After a whirlwind month in Arizona we are excited to be back on the open road. Our current mission in going to be to head over towards Florida, Daytona to be exact. There is an infield RV spot with our name on it for the Daytona 500 in mid February. Our path will be a bit north from what would be expected, taking us through Oklahoma. Our eldest son in the Air Force has been transferred to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City and we would like to stop in an see how they are settling in. Therefore, as we headed from Phoenix our path was not
the expected I10. Instead we headed up to the rim country through Payson and on to the White Mountains into New Mexico. Hum….. You would have thought we learned a thing or two about how to route our odyssey after spending so many nights in below freezing temps last year. Mother nature decided to go ahead and remind of our “interesting” choice of routes. Our first night out was a boondocking night near the Hon Dah Casino outside Lakeside, AZ. Wouldn’t you know it, woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground and pretty good snow storm still in progress! The next few hours on the road we drove through the storm. The road was snow covered and visibility was not great, and there was ice.
As we travelled along US60 in New Mexico on this snowy foggy day, we began to see the strange gigantic dishes of the VLA or Very Large Array. This system of 27 large mobil dishes actually make up the worlds largest radio
frequency telescope for studying the universe. It is facinating to see them in person. They have been the backdrop and even the theme of several movies. In 1997 the movie Contact starring Jodie Foster is the one I remember, although they depicted the dishes having a different use than what they are actually used for. You will just have to watch to movie to see what I am talking about! The short film they show at the visitor center is actually narrated by Jodie Foster as well. Amazing how these huge dishes can be moved around on the huge site that is 13 miles across into 3 different configurations to make observations. Time lapse video of the system is very interesting as well, seeing all the dishes move in a syncronized dance. The overcast snowy day really made everything seem more mystical.
Our spot for the next few days is the Valley of Fires National Recreation Area. Once again, we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves. One other brave soul did show and join us in the campground before nightfall. The
plan is to relax a few days and get the next few weeks of travel figured out. As may be evident, we are not overly concerned about planning very far in advance. Our goal in this lifestyle is to enjoy the here and now, wherever that may be. Even in the short time we have been living in the RV it has become evident to us that
there is something to see or enjoy just about everywhere. Upon
arrival at the campground, it was evident the storm we had outrun was going to catch up. We woke once again to a beautiful blanket of snow that made the lava flows look amazing. The price for the great view, temp down to 14 overnight. Made it easy to focus on getting things done as hanging around outside was pretty muchout of the questions. I bundled up and took the beagles out for 2 mile walk on the ice covered path/trail that ventures out into the lava fields. It was nice, but wow, way too cold. We made a day trip over to the town of Capitan, home of the Smokey the Bear Historic Park. Great tribute to the story of the Smokey the Bear campaign as well as the real life Smokey. Smokey is actually buried here in the park for all to visit. We Geocached our way back to Valley of Fires, actually finding our last cache in the dark. Lucky enough to grab three travel bugs today to continue on their journey.
I also really needed to get back to activity on the blog. I have been struggling with how setting up maps for the travel page. As with many others, I have been using Google maps. They are constantly changing not only how to create the maps, but putting limits on routes and destination and the likes. Royal pain is what it usually was. Then with perfect timing, Nina from Wheelingit came along with a blog about the very subject! I am pretty impressed with how the uMap opensource program works. I was pretty excited and proceeded to spend a few hours learning how it worked. And thus our Kuhl Odyssey Travel Page has been updated! Check it out and see what you think. You are now able to navigate the maps zooming in and out and clicking on stops to see where we have been. I also created a separate map with each stop we have made and will continue to keep this one up to date. I hope at some point this “places we stayed along the way” will be helpful to other travelers. I also put some summary information about our first year of travel in 2014 as far as total miles and breakdown of stops. Let me know what you think.
Today we travelled on into Texas and the Caprock Canyon State Park. This park is home to the Official Texas State Bison Herd, which is nearly 100 head strong. Lots of warnings and safety tips about being around the
bison that freely roam the park. The most important tip for me is to stay 50 yards away from them. That may prove interesting when flying over hill on the mountain bike and they come into view! Pretty sure the 30mph they can run is much faster that I can ride. That reminds me of the second most important tip in my opinion…….if they raise their tails they are agitated and you may have a problem. The park claims that the term “high tail it” refers to this observation of the bisons’ behavior as a clue to get the heck away! Hope not to have any chance encounters, but hopefully we will get some good photos. Toni scoped out a prairie dog town on the way to camp and has plans to plant herself in a chair and enjoy their antics. I hope that yields some good photos as well. So, with the blog site all caught up, time to enjoy this great Texas State Park. There are miles of hiking and mountain bike trails to explore and it looks like the weather will start to be our friend…
Here are some recent photos:
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