Monday, November 23, 2015

Almost There...

We're on the last leg of our travels before we reach Vacaville. Spent two days in Needles, California for some R & R after losing Maggie. There's not much there but the weather was beautiful...daytime temps in the 70s, nights in the 50s, and lots of sunshine! It was restful and relaxing.

Parked outside Juicy's
We stayed at the Needles KOA. If you ever find yourself in Needles, I can highly recommend it. The sites are the usual gravel terrain, nice and wide, with Oleanders planted at every site. The streets are also wide making it easy to maneuver a large RV. They gave us a site at the front of a row near an area with a swing and fire pit. It is a public area, but there weren't a lot of people staying there so it felt like my own private yard. The only thing lacking was cable TV. We tried the two local restaurants...Wagon Wheel and Juicy's River Cafe. They're great for breakfast and lunch but not so great for dinner...but, then, this is Needles!

Our campsite in Needles and my "front yard"

  On the road to Bakersfield...


Orange groves on the way into Bakersfield
Left Needles and drove I-40 to its end in Barstow, picked up Hwy 58 and landed in Bakersfield. Staying a couple of days to clean house and catch up on laundry so that we can arrive in Vacaville ready to visit. We are parked in A Country RV Park...nice paved sites and great cable for Jack to watch the last NASCAR race of the season and for my Sunday evening with Madame Secretary and The Good Wife. Weather is nice and windows are open, but it will be chilly soon. We went out for Mexican when we arrived to a place called Mexicali. It had good reviews but we were very disappointed...wished we'd gone to In-N-Out Burger instead. Think we've been forever spoiled by the Mexican food in San Antonio, Texas and Mesilla, New Mexico!

Tuesday morning we'll be Vacaville bound and looking forward to seeing everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Tombstone, Arizona...

Our next stop was Tombstone, Arizona, a place Jack's always wanted to visit. There are three RV Parks in Tombstone; we stayed at Tombstone RV Park and it appears to be the nicest one. It's about a mile and a half out of town but they offer a free shuttle into town throughout the day and the office staff is friendly. It's all gravel, typical for this area, with large sites that have a split rail fence between each one. There are full hook ups including cable but the connections were shared between two sites. We'd stay here again if we returned to Tombstone, but it's doubtful we'll visit again.

Tombstone was not what I expected. It does look like an old west town but that's all there is. Everyone drives 25 miles to Sierra Vista for things like groceries, banks, doctors etc. That's where we had to drive to find a vet for Maggie. It almost seems like a ghost town but we were there off season; I imagine there's more going on during their busy season.

The town of Tombstone can be seen in one afternoon. There are a variety of shops and a few restaurants and saloons and we tried the three main ones...Big Nose Kate's Saloon is typical saloon with live music and a menu that is mostly burgers and sandwiches. It was a fun place. The Crystal Palace Saloon is an historic building that used to be a brewery and you may find some cowboys hanging around there. They have a full menu. The Longhorn Restaurant is also an historic building and the quietest of the three. We enjoyed all three. They have daily shoot-outs in the OK Corral but, unlike Deadwood's street shoot-outs, there is an admission charge to watch. There is also the Boot Hill Cemetery, which we normally would have visited, but we were distracted with Maggie's decline and death and didn't realize we'd missed it until we were leaving.

Big Nose Kate's Saloon

Haven't had Sarsaparilla in decades!                      Crystal Palace Saloon

 We left Tombstone with mixed feeling. Lots of history and stories of the old west to enjoy but, for us, it was all overshadowed with losing Maggie. We were more than ready to move on.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Maggie ~ RIP

Jack rescued Maggie when she was only a few months old...a Border Collie/Sheltie Mix...the littlest dog in a house full of Golden Retrievers.

He tells me that she was a great mole hunter, digging up the yard until she caught one. That she didn't like to play with toys but, if the other dogs had a toy, she wanted it just on general principles. That true to her Border Collie instincts, she would run around the yard and herd the Goldens when it was time to go in the house.

By the time I met Jack and Maggie, she was ten years old. There were no moles to dig up and no Golden Retrievers to herd and she was uninterested in the toys Ryan liked to play with. She accepted me into the family but remained Jack's girl. I fell in love with her.

She was a sweet girl who's favorite thing to do was sleep in Jack's recliner. If he was sitting in it, she'd get in his lap to be cradled like a baby and lick his face. At night as soon as one of us said "It's time for bed, Maggie" she'd get up an go in the bedroom but always looked back to make sure we followed her before she'd go to her spot under the bed. She was terrified of thunderstorms and loud noises and during a storm she'd shake so hard her jaws would chatter. She liked routines and she and Jack had a few. She expected to share anything Jack ate...a few of Jack's Mini Wheats every morning, a piece of his chocolate chip cookie, a taste of his ice cream every night...and any other treats available.

In June 2013 Maggie and Ryan moved into the RV with us and started life on the road. She adjusted to the new life style and traveled with us for almost two and a half years, over 15,000 miles, through twenty six states...until two days ago. 

A few weeks ago I posted that Maggie had been diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease and her time was short. We hoped it would be months but it was only weeks. She did well until this past weekend and it became obvious on Sunday that the disease was progressing and she was in pain. On Monday, with tears in our eyes, we made the difficult decision to end her suffering and said good bye to our sweet girl...she was 15. 

Ironically, her journey ended in Tombstone, Arizona.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Crossing Texas...

Traveling I-10 across Texas is miles and miles of more miles. We stopped at Fort Stockton which is about the only place to stop between San Antonio and El Paso and stayed at Fort Stockton RV Park. There are actually at least four campgrounds there but this one has cable (for Madame Secretary and The Good Wife) and a cafe!  They also have some resident kitties who are cute as anything - Sampson, Delilah and Little Pepper. I was temped to take one home with me...except for the fact of a litter box in an RV!
 Sampson on the left. Delilah on the right. Little Pepper peeking out of the box

The cafe is the Road Runner Cafe, open for breakfast and dinner and we tried both. The dinner menu is limited to about five entrees but the prices are very reasonable and the food quite good. The entree is served with mashed potatoes and gravy (brown or white), Italian Green Beans (very good and I don't much care for green beans), a homemade biscuit, and ice cream for dessert - all for about $8.95. Breakfast was similar. The biscuits served with both meals are out of this world good!

We left Fort Stockton and traveled to the Texas/New Mexico border, where we crossed into the Mountain Time Zone. We  stopped at El Paso West RV Park in the little town of Anthony...which straddles the border and is half way between El Paso and Las Cruces. Campsites are smallish, but we fit into a pull-thru with no problem and the price was very reasonable. Their cable was not working when we arrived but we got several digital channels over the air and I was able to get my weekly dose of NCIS as well as enjoy the sunset.

We were about fifty miles from the White Sands Missile Range and Museum and decided to visit. Well...turns out Veteran's Day (a Federal holiday) is not a good time to visit a Federal military base! We felt so dumb!

 Seen on the road to White Sands...

We visited Old Mesilla on the way back. It's an historical community in Las Cruces with homes, shops, and restaurants in old adobe buildings from the nineteenth century. There's a Billy the Kid gift shop in the building that housed the court house at the time of Billy the Kid's trial.

We had lunch in La Posta de's in a beautiful old building from the 1840s and has been in business since 1939. I loved the decor and the food was good. So we had a nice afternoon in spite of our White sands error!

Some photos of the interior...

Aviary at the entrance

I loved the look and feel of New Mexico when we were in Albuquerque last year and I feel the same way about the southern regions.

Next stop is Tombstone, Arizona.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

San Antonio...

San Antonio is huge...with traffic to match!  I'm a city girl and love the hustle, bustle of cities but it's been a long time since I was in one this large. With about one and a half million people, it's the seventh largest city in the country. We enjoyed it but were glad when it was time to hit the road to quieter places.

We stayed at the San Antonio/Alamo KOA. Sites are gravel with some grass and a picnic table, ours had a brick patio and a charcoal grill. There's cable, a pool, a laundry, and usually a restaurant, but they had torn it down and are rebuilding. The park is located close to downtown and there's a city bus stop at the entrance. The rates with my KOA card were very reasonable for the area.

The first thing you have to see in San Antonio is The Alamo and we did. It's smaller than we both expected. It's a shrine and there is no photo taking allowed inside. There are flags flanking the hall from every state and country that lost men in the battle, marked with the number of lives lost.  NC had seven. The gardens are beautiful and I got some photos there. Jack's a history buff, me, not so much, but I enjoyed learning the history of the Alamo and how Texas gained its independence from Mexico.  More photos of The Alamo at the end of this post.

San Antonio is known for its RiverWalk and I've wanted to see it for a long time. It's much larger than I expected and just beautiful. We enjoyed dinner overlooking the river at Acenar and I had some awesome Crab Tacos!

We had some things to do...medication refills and such and ended up in the northern part of San Antonio one afternoon. Naturally we stopped for an early dinner. The Alamo Cafe is nowhere near the Alamo, but worth the drive. As you walk in you can see into the kitchen where they are making fresh flour tortillas. When you are seated they serve you the usual chips and salsa...then the waiter comes back with a stack of tortillas, still hot from the oven. They taste so good you can eat them plain as you would bread...or put a little butter on them. However you eat them, they're wonderful! Just writing about them makes me want to go back for more. Oh...the food was good too!

More to enlarge

The Emily Morgan Hotel overlooks The the detailing!

Wandering around San Antonio...

The Grounds of the Alamo...

The Alamo Gift Shop and the Long Barracks...

 Memorial in front of The Alamo...and Davy Crockett!

We'll always Remember the Alamo... and San Antonio.  Okay, a little silly but I had to say it.