It has become customary for us to perform upgrades and renovations to our rolling home while settled in Southern California, as I have no college teaching or business activities to fill my time.
|Our RV site for two months|
|San Clemente, an hour's drive from our winter location|
This year, we decided to replace our aging living room sofa, and rearrange our furniture layout. We purchased a nice residential sofa from Ashley Furniture in Murrietta, CA, and arranged to have it delivered to the resort. In the meantime, we removed the old L-shaped sofa. The new sofa would not fit through our 30 inch wide entry door, so I removed the large living room window, which came out easily after removing about 60 screws holding the inner clamping frame to the outer window frame.
|Window has been removed|
|New sofa coming in|
|The doggie in this picture is Bandit, who we were dogsitting for three weeks|
|New layout. Chairs and table on the left are now bolted to the floor,|
which greatly simplifies readying the rig for travel
On March 14 we left Rancho California RV Resort, and headed over the mountains and the Anza-Borrego desert to Dateland, AZ, which has become a regular overnight stop for us. We stay at Oasis at Aztec Hills RV Park, located in the desert just outside Dateland. If we ever wanted a quiet winter stay of a few weeks, we would consider this beautiful secluded park. The only downside is that the closest grocery store or other services are located in Yuma, which is one hour drive west. The park is run by a lady named Pepper, and her husband, and they have turned this place into an actual oasis in the desert. The stars at night shine with a brilliance which is not seen near cities and built-up areas.
|Oasis at Aztec Hills RV Park|
White Sands Missile Range is a US Army installation, and it was formerly called White Sands Proving Ground. Werner Von Braun worked here immediately after WW2, and much pioneering work was done in rocketry research. In July 1945, the world's first detonation of a nuclear bomb took place here, an event that changed the history of humankind forever. This was known as the Trinity test. In the 1970s, the Pioneer Martian landers were tested here, and later a number of Space Shuttle landings took place, when the landing could not be made in Florida, usually for reasons of weather.
There is a museum at White Sands, and an outdoor park where many historic missiles and rockets are on display. We parked our rig outside the security gate, and after a 15 minute security check using our Canadian passports, we were granted a day pass to the base.
|A 1/3 replica of the first atomic bomb. The original was destroyed in the test!|
We stayed for two nights just outside Alamogordo, and the next day we proceeded east over the Sacramento mountains. Highway 82 from Alamogordo ascends to almost 9000 feet at Cloudcroft, and the temperature dropped from 60F (16C) in Alamogordo to 34F (2C) in Cloudcroft. Views of the rugged Sacramento Mountains were spectacular.
|Our trusty RV hauler, unburdened with the RV|
|The lovely Navigator, resplendent with winter coat|
|A light at the end of the tunnel|
We proceeded along Highway 82 to Artesia, then took Highway 285 down into Texas, passing through Pecos and ending up at Fort Stockton, where we spent a dry-camping night in the parking lot of a Beall's store. The last 50 miles into Pecos were bumpy, and very busy with Permian Basin oil patch truck traffic. This area has experienced a boom in crude oil production, at the expense of peaceful surroundings and smooth highways.
We are presently at Top of the Hill RV Resort near Boerne, Texas for 4 days. This is a favourite stop for us, and when we leave here we will continue to Freeport, in the Florida Panhandle, where we will stay for a month.
The journey from the high desert of Southern California to the Hill Country of Texas has been an incredibly enjoyable experience. I love driving with the rig in the Southwest, where everything is wide open with endless vistas of desert and mountain. It is a part of this great country that is completely different from the Northeast and Central regions, and every year that we cross these vast expanses, it seems that we see things we previously missed. The open road is good for the soul, and brings us a satisfaction that keeps us coming back for more.