2005 RV Travels

March 19
May 21
June 20
August 28
Click on pictures to enlarge

Holly Beach, LA
waiting for tug to go by
Sabine National Wildlife refuge
Alligator Crossing
January 1, 2005 --
   We started the year 2005 in Vinton, Louisiana. Vinton is a small town on Interstate 10 about 15 miles from the Texas state line, so most of our shopping was done in Orange, Texas. Vinton is only 10 miles from the Gulf and the Sabine National wildlife Refuge. A lot of the land in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge is water covered, and a good habitat for birds and alligators. We stayed here the entire month of January and spent a good deal of time driving around the countryside - from Lake Charles, LA to Beaumont, TX. and back to Vinton.

Parkview Riverside RV Park
Frio River from campsite
a local resident
Amistad Lake Recreation Area
Feb2-March 17, 2005 --
     From Louisiana we went to Texas for the next month and a half. Our trip through Texas took us to Columbus, TX; Wiemer, TX.; Concan, TX, and Del Rio, TX. Concan is in the middle of Texas hill country, about 70 miles west of San Antonio. This area of Texas is beautiful. Sparsely traveled roads through hills and valleys. We stayed at Parkside Riverview Campground which overlooked the Frio River and Garner State Park. The river was sparkling clear and flowed over the road that ran past the campground. There are a number of places in the hill country where the river runs right across the road. The rivers aren't deep enough to be a problem, and I found it to be an interesting experience. We left Concan on March 10 and headed for Del Rio, which is near the Mexican border. The Rio Grande River flows near Del Rio and it is diverted to form the Amistad Lake Recreation Area. We enjoyed Texas very much and considered staying longer.

Sunset over Deming
Looking out our front window
Mimbres Mountains
Fowering Cactus  Top
March 19-May 21, 2005 --
     W  e left Texas heading west and landed in New Mexico. Since we own property in Deming, New Mexico, we decided to stop there and make sure it hadn't blown away. We had never stayed in Deming for more than a week in the past, so this was a chance to find our way around town and get the feel of the area. We stayed at El Rancho Lobo RV Park. It was 12 miles outside of town in the middle of the desert. Most people find the desert to be bland and uninteresting, but I think there is a peaceful feeling to it. There are coyotes, jackrabbits, roadrunners, beautiful sunsets,flowering cactus, and hundreds of miles of open space. We didn't get much sightseeing done during this stay because of the winds. The spring is the time of the year when the winds are the strongest -- sometimes reaching 50 mph. This windy period lasts only about a month and a half. But by the time the winds were done, we were on our way north again.

Entrance to State Park area
A Bottomless Lake
Mountain Top View
Another View from the Mountain Top  Top
May 21 - June 17,2005 --
     We left Deming, NM and traveled to Roswell, NM. We had lived in Roswell from 1968-1973 and were anxious to see what changes had taken place in the intervening years. When we lived there, they had yet to realize the advantages of alien visitors. Today there are many buildings designed like alien crafts or decorated with aliens and spaceships. The entire town has embraced the idea of visitors from space. While in Roswell, we visited Bottomless Lakes State Park. The Bottomless Lakes are small lakes that seem to have no bottom and are set in hollows in the cliffs. We stayed in Roswell for a week. Since we had doctor appointments at the end of June, we left Roswell and started heading back to Illinois. Our trip back took us to Amarillo, TX; through Oklahoma, Carthage, MO,& Edwardsville, IL; and finally to Yorkville, IL where we stayed at Hide-Away Lakes Campground. Even though we had lived in this area for about 30 years, we had never been to Yorkville and the surrounding area. After a week in Yorkville, we moved to the driveway of our previous residence for a couple of weeks. During this visit we got to spend time with our daughter Kaycee, son Jim and his wife Kathy, granddaughters Misty, Destini, and Natasha. It was a wonderful visit. But all good things must come to an end. We took off from Bolingbrook and traveled to Tarentum, PA to visit my Aunt and Uncle and Cousins in Lower Burrell, PA. Lower Burrell is a suburb of New Kensington and Pittsburgh, PA. We stayed at Mountain Top View Campground. This campground was on a mountaintop (hence, the name) and the views of the Alleghany Mountains were beautiful. We spent a great couple of days in Pennsylvania and then pointed our motorhome toward the west again.

Horses wandering the campground
Horses being herded by MiniVan
Corn Palace
corn Palace  Top
June 20-Aug.24,2005 --
     Leaving Bolingbrook was almost like starting over from the beginning. This tour took us through Iowa. We had driven through Iowa many times, but had never stayed for any length of time. One of our extended stays was spent in Nashua, IA at River Ranch Camping. This campground was on the Cedar River and had a small petting zoo of sorts. They had a number of horses, deer and a camel. I have no idea what purpose the Camel served, but he was cute. Large inner tubes were available for renting and were used to ride the length of the river. On the weekends, there were people everywhere. But during the week, we were the only ones there (other than the campground host). It was a beautiful park-like setting, and very quiet. One day the horses got out of the corral and were found wandering the campground eating grass. The host came along with his mini-van and attempted to herd them back home. They didn't want to go and it was funny to watch. From Iowa, we traveled to South Dakota. We stopped outside of Sioux Falls to collect our mail, then headed to Mitchell, SD. Mitchell is the home of the Corn Palace, which is an exhibition center that is decorated each year with pictures done in corn. The decorating of the Corn Palace coinsides with a festival held each year in September.

North Dakota Badlands
Badlands in Teddy Roosevelt Nat'l Park
Sharing the road with Buffalo
Tall People
Big Pheasants
Flying Geese
Leaping Deer
Big Hopper  Top
Aug 28-Sept 11,2005 --
     Our visit to North Dakota started in Dickinson. We stayed at a campground west of town which we used as a base to sightsee in the area. Dickinson is not far from the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and the historic town of Medora. The park has a badlands area similar to its cousin in South Dakota. Traveling through the park, we found ourselves sharing the road with a small herd of buffalo. sorry for the unfortunate photo, but they were in front of us and I didn't want to get out of the car for a better angle. East of Dickinson is a highway that has been called "The Enchanted Highway". A local resident, in an attempt to lure more tourists to the area, has made gigantic sculptures out of scrap metal and erected them along the highway. The scultpures range from very tall people to a family of pheasants and a sculture dedicated to Teddy Roosevelt. The highway of sculptures starts at Interstate 94 with the Flying Geese and continues south for 26 miles. I had read about these sculptures before leaving Illinois and was interested in seeing them.

Mt Rushmore through the trees
Buffalo in Custer State Park
Crazy Horse Sculpture
Devil's Tower
Cooling brakes for the drive down.
Bridge crossing Royal Gorge
Tram leaving Pike's Peak
Rocky Mountains behind fog  Top
Sept 12-Oct 8,2005 --
     From Dickinson, we headed south again toward the western side of south Dakota. Our goal was to get to the southern half of the United States before bad weather invaded the area. Here it was September already and we knew that the time we had left to travel through the Dakotas and Colorado was limited. We stopped in Sturgis, SD for a couple of weeks. From this spot we visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Devils Tower in Wyoming, and Custer State Park. From Sturgis, we went to a campground a little south of Colorado Springs, CO. We drove to the top of Pike's Peak on a road that is paved for the first two-thirds of the climb and then becomes a dirt road. The drive down was really hard on the brakes. A ranger station is located about halfway down and at this point the temperature of your brakes is checked because the last half of the drive is the steepest. If the brakes are too hot, you are asked to pull over and raise your hood to help cool off your brakes. The parking lot was full of cars with raised hoods - it was a funny sight. We stayed in Sturgis for 10 days and when we left we headed south toward New Mexico. Our trip south took us through Lusk, Wy; Cheyenne, Wy; Raton, NM; Fort Sumner,NM; and Carrizozo, NM.

City of Rocks State Park
City of Rocks State Park
Coyote in Park
November Sunset  Top
Oct 9-Jan 9,2006 --
     Well, here we are in Deming, New Mexico at El Rancho Lobo RV Park again. At this time of year the winds aren't nearly as bad. There is wind, but not every day. The weather has been pretty nice the past two months. Daytime temperatures range from 55 - 70 and the sun is very hot. The nights are cold, however, since we are in the desert and at an elevation of 4300 ft. During this trip we have been able to visit the City of Rocks State Park near Silver City. These rock formations were caused first by lava flows, then by wind and water.
     The RV Park is in the middle of open range country - this means that horses and cattle are free to roam and graze. The park is fenced and has a gate that must be kept closed to keep the animals out. It only works on large animals, however. Many Jackrabbits roam inside the park and a coyote was seen in here a month ago. He posed for us to take his picture, but they blend in with the desert surroundings and can be hard to see. We also get herds of cattle and horses and donkeys that roam outside the fence in front of our campsite. It's fun to watch them, and they mostly ignore us. Once again, the sunsets and sunrises have been spectacular. This RV Park had Thanksgiving and a Christmas dinners for all of us in the park, some people from town, and the owner's out-of-town relatives. The park supplied the meat and potatoes and everyone who came brought a dish or dessert. There were about 50 people in attendance so the food was plentiful and exceptionally good. This has been a wonderful year, and we will end it by planning what direction to take in the beginning of 2006.

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