Friday, June 25, 2010

Cedar Rail RV Park at the Top of Raton Pass

The next morning we got up and headed for our next destination - Cedar Rail RV Park located at the top of Raton Pass which is part of the old Sante Fe Trail.  The summit of this pass sits on the New Mexico\Colorado border at an elevation of 7834 feet.  We would be driving 214 miles today.

But before we saw any mountains, we traveled through some incredible farming countryside.  We saws fields of wheat that seemed to go on forever that were in the process of being harvested...

Saw fields of corn, much of it planted in huge circular fields with giant moving irrigation systems...

All of a sudden there was no longer farmland, rather now there were miles and miles of pastures with cows and windmills.  Fences were few and far between out here in the middle of nowhere...

Once again the landscape changed.  Now we were looking at fields of old volcanoes with lava flows covering much of the ground.


Lots of abandoned houses in this area...

And then it was time to drive up Raton Pass.  We decided not to unhook the car from the motorhome and just pull the car up the mountain.

First view of our new home for the next week.  Still have a ways to go up the mountain.  The park is truly at the top of the pass!

Home for the next week - Cedar Rail RV Park.

Site 18.  We are at the end so no rig on the left side of us.  Wifi worked worked well, good AT&T coverage and excellent satellite TV.

Owners live on site and are great folks who take lots of pride in their park.  Would highly recommend this park.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finally Back on the Road Again..... Amarillo and Palo Duro Canyon

Picked up the motorhome first thing on Tuesday, June 22.  Everything is fixed - we are assured the slide-out is working perfectly.

We hit the road and headed for Amarillo, Texas.  We have reservations at the Amarillo Ranch RV Park for the next two nights so we do very little dawdling and head straight for Amarillo.  A steak at the Big Texan  Steak Ranch is waiting for us for dinner!  This is the home of the free 72 ounce steak if eaten within one hour.  Not something either of us will try!

We made it to Amarillo in time for that steak dinner.  Big Texan is full of charm and surprisingly the food was good, not excellent but quite passable.

The next day we got up and drove to Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  This canyon is called the "Grand Canyon of Texas".  Here is some information from their website:

The Canyon is 120 miles long, as much as 20 miles wide, and has a maximum depth of more than 800 feet. Its elevation at the rim is 3,500 feet above sea level. It is often claimed that Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States. The largest, the Grand Canyon, is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft. deep. 

Palo Duro Canyon was formed by water erosion from the Prairie Dog Town Fork of the Red River. The water deepens the canyon by moving sediment downstream. Wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon. 

Early Spanish Explorers are believed to have discovered the area and dubbed the canyon "Palo Duro" which is Spanish for "hard wood" in reference to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees.

Hm, my pictures didn't turn out as good as the one above but here are a few.

Driving down into the canyon: 

That evening we ate dinner at Feldman's Wrong Way Diner in the town of Canyon.  Fun place with good food.  Loved the standard gauge trains running around tracks at the ceiling height.

After dinner we went back to Palo Duro Canyon State Park to go see the musical "Texas". 

The stage is set in the canyon with a canyon wall as the stage's backdrop.  

Unfortunately during the first half of the play, a storm was brewing over the canyon with lots of lightning strikes all around us.  Rain began to fall just as intermission started.  It was announced that they were going to wait out the storm before starting the second half of the play.  Bill and I decided that we were uncomfortable outside with all the lightning so we headed back to the motorhome.  Hopefully someday we'll try this again when the weather is clear as the first half of the play was great.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Home for Three Weeks

We have come home to have the hitch installed on the Explorer and motorhome so we can start pulling the car.  So far we've spent all of our time traveling with my brother and sister-in-law, but this summer we are heading to the mountains on our own so need transportation (one doesn't easily take 38' to the grocery store).    Our plan is to also take the girls to the lake for a week.

Needless to say, we were so excited to see the girls.  They immediately packed their bags and came to stay with us.  

Watching a new movie:

Nap time.  We continued our habit of the girls and I sleeping in the back bed.

Saturday morning Grace wanted to go to the farm for a riding lesson so we packed up and went out there.  One of the horses just had foal so the girls were excited to see the new baby.
While Grace was having her lesson, Chi got to ride on her beloved donkey, Jack.  Notice that Jack's ears are back.  I'm not sure the affection is returned!

A major step forward for Chi.  Up to now she wouldn't have anything to do with horses, only donkeys.  But here she is helping Gracie brush Gambler.

Putting Gambler pack in his corral:

Also checked on my kitty cat "TJ" while at the farm.  He now lives in the barn and thinks he is top cat.  He appears to be getting lots of loving from all who go in the barn.  Miss my boy but he can't travel in the motorhome.

Unfortunately plans don't always turn out the way your want them to turn out.  We had been hearing a grinding sound when putting out the biggest slide-out so we asked McClain's folks to look at it while installing the hitch on Monday.  While they were moving it in and out, a cable snapped and broke.  John, the mechanic - and a wonderful one at that, rigged up a temporary cable so we could put out the room while they ordered a new cable.  However he advised us to do this only once between now and when we returned to have it replaced.  This means no trip to the lake with the girls so we'll have to stay at the RV park.

So we returned home with the Explorer being towed.  Yeah, this was a big step for us.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lehigh Town Reunion

We met Valerie, Mitch and Ed at the Lehigh cemetery late morning so they could walk through the cemetery. Bill and Ed wanted to take some pictures of family graves.

Bill's grandparents' grave:

Bill's great grandparents' grave.  Tennesse Diane is who  Chi is named for.

Afterwards we then went to the reunion at the old bank building in Lehigh.  Must admit the food was pretty yummy and I met some interesting people.  Stories told were quite entertaining.

A mural has been painted on the wall inside the bank building.  Valerie showed me that her dad is depicted in this mural (he is Bill's uncle).  He is the middle person.

All in all,  not too bad of a day.  It was nice to see Valerie, Mitch and Ed.  Miss them all when we are off on our adventures!