Sunday, May 3, 2015



22 - 26 Apr

When going off the grid, it becomes hard to keep up with all the actives that we do. Last year when this happend I feel behind and missed three months of our travels with places like BC Canada, Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP that never made it to this blog. I hope I learned from that experance this time around.

The next five days we will be off the grid with no cell phone connections and only our genator to provide us with the short amount of power we'll need to reheat some of our food. I enjoy the times we are off the grid as we spend our days out of the RV exploring mother nature together. The only down side is the weather is still hot at night making it almost impossible to sleep. But, we came up with a few good ideas on how to try and remain cool to beat the heat. Day temputers in the high 80's to low 90's and night temptures in the mid 60's. One thing is for sure, every morning was a Claritin morning.

Before departing Fort Bliss FAMCAMP we stopped to eat lunch on base in Freedom Plaza at Texas Roadhouse. We ordered the Wendsday special of 8oz steak dinner for $9.99. We were so full there was no need to take another bit of food for the rest of the day. As we got back to the RV, we hooked up the car to the dolly and hit the road for Big Bend NP. Over a seven hour drive, We saw no markings of a rest stops on the map along US 385, so with less than three hours remaining we stopped on the last I-10 rest stop before turning off on US 385.  We would finish the less than three hour drive the next day. We arrived at our campground in Big Bend NP around midday so we still had time to do some sightseeing. Two and a half day of dry camping and mother nature what else could you ask for.

Driving the RV to our campground in
Big Bend NP, did not think we would make it at first.

I've never been book smart, I've learned more hands on and first hand experiences. As a young boy I'd love to camp and explore the outdoors while in the boy scouts. Big Bend NP brought me back to that time in my life where I camped and explored with my three brothers. These pass days I tried to pass that on to Hiromi. Coming from Japan she has never experienced such a wide spread beauty, this was my gift to her and a a glimpse into my boyhood past.

The Rio Grande River is the boarder between the US and Mexico. The river flows west to south 70+ miles before it starting the bend and moves 100+ miles north. This Bend in where the National Park gets it's name "Big Bend". Big Bend has a lot of history were at one time there was a 100 acres of cotton field (the campground where the cotton field use to be is called cottonwood). It was once a major customs office for good brought over from Mexico. At one time it was also the Headquarters for the Texas Rangers (law enforcement, not the baseball team). During prohibition smugulers tried to bring alocholic over the Rio Grande from Mexico to the US.

Big Bend NP is the size of Rhould Island and sometimes we were so far out we did not see another person for hours. Seeing this kept the stories I heard true as Big Bend is the largest NP and least visited. There is a boarder crossing into Mexico, but we stayed in the US and explored what Big Bend had to offer.

We only spent three days dry camping and in that short time we did a lot of hiking. Our first night we went to the natural hot springs along the Rio Grande River. The off road drive getting there was narrow and times I thought Hiomi would drive us off the road and into the dry river bed or into the mountain side trying to stay on the road. She did neither and we got to ejoy the hot springs.

The next two days consisted of hiking canyon floors and mountain ranges. Where else other than Big Bend NP can you explore desert, mountains and rivers all in one place? None that we have found ... yet!

Nothing like surprising Hiromi with breakfast
before we start our day of hiking

The first sign we pass driving to our hiking trail.
Fortunately (or unfortunately), we did not see a bear or lion.

However, we did see a lot of these colorful guys while 
hiking the mountain side to Balance Rock.

Hiromi standing next to a Ocotillo that stands
taller than her.
 Me, stand next to a Century. They live up to 50 years
and reproduce only once before dying.
Hiking along the canyon (East side of the park) 
Hiking along the canyon (West side of the park) 
 Hiromi taking a break from the Hot Texas
heat under a large rock.
Some the the ruins left behind. 
Seashell rock.
 After many years, a cactus growing out of old door way.

One thing to keep your eye open for are the illegal souvenirs. Mexicans will cross the river illegally and place these on trails leaving a pay jar and then cross back into Mexico. The park rangers inform you about this and not to buy them. If caught, customs will take them from you.

 We could have used our shower in the RV, but the only water we had was what is in the tank. By the time the water heater would heat the water most of the water would have been gone and our gray tank would be full. If lucky we would only have one day of showers in the hot south Texas sun. so we came up with a idea. Every morning I would fill up one gallon water jugs with the water in the campground bathrooms and lay them out in the sun all day to get warm. After dinner we would take our dry camping showers.

We are both looking forward to taking a normal shower once we return to civilization.

What's next?
San Antonio, TX

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