After staying a month in Mission, Texas we were itching to get moving again – that’s really longer than we like to sit in one spot, even if the birding was world-class. Virtually so far our entire winter in Texas has been cold and dreary, with incessant winds that just would not stop.
Southern Texas was not spared from the crazy winter weather that our friends up north endured, and there were very few days that we even bothered taking our chairs out. Although we tried to keep up with our exercise and I had a few excellent birding opportunities, most days were just crappy and had us wishing we were back in Florida. But that’s the way it goes – most people certainly had a tougher winter than we did!
Our planned route below for 2015 is pretty loose this early on. We expect to visit 6 of the 10 states that remain untouched by Betsy. This includes Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Then we’ll likely winter in Arizona as we did in 2013, with a possible side-trip into southern California for a while. At least that’s the tentative plan – we’ll find out how close we are to reality in a few months!
We have already begun pointing north, slowly meandering along the Texas-Mexico border. Once we leave Lake Casa Blanca SP in Laredo in a few days, upcoming stops are planned for Seminole Canyon SP, Big Bend National Park and Davis Mountains SP.
The month of April will be spent moving through New Mexico, on our way to Denver by May 1st. I’ll fly out from there to visit mom in the Philippines for a few weeks while Steve gets Betsy’s chassis maintenance completed.
When I return we’ll have only two more set appointments – in Iowa – get some paint work done on Betsy at the Winnebago factory, and attend the annual Winnebago Grand National Rally. But we’ll have almost two months to get there from Denver, with plenty of time to explore other states on the way.
Other than those stops, we’re pretty much open on where to go and what to explore along the way. If you have ideas or recommendations for “must see” or “must do” things along our route, we’d love to hear from you!
There are so many places to go and things to see along your route this year I’m sure you will get lots of suggestions. In Colorado, don’t miss Rocky Mountain National Park. We also enjoyed Colorado Springs and Great Sand Dunes National Park. Custer State Park in South Dakota is close to Mount Rushmore and great for camping, wildlife drive and scenic drives. In Minnesota, Itasca State Park to walk across the headwaters of the Mississippi River. I could go on and on! I
We will be in Lake Casa Blanca State Park in about 2 weeks. Looking forward to your post about that and can’t wait to see where the year takes you!
Hi, guys — If you have the time, I would recommend Porter Sculpture Park in Montrose, South Dakota. It’s one of those bizarre little pieces of Americana that linger in your memory long after you’ve headed on down the road. The wind really whistles across the SD hilltops and there is nothing out there — except these giant metal sculptures. Mr. Porter gave my children and me a guided tour and it was a part of our cross country drive that we all remember with a big smile. Happy trails! Carol
Thanks, I will make a note of the Park and check it out.
Looks like we’ll be a week or two behind you as you head into NM and CO. Our Denver area stops are Cherry Creek SP on 5/15 and Chatfield SP on 5/22. Perhaps you’ll still be in the area at that time???
Funny, Steve will leave Cherry Creek on 5/14 and move to Dakota Springs until I come back. He avoided Chatfield because of memorial weekend. Hopefully you will still be there when I get back and we can meet.
Close call! We’ll be at Chatfield for a week then we move North to St Vrain. We’ll be watching the blog for an opportunity…
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is a must! Start at the main visitors center and watch the short movie. Probably won’t see many birds, but the views are breathtaking! As for Florida, we’ve only seen a blue sky 2 times in two weeks. We’ve been running 2 heaters….lots of rain, too. So you’re not missing much!
Thanks, I will include the Garden of the Gods in my list. Hopefully it is on the east side of CO.
It’s in western Colorado Springs. 😞
But I just saw there is a campground there!
Looks like we’ll get to see you this year! We’re heading up through New Mexico and into Colorado. We need to be in the Boulder area by the 5th or 6th of May and we’ll hang around the state til after Jesse’s wedding in the middle of September. Between then and after Christmas I don’t know where we’ll be, but the winter will be spent in Arizona or perhaps So. Cal. also! Yay!
Oh Yeah! When I come back from the Philippines lets try to hook up somewhere in CO. If not Arizona has been calling us too.
We will be in Moab August -October. How about a jeep ride? Or a hike to Corona Arch?
A jeep ride! Of course Gay. I hope our route will meet this time.
Loved your last picture of Steve assisting the setting sun. Very clever!
Thanks Steve was my willing model.
Should be a very fun year hitting some of my favorite spots. We should be in the Black Hills, SD in September. The Harney Peak hike there is a must. The Buffalo round up is the 3rd week but we’ll be there in early Sept. You’ll need to get through and out of Colorado by sometime in October. Even then you may encounter a dusting of snow depending on the elevation 😉
Oh sounds like we may be in SD about the same time! Will see how our route and timing will pan out this time 🙂
Looks like a great route. and you’ve gotten lots of the suggestions I would have made. We did a lot of it last summer and I know you read those posts so I hope they helped in your planning. AS for Florida in the winter, I think it depends on where you are as to the temperatures since we’ve had lots and lots of blue skies and warm weather. For that past week it has actually been too warm for me, mid to upper 80’s. Really interested in hearing about the Winnebago Rally and what you have done in Forest City. I’d really like to go to the rally but we can’t make any summer plans for another week. Just love that last picture. How fabulous and creative you two are.
Oh yes I will go back to your summer posts and check that route you took from MN to SD and your CO stops. Steve was a willing model on this sunset photo ops.
Definitely Custer State Park (book ahead in summer), Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore in SD. The Black Hills are amazing. And how about Monument Valley on the way south? We did it that route 2 years ago (Monument Valley to Moab). Lots of stuff to see on that stretch including Arches, ancient Pueblos (House of Fire was amazing).
Excellent ideas. it appears that we will be in those areas in SD so definitely we will check them out. I will also be going thru your archives to see the route back south and see if we can follow that too.
I think your photo of Steve at sunset is very clever. NOT because Steve appears to be assisting the setting sun but because you managed to secretly make it another bird shot. I see the bird. VERY clever indeed!
Ha ha ha thank you Mike. I try as much as possible to make a model out of Steve.
How long will you be at the Davis Mountains State Park and area? This is now one of our go to spots in our RV, and we just got back from yet another quick trip there during a gorgeous hoar frost. Pics to hopefully come on my blog soon. I can definitely help with recommendations there for just about everything. Kind of feels like home away from home for us now. Hope you have several days in that area. We are also going to check out the museum of the Big Bend in Alpine on another trip sometime. Seems we just continue to find more things to see in that area with each trip. Definitely drive the route from Alpine to Fort Davis to Balmorhea. It is a gorgeous drive, especially the view driving to Balmorhea coming down from Wild Rose Pass. Have your camera ready for that one. We like Alpine, too, and we need to check out Marfa more sometime. I will look forward to reading about your RV experience in Big Bend NP, as that is still on our list of places to visit in our RV. I also second Rocky Mountain National Park, too. We loved it there, as well as the little town of Estes Park. Wish you had time to see the two canyon state parks in the Texas panhandle, especially Palo Duro. Caprock Canyons is actually one of our favorite parks to visit now. Beautiful both places.
We will be at Davis Mountains SP for a week. Thank you for the heads up about the scenic drive I will definitely be on the look out. I actually thought of you when we included Davis Mountains SP park as I remembered your blog about it. We hope weather will be better or at least the sun will no longer be behind the clouds.
There is also a 75 mile scenic loop at Fort Davis, too. We like to drive that, starting on the south part of the drive, headed West out of town, then turning North toward the observatory,then back toward the state park. We have done all of the programs at the observatory and recommend the day tours and especially a star party at night. Bundle up and do that if at all possible,since star party is one of the main things to do, and many people will attend. Get there a little early to allow time to get tickets, etc. We like the Mexican restaurant in town, sits on the west side of the road, and we eat there on every trip. The historic fort is a must see, as well as just walking around town near the Limpia Hotel. The restaurant bistro at the hotel is also very good but you might need a reservation on a weekend evening. The grocery store there is actually pretty good, if you need a stop there. Gas is higher in town, so gas up before you get there, maybe in Alpine. There is also a decent restaurant at the Indian Lodge in the state park. The view of the valley at the Indian Lodge sitting room, where the fireplaces are, is fabulous. Prude Ranch, just a couple of miles from the state park, has horseback riding, if you’re interested. We have enjoyed seeing the guy make handmade brooms in town and eating Blue Bell ice cream at the caboose. Even the library by the Limpia Hotel is an interesting stop,if you can go before school is out for the day. It’s pretty crowded after school. I k of there are many neat in Marfa, but those are still on our to do list. We drove and drove on this last trip, trying to find Prada Marfa, but we never found it after driving all the way to Valentine. If it is further out than valentine, we will just pass on seeing it. One of our favorite thing he to do with people we take to the area is hike from the top of Skyline Drive, starting at the historic rock building, down to the national historic site at the fort. I usually drop everyone there, then drive to the fort to pick them up. It would be fun for you to do that, if you can somehow arrange your transportation. The hike is under an hour that way. Glad to answer any questions for you. Oh yes, there is no cell or internet in the state park. You can get WiFi at the Indian Lodge and there is a new cell booster by the office where you check into the park. On our last two trips, we were able to park on the back side of the building and get cell and data signal on our phones, which saved a drive into town to check messages. Hope this helps!
Thank you so much, I am taking notes and looking forward to check this places out.
Great photo of Steve and the red-hot sun. 🙂 Sounds like you’re both well organised for the foreseeable future. 🙂
You are right behind us! Things I think are a must see are the McDonald Observatory, White Sands Missile Range, (outside of Las Cruces, museum at the base), The minuteman missile silos in South Dakota, Mt. Rushmore, Devils Tower, and Custer State Park. Some day we will meet up I’m sure! Seems we have criss crossed a few times this fall/winter.
Hmm..maybe will see you in Oregon.
We have been on the receiving end of that wind in Mission…yuck!
Awesome photo of Steve and the moon. You two are so clever.
Are you in MIssion? Yup our sleep was very much disrupted with the wind blowing from the north.
We are in Mesa, AZ, enjoying the great weather and attending Spring Training for the Cleveland Indians. We will be meeting up with Pam/John and Ingrid/Al this week.
Sounds like some exciting places to visit!! Maybe we will both be in Colorado at the same time! That would be great to hook up again:)
We’ll be around the west til September then we are heading east til Mar 1 when I get to return west again!
Hope your weather finally warms in TX. You definitely deserve some sun and heat:)
I sure hope we meet again in a few months up there in the mountains. Nope, it won’t warm up here soon, rain is forecasted in the next couple of days 😦
We love Davis Mountains SP (beautiful hike from the campground to the fort, and the McDonald observatory is wonderful). Definitely check out Marfa and Alpine, too. Don’t miss the Food Shark truck for lunch in Marfa and the beautiful old Hotel Paisano downtown. Excellent museum of the Big Bend in Alpine. In New Mexico, Silver City, Santa Fe, and Taos are among our favorites. We have lots of info on our blog on each location. Looks like a fun plan! Can’t wait to see what you guys discover. 🙂
Thanks Laurel, I will check your archives.
We loved the Black Hills as well, gorgeous country, with so much to see and do. You will be back in the mountains for some hikes, which I’m sure will please you both. We also enjoyed our time in Silver City and Davis Mountains SP, although we had to leave early because of snow. Sounds like another wonderful year planned!
Thanks LuAnn, we will make Black Hills on the list.
Look forward to following your travels this summer. If you’re going to Colorado Springs you’d probably like Cheyenne Mtn State Park, on the south side of town across from Ft Carson. Hope to see you in AZ next winter, where hopefully it’ll be warmer than this past winter in TX. If you’d like some ideas of places to visit in CO my brother has a photography book out that list some great place…Ingrid has a copy.
Oh, yes Ingrid has given me the website and book title. I will definitely check it out.
Hi, I am Dorothy from Kansas, though wintering in south Texas also this year. I have grandbabies here too. I read the replies with ideas of places to go and most if not all sort of skipped the fact that you will be in Kansas. East out of Denver on I-70 is a bit boring, but some rather wonderful things are just off the interstate. The flint hills encompass much of north western Kansas with many wonderful birding and hiking options.
Between Manhattan and Emporia there is a great park I have been to several times. The Tallgrass Prairie national preserve has acres and acres of unbroken prairie soil with lots of native plants and animals, walking trails; a farm stead with 3 story barn and house with a storm shelter built in the 1800’s. Of course you could go south to Liberal to see the Wizard of Oz exhibit, but only if that is a real thing for you. As it would be for me, but the only time I went there, it was closed on Monday, the only day I could be there.
I have been following your blog for sometime and have now had my little home for a year, moved in full time last May.
Thank you so much for dropping by and showing us that there are things to explore in Kansas. And you got that right we will be on I-70 from Denver heading to Kansas. I will look on to the link you attached and yes I do want to go to the Tallgrass Prairie national preserve.
I’m more excited about Philippines, Colorado and Arizona. 😀 Good luck, have fun and travel safe always!
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