One week ago today, we accepted a camp-hosting position at Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa Arizona. Monday, our final day in San Antonio (this time around) was filled with grocery shopping, laundry, business meetings, schoolwork, swimming, and an evening out listening to the Jim Cullum Jazz Band. Tuesday morning we hitched up the house and began our ~1,000 mile trek.
Tuesday, after driving about 315 miles, we overnighted in Fort Stockton, TX. We primarily decided to stop here to give us time to decide if we wanted to side-trip to Carlsbad Caverns for another visit before continuing west. We decided “yes.”
Wednesday’s drive was a shorter drive on a relatively flat, straight road. It should of been a non-stressful drive. Yet, it did have it’s “palm sweating” moments for me (and my son, the emulator). I drove the hitched up truck and trailer for the first time. Mike told me that I needed to drive at least 30 minutes for the drive to actually count. I drove for at least 40. And, for the record, I drove through a (little) town with traffic and stopped for a red light (it wasn’t all country highway driving). Next time I’ll attempt a turn. ;)
We set up camp at Carlsbad RV Park, the same park we stayed in last time we visited Carlsbad Caverns. I hated to “repeat”—it doesn’t feel as adventurous—but, the location to the Caverns is convenient and the Passport America price was acceptable. The park is currently being upgraded, so we were lucky to get one of the final open sites.
After lunch, we drove to the Caverns to begin the Natural Entrance walk into the cave. The bats that exit and enter through this entrance have flown south for the winter, so the only evidence we had of them was a faint scent. The walk down into the cave is about 1 1/4 miles. And, once we were in the main chamber, we walked through that as well. (I have a “philosophical” post about repeating experiences forming in my mind. I plan to write it over the next few weeks).
To complete the Carlsbad Caverns visit, Mike and the kids took their bikes off of the truck’s roof and coasted down the road. I tried to capture part of their ride on video—you’ll have to look closely since they appear quite small.
Thursday morning we again hitched up and moved on down the road about 210 miles to Las Cruces, NM. Again, a repeat stay at a Passport America RV park. But, the park was convenient and the price was right. We planned a 2 night stay here so we could visit White Sands National Monument and hopefully catch up on a bit of school work and work.
Saturday morning we hit the highway about 7:30am in hopes of beating the wind. No such luck. The drive west was quite intense for our driver. The truck averaged about 6.3 miles/gallon. Ouch. We had hoped to drive as far as Tucson, AZ, but knew that if the wind continued as it had the first part of the trip, we’d be stopping sooner.
Luckily, the wind died down some and Mike pushed through. Mid-afternoon we arrived at Catalina State Park, just outside Tucson. (We traveled about 290 miles.) We are here for two nights.
The view is beautiful. The campground is nice. The restrooms are clean. There’s a grocery store right across the road from the park’s entrance and a Trader Joe’s 5 miles away. I’m taking a “quiet” morning, looking out the window at the beautiful mountain side. This afternoon we’ll be “re-setting” before finishing the final 100 miles to our short-term campsite at Usery Mountain Regional Park.
It’s been a whirlwind week. I’m looking forward to staying put for a few weeks.