After Yellowstone!

…Texas Bound!

After doing the “checking out” thing on August 22, the four of us prepared for our trip to Santa Fe (Lance & Ronnie flew to Jackson and spent from Aug 17 to 23rd at Yellowstone). Early on the 23rd, we struck out for a 400+ mile ride to Laramie, WY. Here we stayed at a Pilot (truck stop). It was uneventful except … a low air tire issue delayed our start. Once fixed, we were on our way. Eight hours later in Laramie, we had trouble finding a spot. Between the two truck stops there, we managed. The next day was a 300 mile trip to Trinidad, CO. Wind was an issue with warnings posted of gust at more than 40 mph. Arriving in the late afternoon, we stayed at a Walmart. Also uneventful, wind aside, except for the interesting store next to Walmart (Cannaco). *Remember, this is Colorado.

On the 3rd day, we arrived at Santa Fe National Forest campsite at Black Canyon. Some minor GPS issues plagued us but we did arrive and got set up and settled in (GPS issue: after driving through some pretty narrow streets and GPS telling us we have arrived; but clearly, we were in a million dollar housing district!). We stayed 2 nights here. No, not at the million dollar houses, we made it to Black Canyon and Santa Fe National Forest. The minor issues were only minor because… well, we didn’t hit anyone, do any damage, nor get lost.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 10.25.30 AMSanta Fe NF – lots of evergreens and aspens with well marked trails.

Many cool views, history, and very educational – Bandelier National Monument

My sister flew in from Maine and joined us in Santa Fe. There are now 5 grown-ups living and traveling in my F150/bumper-pull combo. Yup, it is cozy (LOL).

Santa Fe was awesome! Besides enjoying Black Canyon, Edyne (a family friend who lives in Santa Fe) gave us a tour. Especially nice was the trip to Bandelier National Monument! Here, we explored Native American ruins, learned of their history, and studied native geology and fauna.

New Mexico has some strange history. The Manhattan Project was done out here. Never mind the aliens. No, not Mr. Trump’s family or his aliens. These aliens are out-of-this-world! Literally. Sometime in 1947 a spaceship crashed in the desert out here in the infamous Area 51. Nearby Roswell has it well documented. Seriously. Check it out.

Screen Shot 2018-09-13 at 10.31.58 AMThis was not the car we saw (but I didn’t get a pic of it). It’s close. strange cars

On a more down-to-earth exploration, traveling through Carlsbad gives us a feel for the increased discoveries of fossil fuels in the Southwest. I came through here 18 months ago and am totally surprised at the increased oil presence. New fields and drilling are everywhere!

Oil riggings all over the Southwest!

10 miles to the south of the town of Carlsbad, we pass through the tourist trap called White’s City. Yup, a statue of an alien greeted us here too. Aliens are everywhere. I guess to guard the caverns that are in the nearby hillside. We continue 30 miles further south to Guadalupe Mountains National Park (GMNP). Yes! They have a site for us. We will stay a couple of nights.

GMNP – A hidden gem in the Southwest desert. Worth a visit!

GMNP has 20 RV sites and we had the choice of …yes, you guessed it… 20 sites. At this NP, sites can’t be reserved but in the heat of the desert sun in summer, people were not lined up to grab a site. This place is a gem! The higher elevation (nearly 6000’) makes it a little cooler than the desert floor below. And the views! Magnificent. Can’t say enough good things about this place (even the wild deer came down to visit in both the mornings and evenings).

Views from GMNP & CCNP

CCNP fake pueblo

Fake Indian housing …

The campground gave us a great place to launch a visit to Carlsbad Caverns National Park (CCNP). We brought water and sweaters, as these buildings are air-conditioned. Well, the caves are very cool as well (double meaning on “cool”). Doing the self-guided tour, we headed down into the abyss. Man, was this ever so cool! I attached pictures but you need to go see this place! Put it on your bucket-list.

Inside CCNP – deep in the bowls of the earth!

On the second morning, we planed our route to San Antonio. This would be a long ride (almost 500 miles) through mostly a hot Southwest Texas desert. Remember the oil presence I mentioned earlier in Southern New Mexico? Guess what? It’s here in Texas too! The 100 plus miles to Fort Stockton took us through many oil-shanty towns. Many drilling rigs and oil derricks dotted the landscape and did not provide an appealing vista. And the air smelled equally as bad. Once we got on I10, it was a straight shot to San Antonio (albeit, 350 miles of cacti, tumble weed, and an occasional long-horn). Yes, patience is a virtue in the vast Texas desert.

Oil fields and barren cacti-ridden land is pretty much the Southwest

Just as we were approaching San Antonio, the landscape began to change. Green was becoming more commonplace and water started to show its presence. Yes, this is where the East meets the West! Still damn hot though as temps hovered around 100.

After we checked in at Canyon Lake (Cranes Mill Campground – an Army Core Of Engineer project), we unhitched the camper and drove to my brother’s house. If you are keeping track, this is another brother so there are now 4 siblings together. The 5th sibling is still working and could not make the trip. As he said, “Someone has to keep paying into the system so the 4 of us can keep sucking the money out!” Thanks Rick, we appreciate it!

Scenes from Canyon Lake, Texas!

Up next…”Remember the Alamo”

Onto the Alamo, Riverwalk, Whitt Museum and downtown San Antonio!

STAY TUNED! More “tales from the campah”!

Please comment (and share to facebook, twitter, instagram, other social media) (campahedu@gmail.com)

 

Coming Soon!!! YouTube channel with movies of the adventures!

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