Friday, January 23, 2015

Big Bend Here We Come

Going to be a long travel day today. Google Maps say 4 hours which mean 5 hours in real time.

The caravan takes off – Davey driving in the lead as normal. We have a little game we play where we try to one-up each other about our respective motor coaches. Davey and Lou have a Monaco Diplomat which is quite a fancy diesel coach whereas mine is more of a Middle-Class gas coach. I love to find things to needle Davey about and I finally found one thing to boast about – mine is better on hills. Of course, the fact that Davey has his coach in economy mode, well, we just won't mention that.

The country is rather pretty – pretty flat but hills off in the distance. Occasionally we have to go over them but they are rather mild. We stop for gas in Sanderson, TX because we were thinking that it would get more and more expensive the closer we got to Big Bend. I paid $2.09 a gallon which considering how much I was paying last year was a bargain. All the towns here sort of have a dusty hardscrabble feel to them. No big box malls around here at all.

Me trying to keep up with the Joneses:


We headed south from Marathon and drove about thirty miles to the Big Bend National Park entrance. It was another sixty miles, traveling in the park to get to our campground which is on the Rio Grande. As we drove through those sixty miles, I was just amazed at the scenery – sparse, but rather majestic. At one point, we came across mountains. I don't know what I was expecting – I guess I always think of Texas as flat, flat, flat and it continually surprises me with all the hills here. But directly ahead were mountains. Real live mountains! With snow on them. Come on now – I'm in Texas – what is this snow stuff? These are the type of rough craggy mountains – the harsh looking ones.

The Joneses Trying To Keep Up With Me:

We pull into the campground – we were hoping to get into the full hookup side of the campground but they were full. We ended up in the National Park campground which has no water or electricity. This is going to be my first dry camping experience. I'm a little worried because I think I have a malfunctioning CO2 alarm. It seems as soon as the coach batteries get to the point of not being fully charged, the alarm starts going off. But, we will see how it goes.
Lou and Davey and I are starting to get a few rituals going. It seems that at the end of travel days such as today, we tend to congregate at one of our coaches and indulge in lots of cheese, crackers and wine. Lots of wine. I'm not sure I brought enough wine for the trip. Either I'm going to have to buy some more wine or quit traveling so much. We sat in my coach in the dark with just a small candle glowing because I was afraid to use any electricity and run down my house batteries. Finally they got tired of sitting in the dark and also being cold (I had turned the furnace down really low – again, didn't want to use electricity) so they left and went home.
I was tired so I was asleep by 9:00. At 10:30, the CO2 alarm went off – my batteries were just a little less than full so of course it goes off. I hit the reset button which shut the alarm off and went back to bed. Fifteen minutes later the alarm is going off again. I shut off the main battery switch which finally shut the alarm off but shutting off that switch means no lights (ok, no problem – I'm sleeping) and no heat. I put another blanket on the bed and got some socks on and decided to tough it out. By 5:00, it was 32 degrees in the coach. The campground rules say that there should be no generators run before 8:00 in the morning so I would have to wait to start that up to recharge the batteries and get heat.
All I can say is Miko and I survived.

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