Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Jan 3 - 6 Our last Texas State Park :(

Jan 3 - We have really enjoyed our stay at Choke Canyon and the quick trip to San Antonio was fantastic. Today we're grabbing a quick breakfast and then going to South Llano River State Park just off of I-10 at Junction, Texas. This will be the last state park we  stay at for our tour of Texas. A state park pass is $75 but then you don't pay the daily entrance fee when you stay at a park plus you get every second day camp fees at 50% off. We saved far more than $75. It was a great value.
We got packed up and headed for the gate but I want to ask the park staff about which highway to use to get around San Antonio. Good thing I asked one of the super nice staff at the gate. The route that I had set in the GPS was definitely a little shorter and would be scenic but the lady told me that they haul gravel on that road and it is super rough and full of potholes. Thank you so much!
In Three Rivers; so cliche with beer, ammo & bait lol.

Lots of overpasses and many lanes.

Not so bad now but plenty of traffic when you're towing.

So cool the way they cut through the limestone for the highway.

We set the GPS to take us through San Antonio on highway 37 and then connect to I-10 west. As expected it was a ton more traffic and there is a large section of road construction but we made it through and stopped in the town of Junction for a few supplies before the state park.
Our turn.

The east end of Junction.

We chatted with the young fella at the park office about the trails and he suggested a nice loop for me to get in a short trail run. We're in hill country here and I'm excited to get out and see the trails. Leslie is going to take Margaret for a walk up to the overlook at the same time. We set up quickly and headed out to the trails. My loop was just over 6K/ 4mi while Leslie got a slow 2 miles with Margaret stopping to sniff etc which takes forever. She had some beautiful views to enjoy though.
The trails map we used. I jogged fawn trail and back on
access trail while Leslie did Overlook trail.

Armadillo close up. Leslie wants one to keep!

Well marked trails.

Leslie's view on her walk.

Made it! The view from the overlook.

We met back at the rig and showered quickly and then back out for a quick walk around the loop. We met a couple from St. Albert, Alberta on our walk. This is only about the fourth or fifth Alberta plate we have seen on our Texas tour. Lots of plates from the east but not many from the west. We want to walk some other trails here but it's getting dark already. We called the office and we can stay another day if we go right now and pay. Leslie took the truck up there and paid for another day. It's just too awesome here to leave. We have a weak phone signal and no free TV so we just had supper and watched a DVD afterwards. Fairly early night but we want to get moving early tomorrow.
Jan 4 - It got down to freezing point last night but the sun is out and warming up quickly. We made a big breakfast and then got a pack ready to go for a trail walk with Margaret. I can carry her in the pack when she tires out. She usually tuckers out after a couple miles so we're ready. We used the map and picked a walk past Buck Lake (a muddy pond) which connects to the South Llano River trail and then back around to the park office. This area is only open from 10 - 3pm so that the wild turkeys can roost there. We didn't see any turkeys on our walk at all, disappointing. I carried Margaret in the pack for about half of our walk so it was a good idea to have the pack.
Our rig at our site #45. Beautiful place.

Trails are very easy to walk and well marked.

Buck Lake?

Would look so much different with leaves.

A small channel of South Llano River.

Walked far enough, time for a ride.

Leslie is getting closer to the Armadillo.

Of course we are hungry after our walk so we headed to town for lunch. We found the Big Hungry Cafe. The name says it all. I got a really good burger and Leslie had an interesting fajita salad. The meat on her salad was really tasty but it was almost like burger cut into strips?? She finished it but it was different to say the least. I tried it and it tasted good just weird fajita meat.
Doesn't look like much but it's good food.

We bought a small pack of firewood on the way back to our site and had a fire for happy hour then made supper and prepped some snacks for the road tomorrow. We both agreed we wished we could stay here for longer. What a great spot. So quiet and the trails are fantastic. Would stop again in a heartbeat. Sadly we leave Texas tomorrow but we will soon be seeing friends and family in Arizona so it's all good.
Huge sites and very quiet. Enjoying a small fire.

Happy hour! I checked her for smuggled armadillos.

Jan 5 - We were up fairly early and getting things ready to roll for today's long drive. There was still frost on the truck window when we were ready to roll. Our goal for today is just north of El Paso to a place called Anthony, Texas.
Leaving South Llano River State Park, awesome place!

More Texas highway hills, a beautiful day.

We like the website for free overnight sites and it helped us again. There is a visitors center in Anthony that allows overnight parking for free so we'll stop there. It's a little over 400 miles/640 kms so it will be a long day. We're concerned about Leslie's back on such a long drive so we took the pillows and blanket from the couch and put them in the back seat so she can lie down if needed. It was a good idea because her back was spasming within a couple hours. Just by lying down and using her knuckles to apply pressure to the spasm she was able to release it. So happy that worked!
Margaret enjoying the front seat with Les in the back.

We stopped fairly often to get out and stretch, walk around, and she took an Aleve for some extra help. We also listened to the Canadian Junior hockey championship on satellite radio to keep our minds off the drive. Yayy we won!! Canada beat Russia for the gold. Awesome. With all the stops it took us close to 9 hours to get to the visitors center but we made it! They have 3 parking areas, one for cars/trucks, another for RV's with longer sites and the final lot is for commercial truckers. The one downside is that it's not level. We just moved our pillows to the foot of the bed so our heads were higher than our feet and that worked okay. Lots of room and relatively quiet for sleeping. We gained an hour coming west so when we were tired and ready for bed it was only 7:30 pm! Oh well, whatever. We'll just leave earlier tomorrow morning. The Anthony visitor center is a great free stop. They even leave the bathrooms open all night which were clean and heated. Bonus.
One of the rest stops in New Mexico. Nice shade and tables.

Our spot at the visitors center. Not very busy as you can see.

A beautiful sunset on our last night in Texas.

Vending machines and washrooms at a free stop.

Jan 6 - We actually got to see the sunrise! We are not usually up that early but we are today. We both woke up at 3:30 but managed to fall back asleep until 5:45 and then up just after 6:00. There is a Loves Truck stop not far away on the highway so we'll stop there for a McDonalds breakfast and coffee.
Crossed into New Mexico within minutes of getting on the road.

Sunrise!! We have evidence of actually seeing one lol.

We were on I-10 and rolling by 7 am which should put us easily into Arizona by early afternoon. We were originally thinking of stopping at Catalina State Park but we got a powered site at Picacho Peak instead. GPS says it's over 4 hours away so with stops that will be a good day. Leslie called High Chaparral while we were driving and we can get our site a day early so we will move there on Tuesday. Looking forward to seeing everyone that we met last year and Leslie wants to play some pickleball.
We really didn't get to enjoy New Mexico this trip. We talked about going to City of Rocks again but elevation and temperature is making us push further west. We didn't even get pics to share because Leslie is laying down in the back seat.
Leslie sat up and shot this from the back seat. Nice.

I-10 outside of Tucson, the rocks are massive.
They seem out of place in this area.

Picacho Peak. Steve and I were up there last year!
We're here!

The other side of Picacho Peak.

We arrived at Picacho Peak State Park around 1:00 pm and checked in at the gate. They have no potable water to put in our tank but luckily we have enough to get us through one night easily. They had water issues last year when we stopped here with Steve & Dianne and it continues obviously. The showers and bathrooms are working and just like last year they are spotless clean. We did a quick setup and then went for a nice walk around two of the loops. We are a little tired from the drive so we had a little rest in the rig and then grabbed a nice hot shower. Feeling much better we sat at the picnic table for a short happy hour. The setting sun changes the temperature quickly. We watched some TV after supper and then off to bed. Another short move tomorrow and then have some fun with all the great people at Chaparral.
Our site B19 a nice long pull thru with power.

Much different than Texas. Pics from our walk.

Spectacular sunset. Good shot Les!

We'll post this and start new from High Chaparral RV. It's going to be a busy time catching up with our Arizona friends but we are happy to be amongst friends again. Texas was fantastic and we both enjoyed it but we are excited to catch up with everyone here! 
Cheers everyone.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Dec 30 - Jan 2, 2020! This is 2020 ( said like Barbara Walters)

Dec 30 - Thankfully we all had a good nights sleep. Margaret is feeling better already after the new batch of food so that allows all of us rest. Leslie is going to pickleball this morning and I want to get to McKelvey Park one last time for a run. It's another beautiful day so we got some breakfast and headed out for some fun. We met back at the rig for showers and lunch. We sat outside for a bit and then did a couple things to get ready for travel again in a couple days. The friends that we made here texted that they are having happy hour this afternoon so we are excited to get together with them. Brian & Mary are back, visiting from another park, and Greg & Julie are back from up north. It will be fun for sure.
Probably the best dressed yard in the park.

The RC track is complete and ready for action.

Happy hour started at Greg & Julie's but the wind was cool and pretty strong so we moved to Mike & Jan's patio for a potluck supper out of the wind. Their rental park model is completely blocking the wind for us. The potluck turned out really good with rice, salads and a couple meat choices. We had a really fun evening and around 7ish we walked back to our rig.
Leslie borrowed Jan's bike to run back to the rig for something. Sweet ride!

L to R: Jan, Mike, Cheri, Brian, Mary, Greg, Julie (with her Xmas casts) Leslie.
Sadly this is our only pic of the night.

We had a few shots at the happy hour and I felt like Leslie and I should carry on for a bit. We'll make this our new years eve! I thought it was a good idea at the time and we did have some fun. Thankfully Leslie suggested we have some water before bed. Oddly I was still quite thirsty the next morning??
Dec 31 - Margaret got us up early again today to go outside. Seems her stomach trouble is not done yet! We both took turns taking her out and then going back to bed. Around 7:00 we just stayed up and got coffee. We have been watching the weather reports for Harlingen and San Antonio closely for our departure. There is supposed to be heavy rain in Harlingen tonight and tomorrow so we decided to leave today. We confirmed with Choke Canyon State Park that our site is available tonight so we are getting ready to roll. Their forecast is for clouds and a possibility of light rain. Leslie was going to play pickleball today but now she is doing laundry instead. We're both a little "fuzzy" from our fun last night but excited to get back on the road again. Leslie got everything cleaned and I got the rig ready to roll. We said our good byes to the friends we made at Tropic Winds, paid our $48 power bill for the month and pulled out just before noon. We're taking highway 281 north to Choke Canyon State Park about 3 hours away.
Passing through a border patrol checkpoint.

Valero refinery beside the highway in Three Rivers, Texas.

The Park is about 1 1/2 hours south of San Antonio and we plan on driving into the city while we're here to check out the river walk and the site of the Alamo. We pulled in to the park and got set up with enough time to enjoy a walk around our loop. Another really nice Texas state park. Leslie took pics of the warnings at the park office lol. We'll make sure to keep Margaret on a short leash with her harness!

Okay that's not here but close by. Wow!

We made ourselves a really nice barbecued steak dinner for New Year's Eve and had a glass of wine. It's been a long day already and thankfully Margaret seems all good again. We should be able to get a good sleep. We stayed up until about 10 pm but that was it. Happy New Year!!

Jan 1, 2020 Yayy!
We hope everyone has a fantastic year full of safe travels and new experiences. Be happy and healthy and live your version of the good life. 

Our first day of 2020 and we enjoyed sleeping in haha. Margaret too. It's cool outside with an expected high around 14C/ 54F and we have no plans because we're here a day early. We're going to just enjoy the park and walk some of the trails. A nice relaxing start to the year. While I was watching the news I caught an ad for the San Antonio RV Supershow that starts tomorrow. Perfect! We'll head in early and walk the show before heading to the river walk. It's always fun to see all the new rigs and check out the vendors. Today though is park day.
Me and my big dog on the trails.

We walked down to the water. Gator warnings down there.

Smaller than Alberta deer. This buck would make brief appearances.

Our first javelina pictures! Some of these are big! Not aggressive at all.

Turkey vultures. We kept Margaret close lol.
They were as big as her.

We did three different walks around the park and then the misty rain started. We spent the evening watching TV and making our plan for San Antonio tomorrow. Pretty quiet day but what a beautiful spot to just walk around and enjoy the park. Great start to the new year.

Jan 2 - We got on the road before 9:00 to drive to San Antonio on highway 37 and to Freeman Coliseum where they are having the show. The GPS got us there easily and they had plenty of parking available. We parked away from the crowd and left Margaret in the truck. It's cloudy still and just warm enough that she'll be fine for a while. The truck is her happy place.
Freeman Coliseum in San Antonio.

Leslie on the red carpet between venues.

This was inside a new Vanleigh. Beautiful real wood and awesome furniture.

Yes it comes with a wine fridge built in!!

They had a deal on the first day of the show so instead of $15 it was only $10. Nice. It was a very typical RV show but we had a great time looking at some new toyhaulers and of course we had to check out the $705,000 motorhome. That's USD. So a cool million loonies. Oh yeah buddy, gimme two of those bad boys haha. We did really like the Grand Design 397TH toyhauler. We looked at a Fullhouse by Mobile Suites but there was a few things that we didn't like about that model. I would like to bring the Harley along or a side by side but the quest for the perfect rig continues. There are so many things to consider before spending a large chunk of money on a different rig. It was still fun to go look at all the rigs in one place. We met a really nice salesman from San Antonio named Chris. We told him we were Canadian so just looking around with no intention of buying but he didn't care. He still helped us find a couple different options and then helped us figure out where to park downtown. Great guy.
We used the GPS to get us downtown to where Chris had told us to park. We found a spot big enough for the truck and this time we are bringing Margaret with us on the walk. The sun is just breaking through the clouds which will make it nicer. It's cool but good for a nice walk. The riverwalk is amazing and we could try to tell you but we'll try letting the pictures tell the story.

We started at the Hilton Hotel entrance.

First view of the river walk lined with restaurants and shops. Very cool.

Lots of people on the boats. Too many for me, thanks.

Several bridges so you can cross over when you like.


This was a hospital built in 1930's.

We have a bunch more pictures we could show but hopefully this gives you an idea. I don't like crowds or most "downtown" walks but this was fantastic and I would go again in a heartbeat. We spent a couple hours just wandering around but could easily do more. 
We walked up the stairs to street level again and then into the site of The Alamo. There was a long line for the tour so we aren't doing the full tour. Maybe another time. We got some pics along the wall. We need to go back to San Antonio and area. So much to see and do in this area but of course you can't see everything with only a couple days.
Of course an Alamo selfie.

The front of the fortress where the tour starts.

Some info. 

This was cool. 

Beautiful sculptures. 

Amazing buildings downtown.

Another cool building we passed on the freeway.

We both really enjoyed our day in San Antonio and we both want to go back someday to give it a better look. We got back to our rig at dusk and walked our loop once before dark. We made a light supper after our huge lunch at County Line Barbecue on the riverwalk earlier today. That was a great day! We're tired and we walked lots but we had a great time. We have another short move tomorrow to South Llano River State Park just off of I-10 at Junction, Texas. This will be our last state park visit in Texas unfortunately. They have all been really nice parks and we have enjoyed every one we stayed at so far. We highly recommend a State Park Pass if you visit Texas. Great value and we used ours lots.
I'll wrap this up and we'll start a new post for the trip. We have lots of pictures to share from the trip.
Cheers everybody!