2021 Spring Western Trip

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Epilogue: Vicki and Jeri went out fridge shopping the next day and it comes Tuesday. Very expensive, but had WiFi so we can monitor it when away. Came home from the eye doctor this morning and this guy was sitting out front and asked if he could take the old fridge. I said it really stinks and he said he didn’t care; he wanted to get the scrap metal to sell. I told him to take it and he and his wife/girlfriend or whatever loaded it onto a small trailer and hauled it away.

Our total trip covered just over 5,100 miles. Great time! Our two youngest grandsons spent the night with us last night, so this morning I put them to work carrying stuff from the trailer into the house. Good workers. A couple more things to do in the morning then I hope to tow the Montana back to storage for a well earned rest.

Oh, I managed to fix our microwave today. Did a little web and YouTube research, then found the main 20 amp fuse in the microwave had blown. I guess this is a fairly common problem with microwaves. I replaced the fuse and it works fine again!!

One other thing we learned on this trip: our 17” Blackstone griddle disappointed us greatly when we tried to use it on a chilly, windy day. It simply would not get hot enough to work well. We pretty much ruined a pricy piece of steak trying. So, we are pretty sure the Blackstone will be replaced by our previous Weber Q1200 grill on future trips.

5/8/2021 Day 32: We have around 400 miles to home to cover today, so after dumping all the tanks for the last time we were on the road just after 9:00 AM and arrived home about 5:30 PM to a horrible mess!!

After getting the trailer situated in our driveway, no easy task, Jeri went in the house and came right back out to advise me that at some point while we were away our kitchen refrigerator had died! The smell from the freezer was awful! Rotting meat, maggots and flies!! She stayed out of the house while I had the very unpleasant task of emptying the fridge and freezer into multiple garbage bags. She managed to find a friend of ours to come help me get the 300+ pound fridge out of the house. Damn this thing smelled really bad! Welcome home

5/7/2021 Day 31: We left again this morning around 10:00 and did another 300+ miles to Blackwater River SP east of Pensacola, FL, so we are back in Florida, at least. I had managed to book their last available site (an ADA site) last night. The ranger called me this morning and told me the normal road from I-10 to the park was underwater and he was emailing me directions to come in a different way. The directions were pretty confusing, so when we got to Milton, FL we called him and he stayed in the phone with us for quite awhile until we were all satisfied we were going the right way. Because of all the rain recently the river had flooded out the road. Jeri made us a small campfire while I set up the rig for the night and we both slept pretty soundly.

5/6/2021 Day 30: We dumped our gray tanks and left the KOA around 9:00 AM. We got in line with the truckers at a Blue Beacon truck wash because the trailer is a filthy mess outside and the front is covered with mashed Love Bugs. We’ve never used Blue Beacon before, but I have read many good reviews about them from other RV’ers, so thought we would give it a try. But after waiting about a half hour and the line had not progressed they came around to tell all of us in line they had equipment failure, so had everyone just drive through and leave. We headed down I-49 toward Lafayette, LA where we would take I-10 east. We stopped at a different Billy’s Boudin Ball and got some balls for lunch. Love these things! Then we headed east to Hammond, LA and pulled into a long line of trucks at another Blue Beacon. We were there around an hour and a half and I had both the truck and trailer washed for $52 ( and I tipped them an additional $20), but they did a good job and everything is clean and pretty again! YEAY!! Jeri managed to get us a last minute reservation at the Reunion Lake RV Resort. Very nice with lots of amenities, but pricy at $78 a night. They assigned us to site 98. The first thing I usually do before setting up for the night is use a contactless voltage tester to test the power pedestal wiring and wouldn’t you know it the pedestal was messed up. I called and they sent some young guy to check it out. I showed him the problem and took him over to the next unoccupied site and did the tests again to show him what it should be. He agreed and went over and took the cover off the bad pedestal and twinkled around with the wiring a bit and said everything looked fine. I tested it again and while whatever he did pulling on wires or whatever it appeared to be okay, but flaky, so they agreed we could move to site 97.

Reunion Lake

Jeri really likes this place and wants to come back for a few days. We had a restful night after over 300 miles.

5/5/2021 Day 29: Busy driving day today. It was not real fun towing through the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but we made it unscathed and headed on to Shreveport, LA, where we spent the night at the KOA on the west side of Shreveport. Nothing much special about it or the evening to write about. We are pretty much into getting back home mode now. Our microwave/convection oven went totally dead this evening when Jeri was using it!! Darn!!

5/4/2021 Day 28: We did get some rain late last night (after midnight), but not a lot and no thunderstorm. The light rain on the roof kind of lulled me to sleep. It was mostly dried up by the time we got up. I made coffee, turned up the heat to warm the place up a bit and woke Jeri up around 8:30 AM. We dumped the tanks and finally rolled out of the park at 10:30 AM. There were bison there to see us off. 🙂

We only traveled 260 miles today to Possum Kingdom SP near Caddo, TX (west of Fort Worth). Boy, talk about out in the middle of nowhere!! We managed to book a site here late last night. Got here around 4:00 PM. Pretty lake and nice campground. We are backed up to the lake.

We had BLTs for dinner. We have decided on a pretty direct route from here to home; down to I-20, then east on I-20 through Dallas to Shreveport, LA, then down I-49 to Lafayette, LA and I-10, then east on I-10 to JAX and I-95 to Palm Coast. I booked a campsite at a KOA Journey on the west side of Shreveport for tomorrow night (~320 miles). The slog home begins…😩

5/3/2021 Day 27: Full day today at Caprock. What a difference a day makes! Today’s high was in the mid-60s! Sure felt great after yesterday. We went into the very small town of Quitaque, TX. Filled up with diesel and Jeri bought a few grocery items in the one little grocery store. We drove down into the canyons to sightsee. Lots of bison all over the place, but this trip none meandered through our campsite. Rain and thunderstorms predicted here tonight. We saw a tragic thing today while watching a small herd of bison late this morning. A very young cafe was attempting to eat a empty bottle of water!! It just kept going further into its mouth. We reported it to the lady at the visitor center who took notes of where we witnessed it. She said she would have a ranger check it out, but I have no idea what they could do. There were several small calves and there was no way to ID a particular one. If the calf did manage to swallow the bottle I am sure it will suffer a slow painful death. So sad!! Please ditch the damn throwaway water bottles or be extremely careful with their disposal. Around dusk we went for another bison watching drive and while going by the small lake we saw many bison coming down the hill and they broke into a run when they saw the water. It was really neat watching them water! I will post video of this on my YouTube channel (see below for the link).

Jeri and I shared a small ribeye steak, baked potato and spinach for dinner.

Our campsite (Honey Flats 007)
Every campsite has a small shelter
Bison watering
A calf like this one ate a water bottle!!
Large herd of bison behind me

5/2/2021 Day 26: We both got up a bit earlier this morning and rolled out of the NRA Whittington Center around 9:30 AM this morning headed to our next two-nighter at Caprock Canyons SP at Quitaque, Texas, 320 miles away. The two Pronghorn greeters were near the entrance to say goodbye to us.

It seemed like it took us a very long time to get to Caprock. Not sure why because we had very light traffic all day and no major cities to pass through. We did lose an hour when we crossed into Texas and entered the Central Time Zone. We also took about an hour detour to visit the Capulin Volcano National Monument. It blew 60,000 years ago and there are huge chunks of lava rock scattered for miles. Visitors can drive all the way to the top of the rim, but to do so we would have had to drop the trailer in the parking lot. The nice lady Ranger suggested it, but we passed this time.

Capulin Volcano in north New Mexico

We arrived at Caprock around 5:30 PM and the check in office was closed, but since we already have a reserved site we went there and set up. HOT!!!!!! 99° when we got here and we were only able to reserve a 30 amp campsite, so we can only run one of our two air conditioners.

We saw a couple of these beside the road on our way to our campsite

In case you missed it from our visit here in 2019, one of the unique things about Caprock other than the canyons is the Bison—they have free run of the entire park, including the campground! We had them all around our trailer in 2019 and I walked out of the trailer just after daylight with my coffee and one was bedded down under a tree less than 20’ away! We just never know where they may be, so have to be careful, especially going outside after dark.

Jeri spotted this big boy not far from our trailer

We ate a light dinner this evening because of the heat. Jeri had some warmed up leftover chili and I had chili and a cheeseburger. It cooled off quite a bit after the sun went down, thank goodness!

5/1/2021 Day 25: Special Note: In case anyone is having problems viewing the videos below I have also posted them up to my YouTube channel. Here is the link: https://youtube.com/channel/UClalNYcMO1qQXzQ1elSPGGw

5/1/2021 Day 25: Beautiful day again today; warm during the day and cool at night. We went into Raton for dinner at Mulligans. Jeri was a bit disappointed because the dinner she wanted was not available on their greatly reduced “Covid” menu. I had a huge chicken fried steak and it was very good. The fried okra side dish was some of the best I e ever eaten. After dinner we bought a few more groceries and took them back to the trailer, then drove around some of the center’s roads. Saw lots of Pronghorns and mule deer. They love this place, too. After dark we drove out to the main entrance and shot video of all the flags lit up. Very pretty! Bad signal where we are right now, but will post more pictures and video when we get better signal.

Our campsite 96 in the west campground

On one of our returns from town a couple of Pronghorn were there to greet us as we turned into the Whittington Center.

Whittington Center greeters

I truly love this place. Everyone is very friendly. The views are gorgeous and the wildlife is everywhere!

4/30/2021 Day 24: Beautiful day today. Warm in the sunshine, cool in the shade, light breeze. Jeri is not feeling real great today—has some lower abdominal pain.

We stopped at Whittington’s visitor center and spent some time in their fantastic firearm history museum. They have some famous guns there. One was the Colt Peacemaker owned and carried by the famous outlaw Black Jack Ketchum! He was hung. Shopped a bit and Jeri bought a fridge magnet. Got back to the Montana and found the identical magnet already on the fridge. LOL

We drove into Raton, did some grocery shopping and sort of toured the town. It is not very large. I also filled up my diesel tank.

We managed to score two nights at Caprock Canyons SP in Texas, but since they are for May 2nd and 3rd (Sunday and Monday) and it is only a bit over three hundred miles from here to there I booked another night here.

The videos below are fairly long and take a little bit to load, so please be patient.

The drive into the beautiful Whittington Center
These Pronghorns greeted us at the entrance
This where the famous Santa Fe trail crossed through what is now the Whittington Center. The “scout” was modeled by Charlton Heston
Visitor Center & Museum
The drive into the West Campground and our campsite. This is about as crowded (not) as we have ever seen it

Jeri made some delicious chili for dinner tonight. We saw several more deer around our campsite, but the dogs went kind of nuts.

4/29/2021 Day 23: Billy and Jimmy came to our campsite and hung out for dinner and the campfire. Billy brought three bundles of wood and we burned all three. It was chilly. Jeri made two different pasta dishes and they were delicious.

From left: Jimmy, Bill & Billy

We left Chatfield SP about 10:30 AM and drove the 220 miles to the NRA Whittington Center just south of Raton, NM, arriving about 4:00 PM. The drive down was uneventful and crossing Raton Pass was fun. We checked into the West Campground, site #96 for two nights. Pretty windy and cooled off in the evening. We saw lots of Pronghorn and Mule Deer. The deer wander all through the campground.

4/28/2021 Day 22: 11:20 AM: We came over to Parker this morning to pick up Granddaughter Sofie for some shopping and lunch. This is our last day in Colorado 😩 After lunch we will take Sofie back home then go back to the trailer. I need to get the almost empty passenger side 30 lb Propane tank refilled this afternoon because it is almost empty.

It rained lightly all night and was still raining this morning, but is starting to clear up now (it is supposed to). Temperature was 39° this morning and is only up to 40° now. Supposed to get into the 50s this afternoon.

Tomorrow we will travel 220 miles south for two nights at the NRA Whittington Center campground. We’ve enjoyed our previous two stays there, but have never gone into Raton, so plan to this time. From there I am not sure where we are going. We were thinking of a five star resort RV campground down in the Big Bend area of Texas, but it appears temperatures are hitting around 💯° down there, so will probably swing back down to the Texas Hill Country and begin making our way back home.

Last Campfire in Colorado

4/27/2021 Day 21: This morning Billy took Jeri to Parker to get her hair done. I hung around camp and did some minor maintenance on the trailer, walked the dogs, did some dishes, etc., until she called to say she was ready. I drove to Parker and picked her up and we came back to the trailer for a bite of lunch. It rained a little over Parker way, so my nice clean truck is not quite so clean. Weather report for tonight is rain and possibly some snow. It briefly rained hard about 5:00 PM. We went to Hacienda Colorado to meet Jim and Rachel at 6:00 PM for dinner. The place was really crowded and busy for a Tuesday evening, but the food and Margaritas were good. Rained lightly all the way there and back. Rain is always welcome in normally dry Colorado. Temperature was 42° per the truck’s display when we got to the trailer. Jimmy came and hung out awhile.

4/26/2021 Day 20: This morning I booked one more night here at Chatfield in the same campsite, so we will now depart Thursday morning, the 29th instead of Wednesday morning. I also booked us for two nights, Thursday and Friday nights (29th and 30th) at the NRA Whittington Center just south of Raton, NM. While I am a Patron level NRA Life Member in the NRA campers do not have to be NRA members to use the campground and shooting facilities. They do not even ask if you are a NRA member. This is a very nice campground and in the two previous times we have camped there the campgrounds (two) were not crowded at all. As I said, there are two separate campgrounds, East and West. We have stayed in both. Most sites are full hook up, level, roomy and quiet. Yes, you can occasionally hear gunshots on the shooting ranges, but the ranges are far enough away that it is not loud and shooting normally stops at sundown. If any of you are on I-25 and traveling through this area we highly recommend this facility. If you want to check out the facility online go to www.nrawc.org.

Campsite D175
Campsite D175
Campsite D175

Jeri made a delicious Italian pasta dinner after we went to the grocery store for a few items. Billy, Jimmy and Rachel came for dinner and we had a nice campfire. Went to bed around 11:00 PM. Billy spent the night.

Jeri, Rachel, Billy, Jimmy
Big full “Pink Moon”
Jeri and her boys

I apologize for the lack of updates over the past ten days, but part of the time at least we did not have much of a signal. Below I have provided ten days of updates to catch up. You may want to scroll down to 4/14/2021 Day 8 and start catching up. .

4/25/2021 Day 19: Today was not real eventful. Billy and Sofie spent the night with us and we all slept in this morning. We fired up our small Blackstone griddle and made bacon, eggs and pancakes on it for brunch. Jeri, Billy and Sofie went to a movie this afternoon while I relaxed at camp with the dogs. Beautiful day here at Chatfield SP, but the wind came up with some pretty good gusts for a few hours. After the movie they went to PHO99 (Vietnamese restaurant) for some Pho and Jeri called me to come pick her up so Billy did not have to drive back to camp. This being Sunday a lot of rigs left this morning and we thought for a bit that we would pretty much have to place to ourselves, but new campers started coming in this afternoon and the place is pretty full again. Jeri and I went for a nice walk this evening and saw several Mule deer. We watched a little TV and went to bed a bit after 10:00 PM.

4/24/2021 Day 18: Pretty busy day today. One of the camp hosts stopped by and chatted for quite a while and I got some good intel on where to get propane and a car wash that could handle our one ton truck. While Jeri stayed at camp and did some trailer cleaning I took one of our 30 lb. propane tanks to Murdock’s Ranch and Farm Supply and while it was being filled I did some shopping for a mop, squeegee or something to clean the windows, at least, on the trailer and a few other items. Then I filled up the truck with diesel fuel and ran it through a car wash to get some of the muck off it from yesterday’s drive. When I got back and started filling a bucket to wash the trailer windows one of our neighbors stopped by (a single older man) and he talked a long time. While he talked all about his recent hospital visit and procedure for kidney stones Jeri got most of the windows on the trailer somewhat clean. I did some further rinsing after the neighbor left and while they are streaked at least we can see out of them. I attempted to find a mobile RV wash, but wow! These people want $250 and up just to wash a fifth wheel trailer! I’m hoping we can find a Blue Beacon truck wash at a truck stop; they will wash the trailer for less than $50. We had a nice campfire tonight, burning three bundles of firewood that we got at the grocery store. Billy and a Sofie came for dinner and will spend the night. Dinner was Billy’s Boudin Balls and Cracklins boudin stuffed pork chops and potatoes. Wow, Sofie has really grown up! She is thirteen. So wonderful to see everyone again!

4/23/2021 Day 17: We went to the grocery store this afternoon and Jeri was hungry before we went in and got a Mexican dinner at a tamale shop that we shared. Pretty good.

4/22/2021 Day 16: What a day!! After a pleasant overnight at the very nice KOA campground in Silt, CO we got on the road to Chatfield SP south of Denver around 9:00 AM.

Jeri overlooking the Colorado River
Jeri & Bill

We wanted to fill up with diesel this morning at the fuel station next to the KOA, but it turns out they are completely out of diesel and waiting for a tanker to refill their tank/s. Several RVs and trucks were waiting. While I had enough diesel fuel in the tank to make it we were somewhat fearful of getting into delays caused by some possible severe weather in the mountains (Colorado Rockies) like Jim and Rachel did yesterday evening, so we filled up with fuel in Eagle, CO. We ran into light snow as we got higher in altitude, but nothing bad at all. Until. We. Started. Up. Vail Pass!! (10,666’) Wow! We were following behind a semi-truck and about a third of the way up to the pass the snow was falling heavily and the highway (I-70) conditions were incredibly bad, with 6” or more of snow and very slick. Keep in mind we are towing over seven tons of trailer. It got so bad that I felt our rear truck tires start to spin a bit, so I very quickly shifted into four-wheel drive (thankful that we have it) and had no further traction issues. Traffic was moving at another 5-10 mph. We saw a SUV on its side on the side of the road and a motorcycle (I am pretty sure it was a Honda ST1300 like I used to have) on its side a few feet away. I have no earthly idea why a rider would have been in that mess other than for the same reason we were—conditions went from fine to terrible very quickly.

Road conditions going east up to Vail Pass. This was just before it got really bad.

Once we reached the summit of Vail Pass the conditions improved and going down the other side was no problem at all. In fact it was sunny and we could see a few people skiing at Copper Mountain as we drove by.

Copper Mountain ski resort

We were kind of concerned about what the weather might be like going up the Ike (the road from Silverthorne up to the Eisenhower Tunnel), so we stopped in a parking lot in Silverthorne to sort of regroup. It was snowing while a bit here, but stopped. Jeri walked over to a nearby Chipotle for a burrito while I checked road conditions and traffic cams. It all looked doable without a lot of problems, so we headed up the Ike. Traffic was moving just fine and the rest of the trip to Denver and Chatfield SP was uneventful. Our trailer brakes continue to work fine after yesterday’s repair. We arrived at Chatfield around 2:00-2:30 PM and checked in. We were all set up in campsite D175 by 3:00 PM. Jimmy came by and hung out awhile with us and Jeri made Pasta Fazul for dinner.

4/21/2021 Day 15: Jeri and I broke camp and rolled out around 9:30-10:00 AM. Jim and Rachel will head home sometime this afternoon. We dumped our waste tanks at the free dump at the Colorado Welcome Center Rest Area in Fruita, CO. Busy place. Jeri called the KOA in Silt, CO and made a reservation for tonight and inquired about a recommendation for a mobile RV tech. They provided us with a name (Lawrence) and phone number. I called and left a message. About the time we were going through Grand Junction he called back, said he could get to us within a couple of hours and recommended an exit and place to park (Murdock’s) to wait for him. We did as he suggested. Jeri went in to shop at Murdock’s and went to Popeye’s for chicken sandwiches (the spicy chicken sandwich is very good and very spicy!). Lawrence showed up about 20 minutes after we got there and found some flaky looking wiring connections and fixed them. I tried the brakes and we still had a problem (no trailer brakes and a “trailer wiring fault” message displayed on the F-350’s display screen. His next step was to pull the driver side rear axle wheel and hub and there was the problem—one of the wires going to the brake magnet had a large bare spot where it had been rubbing on the hub. He fixed that and our problem was resolved. Cost: $185 Very nice to have working trailer brakes again, especially when in the Colorado Rockies!

We had a short, pleasant run to the KOA in Silt, CO and set up camp mod-afternoon. Not much to setting up camp for a one-nighter. Beautiful campground right beside the Colorado River. We did a short hike to the river. Jeri saw a couple of deer. These KOA campground owners and staff obviously take a lot of pride in their very clean and well-kept facility. They were very friendly. We highly recommend this campground.

Blue dot is our campsite at the KOA
Very nice KOA in Silt

Jim and Rachel finally made it home late tonight. They ran into slippery, snowy roads and a wreck that caused them a long delay just east of Idaho Springs because a semi had jack-knifed in the snow on I-70 and the road was closed and traffic was being diverted. We wonder what we may run into tomorrow!

4/20/2021 Day 14: Extremely windy last night!! It must have been blowing gusts of 50 mph or more. At 2:00 AM I got up and closed all three slides on the trailer. Much less noise with them closed up and feeling more secure we went back to sleep. This evening we had dinner at Rachel’s favorite place in Moab, Pasta Jay’s. It was pretty good. I had the Tortellini Alfredo with chicken and could only eat about half of it before getting full. This being our last night in the desert we had a big campfire and Rachel’s brother and all came out to enjoy their last night in Moab. Jeri and I went to bed a little after 10:00 PM and Jim ended up going through four bundles of wood before they all called it a night. Tomorrow we head to Denver and Chatfield SP. Jim and Rachel will drive it in one day while Jeri and I will take two days so we arrive at Chatfield on the 22nd, the first day of our reservation.

Jeri at Pasta Jay’s
Jim & Rachel at Pasta Jay’s

4/19/2021 Day 13: Another day in the desert. Probably went into town. Moab is such a popular place and is very crowded. Traffic on the main thoroughfare is very slow and they are doing road improvements on the north side, restricting traffic to one lane in and out and traffic really backs up.

4/18/2021 Day 12: Jeri and I went into Moab today. Had lunch at the Moab Brewery. Jeri got her favorite chili rellano (sic). She says this is her favorite place for them. We noticed their menu was much smaller than normal (probably due to Covid). I was disappointed they no longer had Poutine on the menu. 😩 But I did have a huge delicious cheeseburger. This, being Sunday, meant almost all of the other campers we could see were heading home, so we pretty much have the entire place to ourselves. Yeay!!

4/17/2021 Day 11: Beautiful day, but windy. Jim and Rachel went mountain biking with her brother and his two sons and girlfriend who are vacationing in Moab. Jeri and I mostly hung around camp. Several campers around. Watched a three young boys build a bike jump and use it. They were having a lot of fun. Encountered a small problem with our freshwater system. The pump runs abnormally long and it seems we are already about out of water. Not sure how this could be because I filled the 67 gallon tank the morning we left Monticello. Jim took the six gallon jug we carry and will fill it with spring water. (I figured out a few days later the problem was operator (me) caused—when I filled the tank in Monticello I had left the valve in fill mode instead of normal mode.)

Rachel, a veterinarian, checked out Sugar’s paw and could not find anything stuck in it, but there is still some inflammation between the pads, so she applied some steroid ointment and left it with us to apply over the next few days. Thanks, Rachel!

Our two trailers in the desert
Evening campfire in the desert

4/16/2021 Day 10: Today we traveled a fairly short distance of about 200 miles up to Moab, UT. Moab was very busy! People everywhere. We rolled on through and another thirteen mile north up to BLM 142 (Klondike road) then spent about 45 minutes negotiating 2.9 miles of very rough backcountry road to find the campsite Jim had wanted us to stay at was already packed with campers. We turned around and drove about a half mile back to another nice large campsite we had passed. Plenty of room for our trailer and Jim’s. I sent him the coordinates, but it was difficult because the cell signal is almost non-existent here. It was a chilly evening. Jimmy and Rachel left Denver around 6:00 PM and will arrive late. They arrived at 12:30 AM. I got up and looked out to see Jim setting up their trailer in the chilly wind and went back to our warm bed. We’ll see them in the morning.

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.

The view from our window

A few minutes later it started snowing like crazy, blowing sideways. We could not even see the mountains.

Hard to see the snow blowing sideways.

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.

Yeah, baby!!! Stuffed fry bread tacos!!

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.

View of the canyon
Our campsite (#25 Canyonside loop)

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.

Our Montana is the upper most trailer in the center
Jeri made a delicious Southwest style chicken dinner

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.

One of the barracks for enlisted men
Officers Quarters
Inside a enlisted men barracks
Very interesting display of telephone history located in one of the officers quarters buildings
Five Medal Of Honor winners during the Indian wars

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.

Another shop Jeri went in with a soda fountain

Then we went to lunch at Miss Hattie’s Cafe and Saloon across the street. Pretty good.

Bill & Jeri at Miss Hattie’s

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.

Jeri overlooking the lily pad ponds
Many different species of water lillies
I felt sorry for this little guy all alone, so took its picture

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.

Campsite 32 at San Angelo SP
Our flags

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!

Several deer across the road from our campsite

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.

Small group of 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.

Bonus photo: Bill enjoying a Boudin Ball. Yummmm!

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.

Chicken dinner
Campsite 9 at Gulf Coast RV Park

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)

Campsite 23 at Boomtown in Biloxi

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.

From the left: Sugar Belle and Faith

Author: Bill & Jeri RV Travels

This blog follows the RV adventures of Bill, Jeri and our intrepid dogs, Sugar Belle and Faith as we travel around our beautiful Country in our Ford F-350 diesel and Keystone Montana fifth wheel trailer.

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