Saturday, January 25, 2014

Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park
When we left Harlingen, we decided to take some extra time to visit Big Bend National Park on the way to Arizona. Big Bend was established in 1944 and is located in that bump on the map is west Texas - on the north side of the Rio Grande.  The park is known for its rich geology, over 150 miles of hiking trails and its diverse climates where over 450 bird species can be found.
  Big Bend Nat'l Park

Since we only had one day to explore the park, we took the advice of the entry ranger and chose to hike the Window View Trail.  2.2 miles each way with an extra quarter mile spur to a plateau with amazing vistas. The trail descends gradually about 1000'.   We took our time on the trail, stopping to listen to and watch for birds and critters and to simply soak in the beauty of this desert gem.  While we didn't see many people, apparently it was a work day, because there seemed to be rest stops and benches around every corner on our way in, but on the way out they were few and far between! On the return it
ascends 1000'. 

After a couple of delicious sandwiches at the Starlight Cafe, we drove the Ross Scenic  through the park to the Santa Elena Canyon.  At this point the Rio Grande River has eroded a 300 foot deep canyon - it is beautiful!  Unfortunately we didn't arrive early enough to hike into the canyon, next time we will put this at the top of the list. 

We ended out day about 3 miles outside the park in a old mining town of Terlingua.  It was home to the Chisos Mining company in the early 1900's. Now it's big claim to fame (other than cabins and park adventures) is a big Chili Cook-off.

If you can't see the slideshow in your mobile device, click on this link to go directly to the album:
Big Bend Nat'l Park

Slideshow  is here :

On Thursday morning we headed toward Tucson, hoping to get there early enough to hike at Sabino Canyon. Unfortunately, the canyon park closed at 4:30 - we drove through at 4:15.  So, on to New River, AZ, north of Phoenix - to meet Jean and Bob.  On Friday we headed out into the desert to Buckeye, were we have rented at house in Sun City Festival.  It is LOVELY!!  It feels good to stop and know we are in one spot for nearly a month.  We'll be exploring some new hiking trails, gold prospecting (Bob is the master), visiting friends and hit the Mesa Market at least once.  Meantime, there are hummingbirds visiting the backyard every afternoon and we are happy with our decision to spend this winter "not in Minnesota".
Talk at ya later!

South Texas - Family and Friends

Our short week in south Texas was all about relaxing and reconnecting.  The list of things we didn't do (Mexico, the flea market, Bass Pro Shop, Laguna Atascosa) is probably longer than the things we did.  But that's fine, we had a great visit with Mom and Dad and other friends in the Park, and we did make a trip to the beaches on South Padre - followed by shrimp at Pelican Landing.
Today's post is told mostly by the captions in the slideshow.

If you are on a mobile device, Click on the picture/ link below to get to the pictures and slideshow.

Road Trip 2014 #2

Friday, January 17, 2014

On the Road Again----

The Schumacher 2014 Road Trip is under way! This year we are heading to Buckeye, AZ, via Harlingen, TX, Big Bend National Park, Tucson, and Casa Grande.  We are looking forward to seeing some new areas of this great land as well as visiting family and friends.
Day 1 - We drove through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma - 850+ miles.   Another 625 miles -- all of them in Texas! Not the most exciting landscape, but traffic was easy and we made good time.
We traveled on the east side of Kansas City to Joplin, Missouri and then into Oklahoma on the Will Rogers Turnpike.  An interesting set up on this particular roadway, after driving 26 miles on the turnpike you need to stop at a toll booth and pay $4.  We got off at the very next exit - 2 miles later - stopped at the tollbooth again and are given a $2 refund!
The next section of the drive was through Muskogee, OK and a bunch of other small towns.   Interestingly, much of this drive is through the Choctaw reservation and the only radio station that we could get was Mexican Polka music!!! Yes, Mexican Polka Music!!  Stopped in Durant, OK for the night.
Day 2 - was a rather short driving day, only about 300 miles from Durant to San Antonio - The toughest part of the day was getting around the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. That is one big, busy area!

We spent a relaxing afternoon and evening in San Antonio, strolling the River Walk, a river cruise, with lots of architectural and historic information and a great dinner on the River Walk.  It was warm even for San Antonio so we were able to eat at a sidewalk table.

Day 3 was a quick 250 mile drive from San Antonio into Harlingen - through lots of wide open prairie.  The hawks were having a field day - I'm not very good at hawk ID, so you'll have to take my word for it,  I think most of them were red tail hawks. 
So we are here in the Valley of the Palms - enjoying the (much) warmer than Minnesota weather. Visiting with Mom and Dad, cousins Jim, Judy & Don, Aunt Lorraine and lots of other friends.  I'm sure we'll have a few more pictures and adventures to share by the time we leave next week.

The link below will take you to an online album.  I need to figure out the slideshow link, but it isn't working the way it used to, so I'll need to check that out tomorrow!

2014 Road Trip Part 1

I think the slideshow is working now - you won't be able to see it on mobile devices tho - you'll need to click on the album above to see the pictures on your mobile device.
Slideshow for the pics above: