Sunday, March 26, 2023

From Ocean Beach to Lake Beach!

We enjoyed our two weeks camped on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi, Texas.  Friends Don & Donna were camped nearby, but opted to park on solid ground, not sand!  As usual, we did some touring around together, and shared some happy hours.  For the most part, the weather was great, sunny and warm, a pleasant change from the unseasonably cold temps in Arizona and California this winter.  The water was quite pleasant for swimming.

(night-time shots with only moonlight with the iPhone 14 pro)

But all things must come to an end, and it was time to start the month long migration towards home :-(

First stop after leaving the beach was the car wash - to hose off all the sand and salt that accumulates after two weeks on the beach!  I'm sure I will be discovering bits of sand for months to come!

The first night we stopped at an abandoned campground in Amistad National Rec Area near Del Rio, overlooking the Pecos River where it joins the Rio Grande on the Mexican border.  This was the same spot where we stopped on the way south.  We might have stayed another night, but it was cool and breezy in the morning, and it was a rare tail-wind, so we took advantage and headed north west.
It was also a big day for Hailey, as she officially became a teenager!  It's official, because that is the date on her file with Walmart in the US!  I had to get a prescription for her filled there a few years ago, and they need an actual DOB for their records!  As usual, she was unimpressed!  She has lots of issues going on, but she keeps plugging along and never complains.
There was a lot of road construction along the way, and several sections of pilot car following.  I actually like it when that happens, as I let all the other traffic go ahead of me, and then I know there will be no one behind me, so I can go as slowly as I like without impeding traffic.  I guess this flagman thought it was cold - either that or he is in the witness protection program!

The next day, we pushed all the way north west and made it through El Paso, and back into New Mexico.  With not much time to select a camp spot before the Leafs game came on we ended up on the side of a BLM road near Mesquite, downwind from a large feedlot!  sometimes sacrifices just have to be made!

After our futile attempt to have some minor work done on the truck at Autonation GM in Corpus Christi (they wanted to keep my truck for 3-5 days for less than 2 hours of minor work!), we checked out the possibilities in Las Cruces.  They were much more accommodating, and I was able to make an appointment for the next morning.  With a day to kill, we checked out Dripping Springs Nattional Monument, (administered by the BLM) just up in the mountains above Las Cruces.


 Back in the day, it was a rather exclusive resort and sanitarium, but only remnants remain, but the stunning scenery is unchanged.

We spent that night at a little 14-day area at the Sierra Vista trailhead, on BLM land, just down from dripping springs.

Early the next morning found us at Sisbarro Buick-GMC in Las Cruces to give the big gm some TLC.

It was a big garage, and I counted 14 or more lifts inside.  After a thorough analysis from the computer it was decided that all it needed was a software update, and a forced cleaning of the exhaust system - no parts required.  The service guy spent a lot of time explaining things to me, and it was nice to find it didn't take the 3-5 days like offered in CC!

Before long we were hooked up and back on the road headed west across the southern edge of New Mexico.  Because of the time spent getting the GM pampered in Las Cruces, we only made it to Lordsburg that evening, and courtesy of iOverlander, found a nice 360* view spot on Thompson Canyon road, BLM land a few miles north of there.

 It was so nice in the evening, that we thought about staying for a few days, but the morning weather was not conducive to sticking around, so we headed on.

We contemplated a stop at Hot Well Dunes in eastern Arizona, but the weather was not that nice.  It was also on a weekend, when the area may be inundated with ATV's, and since the hot water is pumped up with solar power, there may not have been much hot water to enjoy either.  Plus, at $3./night for camping there, it would have blown my annual camping budget, which is holding at $0.00 for the last 5 months!

The weather was looking better in the Lake Havasu area, so after skirting the Phoenix area and fueling up in Gila Bend, we headed that way and made it as far as Yellowbird road, near Bouse, Az for the evening.  We were granted 'permission' to use a spot previously enjoyed by Wandering Willy.

From there, it was a short run the next day up to Lake Havasu, with a quick stop in Parker for some provisions.  Our usual hill-top spot with a distant lake view was available, so we moved right in.

Perhaps Hailey was hinting that she wanted a bath?  NOT!

As has become our custom here, I trotted up to Lizard Peak, on Table-top mountain, and enjoyed the views, and the table!

The big rock lizard at the base of the mountain.  I don't recall it having those nice stripes on it's tail in previous visits?
We'll be here till we decide to leave - which will likely be sooner than later?  Itinerary and route TBD!

Friday, March 17, 2023

Crop Circles and Coconuts on the Beach

Camping on the beach on Padre Island National Seashore has been great for a couple of weeks.

It was very quiet when we arrived, but it got a lot busier, due to the nice weather and/or the onset of spring break.  I drove down the beach about 12 miles on a sunny weekend day, and I'd say that there could easily have been a thousand vehicles in that stretch - mostly day users, but plenty of camping rigs and tents as well!

Hailey was always out to check quality control of the sand.  It was tiring at times!

At times the wind was busy moving the sand all around.  Some things were buried, others were exposed.
High tides started to get close to the rig, drowning out the travel lane along the beach.

Went for a drive one day, down adjoining Mustang Island, and crossed over to Port Aransas on the short ferry.  It is a very short crossing, but there are between three and five parallel ferries zipping back and forth dodging the occasional ship - all free too!

One of the locals out for a look around in the morning.

 Typical Texas fishers truck.  They all have racks to hold multiple rods, and coolers, mounted on either the front or back of the truck.  Not sure if the coolers were for the bait, the catch, or the beverages!
Local Park Rangers having a chat with a possible violator on the beach?
Later, there was a 'safety meeting' between two Rangers, and a possible unmarked police vehicle.  I think those are cellular antennas sticking up above the roofs, as cell coverage gets spotty as you go down the 55 miles of beach.

Some more of the local 'fishers' taking a break on the beach.

I had no idea what the new iPhone 14 could do with night photos, but the next three photos were taken in the middle of the night, with only moonlight for illumination.  The camera takes exposure of up to 3 seconds long, but despite being hand held, the resulting photos are crisp and clear.  It was a lot darker than it appears.

Tides and winds got higher, flooding out the road along the beach. Sun also took a day off.

Park maintenance trucks make regular patrols down the beach collecting all the stuff that keeps washing up with each tide.  This is despite the possible 30 tons of trash that was removed by volunteers the previous week.

I would often go out in the morning and fill a couple of grocery bags with the stuff washed up overnight.  The park truck would usually stop by and collect my haul, but there are also huge dumpsters available at the beach entrance.
High winds overnight blew the sand right out from under the trucks wheels.  I shoveled a bit of sand around the wheels and jacks of the trailer to prevent it from settling!

Width of most of the beach route during lower tides.

How it looked the morning I left, after my two weeks was up.

I found quite a few coconuts that had washed up on the beach from somewhere across the gulf, I guess.

Mysterious beach 'crop circles, after an overnight wind.

We're off on the road again.  Tune in later to see where we end up this time!

Hope you enjoyed the stay on the beach with us.