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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Arches, Arches, Arches!

After leaving Mesa Verde and Colorado behind we ventured into Utah. If you've never been to the national parks in Utah, you should consider going. There are several and they are breathtaking.  

I was unable to get a reservation in any of the RV Parks in Moab so I booked in Green River which is about 40 miles northwest of Moab. Green River is basically a map dot in the middle of nowhere. 

My plans were to visit Arches NP, and Canyonlands, NP and then move to the southwest corner to visit Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. First up was Arches. 
It was so windy the day I visited Arches I had trouble getting in and out of the truck because the wind either held the truck door open or shut. It was brutal. 
I went fairly late in the day so most of the traffic was leaving the park. Just the way I like it. 😊
I've been playing with panoramic mode when taking photos and it's a lot of fun but I'm not sure how the photos will work on the blog. Here's a test version. 
I ran out of time before I ran out of park to see but that just means I'll have to come back someday. 
Next stop, Canyonlonds National Park. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Moving Right Along to Mesa Verde National Park

After a few days in El Paso, we began our 684-mile trek north to Green River, Utah. 
When I discovered my route would take me through the southwest corner of Colorado I decided to take a couple of days and see Mesa Verde National Park. I'd never been to this park and was really excited to spend time there. 
I personally think national parks are not very dog-friendly and poor Murphy had spent a lot of time riding in the truck so I left him home to snooze for the afternoon. 

I entered the park late in the afternoon. It's about a 45-minute drive from the park entrance before you actually see any of the cliff dwellings but the scenery along the way is just beautiful. 

This was the first vista point for the cliff dwellings. It's a little trek from the road down a path to an overlook but it was so worth it. 

It's hard to imagine how these people from ancient times were able to accomplish building these cities in the cliffs of this area with no modern technology.
As I drove along there were places to stop and view multiple dwelling sites throughout the park.
Parts of the park were closed because I arrived so late in the day.
After the long drive out of the park and back to the campground I was greeted by this beautiful sunset...

...and Murphy. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Changing Plans and is Stonehenge in Texas?

After thoroughly enjoying the weather tolerating the humid weather in Rockport near the Texas Gulf Coast I rethought my travel plans for the summer. I've decided to head toward the lovely Pacific Northwest for the summer months. 

I'm thinking I'll head east for the fall and south for the winter. In the meantime, spring is a perfect time to visit Utah!  I've really wanted to go back there for years but the altitudes were just too high for Rob and it wasn't safe. 

Utah is amazing. There are several breathtaking National Parks in the southwest part of the state. So, that's the plan for now. I'm thinking I'll head home in June or July. 

With our new plan in mind, we left Rockport yesterday. We made about 250 miles then stopped for two nights in the Hill Country again. The flowers along the highways were beautiful. 
The reason I choose to stop here in Kerrville is that there is a Stonehenge replica here and I wanted to take a look. 

Stonehenge II is located in a large, well-maintained field just outside town. There was nobody there when we arrived so Murphy was able to run free. 
We went to the site in the evening which was perfect because of the light. 
Unlike the Stonehenge replica in Virginia, this one is made from plaster so there aren't tiny styrofoam particles all over the ground. 
The sky was kind of moody looking. When Rob and I visited the real Stonehenge in England I had the creepiest feeling the whole time we were there. This place didn't feel the same, it was so relaxing.
There are even a couple of Easter Island statue replicas in the park. 
Tomorrow we are off again making tracks for Utah by way of El Paso. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Bridget Arrives at Goose Island State Park

Just a few more photos of the wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country.
We did indeed go out and take more flower photos in the Hill Country. The spot the rancher told me about was absolutely breathtaking. I wish I could do these locations justice with my photos but it's just not possible. 
These are a couple of my favorites. I'm so glad I was able to be here for this abundant spring bloom. 

I booked us into a little state park near Rockport, TX for four nights. Rockport was where hurricane Harvey came ashore two years ago and is still in recovery.  The day we arrived the humidity was 93%. I thought I was going to die. 
This park only has back in sites and the sites have water and electric only. There are no sewer connections. 
I fretted and worried for days before our arrival because I knew I'd have to back Bridget into her site... alone. The afternoon I arrived there were two men standing on my site. I thought quickly and recruited them to spot me while I backed in. Whew! Potential crisis averted. 

Murphy doesn't do humidity either. Poor guy needs a haircut and bath. 
Bridget has a 38-gallon gray water tank. That means over the four days I'll be here I can't use more than 38 gallons of water for showering, dishes, brushing my teeth, washing my face, etc. 
I knew it would be a challenge but I wasn't expecting the oppressive humidity. 

I'm happy to report I am officially 72-hours in and I'm at 31% of capacity in the gray tank. That's 11.75 gallons overall and just under 4 gallons per day. This is really useful information for when I camp with no hookups at all. As a side note, I have been showering and I don't stink!
This is the Big Tree. Yes, that's the name. This is a 1,000-year-old oak tree. 

We've been to see the big tree a few times because it's just fun and there aren't many people there. Murphy loves the place. When someone else does come by he considers himself the official greeter. 

The humidity is significantly lower now and it's much more comfortable here.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Finding My Mental Happy Place

People ask me how I'm really doing.  I've been toying with writing this post for a long while now. 
Since I lost Rob I've been searching for something that makes me feel passionate. Something I can enjoy and look forward to. Apathy really took hold in my life. 

I thought getting back out here and traveling in my tiny, rolling home would do the trick but I was wrong. 

I've tried different hobbies like metal stamping and painting. While I enjoy those things the supplies are bulky and heavy and I just don't get all warm and fuzzy about dragging all that stuff out. 
If you are a regular reader you know I like to take photos and I take a lot of them. 

Recently I traveled here to the hill country of Texas specifically to photograph the wildflowers. 

I've fallen in love with photography all over again. Dare I say, I feel like I have an eye for it. 

The best part is I'm feeling that passion for something again. 
The RV park where I'm staying is owned by a cattle rancher. I talked to him for a bit today and he told me where to go for more photos. I feel like I hit the insider information jackpot. 

Monday, March 18, 2019

Bridget Searches for Texas Wildflowers

After our time in El Paso, we pulled on to I-10 and began a marathon drive toward central Texas. I always forget just how big Texas is until I drive here. It's 854 miles from one side to the other. 

We ended up in Fredericksburg but could only stay four nights because it was spring break. 

This area of Texas is called the Hill Country for obvious reasons. It's green with rolling hills and lots of trees. One of the reasons I wanted to come here is because it's time for the beautiful Texas wildflowers to bloom. 
We were too early for the wildflowers in Fredericksburg but we met new friends. Pam and Mike from California. They were a few spaces down from us and we ended up going to dinner one evening. Great people and so much fun to chat with. See you down the road, Pam and Mike!

After some searching, I discovered the flowers are in bloom south of San Antonio. The trick was finding a place that isn't full of spring breakers. That's a tall order. Since I'm ultimately heading for the Gulf coast I decided to look between San Antonio and Corpus Christi. 
Bridget is dead center in this photo.

I ended up in the little town of Pleasanton. The flowers are in bloom and they are incredible. My photos don't do them justice. 
Indian Paintbrush

The weather has been warm and dry but pretty gray. The flowers are in bloom and I've been driving the backroads looking for fields of blooms.
White Prickly Poppy
There are dozens of species of wildflowers here but these are a few of the most common. 
Wild Phlox
Almost without exception, the flowers are in fields separated from the road by a barbed wire fence so I can't get very close but when I can I try to get closeups of the flowers. 
Pink Evening Primrose
Next up, fields of Texas wildflowers. But here's a tease.