Category Archives: Uncategorized
Our August 2019 Adventure
We began our trip August 10th the destination San Diego California to attend our godson, Ernie’s wedding, August 24th. Our first stop was Cap Rock State Park in Quitaque, Texas. Cap Rock is home to the largest bison herd in Texas and they have free range to the entire park. They visit the campgrounds very up close around sun rise and sun set for grazing. They are large beautiful animals that are not the least bit shy to people or vehicles.
One of our favorite stops when we cross into New Mexico from Texas is the Route 66 casino in Albuquerque. It is a great RV park because it has something each of us enjoys. Vegas likes to play ball in the dog park as well as run free in the large open areas. Lonnie is entertained playing craps in the casino and I enjoy sitting outside in the shade admiring the open vastness of the area and reading. Plus the casino food is very tasty with lots of choices giving me a break from meal preparations.
The drive from Albuquerque to Cottonwood Arizona is a long and hot. We stopped at Meteor Crater which is just east of Flagstaff. The crater was created some 50,000 years ago by a huge iron-nickel meteorite estimated to have been about 150 feet across with an explosive force greater than 20 million tons of TNT. Needless to say it is one big hole in the ground – the crater is 700 feet deep and over 4,000 feet across. An interesting fact is in 1964 the Apollo astronauts trained there to help them understand and collect samples for their mission to the moon. We spent a couple of days at the Thousand Trails RV resort in Cottonwood which is just west of Sedona. The mornings and evenings had welcoming cool weather but by 9:30am the temperature started rising and kept going until it reached 108. We were able to enjoy hiking the hills and river early in the mornings.
California brought welcomed cooler temperatures. We stayed a few days at one of our favorite spots, Mount San Jacinto near Idyllwild at another Thousand Trails property. It’s the mountain that buts against Palm Springs and Palm Desert. The morning temperatures were in the low 50’s and afternoon in the 80’s. What a welcome relief from Texas and Arizona. We delighted in hiking the numerous trails available in the refreshing air and in the afternoon we enjoyed sitting under the tall pines taking in the views. Vegas had fun running free on the trails and playing the extremely large pine cones.
By now we are getting closer to the wedding date, so start heading to San Diego. We stopped for a night in Pala at the Pala Casino and RV Park, then off the next morning to San Diego. In San Diego we stayed the first night at Campland on Mission Bay. It is advertised as a family-friendly fun for everyone and they are right about that. It was packed with families having fun before school starts. It was a blast seeing all the kids roaming free on their bikes, skate boards, skates, and all other fun toys – lot’s of activity. That evening, August 23 there was a very entertaining party for Ernie and Lynsey at the Hotel LaJolla. We took an Uber to and from which worked out great. When we arrived back at Campland there was a live band playing and sat outside sharing a double scoop of butter pecan ice cream taking in the music and the people. The wedding venue was the Scripps center located on La Jolla beach. Ernie arranged for reserved parking for our RV in the Scripps parking lot which is open to the public on weekends. We spent the day overlooking the ocean and watching the numerous surfers enjoying the waves and at night slept to the sound of the rolling waves. The wedding was fantastic and Ernie and Lynsey were the perfect couple. The venue was beautiful and every detail was planned perfectly. We had a fabulous time and it was very heart warming to participate in their day.
The return trip to Austin took us through Utah where we stopped at Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. Zion was pretty but Bryce Canyon was outstanding. It is full of fiery colors and endless vistas with fairy tale castle-like rock formations known as “hoodoos”. We camped in the park and walked the trail to view Sunrise and Sunset Point as well as Inspiration Point rather than taking the shuttle service they offer so we could take Vegas with us. We rode horses on an hour and a half trail ride down to the bottom of the canyon. My horse was Red River and let’s just say he was less than enthusiastic to be taking the trip, but it was quite thrilling riding the horse as he walked the narrow and steep ledges down to the base floor. There is also an 18 mile scenic drive which offers several amazing views. One of our favorites was the Natural Bridge view which looks like a fiery red castle sitting atop a bridge connecting to the other side of the landscape. If you have not been, you have to go see this place it is spectacular.
Homeward bound now, basically just following our path back take through New Mexico and Texas. We did make a quick stop at the Four Corners. It is where 4 states intersect, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona. We had a foot in all four states at once.
A great trip, every day was an adventure and so much fun but it is also nice to be home.
Journey to get level
It’s time for another Unity Travel adventure. This trip will take us from our home in Austin, Texas to Niagara Falls, Canada with several stops along the way. We started out on this adventure on June 11, 2019 with our first stop in Bossier City, LA then Fort Smith, Arkansas, from there a stop over in Fayetteville to visit Lonnie’s brother, Dan and sister-in-law Barbara. We had a wonderful visit over lunch catching up since our last visit. We were off to St. Louis, MO to view the Arch Gateway. We stayed at the Casino Queen RV park which is located at one of the Metro stops making it very convenient to catching the train to the Arch. It’s a lovely walk from the Metro stop through the inner city community garden. The Arch rises 630 feet high and is a bold monument to the pioneering spirit. We took the tram ride inside the Arch to the top of America’s tallest man-made monument for a spectacular view of the city and the Mississippi River and up to 30 miles beyond. We stopped on the walk back at a great little coffee shop, sat outdoors enjoying coffee, tea and muffins overlooking the park before catching the Metro back
On to Elkhart, Indiana for the real purpose for this trip to get hydraulic jacks that automatically level the coach with a touch of a bottom. YEAH! No more trying to get the RV leveled with blocks anymore. We love ‘em, love ‘em , love ‘em and highly recomend them if you haven’t got them. While there we walked around impressive Notre Dame the campus and enjoyed walking around the St. Joseph river in Central Park, South Bend. The park is very attractive and a great place if you have children or a dog that need a good time outdoors.
We crossed into Canada on the 18th from Detroit, Michigan. The customs agents searched the coach from top to bottom, not finding anything that concerned them off we went. Luckily no problems getting our sweet Vegas, boxer dog, across the border. We took hwy 401 for a short distance before we cut off to Essex for a stop to exchange money and grab some lunch. We drove mostly back roads getting a good view of the country side and the small communities along the way. I have to mention what a difference from the industrial U.S. side to the agricultural open land directly across the border in Canada. We were amazed at the tidiness and impressiveness of everyone’s home. We virtually saw no shabby homes or lawns. We stopped for the night at Long Point State Park in Norfolk County. I am sure it must be a lovely park but they had such an abundance of rain the park was flooded. The sites were wet, sandy and swarming with mosquitoes. We left as early as possible the next morning for Niagara Falls.
Niagara Falls, Canada, Thursday, June 19th. We are staying at Scott’s Good Sam’s RV park located on Lundy Road. The WeGo bus stops across from RV park and excellent way to navigate around town and to the Falls. The Falls are absolutely breathtakingly awesome. There are three falls, the America’s, Bridal, and Horseshoe Falls. We took the Horn Blower River Boat ride that takes you directly to the bottom of each falls. Even with the poncho on you get a little wet, but it is fabulous fun, very memorable, and I highly recommend it. Other activities included the Journey behind the falls and lunch on the patio at Table Rock House Restaurant the food was average but the view priceless.
The White Water Walk is along the Niagara River where the water from the 3 falls is force into a narrow gorge. The rapids reach up to 14 feet high strictly due to the volume of water and not due to rocks under the surface.
Indianapolis, Indiana to the see the Harness Races at Harrah’s Hossier Casino, then to the Indianapolis Speed Way also known as the Brickyard, famous for the Indianapolis 500 race. We toured the museum showing the evolution of racing cars, drivers and equipment dating back to the early 1900’s to modern day formula one. There was also a Corvette show with hundreds of cars from all time periods and some racing on the track. We spent the night at the Indiana State Fair Grounds campgrounds
We are now homeward via part of the Mississippi Blues trail from St. Louis, through Mississippi and Louisiana.
No dogs on the beach
Florida was nice but Vegas did not get any beach time. So we went to Padre Island.
Back from Florida
We just got back from Tampa where we boon-docked for two nights at the Tampa RV show. This show is unbelievably large and a great place to boon-dock. We met up with six other LTV Unity Owners and had a blast boon-docking.
The next night we boon docked at Bass Pro shops and had dinner at the restaurant.
Texoma Travelers Rally
We have been grounded in Austin for the last few months. Doctors’ appointments and the passing of Barbara’s brother Rick have kept us close to home. Fortunately, we were able to make one short trip to Oklahoma for a rally of Texoma Travelers LTV RV’s (a travel club that we joined). The rally was at WinStar Casino just across the Red River from Texas. We like these rallies and are looking forward to the next one in Louisiana.
EMMA LONG METROPLIAN PARK, Lake Austin, AUSTIN, TX
Some people may call us crazy to go camping in 100 plus degree weather, but here at Emma Long Park we are camped at the water’s edge with large shade trees surrounding us. So, even though it is definitely hot the breeze off the lake and the shade of trees makes it most pleasurable for most of the day. Lonnie and Vegas have enjoyed tubing in the lake and we have all found this time most relaxing. The evenings are spent sitting lake side sipping on a refreshing gin and fresca watching the boats cruise by.
Each morning we have taken Vegas to Turkey Creek for a 3 mile hike. The trails are located about one mile from the park. Turkey Creek is a dog friendly off-leash area which Vegas has thoroughly enjoyed running free and splashing in and out of the creek. Her enthusiastic joy is something to behold – one has to be a boxer owner to know what this looks like.
Since it’s so hot we want to keep the outside cooking to minimum amount of time so I brought along my Sous Vide. Sous Vide is a cooking tool that heats water to a specified temperature then holds it at that temperature to cook food that is sealed in a food saver bag. The food will fully cook with little to no effort to the exact desired doneness. Once cooked then I quickly sear the meat, about one to two minutes per side and then dinner is done with the least amount of heat or mess. Great, you should try one.
Dinner is ready, time to go.
Back to the heat
We left beautiful Estes Park hoping to spend a few nights back at Golden Gate Canyon State Park but unfortunately all the sites where booked. Well, it’s all part of the adventure, so we continued on to Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs. We stayed there a couple of days and enjoyed hiking the Garden of the Gods and took a day trip to the Manitou Indian cliff dwellings. The afternoon temperatures were reaching a 100 degrees which is most unusual for this area. So we decided to go to Red River New Mexico where the temperatures are a high in the low 80’s. We checked the fire situation in New Mexico and all seemed fine for that area so we departed for our favorite campground along the Red River. When we pulled up at the campground the National Forest Service had just closed it for precautionary reasons. Evidently the day before a careless camper caused a forest fire in the Gila Forest and New Mexico was shutting down all the National campgrounds. Again, it’s all part of the adventure – onward to Albuquerque. There is a RV park we like their called Route 66, because it is located on the original famous Route 66 through New Mexico. Also, the RV park is located within a short walking distance to the Route 66 Casino.
We are homebound as we have some obligations next week, but wishing we could turn around and head back to Colorado.
ESTES PARK, COLORADO
Wow, what a fabulous little town. All the National and public campgrounds were packed so we stayed at Spruce Lake RV park. We were disappointed at first not staying in one of the campgrounds but this RV Park is nice and very convenient to everything. There are a several restaurants, a grocery store, and the free public shuttle all within a very short walking distance. If you are traveling in an RV you can find parking downtown at the visitor center and also at the Library. They do allow overnight camping but the parking spots are very limited.
We enjoyed sightseeing and walking around this beautiful town. The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival was going on celebrating the summer solstice with music, dancing, Scandinavian culture education, food, and various vendors. We also rented a jeep from Backbone Adventures to drive the very rough off-road trails on the edge of the Roosevelt Forest. Lonnie very much enjoyed driving this challenging road. The jeep literally went over boulders, sideways along the road wash-out areas and straight up and straight down — very bumpy ride — yet worth the trip. The scenery was also divine.
We have been enjoying the temperatures, highs in the 70’s and lows in the 50’s with very low humidity. This climate just makes one feel energized and want to spend as much time outside as possible. Considering our hometown, Austin, Texas temperatures in the 100’s. No wonder so many Texan’s travel to Colorado.
GOLDEN GATE CANYON STATE PARK COLORADO
The park is 12,000 acres of beauty with elevations ranging from 7,600 to 10,400 feet located northwest of the city of Golden. We hiked 4.0 mile trail to Panorama Point with very scenic views north towards Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail is heavily wooded with Aspen, Lodge Pole and Ponderosa Pines with various colorful wild flowers along the path. The trail is considered moderate but there is an elevation gain of 1,043 feet – whew. I know what goes up must come down, I just don’t remember anything but climbing up, up and up some more. The hike was well worth the effort and we enjoyed it thoroughly.
The campground has large sites, lots of trees for shade on a sunny afternoon and very quiet. We found it very relaxing listening to the rustling leaves of the Aspen trees; it almost sounded like the waves gently rolling onto a beach. So enjoyable to sit outside and just take in the scenery and the sounds. This is a wonderful State Park and I would recommend it to anyone traveling this way.
There are several old mining towns within a very short driving distance to explore on short day trips from the State Park.
CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN STATE PARK – Colorado Springs, CO
The elevation is 6,288 feet and finally some nice cool weather. This park is fairly new as it opened in October 2006, it was formerly the JL Ranch and it is a 5 star park and deserves every star. They have over 23 miles of hiking trails but only a few short trails where dogs are allowed. The park does offer a stunning transition from the plains to its peaks. We have a fabulous view from our site to Colorado Springs below. Up the mountain from our site is NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense).
LAKE HASTY / JOHN MARTIN RESERVOIR – Hasty, CO
We arrived late afternoon and the Lake Hasty RV sites where full but there was an available site at the Reservoir. It was a boondocking site but it had a beautiful view of the lake and large open area for Vegas to be able to run free. We enjoyed this stay very much.
Drove to Guymon so Lonnie could revisit his parent’s hometown. We had planned to stay at the Drive-In RV Park but it was too early to stop for the day. We did check out the park and it was pretty nice and would be a good place to stay if in that area. Oh yeah, they show movies on the weekends.
BOILING POT STATE PARK – Woodward, OK
This park received its name from the numerous underground streams creating a “boiling” effect. The area surrounding the park is semi-arid climate and sparse vegetation so the park is often referred to as an oasis. It has a very pretty lake for boating and fishing, a swimming pool and many shaded RV sites. We were hiking on one of the trails and came across a fawn hidden under some brush, it was so precious, we stayed our distance so not to cause any harm.
OUT OF THE HEAT OF TEXAS ONWARD TO COLORADO
June 13, 2018 we began on journey toward Colorado. We made a brief stop in Fort Worth to take a tour of the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Over half of the nation’s currency is produced at this facility. The tour was very interesting and there were billions of dollars being printed. To complete a note from start of the offset printing process (blank paper) to finished currency in the vault is approximately four weeks.
Our drive continued to the WinStar RV Park next to the WinStar casino. We were interested in checking out this site as our TEXHOMA LTV club will be holding their rally there in October. It was nice and will probably be a good location for the rally.
Again, another city rich in history beginning in 1733 when General James Oglethorpe landed there. He named the 13th and final American colony “Georgia” after England’s King George II. The city surrendered to Sherman during the civil war to save the city from being burned. The city is a 2 mile square butted against the sea with loads of restaurants and shops along every street.
CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Charleston is a very pretty and historic city. It was first settled in 1670 and being a sea port became a focal point in the American Revolution confiscating tea in protest to the Tea Act. The southerners fired the first shots of the civil war against the Union at Ft. Sumter. We walked the promenade along the shore to the popular pineapple fountain where children were happily wading in the small pool surrounding the fountain. Vegas got an opportunity to run in the dog park but she couldn’t find a playmate, so we ventured on taking a walking tour of the city. We found Charleston very charming.
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
We arrived at this popular beach for a visit and night’s stay at the Myrtle Beach State Park. The park is lush with large oak trees and pines. I was surprised to see forest growing right up to the beach. The beach was large with tan sand and people of all ages enjoying the sun. We met a very nice couple from Georgia that have an LTV just like ours and exchanged travel stories
St. John’s is the oldest church in Richmond and is the location where Patrick Henry gave his famous speech, “give me liberty or give me death”. We also drove down Broad Street straight through this historic town then to Monument Ave. passing grand old homes to statues of Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson. A city rich in history of the revolutionary and civil wars.
Charlottesville – Monticello:
We toured Thomas Jefferson’s magnificent home outside Charlottesville. One item that was particularly interesting was his polygraph invention, a copying machine with two pens. When Jefferson wrote with one pen, the other made an exact copy. We learned he died at 82 leaving his family to pay his debt of $100,000.00. His family had to sell all his belongings and eventually the house to repay the large debt. So sad, luckily Uriah Levy and his nephew later purchased the house and worked to restore and preserve it until 1923 when the Foundation was formed to carry-on.
Spring time in Virginia:
Mid-April to the first of May a perfect time of year to visit Virginia as spring as sprung to its full glory. The bright colorful azaleas decorating everyone’s yards and the dogwood trees in full blossom along the highways, parks and yards – absolutely gorgeous. This is the first time I have seen a dogwood tree and I have fallen in love with them. Oh, and the tulips, everywhere with tall stems and bright colors decorating Williamsburg, Monticello and several other sites along the way. The drive has been very picturesque and most enjoyable. It has been a wonderful trip.
Skyline Drive/Shenandoah National Park
I was so looking forward to driving along skyline and spending time in Shenandoah Park but unfortunately spring had not sprung in the mountains and the trees where still dormant. It was like driving through a forest of tall standing dead trees, it was very depressing and cold. The overlook views of the valley below where pretty and colorful but the drive and the camping not so much. We stayed one night on the mountain and drove to a nice state park, Morrow Mountain, in Albemarle, North Carolina. Our plans are to visit Myrtle Beach, South Carolina tomorrow.
NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA
A few miles from Virginia Beach is Newport News where Charlie and Susan live. They use to live in Austin where Charlie had worked with Lonnie. They moved from Austin about 30 years so we were really looking forward to meeting up with them and getting reacquainted. We had a fantastic visit, they were excellent tour guides showing us around Newport News and Colonial Williamsburg. We had lunch at Kings Arms an 18th century tavern located in old town Williamsburg where the servers dress in costume. We had a good lunch served with a peach/orange ginger ale punch, which Lonnie really found memorable. Charlie and Susan were so gracious and opened their beautiful home located on the River to us.
We thank both couples for welcoming us so warmly for a few days and showing us a very enjoyable visit.