First night on Padre Island

It was a bit windy, and I was unsure of the tides, as the shoreline has been greatly reduced since my last visit. I felt like the bus might be washed away or sunk this morning, but I was pleasantly surprised.20160127_075323

It remains overcast and very windy, and looks to be chilly the remainder of the day, so I might go back into town to continue shopping.  I see no reason NOT to return to my private beach tonight?

20160127_074258

The rest of the week promises to be be warm and sunny – I cannot wait.

A stop in San Antonio

Could not have been any better.  I am here to paddle the river, the San Antonio River, that runs thru the center of the city, and has a lovely commercial Riverwalk surrounding it.  That was my mission, as I had always wanted to do that since my first visit here.  But before that mission, I decided to visit another mission – Mission Concepción – downtown.  It stands as  the oldest unrestored stone church in America.

20160125_132915

I enjoyed the lush, green vegetation surrounding the church as much as the building – it has been months since I have seen these greens.  After The Dude and I had a walk around, we headed further into town, and scouted the river for a parking place to unload the boat.  After spying a bicycle cop, I asked if it was OK that I paddled the river, and he gave me a suggestion for parking – the PERFECT spot too.  As I arrived, the No Parking signs overwhelmed me, so  I went in search for permission to park.  The young lady sitting outside, told me it was fine, as an employee of the gallery, and welcomed me to visit when they opened later in the week.  I quickly started gathering equipment and unloaded the boat for my river-adventure.  The rest of the story (most of it) is in the video below.

Big Bend National Park

IMG_5412….is bigger than you think.  West Texas is a desert, and that thought always kept me away when exploring here back in the 90’s.  I never imagined it was as big, had the massive canyons, colors, wildlife or foliage that it does.  The river was a bit of a disappointment, but it is simply low right now.  The country is rugged, and you have access to much of it.  Mountains, river, desert, it is all here, and it is BIG.

20160122_180739

El Paso Truck Stop – a small taste

I think everyone wonders, at some point in life – what is it like to spend the night in a truckstop?  Well, tonight’s the night.  I have already seen a lot-lizard, and smelled her before she even got into the lot.  She smiled at me, and was not terribly unattractive, but her cheap, flowery smell made my stomach roll.  I did not have a camera, as  I was walking The Dude – too bad for you. :(

The monument that was covered in sand

I went to see the monument covered in sand, White Sands National Monument, just south of Alamogordo, NM. Surrounded by the White Sands Missile Range, and Holloman AFB. I arrived at closing time, so I parked at a lake on the AFB, pretty cool spot.20160120_172446

Thanks to my new heater hose, I slept till nine this morning. I awoke with coffee and F/A-18 doing loops around the lake.  I convinced The Dude he needed some exercise, and we headed south to swim in the ocean of gypsum.

20160121_120634

The place was much larger than it appeared from the road, it seemed to extend all the way the mountains behind.  After The Dude ran around like a fool for a bit, we loaded up and headed into Alamogordo for a fine Mexican lunch.

20160121_122014

After a failed attempt to change my oil in El Paso, I am overnighting at a truck stop, and will simply top-off the oil in the morning before heading south to Big Bend NP.  It may be a few days before I check back in, as I am guessing they have little Internets down there?

Las Cienegas Wild Camping

More BLM land in the SE Arizona region beside Coronado NF.  Had a great day watching birds, pronghorn, whitetail (grey) and enjoying the tall grass for a change.20160119_124517

At 4,000 feet, I knew the night would be cold, but wanted to see if I could get some nice midnight star-gazing(too cloudy), or some wildlife grazing (too many mesquites to see).  Nevertheless, The IMG_1303Dude and I spent a wonderful warm day in the high-country, and I saw my first osprey, up close, and was able to observe them hunting prairie dogs.  They seem to hover 5-feet off the ground, then pounce – beautiful birds.  Too bad I could not get any better pics.

IMG_1306

I noticed the pronghorn grazing in the distance upon entering, but had to move around a good bit to get any closer shots.  In the process, I managed to get some shots of whitetail bouncing across the road.  It was a hard day roughing it in the wilderness.  If you look closely you can see the snow-sprinkled mountains in the distance.

Lunch in the valley

20160119_132018

My camp spot in a mesquite forest.

20160119_173756

 

Saguaro National Park

Perhaps the smallest park I have been in yet, it also had the roughest road.  There are other sections east and south of Tucson, and I might explore those, but it looks like I am headed SE towards Las Cienegas NCA in search of grassland and paddling – I need some scenery change.

Yesterday

20160118_170558

This morning, outside camp – a Fish Hook Barrel Cactus

20160119_094831

 

Quartzsite and the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous

After a week in Quartzsite, I realized I found a group that is living a very similar lifestyle.  I had read about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous weeks earlier, and thought I might drop by since it was so close to where I was in Yuma.  If I had one sentence to describe this event, I would call it: Boot-camp for gypsies, or anyone planning to begin a life on the road.  20160116_174031 IMG_1175My personal polling of attendees found more than half were only in the planning stages of their adventure, and were there to learn more.  A large group were just getting started on the road, and a small handful lived part-time on the road, and went home when the weather warmed.  It turned out to be a very diverse group, with varied interests, backgrounds, and income.  One thing united us all.  We were there to discuss how to live better, without living in a stationary home.  And if you listened, you learned.

I believe there were 10 motorcycles there, and I rode with almost all of them, some, many times.  I learned from the classes/lectures, and I learned from un-structured, impromptu meetings, and simply chatting with others over a beer and a fire.  I am shocked at how relaxing it was, considering all that was going on, well into the night.  I will return next year, unless I cannot.

 

Picacho Peak Wilderness

Camped out on the other side of the mountains from where I have been riding the last week, in Picacho Recreation Area, not to be confused with the other dozen Picacho Peaks across Arizona, this one has awesome riding, and abandoned mines and at least one active one.

Coming in at night, I tried to find a flat spot, close to a road, and wound up in an interesting spot on the edge of a wash.IMG_1084 IMG_1086

Sad that someone last their pal out here but understandable.  Dude LOVES the desert, lots to sniff, soft sand for the arthritic feet, and lots of small creosote bushes to piss on.  But make no mistake, The Dude will NOT get lost out here, that almost happened already twice, and now I have two blinking beacons for his neck at night, and 2,800 lumen handheld spot for when we walk and he wanders off a bit.

I will not talk about the welding attempt (even tho I have video) as it was fruitless.  I think it may be the weak generator.  Look for news soon about my welding project.

I did get new tire mounted, and supplies for all maintenance, and for the week upcoming in Quartzsite, and a short day of riding.  Resulting in  a nice relaxing few days in the desert, in the rain?

One of several mine-shafts I found in a couple hours.IMG_1089

 

Runaway Bus

Anyone know the mass of a bus, moving at 1 mph?  After trying to stop mine by holding onto the mirror, I think it might be just a bit more than my mass + strength x determination/fear.  Pretty funny, I knew this was gonna happen eventually – I forget to set the air-brake(there is no position – Park), walk away, and do not notice the bus moving.  Well it happened today.  I park, walk in to check out the coin laundry, walk thru and return to see the bus moving………..

In fact, it moved about half the distance you see to the nice, new, white pickup.  I ran, and after realizing I was NOT superhuman, I jumped inside and stomped the brakes.  Pretty funny after all was said and done, but very scary during.

The Moral:

Always pull this lever before exiting the vehicle.

Now, back to my laundry.  What are YOU doing today?