Las Cruces & Albuquerque

15 05 2019

We’ve left Texas and the central time zone behind as we transit north of El Paso and into Las Cruces, NM. Here we’re parked in site #13, the same beautiful back-in premium view site we occupied 2 years ago.  This is one of our favorite KOA’s and we’ve been here 3 years in a row now.  And, just as last year we enjoy wandering around the old Square in Mesilla and a cocktail or two at the Imperial Bar at the Double Eagle.  Can anyone name this beautiful desert plant that was in full bloom in Las Cruces?

Beautiful Las Cruces Flower

From Las Cruces we’re headed north toward Albuquerque.  We’ll spend two nights at the Isleta Lakes & RV Park just south of town.  Isleta Pueblo, home of the native Tiwa people, occupies about 210,000 acres along the Rio Grande, 15 miles south of Albuquerque.  The RV park is next to two stocked fishing lakes and just across the street from the Isleta Casino.  Amenities at the park include a clean laundry room and a small bait/snack shop.  A new “yet-to-be-opened” club house promises free coffee and donuts on weekend, a small workout area and a couple large screen TVs.   Sites are gravel with full hookups and covered picnic tables for around $35/night.  The only downside of this park is the nearby rail line.  During the week, the commuter Rail Runner train calls on Isleta Pueblo 14 times, each time whistling it’s arrival and departure.  After dark, unknown number of long, fast freight trains use these rails as they rubble north or south along the Rio Grande.

From Albuquerque we’re headed home.  We’ve stayed at 12 different parks and resorts and covered about 2600 miles in 38 days.  As always, a great time with friends and family in some our favorite campgrounds and RV parks across New Mexico and Texas!

Spanish Peaks – Back Home!

MacMillen RV Park, Ft. Davis, TX

11 05 2019

MacMillen RV Part, Ft. Davis, TX

We last visited MacMillen RV Park in 2016 when  nearby Davis Mountains State Park was hosting the Mile High Chili Cookoff. We’re pleased to note that the amenities at MacMillen have seen major improvements since our last visit.  The laundry room now has two washer/dryer combination machines that look fairly new and run $2.50/wash and $2.00/dry.  The guest showers are repainted and clean.  The former patio area is been cleaned up and reverted to a private area for the owners that are living in the main house.  We’re once again parked at the central row of sites, with a 50A outlet, water, a sewer port and cable TV.  There is a small tree on each side of our site along with a covered picnic table.

MacMillen RV Part, Ft. Davis, TX




The plan is to spend 3 nights in Ft. Davis so that we can attend the Friday night Twilight Program and Star Party at McDonald Observatory.  However, weather forecasts are not looking favorable and sure enough, Friday evening is damp, cold and foggy.  We attend the Twilight Program in the visitor center theater but are disappointed when the Star Party is moved indoors.  Oh well, maybe next year!

After Ft. Davis, we’re headed to Las Cruces.  More from southern New Mexico…

On to Fort Davis

7 05 2019

Garner State Park site #326

After departing South Padre we spent 3 nights at Tropic Winds RV Resort in Harlingen before departing the Rio Grande Valley.  Our first night was at familiar Lake Casa Blanca State Park in Laredo.  From there we continuing north through Uvalde to Garner State Park where we plan to spend 2 nights.  This is our first visit to Garner.  Located in the far SW corner of the Texas Hill Country, the park is a beautiful oasis along the Rio Frio.  With nearly 400 RV sites, about 40 screened shelters and about 20 cabins, this is a huge state park and the busiest in the Texas system.  Blog posts mention waits of over 2 hours to check-in for a pre-reserved campsite in prime season – even on this Sunday afternoon, the “take-a-number” and wait took nearly 20 minutes.

Indications from the T-Mobile coverage map showed “fair” 4G service here.  And, several blog posts mentioned a usable park WiFi system.  However after checking in to site #326 in the Live Oak area, the promised T-Mobile covered never materialized.  And, the parks WiFi was only partially available at the Visitor Center and the Reception/Check-In office.  After driving back toward Concan to retrieve email and send a few text messages, we decided that we’d need to depart 1 day early on Monday morning.  Surprisingly, the park was happy to refund the 2nd night that we’d pre-paid and by 9:30AM we were on our way toward Del Rio.

Garner State Park Rio Frio

Garner State Park Fall Colors

If in Del Rio, most likely we can be found at the Broke Mill RV Park.  A favorite of ours, this is always a great stop when departing the dry-camping in Big Bend National Park, or in this case, a northward park with a WiFi system that we know works great.  There are new owners at Broke Mill, and after additional investment in the WiFi network, have discontinued the support of the cable TV system and instead expect guests to stream their favorite TV.  A big change from most parks that warn you against streaming!  Congrats Stacy and Kim, the improvements all around look great.  We’ll see you next year!

Memo’s Restaurant, Del Rio, TX

Dinner on Monday evening is at Memo’s Mexican Restaurant (thanks Kim for this great recommendation). This hidden gem in old town Del Rio along San Felipe Creek offers great value, fine food and a fascinating history.  We’d highly recommend it!  We’re planning to spend 2 nights in Del Rio and then move over to Ft. Davis.  More from the Davis Mountains of West Texas…

Memo’s Restaurant, Del Rio, TX

Departing South Padre Island

1 05 2019

We’ve just spent 2 weeks on South Padre Island enjoying nearly all of our favorite eateries on the Island: Lobo del Mar (formerly Palm Street Pier), Tom & Jerry’s, Painted Marlin, Padre Island Brewing, and the Café on the Beach at The Palms Resort.  We also enjoyed two evenings at one of the newest establishments, Long Board Grill & Bar right across from Lobo del Mare on Palm Street.  This new venue is all about entertainment with an over-water stage providing the audience great views across the Laguna. Covered and uncovered decks with comfortable seating and a typical “island” menu of fish, tacos and burgers made this new place one of our favorites.

The new construction at Isla Blanca Park is progressing.  The new amphitheater looks nearly ready to open, the new north beach pavilion has working lights and landscaping and the new south pavilion was just getting it’s roof.  The new boardwalk area connecting the two pavilions is about half way complete.  New roadways and parking lots are under construction.  With Easter on the first weekend we arrived, these new parking lots and the beach was packed for the Semana Santa holiday.  The old bait & beer shop is still standing at the jetty, and the original bathhouse and boat launch is still in place, now right behind the new Cameron Country Event Center (and amphitheater).  Nearly all other shower houses in the RV park are closed for remodeling.

Across the Brownsville ship channel, work continues to progress on the new SpaceX facility.  Gleaming in the sunlight, quite visible from South Padre, is a test version of the Star Hopper – a short tethered rocket being used to test the Raptor engines.  We kept a close eye on the ‘hopper, hoping to view some sort of rocket test.  We even drove over to Boca Chica one afternoon to see the progress of the SpaceX facility.

Our sites this year were perhaps the best ever – #C400 and #C401.  These sites overlook the ship channel and the new events center & amphitheater.  They have lots of sandbur avoiding concrete, as well as a garden area providing privacy and wind break.  And, as it turns out, best view of the Starhopper across at Boca Chica!


San Antonio KOA

13 04 2019

San Antonio KOA Holiday

After staying at Travelers World south of downtown San Antonio a few times, we opted for the KOA on the east side and were impressed.

With about 300 sites, this “Holiday” park was selected as the KOA Campground of the Year in 2015.  The wooded park-like setting alongside Salado Creek provides beautiful sites with many offering extra space, or grass/patio areas.  We’re parked at D-1, an end site with a large concrete patio complete with two Adirondack chairs, a fire pit, picnic table and large grassy area.

Prices at both Travelers World and the KOA are comparable with the upcoming “Fiesta” celebration set to kick-off next weekend.  The rate for our “patio” site was $78/night less our 10% “Value Kard” savings.  The park is about a 15 minute drive to the downtown River Walk area, or about a 30 minute ride on a city bus with a stop just outside the main gate.  There’s a made-to-order Hunts Brothers pizza onsite, as well as “Fred’s Fixins” breakfast cafe that’s open Wed-Sun.  And, unlike so many other KOAs the WiFi actually worked well here!

The River Walk has always been a favorite!  We enjoyed a boat tour on Sunday afternoon and a wonderful dinner at Rosario’s on Monday.  Tomorrow we’ll head south to the Rio Grande Valley, where we’ll spend a night or two and then cross the Isabella Causeway Bridge to South Padre Island.  More from Padre…


‘By the River’ in Texas Hill Country

11 04 2019

By The River RV, Ingram, TX

From San Angelo we’ve made the relatively short trip to Ingram, TX – just west of Kerrville in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.  We’re back at By the River RV Park where we first stayed in the truck camper in 2010.  We visited this area last year when we enjoyed dinner with friends at the Wild Ass Hey Barn right next door.

We’re parked in site #31, a spacious “Premium” back-in site overlooking the Guadalupe River.  Facilities here are top-notch, with a club house, laundry room and shower facilities.  Across the river, there’s even an island of tent sites.  After experiencing several other campgrounds in the Kerrville area, By the River is our favorite.  And, with Wild Ass Hey Barn within walking distance, never a need to drive and park for a good burger a cold beer and some Hill Country music!

Spring Creek Marina & RV, San Angelo

10 04 2019

After departing Amarillo around 10AM, we’re parked at the Spring Creek Marina just south of San Angelo, TX by about 4PM.  It was a long day but we’re now south and east of the windy cold front that is forecast across west Texas tomorrow.  We’ll spend 2 nights here before moving into the Texas Hill Country.  We last visited San Angelo in 2017 when we spent several nights at the State Park.

Spring Creek Marina & RV is a park like setting, on the shores of Lake Nasworthy, just south of San Angelo.  With about 80 gravel sites, many with long term residents, we’re assigned site #79. This is a large site with good views to the lake and a WiFi access point on site.  While the map shows two shower houses, both are locked and appear to be well beyond usability.  The marina store and check-in office offers a wide variety of fishing supplies, water toys and ice cream snacks.

On Wednesday, preceding the cold front, temperatures pushed into record-category triple digits forcing us from the trailer into the air conditioned comfort of Zero One Ale House and The Twisted Root Burger Company, two of the fun eateries near the Concho Riverwalk in old town San Angelo.  Tomorrow we’ll pack up and head east to the Texas Hill country.  More from there…