About Me

Lee Creek, North Shuswap near Chase, B.C, Canada
We went full-time Rving in October of 2005! We retired from full time to part-time as of the end of 2015. Our present "small but comfortable" Wagon is a 2008 Camper trailer(TravelAir Rustler), pulled by a 2008 Dodge Dakota, 4X4.l. Our home base is a resort Park, in Oliver, British-Columbia, Canada. I retired in 2005 and my Life Companion, Valerie, retired October 1, 2006 from nursing. We invite you to follow and share our new adventures and mishaps. Life is but an adventure full of dreams yet to be fulfilled!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

March 28 to 31/13; Desert Pools to Indio, CA

MAR  28, Thursday, back to DHS
We are here for 7 nights then we will move back to Desert Hot Springs!  I took Val back to Desert Pools after fuelling @ $4.29, and she went out with Louise, Audrey and Ellen for a pedicure then the four of them went out to a Casino in Indio for dinner.  In the meantime, I took Tucker for a haircut then I went for lunch.  Afterwards, I went back to Indio where I checked out a couple of RV Dealers and had the truck washed for $10, beats doing it myself in this heat.  I went to pick up Tucker at 4 PM, took him home and went for dinner at a local Chinese bistro.  The food was quite good and I will be back.  I picked up Val at the Casino then we came home.  The other girls were going to a bingo in the Casino.  We had a drink, caught to each other news then it was bed time after watching the tube for a while.

 
MAR  29, Friday, to Cabazon, shopping
It’s going to be another hot one; already 84*F at 10AM!  We went to pick up Audy at DHS then drove to Cabazon, about a 20 minutes drive west on I-10 towards Los Angeles, to a huge Outlet stores.  My main goal was to find a vest at IZOD to replace the one I ruined but had no luck so I bought a pair of loafer instead at a shoe store.  Audrey bought a pair of wild and colorful pair of runner; Val restrained herself.  We had lunch there then drove back to Desert Hot Springs but we first stopped at a bar along the way which we had gone to a couple years back with our friends Glenda and Terry and had a marvellous evening of dancing; we had a couple drinks then came back to Desert Pools to drop off Audrey. She drove down to our Resort and had dinner with us.  Val took her around to take a look and Aud got some info and prices on the place.  It was a great day and we had fun.

 
MAR  30, Saturday, Geocaching
What a day and hot to boot!  Our intentions were to go Geocaching but we never got there.  We drove to McMAHON’s RV to looked at a couple motorhomes I had seen on their website; BIG MISTAKES!  We ended putting an offer on a 2003 BEAVER MONTEREY, diesel pusher!  We spent most of three hours looking, dealing and finally coming to a deal (pending).  We are trading in the fifth-wheel and the truck!  We called Rochelle and Jeffrey and told them the news.  When it was over, we went to “TILTED KILT PUB” and had lunch.  Audrey, Tom & Ellen and their friends, Ed & Joan arrived a while later and we told them the news.  Everyone is very excited for us!  We came home, had a drink outside then it was time for dinner.  What a day,  emotions are running high!!!

 
MAR  31, Sunday, Indio
I was up at 4 AM; just couldn’t sleep...wonder why!?  What a way to end a month!  We went to Desert Hot Springs and I moved Audrey’s motorhome after a short visit with Dave & Louise.  Audrey bought us breakfast at the corner restaurant then we took her home to Catalina Resort and we came back to Indio but we first stopped at McMahon RV and took a closer look at storage.  I think we may have to rent a small trailer to bring all our junk back; i.e.: kayaks, golf clubs and other things.  Time will tell!  Anyway, we are home at Indian Waters Resort and Val decided to do a wash.  It is hot out there, 94*F (32*C) and hardly any winds to speak of.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

MArch 24 to 27, 2013; DHS to Indio, CA

MAR  24, Sunday, HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAYLEY!
Today is my grand-daughter Hayley’s birthday!  It is also our 13th Anniversary (This is the day of our first “official” Date).  I posted our blog then Audrey showed up at 9:30 AM and we drove to a restaurant next door for breakfast.  Dave & Louise and their friends also joined us.  It was a very busy place but we got a table for 7 no problem.  Breakfast was very good then we went to Catalina and I drove Audrey & Marcel’s 38 foot motorhomes to our Park.  At first the MH wouldn’t start and I had to get my jumper cable to get it started.  I took it for a long drive to charge the batteries then came into our Resort and set her up at site 150.  It felt strange driving a MH again.
Anyway, the rest of the day was spent reading, doing laundry and Val went to watch water-volleyball at the pool.  It is sunny and very warm...84*F (27*C).  We have a small roast in the slow-cooker.  After HH, Audrey joined us for dinner.

 
MAR  25, Monday, DHS
Warm and sunny!  Val went for her morning walk with Audrey then both went shopping in town for groceries.  I went to the local restaurant that we went to for breakfast and had a hamburger, delicious then I found an AT&T store and bought another month of phone time.  When I got home, Dave advised me that the Park was shutting down the water for at least a 24 hours period due to a broken water main.  I filled our tank then went over to Audrey and Dave and I filled hers.  We all met at Audrey’s site for dinner, Dave & Louise, Tom & Ellen and us.  We had Pacific Salmon, vegetables and sweet potatoes; for dessert we had ice cream cake and raspberries...It was all very delicious!!!  The girls went to Bingo here in the Park and the guys came over to our place and we told each other a bunch of whole truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  It all ended by 9 PM as each went to their respective home.

 
MAR  26, Tuesday, visit with friends from the Baja.
The water was turned off this morning due to a broken main so while I turned off the tap and unhooked the hose, Val and Audrey went for a walk.  I also went over to Aud’s place and unhooked her water tap then worked on the intake hose only to find out there was a leak with the tap closing their main water tank.  The whole thing will have to be replaced so I told Aud to call her repair guy, Mario, and get this fix.  I would but don’t have the tools for it.
We left around 11:15 AM and drove to Palm Springs to visit friends, Louise and Ronald, from the Yukon.  We met them a few years ago on the Baja.  We had a marvellous visit and lunch.  We reminisced over the years and caught up to each other news.  We went for a short walk with Tucker then, after saying our goodbyes, we came home, had dinner then relaxed.

 
MAR  27, Wednesday, Move to Indian Waters Resort, Indio CA
For some reasons I was awake at 6 AM and couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up; Val was up at 6:30 AM.  We slowly packed up and at 10 am we went for breakfast at the local restaurant; Aud, Louise and Dave joined us.  We left at 11 AM and 40 minutes later, we were in Indian Waters Resort in Indio.  We paid our dues ($112 for 7 nights), set up and now are relaxing under A/C.  We have full hook-up with 50 AMPS.  We jumped in our swimsuits and went for a swim in the pool to cool off; it is 98*F (34*C).  It sure felt good!  We sat outside for quite a while as it was quite hot, the A/C had a hard time keeping up.  Dinner then we watched “SURVIVORS”

We drove 28 miles (45 KM) in 40 minutes @ 40 MPH average.
N  33* 42.411’
W 116* 12.769’
Alt: 1 foot

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 19 to 23, 2013; Desert Hot Springs, CA

MAR  19, Tuesday, Desert Hot Springs
Hot and sunny!  Val went for a walk in the desert with Audrey and Louise and I worked on our Income Tax; we are getting a nice refund!  Val made spaghetti sauce for tonight.  I went to see about staying here an extra week and I have to buy it @ $210, for 7 nights ($30/night)!  We also made sure that Audrey could come in under Coast to Coast.  I am undecided about buying our week here, I am thinking of going to INDIAN WATERS Resort in Indio !?? We went Geocaching for the afternoon and found 14 of them; getting closer to my goal of 1000!  We came home in time to go to Louise and Dave for HH.  Two other couples joined us.  We came home and I got to finally watched Canadian news from home.

 
MAR  20, Wednesday, DHS
All of Val’s sisters have been planning a get together in August in Toronto so there is a lot of chatting on e-mail back and forth lately.  Val went for her walk with Audrey this morning and I took Tucker for his.  We went to Costco with Louise and Dave then to Walmart.  We came home and put everything away.  Audrey came over then at 5PM, the two of them and Louise went playing Bingo with Tom and Ellen.  Dave and I had to fend for ourselves.  I caught up with my blog and did some research on hotel rooms in Toronto.  I made reservations for Indian Waters Resort in Indio for our week out from here.

 
MAR  21, Thursday, First day of Spring in Desert Hot Spring!
Hot and sunny; we went over to Catalina Resort after Val’s walk and visited some new and used motorhomes!  Dangerous I know but we couldn’t help it, they were serving cakes and ice cream which we enjoyed.  There were a couple we were interested in but didn’t make any offer.  Tom and Ellen also joined us and afterwards we went to Audrey’s rig and had a couple beers.  We left around 3 PM and went to the Post Office to mail a couple letters than came home.  We went to Jim and Dot’s place for H.H, then over to Louise and Dave for a New Orleans Pork Roast which was delicious.  We had all the trimming with it and Audrey also joined the group.  We had a good time and a nice evening then came home.

 
MAR  22, Friday, DHS
We got up this morning to a hefty wind from the North which rocked us for quite a while but finally quit as suddenly as it had arrived about two hours later.  We went back to Catalina Resort with Dave and Louise and filled our face with hot dogs and looked over all of the motorhomes once again.  The girls, including Ellen & Louise, went to Palm Desert and came back around 4:30 PM.  Dave and I came home with his truck.
We, including Audrey, had Chicken Caesar Salad for dinner then went out to watch ARGO at the theatre in Palm Desert.  We came home around 10:30 PM, had a nightcap then bed time

 
MAR  23, Saturday, DHS
Sunny and warm!  We went back again to Catalina as they were serving BBQ pull-pork sandwich and coleslaw, all for free.  We enjoyed live music for a while then came home.  Audrey came and we had HH with Dave and Louise then we all went to the club house for steak, potato, green vegetables, buns and dessert.  It was quite good.  We then decided to see a movie, OLYMPUS DOWN, with Louise and Audrey; Dave stayed home.  We got back by 10 pm.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 15 to 18, 2013; Desert Hot springs, CA

MAR  15, Friday, Desert Hot Springs
We were up early to attend a spiel on joining “R.P.I.” another camping club to supplement our present membership however the salesman attitude was such that we just walked out.  He was telling us what to do instead of presenting and listening!!!  As we walked out, I told the office that they needed a new salesman!!!  Anyway, we called Aud and made arrangement to go for hamburgers here then go to Apple Store to exchange Val’s present which she got from Marcel and Audrey as a birthday present.  The color is not right.  I got some propane at $2.99/gal.
This is another hot day, mid 90’s again but there is a bit of a breeze and it is dry!  We came home and a couple hours later, we drove to Caliente RV Park where Aud is living for now and we had dinner at her Park club, spaghetti, salad, buns and dessert.  At 6:30 PM, we drove to the Palm Desert to the theatre and saw a movie called “The Calls” with Hallie Berry.  It was OK!  We came back to Desert Hot Springs and Aud took us to a bar her and Marcel found in town, had a drink then came home and called it quit for the night.

 
MAR  16, Saturday, A relaxing day
Another hot day; in the low 90’s!  Val and Aud went shopping in town while Tucker and I stayed home, read and relaxed.  A light wind came up keeping things comfortable.  The girls got back around 4:30 PM, we had a drink then BBQ pork chops with all the trimmings.  We sat out and had a discussion on the pros and cons of a Canadian having a gun in their rig.  Aud went home around 9 pm, we watched the tube for a while then it was our turn to turn in.

 
MAR  17, Sunday, 
Sunny and hot once more; they keep promising cooler weather but we’ve yet to see it.  I went on the Net and downloaded a bunch of caches to do later in the week.  Val did laundry this morning then we relaxed until 2 PM when Audy came over and we drove to her friends’ place in Caliente Resort (Tom and Ellen).  We had a great visit with them and a hamburger BBQ with three different salads.  At one point, I had to go back to our Resort to put up the awning as the wind really picked up then came back.  We left at 7 PM and came home.  As we drove in, we saw that Louise and Dave had arrived so we stopped for a short visit and came home 2 hours later.

 
MAR  18, Monday
It was a little cooler today; 85*F (28*C although it didn’t feel much different from yesterday) with sunny skies!  Val went for the “walk off the Pounds” but came back 10 minutes later; nobody showed up so she phone Aud and went for a walk with her up in the desert.  We tried to set up the satellite with little success then at 4 Pm we had Happy Hours with Audrey, Dave and Louise and new people, Dot and Jim.  After they left, we had dinner with Audrey then played a game of Sequence; much harder with 3 people.  To bed by 11 PM

Thursday, March 14, 2013

March 10 to 14, 2013; Casa Grande to Desert Hot Springs via Yuma

MAR  10, Sunday, routine stuff
Sunny day!  My sinus cold is still persisting and I am getting tired of it!  Val did the laundry while I walked Tucker; there is a new dog park but we liked the old one better.  This one has a lake in the centre and a walkway around, very nice improvement as it used to be just a big dry hole.  Other improvements are the office, no more post office, we now pick up our mail in the office on a rack, new paved road everywhere,  all the site have been worked on, no more front gate to open, and all the buildings have been painted a desert brown.  They also have two pools now and a beautiful patio with nice lounge chairs and umbrella tables.
After laundry and lunch, we went to the Outlet Mall only to find three stores still open; everything else was closed tight with nothing in them so we drove to the mall to find Val’s sandals and found a pair.  That’s to replace the one where she lost one sandal overnight in Butte as you may recall!?  We came home, had a drink then I cooked steaks for dinner with salad and asparagus (Val).  Evening was the tube!  Oh yeah, I called T&G in Mesa and we agreed to meet on Tuesday; I sent a text to the Kirkby’s about meeting on Wednesday for lunch and an e-mail to Karla and Ed who are also in Mesa.

 
MAR  11, Monday, Casa Grande
Sunny again and a bit warmer than yesterday!  Val went for her exercises this morning.  I called WHR and made reservations at Desert Pool for the next 3 weeks (64557); Audrey is there and so will Dave and Louise on the 17th...One big family reunion!!!  We went into town and stopped at Ford to buy diesel treatment fluid then on to the RV Store to get some light bulb.  We also stopped a Summers’s Jewellery store to have Val’s bracelet fixed then went to “BIG WA” Chinese restaurant to have lunch.  This is our favorite Chinese place here in Casa Grande and we never miss an opportunity to eat there.  We came back to our Park and Val went puzzling while I read and went for a walk to check out all the changes that have been done since last we were here and it was taken over by new owners.

 
MAR  12, Tuesday, to Mesa
I can’t believe it!  I was up at 6 AM due to my sinus; it was really bad this morning, it just won’t go away.  Anyway, I read until Val got up at 7AM.  She went for her exercises and I showered then took Tucker for his walk.  After Val showered, we drove to MESA for a visit with Glenda and Terry.  We had lunch with them and caught up to their news and ours.  We had a really nice visit and left around 4 PM.  We drove to another CAL-AM Park and visited with Mel & Lorna and Ed & Karla.  This also was a great visit as we hadn’t seen them in quite a while.  We had a couple beers then it was time to say goodbye and be on our way back.  We stopped at FRY’s to pick up a chicken and fuelled up at $3.81.  We came home, had dinner and relaxed.

 
MAR  13, Wednesday, to Desert Hot Spring via Yuma
We left around 9:15 AM and drove west on I-8.  We stopped for a short break at a roadside rest area then continued on to Yuma.  AS we went by Wellton, we honked as we drove by the RV Park where our friends Judy and Ed are spending the winter.  She phoned us to say she heard and saw us drive by.  We arrived in Yuma, stopped for fuel @ $4.01 at Flying J then met the Kirkby’s at OLIVE GARDENS where we had lunch.  After giving them the Gracie’s ashes and a few tears of remembrance, we left and entered our last State (California) on this leg of the trip.  We turned off on Hwy 111 then 86 and finally I-10.  We finally arrived in Desert Hot Springs and our WHR Park, Desert Pools on Dillon Road.  We are on site 113 and it is 6 PM and 104*F in the sun!!!  Audrey called us and we agreed to see her in the morning.  I just did our basic set-up and went in to A/C air.

We drove 351 miles (569KM) in 6 hrs and 20 minutes @ an average 55 MPH for a total of 8 hrs and 45 minutes.
N  33* 55.396’
W 116* 26.053
Alt: 1028 ft

 
MAR  14, Thursday, Desert Hot Spring, California
Our day began with Audrey coming over for tea first thing this morning; she walked over!  We had a nice visit and caught up to a lot of news then I drove her home after I showered.  We went for some groceries and to find a new coffee pot as the old one broke when something from the cupboard fell on it.  We had to go to Walmart to find the pot then I fuelled @ $4.16/gallon.  We came home but first stopped at Audrey in Caliente RV Park where she is at the present time.  We came home, had a change of clothes, walked Tucker in 90*F temperature and had a lengthy conversation with Donna from Home.  Audrey picked us up at 6 PM and we drove to downtown Palm Springs where every Thursday they close the Main street and have an outdoor fair where all kinds of stuff is sold including different foods.  As we walked the street, we met Audrey’s friends Ellen and Tom from Northern Ontario.  We all went to a pub and had dinner and a couple beers then were back on the street to the fair.  We called it quit at ten when the fair started winding down and we were home by 10:30 PM.  Another great day!

Saturday, March 09, 2013

March 8 & 9, 2013; Casa Grande finally

MAR  8, Friday, on the road again to Bowie, Arizona
We left this morning under sunny sky and on the road by 8:30AM.  We got on I-10 W by 9:45AM.  The drive to I-10 was really nice; it reminded us of the scenery around Kamloops.  We continued on to El Paso where I fuelled @$4.24/gal, and hit rain for the first time in a long time, and I do mean heavy rain.  As we got nearer here, the wind started to pick up but it was still warm and we hit rain patches along the way.  We also had to move our clocks back one hour as we are now on Mountain Time.  We continued on to the New Mexico Info Centre and had lunch there.  Back on the road, we drove West through some very boring scenery and a head wind gusting to 25 MPH and more rain, of course.  Needless to say it didn’t help the fuel consumption or my speed.  I had to stop again in Lordsburg, New Mexico where I paid $4.27/gal.  We were going to stop in Deming for the night but because of the hour gain, we decided to continue on.  We arrived in Bowie, Arizona where I called it quit, 8.5 hrs later (Excluding the hour gain).  We are at “Mountain View Park”, a Passport America member and paid $15 for the night with full hook-ups but no cable.  The wind is stronger if that’s possible to believe, actually it is moving the main slide slightly inwards.  Anyway, we are warm and cozy and dinner is on.  We have one channel on the tube and it is in Spanish!!!!  Go figure!

We drove 434 miles (704 KM) in 7.5 hrs at an average 57 MPH.
N  32* 19.852’
W 109* 30.166’
Alt: 3767 feet

 
MAR  9, Saturday, to Casa Grande, AZ
When I got up this morning, I notice snow in the mountains that came almost half way down.  IT is a chilly 30*F @ 7 AM.  We left by 9:45 AM and headed West on I-10.  More rain, more sun, more clouds and more rain and it never got any higher then 58*F all day.  We stopped in Eloy for fuel at Flying J @ $3.96/gal.  A half hour later we arrived in Casa Grande at our Home Park, paid our dues and set up in site 196 just behind the club house and near the exit, in case we want to elope!!!!  After setting up, we went to get some groceries and wine, came home and realx for a while then went out to the club house for spaghetti night.  The forecast is for more sun tomorrow and a warming trend to 90*F by the end of the week.  There’s been a lot of change in this Park and all of it for the better.  They now have two pools and a hot tub as an example.  Also, Internet is free!

We travelled 178 miles (290 KM) in 3 hrs and 5 minutes @ an average 58 MPH.
N  32* 55.376’
W 111* 45.239’
Alt: 1387 feet

Thursday, March 07, 2013

March 5 to 7, 2013; Presidio to Ft Davis area

MAR  5, Tuesday, Happy B’day to me and on the road again!
Everything is equal between me and Val once again as far as age is concerns, that is! J  I posted our blog this morning as it seems our internet was a bit faster and I noticed that we have now reached 600 Post...Amazing!  It is cloudy and a warm 52*F and the wind has returned in full force.  I hope it simmers down before we leave!?
After packing, we stopped in town for breakfast then headed West for Presidio on Hwy 170.  What a fabulous scenic drive!  We followed the Rio Grande most of the way with the wind behind us all the way.  There was one section where the grade was 15% which made the BEAST work but he made it, and we found a geocache here.  We took quite a few pictures as usual.  We stopped at this place where a few abandoned buildings were; this was a location for about 8 Western movies, two of which I’ve seen: STREET OF LOREDO, RIO DIABLO, DEAD MAN’s WALK and THE JOURNEYMAN in 2000, to name a few.  We finally arrived in PRESIDIO around 1:15 PM, set up in LOMA PALOMA RV Park then went for a look around.  We stopped at FORT LAYTON where a lot of history happened with PONCHO VILLA and we got another geocache.  The Fort was NOT actually a military station but a trading post owned by the Layton family but it was built like a fortress and served as “Safe Heaven” for the locals and travellers.  It was well worth seeing!  This region did see of lot of action with the Apaches, Comanche’s, Poncho Villa and the civil war in Ojinaga, Mexico.  We saw but never went into Ojinaga but did pick up our last geocache nearby.  The valley is called the “RIO JUNTA” which means “Junction of the rivers”; Rio Grande and Conchos River out of Mexico.
It is sunny and it warmed up to 70*F.

We drove 64 miles (103 KM) in one hour and 35 minutes @ an average 40 MPH.
N  29* 32.464
W 104* 18.812
ALT: 2591 Feet
We fuelled in Presidio @ $4.10/Gallon

 
MAR  6, Wednesday, to Fort Davis
A cloudy and windy day from the South-East.  I was up at 7 am feeling a bit under the weather due to a sinus cold that doesn’t want to go away.  We were away by 9:30 PM and drove north on 170 then 67 to Marpha.  The scenery was quite nice considering it is desert country and we had to go through the usual border check point just before Marpha.  We even saw a rock formation that looked like an ELEPHANT and one that had the profile of LINCOLN, very interesting.  From the town of Marpha, which was quite pretty, we were on Hwy 17 to Ft Davis where we found our campground, OUTLAND RV CAMPGROUND, a Passport member and we paid $16 a night for two.  Even though it was cheap, I would not recommend this park!  We had full hook-up but he wanted $2 extra for the Net and $5 for the use of the bathroom for each day...good thing we are self sufficient, it was also a dusty place (Just another parking lot).  We were in Ft Davis by 11:30 and had lunch at the Drugstore/restaurant and hotel.  The place was funky and we had a decent meal here.  I was feeling so lousy that I went to lie down for a while and slept until 3:30 PM.  We have cable here so we watched that and I just took it easy on my sinus cold.  I called Casa Grande and made reservations for Saturday then I called VERIZON about my internet JETPACK and got that resolved.  Unfortunately, the McDonald Observatory has a night show only on Tuesday so we missed it by one day.  It also does it on Friday and Saturday but we will be on our way.  We watched SURVIVOR on CBS.

We travelled 86 miles in one hour, 45 minutes @ an average 48mph
N  30* 35.472
W 103* 53.597
Alt: 4929 Feet

 
MAR  7, Thursday, FT Davis
Cloudy this morning; it is supposed to be a mixture all day; temperature slowly going up; presently 53*F at 9 am.  I uploaded my pictures to Picasa and I warn you!  There are lots!!! 
We were on the road of exploration by 10 AM.  We first drove to the town centre where we visited the Chamber of Commerce and Val shopped at a funky store.  I found another geocache while she was shopping.  We drove to FT DAVIS and visited this National historic site.  This is where the Buffalo (Blacks) soldiers were stationed for most of their career.  It sounds like their life was quite boring with the odd excitement of chasing Apaches and Comanche’s.  We then drove to the McDONALD OBSERVATORY.  What an interesting place.  We also had a great guide.  It began with a short movie on the story then the guide took us on a tour of two of the major telescopes; there were about 6 or 7 of them on the grounds.  We got a run down on the making and operations of these magnificent instruments.  I even got to operate the movement of one of the telescope.  Worth every penny!  Even the drive up to this area was breathtaking.  We finally got out at 4:30 PM, drove home after stopping at the grocery store andn got fuel @ $4.39.  We had a drink outside where the temperature had gone up to low 70’s then it was time for dinner, TV and early bed as we are leaving early tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

March 1 to 4, 2012; Big Bend NP to Terlinquas, Texas

MARCH  1, Friday, Big Bend National Park
I got up at 7 am and only 32*F (0*C) outside!  Brrrrrr!  The sky is clear and once the sun showed its face, it warmed up fast.  After showering, we left our site and drove to CASTOLON on the west side of the Park.  As we drove up the highway, we stopped at numerous areas to either read the history or just take pictures, and lots we took!  We first went up to CHISOS BASIN, in the Chisos Mountains, at an altitude of 5400 feet where we had lunch at the lodge’s restaurant.  This was a very pretty drive and we reached heights of 5800 feet before dropping into the basin.  The views were absolutely spectacular.  There is an RV Park here but anyone longer than 30 feet would have a hard time to make it due to all the switchbacks and narrow road.  Lunch was great, we had Elk Chili and flour tortilla chips and roasted Jalapeno pepper....delicious and the price was right!  We drove back down and headed west for a few miles than turned south on “Ross Maxwell scenic drive” for COTTONWOOD RV PARK (CASTOLON) at the Mexican border on the Rio Grande River.  We stopped at the HOMER WILSON RANCH which is now abandoned but the ranch is still there, then on to the SOTOL VISTA Overlook and what a view!!!!  Words cannot do it justice nor can the pictures although we did try!  We had a full view of the valley below and the Santa Elena Canyon, about ten miles away as the crow fly.  We also got a geocache here.  We continued on to the valley below and the Rio Grande River where the Cottonwood RV Park is situated.  We stopped for a scene of the “Mule’s Ears” which is two spires made from erosion.  The TUFF CANYON which was along the highway was next.  A really neat area with a deep river bed (dry); again see pictures to get the effect!  We stopped at the Park Ranger station where a historic site was situated.  They used to grow cotton here back in the early 1900’s which was good because of the fertile land near the river and the warm climate.  We had a beer here, bought a hat and just took a time out.  We continued on to ELENA CANYON, about 5 miles down the road and what a vista.  The canyon is 18 miles long, over 1500 feet deep and only 30 feet wide at some spots.  On the left was Mexico and the right was the USA.  Absolutely breath-taking!  (SEE PICS in Picasa link).  After a short break and another geocache, we headed back to our site, 103 KM away, but not before taking on fuel at Panther Station @ $4.49 and a stop at the village store to update my blog. (They have internet).  What a day!  The weather was great, temperature from 65 to 75 depending on the altitude we were at and NO WIND!  After dinner, we sat outside and enjoyed ALL the MILLIONS of stars; never seen so many!  To bed by 9 PM.

 
MAR  2, Saturday, More of Big Bend
35*F when I got up at 7 AM!  After showering and breakfast, we drove back to Boquillas Canyon and walked in, a 1 mile easy hike.  A couple of Mexicans were there on horseback and trying to sell their trinquets.  As we walked in the Canyon, an old Mexican guy was out on the sand banks singing and trying to sell some wares.  He wanted a donation for his singing!!!  Cute!  We continued on to the end of the trail which took inside the Canyon and took more pictures then returned.  On the way back, we did buy something from the singing Mexican, a walking stick.  I only had $20 and he said he couldn’t make change so we began walking away and all of a sudden, he found enough in his other pocket.  JUST AMAZING!!!!  We got back to the truck and drove to OLD ORGE ROAD where a geocache was to be found.  We drove in 6 miles to this canyon cause by water running off and found three water pools situated in this Canyon.  We climbed down, looked around and drove back.  On the way in, we saw 4 young people standing by the road looking at a grave so we stopped and looked too.  Val recognized one of the young girls as one she had spoken to this morning while doing her hair in the washrooms; small world.  We took some pictures and continued on.  After lunch, we hiked to the Hot Springs but after getting to the top of the hill and realizing we had another 2.5 miles to go of ups and downs, we decided, wisely, to go back and take the truck via the back road; much faster and easier plus we would have sweated out all the benefit of the bath.  We had a soak in the Hot Springs along with 8 other people which made it a bit crowded.  We were back at our place by 4 PM, sat and had a drink then cooked dinner: Steak and salad!  After much discussion, we decided to leave tomorrow for Lajitas, outside the Park, near the Texas State Park on the west side.  We have seen everything there is to be seen here.

 
MAR  3, Sunday, to Lajitas
Another beautiful sunny.  We didn’t get up until 8 AM and it is 47*F already.  We slowly packed and drove out.  Quite a few people have already left.  We packed and were gone by 11 AM.  We drove back to the Park HDQTR then south west to Study Butte (pronounced stoody byoot) where we camped in the same namesake RV campground.  We were her by 12:30 PM, loaded the laundry and went into town to the Laundromat then to CHILI CAFE HOUSE for lunch.  The waitress was very friendly and informative about things to see here.  I fuelled @ $4.49.  This town/village is nothing fancy or extravagant but it is quaint and rustic.  We have a few places to visit and some geocaches to find.  We sat out for HH and Val went exploring the campground (she saw a library of sort).  This place is quite funky with all kinds of junk and/or antiques!

We drove a whole 55 miles (91 KM) in one hour and 20 minutes @ an average 41 MPH
N  29* 18.805’
W 103* 31.550’
Alt: 2549 feet

 
MAR  4, Monday, Happy Birthday Val!
Yes, once again today, I get to call her the “old Lady” for a whole day!  She’s 66 and I am only 65!  By tomorrow that will all change. :-)  Anyway, I went to get some propane ($27) while Val did her toiletries.  Once that was done, we went Geocaching and visiting.  Our first cache was in the desert about a mile away called “Dinosaur Egg”, a big rock that looked like an egg!  We then drove to anther funky store/hotel for another one and again down the road at a store where two old guys were sitting by the computer inside the store.  We looked around inside then went out to find the cache.  From here, we drove to Tarlingua and the ghost town.  What an interesting and rustic place.  Three quarters of the village was all broken up (houses used to be stone house to keep the heat out).  This is an old abandoned mercury mine and the cemetery recounted all the deaths due to that and other things.  Most were in their early 50’s and a lot of young people of the young age of 16 to 26.  This place dates back to the late 20’s and early 30’s.  There are some people living there now but mainly due to the tourists.  We stopped for lunch at a funky little shack where they served excellent food.  We then drove to Lajitas, looked around, had a beer than drove back home.  From we saw at Lajitas, this is going to be a very nice drive tomorrow.  It is sunny and 90*F!
When we got back, we went looking for Val’s sandal which had gone missing overnight.  We are not sure if it is one of the many dogs running around free but we looked everywhere to no avail.
For dinner, we went out to this awesome place we found earlier while Geocaching (see, there are benefits to this game), it is called “La KIVA”.  To enter, you lift this mega door on rock loaded pulleys than go down the stairs and you enter this dungeon like place.  I think Val had a good time, even got her a Tequila drink.  We got back by 8:30 PM and had a drink outside.  Teh sky is absolutely bright with stars.