Thursday, May 28, 2015

Santa Fe and Tent Rocks

If you are in Albuquerque for a few days, you have to consider driving the 60 miles to Santa Fe.  "The City Different" is always a fun place to see, even if it is only for a few hours.  We arrived in time to walk around before finding some lunch.

The Plaza is always find to wander around and this time, we notice traffic was only allowed on one street.  The other three streets were closed off and it was to walk around.  We didn't have anything in particular in mind, but just took in the beautiful day.
In my mind, no visit to Santa Fe is complete without walking along the Palace of the Governors and checking out the beautiful Pueblo Indian jewelry.
And seeing the St. Francis of Assisi Basilica never gets old.

After lunch and a couple of hours in Santa Fe we headed back to Albuquerque toward the Cochiti Pueblo.  We specifically were interested in doing a short hike along the trail of the Tent Rocks National Monument.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages Tent Rocks (aka as Kasha-Katuwe "white cliffs" and has made a number of trail improvements since we last visited four years ago.

We started out on the Cave Loop Trail which was a not very elevated.  It was an easy hike along open trails.
This little cave was quite interesting and made me wonder how man hundreds (thousands?) of people had used it for a season in times past.  Definitely a curiosity.

Next, it was on to the Slot Canyon Trail which we picked up at the end of the Cave Loop Trail.
 It was a bit narrow a few times.  Glad we picked an off day.  Can't imagine how long it would be during peak season with lots of people waiting their turn.
 The kicker on this trail was the steep elevation at places including the 630 ft rise at toward the end of the trail.  It was getting a little late and we opted to cut short our hike after some very scenic photos.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Trip to White Sands National Monument

We drove down to White Sands National Monument with Adam and Melissa on Sunday.  We wanted to catch the sunset and then sunrise the next day.  We left about mid-day after a late breakfast at Frontier Restaurant.
We took a scenic route through Socorro, San Antonio (NM), Corrizzo and past Alamogordo NM to Holloman AFB.  We got rooms at the Holloman Inn on base which were quite satisfactory.  Then we grabbed some dinner at Chili's and drove out to White Sands.

We had an hour before sunset was scheduled at 8:07 PM so we got a map of the 8 mile loop in the park and drove out to an area where we parked.
We drove past the Amphitheater and Alkali Flat Trail and basically picked a parking spot and climbed the dunes.  We took our time and walked along the top of them and looked for a good vantage point to see the sun set over mountains.  We ended up walking about 1/2 mile up the dunes and across others to a good place.
Then we took a seat and watched the sun creep down over the mountains.  Some to the dunes were 20 and 30 feet a whole picture of beauty by themselves.

The next morning we were hoping to catch the sunrise but the area did not open up until 7:00 AM which was long after sunrise.  Instead, we took our time checking out of our rooms, then took a windshield tour of Holloman AFB.

The desert setting reminded me a lot of Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson.  Except here, all the aircraft were kept under wraps and there were none on the runway.  We went over to the airplane 'park' display area and saw some of the aircraft that have been in service at the base.
Then we made our way out to White Sands again and stopped in a few places to take a look.
One shot I wanted to get was a Yucca plant against the white dunes.  We drove around and took some shots.  I liked this one best.
It was a spectacular evening watching the sun set over the dunes.  Then it was another terrific day walking around in the bright morning sun.  It was hot too, so it was a good idea to take an umbrella.

Next we went back to the Visitor Center and watched the video on the history of the geological phenomenon at White Sands.

We were really glad to be able see the beautiful place with Adam and Melissa.  It was a scenic and magical place.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Roadrunner Campsites in April 2015

We left our JEB Little Creek MWR Campground in Virginia Beach VA Monday, April 6.  By April 30 we were at the Shady Creek RV Park Aubrey Texas.  Along the way we had stops at:
  • High Rock Marina and Campground, Lexington, NC
  • Freightliner Repair Facility, Gaffney, SC
  • Camp Lake Jasper, Hardeeville, SC
  • Pelican Roost Campground, Naval Station Mayport, FL
  • MidBay Shores Recreation Area, Niceville, FL
  • Fountainbleu State Park, Mandeville State Park, LA
  • Bayou Wilderness Resort RV Park, Lafayette, LA
  • Shallow Creek RV Park, Gladewater, TX
  • Cowtown RV Campground, Aledo, TX
  • Shady Creek RV Park and Storage, Aubrey, TX
Here's brief recap of some thoughts on each campground:

JEB Little Creek MWR Campground:  Cost - $22.00  Rating: - 5/10
The best thing about this campground is its proximity to Kelly and Jon.  It is literally 5 minutes away from them and our first grandchild.  It also had a concrete pad, good 50 amp service and good, free wifi at our campsite.  (I'm sure it helped that we were right next to the Campground Office.)
Despite the very good Office Manager, a great couple for Camp Hosts, the campground suffers from no attention from the MWR Department and leadership.  The campground is in a great location and has a lot of use, but laundry room, roads, painting and general maintenance is lacking. Snow removal was non-existent.

High Rock Marina and Campground, Lexington NC:  Cost - $37.00 Rating - 8/10
We were looking for something different and pleasant and not too far out of the way as we were heading to Gaffney SC.  The High Rock Marina was a fine overnight stay and a place that was perfect for our first overnight in quite a while.  We got a decent site with full hookups and it was 'almost' on the lake for an enjoyable evening.  We had dinner outside and built a campfire and wen to bed fairly early.  

Freightliner Repair Facility Gaffney SC: Cost - $0.00  Rating - 7/10
Not a destination but a decent place for repair work.  Sites are level, no tree obstructions so satellite TV work fine.  Wifi at campsite and at customer lounge area are both excellent. Dump station is good and very convenient.

Camp Lake Jasper, Hardeeville SC:  Cost - $39.33  Rating - 7/10
New facility with lots of nice amenities.  Fire pits at each site, fishing, outdoor community area, large sites.  Nice little lake for fishing and canoeing.  Great stopover for a few days in the Hilton Head/Savannah area.

Pelican Roost Campground, Naval Station Mayport FL: Cost $21.00  Rating - 9/10
All in all, the best military campground we have stayed at.  It has free laundry, is well run, sites are level with lots of mowed grass.  The staff is excellent and the view is excellent --right on the water of the St. John's River.  New base gym and swimming pool is 400 yards away and the big beach is within walking distance.  We loved watching the ships go by right in front of us!  Definitely will make it to stay here again.

MidBay Shores Recreation Area, Niceville FL:  Cost - $17.00 Rating - 7/10
Though this is an older campground, the price was right and we were on the water of Choctahatchee Bay.  The trees blocked our satellite dish but cable was fine.  Needs a little TLC but it was a good stop in the Fort Walton Beach area.

Fountainebleu State Park, Mandeville LA:  Cost - $25.00  Rating - 7/10
Glad we finally got to stay in a Louisiana State Park!  Nice big campsites with campfire rings and trash cans nearby which are emptied daily.  The park offered a number of hiking trails, is close to a great bike trail and even has a small beach not far away on the property.  It was a very pleasant couple of days here.

Bayou Wilderness RV Resort, Lafayette LA:  Cost - $39.83  Rating - 7/10
A little out of the way and higher than we like to pay.  The road getting there was not the best but it was a very nice campground. Site was level with plenty of gravel. Grass was freshly mowed and the laundry facilities were in good shape.  A good place for an overnight stay to see our friends in Lafayette.

Shallow Creek RV Campground, Gladewater TX:  Cost - $29.70 Rating - 8/10
This was great!  Love the concrete slabs throughout with some grass.  Plenty of parking at campsite. Office manager and grounds person were very friendly and helpful.  Was a real nice overnight stay and we'd do it again!

Cowtown RV Campground, Aledo TX: Cost -  $39.83  Rating - 8/10
Another very convenient campground.  Right off I-20 and near my brother and sister-in-laws place.  Campground has lots of pull through sites.  The front office is very helpful and friendly and the laundry is good.  We stayed about a week and would do so again.

Shady Creek RV Park and Storage, Aubrey TX: Cost - $31.50  Rating -  7/10
(forgot to get a photo)
Nice place for an overnight stay.  Campsites have ample parking and our site had new gravel.  It was level and the who place is well maintained.  Fairly new park with large pool and nice laundry facilities.  It was a very beautiful and well-maintained campground.  The grass was freshly mowed which is a big plus with me.  It was a little out of the way but it was a good stop for us with our friends in Frisco, TX.  

There's a recap of our campsites from Virginia to Texas during the month of April.  I also make it a point to provide campground reviews on and Its been fun to be on the road again!

Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Another Visit to Palo Duro Canyon

We visited Palo Duro Canyon for the first time as tent campers back in 1992.  Since it is on the way to Albuquerque from Oklahoma City, we decided to go see it and find out what we remembered.

I did not remember the steep and winding 10% grade down into the canyon from the front gate.  But it was no problem for the Roadrunner.

We got into a good site at the Sagebrush Campground, one of three in the area for RVs.
We passed the Amphitheater Area where we must have seen a performance of Texas! and also passed the horse corral where we saw a number of horses.  Since it it not really the peak season, we saw no riders and the outdoor production is not up and running yet.

We were glad to enjoy the beautiful canyon and the cloud formations as the sun set.  And we were able to get out and hike some of the beautiful trails.
We met quite a few hikers along the way and half a dozen mountain bikers.  Great area for some exercise.

While at Palo Duro Canyon we also went by the Visitor Center and saw the displays including my favorite - the one of the Civilian Conservation Corps who built the park, the road, some of the buildings and trails.

The satellite dish worked fine but the internet and phone service were sketchy down in the canyon where we were parked.  I had to run in to Canyon TX, 13 miles away, to use the wifi at McDonalds.  But since they open at 5:00 AM, I got my work done and was back to the Roadrunner about 8:30.

I'm glad we got to see Palo Duro Canyon and do some hiking.  Next time, we may stay at a different campground so we can 'stay connected' a little better.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!