On the Road Again

Tracy and I have been friends since 2018. I met Tracy through her son Tim after she lost her husband in the fall of 2017. We immediately became the best of friends and now we are more like sisters than friends.

After I was on the road off and on with my tear drop for a few years I decided I was going bigger and was going to travel full-time. I bought an F150 and a 23′ Vintage camper and traded in the teardrop.

So happens she missed her camping days with her husband and wanted to try the full-time thing too. She ordered a 13 foot Scamp and we traveled alongside each other from October 2018 through 2021.

Since then we have both sold our campers and laid down roots. She is in Texas and I am in Tennessee. We were talking on the phone and decided to take some time for a short road trip this fall. We chatted over the phone where we would like to go and what we would like to visit. With me in Tennessee and her in South Texas, we decided to meet in San Antonio to begin our adventure.

I had the longest drive, almost 16 hours, so, I decided to stop in Arkansas for the night. I had never been to Hot Springs National Park and that it how far I traveled the first day.

I arrived late afternoon and it gave me some time to explore.
Hot Springs National Park is unlike any other National Park I have visited. There is a downtown, with businesses and people that live in the park itself.
Known for its hot springs and bathhouses it is also the oldest National Park and most accessible park in the United States.
Downtown is the old train station and in the park nearby is a Veterans Memorial
Driving around the downtown area there was a beautiful church, a hot spring fountain, a replica of a tub from one of the bathhouses at the visitors center and some eclectic art.
Some more art and a few murals.
Downtown Hot Springs
A Native American mural and statue and
the Arlington Hotel built in 1924. Visitors included Al Capone, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman
I drove up to the Mountain Tower to see what it was all about. Construction began in 1982 and finished in 1983. The tower is approximately 216 feet high and has a observation deck on top.
These pictures are from North Mountain scenic drive. There are many hiking trails throughout the park as well.

Early the following morning I left for San Antonio. The traffic was crazy from Dallas through Austin and into San Antonio but, I did manage to make one stop!

Waco, Texas
Chip and Johanna Gaines
Magnolia Market

I finally arrived in San Antonio in the early evening where I met up with Tracy.

We will spend the next few days exploring the city of San Antonio and visiting the missions.

We took the Hop On Hop Off Bus!
First stop the Riverwalk. We walked most of the Riverwalk in downtown.
We also took a cruise on the Riverwalk. The cruise captain talked about
the history and pointed
out places of interest.
There was even a traffic signal
for the boats
The Esquire Tavern opened in 1933 to celebrate the end of Prohibition.
There are gargoyles on the Life Tower building and beautiful art in the sidewalks.
Coming Home to the Briscoe – Longhorns The Mission Bells
And the Stargazer (Citali)
Top left The Emily Morgan Hotel
(well one of the three sides)
Royalty Coins building, circa 1894
The Life Tower building, circa 1927
All are buildings along the Riverwalk
Statue of Anthony of Padua, Saint Anthony, holding the child Jesus
Locks of Love Bridge
We are back on the bus and headed to part of the Riverwalk north of downtown. The Pearl Brewery area.
I had read about a Grotto in the area, so we went out to search for it. We did not expect to find what we found.
Created by Carlos Cortez it is located near Newell and Camden Streets on the Riverwalk
Walk through and up the steps to be greeted by this creepy face
This creation has it all. Stalactites and stalagmites, waterfalls and another creepy face that you only see from the other side of the Riverwalk.
Along the walkway and under a bridge were hanging fish that light up at night. A place for the ducks to chill in the bend and a small lizard hanging out on a leaf.
The Urrutia Arch at the San Antonio Museum art sits in the courtyard along the Riverwalk.
As we make our way back to a stop for the bus our next stop is the Historic Market Square. The square is full of bright colors, murals, sculptures and umbrellas on buldings!
Oh my goodness that mango margarita and quesadilla was so good and the shopping area was full of goodies.
Hop back on that bus! We are off to the Tower of the America’s. 750 feet up and a view of the entire city. The 4D movie was, well, a literal pain in the back!
Some downtown art.
Some of the beautiful homes in the
King William Historic District.
Time to hop off that bus!
Tomorrow is another day!
Some beautiful flora around the city.
The Alamo
We were here in 2019 and at the time the Alamo was the only mission open to the public due to the government shutdown and cutting costs .
The Alamo is the first of the Missions and is in the heart of San Antonio.
Mission Concepcion was the first Mission we visited on day two.
Built in Spanish Colonial style and dedicated in 1755 it is the oldest unrestored stone church in America and still hold mass every Sunday.
You can see here the once brightly painted frescos still visible today.
Inside the sanctuary they have
started restoring the walls and there
are sections that you see the old frescos
and the ones newly restored.
Here is the beautiful sanctuary
Outside the buildings is the original unrestored stone.
The entire mission and the courtyard
is amazing to walk through.
As I snapped a picture of this majestic building there was a cardinal in a garden off to the side. I guess someone from heaven was saying hello.
Onto the next mission on the trail. Mission San Jose is also where the National Park visitor center is located. Known as the “Queen of the Missions” it is also in Spanish Colonial style and was founded in 1720.
This mission reminded me more of a fort in the context it had four sides. Three of the sides were where families of up to 15 persons would reside in two rooms.
This building was where the grain was stored and processed.
The soldiers quarters adjacent
to the granary.
The walkway to the sanctuary
Along the right side of the mission is the convento where the friars and visitors would reside. This part of the building once was covered with a roof.
This tree on the grounds must be several hundred years old.
There were many wells and above is one of the doorways to the sanctuary.
The Mission itself was huge.
The famous “Rose Window” the sculptor and significance still remain a mystery but of course there is always folklore.
The sanctuary was absolutely
amazing and the mission still
holds masses on Sundays.
Above is an entrance for livestock and wagons used in the missions daily life.
As you enter the sanctuary there is a beautiful sculpted archway into the mission.
Behind the mission is a grist mill. The missions were built close to the San Antonio River and aqueducts were built to service water to the missions.
Mission San Juan was the fourth of the five missions being founded in 1731.
As you walk the grounds of Mission San Juan you can see remnants of what once was. The lack of labor and the decline in residents left the mission to ruin. It is now being restored by the parks service.
The single white building where mass
is still held sits surrounded by the community that once was.
The sanctuary is very warm and welcoming to guest and the titular.
Time for lunch! We were told this was the place for barbecue in San Antonio.
It was an eight out ten.
The success of the Missions was mainly due to their location to the San Antonio River and the dam and aqueducts built by the community of the missions.
Last mission of the day was Mission Espada. Mission Espada was the second mission in Texas. Founded in 1690 and moved to San Antonio in 1731.
After relocation a friary was
built in 1745 and Mission Espada
church was completed in 1756
Mass is still observed here as well.
The sanctuary is one of the smallest.

San Antonio is a great mix of culture, history and modern art. As much as I enjoyed the city, it’s officially time to get the road trip started!

We leave the city and drive north to the hill country where we will pick up a class C motor home that we rented for the next 14 days!

We load our belongings into the camper, park our cars and head off to spend our first night in Pecos, Texas. We found a nice campground and settled in for the night.

In the morning we head to White City, New Mexico where we will spend the night and visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

We visited the Caverns during the day and went back in the evening to
see the bats come out of the cave.
There was a really nice visitor center and lots of parking.
The bats coming out of the cave at dusk was spectacular! There were tens of thousands of them. You weren’t allowed to take pictures and I was glad, this is one thing you just need to watch!!
Our trip into the Caverns was
just as amazing as the bats!
I have been to several caverns and Carlsbad tops them all.
Can you see the reflection of
the sign in the lake?
I took so many pictures that it was so hard to pick the ones I wanted to share.
I have about one-hundred more pictures but nothing does justice to actually being there and seeing this for yourself.

The next morning we drive north stopping in Artesia, New Mexico. The town has so much history for the size. Down Main Street are many bronze statues and a few murals.

In Artesia there are beautiful murals.
There is a Heritage Walkway and bronze statues of life depicted in the wild west.

Roswell, New Mexico is our next stop.

I have visited Roswell a few times in the past but this was Tracy’s first time.
She visited the UFO Museum and had her picture taken with aliens.
More murals but the bottom one is the Welcome to Roswell sign.
Can you find Tracy?
The Knowledge Tree sits in front
of the public library.

Tracy stated to me that she thought Roswell would be a smaller place. It actually is about 30 square miles and has a population of around 48,000 give or take a few abductions!

Our destination for this evening and the next few days will be Santa Fe, New Mexico. It will be a nice change of pace to be in one place for a few days.

It’s a beautiful morning! Tracy and I rode the bus to the Historic Plaza in downtown Santa Fe. We are in for a day of walking to different points of interest.
This is the Loretto Chapel. Built in 1878 in the style of Gothic revival.
The Chapel is used as a museum
and as a wedding venue.
As far as I can tell they do not hold services. They also have a gift shop.
Many visitors to the museum come to see the “miraculous staircase”. The Sisters of the church prayed for nine days in seeking guidance for a stairway to the choir loft. On the ninth day a carpenter arrived at the church with only a square and a hammer. The wood used was not of the native southwest and the carpenter only worked at night. He finished the work and disappeared. The staircase is only supported by the bottom step with no support beams.
A true miracle so it seems.
We exit the church through the gift shop and make our way down the street.
We turn on East De Vargas Street to what is referred to the “oldest house”. The actual date is unknown and is said to have been built in the early 1600s. Might I just add that in the bottom right picture there is a blanket covering a wood coffin with a beheaded skeleton.
Continuing down the Old Santa Fe Trail we visit San Miguel Chapel but it was closed. Along the walk there was this bronze statue and Trail marker.
The New Mexico State Capitol building is very impressive to say the least.
Built in a circular style to
resemble the Zia sun symbol.
The artwork in the building is displayed as if it were an art gallery or museum.
The artwork continues outside of the capitol building as well.
Along the El Parque del Rio Park there is interesting artwork as well.
We also visited the Bataan Memorial.
If you have never heard of the
Bataan Death March it is
very compelling and sad.
We continue to walk along the streets
of downtown and make our way
to the Cross of the Martyrs.
From a side street there is a well paved path that takes you to the Cross.
On the path you can read history plaques as you climb to the top.
The view from the Cross is awesome!
As we make our way back through the downtown to catch our bus there
is more beautiful artwork.

There was a lot of walking today and will be more tomorrow but it’s nice to relax in the RV this evening.

Thank goodness for the bus! 50 cents a day to ride wherever you need to go. We are on our way back downtown for more sites and the Farmers Market.

This was one of the best Farmers Markets I have visited. There were all kinds of fresh and organic vegetables. We had breakfast and the less spicy breakfast burrito was still very spicy.
We visited the Cathedral Basillica
today since it was closed yesterday.
A very beautiful church.
One thing when visiting Santa Fe or any place of interest be sure to check what their visiting hours and the days they are closed before planning.
Across from the plaza is the Palace of the Governors. Artisans with all their beautiful jewelry and crafts line the sidewalk in front of the historic building
Behind the blue doors, you could enter into the courtyard of the Palace of the Governors but they are locked. Access to the Palace and courtyard is through the New Mexico History Museum.
Outside the New Mexico History Museum
The courtyard to the Palace of the Governors had a couple of
interesting markers.
The bottom right photo was a mural I had seen earlier.
The courtyard boasted an
old covered wagon and the windows were original to the building.
A print shop with some very old presses.
The Palace of the Governors was built in 1610 and is undergoing restoration. This room had the original artwork at the base of the ceiling.
It was magnificent!
There are eighteen rooms in the Palace of the Governors and most are under restoration. In this room above you can see the original wall through the glass and the foundation through the floors.
As we stroll through the actual museum of history, there were different sections.
These are some of the historic items and
art from the museum.

Now for a little shopping. If your looking to spend some money this is the place for you! Not me, you! Tracy and I both bought some soft fuzzy blankets and did some window shopping but it was time to relax. So, on the bus and back to the RV park.

One of the things that we really wanted to do while we were in the Santa Fe area, was visit some of the nearby Pueblo communities. As we found out at the visitors center, all were closed to the public due to covid.

After some downtime and a good night’s sleep (I slept in the bed over the cab with the pups ) we head out of Santa Fe for Durango, Colorado for the night.

The drive up Highway 84 was pretty.
We stopped at The Echo Amphitheater. It was huge.
From here I would call out “hello” and it would echo. When we were ready to walk back, Tracy called out “goodbye”.
On our way out of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, which by the way looked like an awesome place to visit, we stopped at Chimney Rock National Monument
We made it to Durango, Colorado
and had a wonderful view
of the hills and river.
That’s Tracy up at the
top of the hill reading. We also took a trolley into town for dinner.
I may have to visit this area for an extended time in the future. I really think Pagosa Springs and Durango are a couple of places I could really get into.
The train to Silverton from Durango.

The anticipation for this next day is crazy. We are taking the RV on the Million Dollar Highway. So, from Durango to Montrose, Colorado we are driving Highway 550, said to be a very dangerous highway.

Knowing there are all kinds of sharp curves, steep drop offs, no guardrails and mountain passes, we are not in a hurry and will be safe taking our time. Here we go!

Pinkerton Hot Springs
Can you say Awesome!
Both sides of Bakers Bridge on the Animas River.
Beautiful fall colors from the Birch and Aspen trees at Pass View Point
The overlook at Silverton
Silverton is tucked away in a valley. Bottom right is the
Christ of the Mines Shrine.
From Silverton to Ouray is the most dangerous part of the highway
as we are about to find out!
As we leave Silverton there is literally no berm and the S loops.
The Yankee Girl Mine
Abandoned Red Mountain Town
Crystal Lake and Red Mountain Pass
Abandoned Ironton Townsite
Mineral Creek Staging Area
Box Canyon Falls in Ouray, Colorado
Me at the base of the falls.
The bridge from above the falls and the water running below in the canyon creek. We spotted a deer leaving Ouray.

We made it safe and sound in Montrose, Colorado. I must say that I really enjoyed the beauty of the drive and can see how it could be very dangerous in bad weather or in fog.

We gas up and have lunch while in Montrose then drive to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park where we will spend the night.

WOW!
This place is spectacular. I have not seen anything like it before.
2722 feet to the bottom.
The Gunnison River runs below. Hard to believe that river carved this canyon.
Stripes of pink pegmatite in the
canyon walls
This truly is a gorgeous canyon
in its own rights.
I built a fire and then it started to sprinkle rain and then this double rainbow appeared.

The next morning it’s coffee for me and hot chocolate for Tracy. We actually had a really nice campsite with electric hook-ups.

TTraveling out of the Gunnison Valley was a little hairy but we only waited about 30 minutes for our turn to travel through the construction.

Before the orange barrels.
Through the orange barrels.
After the orange barrels.
So this place screamed for us to stop! The UFO Watchtower
outside of Hooper, Colorado.
Apparently they get a lot of visitors.
You name it, someone has left it there. Tracy left her Parkinsons bracelet
and I left my headband.
We love places like this! HaHa!

Last stop of the day. The Great Sand Dunes National Park

Thank goodness Road 6 had been completed, it saved us a
good hour of driving.
There was water which I did not expect but it was actually very refreshing.
The dunes were really nice and really tall. I visited the White Sand Dunes earlier this year and they covered a bigger area but were not this tall.

Time to find a place to stay the night and rest from all the driving today.

We found a small clean campground in La Veta, Colorado that just happened to have an Octoberfest going on the next day. You know we had to check it out!

There was pottery, hats, baked goods, turkey legs & brisket, jewelry and all types of things to look at and shop for.
There was a car show at one end and vendors on the other end.
There was a short parade with the
color guard and American flag
hanging from a firetruck.
Aren’t they nice!?

After we finish the Octoberfest in La Veta we make our way to the other side of Trinidad, Colorado where we will spend a few days with Tracy’s son. First though a good breakfast in Walsenburg, Colorado at the H&H cafe.

It was a welcome break to just relax and do nothing for a few days. We celebrated Tracy’s birthday and had a visit from her cousin Laura. It was nice.

It is so interesting to me that along the stretch of road we will be leaving on today, there are all these abandoned communities. There is no reason why the people up and left. Maybe it was drought. Some even left everything in the abandoned dwellings. There are some interesting articles online about people who have actually sought out these towns and explored them if you check out the following towns.

Thatcher, Colorado
Yes that is a tarantula!
Delhi, Colorado
Timpas, Colorado
Timpas was a bit bigger than the rest. Also check out Model, Colorado

As we continue our travel to Dodge City, Kansas we find Bent’s Old Fort outside of La Junta, Colorado. We have visited many forts but this one was truly like walking back in time.

Dating back to 1833 the fort was known for trading mostly bison hides.
It also served as a stopping point
along the Santa Fe Trail.
The restorations to the fort are so incredibly done.
We took a self guided tour
around the fort.
There was a campfire burning and staff were dressed in time period clothing.
The rooms looked so authentic.
They even had livestock
Daniel Jenks drew this sketch of the fort when he stopped at the fort in 1859. The sketch was used by the National Parks service as part of the renovations.

Traveling east on Highway 50 in Colorado just before Granada was the Amache Japanese American Relocation Center which was used as an internment camp for Japanese Americans after the attack of Pearl Harbor.

It is sad to me that this place has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark has such a small marker.
There was a map to follow of places that
are now just foundations.
A location like this with such a part of our history is left to be destroyed by time and weather.
I was out tromping through the

high grass and foundations trying
to find this man’s name sketched
into a block of concrete.
I finally said to Tracy that I thought I saw a path and we both got out and found it. The names on the concrete were internees at the camp. Like I said before it is sad to know that legal Americans were treated this way just because they were of Japanese descent.

One more stop before our final destination today.

Top left is a giant hairball removed from a cow’s stomach in 1993. OMG!
We found this at the Finney County Museum in Garden City, Kansas.

Finally we have reached Dodge City, Kansas and we are starving. We checked in at our campground and found an Italian restaurant on Main Street that was so very good.

Tomorrow we explore Dodge City and start to make our way back to Canyon Lake, Texas.

As you enter Dodge City from the east there is this metal cutout of cowboys. Sitting on the hillside north of downtown the Mueller-Schmidt House or the Stone House was built in 1881 and now serves as a museum.
At the Feed Yard Scenic Overlook.
The feed yard has on an average
60,000 cattle at a time.
Boothill is actually is a museum with exhibits that we will visit.
There is an actual Boothill Cemetery on the property.
Some of the art inside the museum.
I am not sure “what” we are wanted for but we look as though we did something.
The Hardesty House, circa 1879
A sculpture of wheat in front of the museum. The blacksmiths shop.
The old jail and an old two seater.
Boothill Cemetery
They sure had a sense of humor.
Front street at Boothill and
the old Union Church
Bat Masterson
Marshall Dillion (James Arness)
Wyatt Earp
El Capitan the Longhorn
Steam Locomotive #1139

There was so much more to see but we need to get on the road if we want to make Elk City, Oklahoma by dark.

Jacobs Well appeared on the GPS so we should check it out, right! Hang on to your seats we are about to take a wild ride through some downright sketchy roads of rock. Ten miles back.

Jacobs Well near Minneola, Kansas in the Big Basin Prairie Reserve
What looked to me like a big sinkhole is actually a big sinkhole with many folklore that surround it.
The next stop is Granite, Oklahoma where we find the Comecos Cemetery of fake and humorous headstones.
You just never know what you will
find off the beaten path.
Well worth the stop.
Another gem was this Windmill Museum in Shattuck, Oklahoma
We even had a very nice conversation with the gentleman that knows
all about the windmills.
We had some lunch and everyone got out to stretch their legs looking
at the different windmills.
This definitely gives the town of Shattuck visitors a place to stop!
And it’s free!!
Did you know that Roger Miller was from Erick, Oklahoma? When we found out we sang “King of the Road” in tribute.
I loved the mural.
Well this is a curious place! The Sandhill Curiosity Shop of Erick, Oklahoma. We met the very talkative and elusive proprietor Harley.
I would imagine that since nothing is for sale here you leave with pictures.

We have reached our destination for this evening, the Route 66 RV Park in Elk City, Oklahoma. In the morning we will visit the museum.

Bright and early we arrive at the National Route 66 Museum. We could have walked to the museum but they had plenty of parking for the RV.
The museum was full of old cars from my childhood. It featured the all the states that Route 66 went through.
Outside the museum they had exhibits of life on the mother road.
A teepee and Kachina dolls.
The little town outside took you back to years gone by. A simpler easy life.
The Post Office. This guy looked like he had gone postal! Ha Ha
A soda and ice cream shop and a school.

Time to move on and we will be staying in Santa Anna, Texas tonight. But, not before a few more stops.

Last stop in Oklahoma will be the city of Altus home of Altus Air Force Base
and this ICBM missle and this
vintage Philips 66 gas station.
Finally back in Texas. Vernon, Texas there was a mural of Roy Orbison, who was born there in 1936.
Brady, Texas is the city closest to the geographical center of the state. We are now on the “Heart of Texas”.
Who would think that this small Texas town of 2,200 people could be
home to this amazing estate.
The Seaquist Hus of Mason, Texas

We stop for the night at a city park in Santa Anna, Texas. Tomorrow will be our last day on the road.

All alone! No children, loud music or drunks!

Oh what I would do for a Starbucks! An hour or two and we will be at our last destination for the night

Another place I think I would enjoy visiting is Fredricksburg, Texas. German culture and history abound. It is also known for its wine and award winning shopping. We had lunch at the Chinese restaurant there on Main Street.

Outside of town was a yard
of junk sculptures.
Further down the road was Howard Huge the Muffler Man holding wine.
We then took another back road and there was a farm that had Bison and antelope. Home on the range.
Tracy and I are definitely “Somebody” here in Luckenbach, Texas!
The bar at the back of the General Store.
The dance hall and outdoor music stage.
They no longer have a post office in Luckenbach but inside the General Store the old Post Office is still there behind the walking sticks.
Hondo Crouch the self-proclaimed mayor of Luckenbach town of 3.
Only in Texas!
Our last night on the road. We stayed at Lake Point RV and resort on Canyon Lake.
The deer were very friendly and well fed. This one came right up to me while I was watching the sunset.
A really nice 16 pointer. There must have been about 20 to 30 of them as they roamed the park.
The sun sets as another wonderful journey is in the books.

This blog is dedicated to my friend, my sister, my family, my travel buddy….Tracy.  I hope we will be blessed with more trips in the future. 

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