Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sucked into the Vortex

Odometer: I forgot to write it down. :)
Gas: 2.45

We did a day trip from Phoenix and drove to Jerome and Sedona with an early morning stop at AZ state park - slide rock.

Jerome is an old copper mine town about 40 miles outside of Sedona. Now it is filled with artists and bars that attract bikers.

Very pretty drive up the windy mountain road.

Bikers and open beer cans all over the place.

The water was FREEZING, but Zoe and I did get in and slide a little. This place has been known about for years, but only a state park since the early 90s. In fact, I went here on an RV trip with my family in the early 80s when it was just some cool rocks on a farm. Now that I'm older, I realize why none of the adults went in the water back then. Brrrr.

Zoe enjoyed walking around - but all of the rock was so slick I didn't dare let go of her hand.

Feel the power of the vortex even through the pictures - I thought so. We felt energized like we had a little Zoe in us from these beautiful mountains of Sedona.

Really is a beautiful area of the country - at least we think so. I wouldn't recommend walking around without ALOT of water though - this place was in the 90s and we never saw any nature water source.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Orange County East

Ah, It's a dry heat!!
Phoenix AZ

Powered through and found a nice campground just north of town with a great pool and work out room.

It was actually hard to find a place in the area - 98% of the campgrounds are 55 or older only. Yes, I made up that statistic, but I don't think I'm that far off.

We made it up half way on a camelback mountain hike - too steep to negotiate safely with Zoe in backpack and Kes in front pack - good hike none the less though.
A couple of days later, we also did a Squaw Peak circumference trail for about 3 miles, we left later and felt the heat on this one though.

The high lite of AZ for Zoe was this little play land in a park in Phoenix - all of the rides were centered on 2-6 year olds - no older kids to ruin things.

She had an absolute blast riding all of the rides "by myself".

She did great on the roller coaster - by the last ride she would let go and raise one hand into the air just like "the big kids".

Enjoying the warm evening.

We really just hung out alot at the campground here - tires of traveling and driving and it was about 105 degrees everyday so being outside wasn't exactly easy with the kids.

Had a scare one morning - the propane alarm went off at 4am.
That sucker is LOUD!! So loud, neither Missy nor I could actually locate where the noise was coming from. So, at 4 am - I dismantled the stereo and then took the speakers out the ceiling thinking it was from them. When that didn't work, I unplugged the trailer from the electric outlet - no help. Then I undid the battery on the front of the trailer - success, at least at turning off the noise. I re hooked the battery a few minutes later and sure enough it started again - but this time Missy noticed the propane alarm light was red instead of its usual green. Then I got really scared because we knew we had propane all around us. I turned off the propane tanks and we opened all the windows and door and kept all power to the trailer off and went back to sleep for 2 hours. :) Amazingly, Zoe and Kes slept through the whole thing!! We couldn't believe it because it was so loud our ears were ringing for 15 minutes even after the alarm stopped. We had a repair guy come by the next day and the system held pressure fine - it seems it was the probably the oven pilot leaking a little - anyway, no problems with anything since.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Benson - by Tucson

gas 2.41 and 2,49
Powered through. Went past 2 stops and kept going because Zoe was sleeping. Left at 6:30 Texas time but it was really 5:30 because on the time line. Thought we would try a different approach and leave while they were sleeping. But Zoe just stayed awake, although she was an angel so it was great.
Finally had breakfast in the El Paso Cracker Barrel - Zoe loved the rocking chairs.
Made it all of the way to Benson AZ by 2:30 local time. And, what you see is what you get. Very nice KOA owners, nice clean pool and we went shopping at the local walmart too. :) Only a few other rigs stopped by for the night and we were all gone by 9 the next morning. Nice and quiet for the night though.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Fort Stockton/Van Horn



Yup, another day of marathon driving. Fort Stockton had some campgrounds, but we thought we could make it further - all the way to Van Horn. After finding the playground in Ft Stockton and avoiding the broken glass, Zoe burned off enough energy to sit for another 2.5 hrs - so that we could make it from the right middle of nowhere to the left middle of no where. Van Horn KOA really is a dirt patch about 1/2 mile from the local truck stop. You can see the beautiful surroundings and neighbors in the pics. Anyway - did some laundry, took Zoe to the swings and then planned on leaving early the next morning for a huge driving day.

Again, very cold with the sun setting - the heater kicked on again. Brrr.

Yup - this is the playground. Before the playground, we stopped at a large grassy area outside the Demming courthouse - and we were stalked by the local huge German Shepperd - I was nervous enough that I made Zoe play just outside the courthouse doors so that if he came for us we could dive inside.

Click on this pic to enlarge - you will see a little black dog chasing a white van towing a trailer - we followed this chase for about 2 miles looking for the playground - that little dog never gave up or even slowed. I hope he was able to sink his teeth into that scrumptious trailer!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Junction TX



Pretty KOA, on the North Llano River. Small place and in the middle of no where - but a great place to rest none the less. Zoe tried to get the ducks to eat and all they would do is run away. 12 deer in a field next to the campground - a couple of babies that Zoe enjoyed watching.

Definitely into the desert - when the sun set, so did the temp - for the first time since way up north in July, Missy had to put on jeans the heater kicked on (~54 degrees). But definitely a stopover, in the middle of nowhere.

The campground did have a perimeter dirt road though that was just about 1/2 mile long - almost like running a track which was great for us after not having a place to work out at the last two campgrounds.

So this set up was actually by us in San Antonio the whole time. A retired gentleman with at least 6 dogs - he spends most of his time walking two at a time. Yes, he is driving a toy hauler motor home with a toy hauler travel trailer. He plugs them both in to water and electric. From what we can tell, he is just cruising the south west and treating his dogs like kings - they have more livable square feet than the Tillner family. :)

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Odometer: 19165

Gas: 2.39

University of Texas football stadium, where the magic happens. For some reason I get a kick out of seeing all of these stadiums in person after all of these years on TV - anyway, this one looks like a good time. As Missy says, "Hook'em horns"!!

We had a great time stopping by a UOP classmate's of mine. Met Dr Ducote's fiance, Crystal and Zoe had a great time as usual playing with the dogs.

Walking along the river in downtown Austin - found the favorite turtle hangout.

Zoe, cruising scooter style in Austin - this is actually just across the street from downtown.

We went to see the world's largest urban bat colony - it lives under the congress bridge in Austin - 1.5 million bats. They head out at sunset every night to go insect hunting. They left just after sunset this night, so none of our pics of them turned out, but interesting to see for sure.

Zoe could care less about the bats, but she had a great time running around all of the people and playing ball and coloring with her new "friend".

Kes enjoyed the show too of course.

Austin seemed like a fun city - very clean, we never saw too much traffic or anything/anyone too scary. Surprised more people don't live there actually, but we wont be increasing their numbers either I guess.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

San Antonio (Zoe almost exploded)

Odometer: 19040


Before you get worried about Zoe from the title - it comes from Bob and Pat flying down to meet us - when Zoe saw them, the new toys they brought too - she just started screaming from excitement - very funny actually.

LOOK! We found where MUNI buses go to die - Schlitterbaun water park in Texas. Hardly any windows, just some dented metal seats. Gets you from one area to another in the park with a leisurely drive through the local neighborhood - quite the ride itself.

The water park was great - 65 acres broken up over 4 areas. This park was picked by Travel channel as the best water park in the US - and it was alot of fun. An amazing business plan too - the majority of the park is actually river water pumped in to the top - and almost all of the slides and lazy rivers share the same water - eliminates having to clean/chlorinate the place.
It also has the voted best slide in the US - you actually get shot up hill numerous times - more like a roller coaster than slide. Mimi and Papa watched the munchkins while Missy and I waited an hour for the ride - fun, but we didn't get back in line after.

This is the marketplace in San Antonio- a big courtyard with many stores all selling the same things with restaurants and police officers interspersed.

At one end of the courtyard is the mexican/hispanic/latino music museum - it was free and air conditioned - we stayed 20 minutes.

Cruising the river walk - you have to give this city credit - they have made the best of what they have.

This is a restaurant/bar/museum in town just a block or so from the Alamo - just about anything you can shoot has its head on the wall here.

Yup, the one and only Alamo. For years Bob has been bad mouthing the place, but we gave it a shot anyway - and it was very well done. Although no one except one black slave survived the massacre, so you have to take all of the history with a grain of salt - but interesting none the less.

Ice cream and a super ball dispenser - a little slice of heaven.

Yup, dinner without the kids, ahhh.

Saint Tony or something like that - anyway, started the place and so they named it after him.

Zoe was able to stay in the hotel with PapaMimi for a couple of nights - like heaven for her - on the last night, Mimi was giving her a bath when Missy and I arrived - she heard our voices and then we heard her declare to Mimi - "Oh no! My momma and dadda are here"!

Waiting for the boat ride with Papa.

Party hat time while chillin in the hotel - look kids, a full size couch!!

On the drive to San Antonio - Buccees truck stop has billboards starting 200 miles ahead - so out of respect to their marketing dept we stopped. Found some funny Tshirts and have beaver nuggets (like caramel corn minus the popcorn). If you're on the 10, stop by and take a look around - good sandwich's too.

These ducks just wander around the San Antonio KOA looking for food handouts - and then they poo on your patio. Zoe and I had fun chasing them away though.