Friday, December 28, 2012

Back in Albuquerque

Left Big Bend on Monday the 17th and arrived in Albuquerque on Tuesday. We had a good-long trip back with a mishap. I was pulling the 5er and running out of fuel as we approached Van Horn Texas. I pulled into the first station in town and tried to find diesel. The only diesel pump was in the middle of the islands, most stations have their diesel pump on the end. I didn't have the luxury to keep on going and find another station since the truck had been telling me I had 0 miles left two miles earlier. I was able to angle in and fill-up, but I knew getting out would be tricky. Sherri was directing me and as I pulled to the right she signaled that we were good, a couple seconds later I heard a terrible noise of metal hitting concrete.
How ironic, after two years on the road we biffed the RV on our last travel day. The 5er is now for sale and will be fixed up soon. The truck is also for sale, I will miss the truck - not living in a fifth wheel so much.
Since our return to Albuquerque we have been living at Sherri's mom and house hunting daily. With no reason to choose a particular section of the city to live in, we have run our Realtor all over town. Our decision was made somewhat easier yesterday as Sherri started her new job and when she got home from work she made it clear that she was not driving more than 45 minutes home from work in the dark.
I am very proud of Sherri. She saw an ad for an office manager listed on Craig's list while we were still in Big Bend and she went after the job with vigor. She called the CPA company in Corrales as soon as we were back in Albuquerque and had an interview the following day, was called back in last Friday for a practice day, was offered the job on Monday and started yesterday. Sherri beat out 30 others who interviewed for the position.
Before we left Big Bend we took one final hike, a 14 miler with elevation changes of 2,500'. The Marufo Vega trail stretches over mesas and through canyons on its way to the Rio Grande.After three miles into the hike the trail splits, the photo below shows the north fork starting down to the river.
The descent to the river can get steep.
We reached the river, a very pretty area. Here is looking north and south.

The hike from the river on the south fork is 800' straight up. The river is the green patch way down there.
It was a wonderful/tough 8 hour hike and left a good memory of Big Bend. Our first night in Albuquerque was spent at the Isleta Lakes RV Park. As I was walking the dog in the morning I saw a bird in the trees which was much bigger than the others and it had a white head...a Bald Eagle having breakfast while the crows looked on.

The area is very nice, unfortunately the train tracks are 50 yards from the RV park and the train whistle blows at all hours. Here's another shot of the lakes.
Time to get back to house hunting. I suppose I should also start job hunting.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012


This will probably be my last post from the road, but who knows what the future holds. We are leaving Big Bend this Monday the 17th. For many reasons we have decided to head back to Albuquerque. The main reason is we are expecting a granddaughter February 4th. This will be our first grandchild and we, especially Sherri, are having a hard time being away from all the events which surround the birth of a child. There are showers to attend, cribs to buy and of course clothes to look at.
We also realize that we are starting to get claustrophobic living in the RV and began talking about the virtues of having a home. I think we both enjoy having roots and feeling like we are a part of a community. I am not in any way saying we haven't had a great time over the past two years; plus we have learned a lot about ourselves and each other. Both of us are glad we had the opportunity to RV and  we might give it another shot in the future.
Well, that's enough philosophizing - let's move on to what we have done in Big Bend. Last week we left the park for the first time since we arrived.  Right outside the park's western boundary are the very small towns of Study Butte and Terlingua. In Terlingua we visited the very old portion which is referred to as a ghost town even though people still live there, or maybe they have re-populated.
Our first stop was the Terlingua Trading Company which is an old building with many rooms and many funky items for sale.
There is a short walking tour of the Ghost Town which was a booming mining town from the early 1900's until the 30's. The church Saint Agnes was the most interesting building and the best preserved.

The Starlight Theater, next door to the Trading Company is a big attraction after 5:00PM.
Down the road a short ways is the cemetery, most of folks buried here are from the old mining days, but there are some recent headstones.

 After the ghost town we took a 15 minute drive to Lajitas which is a resort community right on the river. It is very incongruous to have this resort in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the desert. I'm not sure how well they are doing - we did not see many people around.

We headed back to Terlingua for some good Mexican food at Rio Bravo and finished up grocery shopping at a little market. On the way back into the park I stopped for an interesting landscape photo. This part of Big Bend is known as the Badlands.
We will be in Albuquerque by next Tuesday and the RV part of our Excellent Adventure will pause/end, and a new adventure will begin.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Big Bend Exploration

Work and exploring Big Bend are what we have been up to. The Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest in the park and it was good to have a lot of shoppers in the store. Otherwise the Rio Grande Village store is slow and booooooring....
On our days off we have been hiking and checking out this very large National Park. There is desert, river and mountain hiking to do.
The Lost Mine Trail is in the Chisos Mountains; the trail is 5 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 1.100'.

Sherri says "Homer Simpson Rock"

One morning we joined a Ranger for a bird walk. I didn't get any good bird photos but we did see these Javelinas/Collared Peccaries on the way to the walk

A beautiful spot in the park is the Castolon Historic area and the Santa Elena Canyon. The canyon extends about five miles with the canyon walls up to 1,500' high.
Entrance to Santa Elena Canyon
Looking out of canyon toward Chisos Mountains

End of the trail into Santa Elena Canyon, about 1 mile in.              

Lava deposits along Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive
The last two photos are river pictures on our six mile round trip hike to the Hot Springs. My camera's batteries went dead and I did not get any photos of the Hot Springs. I guess we'll have to do the hike again.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Arrived Big Bend

It's been a long time since I posted a blog. We have been busy packing up at the North Rim, traveling to Albuquerque and getting ready to move on to Big Bend. We made it to Big Bend on Sunday Nov. 4, did our paperwork on Monday and started work on Tuesday. Our location in Big Bend is in the Rio Grande Village area, it is remote and cell and internet do not exist. Yesterday we finally got hooked up by Big Bend Telephone with DSL and a land line. If  you want to call us over the next six months use our new number 432-477-2336.
As usual I didn't take any photos in Albuquerque and we were very busy visiting family and friends who we had not seen in a year. I did take in a Lobo Football game and played a couple of rounds of golf, which I had not done in a year...I wasn't sure which end of the club to hold. We were also busy helping Amy buy a new car, which we did, finding her a nice used Toyota Corolla. Sherri has missed having a vehicle of her own so we bought Amy's 1996 Ford Explorer. Amy then used the money to make a down payment on the Toyota.Sherri followed the truck and fifth wheel in our travels from Albuquerque to Big Bend. Here is the new line up.
Upon arriving in Big Bend we stopped in the Rio Grande Village Store, our new work location. Much to our surprise the staff from Forever Resorts Retail from Scottsdale was in the store working on merchandising. Abriel is hard at it in our new work location.
The store and campground are located along the Rio Grande river and is a sliver of  green in the desert, surrounded by many mountain ranges. A few photos show our work and living location.
Sherri and Ryder on the road from the store to Daniel's Ranch.

Rio Grande from Daniel's Ranch...Mexico is on left.
Our RV is on far left
Town of Boquillas, Mexico on the other side of the river.
Boquillas is a sleepy village of about 200. The residents used to cross freely over to Big Bend and shop in our store. The Big Bend tourists used to take a canoe across the river, a mule to town, then shop and dine in Boquillas. This all changed after 9-11, now a few residents cross but it is discouraged, and no tourists go to Mexico. This has hurt Boquillas economically, but a few still bring their wares over the border and leave the artwork for tourists to buy on the honor system.
Walking sticks and artwork

Crossing the river
Another interesting character from the Mexican side is Victor the Singing Mexican. He sings from the Mexican side with a tip jar on the US side. He has a great voice which is amplified by Boquillas Canyon. Not surprising - Victor can be found on You Tube.
One last picture of Sherri hanging out by the nature trail which is close to the store. The beaver pond has a beautiful catwalk which goes across the water and through the reeds.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Francois Matthes Point

Sherri, Ryder and I took our last long hike of the season out to Francois Matthes Point. The hike is on the Walhalla Plateau, going down an old road which is closed and overgrown.

To hike to the point is a level six miles one way through the Ponderosa Pines and changing Aspens.
At the end of the old road we were rewarded with beautiful views into Clear Creek Canyon and points beyond.

It was a great hike and beautiful day. Ryder was glad he got to go, but he was a tired dog.
Our weather has been beautiful fall weather, however we had a big change on Friday. A front blew in cold and snow. It snowed hard Friday afternoon and some accumulated. The photos below are of our RV site and the view from our rig into the forest.

The weather has rebounded nicely and for the next week we are expecting sunny skies with highs in the mid 60's. The park's concessions close on the 15th, so the visitors will drop significantly come Tuesday. This year the North Rim is hosting a special event for NPS, supporters of NPS and concessionaires beginning on the 16th and ending the 22nd.  Sherri and I will work through the event and be leaving the North Rim on the 23rd. We will be in Albuquerque 10/24 - 11/3 and then head to Big Bend NP for the winter. I'll probably blog next from Albuquerque.