Back to Lathrop State Park

28 04 2015
Raton Pass

Raton Pass

We’ve arrived at Lathrop State Park, just outside of Walsenburg, CO for our last night of the 2015 Texas Road Trip.  The snow capped Rockies were visible long before we met I-25 at Las Vegas, NM reminding us that we’re close to home. The work of snow plows was evident over Raton Pass and we were glad to be traveling the road in better conditions than had existed just 24 hours earlier. Arriving at Lathrop, we’re parked in site #79, one of our favorite sites providing a dramatic view of the snow capped Spanish Peaks.  After walking through the campground, we decide we’d like to check out site #32 sometime.  This back-in site on the A loop has nearly the same view, a water tap that you could easily use with a single length of hose and a bit more privacy than this one on the D loop.

Tomorrow we’ll pack up and make the 2+ hour drive home.  As always, it’s been a great trip.  We’ve covered nearly 4200 miles over the last 48 nights. We were fortunate to be able to meet great new friends along the way, catch up with longtime friends, see great places, and tick off a few “must do’s” from our personal bucket lists.  And, in just over two weeks we’ll be out again, this time to Cheyenne Mountain State Park near Colorado Springs, and then our official “summer kickoff” trip to Moab for Memorial Day weekend.

Spanish Peaks

Spanish Peaks from Lathrop State Park





Departing Lake Conchas SP

27 04 2015
Our 'Big Yard'

Our ‘Big Yard’

After 3 relaxing nights at Lake Conchas, we’re packed up and headed north toward I-25 and Colorado.  The unexpected spring storm that dropped snow along our route home resulted in about 24 hours of gray, rainy skies here near Tucumcari, NM.  However, the delay along with chilly, soggy conditions gave us a great incentive for a full day’s work on Monday and a good reason to stay put for 3 nights in a row.  Daily moving with packing up, hitching, and re-connection of utilities can eventually wear you down, so it was a real treat to spend some extra time here.  And, even after a 65 mile round trip on Sunday to resupply a few groceries and petrol, we think this is a wonderful campground.

Our site B29 is positioned at one of the highest points in the campground has a great view, but possibly a bit more wind than other lower sites.  Other sites along this outer ridge include B30, B27, B25, B24, B21 & B19.  B21 is a nice long pull-through, others are large back-in sites.  There are also some long back-in sites on the inside of the loop near the restrooms.  Sites B18, B20, B22 are back-in sites that would be ideal for coaches that prefer great viewing out their front windshield.  Some of these sites also have extra parking for a towed vehicle.  Sites  B15, B14, B12 are smaller, best left for truck campers or large tent requirements.  All of the sites provide electric and water and there’s a dump station at the entrance to the campground.  There are also complimentary showers in a centrally located bathhouse alongside about 5 overflow parking spots.  Most of the gravel pads are relatively level (we used a single block) next to a concrete pad with the covered patio table.  Some sites have large shade trees – so great for shade, possibly in the way for awnings.  Each site also provides a fire ring and grill.

A complete photo album is available at CampSitePhotos.com, and individual site reservation is available after May 1st at ReserveAmerica.  We enjoyed Conchas Lake State Park and would like to return sometime.

Conchas Dam

Conchas Lake Dam





Conchas Lake State Park, NM

26 04 2015
Conchas Lake State Park

Conchas Lake State Park

From Amarillo, we’re headed to Las Vegas, NM where we’ll join I-25 for the final leg north into Colorado. Somewhere across eastern New Mexico we check Las Vegas weather and find that a Winter Storm Watch has been issued for the area.  Not anxious to get back to winter in New Mexico or Colorado, we opt to detour at Tucumcari, NM to Conchas Lake State Park.

As it turns out, the camping at Conchas is beautiful!  We’re at the North Recreation Area, in the Bell Point campground.  A mix of Lake Powell and Glendo State Park, we’re parked in site B29, a cliff side site offering great views across the lake.  Huge red cliffs remind us of Powell, and the rocky overview area reminds us of our favorite sites at Glendo.  These are electric and water sites, each with a unique casita covered picnic table, a grill and fire pit.  And, surprisingly, there’s excellent T-Mobile service here.  We’re achieving up to 3MB transfers while tethered to a phone.  There are a couple of snowy, but watchable over-the-air TV channels from Albuquerque.

We’re about 7 hours from home, so once the wintry weather passes, we’ll be back on the road for at least one more overnight before arriving home.





Wichita Falls & Palo Duro Canyon State Park

25 04 2015
Near Childress, TX

Near Childress, TX

After leaving Dallas we spend one night at Wichita Falls RV Park. After being here last year, we knew the park was a good option for a quick overnight.  This time we parked in a full hookup site which is a bit closer to the Wichita River bordering the property to the rear.  The fishing pond has been reduced to a muddy marsh due to what appears to be a rupture of the drain pipe that leads into the river.  The swimming pool also has some type of excavation work nearby.  Either they are making a major investment in this park, or it is slowly deteriorating.  We hope it’s the former, the park occupies an pleasant location along this portion of the Wichita River.

Ever conscious of the weather in North Texas this time of year, we expect that we’ll drive through some showers before crossing a dry-line that is expected to bring dryer and calmer conditions along our route. Unfortunately this clash of dry cool air and warm humid air can fuel thunderstorms along its path.  We encountered such a storm just SE of Childress, TX where we are forced to retreat about 20 miles and wait out the passage of the storm.  Continuing into the panhandle with very gusty winds we were glad to finally arrive at Palo Duro State Park.  Unfortunately our weekend in the Canyon isn’t to be – the campsites are already fully booked.  Right next door to Palo Duro State Park is a zipline company that offers some rather run down RV sites.  Not wanting to drive in the howling wind any further, we opt for one of these $25 full hookup sites and hunker down for the evening.  By morning the winds have subsided and we head west along I-40 into New Mexico toward Las Vegas, NM.  More from there…





Dallas skyline changes

23 04 2015

DallasBridge
The skyline of Dallas has certainly changed since we left the area 15 years ago.  Among the most dramatic change is the expansion of the area north of the Historic West End area into what has become known as Victory Park. Anchored by American Airlines Center, which opened in 2001, this area will eventually have over 4,000 residents and over 4 million square feet of office and retail space.  Nearby is the first W Hotel built in Texas.  The 50 year old Dallas waterfall landmark is still in place (now touting Coors Light) but Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine restaurant was knocked down in 2006 to make room for a now under construction 10 story apartment building.

The Woodall Rogers Freeway has change dramatically too, with Klyde Warren Park spanning the former freeway “canyon” that separated the Uptown area and downtown Arts District.  The freeway was expanded westward over the Trinity River with the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.





Cedar Hill State Park

22 04 2015

Cedar Hill State ParkGood Morning from Cedar Hill, TX.  We’re parked in site #121 of the very large urban Cedar Hill State Park. About 30 minutes from downtown Dallas, this park is an oasis of heavily wooded rolling hills around the large Joe Pool Lake.    With over 300 sites, this place is a maze of roads around the hills and through the trees.  Many of the pads aren’t level, but most sites offer lots of room with wide pads, shade and large grassy areas with a grill, picnic table and bird feeder post.

With nearly all of the metroplex’s TV transmitters on a nearby hill, we are able to lock in 60 over-the-air TV channels.  But, even with this seemingly great airspace, the Verizon and T-Mobile signals for internet access are hit-and-miss at best – maybe there are too many things flying through the air here!  Only about 5 minutes south of interstate 20 and right off of highway 67, we’re only a few miles from what appears to be every major food and retail franchise in Texas.

Uncle Julio's Fine Mexican FoodLast night we met longtime friends at one of our favorite Oak Lawn restaurants, Uncle Julio’s.  If you’ve never been to Julio’s, you’re missing what we consider a true Tex-Mex treat.  The warm, thin and perfectly salted tortilla chips with Uncle Julio’s unmatched salsa can easily fill you up long before dinner arrives.  With melt-in-your-mouth house made flour tortillas, there’s is no place like this for sizzling fajitas, awesome Tex-Mex classics and their famous swirl margaritas.  We thoroughly enjoy our night out at Uncle Julio’s and even more the company of good friends.

Tomorrow we’re headed toward the Texas panhandle, with an overnight stop in Wichita Falls before arriving at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.  More from there…





Tyler State Park

21 04 2015

Tyler State Park, Site #77About 100 miles east of Dallas, and just north of I-20 at Tyler, we’re in site #77 at Tyler State Park.  This is  a full hookup, pull through site in the Big Pine area.  This huge state park is built around a beautiful lake and provides nearly 150 sites for tenting, groups and RVs in a park-like setting.  The prime RV sites here are those in the Lakeview area, many backup right to water’s edge.  But, this will be a relatively quick overnight – just long enough to have a wonderfully enjoyable dinner with friends from Dallas.  Tomorrow we have a short trip over to Cedar Hill State Park, just southwest of Dallas.  More from there…