds, and water sports seemed to be quite popular.  On the ocean side kite boarding was the thing, while on the calmer intercoastal, windsurfing was the sport of choice.  We had fun taking pictures of the seabirds and of course ourselves using the infamous “timer shot”.  The picture below of the cars on the beach depicts the beginning of a 60 mile stretch of “beach road”, which makes up a majority of the Padre Island Barrier.  We didn’t venture too far as the diesel was quite heavy and seemed to want to sink in the sand.

Bird on a post on Padre Island

Bird on a post on Padre Island

Kite surfers off Padre Island

Kite surfers off Padre Island

On the beach at Padre Island National Park

On the beach at Padre Island National Park

Birds in the surf at Padre Island

Birds in the surf at Padre Island

The beginning of 60 miles of beach road in padre Island National Seashore.

The beginning of 60 miles of beach road in Padre Island National Seashore.

Windsurfers on the intercoastal off Padre Island

Windsurfers on the intercoastal off Padre Island

 
 
 
 
 
On the way back home we set out to find a place for deep sea fishing, which unfortunately didn’t end up well (not enough people to go out).  We did however stumble upon a really nice little brew pub in Port Aransas, where we enjoyed sampling the local brew while chatting with the manager, who was very nice.  We decided to take a chance on a seafood place for dinner.  Although it was one the manager of the bar recommended, the outside was questionable.  Boy are we happy we stopped.  We had a killer dinner.  You can’t always judge a book by its cover…
Our first prew pub visit!
Our first brew pub visit!
Does not look like much....but, Yum!

Does not look like much....but, Yum!

 

Kim and Chris in their outdoor living room.
Kim and Chris in their outdoor living room.

Our last day here we took care of some housekeeping.  Chris checked the brakes on the camper, fixed the chain on his bike, and watched some football.  Kim did some laundry, some light cleaning, and enjoyed a few moments in the sun.  Today was the first day in shorts and a tank top.  After dinner, Chris watched some more football while Kim finished this post.  As we couldn’t get a fishing boat for tomorrow… we will be leaving WLRVR tomorrow.  We will miss this place and one day hope to return.  Judy and Herm… this would be a good winter place:)

Why Livingston Texas? Moving On…

December 11th, 2008

Our Bold Friend

Well we are traveling again.  We spent the past several days in Livingston fighting the weather.  It actually SNOWED last night.  According to the locals, it hasn’t snowed here for years.  We also heard it snowed in the French Quarter… Sure there’s no global warming…  Anyway, we started to get worried when every person we spoke with asked “Why are you in Livingston?”.  After spending the past several days looking for things to do, we concur with their line of questioning.  The campsite was very nice, unfortunately we couldn’t spend much time outside.  Thank goodness for thw Wii and “Movie Gallery”, where we stocked up on fine titles like Chuck and Larry and Planet Terror (Chris is longer allowed to pick out movies).  We also watched The Queen- my pick, which was very good.  Heading further south today to the Lake Corpus Christi area which is about 40 miles north of the shore and Padre Island.  The weather is supposed to be in the 60’s and 70’s and clear for the next few days and we are looking forwrd to it.

Get's even Bolder!

Gets even Bolder

The wild life wasn’t too wild until we were leaving.  We actually saw a hawk with a squirrel much like our friend here in its tallons.  Unfortunately he flew away before we could capture the moment.

Ike Damage

Ike Damage

Although we didn’t make it all the way to Galveston, we did drive the coast on one of the cold rainy days.  Boy… there really is nothing there anymore.  It’s sad to see the damage that is still so evident after so much time.

On the road again…The Lone Star State

December 8th, 2008
Can't they come up with something better to be proud of????

The Lone Star State

As great as it was to see family and friends, we were itchin’ to be back on the road. Thanks to all for your southern hospitality and fun times.  We headed out Sunday morning with destination unknown, except that we were heading to Texas.  While on the road we decided to check out Lake Livingston, mostly because it was a reasonable driving distance.  To our surprise, the park had some great campsites right on the water.  Kim got a little ticked as they charged a $3 per person/day fee on top of the camping costs for “using the state park”. That was an additional $18. 

Our campsite at Lake Livingston SP

Our campsite at Lake Livingston SP

As you can see, once we got settled at our site, Kim became less annoyed.  While we set up camp there was an amazing sunset.  Our spot on the lake has a westward view, allowing us to get the full effect.

View of Lake Livingston from our campsite picnic table

View of Lake Livingston from our campsite picnic table

While Chris did his thing seting up the RV, Kim snapped a few more sunset pictures.

Sunset on Lake Livingston

Sunset on Lake Livingston

 

Campsite at Lake Livingston SP

Campsite at Lake Livingston SP by day

The weather was not supposed to be great but it was at least warm.  We started the morning trying our hand at fishing in our “backyard”, with no luck.  We then headed out on the motorcycles, which due to some flat and boring roads combined with some heafty winds became a bad idea.  Interesting to see the hurricane Ike damage, which reached as far north as where we are staying.  Many trees are down and we have seen a lot of roofs covered by blue tarps.  The beauty of the felled trees is the ample supply of firewood in the park.  After gathering our firewood supply for the next few days we decided to take a bike ride around the park.  Very nice trails.  A good day was had by all.

New Orleans Part Deux

December 7th, 2008
Bourbon Street is always and interesting time

Bourbon Street is always an interesting time

Arrived back in New Orlens on Wednesday.  Lee picked us up at the airport and it was straight to the French Quarter for a night on the town.  Had a good time eating oysters, walking the streets, taking in the many interesting sights, listening to some music, and (of course) partaking in a libation or two.  Spent the rest of the weekend with Karen and Lee. 

 

Fixins' for "Slap ya Mama" dinner

Fixins for our Slap ya Mama dinner

Made a yummy traditional Louisiana meal with shrimp the guys bought from some local fisherman fresh from tthe Pearl River. They were excellent grilled on the barbie with “slap your mama” seasoning and some veggies. We also had alligator sausage po’ boys with red beans and rice.  After a good southern dinner it was off to Le Bon Temps Roule to see another band.  Great 3 piece traditional bluesy jazz jam.  After a while Walter Wolfman, a local popular guitarist, showed up to join in.  Daryl does this name ring a bell?  Decided to finally load up the RV and head out on Sunday (today) to avoid Monday traffic,.  We are on the road to Texas and hopefully some new outdoor adventures.