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A&A End Of Week 35 Life Updates

End of Week #35

Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, Canyon Lake TX > Walmart parking lot, Fort Stockton TX > Rio Grande Village RV Campground, Big Bend National Park TX > Alamogordo/White Sands KOA Journey, Alamogordo NM

Miles traveled since last week's post = 895 .... YES, you read that right!

Total miles traveled to date = 6,204 with trailer

Welcome to the last week of January! We have traveled more in the past week, than we have ever done in such a short amount of time. Almost 900 miles with the trailer since last week's update, plus another several hundred miles in the van to explore various areas, and needless to say we are quite tired tonight.

Today was one of those kind of travel days that we will laugh at months from now, but gosh was it exhausting. We planned these large trips for this week to honestly just push ourselves out of Texas and to allow more time to spend at other places on the itinerary instead of having single or double night stopovers in between destinations. (Plus on this half of Texas there really wasn't much we wanted to stop to see or spend time at...and it's such a huge state!) We ended up still having a single night stopover on the way to Big Bend National Park last week, sleeping for the first time ever in a Walmart parking lot, and so today we really wanted to avoid doing it again. I did look up some Walmarts in El Paso for today's travels, but once we got to El Paso and saw the city itself.... we surely decided against it. Let's just say it was the dirtiest and most trash filled city I have ever been to. #NotImpressed (Which is really sad actually!)

Recapping the past week

We left Hill Country last Wednesday, feeling like we had unfinished business there, as a weeks time was not enough. I honestly loved the area - probably my favorite part of all of Texas, and I wish we would have spent 2 weeks there and only 1 week in Corpus Christi. (But you don't know what you don't know until it's too late of course.) We also were a bit depressed because we never actually got to make it to Austin - basically the number one city in Texas I wanted to go to, as it was going to be another 100 miles roundtrip from our campsite and we just weren't up for it on our last day in Hill Country. We had lost a few days of exploration due to a lot of rainfall too, and sometimes you just have to roll with the punches!

Moving on from there, as I mentioned above, we accomplished our first ever sleepover in a Walmart parking lot. It honestly could not have gone better, and in an odd way was a kind of exciting and exhilarating experience. We were not alone - there were probably more than 10 other RV's there with us, and we even pulled out our kitchen slide so we could access the fridge. (We left the other one in so it was a fun random night with the kitchen table and sofa chairs basically butting up to the center island.) No hookups, and no cooking, but we spent the night catching up on a video call with our friends who just moved to New Mexico, and it felt like we were all together in person.

Last Thursday morning we left Walmart and headed straight south to Big Bend National Park - basically a desert oasis with huge mountain ranges on each end of the park, an area that borders Mexico. I am going to provide a full travel review of Big Bend later this week (& one of Hill Country too!), but I will let you know that we had a great time there and really enjoyed the park. We managed just fine without a 4G connection and were able to use WIFI at a store just about a half of a mile from our RV site. We also met more people than we have met in months and talked to just about everyone we saw. People were so friendly and adventurous - it was a really nice change of pace. The weather was desert hot during the day, but gosh was it nice to be so warm too! Stay tuned for more on this adventure in the coming days!

This past Friday, we did take some time to celebrate and recognize our accomplishments - as it was our 8 month nomadiversary!

Today was the motherload - the journey across the rest of Texas and into New Mexico. It took us a full hour to even get out of Big Bend - because the park is just that huge! After we did exit the park we had miles and miles of basically nothingness before reaching a more mountainous scene as we got closer to El Paso. We were unfortunately pretty disgusted by El Paso overall, and to top it off we encountered some really strange dirt/rain/wind storms that sort of pushed our buttons the wrong way after such a long day of travel. Plus the cats were obviously very upset by today's travel choices and were ready for a long cat nap.

We left Texas, after spending more than 3 months here, and entered New Mexico where we also entered a new time zone - mountain time. We went through our first roadside US Border Control stop point, and saw our first like sand tornado storm on the road. As for the time change, I am very grateful for the extra hour of travel this afternoon as we came to really need it. The plan was to go to Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, near White Sands National Park - as it's a highly rated State Park in the RV world.... however it is first come, first serve, and upon arriving there were only a few primitive sites left and they would not fit our RV. Even if they did fit our RV... we really needed electricity tonight as the temps are a lot cooler here and unfortunately our trailer battery just doesn't last long for us anymore without any hookups. I'd love to be more "primitive" in our adventures but it does take a lot of planning ahead to ensure you have water, the ample power you require to run heat and put your slides in and out, and if you're going to leave your RV there to go explore then you need to ensure it's in an area you feel safe to do so.

Since none of the above was in the cards for us tonight, we had to resort to plan B. Thankfully a KOA campground about 10 miles away had one spot open for the next 3 nights, so here we are. Tomorrow we will do some course correction and figure out if we are going to extend our stay here (if we even can do so) to fill the 5 nights I had planned in this city, otherwise we will make our way to our next destination early. The good news for us right now is that today will likely be our longest travel day/most amount of miles in one day for many months to come, maybe even the whole year! Plus - in just a few more weeks, in mid-February, we are parking our butts for another whole month in Camp Verde, Arizona.

So it's sunny-side up from here. All is well. Life is good. Not all travel days are created equal, and today was one that more or less tested our limits, but we are safe, we are warm, and we are comfortable. And tomorrow is a new day! #GratitudeAttitude

I now reminisce on the days when I thought 200 miles was a lot of travel in one day.... LOL

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