"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Birthday Fun in Junction, TX

Van Horn, TX
Southern Star RV Park


Our trip to the east coast and back starts out in West Texas.  For those that don't know, we've decided we'd like to hike the highest peak in each of the 20-something states we'll be going through for this year.  Some we've done before, most we have not.  Don't be too impressed, most are under 4000ft!  After hiking over 14,000 feet in Colorado last summer, these should be easy! Of them, only 8 are over 5000 feet.  The highest we'll be doing is actually in Texas.  Guadalupe Peak is 8749 feet.
 
The above picture is not the highest peak itself, it is nearby El Capitan which has been used as a signal peak for hundreds of years by travelers in the area.  It is visible when approaching the Headquarters Visitor Center at Guadalupe Mountains National Park from both the south and the northeast.
 
 

We knew that we'd be here at Easter, so we changed our plans to arrive on a Thursday hoping to get a better chance at getting a site.  There are only 20 sites that are first come, first serve.  Of those 4 are described as larger RV sites that would fit us.  And really, once we drove through it, only one was large enough for us.  Unfortunately they were all taken.  Our options were driving about 45 miles north to Carlsbad (too far) or boondocking in some of the nearby BLM land.  We could not get a good enough description of having enough room to turn around so, we decided to blow it off.  We were a little bummed having to miss our first peak, but I was getting hungry and cranky and just wanted to get to Plan B.  This meant a 60 mile drive south and we'd get there with enough time to have dinner.
 
There really isn't anything special about Van Horn, TX.  It's one of those stop-over towns on I-10.  As it turned out we just grabbed a spot at the Southern Star.  Steve had planned a nice dinner of Filet Mignon and got me a nice Red Velvet cupcake.  It was late though so we decided to save that and headed out for some dinner.  Since it was my birthday tomorrow on the 14th, I wanted Mexican food.

 
The food turned out to be just ok and the margaritas were horrible. Oh well.  The company was great!
 

 
I went back over our schedule and knew Pam & Red were nearby in Junction.  Since we now had some extra days we took them up on their invitation to stay with them at Red's brothers place.  Greg has a nice piece of property on just over 100 acres.  This is a popular place for second homes and hunting.  We had no internet or cell at all.  Turned out ok as Steve took off a day of work and was able to use their internet the other day. 
 
Greg's place.
 
All tucked in next to Red and Pam.  The wildflowers were just gorgeous!
 
 
This was the view out the back of our trailer.

We had a great time catching up with a BBQ and Pam had a little birthday surprise for me including cake and ice cream!



On Saturday we got a nice tour of the property.  At a couple locations they have deer feeders set up with cameras.  Those deer know exactly when the dinner bell rings.  They are there about 5 minutes before the feeder comes on.

Deer feeder.



They have turned this into a nice guest quarters upstairs and downstairs has a nice shop.

Great view of the land below.

 
I enjoyed walking around with Pam and the dogs and taking pictures.


 

On the way out for some Texas BBQ for lunch, we found one of the largest geocaches we have come across.  It was a large plastic bin.
 
Lums BBQ


Steve loved the brisket and the beer.

 
We walked through a cute gift shop next door.  I bought some goat milk soap.



  


We geocached some more after our lunch which took us to some old cemeteries in the area.






 
On Sunday Red drove us around some of the neighboring properties as well as his brothers in their ATV.  The dogs came along too and had a blast looking at the cows and deer.


 
The carpet of yellow flowers were impressive!


 
These young cows were very curious of me taking pictures and walked up very near to me.

 

 
Ok, yes it's kind of gross.  There are a lot of feral pigs out here that do a lot of damage to the land.  They as well as the exotic species of deer (Axis) are allowed to be shot without licenses or quotas as long as you are a resident.  Red showed us this dead one and Steve wanted to remove the tusks.  Not sure what he is going to do with them?  Maybe make a necklace?

  

 
Even Hurley was enjoying our beautiful view and the flowers.


 
On Easter we went out for some fried chicken and a drive.  More geocaching along the way too.

Another interesting cemetery.

We wrapped up our visit with a trip to Dairy Queen for some ice cream.  After a nice 4 day visit we drove to the nearby Schreiner City Park for an overnighter.  The reason was to meet up with fellow 2014ers, Jim and Diana of ExploRVistas.  We knew that we'd be crossing each other at some point along I-10.  They are heading west and we are going east. That turned out to be right here in Junction!  This park is nicely laid out and offers free overnight camping along the Llano River.  Red & Pam came over and we all had dinner together and laughed and shared some good times.


Jim & Diana's rig with "Catsup & Mustard" loaded on top of the truck.
 
Pam, Red, Diana, Jim, Steve & Hurley.

Our nice view.

Same view early the next morning as seen through the low misty clouds.

 
It was a wonderful time visiting with RV friends.  Thank you to Greg, Pam & Red for a wonderful visit!! Now it's on to Austin where we'll be visiting with an old high school friend of mine.
 
 
 

14 comments:

  1. We had a great time with you guys, Debbie! That park was pretty sweet. Did you have any hits on the geocache there? That other one you found is huge! Everything IS bigger in Texas, you know!

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    1. As a matter of fact, two people found our cache we hid there today! It was a great time!

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  2. We love the hill country. Thanks for sharing the beauty.

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    1. It is a very pretty area and we've enjoyed it the past as well.

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  3. Happy belated Birthday day Debbie. What a great idea to hit all the tallest peaks. So where is the smallest tallest mountain?

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    1. Thanks guys. That lowest is Florida at 345ft. We're thinking of adding the lowest point in each state also.

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  4. Too bad you missed the Texas peak - that darn spring break!! What a wonderful place to land in Junction though - gorgeous property. I don't remember anything like the places you visited in town though, we must have missed a section :-) Love all the flowers. So Steve keeps plastic gloves in his pocket? Be sure to show us what he does with his treasures :-))))

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    1. He brought them back just for the extraction! We'll see what he makes. Maybe a Crocodile Dundee necklace!

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  5. They say everything is bigger in Texas....even their caches!! Glad you had a good birthday!!!

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  6. I don't understand - did you go to the "campground" at Guadalupe that is just a parking lot? thats where we stayed. We hiked it twice. The biggest issue there is that everytime you turn a corner you think you have reached the peak.....but you haven't. Ugh. anyway, next time, I guess. glad you got to meet up with Pam and Red. Haven't seen them in quite a while!

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    1. Yes, the parking lot/campground was full. We'll have to try again another time. It was great to see Pam & Red again.

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  7. Looks like a great birthday with great friends. Sorry you missed out on the high peak in TX. There's about 50 geocaches around here, the plan is to get to most of them this summer.

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    1. 55 isn't so bad when you have great friends to celebrate it with! I'm sure the caching can keep you as busy as you want to be. Many around here are in old cemeteries. Those are my favorite!

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