12/24/03 Update

Merry Christmas

14 Dec 03, Sunday: American RV, Vinton, TX

We got an early start from the Prude Ranch in Fort Davis, heading north on Rt 118 - a magnificent ride with the rising sun at our back highlighting the mountain tops and mountain vistas. This is a truly beautiful area and we hope to return. Then it was west on I-10 with lots of other folks; okay, pleasantly uneventful, and five hours later we were getting gas in El Paso and then pulled into American RV and Marine just west of El Paso.

We were here a year ago while shopping for an RV, but they've added a campground while we were off doing other things. We thought $27.95 a bit pricey-we could get $5 off if we'd put decals on our rig. Cal said, "No decals" and we started to walk away. The gal said, "Well, I could let you stay for $22.95 and no decals, plus we're serving lunch today and breakfast is free. That got our attention! So we hooked up in this 100-site area, but there are only 20 other rigs here, and we have an unobstructed view of the mountains on three sides. Our hamburgers were delicious. It's very quiet and a super place for Cal to compute and Connie to make a beef stew and blue berry muffins.

15 Dec 03, Mon: Horseman RV, Lordsburg, NM

In just a couple of minutes after leaving American RV on the edge of El Paso, we were in New Mexico cruising on I-10. We knew that Liz and Stan were at the Coachlight RV Park in Las Cruces so decided to make an early morning delivery of blue berry muffins - it was 9 a.m. Eastern time or 7 a.m. local.

The morning dawned sunny but complete with ferocious wind, dust-filled wind giving a brown haze to everything. We stopped in Deming to top off the gas tank and a handy Wal Mart enabled us to replenish other stock. The wind was so strong that it really wasn't much fun to be outside the vehicle, and, as the afternoon progressed, it was less and less tolerable to be on the highway.

Towns, even small ones, are practically non-existent along I-10 in New Mexico. We found no indication of campgrounds in Lordsburg, but since it was our last chance to stop before proceeding onto a scenic, secondary road, we decided to get off the interstate to see what it had to offer. We very quickly came upon an "RV" sign and an area that looked to have possibilities. There was a note on a tired-looking trailer advising that if the office were closed, hook up and someone would come by later. We were very relieved to have a place to park our wheels and with full hook-ups to boot. It would have been $10 extra for our horse!!

We've rested this afternoon and evening; the wind is still blowing but with less fury so we'll see what tomorrow has in store.

15 Dec 03, Tue: DeAnza Trails RV Park, Amado, AZ

We were planning to run down to Douglas and Sierra Vista this week, but the temperature at sunrise was 12 degrees, so we changed our plans and focused our activities in the direction of Yuma. After a stop at Camping World in Tucson and some exposure to warm sun, we decided to head south on Rt. 19. This area of southeastern Arizona is beautiful with mountain peaks of 9000 feet.

The park we zeroed in on, De Anza Trails in Amado, has decided not to honor either Passport or Rec USA so we are in for one night only.

17-18 Dec 03-04, Wed, Thu: Patagonia Lake State Park, Nogales, AZ

This morning we continued south on Rt. 19 to Nogales and the Mexican border. Our destination, the Patagonia Lake State Park, nestled in the rolling hills, is truly a treasure. From our kitchen window we're looking down on this 265-acre lake created by a dam, and there are mountains all around us. This afternoon we walked around the park, down to the swimming beaches, the marina, visitor center, etc. We've decided to stay here another day. The temperture climbed to 60 degrees in the shade on Wed. and 70 degrees on Thu. but, with the sun and only the slightest breeze, it feels warmer than that. This is another beautiful park in a totally natural setting.

19-21 Dec 03, Fri. - Sun: Pueblo del Sol Resort, Sierra Vista, AZ

Now that its warmed up significantly, we're going to Sierra Vista. The sixty miles northeast on Rt. 82 to 90 and then southeast on Rt. 92 were very picturesque which is the rule for this part of southeastern Arizona.

Pueblo del Sol Resort is quite elegant and upscale as indicated by the rate of $34/night. However, with the Passport rate of $17/night, we're signed in for three nights. It's on high ground, completely surrounded by mountains, and the club house, pool and hot tub are exceptionally fine. We're parked in an area of the park where the mountains are the closest and highest-love it!

When we e-mailed our friends, Janet and Howie, who live in Sierra Vista and whom we visit when in the area, they suggested we meet them at Peter Piper Pizza. The family would be celebrating their granddaughter's 7th birthday. We occupied two tables, one for the adults, and one for the kids - Rachel (the 7-year old), her siblings and friends - and what a great bunch of kids they are. Before and after the pizza there was plenty of time for the kids to enjoy video games and for the older folks to chat.

Around noon Saturday, Stan and Liz pulled in beside us. This is the warmest day of our winter adventure so Liz and Connie took advantage of the heated pool and Stan joined us for some hot-tub time

The shiny, spiffy-looking diner out on the main road a short distance from our sites was a likely candidate for the evening meal and what a super idea that proved to be. The pot roast and gravy, mashed, vegies, and apple pie a la mode couldn't have been better

22 Dec 03, Mon: Crazy Horse RVP, Tucson, AZ

It's time to move on, and this morning we received a prompt response from our daughter-in-law re a homeopathic remedy for Connies blepharitis (itching and watering eyes). Cal searched on computer for health food stores in Sierra Vista, and we hopped in the car to shop based on information gleaned. Didn't find what we needed so back to the computer, now searching for same in Tucson. A phone call revealed Wild Oats Health Market had just what we needed.

We zeroed in on a campground that would be near our Tucson destination and also convenient for our departure the following morning, and we bade Liz and Stan a fond adieu.

We thoroughly enjoyed our picturesque trip 79 miles north to Tucson via Routes 92, 82 and 83. It was very interesting to be viewing flat grasslands along Rt. 82, and the instant we turned north onto 83, the terrain was very hilly and reminded us of the Hill Country of Texas. Sure do love Arizona!!

Our shopping trip on W. Speedway (well named) in Tucson was successful, and we were happy to settled down at Crazy Horse for the night.

23-26 Dec 03, Tue-Fri: Caballo Loco Ranch, Tucson, AZ

Thanks to more searching on the computer, Cal found a Ford garage nearby that was very happy to change Kenzie's oil this morning. While that was being done, we entertained ourselves at a nearby WalMart.

>From Tucson we traveled southwest on Hwy 86 for 20 miles, at Robles Junction (Three Points) turned left on Hwy 286, and went 11 miles to the Caballo Loco mailbox. At that point we turned left on to 8 miles of gravel road, and here we are at Caballo Loco Ranch nestled in the foothills of the Sierrita Mts.

Electricity is furnished by the Ranch generators from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. We are fine with our batteries during quiet hours. Phone service is Cellular only. It may be remote out here, but it's a very lively, friendly place where we have a sitewith full hookups and mountain vistas. We were just in time to get in on the pot luck supper which is a Tuesday ritual. And, get this, two couples stopped by our coach to be sure we knew about it and urge us to join them - that's special.

Tonight, Christmas Eve, we're all going to the clubhouse for chili, compliments of the Ranch hosts. That will be followed by gift exchange around the Christmas tree - we knew about this before we left Tucson so are prepared.

We wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Cal and Connie