This is a wonderful museum depicting the history of the Pacific War. It has submarines, tanks, all sorts of heavy and light artillery, tracked vehicles and many other displays. Chris, A.J. (Chris & Lisa’s oldest son) went up there for the day. Chris wanted AJ to see it. But truth be known I think Chris enjoyed every bit as much as A.J. and myself. A really wonderful experience.
This year ended with us in San Antonio, gathering at Chris, Lisa’s for Christmas. There was Chris, Lisa, Pat (Lisa’s Mom) , us and the 5 grandkids, AJ, Meg, Mary Kate, Joe, Giana, (now 6).Theresa who was born this Sept. We had a wonderful Christmas. A fitting end for the We had been in San Antonio for several months due to unforseen health problems. Merry got a pacemaker on her birthday, December 30, 2009. She is doing great now. Once she was released for travel, we were ready to leave the Fort Sam Houston Army Travel Park where we parked while in San Antonio. It is a wonderful RV park.
Our last foray was to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Park. This park covers 450 acres and has hundreds of exotic animal. All sorts of deer, Giraffes, antelope, wildebeests, african antelope of all varieties, birds, cattle of all sorts, ostriches, camels, rhinos, and too many others to list. It is basically a driving tour. But many species come right up to the car to be fed.(you can buy cupfuls of the feed at the visitor center). Giraffes and zebras were the most friendly. Merry thoroughly enjoyed feeding the giraffes. We took AJ , Meg and Joe with us. They were thrilled as there was a kids petting zoo where they could feed and pet a variety of small pygmy goats, etc. A wonderful day.
We finally turned the motorhome to the North and headed for our next destination. Started out bright and early because we had an 8 am appt with Camping World in New Braunfels to have our ice maker checked and our right turn signal fixed, but the ice maker has a frozen tube and we will just have to take time to defrost it. They couldn't readily find the problem with the light and we would have to stay an extra day or two for them to troubleshoot it, but they found our back dual tires were pretty worn so we ended up getting 4 new tires. That was a blow to our budget, but knew it was coming sooner or later.
Since it was afternoon when we left we only made it to the Austin Lone Star RV Resort which was an okay park with long flat pull-ins, but nothing special. We went to a road house for dinner that had a bucket of peanuts at every table and you just throw the shells on the floor which was neat, except that I can't have peanuts anymore. Also, I forget that everything in the South is cooked over mesquite which I never could eat so they did a special order for me and fried a hamburger patty in a frying pan. They were very cooperative. Other than my foibles it was a neat place.
Our next destination was the Red River Ranch RV Resort in Thackerville, OK. We spent a week there and toured the surrounding area including the Turner Falls in the Arbuckle Mountains( just hills to us real mountain people) and also The G.W. Exotic Animal Park. We also backtracked back across into Texas to go see the Texas Motor Speedway where NASCAR races. We visited the local casino, Winstar, but were not impressed. We went back to the rig for dinner. We took a tour of the whole track. It was great. We did tour around a large lake, Lake Murray and also Texoma State park but most of Okalhoma is pretty flat, but it did Complete our tour of the lower 48 states.
Turner Falls is an Oklahoma State Park. The falls are 77 feet high. The park itself has many streams, hiking trails, rental cabins, campsites, caves and many other attractions. It lays claim to the best trout fishing in the state. The falls themselves are very pretty and fall into a small lake at their foot. Very Picturesque. Their are also some old abandoned stone buildings on the hillsides that are interesting to explore. A very good trip.
The park is filled with all sorts of exotic animals, including lions, tigers and many crosses between the two. There are also mountain lions, foxes, bears, goats, wolves, monkeys and many varieties of exotic birds. A really interesting day. Well worth the trip
We went back to Texas to the Texas Motor Speedway. It is a major Nascar track. It is located close to Dallas – Fort Worth. The weather was very warm and sunny especially for Jan. We took a tour of the whole facility, including the very expensive suites for the rich and famous and owners. Thoroughly enjoyed the day. Back to the rig, tired but happy.
Lake Murray State Park is near Ardmore, OK., about 25 miles north of the Texas-Oklahoma border just east of I35. Not much there, Just a lake with some recreational opportunities. Lake Texoma is a much larger lake straddling the Texas-Oklahoma border. It also offers a lot of recreation. RV parks, beaches, boating etc. It was pretty in its own way. Not much in the way of trees or such in the surrounding area. Mostly agricultural endeavors. Farm and Ranches
After Oklahoma we headed west and back into the Texas panhandle to Amarillo. We were supposed to be leaving on Thursday but the weather report showed a major snowstorm headed for the panhandle. So we just packed up and left a day early It had been snowing in Amarillo already before we got there but the roads weren't too bad. We got into the Amarillo Ranch RV Park by 6:00 PM. Really nice, except they had about 8” of fresh snow, unplowed in the park. However we got parked with no problem. The ice storm hit right after we got parked. Sure glad we beat that storm into Amarillo. We stayed there 3 days. We tried to go to the Palo Duro Canyon (Texas Grand Canyon), but because of the ice on the road, we couldn't get down into the canyon. We did see some beautiful views of the canyon from the rim. We also ate at the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch. They have excellent food, a 72 oz steak free if you can eat it all. Didn't even try.
We tried to go to the Palo Duro Canyon (Texas Grand Canyon), but because of the ice on the road, we couldn't get down into the canyon. So we drove around part of the rim of the canyon. We did see some beautiful views of the canyon from the rim and then back to the rig
After leaving Palo Duro Canyon we went by the Cadillac Ranch alongside old Hwy 66. It was originally built as an artistic endeavor by a rich Texan eccentric named Stanley March 3rd. Marsh invited a San Francisco artists’ collective called the Ant Farm to help him in the creation of a unique work of art for his sprawling ranch just west of Amarillo. It consists of several old cadillacs ranging from 1948 to 1963 models. They were then buried nose first facing west. Over the years vandal sprayed graffiti and stole most of the chrome.. The project was completed in 1974. Due to the expansion of Amarillo, the project was moved to a new site in 1997. All of the trash from the old site was gathered and redistributed on the new site. Over the years, the cars has been repainted many times. In May, 2002, tthey were restored to their original colors. In June, 2003 the cars were again painted, this time in flat black, in response to the passing of the founding member of the Ant Farm.
We decided to visit the famous Big Texan Steak Ranch. They offer a 72oz steak. If you can eat it all, it is on the house. Bob did not even think about attempting it. We did have a great dinner though. The Big Texan Steak Ranch also has a motel, an RV park ( which is where we are staying. They also have a brewery and they serve their own brews in the restaurant. Really good brews. All in all it is a very intriguing place. Excellent food and a western atmosphere.
Off we went on the 5th, heading for the Hidden Valley RV Resort at Tijeras, NM. The road started out with quite a bit of snow alongside but cleared up the closer we got to the resort. Even though there was snow alongside of the road for most of the way it didn’t give us any problem. A pretty nice drive overall.
We finally got back on the road after four days, headed for Hidden Valley RV Resort in Tijeras, NM, just east of Albuquerque, NM. The park was on a hill and not plowed, had about 6” of fresh snow. We got parked and during the next week we toured the area. While parked on evening Bob looked out the front windshield and saw a beautiful Bobcat cutting through the park. The snow was up to his belly but it didn’t seem to bother him (or her), couldn’t really tell.
Our first day at Hidden Valley RV Resort, we took off and drove to Sandia Crest. It is a ski resort sitting on top of Sandia Mountain. To get there you have to drive up the east side of the jmountain to get to the resort. It was a beautiful drive. A sunny day and lots of snow alongside the road. We got to the resort and had lunch at the restaurant. It had a great view of the valley. The food was good but rather overpriced as expected at a ski resort. Anyway it was a good day with good scenery.
We took off and headed for Sante Fe. The drive up was pretty boring. The 65 mile long highway is called the Turquoise Trail. It was named for the rich turquoise deposits at the north end of the trail. The trail was mostly used by native Americans and Spaniards before the mines started coming in the early 1800s. Mostly desert country. We got into Sante Fe and toured around town for a while then searched out a restaurant for some lunch. Sante Fe is a oldest city in the state and the oldest state capital in the nation. It was founded by the Spanish in 1610. Most of the buildings in the historic district are very old and reflect the Spanish heritage. The streets are also very narrow and not much parking. We didn’t have a lot of time so most our touring was done in the car.
A couple of days later we drove into Albuquerque and drove down historic Highway Route 66. A lot of history along that highway. There were a few building that were unique to that period of time when the highway was one of the major east/west highways, running from Chicago to Santa Monica California. It was built in 1926 and was also known as also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road.
We decided that we needed to take the tram up to the Sandia Crest Ski Resort on Sandia Mountain. The Tram leaves from east side of Albuquerque and goes right to the top of Sandai Mountain where the lodge is located, This is the same lodge that we visited by driving up the east side of Sandia Mountain. The Tram is impressive. It has the 3rd longest single span in the world and is the longest tram in the United States. It’s elevation at the base is 6559 feet and 10378 feet at the top. The second span is is the 3rd longest span in the world, 7720 feet. At places, the tram is 900 feet above the ground. It goes over Dominga Baca Canyon which is also known TWA canyon because TWA flight 260 which crash there in February 1955. Some of the remain of the plane can still be seen from the tram, although the majority of the crash has been removed. It was a very neat trip.
We left a day early because another storm was coming in. We headed for a short stay back at Cortez, Co where we camphosted in the winter of 2007/2008. We had a wonderful visit with Cliff and Collette Parker, who now own the park by themselves. Their partner Tom Fuerborn had passed away. Cliff and Colette have done a great job of improving an already great park.