Posted March 29, 2018 – Narrated by Carmen
It’s that time of year again! We’re almost back to our home base in San Diego where we legally reside, register our vehicles, receive mail, pay taxes, vote, bank and visit our docs.
Most of our San Diego time will be spent with family and friends, rig maintenance and the ritual medical visits. Due to our pre-Medicare status, outside of California we’re only covered for emergencies – which we’ve not had this year.
Hopefully, we’ll pass the SMOG (Strong & Merry Old Geezers) test at Kaiser so we can continue our extended galavant into one sunset, and then the next, and the next, and …
A fellow traveler recently told me that she hopes to make no cattle-guard music when she crosses over into that great BLM campground in the sky, and if it takes a year or so for her friends to notice she hasn’t stopped by in a while, then so be it.
I totally respect the nomadic impulse to gradually fade into the distance. For us, the connection to friends and community are still quite strong and that’s what this blog is about.
Every post is just to say, ”Hey! We’re okay! We made it!” because you should be concerned. If you’re not concerned you should be betting against us in a dead pool because we do some crazy stuff – like driving 55 mph through Texas.
So far, we haven’t 4-3-2’d through Texas. The Lone Star State is the lone exception to the LIB rules. A lifetime of annual two-week Mississippi pilgrimages from San Diego cultivated the tradition of the Texas marathon. That’s right, contrary to our usual slow-travel philosophy, blasting through Texas is a matter of pride and respect among the menfolk in our family and Daddy holds the record.
Truthfully, we’ve never given Texas a chance.
After our stop in West Monroe, Louisiana at Landry Vineyards for a big ole Cajun Saint Patricks whoop-de-doo …
… I suggested to Jim that we stop in Marfa to observe the lights, hunt down fields of wildflowers and bluebonnets, maybe visit Big Bend … but that was like trying to distract a greyhound from the lure.
Nope. We’d tow our rig on the I-20 in three days and cross the New Mexico border, alive. It’s always a joy to wake up alive, but waking up alive in Texas is cause for celebration.
Due to sheer panic, the three-day trip flew by. Whoever wasn’t at the wheel averting disasters would research craft breweries with camping nearby.
Not becoming the hot creamy center of an 18-wheeler sandwich cookie on the highway requires good judgment and something nice to look forward to, so, just to keep things real we passed the time thinking up beer names to celebrate our 2018 victory over I-20:
- Over-sized Load (Black IPA)
- Close One! (unfiltered hefeweizen)
- Drunk or Texting? (pale ale)
- Brake Lights, Brake Lights, Brake Lights!!! (Irish red ale)
But after three days of road-anxiety, tattered oil wells
… and refineries and so much roadside litter! (Come on Midland, you got something against Ladybird?) the air began to freshen and The Land of Enchantment summoned us into the mystery.
Thrilled to be alive and unharmed and our rig undamaged, we decided to go places we’ve never been …
White Sands National Monument
Truth or Consequences and River Bend Hot Springs
Then, a stop for lunch at our favorite steakhouse, The Adobe Deli in Deming …
A sudden sandstorm…
…almost deterred us from our encampment destination at Pillsbury Vineyard and Winery…
…but we pulled in just in time for a superb wine tasting and then, for our last night in Arizona before entering California, we bedded down in the beautiful Wilcox countryside.
Next morning we drove to Tombstone for lunch …
… a quirky but appropriate place to confront the scary, sometimes terrifying moments our LIB adventure demands
… and to see the World’s Largest Rosebush in full bloom. A living legacy of horticulture and a fascinating story of travel and homesteading.
24 thoughts on “A Far Horizon”
Love the journal entry and the gorgeous pictures!
I have driven I-30, 1-20, I-10 route across Texas many times and that 80 mph speed limit is a bit much. I usually do 70 but once I did it at 65 mph in a Mazda Miata. Crazy! I also was iced in at Odessa, TX for 4 fun-filled days a few years ago. I do not recommend this. Blasting through that route is a good strategy. However, San Antonio with its amazing River Walk and, of course, the Alamo is delightful and seeing east Texas covered with blue bonnets in the springtime is one of the most gobsmackingly beautiful sights I have ever seen. You really ought to give it a try. There are a lot of German and Czech restaurants in east Texas. Welcome home to San Diego!
Hey Jill! So good to hear from you. It’s wonderful to be here in the cozy comforts of San Diego. Wow! It’s chilly! We’ve been in warm climates for so long, we forgot about the evening chill. I’m having to dig under the bed for my boots!
Yes, we blew it with the bluebonnets. Jim will never hear the end of it until we do The Great Texas Wildflower & Birding Road Trip. Also Marfa. Gotta see that. I don’t think I’ve ever had Czech food, so that’s on the list, too. Thanks for all the tips!
Wow you were out at Landry’s Vineyards. I would have ‘freaked out’ if we had been there and spotted B&tB and you guys and the crowd (you’d be easy to recognize from the photos :-). We live across the river in Monroe and often go to the concerts at Landry’s. We missed that one because a friend had his annual crawfish boil & birthday party that afternoon.
I don’t comment much but do keep up with your travels when I see the email alerts. I recommended the storytelling festival in Jonesborough, TN several years ago, you may remember me from that. We’re skipping that fest for a few years and going to a smaller one in Muscle Shoals, AL that’s held in May each year.
Enjoy your time landed at home base west
Hey Mark! Of course we remember you! It would have been a hoot to meet you at Landry’s. We really liked Monroe and wish we could have spent more time. We were there because Jim’s dad was born in West Monroe and his paternal grandparents as well and he’d never been there. He has no relatives that we know of, but I’m sure the town is full of distant cousins.
So far we haven’t made it to a single storytelling festival 🙁 that must change! Is this the festival in Shoals: https://www.facebook.com/ShoalsStorytelling/ ? We probably can’t make it there this year, but I “liked” the page and hopefully will make it there eventually.
Thanks for keeping up with us, Mark. We’re a mess, but somehow we get places. I’m going to look for a storytelling festival on our trek north. We’ve been asked to speak at the Salem convention in August.
Delayed reply, we’ve been out of town (hint: bluebonnets). We’ve been home shopping in the Austin, TX area, but after getting close to buying one this trip we backed out and said wait another year. Still, the option of getting a camper and increasing our time on the road is appealing. But until my wife retires we’re limited to summer and university holiday breaks. We escape the heat here most summers visiting her family in the Seattle area and taking the long way there and back.
Yes that’s the storytelling festival I mentioned.
So more connections in this area than yours in MS is a surprise. Guessing you spent the night at Landry’s. A while back when you discussed Harvest Host I checked and saw they were on the list, if they weren’t I was going to recommend it to them.
Since you guys often visit breweries, which we like to do too, have you tried the so-called hazy IPA’s? Many of the breweries are doing them now, has been a favorite of ours for a while now starting with Parish Brewing’s beers (near Lafayette). I read Modern Times and Stone where you are now are doing one. We visited those a few years back along with Green Flash.
Coronado beach bonfire?
Sure! Or here at the trailer? Let’s do!
Your comments about scouting for beer locations reminded me of this website. https://twitter.com/CampingWithBeer?lang=en It might come in handy.
Enjoy your time in San Diego.
Hey Bill! Thanks! We love Camping With Beer! We met a van camper couple in Ohio who would fit that description. They told us that they’d been to 600 breweries in a year!
We had a nice evening with our son tonight.
You have a great week!
Another great post! We hope to get Texas way in the not-to-distant future. Please tell me traffic isn’t as bad as Florida.
Hey Kathy! We didn’t have bad traffic in Florida, but then we weren’t pounding out hard miles there. Even Orlando traffic moved along nicely.
Jim & Carmen – We have come to really like you guys, we have great kayaks and better French Press because of you; hope to meet in person some day….however….as Native Texans (our grandkids are 7th generation on my side and 8th on Judy’s), we simply must point out that assessing Texas by way of a three day blast along I-20 is equivalent to walking through the Sistine Chapel with your head down the entire time! Offering anything related to Midland as your lone highlight of Texas beauty is comparable to describing the Men’s Toilet as the highlight of a visit to the Louvre. It is near sacrilege that you did not veer south just a bit to see field after field covered in Bluebonnets; in full bloom this time of year. Oh! The Humanity! Because I like you guys and feel there may yet be hope for you, at the next COC meeting (Committee on Californians) I will lobby to allow you further access to our Great State in hopes that you may become sufficiently enlightened to appreciate the beauty of this special land. Should your hearts be too hardened to appreciate my home state, you should listen to a song written by a friend and fellow chili cooker, Gary P. Nunn, Jr, an Oklahoman known to my old team, Faded Love Chili Company, of World Chili Cookoff fame in Terlingua, TX. Gary wrote and sang “You Can’t Get the Hell Outta Texas,” after getting lost in North Texas one night and finally stopping a DPS officer; Gary asked him if he could tell him how to get the hell out of Texas. The guy just smiled and said “You can’t get the Hell out of Texas, son.” Great song. Great State.
Dear Michael and Judy,
You’re right. We blew it. We should have planned more Texas time. On my wish list is, of course, bluebonnets (Here’s the Wildflower report: http://www.texaswildflowerpictures.com/update.htm) and birding (Here’s the Birding calendar: https://tpwmagazine.com/archive/2017/birdcalendar/) But not being locals or at all familiar with your state we’ll need guidance on the best places to stay and the best way to get there. I’d love to spend a month or more in Texas next Spring.
Sometimes blogging our travels gets us in trouble – like with our good friend Marla, above, and probably at least a dozen other friends who have recently moved to Texas. I’m surprised my native Texan friends Margie and Linda haven’t spoken up.Thank you for representing us to the COC, because I have bluebonnet fever and the only cure is Texas in the Springtime. Next year, for sure. That is if we get a pass from the COC … because you really like us 🙂 and we’d really like to meet you!
PS: And thank you for the Gary P. Nunn song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W4KbRFN08A – he has a nice sound. Texas has some great musicians. Didn’t Kinky Friedman run for governor? Gotta love the disregard for decorum in Texas.
I am just now reading this one and just wanted to remind you that Dad was a Texan. From Gainesville in North Texas. And he would have liked this song, I’m sure!! I bet you can recall some of his tall Texan tales. Take some time to see more of it than I-20 next spring. I’ve been to the hill country only once, and would love to see it again someday!!
We had forgotten that Mutt was a Texan. Your dad was always good for a great story. We loved visiting him! We do plan to make it back to Texas, especially in the Big Bend National Park. We also want to try to see the Marfa lights.
Wow!!! You zoomed right by me on the I-20!!!! And I’m literally “right off” the I-20!!!
Our sincerest apologies Marla. We had no idea or we would have stopped. Please message me with your new address and contact info. We go through Texas once a year around Springtime. xoxo
How the time fly’s. Seems to like you guys just left. Now for days even long you will wake up wondering for a nanosecond where you are. As I do my daily chores I think about those places visited that we had circumnavigating the U.S. then landing back in San Diego. For us it is the desert of life and living. Earned and appreciated.
Jan? Hope to see you while we’re here. xoxo
I have seen “Lady Banksia” in Tombstone, but never in bloom. What a treat! Stop at Hueco State Park outside of El Paso if you get the chance. Thanks for the great travel post.
Thank you, Alison. Yes, I think a thorough tour of Texas is on the agenda for next Spring. We must visit Hueco on that trip! https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/hueco-tanks
Big Bend is a real treat. We actually found Peyote growing there (left it in the ground!). It’s a fabulous place, full of wonderful hikes, beautiful views into Mexico, desert in all its glory. Maybe next year…