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Monday, December 19, 2016

Aguirre Springs, NM to Quartzsite, AZ

... and a great view it is, 

(Aguirre Springs, NM)
Ok, so since the drive up along the Rio Grande was sorta mixed, not really exciting news, I had to pick up mail in El Paso, TX.  

(Aguirre Springs, NM)
I had, in the past, simply looked up internet USPS in the city and find one outside of the main downtown area, to avoid traffic.  So I chose one right on the route...

(Aguirre Springs, NM)
Went in to pick it up, asked for the mail and was greeted with a "We don't accept mail deliveries here?"...  Huh?? WTF, you're a Post Office Annex right?, "Nope" "Contracted"...
" what happens to mail when it arrives.."
"Oh, well, we send it back, refuse it"..

Sigh, lessons learned and now had to wait for it to be sent back to South Dakota and then resent...   To make a short story long, mail never left El Paso, but was sent to the main PO at the Airport.  Learned that AFTER calling all around  for several days.  Some "General Deliveries" are sent directly to the main Post Office unless website states on the actual PO location site "General Delivery"...

So, while waiting, stayed 4 nights at Aguirre Springs campgrounds, just above White Sands city, NM.  Very nice and great views.

Came in at night, sigh, just never learn, after trying to find the right road to get on to get outta Las Cruces, NM.

Narrow road to campground, then one way, with no turn around point.  Limited on the length.  Since I didn't have the Buggy Trailer anymore, wasn't too much of a problem but didn't want to get caught where I couldn't go or turn around so grabbed the first one that looked decent, room with a view...

Actually it was a great view.  City of White Sands was just below off to the south.

Next day walked the other campsites and saw maybe one or two that looked ok.

 Upper circle was good and large, but also crowded on weekends and noisy, so mine worked out well.

Great view and nice table area, was a good look all around....

Only draw back was that there was a hiking trail right across at the same spot and peeps would park or think I was the camp host by asking where to pay for the spots.. heheh, "well, right here, cash only"... tempting... so it got a little busy on the weekend.

Also, had a little visitor wandering around..

I've never seen one out in the wilds...  just moseying around..

Got a little fed up with the mail thing and thought it was going to be "Returned" to SD so moved on over to Elephant Butte, NM and requested mail be resent to there.

Met up with a fellow RV'er through RVillage, website for RVers, enroute to the "Q", Quartzsite, AZ, George B, and another Full Timer there, had a few fires and BBQs... nice.

Meanwhile, back to the Mail, tracking showed, never left El Paso, TX.   Had to call, no answer from PO and hung up on, called the USPS help desk who was able get an answer confirming it was still there and wouldn't be "Returned" for 30-days.. I could just picture driving down there, 2-hrs, and find they "Just Returned it", so I had about 10-days left to pick it up.

Finally located mail, down at El Paso airport, left Elephant Butte,

down to El Paso, then over to the City of Rocks.

Met George there and checked out the place.  I came in at night, see going to El Paso, 4-hour drive, and not lit at all.

Entrance was blocked so you had to pay up front for the site.

Sigh, Com'n mann, how do you know if any sites are available and which site, dry or w/water and power to pay for.  Pay booth is about a1/2 mile from main building.

Drove around the loop looking for George at night, ended up driving down a "Trail" heheh hard to see at night, but finally got situated.

Hiked around the Rocks, interesting to be sure.

Stayed 2 nights,

then heading for LoW-Hi Ranch, NM, Escapees side club for Loners on Wheels - Hi (I guess as in Hello).

Stayed there 2 nights and headed out to

the Kartchner Caverns SP, AZ - Bat Caves...

taking a long route along the border.  Nice drive it was.. 2 lanes but nice views.

Kartchner was ok, nice campgrounds, nothing special though, fairly well separated.  They apparently have two tours, apx $23 each.  I dunno, just seems expensive to do, so didn't do it.

I took pics of pics... for affect.

(These were all over the place)

( I can HEAR you)
Camping was $25 and fees were adding up, so stayed one night and left.

Heading toward the Painted Rocks, Petroglyphs, AZ. BLM so it was cheaper.

 Dry camping which is fine.  Stayed one night, George met up with one or two fellow-ette campers and we left the next day.  I didn't bother seeing the Petroglyphs as I consider it pretty much the birth of "Graffiti", just doesn't do anything for me.

Big solar area nearby, looked impressive..

We were planning on stopping again, in Yuma BLM, but got tied and wanted to hit the "Q" ASAP.  Thanksgiving was the next day.

Landed in Dome Rock, Quartzsite, AZ and was good for 14 days free.  Turkey Day  was the next day and wanted to be set in by then.

We stayed there for the 14-days, was going to move down to Yuma, but then heard it's not really nice to go to, so just found a spot in the LTVA (Long Term Visitors Area).  Pricing is $180 for a 7-month period and $40 for a two week time.

The only real advantage is that they have "Dump n Fill" stations and trash bins.  Those can be  a problem at times as in where do you "Dump" trash.. the local Waste facility is only open Sun-Wed, 10-2pm weird hours..

 So figuring apx $9 for a Dump N Fill in town (2 dumps), Pit Stop, it worked out ok.  George was planning on staying around till Mar/Apr and got the $180 pass. I was planning on hitting the road to Death Valley for Christmas so just needed the 2-week plan.

Currently at the LTVA and heading out in a few days Christmas In Death Valley...
Stay tuned...


Friday, December 16, 2016

Isla Blanca, Brownsville, TX to Aguirre Springs, NM

Isla Blanca, Brownsville, TX to Aguirre Springs, NM

Pulled outta Isla Blanca, TX and wanted to drive along the border just to see what’s there.

There were several camping reservoir lakes along the way and thought I’d check them out.
Lake Casa Blanca, Laredo, TX

I was trying to keep driving down to apx 4 hrs as it seems to work out the best.  While the game plan is to be on the road by 1000hrs and off it but 1400hrs, it never seems to work that way.  Usually ends up at 1100-1600hrs

I use RV Trip Wizard for my trip planning.   There are many others out there, this one has an annual fee, apx $30, but well worth it.  It not only shows campsites, that can be filtered, but driving ranges to give you an idea of just how far you’re planning on going.

Typically, I get on the road by 1100 to 1200 hrs and stop around 1600hrs… and sometimes at night, sigh… hate that.

Laredo, TX was the next stop.  The lake there, Lake Casa Blanca International State Park, was ok, not someplace I’d make a point of going to see, but it was a nicer stop than a Walmart..

I was running out of propane and needed to find a filling station.  Although Texas is a ‘Gas N Oil’ place, it was very hard to find a propane place.  I found one, typically gas stations will have them, but not around here.  The place I found was right in “Truck Central”, traffic at 5 mph, stop and go.  Never have I seen so many trucks…a real PITA to get there, get the propane, and get outta there.  

Next stop, running late due to the drop off, was to the Governors Landing Amistad, TX…  

Again, sigh, came in at night time and the spaces were tight, but I was able to fit in.  Nice area, not too bad.  A lot of Border Patrols around.  Not a place I’d want to shoot for.  Nice easy stop over.

Next stop was Big Bend, TX.  Supposed to be POI (Point of Interest) so I did.  

It was ok, long-long drive in the park, 40 miles at 45mph… takes awhile.  The popular campground was full, which is fine, I was just trying to get a feel for the place.  

While I didn’t see any “ORV Buggies” there, there were a lot of Jeepers… and the smaller Tear Drop trailers..

Next stop for a mail drop was El Paso, but USPS station I chose didn't accept "Mail" only sent it out for their customers.  I learned that you have to be careful on choosing mail drops with USPS... I look for the station and see if "General Delievery" is there or they're selling stamps, assuming they are a real Post Office.
So had to find a campsite which I had in mind Aguirre Spring, BLM, NM (just above White Sands Missile Proving Grounds, NM..  nice campground by the way... 

Great Views.... (more next blog)

…. And as a sad last note,

With  the tune of the Janis Joplin song “Bye-Bye, baby bye-bye….” running through my head,  I sadly turned in my “Li’l Nel” Polaris ACE 900 buggy.

Thanks “Li’l Nel” it was a great ride while it lasted.  I just can’t seem to keep the Buggies, “Nellie - 2015 Polaris RZR XP 1000 and “Li’l Nel” Polaris ACE 900 for any length of time, sigh…  
I will miss it…

Due to a massive drop in income about a year ago, it just became too much of a burden to keep, so had to  turn it back in.

Will miss it, as the whole Truck Camper game planning thing was to tow a buggy around and do the various Rallies around the USA.

Not going to happen now.  Not sure what I’ll be doing now…. Alaska Canada Trip is out now due to Amazon not working out.

Main Galleries

Lake Casa Blanca, Laredo, TX
Governor's Landing, Del Rio, TX
Big Bend, TX

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Amazon-Haslett to Isla Blanca, TX Nov 2016

OTRA, WTF is he doing/going now???      (On The Road Again, Where The Frack)

Leaving Amazon and heading out...

Well…. Sigh, that didn’t work out so well.  I did two weeks there, first week was 4 nights for 5-hr shifts. Second week was the full Monty, 4 nights for 10-hr shifts.   I did 3 shifts and then gave it up.  

Just too strenuous, too long and too much for this old bod, so let it go..

Since I was in the area, figured I’d do the Gulf coast and see what was down there.  I often hear the city names of Houston, Galveston, Corpus Christi etc and figure, what the hell, I’m in the area, just do it.

Left Haslett and was trying to meet up with another friend from last work, GHC in Seattle, but didn’t quite work out.  Got into Galveston State Park at night, really, really hate doing that, and found a spot, no idea what was around it.

Next day, surprised as it was very nice, wetland type thing.  

Campsites were right on the edge.

They have another main park on the beach front, but it was full.

(note that you can't see the ocean, like 'what's the point')
Went over to the main office to pay the fees, they have an additional “Out of State User Fee” for an additional $5 and that seems to be the common trend these days.

From there, headed to Padre Island.   Along the way everyone had a 2-story house… due to the storm floods, just looks a little different, houses on stilts..

Found the location I was looking for, a nice surprise for a change, Malaquite Beach.  There are other locations there, but due to some high tide/surge warnings, they were closed.  Malaquite wa the only one open and was filling up quickly.

Only these spots were available...

Lucked out and was able to find a spot on the black top.

Nice beach, tide was coming in full bore, up to the tables and beyond.

I was able to move after the weekend to a better spot.  Spent several, 6?-days there and was time to head out.  

I tend to get a little Antsy after about 4+days at the same spot with nothing much to do.  I had to go to town for the truck’s 30k (yep, did some 30k miles for the first year) servicing, thinking just an oil change, apx $200, but it needed fuel filters, so we got up to $500 and then hit with the transmission, 4x4 servicing, so some $1200 later…  ouch.  It took longer than I had planned so went back to Malaquite and get an early start towards Brownsville, TX, Isla Blanca RV park.

Drove thru the 3 other camping areas.

Mustang Island  (same island so not sure what that’s all about.)

So Beach - Primative - just driving/camping on the beach front sand..

Arrived at Isla Blanca in afternoon, light out - kewl, and a little confusing on getting registered if you didn’t know.  They have an entrance gate, looks like a border crossing. But you have register first, apx half mile before you get to the gate.

They wanted an extra $5 for a sewer hookup which I didn’t need and chose the cheaper area, outside of the main park.  

Not impressed with it.  It’s one big Ant Hill… I’d recommend paying the extra and go inside the park, a little nice, probably still have the Ants, but looks nicer and closer to the beach.  There was a KOA there at some $63, they really do luv their parks…

So stayed for 2 nights, took a walk around, no beach on my turf, and took some pics.  I did see a Parasailing, which I’ve done, and jet ski which I have not, but due to the Truck Servicing, just kept walking by.

I mention this as it would have been something I would have done.  I mean, hell, what’s the point of traveling if can’t participate once in awhile.  A friend mention she wanted to go parasailing but never did.  I wanted to take some pics and send them, she could do it vicariously… heheh

heh, anyway, left Isla Blanca and started to head towards the “Q” (Quartzsite, AZ)..

Beaches looked nice…  for some reason, just not excited about them as I used to be.

Off and running with stops on the way just to check things out along the border routes.