We put quite a few miles under our wheels during the first half of August, and have seen some beautiful and amazing places. Texas has been absolutely wonderful, and we were both a little sad to approach the western border of the Lone Star State.
With August being filled with travels and new places, I’ve split the blog posts up. This one takes us to the border of New Mexico around the 19th of the month.
If you want to read an alternative telling of our travels and adventures see Vanessa’s blog here:
As always, there are always a few random posts and pix on the social media sites, but this is a pretty definitive gathering of the main highlights from our travels in early August:
South Llano River State Park, Texas
South Llano River offered a long slow float on our Walmart inflatable chairs, but at times the water was too shallow and we had to do a bit of wading too. There were lots of cycle trails, and we enjoyed a couple of long rides up into the forest.
Devil’s Sinkhole, Texas
We stayed overnight in a small town called Rock Springs, as the ominously named Devil’s Sinkhole was nearby. You can only see it on a guided tour, as a huge colony of Mexican Freetail Bats live in there. At dusk they all fly out to go hunting – an amazing spectacle.
Seminole Canyon, Texas
A tour down into the steep-sided canyon was interesting, with Native Indian pictographs decorating some of the overhanging walls, where people used to live. At its bottom end the canyon joins the Rio Grande, where you can look across to Mexico.
Pecos High Bridge
We continued westward over this spectacular bridge high over the Pecos River. Vanessa insisted that I drive this part of the journey. It was quite a daunting drive!
Marathon and Alpine
Further west we really felt like we were deep into cowboy country. The tiny town of Marathon had one hotel and a couple of arty gift shops keeping it aliive. Just to the south of town we had a small park called Pena Colorado all to ourselves for the night.
In Alpine we were lucky to find the local rodeo was scheduled that evening, and we met there with friend-of-a-friend Teresa.
Marfa and the McDonald Observatory
Marfa was an interesting little town, and we got a quick guided toour from local reporter and writer Jim, who Teresa had introduced us to. That afternoon we hauled our way up steep inclines to the McDonald Observatory high in the mountains, where we attended the weekly Star Party.
In the morning we climbed right up to the peaks to see the huge telescopes.
Davis Mountains State Park, Texas
The highlight of our visit to the scenic Davis Mountains was an early morning hike up one of the trails under the full moon. We were on the peak just as the sun was rising.
Balmorhea State Park, Texas
This place had been on my “must see” list since Michele in Austin told us about it – a huge spring-fed swimming pool, at some points up to 25 feet deep, with catfish and other wildlife.
Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas
The highest summit in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, at a whopping 8,749 feet can be reached by a steep climb of around 3,000 feet from the trailhead, where we parked for a couple of nights. It was almost impossible to capture the splendour of the views from the top. The last picture shows the mountains from below as we headed back down.
Hueco Tanks State Park, Texas
Just to the east of El Paso, Hueco Tanks was to be our last stay at a Texas State Park. The small group of mountains is a fascinating place, with many little caves and hollows in the ground which store water for long periods of time. As such, it was a place held sacred by Native Indians, and there are many pictographs. Much of the park is only accessible when on a guided tour, but we happily roamed the North Mountain, which is open to all.
El Paso, Texas
At the top of the Wyler Cablecar, where the mountaintop offers a spectacular view of El Paso far below, we met locals Victor and Sylvia. Before long we had an offer of an evening at the baseball game and a place to park overnight at Victor’s offices in town. We even managed to score a ball from the game, thanks to the family sat in front of us. It now decorates the dash of the RV.
The next day a visit to Wet’n’Wild was our last activity in Texas. We crossed the border into New Mexico.
Coming up next…
More pix from our August travels – New Mexico and Arizona, and the Grand Canyon… Plans take us westward once again to Las Vegas. From there we head north and begin heading back eastward, planning to visit a few more National Parks on our way to see the Grand Canyon from the North Rim. Further north we plan to spend a bit of time in Utah before heading east again into Colorado – hopefully plenty of spectacular scenery on the way.