TEXAS TO ARIZONA
A Winter Walk in the Desert
This is a daily journal of our trip to Arizona. Berts journal is designated (BF) and Sharis is (SF). The heading on each day specifies where we ended the day or, in some cases, where we spent the majority of the day. Milepost is the number of total miles we have driven by the end of the day in the motor home, not including the car. The number in parentheses indicates miles driven that day in the motorhome.
Day 1- January 29, 1998 - Milepost 507 (507 today) Balmorhea State Park, TX
(SF). The day is one of those picture perfect Texas days with nary a cloud in the sky, temperature in the 60s and just a hint of spring in the air. Automap routes us on State Road 29, a lovely road through some of Texas' best scenery (rolling hills dotted with mesquite). Few cars travel the road with us and we see few people outside the towns. Some men are fixing a fence, another group is repairing a utility pole and two youth are picking trash from the highway. We travel through the town of Mason where I had attended a wedding some 15 years ago. It looks like it hasn't changed much. The old St. Paul's Lutheran Church still stands prominently at the entrance as if to welcome guests into town and the renovated courthouse sits proudly in the center of the square which is populated by neatly adorned businesses. The setting almost makes me want to stop and linger awhile. We pass a sign that says "Exotics for Sale" and I wonder what it is. We see a herd of multicolored deer but nothing else. The next ranch has Emus grazing its fields. Many rest areas dot this route beckoning us to linger over lunch or just drink in the scenery. At Junction we pick up I-10 and notice the west's difference from its eastern half. We see few cars and trucks and even fewer towns. During my turn to drive, I put the cruise control on 65 mph and RTENT seems to drive itself. I notice gas prices inching upward from the low 95.9 cents per gallon that we had at home to $1.25 and even $1.32 west of Junction. We finally are forced to fill up in Fort Stockton but find stations off the road are almost 10 cents per gallon cheaper at $1.16. Our stop for the night is Balmorhea State Park - a park with electricity and water and even CABLE TV for $12.00 per night with our Texas pass. It is advertised as a refreshing Texas oasis and that it is. San Solomon Springs provides a natural cool source of water for the park's large swimming pool. People for miles around come to swim and even scuba dive in the pool all summer long. As soon as we hook up and level off, we take a walk around the grounds and notice the habitat is rich with birds. On our return, we observe the evening's sunset fall behind the Davis Mountains casting its rich colors of peach, blue and orange on the horizon.
(BF). I wouldn't drive across town to visit a flea market, much less cross country. But given all the birding trips Shari has tagged along, I didn't argue when she said she wanted to go shopping in Southwest Arizona, a 3-day drive from College Station. I had heard of Quartzsite, but I always thought it was a mineral, not an overgrown flea market. Shari educated me on that too. Our drive today is pleasant and one I've taken many times before. Unlike many states, Texas is large enough to include multiple geographies. So today we again pass from our native Post Oak Savannah, through Blackland Prairies by early morning, then the escarpment which introduces the hill country and Edward's Plateau where we enjoy lunch. The afternoon brings us through the rugged terrain of West Texas, especially after we cross the Pecos River. We dock our motorhome for the evening in a desert oasis at Balmorhea and enjoy a late afternoon stroll as the sun sets and the winter evening coldness chills the summerlike day.
Next Day Itinerary