( Pondering semi-permanence and Port Aransas )
( Pondering semi-permanence and Port Aransas )
( Christmas in the desert )
( Traveling through Arizona... )
We spent Thanksgiving in Arkansas with my MIL; it was a nice long weekend with family members arriving at staggered intervals as their schedules permitted. Sunday we got back on the road after roughly two weeks in Hot Springs, headed for Sherman, TX, on the first stage of our long drive to California for the Escapees’ Rose Parade HOP.
( South and West into Texas... )
I’m sitting outside this afternoon, watching the first fire we’ve been able to have in what seems like years. I looked over our camping calendar and it has been over a year; the last time we were in a campground that would allow fires at all, there were burn bans in effect pretty much everywhere we went. At the moment we’re taking a rest day in Texarkana at Clear Spring Park, a Corps of Engineers park on Wright-Patman Lake, south and west of the city.
It’s been a pretty day, overcast and a bit chill, but still warm enough to sit out with the fire and watch the birds on the lake. Earlier today we watched large flocks of dark-colored waterfowl (ducks or coots, I’m not sure which) who were apparently travelling with flocks of white pelicans, as they swooped and swam to and fro across the lake. All of them were in constant motion, landing on the water for a few minutes then taking off again and landing in a different area, and flocks of seagulls swirled above them.
We’re on our way to Arkansas to visit family, and from there we’ll be heading south to Florida in March and April. On our way east from California, we got to do some touring in New Mexico, spending a few days on the western side of the state to visit White Sands National Monument, and then crossing the state for a few more on the eastern side to see Carlsbad Caverns.
( About White Sands... )
In the way of things when full-timing (plans writ in sand) right after I wrote the post about making the speed run (fast for us, anyway) to get to Baton Rouge for Mardi Gras, our friends had to cancel the party. Bummer. But no cloud without a silver lining; the gap in the schedule let us slot in some sightseeing time and some needed work stops.
( From Tehachapi to Niland, CA... )
After pondering the border trees for a bit longer and not achieving any clear vision, I decided to set them aside and work on the border houses, where I did have a much better feel for what I wanted to see. The sewing has been fast and furious, in part because the quilter should be done with my log cabin quilt sometime this coming week, and if I can finish this quilt I can take it along when I go to pick up the other and have all three quilts finished and off to the quilters in good time.( Fruitcake intervened... )
( A Spanish Mission and an American Castle )
We had a lovely time in Vegas at the beginning of April. Went and saw Terry Fator, the ventriloquist who won America’s Got Talent in 2007. Great show, corny in places, touching in others. J gave me a spa day for a belated Valentine’s Day present, which was lovely. I luxuriated by the spa pool, got wrapped and massaged and generally pampered for the day. It’s very odd, staying in an urban RV park; we were able to use cabs to get to the Strip so we didn’t have to worry about parking the truck or having a few glasses of wine with dinner. I’m not used to campgrounds with cab service!
Plus lots of other services; we had the rig washed and waxed while we were there and they did a great job. Also took the truck in to an excellent brake shop, Professional Brake Service on Silvso I wouldn’t have to wait at the mechanic’s.
After a very nice mini-vacation in Vegas, we headed for the San Francisco area. And I saw snow for the first time in two years. Yep, coming over the mountains into California, it was snowing. There was maybe two or three inches on the ground and more in the air, though luckily for my nerves, none on the roadbed. I took a few photos through the windshield; by the time we found a place that was safe to pull over so I could get more, we were below the snow line and the day was sunny and beautiful. (As always, click to embiggen.) Snow on the Mojave Freeway in April:
So, after our gorgeous weekend in Santa Fe, J’s work summoned him back to Texas. We looked over our options, and decided that it would be best if I continued westward with the rig while he was in Dallas. I stayed in the campground at Cochiti Lake for a few more days, then made a short drive down to a casino campground just west of Albuquerque.( Campgrounds, travel, and food roulette... )
We came up from central Texas, leaving the lush spring behind for the high desert. The bright greens went dull as we drove, blue and orange and purple wildflowers gave way to white ones, and the soil changed to red and tan adobe. Here the fields are full of juniper and cactus.
Cochiti Lake Campground is a Corps of Engineers park sited on rolling hills by a flood control lake in the Pueblo de Cochiti area. We can see mountains all around this plateau. We’re at just about 5500 feet elevation here - climbed up from Texas flatlands in one day. That explains the wheezing (both the truck and I are panting when we exercise.)
( Scenery and shopping... )
In the middle I drove from Tucumcari, NM to Cochita Lake, NM (near Santa Fe) while J dealt with work crises and was on the phone to the point that when we got close to where we needed directions, which normally the passenger provides, we had to pull over onto an offramp so I could look up how to get where we were going. Where we were accosted by a homeless guy who wanted a lift "uh, sorry, no" (but was grateful for the sandwiches I made for him when he asked if we might have snacks to share - there's another bright spot.) I made sandwiches for us too and we ate them while J was on the phone. Still. Again.
We got to the campground,spotting the turn at the last possible second. We didn't have reservations, the sites which were supposed to be open were booked, there was only one site available and it took two tries to get in, and then about 15 minutes after we got in and I was reviewing a fic for posting and thinking how much everything I write sucks (that's stress, it'll pass) there's Mister Guy staggering along the floor looking like he's having a stroke while Mercedes pukes. Four times (the puking, not the staggering.) So, fast Google search, vet 40 minutes away, called, made appointment, stuffed the now perfectly nonchalant cat back in his carrier, and drove to the vet.
Where Mister Guy charmed the nice no-nonsense lady vet and acted like a perfectly healthy cat.
One more bright spot: the campground is absolutely stunning. Which I will appreciate tomorrow, I am sure. Tell me something good that's going on for you.
But for now we’re in Texas in springtime, and the wildflowers are in bloom. Coming up from Houston, we drove north to Ennis, TX for a brief stop at Waxahachie Creek Park, a Corps of Engineers campground on the lake there. The campground was pretty and the lake was beautiful. We had the loop we were in all to ourselves; the only loop that was full was the one which was all pull-through sites. I’d rather back in and have no neighbors.
We’dve headed more directly west from Houston, but I had arranged for a mail delivery to be sent to us just before we arrived there. So while we got yanked to Houston, our mail went to general delivery at the post office in Wylie. We looked into our options for getting the mail redelivered but they all suffered from too much lag and uncertainty. Easier just to run north and drive into Wylie on Saturday. That let us get a nice brunch in the little café we like there – bonus!
All the way north, the wildflowers were blooming along the freeways. We saw billows of bluebonnets, pure deep blue tipped with white, thick enough in places to resemble a foam-flecked sea. Right along with them were orange and red indian paintbrush; low growing pale pink flowers which looked like poppies; and even some mounds of crimson clover, which isn’t crimson at all but a deep velvet red. Spring in Texas would make a gorgeous quilt.
Ok, we can do that. It’s roughly 260 miles from East Fork Park in Wylie, TX, down to New Caney, TX, just north of Houston. Not too far to go in a single day, and it was early enough we’d get in before dark. I called the campground we’d stayed in the last time his work dragged us down here, and they were able to find a space available for a week. Coming in at the last minute the way we are, we’re shoehorned into a tiny site barely wider than the rig with the slides out. But that’s ok, we’re in, we’re set up and we’re on time for his work.
( Ramblings about our recent travels... )
The Boudin Shop is a long narrow building with windows on two sides. From the outside, it almost looks like an enclosed porch that forgot to have a building attached. Inside, there’s a counter to order at on one end, with cold cases containing pie and packages of boudin, and tables in the windowed area. There’s a rack of Cajun spices and tourist junk in the middle of the eating space, in case you’re inspired to take some seasonings home after lunch.
Etouffee and rice and potato salad, that’s lunch. They’ve got other things, the titular boudin, crawfish boil, but we always get the etouffee. It may not be the best in the area, but it’s crammed with crawfish; and oddly, the potato salad makes a good foil, the crisp crunch of celery chunks complementing the rich stew.
We went pretty much due north from lunch in Lafayette to Ruston, LA, where we settled back into Lincoln Parish Park for a quiet week of R&R after our loud week of R&R with the folks in Baton Rouge. Just hanging out and walking around the lake and enjoying the beautiful weather. It’s coming on spring in Louisiana! Daffodils are blooming in the plantings along the campground road, and the trees are all leafing out in new spring green.
There are a couple of small flocks of ducks in the lake. They’re sorted by color; there’s a set of four or five white ducks, a set of black ducks, and one of mallards. And then there are the miscegenists; one couple, white and mallard, all by themselves across the pond. The black ducks must have been tame at one point; every time we were out on the shoreline path they came over, convinced that this time we would get the point and break out the duck chow. Hope springs eternal.
( Quotidian details... )
( Pitfalls of picking a campground online )