Saturday, November 26, 2022

Following Familiar Land Marks

 One more full day of travel on our way west. 

The sky was deep blue, the temperature mild, nearly any wind.

Ideal travel conditions.

Following so many familiar landmarks along the route. 

Texas Canyon Park, AZ

Mountain Peaks

Dos Cabezas (Two Heads) Chochise County, AZ 

House on the hill between Benson and Tuscon, AZ

Picacho Peak, AZ, near Tuscon AZ

Near the point where the I-8 starts towards San Diego, CA
Picacho Peak
... special vegetation 
Prickly Pear Cactus along the road

Saguaro Cacti, Sonoran desert, AZ
Water Tanks, Yuma, AZ

.... lots of green fields around Yuma, AZ
Workers in vegetable field near Yuma, AZ

Imperial Sand Dunes National Recreation Area, California 
near Yuma, AZ
Sand Dunes 
Visitors on their sand buggies and dirt bikes enjoying Thanksgiving weekend

Several hundred thousand rigs are camped out near the dunes.

The last miles towards this communication tower, accompanied 

with the sight of this geothermal plant 

was a sure sign that we are close to our destination.

The friendly host recognized us immediately 

and we were told that "your spot is still available, go for it!"

We did.

Driving along the gravel road we recognized that 

many friends were staying here as well. 

Peter unhooking our trailer

After a long detour we have come back to the Californian desert. 

This sandy, dusty place where we have wintered for so many years. 

It feels so good to be back!

But now: I need a long rest in the sunshine! 

Friday, November 25, 2022

A Wild Dash Out Of The Snow

 We escaped the Texas winter storm!

We did, because, when we checked on the weather early in the morning, we discovered there was a two hours window to get out ... 

The weather radar when we started out

 and away before the storm pounced on the area with heavy snow and wind.

The weather radar when we were out of the area

Within half an hour we were packed and on the road. 
Sleet was coming down already and within 15 minutes it was snowing heavily. 
Despite temperatures of +2 C (36F) 
 wet snow accumulated on the road to a nasty slush.
The window wishers got caked with frozen snow. 
Should we take the next exit and return to Balmorhea TX? 
Peter decided not to, because the road cameras showed bare roads (green) 
just an hour ahead of us.
Checking back on the area around Balmorhea 
we saw the roads were “orange” (difficult driving) and the weather forecast said +1 C, (33F), 90% snow accumulating 10-30cm (8 to 10 inch).

 Fortunately we got some help. 
Two semi-trailers, driving ahead of us,
squished the the slush out of the way with their big tires.
The weather forecast and road map were right.
The bad driving took about a hour until Van Horn, TX ...
then the snow went over into rain. After that we had only sleet, in El Paso, TX it still rained 
El Paso, TX skyline
El Paso, TX, overpasses
snow was only visible on the mountain tops.

Reaching Las Cruces NM the weather was partly cloudy, dry and + 12C (53.6 F) mild. 

We had made it!

Clouds over the high plateau along I-10 west of Las Cruces, NM

When we looked around at the familiar scenery, driving I-10 west, we smiled. 
That's what we had been looking forward to!
Blue sky, fluffy clouds and wide open spaces.
We drove on until an hour before sunset.
Rest area along I-10 wb, near Portal, AZ
There is a nice rest area near Portal, AZ where 
we ended up for the night. 

Sculpture , Roadrunner with its prey -a lizard. 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Day of Trouble and Pure Luck!

What a day!
A brief thundershower woke me up this morning.
It was very damp and foggy outside.
Seminole State Park Birding Trail Head

While Peter emptied our tanks I briefly walked 
part of the "Birding Trail" where
lots of unknown little feathered friends were hopping around.

Unfortunately, with the dampnes in the air
my camera's lens constantly kept fogging over.
Clay-colored Sparrow

Nonetheless I was thrilled!
Black-throated Sparrow

After that we drove until we finally found the sunshine! Yeah!

- and a flat tire. Most likely we had driven over a thorny cactus twig. 
Happens all the time, we were told. 

While waiting for someone to help us to fix it
I took photos of a pretty Bluebird.
Western Bluebird

The adventure was not over by a long time.
We got the tire fixed, we found out that there was 
a freak winter storm looming, and
that our overnight destination "Balmorhea State Park" 
was closed for renovations.
Luckily we found a (drab) spot where we 
will stay to weather out this winter storm, for as long as it takes.
Elevation here is 900 m (3000 feet) and the road ahead will 
climb to over 1500m (4800 feet).

Snow, ice and high winds are dangerous.
Balmorhea RV Camp

Safety first!
I counted our blessings:
No bad accident while we were driving,
tire is plugged,
and a save spot for the duration.
We have water, electricity connected, 
our fridge is full. 

Nachdem wir alles gepackt hatten machte ich heute morgen noch eine kurze
Runde um nach Vögeln Ausschau zu halten. Nach einem kurzen
Gewitter hatte ich eigentlich keine grossen Erwartungen, aber
da fand ich doch einige die ich noch nicht kannte.
Allerdings beschlug meine Kameralinse in der feuchten Morgenluft beständig, und
die Photos wurden nicht scharf. Doch sie sind genug um es zu dokumentieren.

Danach fuhren wir bis wir in die Sonne kamen. 
Herrlich nach so vielen Tagen grauen Wetters. 
Die Freude dauerte aber nicht lange an. Wir entdeckten einen platten Reifen.
Glücklicherweise halfen uns freundliche Polizisten. 
Sie hatten einem Kompressor in ihrem Fahrzeug mit dem
der Reifen wieder fahrtüchtig gemacht wurde. 
Wir schafften es dann bis Fort Rockport wo er geflickt wurde.
Das Loch war vermutlich von einem Kakteenstachel. 
Es passiert hier immer wieder, sagte man uns.

Dann stellte es sich heraus daß der nächste State Park wegen Renovierungsarbeiten 
geschlossen hatte. 
Was nun? Die Wettervorhersage drohte mit einem Schneesturm.
Auf die Schnelle fanden wir einen einfachen Campingplatz auf
dem wir nun die nächsten drei Nächte verbringen müssen bis
sich die Wettersituation gebessert hat.
Sicher ist sicher.

Wir sind froh daß alles gut gegangen ist:
Keinen Unfall während des Fahrens
Der Reifen ist geflickt
Einen sicheren Standort mit Wasser- und Stromanschluss
Der Kühlschrank ist voll.
Ende gut - alles gut

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Escaped The Rain (for now)

The morning was again - gloomy and damp.
Dixie looked very unhappy, 
because, repeatedly I had to remove those nasty 
stickers from her paws and legs. 
I hate those burrs!
Field grass burrs on Dixie's leg
Mud around the trailer
The tires were caked with mud, 
as where our shoes when we were ready for take off.  
Nearby a small, dripping wet Roadrunner was bidding us "farewell".
Greater Roadrunner
The last hinder was the mud pool at the exit of Falcon County Park
Then followed hours of driving in a seemingly never ending drizzle.
Finally, after five hours driving, west of Del Rio, TX, 
the clouds lifted and we reached the first dry roads.
What a relief, and our mood lifted considerably.
An hour later we turned into Seminole Canyon State Park for the night.
 We were very lucky because the place was packed.
Thanksgiving visitors had claimed nearly all spaces.
But we got one of the last available spots.
Internet connection is phenomenal fast, compared to home.
On my walk around the perimeter I found these tiny desert flowers
brightening an otherwise gray day.
A Meadowlark was watching us strolling by.
I hope I'll get time to do the short bird walk nearby early in the morning.
Eastern Meadowlark

Unfortunately, there is not enough time planned to explore this park further. 
We want to get west before the weather changes again.
So far, we had only little wind and no frost.

Lehmiger Matsch klebte an den Reifen und Schuhen. Dixie sah oft unglücklich aus da
ihr ständig diese pieksigen Kletten an den Pfoten und Beinen hingen.
Ein klatschnasser Roadrunner sah uns beim Packen zu.
Dann noch durch das schlimme Matschloch am Parkeingang
und wir waren endlich auf der festen Straße.
Nach fünf Stunden Fahrt durch Nieselregen hob sich die Wolkendecke
 und westlich von Del Rio waren die Straßen trocken.
Wir ergatterten einen der letzten freien Stellplätze im Seminole Canyon State Park.
Der Platz ist gut besucht - es ist Thanksgiving in den USA. 
Viele sagen es ist ihnen wichtiger als Weihnachten.
Auf dem kurzen Rundgang vor dem Dunkelwerden fand ich noch ein paar winzige
Wüstenblumen und eine Medowlark (Graslandvogel).
Leider haben wir keine Zeit eingeplant diesen Park näher zu erkunden, doch vielleicht
ist morgen früh ein kurzer Spaziergang auf dem "Vogelerkundungspfad" möglich.