Monday, January 7, 2013

Balmorhea, TX

Can’t believe I’ve been in Texas for 8 days now.  Tomorrow may prove to be my last day in the big ole state.  El Paso is 189 miles from here and that’s about a day of driving for me.  I'd like to make Las Cruces but I'll see how I feel tomorrow. 
Landed at Balmorhea State Park six miles south of I-10.  There are just a few other rigs.  It is eerily silent.  But I can get used to it.    

It was nice to arrive at my camping spot early for a change.  At 3:00 rather than 4:30.  I’m not rushed hook up, do chores, snap some pics, grab a shower, and make dinner. 
The campground is partially-ringed by the Barilla Mountains at 6,000 – 7,000 ft. elevation which make for a lovely backdrop. 

Remnants of the 8 inches of snow that fell here while I was in Austin

Fort Davis lies only 50 miles south, but my visit to the McDonald Observatory will have to wait as I’m on a mission to reach Quartzsite in the next several days. 

Though interstate driving will never be my first choice, I have to say that I-10 west of Austin makes it fairly pain-free.  Sharon reassured me this would be so and she was right.  It’s a lonely highway.  For long stretches of time, you won’t see any other vehicles, eastbound or westbound.  I probably passed 2 semis today.  And the surface is in great shape.  

I’ve enjoyed the vast miles of plateau mixed with mesas, buttes, and cliffs (even though I’m here during the “brown” season).
Stopped at a rest stop for lunch (I was the only one there). 

That was about the time the wind picked up and required 2 hands on the wheel.  Stopped again at the small town of Ft. Stockton for groceries and gasoline. 
I opted for a non-cable site thinking I would get good reception with the antenna, but I’m picking up no channels.  I had planned to watch the National Championship game tonight. 

During check-in, I discussed the match-up with the state park employee.  He told me I could move to a cable site and let them know in the morning.  But I’m settled in now and don’t feel like moving.  Plus my current site, with its unobstructed view to the west of the dramatic mountains, should provide quite a show come sunset.

And I have a strong wi-fi signal, so I’ll use the time to catch up on internet stuff. 

                        Go Irish !!!


  1. I stopped at that park, also. The scenery is beautiful, enjoy the quiet. Even if you don't go swimming, Brrr. It's still nice to walk around the pool area. I went to New Mexico and Colorado after that park, so I did not drive through El Paso or Las Cruces.

  2. I spent some swim time in the pool although it was a bit on the chilly side in the air. The water was so warm and it was a treat to be swimming around with water creatures - think I remember a turtle and some fish. Another experience I won't forget. Hope you get a chance someday to try it out.

    Last time I went thru El Paso was rush hour and I felt like my little trailer wanted to climb in the back of the pickup with me, it was so "thick" with vehicles! I couldn't wait to get through there. I was on my way to Pancho Villa State Park near Columbus NM.

  3. I was south on 90 going to Big Bend. almost went there - so cool to follow you where I almost went... ;)

  4. Balmohrea is a favorite stop for me in West Texas. Sometimes I even do an extra night!

  5. We drove I-10 from Tucson all the way into Florida last month. Balmorhea State Park was one of the places we considered staying along the way. We decided instead to press on to Ft. Stockton. Big mistake on our part. About 15 miles on past the exit for Balmorhea is when we had our tires blow out!

    FYI- The stretch between El Paso and Las Cruces is chock full of feed lots. Which can mean really stinky campgrounds if they are within smelling range. We stayed at a campground in Vado New Mexico which is about halfway between the two. It stunk to high heaven!

  6. Craig would like to go to Quartzside. If all goes well we will be there at the begining of the big tent show, Jan 19th,. or so. I have been so far behind on reading blogs, I don't remember if you said you were going there. If so, where will you be? We have never been there so I have no idea whats it like to find someone! We have good internet and email if we have a good Verizon signal. Maybe we can meet?

    1. That'd be great, Merikay, let's keep in touch.

      Not sure when I'll arrive. At this rate, maybe 4 more days?

  7. Hope you are planning to go to the big show. We went last year and loved it even though I imagined I would be miserable in all the crowds!

    Had a blast, envy you and the experience you are going to have!

  8. Possibly good you are not watching the game.

  9. I'm enjoying following you, but all that aloneness would feel eerie to me, I'm afraid. I like to camp away from people, but get spooked when I'm too far away.

    Looking forward to seeing what you find at Quartsite.

  10. Heading for Quartzsite - that's going to be FUN. I'll be interested in your thoughts about the area. Will you be there for the Big Tent Show? I'm probably going to miss you. When I leave San Diego I will be at Hot Springs LTVA for a few weeks. It's a nice area, too, and has nice, hot springs for soaking. Just in case you wanted to see that area, too. It's by Holtville, CA about 1.5 hours west of Yuma. :)

    1. Not sure when I'll arrive. Maybe 3 more days? Gee, I'd hate to miss you and Katie. I'll see where I am financially and emotionally (will I be too homesick to stay much longer?).

  11. I like the aloneness. I do find deserted rest stops and deserted campgrounds to be creepy. Please, everyone who travels alone, please be aware of safety issues. I'm working on a posting on this - hope to have it up in a week or so. Then I might add a chapter on traveling alone to my kindle book on personal safety.


Let's chat !