Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Aaaargh!!!!! Internet on the road ...

Sporadic, low bandwidth, often nonexistent and NO internet cafes, all conspire to make life as we now know it frustrating to say the least. There are often no Starbucks, MacD's or DQs in most of the areas that we are finding ourselves in of late. So what is done? Curse, yell, pull out one's hair? Simply do without and become increasingly frustrated as the days go by.

That said, we do at times find restaurants that offer free wifi but usually it is when we don't have our computers with us, only our cells and that is limiting in and of itself. Some people are able to ;I've completely off their cell phones, our grands for example, but I find it hard to type on the small keyboards and often times the mobile aspect of what you are trying to do is less than stellar. hmmmm I wonder if I kept a small bluetooth keyboard in the car that I could attach to the cell. Will have to try this today - we have cell service, well 2-3 bars of 3G, in town.

Our tripping across and around America since our last blogging has led us to:
~in and around Texas, as I had a couple of doctor appointments and we had dentist appointments. Finally we were all finished and released and could go farther afield. Didn't take us but a day to revamp the holdings in the RV and set out. Our first stop for other than a night is ....
~Red Cedar, Oklahoma. From here we were able to car trip up the Talimena Scenic Drive, have lunch at the Lodge (yes it is once again open but the campground still has water issues) and down the other side in a circular route. Here we did a couple of geocaches leaving some for future visits. (is that a good excuse for not pursuing them all?) [photos] Danny was also able to get in some mountain biking off-road. Then it was on to ...

~Tulsa, Oklahoma where we had a wonderful visit with DS#2 and his lovely wife. Tulsa is a great city, full of opulent buildings, for the most part, done in the art deco style. There are also lots of green spaces and tourist attractions. One of the amazing museums is about the very affluent Afro-American community that existed during the boom years.
Our trip towards our next stop took us through a couple of interesting areas where we stopped  for an overnight visit and a touristing experience:
    - Roman Nose State Park, northwest of Oklahoma City which allowed us the opportunity to go about in the car [photo]
    - Kingfisher, Oklahoma where we visited a very well appointed Chisholm Trail museum.[photo] It is here that one of my firmly held beliefs was dispelled - the fact that Chisholm (photo) wasn't a rancher driving cattle, but rather a trader who was well thought of by the Indians and traversed the route trading that was to become the Chisholm Trail that the cattle drives followed. He was also the man responsible for helping the government to enter into treaties with the Indians, that they later broke. Oddly enough there was a geocache right in the living display of the museum in memory of the Ma Dalton (they have her old cabin) who had numerous sons of which 4 turned bad.
    - Red Rock Canyon, Oklahoma [photo] where we did a series of geocaches.

~ Caprock Canyon State Park, Texas was our next 4 day stopover. Here the buffalo roamed freely, even through the campsite [photos]. Danny was able to ride a Rails to Trails here that was overshadowed by a threatening thunder storm. There was a tunnel on this route that he was particularly keen on riding. Hiking in and out of the canyons gave for a beautiful scenic day, again overshadowed by the threat of the usual afternoon thunder storms. The wind blew furiously at times while at other times it was but a gentle breeze. This is a state park worth visiting again: the drives through the canyons are wondrous with steep grades at more than a couple of spots [photo]; the wildlife is abundant and not really afraid of people as there are so many visitors to the park; bird are also abundant; we know that there was probably rock art in the area but we certainly weren't adventurous to venture far into the canyons with the threat of thunderstorms and resulting flash floods; and let but not least, we were able to do a few geocaches.

~Albuquerque, New Mexico was our next stopover. Here Danny was hoping to get in some really good mountain biking but the trees had a better idea. The pollen was horrendous, the worst that I have ever known it to be. We both were laid flat with the resulting effects. In spite of taking antihistamines (the non-drowsy kind and thus less potent) we still suffered horribly. Still we got out for some much needed shopping and I was able to do a small amount of sewing. Sewing is hard when your eyes are swollen, watering, and itchy all at the same time.
As we left ABQ and headed towards our next stopover, we happened upon a great little museum a ways off of I-25.[photo] Commemorating the exploits of the Camino Real from Mexico City to Santa Fe, New Mexico, the modern, recently built museum was a history lesson throughout. Much of the information I was already well aware of having traversed parts of it, stopping at all the waypoint informational signs, and yes, even in Texas. Mentioned was the information about a lady who had completed the whole historical "Royal Road" by whatever means it took to go on it, all the while photographing the points, people, and anything of interest. A great coffee table book and from it I can see a possible hiking/bicycling trail/ATVing/4WDing trail in the future. To be so lucky as to have it drivable. Imagine driving something that took a whole year to traverse in that time period.

~Deming, New Mexico was our next stop. This time to visit with good friends. The wind is horrendous so leaves little to no windows for cycling. Both are now in their late 70's, early80's and have slowed down just a very little. B still rides but often times he has to be pushed and prodded by P. to get out and do it. LOL Sounds like me and DH. We did spend the evening playing dominoes - Chickenfoot and within the early learning curve for Moon.

~Rodeo, NM was next up and here we sat at the base of the Chiricahua Mountains and National Monument. [photo] A short drive and we were in Arizona. The park is actually in Arizona whenever we went to the lodge to eat or to listen to the music of the hour, we crossed over into another time zone - 1 hour earlier - which we always forgot and consequently we were always an hour early for everything. LOL
A trip to Douglas, AZ on the border with Mexico [photo] was a day trip. Along the way we saw the monument for Geronimo's surrender. Didn't stop because we wanted to go to Agua Prieto, Mexico for lunch. It was too bad as there were geocaches all along the road and it turns out that the grands great grandfather was the person that Geronimo surrendered to and they would have loved to have a photo of the monument and sign. Oh well, next time.
From Rusty's RV Park in Rode we went to ...

~Reserve, NM where we are currently parked for the next 4 days. Reserve is little community that has  number of restaurants and a couple of hotels. They are a stop for refueling and refreshing for the hikers on the Continental Divide Trail. Our first trip into town and what do we see? A hiker thing to hitch a ride back out to the trailhead. Apparently it is 28 miles from town and traffic is mainly work trucks which aren't allowed to pick people up. So yes, we drove him out to the trailhead. Lo and behold, there are 6 hikers trying to hitch into town. The wait is long, for traffic is scarce: So yes, 3 are brought back to town and then the second 3 are brought in.
Hikers on these long distance trails all use trail names. On the AT (Appellation Trail) Danny's started out as Idigo, his Ngöbe name from Panama but quickly became Easygoing. This is how he introduced himself. We took Numbers out to the trailhead and brought back Paperweight, Sass, and NightWatch, who is from Gr Britain and S Africa. Then we brought back Half Mile (who is a name unto himself), A Float, and The Beast. Was fun talking with them all and hearing their stories. To follow any or all go to: [link them]

Listening to all their stories makes us yearn a little for doing our own hike. But first we have to get back into shape after me being off my feet for 6 months. NightWatch, as well as the other two in the car, were quite interested in the John Muir Way in Scotland [link] and he told us about the West Highland Way [link] as well. Oh boy, two that we can do in Scotland alone and through beautiful countryside - I would think a great late summer or early fall would be the ideal time.
We have one more hike to do after today's - this one actually is up and over the "mountain " and down into a valley in order to explore a trove of petroglyphs and not to forget, the two geocaches - one at the top of the "mountain" and one near the petroglyphs. Today's hike, the Apache Creek Interpretive Trail, was switchbacking up a "mountain", walking along a basalt cliff where many wonderful petroglyphs were found, and lastly a switchback trail down the "mountain".

We are headed towards Flagstaff in a round about way, with an arrival date of May 18. Why so specific you ask. It is so out of character for us. We are headed to the Overland Expo [link this]being held just outside of Flagstaff in Mormon Lake Lodge. Here we are hoping to find the answers to all our questions about a new vehicle (ours is getting to the point of no return) and how to outfit it for some longish trips to Mexico and possibly even farther afield.

A word about geocaching. For me this is a great way to get out and get more than the usual exercise. It is fun for the seek and find as well as the getting there. What isn't fun is when you don't have cell service to fuel you gps and the gps isn't as close to ground zero as it should be. We met a lady in one of the parks who has found over 12,000 geocaches and here I was thrilled when I hit over 225 finds. Will have to get busier than I am currently and find some more. If interested, go to [link] for further information.

And for now we head out again day on Friday heading up and over the mountains of Arizona towards our destination, Flagstaff. Our plans beyond are somewhat fluid after our upcoming trip the first week of June to DisneyWorld with the two youngest grands. That will be a lot of fun. Then we have a trip to Calgary, Canada for a July 2 wedding. Our niece is getting married and it is a great chance to see all the family again. Then, do we turn right and go East or do we turn left and go West? We probably won't even make the final decision until we are actually there. It would be nice to spend a bit of time in Banff National Park and we both are looking forward to an eventual trip to the Maritimes. Will it be this year? Tune in for a final decision ...