On Tour with J&B, Week 1, 2017

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Loading up in La Quinta, making sure the bikes are secure.

. . . The neighbors wanted to see what we were up to.

Arco, Golf Center Parkway, Indio.

This week we drove from Indio to Galveston, Texas, enroute to St. Augustine, Florida (2,420 miles). A total of 1,510 miles (62% of the way to St. Augustine), 8 driving days, approximately 24 hours driving time, according to Google! 

     We left beautiful weather in La Quinta and headed East. Didn’t take long before we found the wind, but at least for now, it was a tail wind. Loved the Arizona desert — quite different from our desert, and everywhere very green for desert with lots of flowers. Love the saguaros. Got through New Mexico without a stop, and into Texas. West Texas as expected was dry and brown . . . and windy. Once we got to Hill Country, big difference. Very green, lots of trees — and hills, of course. Really wanted to visit Austin longer and even Houston, but as you will read below, too much traffic and people, so we moved on.

Day One, Tucson — Departed All Inside Storage Sunday at 0 dark thirty . . . (well it was more like 11am but that’s a minor detail.) Drove a mile to the new Arco station on Golf Center Parkway just across the 10 freeway. It’s super convenient and reasonably priced ($3.04), as long as you have a debit card or cash, (and the key to your gas cap!). There is plenty of room for big rigs, and after fueling you can easily exit by driving out behind the car wash. We didn’t fill up because diesel in cheaper in Arizona.

     First stop, Ehrenberg, Arizona for more fuel ($2.58) and DEF. Our first choice for an RV park in Tucson was full (Sentinel Peak) and ended up inconveniently southwest of town in the boonies at Justin’s Diamond RV Park. Dirt pad, Impossible to level the bus, but too late to look for another place. If anyone has found a nice RV park in the Tucson area, please tell us. Most of the parks are still full of snowbirds.

Day Two, Wilcox, AZ — played golf at the Lowe’s Ventana Canyon Resort, where we met 31 years ago! Beautiful setting in the Arizona mountains with cactus and saguaros everywhere. We were planning on staying another night in Tucson, but . . . Since we didn’t really like the RV park, and it is only day two . . . we hit the road for two hours and ended up in Wilcox, Arizona at the Cattle Rest RV Park and Saloon. Sounded like a happening place, but it wasn’t. No problem, we were too tired to do more than park, drink, eat and sleep, and it was a nice pull-through so we didn’t have to unhook.

Well, exciting night after all. Around 2 am the smoke detector decided to start chirping. John took it down, wrapped it in a towel, and locked it in the bathroom! Back to sleep. Then around 4am, several squalls swept through. The rain was heavy at times and the wind was shaking us around pretty good. Gee, glad we aren’t in tornado country . . .  yet! Woke up to clear skies and 46 degrees and wind. Time to move on.

Cattle Rest RV Park & Saloon, Wilcox, AZ. Easy overnight stop in middle of nowhere!

Saguaros have a relatively long lifespan, often exceeding 150 years. They may grow their first side arm any time from 75–100 years of age, but some never grow any arms.

The Lowe’s Ventana Canyon Resort, Canyon course — beautiful Arizona desert landscaping.

Day Three, Van Horn, TX — just trying to get to Texas. Did manage to get past El Paso, where the wind and dust were howling, gee, no surprise there. But with an 80 mph speed limit in Texas, we made good time. We felt comfortable driving about 73mph and averaging 7.3mpg — not bad. Made it to Van Horn, just another stop along the way. Lots of RV parks to choose from. This one was an easy pull through so we didn’t have to unhook the Jeep.

Day Three and Four, Fredericksburg, TX — Arrived Fredericksburg and the Quiet Creek RV Park, just 5 minutes north of downtown. Nice, new, roomy park in a convenient location. Played golf early the next morning at the Lady Bird Johnson Park Municipal Golf Course. Huge park with lots going on, including lots of RV sites. The golf course was well maintained and fun to play, although it was pretty cold and damp at 8am.

     Visited our friends from Rancho del Sol in La Quinta, Gary and Erica Hopper, who moved to Fredericksburg a year ago with their 3 horses. Wow, they built a beautiful home and horse corral and track around their property. Nice way to retire — and the best place to be in Texas, as far as we can see.

Gary and his custom Texas-sized smoker.

Gary and Erica’s backyard and a beautiful Texas sunset.
Photo: Erica Hopper

Day Five, Dripping Springs, TX —”On the way out of Fredericksburg we visited the LBJ National Historic. It was worth driving through the beautiful grounds, but in our usual style, we didn’t stop to take the tour of the Texas White House.” Couldn’t find an RV park within 30 miles of Austin (after making a dozen calls), so settled on a new park 30 minutes west. Here’s where we made a big mistake. We were excited to see Austin, so after getting settled, we drove the Jeep into Austin, arriving there around 4pm . . . on a Friday night. Ooops. Traffic everywhere. No fun at all. No place to park and walk by the river. So, we bagged it and went an hour back to the RV.

Wildflowers are everywhere in Texas.
Photo: Erica Hopper

We visited the  LBJ National Historic Park east of Fredericksburg. Did a drive through and saw his boyhood home, schoolhouse, Hangar and Air Force One, his Texas White House. A beautiful setting.

LBJs Air Force One.

Day Six, Dripping Springs, TX — Decided we would skip the big cities for now, including Houston. We overnighted at a park in South Houston and headed to Galveston.

Crossing the Colorado River into Austin on a warm day.

Lakeview RV park, South Houston.

Day Seven, Galveston, TX — Arrived in Galveston, in very gray, but not stormy and windy weather. Our weather app assures us it will be sunny and 80 degrees tomorrow — we’re counting on it!

Seven nights on the road, and our eight and ninth nights were in Galveston.