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Not a bad KOA but a bit pricey for a desert all gravel campground. We spent the afternoon rebuilding the slide out pantry which had broken several weeks ago. We had to tear out the thin floor which was nothing more than a thin piece of cheap paneling and replace it with some plywood. Later we drove through the town of Lordsburg. Very depressed, mostly empty buildings and houses. We tried driving out of town a ways to take a back route to the campground, but the roads our map indicated were there weren't. We did see an interesting historical marker about a Camp Lordsburg.
Wonderful campground. The photo makes it look like it is empty, but they are full. That goes to show how nice it is. Wide spaces and lots of trees. We had a problem when we hooked up the power. We blew out a surge protector and apparently a printer (although that has yet to be confirmed). Apparently Frank's wireless network card is also damaged as he is unable to get a decent connection to the Internet. Tomorrow's first trip will include a visit to Best Buy to find replacements. Check out these 2 photos from the air shot by Frank's father back in 1946 while he was stationed at Fort Bliss.
Friday, April 3
Saturday, April 4
|We are on the move again, now in Central time, headed for the Big Bend region of southern Texas. This morning as we were closing camp, we found the wind from the last few days had actually moved the trailer a couple of feet. This had managed to bend one of our front jacks as well as some damage to our electrical hookup. We were unable to retract the jack completely, but enough so we can continue to travel until we can find a place to have it repaired. This campground is fairly nice, great views of the desert and surrounding mountains, and very friendly office staff. Here are a couple of cute photos around the campground.|
(Our Internet connection through our cellular provider in this campground is so slow that I am unable to upload any photos or prepare the Google Earth placemarks, so those will be added in a few days when we get to an area with a better connection) |
We started this morning by calling a vehicle service company in town. They sent out a mechanic to look at our front jack. He was unable to do anything so we took it into his shop. Long story shortened, they couldn't fix it so we will have to contact an RV service center when we get into a larger city. Not sure if we can replace just the bent part or if the entire jack assembly will need work. We then began our day's trek southward. We picked back roads today and went through some magnificent scenery. We saw a balloon that looks like a blimp which we guessed is being used by the border patrol for surveillance. At one point we startled a group of dear and at another a group of javelinas (no photo). In the evening we ate at a small restaurant here in the park, then drove up a scenic drive. Later Frank drove back to the scenic overlook here in the park and shot some more night photos by the light of the moon.
Tuesday, April 7
Lajitas Resort & Spa Lajtas TX $39.00 per nightThis is a beautiful campground with amazing vistas in all directions. After breaking camp we headed south through Marfa Texas, the site of the famous Marfa lights. W It was daytime so we didn't see any lights. On further south we stopped along side of the road for lunch at an historic ranch site.
Thursday, April 9
Friday, April 10
|We awoke this morning to hazy skies. The view was terrible, you could only see about 50 miles! For those of you in the eastern US, that might sound grand but the normal visibility around here should be from 100 to 150 miles. As we went further north, the air did clear just a bit and we did see a nice view as we came over a rise. About 1:00 pm, we stopped at a roadside picnic area for lunch where Frank shot a few photos of some Texas wildflowers. We are now on the Llano Estacado, a large, rather level region in western Texas and eastern New Mexico. W. We continued northward to Monahans and back to the same campground we were at in February. We drove into Monahans to get fuel and shop for a few groceries. When we got back to the campground we saw some odd reddish brown clouds west of us as seen in the first photo in the following gallery. About an hour later we experienced a series of severe thunderstorms passing through with small hail. The nearby town of Odessa got golf ball size hail stones. Later in the evening Frank tried shooting some distant lightning but was not very successful.|
|Today we moved northward to Hobbs New Mexico then turned west. For most of the day we were traveling through the great Permian Basin W which we just touched in February. If you take a look at our daily route on Google Earth and zoom in a bit you can see the thousands of evenly spaced oil wells all through the area. Along the way we stopped at the border of New Mexico and took a look at a Texas monument. Frank remembers climbing on one of these back in the late 1960's on a trip with his family. We passed a huge cowboy sculpture and got a photo. Later we looked at the sculpture on their website. J We stopped in the town of Hobbs to switch drivers and Frank took a shot of an empty building with a mural painted on the front. We also moved back into Mountain time as we crossed the state line.|
|A very nice drive today through some beautiful mountains. Unfortunately, Frank had the camera set for special lighting and none of our images came out so we are substituting a few webcam shots in the gallery. We are in a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) campground. We were in the same campground back in 1990 but back then it was a state park. The BLM has done a great job of fixing up the place. This is an area that had volcanic lava flows some 3,000 to 5,000 years ago. We took a short hike on a nice accessible nature trail where most of the photos in today's gallery were shot.|
After packing up we headed west along US 60. Not too far from where we had camped we passed near Trinity Site, where on July 16, 1945 the world's first atomic bomb was detonated. At the end of our journey we arrived in what must be one of the most beautiful settings for any private campground we have ever seen. The Montosa RV park and Campground is at 7,200 feet elevation and is on a site originally built and used for cowboy camp meetings more than 60 years ago. The campground is surrounded by a 32,000 acre working cattle ranch. The sites are scattered through nearly 100 acres of Piñon, Cedar, Juniper and Ponderosa pines. Our nearest neighbor is close to 300 feet away. The only problem is their current wi-fi hot spot is just a bit too far away from our site for us to use. But our cellular connection, which didn't work to begin with, eventually began working fine. If we didn't have a schedule to keep for the next few days we would love to stay here a week. Although, the nearest town (Magdalena) is 20 miles away and the only grocery store is a bit lacking. US 60 follows the route of the old Magdalena Livestock Driveway. Nearby is the BLM historical marker on this historic pathway.
|Another fantastic campground. Concrete roadways and sites, full hookups but only 30 amp service, but we can deal with low electric. It has been extremely windy today with gusts as high as 60 mph. It is supposed to get down to the 20s tonight. We had a bit of trouble starting the truck this morning. I think it may have been the cold weather and the 7,500 foot elevation. Something happened back home in Virginia last night and the home servers are off line. That means no webcams until we can figure what the problem is.|
Last night the temp got down to around 24 degrees. This morning as we prepared to depart, as yesterday we were unable to get the truck started. We even had to pull out the battery charger because we began to run the truck battery down. but persistence prevailed and eventually we got it started, after about an hour. We are thinking that there is something wrong with the glow plugs in the diesel engine. Today's route was quite spectacular, as we traveled along US 60. Beautiful canyons and mountains everywhere. Then came the best part as we dropped into the Salt River Valley. Just look at the photos and I think you will agree. We left the truck running all day, even during our lunch stop, just in case we couldn't get it started again. After dropping the trailer in the campground, we drove the truck to the Ford dealer we had set up our appointment with. They now have our truck and we have a Ford Focus rental car.
Friday, April 17
Saturday, April 18
Sunday, April 19
AVI Casino Laughlin, NV $20.70 per nightWe are back in the same campground we were in last February. But this site is not as nice. Cramped, too close together. We have about a foot on each side. What makes it worse is the campground is less than half full. We had dinner at the casino buffet, but the food was over cooked and dry. Cost was the same as Old Country Buffet which we like.
Tuesday, April 21
Sam's Town RV Park Las Vegas, NV $36.26 per nightWe began today by taking the trailer to a trailer wash station next to the casino. They washed our trailer several months ago when we were here last. Did a good job and we had them wax the front too. The casino is having a Harley Davidson Motorcycle rally this weekend and the Harley's are coming in. Next to the washing station, a custom bike maker was setting up his bikes for show and some of them were attracting quite a crowd. I like this little one they called "The Fly", everyone stopped to look at it. We took a slightly different route to Las Vegas than we did last time. It has been very hot today, upper 90's. This evening we had dinner at the buffet in the Sam's Town Casino, then went to watch an indoor show of fountains, lasers and animated animals. Quite impressive for a small show, small for Las Vegas that is. If you are in Las Vegas I recommend this little free show, but see this one before going seeing the fountains of Bellagio else this one will seem a disappointment.
Thursday, April 23
Friday, April 24
Saturday, April 25
Sunday, April 26
|We left Sam's Town RV and Las Vegas, NV behind and headed south west to Barstow, CA. Near 90 degrees temperature and it is only April. Our highlight of the day was when we entered California. About 50 miles inside the border all traffic had to pass through an Agricultural Inspection Station. There were six lanes of traffic and we blocked one as an inspector with an eastern European accent asked us where we where from. We said Virginia, but that we had been out west for the past four months. He had to crawl under our trailer and look for Gypsy moths and fruit flies. He passed us, and gave us a certificate. Having passed the California Fruit Inspection, we are wondering if that was good or bad, are we accepted in California as Fruits? Probably. We thought Fruits were welcome here. That is what the Governor, Arnold, said. We also saw a road today near Baker, California with a name of Zzyzx Road. Where do they get this names? Well just check out the history section of the Wikipedia article on the nearby town of Zzyzx to find out. W . After setting up camp, Frank regenerated the water softener, and then we drove into the nearby town of Barstow W to look around. There is a railroad museum in Barstow which is one of the few remaining buildings built by Fred Harvey W for the Santa Fe railroad. This was one of the last of the Harvey Girls establishments. W|
|We are back in the same campground and site we were 5 weeks ago. Tonight it will be windy and the temperature is expected to drop near 40. Last night, while browsing Google Earth, Frank found a local museum called the Desert Discovery Center in Barstow. We debated on staying another day but looking at their website, we can't tell if they have anything to go see, other than a large meteor, so we decided to move on.|
|We are now near Palm Springs California. This coming weekend is the Hot Rodeo about a mile from this campground. Frank also has another IGRA board meeting this Friday which will be webcast.|