Four Winnebago motorhomers are spending winter in
Winnie 3 – Elizabeth Baldridge from
Winnie 2 – Carol Rayburn from ‘where my motorhome is parked’ but her mail goes to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. She travels with Zia, a cat. Her comments will be BLUE
Winnie 1 – Carol Anderson from
On December 1, they will be joined by Winnie 4 – Roberta Cox, from ‘wherever she is parked’. She travels ‘pet-less’—well, no not quite. She has some bobble-head birds on her dash that she counts as her pets when the pet subject comes up. Her comments will be VIOLET.
These first three Winnies met up at
Here’s a photo of (left to right) Carol Rayburn, Carol Anderson and Elizabeth Baldridge. It was taken near the mouth of
The loose plans are to wander around southern
Starting December 1, the four Winnie friends will be spending December and January at Driftwood RV Haven in
Winnie 1: When I was asked to join the Winter Texas trip, I didn’t have to be coaxed. As the motorhomer with the least experience, I looked forward to this opportunity. Last winter I had spent two-plus months at
Winnie 2: I had been to far southern
Winnie 3: I’ve been looking forward to winter travels in
Winnie 1: What would have been a boring 160-mile drive east – from Las Cruces, through El Paso and into Van Horn – became entertaining as the ‘parade’ of NASCAR trucks passed headed west on their way to the next NASCAR race in Phoenix. The trucks were brightly painted with drivers’ names and sponsor logos. Winnie 2 was leading, Winnie 3 in the middle, and I was at the end. The three of us are communicating by CBs, using our Winnie designations. This route also took us through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint. Winnie 2 and 3 were waved through, I was stopped. The Border patrolman asked, “Are the three of you traveling together?” When I replied Yes, before waving me through, he asked, “By yourselves?” Even though there are plenty of single gals traveling in RVs, we still seem an oddity to many. The usual comment is: “You are so brave!” Or from many women, “I could never do that.”
I like the quote by Norman Vincent Peale: “People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success.”
Winnie 1: With a stiff headwind for much of the 70-mile drive east, the NASCAR parade continued until we left the highway. The overnight stop at this Texas State Park rewarded us with numerous bird sightings, including Green and Gray Herons, Swainson’s and Redtail Hawks, Cattle Egrets, both Gambel and Scaled Quail, and Marsh Sparrows at the nearby lake and the park’s wetland preserve. I’m discovering the benefit of having tow vehicles available: both Carol R and
Winnie 2: This state park was really a “find” and is convenient to I-10. It is said to be a desert oasis which it truly is. Native Americans camped in this area for centuries, followed by Spanish explorers, Mexicans, and finally by Americans.
Winnie 3: I’m planning a return to Balmorhea on my way back home. The pool is very inviting as are the paved areas for riding the bike. The birding is also spectacular.
Winnie 1: After three days of driving – albeit short ones – it was time to settle in for a few days. We couldn’t have picked a better location than
Winnie 2: The bird watching was very good here. The park has a special area set aside for birders to sit and observe the numerous birds that come to the feeders. Zia was entertained by a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet that kept flying around the coach’s windows and mirrors. This park is definitely one that I could spend more time in—a very relaxing and beautiful location.
Winnie 3: I always am eager to see and experience area wild life. However, on one particular evening at
They are not wild pigs, but rather a distinct species that have migrated north and have been in this area since the 1700s. O, yes. They will not continue to migrate to Alamosa because it is too cold. Darn!
If you are not familiar with javelinas, here’s information we found. First of all, they are not pigs or hogs. They have large heads, delicate, slender legs, and relatively small feet. Their hair is wiry and bristly, some hairs reach six inches in length. Also called collared peccaries, they are near-sighted. They live in a word of scent and sound. And they also have a pungent, skunky odor. They can grunt, bark, woof, and growl. They have four toes on their forefeet, but only three on the hind feet, short tails usually hidden under their hair, and short, rounded ears that stand upright. They have 38 teeth – including two straight, canine teeth that protrude upwards from their lower jaw. Babies, called piglings, are one-pound miniature javelinas and trail mom like little stick-tights. What starts out as a cute, tiny baby will one day become a 40 to 50 pound adult with an attitude – and a javelina’s razor-sharp canine teeth inflict a nasty bite.
Winnie 1: An unwelcomed night visitor – one or more javelinas – was determined to find out what was in my heavy-duty plastic container. He left his teeth-marks on the lid.
The town of
At a little more than 5,000 feet elevation, this is the highest town in the state. Carol R and Carol A explored the one-street downtown area, and were amazed to find a broom maker at work.
The town is named for a frontier fort that closed in 1891 but has been restored and is open to the public as Fort Davis National Historic Site. Numerous buildings are open; there is a small museum and visitor center.
The McDonald Observatory, near Fort Davis
The observatory is one of the major astronomical research facilities in the world. It has a major solar viewing program that includes interactive telescope views of sunspots, flares, etc. Check it out at mcdonaldobservatory.org. One of the telescopes, the Hobby-Eberly, has the world’s largest telescope mirror with 91 hexagonal mirrors positioned over a 36 foot-wide surface. It is the 4th most powerful telescope in the world and, after the forthcoming upgrade is completed, it will probably be the 3rd most powerful. Construction and operation of this particular telescope has been a joint project involving three
Winnie 2: This is definitely a “do not miss” tour if you are anywhere nearby!
Marfa – and the “mystery lights”