Van made it to USA

MOJO

Full Member
Albuquerque ,New Mexico 8 November

All quite last night,no security.
One hour drive and we arrived in Santa Fe.A shock to be told by a parking attendant the cost for the day was 50 dollars ! or 35 for four hours.
I gave him my east London reply and drove out.
At the visitor centre we parked for free.
A nice small city more like a town .The State Capitol building is fairly new in a circular shape holding an extensive art collection throughout its three floors.The Bison,look carefully at what it's made from. IMG_20181108_154025.jpg IMG_20181108_131255.jpg IMG_20181108_154430.jpg IMG_20181108_154619.jpg IMG_20181108_154941.jpg IMG_20181108_193625.jpg IMG_20181108_193219.jpg
Then a short walk in to the main plaza and visiting the oldest church in the USA.The San Miguel Mission was built in 1610 so older than our St Paul's in London,who would have thought it.The small house next door makes the same claim of oldest in the country.A well known building in the plaza itself called the Governors Palace,you guessed it, claims to be the oldest public used building in the country.
The St Francis Cathedral let's the side down being less than 200 years old.
Another warm,blue sky day for our exploration finishing with a one hour drive to Sam's Club in Albuquerque by sunset.
 


Not sure when it's held but the vast Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is incredible. Maybe spring as we managed only once before we had to cancel the second time when we found out we were penniless. We literally managed a ring side pitch with balloons touching down in front of us.

Ray.
 

MOJO

Full Member
Not this time of the year Ray.It will have to be Bristol for us.
 
Road insurance in USA (&Canada)
Hi again who is this provided by please.
Any email address for the company ?
 

MOJO

Full Member
Our day of departure on Sunday , Veterans Day, was so hot and sunny we lounged and left at 2 pm.Went to the smart RV site mentioned earlier to use their laundry.
Whilst here we met a nice couple .He is a artist ,a very good one,and she writes various books.A good old chat over our mutual interest of travelling.
It's funny how friendly and open some people are and she insisted on giving us signed copies of two books she had written for Yellowstone Park.A children's book and a cookery book.
They live Montana and are snowbirds here till spring.If we wanted to house sit anytime or visit we are welcome.
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MOJO

Full Member
Road insurance in USA (&Canada)
Hi again who is this provided by please.
Any email address for the company ?
The broker was
sue@thuminsurance.com

The cover is Prime Insurance
rmd@primeis.com

These came through Seabridge .Not cheap,for six months 2800 dollars .The insurance company specialising in unusual risks.Tried vehicle insurance companies ,about four,did not even get a reply.
 

MOJO

Full Member
El Paso , Texas 12 November

Enroute today everyone had to pull through a checkpoint.We had visas checked and told to expect more checking as we are close to Mexico.Made our way across White Sands Missile Range where the famous Trinity test site is located for the first nuclear explosion.
The White Sands National Monument was like driving in a winter snow landscape.Not sand but gypsum desert.
On to the Space Museum in Alamogordo which due to renovation had less to display but still worth the visit.
The plan was to stop there for the night but with temperature to fall -7 in night the -3 in El Paso tempted us back on the road for the 1.5 HR drive.Arrived in dark to amazing sight of endless city lights .No high rise but a vast area lit up for as far as you could see.
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MOJO

Full Member
Writing this on a tea break enroute east from El Paso after an eventfull morning.I decided to visit the Border Memorial Park promising nice walks.Did not realise it was next to the border bridge.Of course I take a wrong turn off the highway and find myself at the bridge with LEAVING USA sign.Pulled on to a tight spot quickly and walked to a check point.The park was actually next to us seen through a fence.Thankfully they were fine and stopped traffic for a U turn.Phew!
The bridge was packed with vehicle's coming from Mexico which I read this morning is one of the most dangerous urbanisation in the world.
Those pretty lights across the Rio Grande last night hide a dark history.
 


MOJO

Full Member
There was a time when vans could cross and return easily.Now though we have been told its high risk as a the border officer has final say if you can return .They now prefer a long stay away, possibly as much as six months equal to your six months visa in USA.
Stops a quick border crossing to gain a new six months visa.
 

MOJO

Full Member
A LONG DIARY ENTRY IF YOU WANT TO READ,sorry no pics poor wi-fi
Great drive in to the low hills along super straight roads with virtually no traffic.Below freezing tonight but as we are 6,000 ft with clear skies we should have a lovely starry night.
Can't forget that film Texas Chainsaw Massacre about a van full of people in a lonely part of Texas !

Big Bend NP , Texas Nov 14 15
After a good overnight spot at a picnic site outside Fort Davis we visited the old fort. Apparently one of the best preserved in the country.Various buildings set around a large parade ground housing 400 men and officers along with stables to house 300 horses.Having now seen a number of forts ,none are like my boyhood memories derived from Hollywood of wooden palasade and soldiers on guard on the parapet.
Close by is the Fort Davis State Park.A small area but good views from the highpoint of skyline drive.A short walking trail up a steep hill was treacherous due to sliding on loose gravel ,it was described by a park ranger as easy.
Set off for the town of Marfa to view the famous Lights of Marfa.These mysterious intermittent lights have been witnessed since 1886 on the far horizon.No proven explaination to their origin brings in the tourists.Our particular night they did not appear but the wife is convinced she saw one white light floating down.Wild camping at the viewing area eight miles east of town allowed us to stay warm watching through our windows till midnight.Unlike the poor souls freezing outside with their blankets

The next day taken with driving south and then east along the Rio Grande river to Big Bend NP.
The river being the boundary with Mexico . Amusing to view Mexico for the next few hours across the river to our right.Sometimes there would be villages and a very easy crossing possible over the narrow river.No signs of border patrols along our fifty mile drive so no difficulty to enter the USA it seems.
Great scenery along this less travelled approach to the NP.So remote it is the least visited park in the park system.We have wild camped just outside the entrance as we want to visit the ghost town of first .

Big Bend NP , Texas 16 November
A visit to Terlingia town first for its ghost town.Did not really see much in the way of a ghost town ,more a spread of small , untidy hit like homes interspersed with old caravans all in use.Found the old church but the central feature being the original stores and theatre .The stores still a shop and the theatre is the bar and restaurant.Looks a promising location for a evening out with the locals.
Big Bend has great scenery and we managed to get on to a campsite that was not full for this Thanksgiving week (Thursday) ,the other two all booked up.Camped next to the Rio Grande for 14 dollars ,not bad.

Big Bend NP , Texas 17 November
A nice lazy day driving the scenic road and taking short hikes on trails.The temperature hit 24 deg ! We have left the park to overnight outside the Terlingia bar to hopefully have a atmospheric night out in this strange place.The dusty car park is packed,maybe because of the live music on this Saturday night with a finish of 1 am, so we are parked just a little way out on wasteland.
Although a rustic place they charge 11 dollars for a Margarita so I'm shaking in my boots what a beer will cost !Watch this space.

SPACE

Well,it was something of a disappointment.The interior was certainly atmospheric but not the atmosphere I anticipated.
Once used as a theatre for the miners it had retained the old feel.We went in about 9 pm and it was virtually empty.All the customers had eaten their meals and scarpered.
The two musicians were good but not using the stage and the dance floor occupied with tables.
Had hoped for a noisy party night with locals.
The people living here are certainly leading different lifestyles to other area's.One lady got in to a long conversation after realising her English husband had lived near our UK residence.
She met him whilst a singer in Brixton and he was a group member of UK SUBS ,I thought the name familier?
They purchased 6 acres with a basic property for 6,000 dollars as ,in her words,this place is the closest you can get to the old West.Our experience would not disaggree.She explained law enforcement here is a casual affair with young offenders more often than not dragged to their parents for punishment rather than the courts.Many vehicles are not insured and mostly not road worthy !
Anyway,back in van by 11 pm not the planned 1 am.
 


MOJO

Full Member
Big Bend NP, Texas November 18

A drive back in to Big Bend NP this time on the road to the Rio Grande village .Only two roads approx 20 miles long in to the park with yesterday's road to Castolon.
Parked the van ok on the campsite and used the scooter to access the various tracks.
One of these leads to the official border crossing manned by park rangers. It's a walk across only site and on enquiry he said we would be ok with our UK passports with USA visa.
Problem was we did not have them on us and to collect and return would mean crossing at 2 pm with them closing at 5 pm.On top of that they were closed for the next two days.I could just imagine missing the 5 pm deadline and stuck for two days.We gave it a miss.
Surprising at the other trails on the river that the Mexicans were waiting on the opposite bank with canoe's.So easy to slip across .Also little trinkets left on this side from the Mexican's with a honesty box.
The scooter came good again as a trail to a hot spring was accessible only to 4x4 but our little 125 cc made easy work of it.
Typing this as we prepare for another 1hr hike up a sand dune from camp for a promised good sunset vista. IMG_20181115_110218.jpg IMG_20181116_102242.jpg IMG_20181116_102204.jpg IMG_20181116_113006.jpg IMG_20181116_102337.jpg IMG_20181116_132553.jpg IMG_20181118_174312.jpg IMG_20181118_173502.jpg IMG_20181118_135309.jpg IMG_20181118_175151.jpg
 


MOJO

Full Member
Uvalde,Texas 20 November
We left too late from Big Bend NP so that our destination of Del Rio was not possible before darkness.As the sun set we wild camped just outside the almost deserted town of Langtry.
Not till the next morning did I realise how close to the border of Rio Grande we were.
The town is known for its famous character Judge Roy Bean who proclaimed to be The Law west of the Pecos.
The proprietor of a bar who handed down his own brand of instant justice.
The well stocked visitor centre serves as a museum including his bar/courthouse .
We had more success in Langtry than in Del Rio.The planned winery visit could not accommodate our motorhome .Moved on to play at a golf course found on Google but approached a security gate to Laughlin Air Force Base .A military course only.
We left for Uvalde town and Walmart RV park to leave a short drive to San Antonio.
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Thanks again for the updates, really enjoy reading them. San Antonio is a really lovely city.
 

MOJO

Full Member
A few sights and signs enroute this morning.
Billboard - WIN A LIFETIMES SUPPLY OF BACON.
Sign- WARNING HITCHIKERS MAY BE ESCAPED CONVICTS.
Shop on highway - TAXIDERMIST .BRING YOUR HUNTS HERE.

On our phones a loud alarm and alert on the screens- CHILD ABDUCTION AT XX TIME,LOCATION.CAR MODEL ,REGISTRATION. This was 350 miles from us but every mobile phone in Texas gets the same alert.
 


MOJO

Full Member
What to do on a rainy day in Texas ?
Go shoot a gun of course.We both used a good old fashioned cowboy gun.A different experience for us. IMG_20181121_125004.jpg IMG_20181121_122016.jpg
 


MOJO

Full Member
San Antonio, Texas 22 November
Having bicycles and scooter to get around on this trip has really paid off.Today we used the bikes for the 12 mile round trip on the river cycleway in to downtown.We usually leave our Walmart overnights for a local park with parking to access the closest location to a city centre.Locked them up outside the Alamo.The downtown river walk was very pleasant ,lots of bars and restaurants.
They have a lighting up festival tomorrow along with the boats.Debating to stay on another day for it but probably move on.Big crowds apparently,not my thing.
The Alamo was a must see and although there is virtually no original buildings left apart from the mission facade it's what it all represents that is interesting.
Although it's Thanksgiving today the crowds were ok.Lots of young military in uniform with parents visiting .
Mild temperatures today for visiting one of the best downtowns on this trip
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MOJO

Full Member
Two hours drive south to the Gulf of Mexico.
Corpus Christ is a very large area on the coast which took all day checking out the various area's of interest on the coastline.We assume it felt quiet due to Black Friday.Driving on the through highway at 5 pm the car parks were still full at the shopping malls.This morning we have settled on a quiet coastline road near Rockport.Will cycle in and around town today.
Weather is cloudy but warm.
Still a lot of damage to repair after last year's hurricane.
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