January 15- 31

So today we decide to get out of the desert and treat ourselves to a fancy RV park in town. And by fancy, I’m talking $57 for the night. I just don’t really understand the whole attraction to this. We are ON TOP of the the people are either side of us. The sun was about to set, I had this beautiful view and along comes one of those half a million dollar RV’s. He pulls into the spot next to us which is like 6 feet from my sliding door. Like a giant wall blocking the sunset. I guess I’m pretty spoiled with all that vast land we have had to ourselves these past few months. And for free!!! All that land and space, all for free and here we sit tonight for $57 and we can hear every word and every noise coming from both sides. But we really have to take the good with the bad cause the convenience of being in town is wonderful. Taking the bikes out for dinner. Riding over to the big tent in the morning. Showers were great, a pool and hot tub and pickle ball courts. All of that stuff is nice but still I’d rather be on the free BLM land. Mostly we picked this place because they had a free RV wash area which we really really need. The dust from the desert is crazy and the van is filthy. The rv wash was right across from our spot and guess what?? It was being repaired. Out of order and on top of that an extremely loud bull dozer truck digging up the ground for most of the day. The good news is they have free baked goods and coffee in the clubhouse in the morning. Maybe that will snap me out of my grouchy, negative mood.

Fancy Schmancy

January 16……Opening Day of the Quartzsite Big Tent. This is the moment we were waiting for and the reason why we were spending so much time in Arizona, besides the 72° weather of course. We road our bikes there because we heard the traffic for the Big Tent Event can be brutal. And we heard right. So glad we took the bikes. The big tent was everything we thought it would be and what we have watched on various YouTube channels. Basically a bunch of carnival barkers trying to get you to buy their mop or pan or electric bike. We basically need nothing but we did get suckered into buying some eyeglass defogger goop. It works amazing and in this world of masks and fogged glasses, it was something we will totally use. We also enjoyed the buttery corn in a cup and the key lime pie on a pop. All in all it was a great experience and I’m glad we went.

After the Big Tent we road the bikes back to our fancy RV park. Greg was gonna shave and then we were gonna move on. Unfortunately for us and the rest of the park, they SHUT OFF THE WATER!!! No warning, nothing. Note to self. Never go back to the Holiday Palms RV Resort in Quartzsite!!

We are currently Casino Camping in Parker, Arizona. I would say it’s free but we just don’t know yet how much we will lose or win. It’s a gamble. Haha. So far we are loving this place. It’s on the Colorado River and tonight is Prime Rib night.

Really good food!

The next day we drove three hours towards the Tucson Area. One of the YouTube people we follow had stayed at this county park which looked great. We get a lot of ideas from YouTube.

Pinal County Park

Next day headed to Tombstone Arizona. We had been here 13 years ago and loved it so we thought a second trip would be worthwhile and it totally was. They opened up a new RV dry camping area right in the outskirts of the town which was perfect for us to spend the night.

We had a nice meal at Longhorns and some desert later at Big Nose Kate’s.

The next morning we headed to the Boothill cemetery which has been there since 1879. A ton of history in that place.

The weather is getting colder and colder. There is a cold front moving through Arizona. We are back to wearing jeans and out winter coats again. Going to start heading back to Texas for some warmer weather but before we do that we want to check out Bisbee. We heard great things about this town and it did not disappoint. A very artsy community but unfortunately most places were closed because of the COVid. Still a great town to walk around.

The only place that was open was this fun antique consignment shop where we found Kennedy

From there we headed three hours to Deming, New Mexico. When I retired, the staff at North Ridge got me a bunch of memberships for the road. One of them was called “Boondockers Welcome” and in Deming we stayed at one of them. They are basically people who also RV slot who let you stay in their driveway or in their property for free. This was a 10 acre plot of desert land. It was right off the highway so it was a good place to spend the night. The weather has been crazy cold so we are trying to drive down closer to the border of Mexico in Texas where it’s in the 70’s. Putting in some mileage means less exploring for now.

Boondockers Welcome

After that we put in some more miles and made it to VanHorn Texas and stayed at a pretty unusual RV park. Again this also was right off the highway. They had quite a setup here. A pool and laundry room with kids games, vending machines, a couple of pinball machines. A stage for church on Sunday and a thrift store all in one. It really was bizarre. We went across the street for a nice Mexican meal where John Madden comes often. So often he has his own seat and his own TV for game day. Lol

Still super cold so still heading south trying to chase 72°. And where do we find it but at the Amistad recreation area where we had stayed a few nights on the way out west. It was that place where the road drove right into the lake and we were lucky enough to get the same spot we had last time. It was 80° here today. Fantastic. Spent some time down by the water.

Tonight a family of goats came to visit us. They had no tags on them so we are assuming they are wild goats. Fun!

The next morning we woke up to clouds and rain but atleast it wasn’t cold. We decided to go further south towards the Gulf and found a nice Texas state park along the way in Laredo Texas. We get there and there’s no camping because of the COVid. It was like that in New Mexico which is why we have not spent too much time in New Mexico and now Texas as well. It’s just amazing to me that they are closing the State Park Campgrounds but leaving open the hotels. To me, it’s extremely easy to social distance at a campground. The sites are usually like 50 feet apart. I just don’t get it. Anyway we left there and drove another 45 minutes to a private rv park and spent the night. We are so close to the border of Mexico. I could throw a rock across the Rio Grande from our side to their side. Greg was reading that the road on the other side of the border from here is pretty dangerous. This RV park seems fine so we will not go exploring too much.

Amigo Inn and RV park

Showered and hit the road again by 11. Drove another three hours and made it to South Padre Ialnd which is right on the Gulf of Mexico. First stop was Tusso’s NY Pizza. Oh How I miss Pizza!! This place did not disappoint!

Next we heard of this small County Park that offered Dry Camping in the Beach Parking Lot for 20 bucks. We got lucky and there was one more spot left so we took it.

Our spot for the night

We walked to the beach and followed the music. There’s live music right on the beach which was pretty cool.

We decided to take a bike ride around town. It looks like they have just installed really great sidewalks here plus there’s also a bike path on the main road. The bike riding was amazing despite the wind.

After the bike ride, we dropped off the bikes and went next door to the Hilton to have some dessert and use their facilities and watch some football.

Woke up to another breezy but beautiful day. Took a nice walk on the beach.

Across the street from where we stayed was the South Padre Island Bird Sanctuary and Alligator Rescue. We headed over to check it out. They had these raised trails all throughout with really cool birds to check out. I will bore you now with some of those photos. My favorite was the one with the bright yellow feet. He was quite the fisherman.

We decided to check out the “end of the road” area here. Supposedly you can drive and camp for free right on the beach like we used to do at Robert Moses Democrat Point. We drove down there and the dunes just got bigger and bigger on either side of the road. From the satellite view of Google maps, the road ended and the beach access starts. But here at the end of the road was a barricade. The area where there was beach access was not a spot where we would go on the beach without fully airing down our tires. They had no air refill station here like they do at Democrat Point. We have a small battery operated Ryobi Compressor to fill the tires but that would have taken forever and besides the wind was brutal so we walked around a little and then headed out.

Left South Padre Island to head to North Padre Island which is about 3 hours from here. But we wanted to stop and spend the night at the Fred Stone Pier which is free camping. We arrived there and it was blocked off. The hurricane did some damage to it so they are rebuilding. Left there drove another hour to a Passport America spot but that was a bust as well. Total Mobile Home Park and no manager on duty to get a spot for us. So we headed to the nearest Walmart where they allow RV parking overnight. We didn’t see one other RV or truck which is unusual. We left there and drove to the Loves Travel Stop instead. It was basically bedtime at this point so we settled in for the night. Greg took a truck stop shower. You would not believe how nice these showers are.

After Loves we headed to Padre Island National SeaShore where you can camp right on the beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. the beach was super hard packed sand like a road. We didn’t even need to air down but still put the van in 4 wheel drive. Regular cars were driving on the beach though so we knew it would be allright. We parked at the entry way and up by the dunes because we heard the hide tides came up pretty high and with the full moon it’s usually even worse. The tide came up at 5 pm and all was well. Didn’t even come within 20 feet of us so we slept well.

The next morning was super windy and cloudy but we still managed to take a nice bike ride along the beach. Found some cool butterfly shells.

Butterfly shells

Next morning was an amazing sunrise.

The temperature is dropping for the next few days here, so we packed up and headed out. We went to a pizza buffet for lunch and then took the van on a free ferry ride back to the mainland.

We took the van to a self serve car wash and scrubbed her clean. So much salt and sand from the beach and so much dirt and grime from the desert. We then drove to a nice RV park for the night in Bay City Texas. They have bathroom “suites” here. 4 for the men and 4 for the women. This is a big deal in the life of a vandweller!!

Cement slab among many

Oh Man!! I spoke too soon. The worst shower ever! The bathroom suite was absolutely beautiful but the actual shower was terrible!!! Warmish water with no pressure. I got my hopes up for nothing!! I struggled through it and now I am clean so there’s that.

In the morning we headed out another three hours to a Texas State Park called Village Creek State Park. For some reason the camping area is open at this park so I guess some are open and some aren’t. If I could find a state park every other day or even once a week, I would be so happy. State Parks are my preferred way of camping. The sites are very spacious. The grounds are wooded and there’s usually hiking or biking trails. This one had a really cool visitor center as well. I’d say this is my favorite spot so far even with the screaming kid across the way.

Next day headed another three hours to a Harvest Host spot which was on the grounds of the Vermilionville Historic Village. We took the self guided tour and it was really good. Learned a lot about Louisiana history. we toured a bunch of restored historic homes and then at 4, they closed and we camped in their lot next to a Mardi Gra float overlooking a river. It was a great spot. There also was a bike path that we took and went and got some icecream in town.

And then today, January 31st, the day the blog gets posted, today we drove two hours to another amazing State Park. Fontainebleau State Park in Louisiana. Another great park with a great rail trail for biking. We got a great spot and went on a great bike ride into the town Of Mandeville. This town was HOPPING!! So much fun. We made it back to the campground just in time for the Sunset. Such beautiful old trees in this park.

We did see some disturbing news about the Mardi Gras and how there weren’t going to be any floats or any parades this year because of the COVid. So instead, people are decorating their houses as floats. I guess it’s the best they can do in the current situation.

One of the decorated houses

Well looks like January has come to an end. I kept track of gas and campground fees and this was a Big Month for driving. Working our way back east. Our gas bill for the month was $411 and our camping bill was $260 for the month. February is probably going to be double that as we make our way towards Florida. A lot of pricey campgrounds there and not much public land.

Well that’s it for now. See you again in 2 weeks. I’m not going to go back and check for typos or grammatical errors so if you see any when you are reading, just try your best to figure out what I’m trying to say. Lol

Bye for now.

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