Friday, November 4, 2011

Going to Texas

Well, our time in Pagosa Springs, CO has come to an end. We called this gorgeous part of the US home since Aug 6th. About any place west would have seemed fantastic initially after the 111º in my Missouri hometown this summer, but this area really is the exact kind of country we love (mountains, low humidity, pine trees, fresh-flowing rivers & streams, & description-defying views)!

Besides having an inch of snow in early October (got our fill already) & overnight temps in the low 20s for weeks, we ’ve landed a new “gig” that has taken us SOUTH for this start of winter — selling Christmas trees in San Antonio TX. It’s going to be intense (10-hr days, 7 days a week) from Thanksgiving to Christmas, but it’ll fatten up our bank account nicely. . .enough to flee to Arizona in January, get a solar set-up, & finally kick back & feel retired. We really want to experience the Casita (& other molded fiberglass trailers) rally at Quartzite in February too.

From Pagosa, we traveled south on Hwy 84 through Chama NM & easterly to Taos NM. We crossed a mountain range to the east of Chama where the road topped out at a snow-covered 10,430’ in elevation.

We diverted east to Taos on our way south thru Santa Fe because we wanted to see the earth ship community there. I’ve always been interested in residential architecture, passive solar, & multi-purpose small spaces (& even designed my previous house), so this unique building style & philosophy is very exciting to me.

We toured the Earth Ship headquarters & got to see the inside of one of the earth ship homes.

The walls are created from using rammed earth inside tires, along with aluminum cans (and bottles) to create very thick, well-insulated walls.

The style reminds me of Star Wars dwellings. They build in bottles to allow filtered light thru walls but maintain thermal mass.

This was a great idea for a lamp post.

A mile and a half down the road (west of Taos on Hwy 64), a huge bridge crosses the Rio Grande River, a giant gorge that isn’t even visible until you’re right at it. Had to wonder how many critters, people, & wagons might have fallen off it because they couldn’t stop in time.

Looking east from the Rest area above.

Looking south toward Santa Fe.

Traveling south of Taos then, we descended from a high ridge (mountain?, plateau?) down to and then finally along the Rio Grande River.

The fall foliage was pretty much gone in Colorado, but between Taos & Santa Fe, Fall was in full swing. Such a huge contrast between the fiery leaves & the colorless terrain.

Click on any of these photos to go to my Picasa album containing more scenes along the route.

The snow-capped mountains to the east of Highway 285 as we drove south toward Santa Fe was even more awesome against the Fall leaves & the stark rock formations.

We continued south of Santa Fe on Hwy 285 thru a pretty desolate area — hence, no photos. After 10 hrs of driving (Jeff definitely got rid of a lot of the itch on the bottom of his feet) we spent the night in Roswell, NM’s Wal-Mart parking lot. Boy were we pooped.

After sleeping late & breakfast at Denny’s, we opted not to view any of the alien museums & instead keep on trucking south! We changed from Mountain Time to Central Time at the Texas border, but it was strange to be heading south instead of east for that event.

The west Texas landscape was pretty boring, so nothing to photograph here either. . .until we got south of I-10, heading toward Fort Davis, TX.

Since we don’t have to report for Christmas Tree orientation in San Antonio until Wednesday, we decided to spend two (relaxing) nights at the Overland Trail Campground with FHU right in Ft Davis & go sightseeing Tuesday. The owner gives a 15% discount to Veterans.

Besides the sad absence of Colorado pine trees, southwest Texas is a pretty warm location even now — especially compared to where we’d come from.

After a lazy morning tho we made the 75-mile scenic loop north of Ft Davis on Hwy 118 & 166. We drove up to the McDonald Observatory but didn’t want to wait an hour for the tour. The scenery from the highest spot in all of Texas was great tho.

This loop was interesting but didn’t have nearly as many rock formations and mountains as the drive on Hwy 17 from I-10, so we were a tad disappointed. 

After the scenic tour, we used my geezer pass to tour Fort Davis National Park. We’d previously toured Fort Scott National Park (Ft Scott KS) & Fort Leavenworth (Ft Leavenworth KS), so much of the displays at Ft Davis were familiar. I was most amazed at the location of the fort — snugged up into a canyon surrounded by a very rugged mountain range.

After seeing the Fort, we investigated the small town alittle more. I was intrigued by a sign in a store window proclaiming they made their own cream and fudge. We ended up eating supper there. And yes, I got a small piece of yummy fudge (with pecans). The courthouse in the center of town was very well cared for and attractive.

We talked about driving 22 miles south of town to Marfa to possibly view the mysterious lights outside of town. . .but wanted to just enjoy our downtime instead.

So, we were awake early & broke camp right at dawn (which was already 7:30am).  Being south of New Mexico & Mountain time really messed with our sense of time. It was a 6-hr trip to San Antonio on I-10. Not too much to see along the way, but the hills & trees from west of Kerrville looked awfully good after so many hours (& miles) of desolation. We made it to the Christmas tree business warehouse & ended up parked at a future tree lot with 5 other RVing couples ready to start this new experience. Oh, it was nearly 90º by the time we got set up. Cranked up that A/C right away. But the winds blasted in from the north Thursday night & chilled everything down nicely. My body still thinks it’s in Colorado & just not ready for such a fast return to summer! Welcome to Texas.


  1. Great update of you guys'es travels. Still havn't heard from the campground management company, so who knows how that is going. We are in Campbellsville Kentucky at Amazon right now.
    harm & bett

  2. Whew that sure is a lot of driving in one day! Very pretty countryside, and glad the little green men didn't get you in Roswell!

    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  3. Whew that sure is a lot of driving in one day! Very pretty countryside, and glad the little green men didn't get you in Roswell!

    (Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

  4. Nice pictures, but all of the first ones were dead links. The links didn't start working until I got down to the backlit trees photo.

  5. That was quite a trip from Colorado!! :-)
    Good luck with the Christmas tree selling!! Sounds like a good money maker for you guys!!
    What a unique building concept (Earth Ship)...sounds like a very interesting design. I would love to see that one day. Thanks for the info.


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