Getting to Port Aransas by ferry via Aransas Pass.
This will be home for a month.
We are in San Angelo Texas and yes everything is actually big here!
Maybe nudging people while tailgating?
Chasing armadillos in the brush?
Maybe herding those big Longhorns.
I’m sure your mind can run wild!
The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends!
Sand Hollow SP is a very nice park outside St George with great separation between sites. It’s a large man made lake with two dams filled with bass. We actually walked around the lake looking for Moqui Marbles. Also walking the sand stone cliffs.
Our Grandaughter Charlotte brought her parents to Sand Hollow SP Hurricane, Utah for a visit. It’s was a short visit but a very enjoyable time we had together. Grandma Uhoh that she calls Michelle (Charlottes name for Michelle’s rooster call she has heard since the day she was born) has been gitty for weeks since hearing there might be an early visit. So they had desert walks, looking for flowers, rocks, exploring the water line and watching a Nemo movie eating popcorn.
Here are a few pictures from our visit. In a week we will be in Park City visiting again for a month.
We decided to tour Biosphere 2, since we love Biosphere 1 where we have been living our whole life!
This was a pretty amazing place with a very interesting story that out guide presented. We got our tickets off of Groupon and saved a bunch. Here are a few pictures from our tour. It’s now owned by the University of Arizona and used to advance the understanding of natural and man made environments. It consists of 7 model Eco systems that you walk through under one large experimental apparatus. There’s a rainforest, with 90 tropical trees handpicked to not exceed 90 feet in growth, so as not to outgrow their environment; a forested swamp dominated by mangroves, a tropical savanna, coastal fog desert, and an ocean. All these are under one building plus the equipment and housing for the inhabitants.
Just looking at it from the outside is interesting, but what’s inside and how all of this works together is the amazing part.
The last few pictures of the air bladder, which is one of the two there, referred to as ” the lungs” is what totally blew me away! We walked in the long tunnel or airway from the main complex than into the lung. It was very windy at the entrances and exits. The roof of the bladder or lung expands and contracts with the changing pressure brought on by the changing temperatures through out a 24 hour period. The rubber and concrete roof weights 13 tons and in one day it raises and lowers 6 to 8 feet from the changing pressure inside the biosphere. The legs and feet as seen in the picture land on the floor in the totally relaxed pressure. If not for these two lungs the structure and glass would either blow out or caved in. Pretty ingenious stuff!
The outside of the lung
Today, most of the facility is opened to the public for tours, but the original purpose was to house people to see if they could survive in a totally contained world. The first group of 8 people to inhabit Biosphere 2 stayed inside for two years (1991 to 1993) – I would love to hear some of their stories around a campfire!
One would think, with the name being Valley of Fires, that just maybe it would be a tad bit on the warm side – well maybe thousands of years ago, when the lava was flowing red hot it was! Anyway, Valley of Fires is a very quiet and serene place to just kick back and relax a few days, and since leaving Elephant Butte last week, that is exactly what we have been doing. If you want to know what a person hard of hearing hears, come to this place – not a sound anywhere, and the views for miles out onto the lava flows are wonderful, as are the well maintained trails throughout the park.
We have thoroughly enjoyed our week here hiking the trails, geocaching, and just some down time to chill out – literally with temperatures at night sometimes down to 17 degrees – we haven’t done a good job of following our 68 degrees, but we have pretty much figured out how to live it and enjoy what we have.
The BLM campground is a good one ($18.00 a night with senior pass $9.00) with very nice new-looking and very clean bathrooms with large shower stalls. There are 14 good sized electrical sites here, most of them aren’t level so you need blocking to drive up on the low side.
There is a paved path through a portion of the lava fields, with information placed periodically to let you know the how and why of this ancient lava flow – very informative. We walk the 2/3 mile trail, at least once daily with Calle – she loves it. It is permissible to go off the path and explore more if you like, but we try to keep off the lava flow because parts can be as sharp as glass for her pads. This lava flow happened some 5000 years ago; Little Black Peak erupted and flowed 44 miles into the Tularosa Basin four to six miles wide and 160 feet thick. It’s considered one of the youngest flows in the US.
It seems everywhere we go, we have questions about what we observe, and we are really appreciating the information made available. As you will see in some of the pictures below, we found a fence post and barbed wire out in the middle of some of the lava flow, or at least it looks like the fence and wire was there first, but that is highly unlikely since the lava flow is any where between 3000 and 5000 years old – interesting anyway. What I wonder about is the lava appears to wrap around the fence post and barbed wire going through the lava. Now how do you figure that. I don’t know but sure made me wonder!
When you talk to hosts and rangers at the state parks you can sometimes find out interesting things that most people passing through don’t get to find out. Such was the case when we were staying at Rockhound State Park; we were informed of a “secret” about a few ancient petroglyphs at the City of Rocks. We didn’t know anything about them on our last visit, so it was fun to explore and go find them this visit. There are seven of them scattered throughout the towering rock formations, and not everybody can see them just walking through- it helps to have some inside knowledge ( if you ask the right people, they will give you a sheet with some hints as to where to find them). Michelle was lucky enough to obtain the magic sheet and on one of our exploring days we set off to find all of them. I’m not sure how old they are, but you can tell they are the real thing once you get to them. Keep in mind these rocks were pushed up from volcanic activity a very long time ago, apparently the rocks were always there, they were just covered with soft earth that was eventually removed by time and the natural elements of wind and rain. So the petroglyphs up high on the large rocks were probably made at a time when the earth was covering most of the formation of rock. It would be interesting to see what this place will look like in 500 years, if there are still people around who will care. Finding the petroglyphs was a fun adventure, a little bit like a treasure hunt, you follow the clues given and they are fairly easy to spot and walking through the rocks that are found in many shapes and sizes, as well as teetering on top of larger rocks is very interesting. Plus you get to see amazing birds of prey (owls and hawks to name two that we saw) perched on these rocks waiting for small critters to pounce on. So with the hints in hand we set out.. We found them all and they are very interesting!
The weather guessers had us moving 2 days before a storm was suppose to hit; we decided if we moved out of the City of Rocks early we could beat the predicted storm to Elephant Butte State Park (South Monticello) that I just adore because of the solitude of the place. Most people don’t want to be this far from civilization; that’s exactly why I love it so much! The clear, bright night skies with awe-inspiring stars, the stellar peace and quiet and the uncrowded park with wide open spaces is everything I want! This park also provides a closer distance to get Michelle to the Albuquerque airport to fly out to Salt Lake City to see our granddaughter. So with good weather the day we decided to travel, we drove the distance to the airport, about a two hour drive – all freeway. It happened to be Christmas Day and we had the road almost all to ourselves. I was back to Huey about the same time she landed in SLC!
The next day the weather guessers finally got one correct; I experienced 19 degree weather with 37 mph winds with a major snowstorm blizzard like conditions, really not what we expect on the desert in New Mexico! The snow during the night was completely horizontal and actually fun to watch because it never got a chance to land and stick. But Huey shook and groaned all night and the next day from the wind. The drop off behind Huey was pretty deep with snow, I really thought about throwing Calle off the edge and into the drift just to see what she would do. But I decided not to cause I thought I might have to rescue her. This whole storm was as intense as the guessers said it would be. I’m just glad we were at the edge of it and not getting the full brunt of the storm that eastern New Mexico and Roswell got. They had 10 foot drifts of snow and they are still trying to dig out of it. So there you have it – just another new adventure in the days of moving along the highway.
We really like the little heater that my Dad used in his garage to do his projects. It’s a very compact size, but keeps Huey very warm during temperatures down to 15 degrees outside. We have the one that my Mom gave to us, that was Dad’s in our bedroom and Michelle found another at a garage sale in Port Orford for 5 bucks that we use in the front of the RV. Between the two of them blasting at night we can keep the indoor temp at 65 degrees, very comfortable. At full blast they’re using 20 amps, saving our propane for other times – may as well use free electricity!