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Southwest Jan-Feb 2015

After returning from Belize to Dallas on January 5, Janet, David, and Vanessa headed south and west to find warm weather and hiking trails and photo opportunities. We plan to spend most of our time in Texas and Arizona. We need to be home to Indiana late February.

Back Home in Indiana Tue 3-Mar-2015

We left Corpus Christi on Saturday the 28th, headed through Houston, across Louisiana and into Mississippi. In LA we turned north on I-55. The temperature remained in the 50s so icing was not a problem, but gosh did it rain. I have never...more

Better Weather, Maybe Sat 28-Feb-2015

Our night on Mustang Island was quite unsettled.  The van rocked and rolled all night in the wind and rain. In the morning the weather was calmer and after consulting the weather along the corridor we plan to use to get home, David an...more

More Crazy Weather Fri 27-Feb-2015

We left Junction, TX and headed east where we began to encounter light rain and temperatures dropping to freezing.  By heading south at San Antonio we found warmer weather, although it was still raining lightly.  By the time we got to Mus...more

South Llano River SP Thu 26-Feb-2015

It was very cold in the morning (34 degrees) but it soon warmed up. With the temperature at 54 degrees and the sun shining we set off on a loop walk through the park.  The trail took us down by the river then along the east edge o...more

Ft. Stockton East Wed 25-Feb-2015

After the temperatures warmed up (it was 28–degrees when we awoke) and the sun came out, we headed east on I-10.  The scenery was typical for the area — flat with islands of mountains and mesas.  The road cuts through ...more

Hoar Frost Tue 24-Feb-2015

This morning the skies were still overcast and the air was cold (low 30s), but we decided it was time to leave Big Bend and start north and east.  The roads were dry and there was actually sun on some rocks.  About 30 miles n...more

Big Bend Weather Mon 23-Feb-2015

Everyone talks about the weather in Big Bend.  How different it is from elevation to elevation.  How quickly it can change.  When hiking we have learned to prepare for cooler temperatures and more wind at the top of the mount...more

Lost Mine Trail Sun 22-Feb-2015

After leaving the campground, we stopped at the trailhead for the Lost Mine Trail.  The morning was cool and breezy so the hike up (1300 feet elevation gain over 2.4 miles) was very pleasant, if steep.  It's a CCC trail with lots ...more

Window Trail Sat 21-Feb-2015

Our hike today was along a canyon that is the only outlet from the Chisos Basin.  The hike, about 5 miles round trip, took us to the end of the canyon where any water it carries pours off to the desert below.  The rocks at the ver...more

Chisos Basin Fri 20-Feb-2015

We left Big Bend Ranch State Park and traveled east about fifty miles to Big Bend National Park.  The trip took us through an area of ranches and one small town, Terlingua, which was at one time a large town because of the mercury mine...more

Closed Canyon Hike Thu 19-Feb-2015

We spent the day hiking on the south side of the park.  There are so many hikes to take here, but we did just the ones that are off FM 170 on the south side of the park near the Rio Grande.  There are even more off a graded road w...more

Big Bend Ranch State Park Wed 18-Feb-2015

From Marfa we headed south.  Our goal was the Big Bend Ranch State Park which is right along the Texas border with Mexico. As we traveled we wound through the foothills of the mountains in the distance.  The terrain began to look...more

Marfa Lights Tue 17-Feb-2015

We left Arizona, drove through New Mexico, and ended up near Marfa Texas for the night.  The terrain during the day had its ups and downs, but was mostly flat desert shrub with a few mountains sticking through.  In the distance, w...more

Driving East Mon 16-Feb-2015

We left San Diego and headed east.  We are actually on the way home, but have a long way to go and a couple of planned stops to make on the way. The scenery certainly was varied as we traveled east from San Diego on I-8.  Out of ...more

Olympic Training Center Sun 15-Feb-2015

Our morning was spent with Amanda relaxing at our campsite and hiking (2.2 miles) on the hills near the reservoir.  We then headed to a Thai restaurant in Chula Vista for a great lunch. After lunch we headed to the Chula Vista Olympic...more

San Diego Area Sat 14-Feb-2015

Amanda was finished with practice about noon, so we picked her up at her dorm and headed to a Mexican restaurant for lunch.  From there we headed to the beach south of San Diego.  Amanda has been at the Olympic Training Center for...more

Cuyamaca Rancho SP Fri 13-Feb-2015

What a great day.  We started with a hike to Stonewall Peak in the Cuyamaca Rancho SP (4 miles round trip).  It was an easy hike with lots of switchbacks and only about 900 feet of elevation change to the most amazing view!  ...more

Joshua Tree National Park Thu 12-Feb-2015

We started our day at Joshua Tree National Monument with a 1.8 mile walk through, around, and over some of the rock piles near the Cottonwood Campground. David's pictures will show you how amazing these split and weathered granite rocks ar...more

Desert Driving Wed 11-Feb-2015

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Roosevelt Dam Tue 10-Feb-2015

Roosevelt Recreation Area was created in the early 1900s when the Teddy Roosevelt Dam was built for flood control and electricity generation and to create Roosevelt Lake for water storage. At the time it was built it was the highest ma...more

Roosevelt Recreation Area Mon 9-Feb-2015

The drive from Tucson to Roosevelt Recreation Area took us through some fantastic country.  Still lots of Saguaro cacti, but lots more prickly pear.  Lots of mountains with very steep sides.  A copper smelter with...more

Tucson Visit Sun 8-Feb-2015

We had a great day today.  After leaving Tucson Mountain Park, we headed across the Gates Pass.  It's a road with a great view, but certainly is winding and narrow. After a quick stop at Best Buy to pick up a disk drive exterio...more

Sonoran Desert Museum Fri 6-Feb-2015

The Sonoran Desert Museum is an attraction we have seen on previous visits to Tucson, but it is certainly worth seeing again and again.  The displays are so well-done.  The desert loop really does feel like the deserts we have bee...more

Desert Rain Cafe Thu 5-Feb-2015

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Organ Pipe Cactus Wed 4-Feb-2015

The second is the Ajo Mountain loop (21 miles) and takes you through the desert to two great hikes up into the mountains.  We  chose the Bull Pasture – Estes Canyon (3.5 mile) hike.  The trail was a very steep climb wit...more

Ajo AZ Tue 3-Feb-2015

US 85 is a busy route that is a short cut from I-10 to I-8.  South of Gila Bend and I-8 it is much less busy.  The first part of the trip south was through very flat, scrubby desert.  Nothing very interesting until just north...more

Buckeye AZ Mon 2-Feb-2015

Not a very exciting day.  We got a late start from the LTVA, walked a bit in the desert off I-10 in an area with a really interesting desert floor with lots of undisturbed rocks with varnish, talked with some ATV riders from Canada and...more

Tyson Wash LTVA Sun 1-Feb-2015

Tyson Wash LTVA is one of the camping areas in the desert near Quartzsite, AZ.  We selected it because it is near Quartzsite, a place David was interested in seeing, and it has good NBC TV reception, the Super Bowl, obviously.  We...more

A Walk in the Desert Fri 30-Jan-2015

The fog in the morning was so dense that you couldn't see beyond the edges of our campsite.  So we waited until it lifted around lunchtime to start our hike. Across the desert a little more than a 1/2 mile from the van is a rocky hill...more

Palm Canyon Thu 29-Jan-2015

On the way out of the South Mesa LTVA we stopped at the RV dump and trash facility.  Of course with all the RVs parked in the desert it is a necessity, but it was amazing to see a 4–station RV dump, 6 trash dumpsters, and 3 water...more

South Mesa Hike Wed 28-Jan-2015

We wandered around in the desert to the west of our RV, wandered for 4.7 miles.  From our campsite the desert looks fairly flat between here and the mountains about two miles away.  But when you climb down off the mesa, you find i...more

South Mesa: Imperial Dam LTVA, CA Tue 27-Jan-2015

Our morning started with a drive through the cauliflower and cabbage fields:  Harvesting must have started before dawn.  We were returning to Yuma to find a laundry and pick up some fresh vegetables. The 8E Laundry was great: ...more

West to Yuma Mon 26-Jan-2015

The drive from Gila Bend to Yuma is through rather desolate territory — more flat land with jagged rocky mountains sticking up through it.  The only real difference today was that it was raining.  Mostly just a drizzle,...more

Yuma and Mittry Lake Mon 26-Jan-2015

The drive to Yuma was through very barren desert, the difference being that today it was raining.  As we approached Yuma we saw cattle feed yards and signs of agriculture. We made a stop at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) fie...more

Petroglyph Sunset Sun 25-Jan-2015

We spent the day reading and editing pictures at the Petroglyph Campground.  The day was pleasantly warm and breezy and ended with a spectacular sunset. [ngg_images tag_ids="150125" display_type="photocrati-nextgen_pro_masonry" featur...more

Petroglyph Campground Sat 24-Jan-2015

West of Tucson is a Bureau of Land Management campground which has a pile of rocks with more petroglyphs than I have ever seen in one place.  Many natives, explorers, and settlers passed through this area over the last 1000 years; many...more

Catalina State Park: Day 2 Fri 23-Jan-2015

A pleasant day spent hiking part of the Romero Canyon Trail.  We got a late start so we only hiked partway up from the Moreno Pools (which had water!) and then turned back.  The hike after the Moreno Pools is rather steep and roug...more

Catalina State Park: Day 1 Thu 22-Jan-2015

Our morning was spent at Mercedes Benz of Tucson getting our 40000 mile service.  It took about 3.5 hours, but as we headed out to Catalina State Park (CSP) our check-engine-soon light came on, so we returned to the dealer.  They ...more

Saguaro National Park Wed 21-Jan-2015

On the way out of Chiricahua National Monument we stopped at the Faraway Ranch.  This ranch was originally built by a Swedish family in the late 1800s and later was run by they same family as a place for visitors to hike and ride. ...more

Chiricahua Hiking Tue 20-Jan-2015

Our hike today was more ambitious than we usually take, but in order to get into some of the most beautiful areas of the monument, we committed to an 8.5 mile loop that took us through the spires and columns, down through a valley (almost d...more

Big Bend to Chiricahua National Monument Mon 19-Jan-2015

After our night at Croton Springs, we arose fairly early to head to El Paso.  Our goal was to make it there in time to watch the Packers beat the Sea Hawks and the Colts beat the Patriots.  The travel part of our plan worked well,...more

Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive Sat 17-Jan-2015

We made it up the hill out of Terlingua Abajo.  It was not easy, but not as bad as Janet had worried.  At one point we had to put our leveling pads under the back wheels to raise the van so that the plumbing wouldn't get torn off ...more

Terlingua Abajo Fri 16-Jan-2015

Our day was spent wandering around the area.  There are numerous native ruins here, left from a time when they farmed along the banks of the Terlingua Creek.  We examined the area that has been marked off for willow plantings.&n...more

Old Maverick Road Thu 15-Jan-2015

Spent some of the morning doing laundry and catching up with email at the Rio Grande Store.  We then took a walk along the Rio Grande Nature trail - a mile walk through a swampy area then up a hill through mostly cacti to a hillto...more

Big Bend Wed 14-Jan-2015

Big Bend was as great as we had hoped, except for the continuing clouds and cool weather.  We took two hikes which took us along the Rio Grande.  The first hike (1.44 miles — David's X-Motion tracking app on his phone is v...more

Del Rio to Big Bend Tue 13-Jan-2015

What a mixed bag of a day. The weather was still cold with freezing fog and drizzle predicted.  As we headed west the temperature did indeed drop and we were in dense fog.  We stopped at the visitors' center in Sanderson TX where ...more

San Antonio Mon 12-Jan-2015

After the short drive from Austin, we spent the day walking around San Antonio.  What a wonderful city for a tourist. We stopped at the Tower Life Building and learned a great deal about the buildings use and history from the lobby se...more

McKinney Falls - Day 2 Fri 9-Jan-2015

On our second day at McKinney Falls State Park we spent the morning editing pictures (David) and reading (Janet). After lunch Janet got her hair cut and visited a grocery that was nearby.  The Central Market had by far the best collecti...more

McKinney Falls State Park Thu 8-Jan-2015

The morning was spent keeping warm in our van.  While the temperature may seem mild to our friends in Indiana, it was in the upper 20s for most of the morning. After lunch, while it was still cool, there was no wind so we took a ...more

Dallas to Austin Wed 7-Jan-2015

Today's drive took us from Dallas to Austin.  We are anxious to get further south so we can enjoy slightly warmer weather.  While the upper-20s forecast for tonight are nothing like the -12–degrees forecast for West Lafayett...more

Getting Organized in Dallas Tue 6-Jan-2015

Today was spent putting things away in Vanessa and shopping for groceries.  We had emptied Vanessa of all perishables before our trip to Belize, so now was the time to restock. The rest of the day was spent reading, walking along the b...more

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