When our week in San Antonio was coming to a close we had to decide where we wanted our journeys to take us next. We considered going to places along the Mexican border like Del Rio, Laredo, Brownsville, and especially Big Bend or possibly traveling out to Padre Island on the Gulf Coast. However, we ended up deciding we wanted to keep heading west and leave Texas for more exploration elsewhere….after five months in Texas we were ready to see some other states….but make no mistake, we would be back to see more of it later on. We discussed exploring New Mexico to see places like Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns, and the white sands or even moving onward to Arizona but we were still a bit worried by the forecasts we were seeing for the northern area our friends lived in. The deciding point ended up being our oldest daughter wanted to go to California for her birthday which would be coming up in the next month. More specifically she wanted to spend the day at a beach on the Pacific Ocean and watch the sunset for her birthday. We had spent many days at the Atlantic Ocean, so now we were ready to see the other one 🙂 So, we packed up our home and set out on the road to California!
Leaving the San Antonio area we made the decision to take our time getting to California. We weren’t going to drive all day and stop at night like we had done on our journey to Texas. This time we were just going to drive a few hours each day, take it easy, and enjoy the ride. So our first day we left the South Texas Plains where San Antonio is situated, and went back into the Hill Country up and down and around the wild roads.
We eventually stopped for the night in Junction, Texas and stayed at the North Llano River RV Park. It had a beautiful scenic view, but we didn’t explore any of the park’s amenities. Our Verizon service worked well while we were here for the night. The view of the plateau standing in the distance made for beautiful vistas surrounding the RV Park.
Our pull-through spot (above) and the scenic view (below).
Beautiful view of a plateau in the distance (left). North Llano River (right).
The next day we continued west through the Hill Country and eventually entered Big Bend Country….also known as the wild west! Which means at this point we have been in every region of the state except the Panhandle Plains! Sweet!
Hill Country gives way to Big Bend Country
Fort Stockton, Texas
We stopped for the night in Fort Stockton, Texas and stayed at Hilltop RV. We originally were not going to stay here because they never answered their phone and their voicemail message said they had no vacancies, therefore we were heading to another RV park, but hubster’s map lead us here instead, which was odd, LOL. Since we were here he went in and asked if they really didn’t have any available spots and we found out that they had plenty of open spots. Go figure! So we stayed.
This park is a flat lot on top of a hill. There is no shade, however it is surrounded by a fantastic view! We had not crossed the time zone change yet, but we were close enough to it that a few of our devices got confused and kept changing their time zone…which therefore caused us confusion as well, LOL. We ended up staying here two nights to relax before continuing our trek. We also did some camera shopping and purchased a Canon PowerShot SX410IS in order to capture far distant shots of all the beautiful sights we were seeing on our travels.
Wild lands surrounding Hilltop RV in both directions
El Paso, Texas
After getting back on the road again we were heading to El Paso, Texas. We saw some beautiful landscapes during our drive and managed to get some great pictures of the Big Bend Country with the new Canon. The highway leading to El Paso runs close enough to the border of Mexico that you can see it just across the way while you are traveling along, we thought it was pretty cool being able to see another country as we drove 🙂
In El Paso we stayed at Mission RV Park. It was a very basic in-city RV park, not much shade but large pull through spots good for an overnight stay but not really appealing for anything longer than that. We were officially in the mountain time zone now too. While here we decided to try a new restaurant we had never heard of before, called Pei Wei. It was quite delicious Asian cuisine made to order. Yum!
The next day we left El Paso and entered New Mexico. We went through a Border Patrol stop not long after and then continued on our way.
This section of New Mexico is short enough to cross in a couple of hours, so we didn’t stay overnight in this state, but we did make a pitstop in Deming, New Mexico for gas, snacks, and souvenirs.
New Mexico landscapes along the highway.
We entered Arizona later that day and stopped in Bowie, AZ at a little park called Mountain View RV in the foothills of the Dos Cabezas mountains, named for its two peaks of granite. This little park is a gem in the rough, only charging $15 a night, it has a gas station to re-fuel and a large assortment of jerky, dried fruits, nuts, candies, and souvenirs in their store called Dwayne’s Jerky. There is a railroad track that runs behind the park, but it actually wasn’t bothersome. Our Verizon hotspot worked well here too.
The view in toward the front of the RV park (left) and the back (right).
It was quite a beautiful place and not many people around making it a very peaceful stay. After setting up we noticed pink/red marks all over the bottoms of our shoes like we had stepped on a bunch of ink pens. It was coming from the grass/weeds we were walking on, not sure what they were. It was like we were making them bleed by walking on them 😦
I LOVE when the views outside our windows are this awesome!!
Here we met another fulltime family that had also recently started their adventures. They had two small children with whom our two little ones played with for a while. And we toured each other’s RV’s because it’s always fun to see how other RV’s are laid out, decorated, and organized. Our oldest daughter ended up accidentally breaking her Kindle Paperwhite while getting out of the truck when we arrived, and was devastated. She LOVES to read and she received her little e-reader for Christmas. So, this family shocked us by giving her a Kindle Fire they didn’t use anymore! She about cried at their generosity!
After hanging out with the new family, we all went home to our RV’s and our night in Bowie was filled with hilarious antics playing with a face swapping app! For your enjoyment, below are the products of some of them 🙂 If you’ve never met us however, you may not see the hilarity LOL.
That day we had found out that the D20Nomads were leaving Arizona and working their way back to Texas, so we ended up making plans to meet in Tucson to boondock with them the next night before heading our different directions again. The next day we parted ways with the new family we had just met, took advantage of the on site gas station and souvenirs, then got back on the road to go meet up with the D20Nomads.
Nifty signpost in front of Mountain View RV
The drive from Bowie to Tucson gave us quite an exhibit of the Chihuahuan Desert transitioning into the Sonoran Desert and was gorgeous indeed! I managed to get some amazing shots with the new Canon!
Can you see all the Saguaro cactuses….err….cacti? Here’s an up close shot….Aren’t they the coolest?!
Once we arrived in Tucson we found a spot to park on the BLM land called Snyder Hill. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is land available throughout the west that is free to camp on….beautiful lands out in the wilds. You can’t find land like this in the eastern US for FREE camping. These are the places RVers go for true boondocking, essentially completely off the grid! Awesomeness!! We had a blast just hanging out that evening with our nomadic friends, sharing experiences we had all had since we’d last hung out, AND we earned our Boondocking Merit Badges because we weren’t wallydocking, LOL! YAY!
Snyder Hill BLM Land. Check out that sunset!
The next day we said our goodbyes and headed out onto the open road. We traveled until we reached Yuma, Arizona, passing through another border patrol station on the way.
In Yuma, we stopped for the night at one of the very few RV parks that is NOT a 55+ park, called Blue Sky RV. We were met by a friendly camp host who led us to our spot for the night. We got set up and then went out for a bite to eat. This resort is nice from what we could tell, but since it was just one night we didn’t check out their amenities. Our Verizon hotspot worked here as well. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of our spot for the night 😦 But, I did take this one as we drove through the RV resort.
Our next day of travel had us finally entering California where we continued across the desert into the land of giant wind turbines and solar panel fields.
And then we headed into the mountains where we traversed the highest elevations yet with our rig, reaching 5,000 feet at some points. Ole Frumious did a good job pulling Alice up and down all those crazy roads…..they are wilder than Texas Hill Country! LOL. I’m sure you’ve seen in movies where the roads wind around the sides of mountains and there’s nothing on one side but a plunging cliff to a valley down below, and the other side is a wall of rocks that could become landslides at any time….yeah there’s a lot of those and they can be scary with a 34 foot RV pulled behind you! HAHA!
Our arrival in California meant we were now in the Pacific Time Zone, 3 hours behind our old Eastern Time Zone in Savannah, which felt weird for a bit. Eventually we arrived in San Diego county, and checked into the Pio Pico Thousand Trails campground in Jamul, California just outside of Chula Vista, the second largest city in the San Diego metropolitan area. Woot! Woot! We had finally made it to Californ-I-A! Now it was time to rest and relax after a whole week of traveling! We hope you enjoyed reliving our jaunt across the Southwest with us! We’ll try to update our travels some more soon 🙂