Saturday, June 6, 2015

Catching Up after a Blogging Hiatus

After our trip to Padre in December, we decided to make another attempt at it this April. Again we had the beach all to ourselves, though the sand was littered with a lot of branches and refuse that had washed down from the Brazos and into the Gulf.

It amazes me how empty the beaches there are and how peaceful it is. At least until the mornings, when everything is literally dripping wet from the humidity. We managed I believe 3 nights there on the beach before a major storm woke us up early in the morning with some 40-50mph gusts that were blowing over the pet fence. So I ran out there in shorts and t-shirt trying to wrangle all the gear back onto the truck, before the combination of wind, hail, cold and rain forced me back inside to put on some jeans and my fleece jacket to continue the fight. After about 2 hours of fighting the weather I had everything loaded back onto the Beast (normally takes me about 30 minutes tops in good weather.) Of course about 10 minutes later the whole storm vanished, and it was sunny and peaceful again. By that time we were already driving off the beach and I was ready to keep on going. After a quick stop to the Padre National Seashore Visitor center parking lot to figure out a new destination, and to take a hot shower and put on some dry clothes we decided to make the journey to Big Bend National Park. Even after a very sleepless night, I managed to put about 450 miles of the 600 mile trip behind me, stopping near Ft. Stockton for the night, assuming we only had about 120 miles to go in the morning.

Anyone who has been there knows that I was a dummy for assuming that the GPS destination was our final destination. After arriving at the Park, it was another 2.5 hours of navigating the mountain roads and various Visitor Centers along the way to find a campground. We also had about a 30 minute stop along the way after we saw a Prius about 6 inches from about a 200 foot cliff. I offered my very amateur assistance to use my winch to yank the unfortunate lady's car back onto the road, but she opted to wait for a tow truck. Probably the wise decision. No pictures were taken of the lady's misfortune. Found it odd that with about 6 other 4x4 trucks that had stopped, including the park ranger, that I was the only one with a winch on my RV.

We spent about 4 nights there, and didn't see much until the day we left, when we hit a few trails, taking turns in the vehicle. Though the park allows pets, there are strict rules about them. Cannot take them on trails, cannot leave them unattended, and basically can't do anything except sit in the camp with them. Course this all became apparent after making the 700ish mile journey. So let that be a warning to all pet owners.
We did have nice views from the campsite though:

And had a visit from a herd of Javolina and a pair of Great Horned Owls to keep us entertained.

On the way out of the camp we stopped into the Santa Elena Canyon. Interesting enough, I didn't see anyone crossing the border from Mexico here. (Mexico is on the left of the Rio Grande)

We then started the long journey back toward Snook with a one night and day stay at the Caverns of Sonora. My photos cannot do it justice, but I guarantee that it's worth the stop. Also the gift shop wasn't overpriced like most are, very reasonable prices and lots of neat stuff. I believe it is about 200 miles west of San Antonio.

After another full day of travel we arrived in Snook Texas to spend some time with family and recover from our travels. Then back onward to Plano, after what was a 10 or 11 day 2000 mile trip around Texas, where we stayed for a couple weeks to take care of a few things and spend Mother's day with the family. That catches us up to mid May... to be continued.

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