• Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Yacht Britannia

    ENGLAND – in April! We should be certified, however we did survive fairly good temperatures of 45-60 Fahrenheit (7 – 16 Celsius) and what may be more...

  • April 15, 2104 Flora and Fauna

    We decided that it is better (and more organized) if we tried to add a weekly digest of what we did or photographed in each category. Not all...

  • Early morning storm clouds last week

    There’s been very mixed weather lately, even though it is supposed to be spring. In the last week we’ve had very cold starts, storm clouds and now...

  • Duck Crossing

    Who believes that ducks can read, or was it that the people saw where the ducks cross before they put up the sign. I prefer to think...

  • More wildlife

    Not a lot to write about but I did finally spot the illusive – but noisy, woodpecker and another Red Cardinal. The Lesser The woodpecker wasn’t being...

  • The Mighty Guadalupe and Not so Mighty Colorado

    Our recent excursion to the Texas Hill Country found us, once again, going down dirt roads to see what was at the end of the line. This...

  • Late February walks and sightings

    There hasn’t really been a lot to report lately. We were away for a week in the ‘frozen’ Texas Hill Country – it’s supposed to be a...

  • Really Cold Walk

    Well, we did take our usual walk this morning at sunrise however the weather wasn’t too kind. Blustery north wind at about 15 miles an hour on...

  • A crisp yet sunny morning

    Just at sunrise Rusty took me for a walk. I’m sure it’s supposed to read the other way around but he decides which way we go once we...

  • Another chilly day

    Today Rusty didn’t need his bright yellow slicker, it was dry but chilly. When we walked Christmas Day someone had hung a red decoration on a young...

  • Happy New Year – 2014

    We saw a little of the local wildlife on the walk this morning, first were the ‘crazy’ ducks. We say crazy as they just seem to be...

  • Morning walks with Rusty

    Every morning Rusty takes one of us for a walk around the green belt area we just call the ponds. There are 3 ponds, 2 of them...

  • England 2013 – Windermere and Knaresborough

    We spent a great day with Mum, Eve and Lewis in Knaresborough and then just Mum to Lake Windermere. At Windermere we took a short boat trip from...

  • Amarillo and Wichita Falls

    Our Wichita Falls and Amarillo road trip. The Fort Amarillo RV Park is nice enough, good pull through sites, fairly level, a bit restrictive with where dogs...

A number of years ago we flew into Phoenix, Arizona to watch Tina Turner in concert (yes it was amazing). While there we took a drive around Flagstaff and Holbrook for the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. Despite having visited them before we decided that we should visit both those places again – in a more leisurely way.

First things first, the winds in Arizona build during the day and most seem to be from the south or south west, as we travelled from east to west on Interstate 40 it made for some interesting comments from me, most not repeatable, and resulted in even more finger marks in the steering wheel.

Holbrook was our first stop so that we could drive through the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, very little of this brought back any memories, we think that may have been that we took the reverse route to our first visit, so every view was different, yet still amazing. The campground was really different, not the usual ‘enclosed’ area, but RV hookup sites on city streets, really odd, and all gravel.

The next stop was Kingman with a small detour through Winslow on the old Route 66, not much to see except for the statue “Standin’ on the corner in Winslow Arizona” Eagles – Take it easy 1972.

We noticed that in Arizona the dry riverbeds are washes, and normally named after someone or something, so we saw Frees Wash, Griffiths Wash and Rattlesnake Wash, all fairly normal then we passed Holy Moses Wash still not sure what is was named after. Our first trip from here was over the pass and mountain roads to Oatman and on the way stop at Cool Springs Station and Museum, a really quaint and quirky place. Check out the rest room picture, and see if you can find the face in the rocks.

Oatman is an old gold mining town, which is now a serious tourist attraction. We had no idea there would be Burros and Donkeys roaming the street looking for alfalfa feed sold to tourists to feed them. Not a fun trip for Rusty, an old timer said that if a Burro came at Rusty that we should go into the nearest shop for safety and tell the owner, who would go out and chase the animal away with some kind of spray. Needless to say that combined with the heat made for a short stay.

Lake Havasu City was next on the agenda, a short 70 mile drive through the desert. London Bridge is not falling down here; the structure is all new inside with the original London Bridge bricks forming a cladding on the new concrete, still looks really good. It was a very long time ago that I saw the original in place over the Thames in London, must have been 5 or 6 years old. We ate on the veranda of the Javelina Cantina overlooking the bridge and lake, pet friendly, really great food and nice views, the best so far. We took a walk over the bridge to look at the shops on the other side, not much to see, another day over, another one ticked off the list.

Arizona was behind us as we headed into Nevada, again gusting winds made the crossing over the new Hoover Dam or the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge real fun, don’t look now we’ll come back later.

Again the Boulder City campground, Canyon Trail RV Park, was all gravel and blacktop, no fun for Rusty, we managed to find a nice park, the Veterans Memorial Park real grass and lots of it, and he was in doggy heaven.

Boulder City is really quite interesting with its Historical District full of great eating places and its huge memorial park, the Interstate 11 bypass may not be good for the town once completed. We drove through Las Vegas to the Red Rock Canyon loop, really amazing views. Las Vegas was heaving, even though it was mid week so we decided to see it from the car.

Eldorado Canyon was next on the list with the Techatticup Gold Mine, now a tourist stop on the way to nowhere, well it went to the Colorado River but not much else down that road. Just before we saw the mine in the distance 3 Mountain Goats ran across the road, and stopped about 250 yards away in the hills, time to test the new zoom lens, then the issue of taking out the regular lens and putting in the new one while keeping and eye on the mirror, luckily there was no traffic.

We waited until the last few days before we visited the Hoover Dam. The dam was originally called The Boulder Dam, until it was officially renamed The Hoover Dam in 1947, some of the facts and statistics are mind blowing – 45 million pounds of reinforcement steel had gone into what was then the tallest dam in the world, and 6.6 million tons of concrete. We toured the power plant inside the dam, really worth taking the time to learn more about the turbines and power generation.

Once we’d been on and inside the dam, we really needed to go up to the new bridge to look at the dam from another perspective, well I did, Connie and Rusty do not like heights.

Tomorrow we leave Boulder City for Kanab, Utah.

Well here we are again, off on a long trip around a few US states in Junior. Planning has taken weeks, picking the sites we want to stay in and the sights we want to see there.

On our last trip at Christmas we caught the tow hitch on a raised patch of ground in the RV park we stayed in. It damaged the lights cable from Junior to the toad, and the tail lights on the toad (brake and blinker) were not working. As we were travelling in daylight and the toad brake light still worked from the braking system, we decided to drive home and order a new cable once we got back.

So back to this trip, off to our favorite hooking up place at the local Baptist church parking lot, line it all up, attach the tow bar, breakaway chains, Patriot system in the toad, then the brand new bright yellow lighting cable between Junior and the toad. Test the lights, nothing, nada, zip – no toad lights and we have 230 miles to go. Luckily I had purchased 2 cables, second one same thing, and no light action on the toad. Again daylight and the toad brakes work from the Patriot so we hit the road.

So we get to I20 just south of Fort Worth and the brake system alarm sounded with error 4, if anyone knows that section of road it’s like driving through a concrete canyon with no places for a 37 foot motorhome towing a Honda CRV to pull over. So Connie googled the error, car battery low – OK, it’s not going to cause a problem, drive on a few more miles where we found a nice long wide section. The car battery was totally dead. We have to fix it; we can’t drive without lights on the toad. Start the generator on Junior, get out the battery charger, get the 50 foot extension and plug the charger to the battery – fast charge for 15 minutes and just had enough to turn the engine over. We have to leave the car running as were towing it, better that than have the same problem a few miles down the road.

As Google had helped us with that problem Connie started Googling the hitch cable problem as we travelled – it was a fuse, where are the fuses, on the left on the dashboard under a secret panel. Once we arrived at our first stop I pulled open the panel and searched the Ford manual – ah hah – fuse 22 is a 20 amp for the hitch connection, we must have blown the fuse in Canton when we damaged the cable, replaced the fuse and all was well. What a start to our journey.

We left that RV park to make our way to a site near Lubbock, only 260 miles and fill up on the way, Flying J have started putting RV friendly lanes in their newer stops, we used the one at Tye, just outside Abilene, really easy and filled the toad as well – $125, oh well, just less than 7 miles to the gallon, but that was with the generator running for nearly half an hour.

Lubbock, 3 nights 2 days, one to go into the town and search for Buddy Holley’s center and statue and one to shop for groceries and a new battery for the toad. The first day saw major storms coming through, lightning, thunder and torrential rain – Rusty was a real mess, panting and shaking – there wasn’t a lot we could do just hold him tight and hope the storms would soon be over, not so, almost all afternoon until 9 in the evening. We leave here for New Mexico and Roswell tomorrow, to see the aliens.

Roswell is a really ‘odd’ place, not just because of the brightly colored alien figures scattered around, but because it seems to be a city of 2 halves, the old downtown where the alien museum is and the more modern area just north of downtown. We found a city park where we could take Rusty for a really long walk twice a day, was doing us some good too, getting the blood pumping – Rusty was on a tear each day. We found a food truck – Chef Todzillas Mobile Cuisine, we got the last green chili burger of the day, juices dripping down to our elbows, and the tumbleweed onion rings sliced very thin, coated and fried – really healthy eating. The alien museum is quite odd, with newspaper accounts of the ‘landing’ surrounded by plastic aliens, still interesting though.

The best part of that area was the Bitter Lake Wildlife Reserve. Lots of wildlife, mainly water fowl – 2 kinds of Ibis, American Avocet, small ducks and a yellow breasted bird that we still can’t identify, so if you can tell what it is from the photograph, let us know.

The next day was not a fun day driving, we had swirling side and head winds of 15-25 mph gusting to over 40, new finger impressions in the steering wheel. I had worked out that we had enough gas to get to Albuquerque – hadn’t accounted for the winds and hills, we were lucky to find a gas station 50 miles from Albuquerque, I say lucky as we could get Junior into it, and out again.

This was our second visit to Albuquerque – to walk around the old town plaza again, visit a couple of the local shops for more flavored oils, the ones from the last trip had been used and some licorice from the Candy Lady. She also makes some really amazing truffles, this shop is dangerous and you gain weight just walking through the door. We had a light lunch (and a beer) at the Church Street Café, a grilled chicken sandwich with a green chili for Connie and I had the Ruben (sic).

We had decided that we really wanted to visit the Four Corners Monument, where the four corners of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico meet, so our next stop was only 134 miles away. Again we had very strong winds, swirling around so there was no relaxing, for anybody. Connie ‘suggested’ I add the next part – apparently I talk to the drivers as they are overtaking, ‘encouraging’ them to get past quickly. There were also a few expletives when a sudden gust of wind would move us sideways a foot or so, the stronger the wind the stronger, and louder, the expletive. What can I say!! We stayed in a park in Gallup so that we could take a day trip to Four Corners the next day, the next day started really badly, high winds and lots of rain, so we decided to go to the Monument the next day. The rain eased off around noon, too late to go to the Monument so we found a place nearer, the Window Rock and the Navajo Code Talkers Memorial, just 30 miles away, really amazing place.

 

The next day was good so we drove to Four Corners, nice place surrounded by about 60 Navajo tradespeople selling jewelry, arrows, T-Shirts and all manner of souvenirs. Lunch was Navajo fry bread, nothing memorable about that.

So that was our trip from East Texas through New Mexico, next leg is Arizona and Nevada.

We finished our trip a little early, so here we are in our small house in East Texas with a rental car on the new driveway. Junior (RV) and the Toad (CRV) are both in the shop getting a ‘face lift’ from the deer hit in New Jersey (Blog).

Our last post was Kentucky through to Heiskell Tennessee, our next stop was Nashville the State Capitol of Tennessee. There is a really imposing Capitol building at the top of a hill with 140 steps leading up to it – yes we counted them – on the way back down. The building overlooks the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park in Nashville, an urban state park opened in June 1996 to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Tennessee’s statehood.

One of the other sights in Nashville, apart from the Grand Ole Opry, is the full scale replica of the Parthenon, built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. The original structure was plaster and wood and was rebuilt on the same foundation in the mid 1920’s; it is now the home of an art museum.

After Nashville we headed to one of our favorite campgrounds – Tom Sawyer Mississippi River RV Park in West Memphis Arkansas, right on the banks of the great Mississippi river. We weren’t able to get a river front site this time, just one row back but still with amazing views of the barges pushing their cargo up and down the river, really peaceful – until the evening of 4th of July.

Rusty was due to be groomed so as we did in Montana, we took him to the groomers, went for some lunch and then headed for the Zoo. Memphis Zoo is very different and much larger than the small zoo in Montana – and it was very warm – so the shade and misters were very welcome havens.

From West Memphis we drove to Vicksburg in Mississippi and there we toured the Civil War site, not quite as big as Gettysburg, still impressive in size and the number of cannon and monuments, here is just a small selection of the monuments and battlefield views. Also some images of the USS Cairo, one of 7 ironclad gunboats built for the Union Navy at the start of the Civil War.

Nearly to the end of our shortened trip, leaving Vicksburg a couple of days early to stay one night at the Shreveport KOA so we could dump out our tanks ready for the short trip to East Texas. To say it was an eventful trip is an understatement – seriously considering ‘bull bars’ on the front of Junior or is a deer hit a little like lightening – rarely strikes twice?