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4/15/2021 Day 9: We left Bluewater SP at 8:30 this morning. Uneventful night, but cold and very windy all night. We stayed warm and cozy in the Montana though.
Drove the 50 or so miles to Gallup, NM and filled up with diesel, then we headed north on 491 up through the Navajo Nation (all the way to Colorado). Traffic wasn’t too bad this morning, but the wind was really bad all day. We stopped at the Colorado welcome sign and had sandwiches Jeri made.
In Ute country we stopped at a casino so Jeri could play for a bit.
250 miles today. We arrived at the Mountain View RV Park around 3:00 this afternoon and it was cold and very windy. We hooked up the electricity just in time—it started snowing! Temperature was 36°. The snow stopped pretty quickly and the sun came out, but a very dark cloud was rolling over the mountains headed our way.
A few minutes later it started snowing like crazy, blowing sideways. We could not even see the mountains.
Jeri made goulash for dinner and it really hit the spot. The temperature is now 31° at 9:00 PM, but it’s predicted to get down in the 20s tonight. We are both wishing we had brought our down jackets! Its pretty cold for us Floridians.
We started having erratic trailer brakes late yesterday and it was worse today. I think the problem is a loose wire inside the electric box on the king pin where the pigtail from the truck plugs in, so I will do some troubleshooting tomorrow and hopefully fix the problem.
4/14/2021 Day 8: Fairly chilly night last night, around 50°. Had the heat pump set to 66, but I don’t think it ever came on. We left the park around 10:00 AM after Jeri took a shower.
Our Sugar Belle started limping on her left front paw yesterday and was really licking it. I couldn’t find anything in it, but the skin between her pads was licked pretty raw. This morning, while Jeri held her I used a flashlight to look really well for anything stuck in there, but didn’t see anything. I worked some Triple Antibiotic Ointment into the areas between her pads and kept her from licking it off and later she seems to be walking better.
After leaving the park we headed into Roswell (nope, did not see any aliens) and I filled up with diesel at an Alsups station. Jeri went inside and came back with stuffed fried burritos for breakfast. We took US285 north up to Cline’s Corner at the junction of US285 and I-40, where we stopped so Jeri could shop a bit while I walked and watered the dogs. We’ve been through here several times in every direction, so we are very familiar with Cline’s Corner and always stop for a bit.
From here we took I-40 west. Getting low on diesel we stopped at a TA truck stop in Albuquerque and filled up with both diesel and DEF fluid.
West of Albuquerque we stopped at a place we discovered by accident on our 2019 Spring Trip, the Indian Arts Center in Pueblo Laguna. We didn’t stop for the art. We stopped for the stuffed tacos fry bread. The tacos have have a sublime flavor and we were really looking forward to eating them again.
While good, they were not as sublime as we remembered. Maybe we had built them up in our minds or maybe because two years ago a man was making them, but now he works in Albuquerque and his Mother is making them. Oh well, as Jeri said, a trip bucket list item checked off. Worth the stop.
We rolled into Bluewater SP, about 50 miles east of Gallup, NM a little before 5:00 PM. I-40 had very heavy traffic and backups for road work. We found our campsite, but it is one of those that sits parallel with the road and it was on our wrong side (driver side), so we turned around and went the wrong way on a one way road a couple of hundred yards and pulled in. Very unleveled site! We are booked here for two nights, but Jeri immediately said she did not want to spend two nights here, so we left the trailer hooked to the truck and I leveled the trailer the best I could. It’s very windy! No hookups at all here. Supposed to get down into the mid-30s tonight. Other than the level issue I think this is a very pretty campsite. Great view of the canyon. Lots of spruce and evergreen trees.
Jeri got on the phone and booked the next two nights at a FHU RV park in Monticello, UT, 243 miles from here, so fairly short drive tomorrow. On the plus side, it will allow us to get to Moab fairly early Saturday with empty waste tanks and full freshwater and find the boondocking spot Jimmy wants us to stay in, although they won’t arrive with their trailer until late Saturday night.
It’s a little after 9:00 PM as I write this update. After a dinner of grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup Jeri is watching her current favorite Netflix show (Good Girls) on her iPhone.
Oops, I put a little more Triple Antibiotic Ointment on Sugar’s paw about 45 minutes ago and she must have licked it because she just threw up! Yuck, but it was just liquid, so not that much of a mess. Poor baby!
Still very windy; outside temp down to 61°.
4/13/2021 Day 7: Rolled out of San Angelo SP around 9:30 AM after dumping all the waste tanks. Good drive to Bottomless Lake SP a few miles east of Roswell, NM. 330 miles. Arrived just before 4:00 PM. Very nice state park.
After the great dinner we watched some TV until pretty late before going to bed. We typically use a Roku device on our TV to stream programs using primarily a AT&T hotspot device or if no good AT&T signal we use our Verizon Mi-Fi device as the WiFi source via cellular.
4/12/2021 Day 6: This is our last day at San Angelo SP. We have really gotten to like San Angelo. This morning we toured Fort Concho, a fort that was active during the Indian wars and one of many forts located in Texas before and after the Civil War. The city of San Angelo owns the fort (approximately 40 acres) and have done a marvelous job of restoration. Several of the buildings can be toured and have interesting displays of life at the fort in the 1870s and 1880s.
After visiting the (free today for some reason) fort we went to Eggemeyer’s General Store, kind of a throwback to the old time general stores. Interesting place. We made a few purchases.
Then we went to lunch at Miss Hattie’s Cafe and Saloon across the street. Pretty good.
After lunch we stopped at a jewelry store so Jeri could see and maybe shop for a Concho pearl, a very rate freshwater pearl that naturally come in some different colors. Yes, she bought a very beautiful Concho pearl set in diamonds ring.
We found out last night that son Billy has been sick for a couple of weeks and was diagnosed (tested positive) with Covid, but the doctor told him he thought he was past the timeline for getting seriously ill.
After getting back to the trailer we planned our route up to Moab, UT and managed to score a couple of state parks in New Mexico. Tomorrow night we will be in Bottomless Lake SP just east of Roswell, NM and the next two nights we are booked at Bluewater SP just east of Gallup, NM. This could get chilly because the SP is at 7,600 feet elevation and Gallup is predicted to get temps in the 20s those two nights. Good thing our fiver is four season rated!
Found out a few minutes ago son Donnie is having hernia surgery Friday.
Okay, I need to get some things done so we can get a fairly early start in the morning.
4/11/2021 Day 5: I slept in until a bit after 7:00 this morning. It got down to 50° overnight. Prior to going to bed I set the front heat pump to come on if the bedroom got down to 65° and the heat pump did start cycling in the early wee hours, so good sleeping! We lounged around most of the morning watching a lot of other campers packing up and heading out. We now pretty much have this whole area to ourselves. Yea!!
Around 11:30 we headed into San Angelo; first stop was the beautiful visitor center where a gentleman working there told us quite a bit about how great San Angelo is and things to do and see here. I also found out the lake (O C Fisher, same name as my Granddad!) is only 6% full!!
Since this is Sunday in Texas many things are closed today. We did go see the International Lili Pad Display, the largest number of species on display in one place in the world.
At this point since it was so hot (93°) and since some of the places we want to visit are closed today we decided to go for lunch at one of the top rated Mexican restaurants in San Angelo, Armenta’s. Small and nothing fancy about this place, but the food and service, even though the place was very busy, were both excellent!
After lunch we picked up a few groceries and things and headed back to the trailer in the almost deserted campground. Boy is it WINDY!! Time for a short nap. More later.
4/10/2021 Day 4: Short travel day today from Llano, TX to San Angelo SP; around 130 miles. Got very low on diesel fuel, down to 30 miles left according to the truck’s computer, so finally found diesel fuel in Brady, TX. Took on 26 gallons (tank holds 34 gallons), so 8 gallons or roughly around 70-80 miles actually left. This Shell station had the slowest diesel pumps I have ever seen; took forever to pump that 26 gallons. And it especially seemed even slower after being used to the big nozzle, fast diesel pumps at the truck stops.
Beautiful drive, up and down the hills through the countryside. Arrived at San Angelo SP around 2:15 PM and dumped our two gray water waste tanks at the dump on the way in. We are in campsite 32, 7 sites down from where we were during our Spring 2019 Western trip. Wide open camping with few trees, but several hundred feet between campsites.
We cooked a couple of cheeseburgers Jeri got at Billy’s Boudin Balls & Cracklins (I didn’t care for the Cracklins) on the Blackstone griddle for an early dinner. Spicy burgers, but very good!
A couple of hours before sundown we explored all the roads in the park in the truck. We ran across a small group of Javelinas (or Peccaries) and later a sow and one tiny piglet ran across the road in front of us, too quick for a picture. Here’s a video of the Javelina.
We got back to camp about dark. Beautiful clear sky and lots of stars. Tomorrow we will explore San Angelo. Jeri has found some places she wants to see and I want to visit old Fort Concho and we’ll probably have a Mexican dinner somewhere.
Is anybody reading this blog? If so, please leave a comment.
4/9/2021 Day 3: Left the previous campground around 10:00 AM and stopped for the night just outside Llano, TX at the the Riverway RV Park (nothing special, but since the temperature is in the upper 90s we needed electricity for the two A/Cs). Before leaving this morning I managed to book a campsite at the San Angelo State Park just outside San Angelo, TX (duh) for three nights starting Saturday night, so stopping here at Riverway leaves us about only 140 miles to San Angelo SP tomorrow. It will be nice to just relax for a few days. We traveled about 327 miles today because highway TX71 was closed at some point and we got routed around on a more circuitous route. Oh well, those things happen. Driving through the Texas Hill Country is always nice and the Blue Bells are blooming. Getting through Houston and Austin was a bear!! The traffic was terrible and you always have a few assholes that drive too fast and cut in and out of slow moving traffic. They have no clue how hard it is to stop 12 tons of truck and trailer quickly! Speaking of traffic!! Traffic has been horrendous on just about every road we’ve been on, especially I-10!
4/8/2021 Day 2: 9:15 PM: Another busy day driving, 338 miles. We left Boomtown around 9:30 AM this morning and stopped here for the night at the Gulf Coast RV park just south of Beaumont, TX just before 6:00 PM (so around eight and a half hours of traveling. The high point was the lunch of Boudin Balls as mentioned below.
This is a pretty nice RV park that Jeri found us. We may stay through the weekend because it gets much more difficult to find openings on the weekend. Jeri made a great dinner tonight.
I’m tired. Think I will hit the rack. More tomorrow.
1:45 PM: Filled up with diesel fuel at the TA in Lafayette, LA a few minutes ago. Now we are at Billy’s Boudin Balls and Cracklins’ in Scott, LA; Jeri is inside getting some Boudin balls for lunch and some for the freezer. Beautiful day; not a cloud in the sky, but in the low 80s, so warm. Billy’s is very busy again this time.
I-12 and I-10 through Baton Rouge are still really rough and a lot of road construction coming into Lafayette. Other than those I-10 and I-12 were very smooth from Biloxi to Lafayette.
8:00 AM: A powerful thunderstorm rolled through this morning around 4:30 AM CDT. Lots of rain, thunder and lightning.
We had both A/Cs on and Jeri heard the furnace come on. At first I thought it was the neighbor’s furnace in the big class A, but when I got up to use the bathroom I realized it was ours. We had a battle of heating and cooling systems going on. 🤪
The new digital thermostats I installed have automatic switching between cooling and heating and somehow the living room system had been switched from just cooling to auto.
Interesting thing about our neighbor: I talked to him briefly yesterday evening. He is from Decatur, IL and camps at Wolf Creek State Park. He said they grocery shop in Windsor at Pedro’s. Small world.
4/7/2021: Day 1: Left home at 8:00 AM (EDT) this morning and stopped for the night at 6:00 PM (CDT), so 11 hours on the road today, 533 miles. We are camped tonight at the Boomtown Casino RV park in Biloxi, MS. Jeri is at the casino now. $37 for the night, FHU (Full Hook Ups), but we are only using power. No need to hook up to water and sewer for one night. This will more than likely be our longest day traveling on this trip. As usual I did not unhook the trailer from the truck for a one-nighter. $170 for diesel fuel today (3 stops)
4/5/2021: I got my second Moderna Covid vaccine shot this morning and my cataract surgeries are healing nicely. It sure is nice to only have to uses glasses for reading and to get to wear regular sunglasses again! Yea!!
The truck has been serviced and new tires put on, so it’s ready. I brought the fifth wheel home yesterday and sanitized the freshwater system and today we are packing the food, some additional clothes, etc. I am running it 100% from the lithium batteries and solar as a test and it’s doing great (good sunshine).
It fills one whole side length of our driveway.
We plan to leave Wednesday morning (4/7/2021). We will head up I-95 to Jacksonville, FL, then the plan (always subject to change) is to take I-10 west all the way to San Antonio, TX. From there we will continue west on US90 to near the Mexican border at Del Rio, TX (hoping to avoid all the border jumpers), then north on US377 and US277 to San Angelo, TX, then various roads up to Quitaque, TX where we hope to get a campsite at Caprock Canyons State park. We were there a few years ago and bison have the complete run of the park, including the campground!
This big old bull slept under the tree about 20′ from our trailer.
Not exactly sure where we’re going from there, but we may head to Moab and hook up with son Jimmy and his wife Rachel for a couple of days. There is a Navajo Indian Arts Center west of Albuquerque, NM on I-40 that makes the best Fry Bread Tacos that Jeri wants to stop at again, so if we go to Moab we will stop there. 🤪😁 We will probably try to stop a night or two along the way at a casino so Jeri can scratch her gambling itch. 😁😁
Our six day reservation at Chatfield State Park in Colorado starts 4/22/2021, so we plan to be there on time.
More updates, hopefully about everyday will be coming.
3/5/2021: Well phooey! I somewhat inadvertently ended up getting my first Covid vaccine shot (Moderna vaccine) on 3/3 and they scheduled my second (final) dose for 4/5. This, plus I am still dealing with issues with my left eye after getting cataract surgery on it on 1/26. While my right eye is now clear as can be and 20/20 the left eye is still a bit blurry and the surgeon has me scheduled to see his partner who is a corneal specialist on 3/16. The result of all the preceding is that we will not be leaving for our western trip the middle of March. Depending on the eye issue recommendations the earliest we can leave is around 4/6 or 7.
This means we will have to pretty much head straight to Colorado for our 4/22 reservation at Chatfield SP, after which we will bum around the Southwest for a couple of weeks or so before heading home. It will be getting too hot in Death Valley so going there is out for this trip. We have been talking about going to DV sometime next Winter.
2/28/2021: I did some additional research on Death Valley camping this morning and it appears the national park is now open for camping and there are some other places that we can boondock (free) even if the NP is closed for camping, so the plan at this time is to go to Death Valley. YEA!!
2/26/2021: It is going to be great to be back on the road with our fifth wheel trailer after many months of sitting at home. Jeri is in the middle of getting her covid vaccines and I just recently had cataract surgeries on both eyes and am still in the recovery stage.
I had to replace some of the weather cracked vinyl trim screw covers on the trailer and I had the wheel bearings serviced, along with new brake liners, shoes, etc. I also had the outside of the trailer washed and wax several weeks ago.
I do need to do a couple of things before we leave: 1) check all the roof seams and reseal with Dicor self-leveling sealant if necessary and 2) sanitize the fresh water system (I do this once a year).
In case you do not remember or did not know we use a 2018 Ford Lariat F-350 4×4 Crew Cab SRW SB Powerstroke diesel truck to tow a 2019 Keystone Montana 3121RL fifth wheel trailer. Here are a couple of pictures.
We currently have reservations for six nights at Chatfield State Park just south of Littleton, Colorado starting April 22, 2021 and plan to leave home sometime around the middle of March, depending on how my cataract surgeries are doing.
We originally were planning to work our way to Death Valley National Park, then work our easy through Nevada and spend some time in Utah, but if California still has everything shut down, including campgrounds, we will spend quite a bit of time down in the Big Bend area of south Texas before working our way up to Colorado. New Mexico State parks are still closed for camping, so probably will avoid it as much as possible this trip.
The plan is to bring the trailer home from our storage facility three or four days before we leave to do final system checks, maintenance (to include fresh water tank sanitizing) cleaning and load the groceries, etc.