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Itinerary – October 2015 to December 2015 (and Beyond)

Good news!. A couple of days ago, when I wrote about having trouble with planning the packing, my brother suggested that I look into Space Bags, another infomercial legend on late night TV. They’re the large bags you can put soft items in (i.e. clothes, pillows, blankets, etc.) and then suck all the air out using a vacuum cleaner. At that point, your stuff takes up a fraction of the space it might otherwise use. Great idea, except … how would I find a vacuum cleaner out on the road? I sure wasn’t planning on bringing one with me!

New and improved Space Bags

New and improved, no less! :o)

The people at Ziploc (the Space Bag creator) weren’t any help … they had no idea what I could use! All they said was that it was designed for a standard vacuum cleaner hose. The people at Coleman weren’t any help either. Neither answered the email inquiry I had sent in two days earlier, by the way – I had to call them.

Nevertheless, I found my answer after going back onto Amazon and doing a search for “mini vacuum cleaners”. I found the Shop-Vac Micro Wet/Dry Vac. It weighs only 6lbs and stands 11″ tall, with a 10″ diameter. And it has a standard-size vacuum hose. Even better, one of the reviews made mention of the fact that they had used this model on Space Bags with success! I might even be able to ditch the bucket I was planning on bringing and use the canister for dishwashing instead. I’ve ordered both the vacuum and some Space Bags and will test it out when they arrive.

I figure I can not only use the bags on the blankets and such, I might even be able to ditch one of the suitcases since I can pack down my shirts, sweaters and sweat pants as well! Andy, thanks for the suggestion … much appreciated!

Now, on to the remainder of my 2015 itinerary. I’m not yet going to post in the detail I’ve done the last couple of days since I need to firm up reservations, but here’s the plan so far:

October 2015

As mentioned yesterday, I extended my stay at the Circle Your Wagons campground in La Veta, Co for an extra two weeks, which meant I had to drop a visit to Taos, NM from my plans. The next campground, near Tucumcari, NM, doesn’t open up reservations for October camping until mid-April, either. Based on that, I’ve decided to scrap New Mexico from my 2015 plans.

Instead, I plan on spending two weeks at Lake Corpus Christi State Park. They have campsites with both electricity and water and are far enough south where I won’t have to worry about snow, the way I would have in New Mexico. Its a little over 900 miles from La Veta, so I’ll take three days to get there, with planned stops in Amarillo and San Angelo.

November 2015

South Padre Island

South Padre Island is only 90 minutes away!

From there, I’ll head due south to Mission, with plans to stay at Oleander Acres, an upscale RV Park and campgrounds. I spoke with them on the phone last week. A one month stay … with water and electric … will be only $250! I plan on staying there through mid-December. Frank liked this because they have some very nice dog parks in the area: I like it because we’ll be able to take some day trips over to South Padre Island and do some beachcombing. It’ll be a bit of a trek, but it won’t be as far as going to Atlantic City from where I was living in New Jersey!  That’s doable … and it’s worth it to spend a day near the water!

December 2015 – February 2016

In mid-December, I plan on heading 200 miles north along the Gulf to Port Aransas, TX. I.B. Magee County Park offers camping right off the beach. Their sites, with water and electric, are $20 / night and I plan on another month-long stay. This will be a perfect spot for more fishing and beachcombing. Hopefully the weather will hold up and we won’t have to deal with too much rain.

I’d have stayed there a little longer, except I’m already planning on the 1-month maximum stay. Instead, I’ll go a couple miles down the beach to another county park, Padre Belli for a two-week stay. They offer the same $20/night rate for water and electric campsites. Both are located on the north part of Padre Island. These two stays will take me to the end of January.

I plan on travelling further up the coast from there, to the Matagorda area. Lighthouse RV Park in Bay City is located about 10 miles from the Gulf. I plan on a month-long stay at their quoted rate of only $300.

Lighthouse RV Park

LIghthouse RV Park in Bay City, TX (not sure why it’s called “Lighthouse” when they’re 10 miles from the Gulf …)

Beyond February 2016

That takes me to the end of February 2016. From there? Who knows. At this point, I’ve put about 8,000 miles on my car … not bad, but I would like to cut it down a bit. This means a bit more focus in my locales. My initial thought for 2016 is to head back up to Dallas in order to see friends again). From there, go across the Tennessee Valley to the East Coast, head north again (with a stop in New Jersey to see some more friends) to spend the summer in New England and upstate New York. As summer ends, I would head back down south, with the goal of spending New Year’s in the Florida keys.

That’s it for now. As things firm up, I’ll expand a bit on each of the places I’ve outlined in this post.

Tomorrow, I’ll talk a bit about some of the resources I’ve been using to plan out this journey. I’ve found some very helpful websites that would be of use to anyone planning a road trip …whether it’s for a couple of weeks or the rest of their lives!

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Posted by on January 21, 2015 in 2015, 2016

 

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Itinerary – August to September 2015

Yesterday, I took you through the first two (plus) months of my itinerary.  A lot of traveling involved.  Fortunately, the next couple of months aren’t quite that nomadic.

I’m still residing at the Pleasant Valley RV Park and Campground in central Colorado as Frank and I enter August.  This is a beautiful part of the country.  I mentioned that I lived in Denver back in the 70’s … when I was there, I was part of Adventure Unlimited’s management team.  A/U is a youth organization similar to Young LIfe.  In addition to offering activities in local chapters around the world, they owned a ranch just north of Buena Vista, CO, about 45 minutes north of Pleasant Valley.  I used to spend 2 days a week at the ranch during the summer, taking care of business.  One of my fondest memories was spending an August night camped out on the upper deck of their main activity center, watching the annual Perseid meteor shower.  I’ve stayed up late to enjoy meteor showers quite a few times in my life, but none of them have come close to what I was able to see miles away from any city lights, in the clear star-filled Colorado sky. I’m looking forward to experiencing that again.

But on to other things.  Here’s the rest of my schedule for the summer and early Fall:

August 13, 2015 – September 13, 2015
The Last Resort
Pagosa Springs, CO

The Blanco River, where it passes through the Last Resort

The Blanco River, where it passes through the Last Resort.

My initial plans included a trip north instead of south, to a camp in Utah, just east of Salt Lake City.  But after more thought, I decided against it, not wanting to put all that extra mileage on my car in the first year. I stored the camp’s website in my “Future sites” folder on Google Chrome.  I then chose the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park near Montrose.  Its canyon was carved by the Gunnison River. Here, the river drops elevation at a rate that’s four times the drop of the Colorado River as it goes through the Grand Canyon!  The only problem – the campsites were completely booked when I inquired last week.  (Another site for a future visit, I suppose.)

After looking further, I decided to venture into an area of Colorado I’ve never been before, the southwest corner. I found The Last Resort, located about an hour east of Durango, in Pagosa Springs.  I had a great talk on the phone with TJ, the owner and decided to stay there … and where I was looking to fill a three-week hole in the schedule, I decided to stay a month.  (TJ’s a great salesman – he let me know that the monthly rate would only cost me about $40 more than what I would pay for 3 weeks.  Can’t beat that, right?).

He said he’d fix me up near the river in a spot with great shade.  He also mentioned they had over 5,000 feet of shoreline (nearly a mile!) along the Blanco River and that the river was stocked with Brown trout at the beginning of the season.  For the most part, I’ve dealt with quite a few caring, friendly and genuine people as I’ve looked for places to stay … a welcome change from spending too much time getting into arguments over politics on various Websites as I have for too long a time.  The drive from Pleasant Valley is about 175 miles and should take about 3 hours or so.  The reservation has been made. My site will have water and electricity.  Total cost – $12.58 / night!

September 13, 2015 – October 13, 2015
Circle the Wagons RV Park and Campground
La Veta, CO

Circle the Wagons campground vista

A view from the campsite … I hope that white stuff doesn’t come closer during my stay!

This was actually the first Colorado camp I found (as an aside, if you’re looking for RV parks or campgrounds, RVParkReviews.com is a great source of information.  Lots of real-life experiences are posted by previous visitors … it helped me weed out a lot of places that I might have otherwise chosen.  Circle the Wagons had a rating of 8.8 on a scale of 1-10.), but I wanted to start off closer to Buena Vista since I was familiar with that area.  According to the Website, they closed at the end of September, so I figured I’d look into a 3-week stay and leave when they closed.  I emailed the campground, asking if the tent sites had electrical connections.  They replied quickly – “No, they don’t, but we’ll fix you up close to one of the buildings so you can have access to it.”  Wonderful!

My only reservation (pun intended) about extending my stay at The Last Resort, was that it meant cutting the stay here down to only two weeks.  I was resigned to that and called to make my reservation here.  I casually told Jay, (the better half of the husband-wife team that owned the place) that I was sorry they closed at the end of September, otherwise I’d have stayed a little longer.  She replied, “No, we close at the end of October” (they’ve since fixed their Website).  That said, I decided to extend my stay here to a full month.  Jay said she’d figure out a rate and email me.  She also told me that after my inquiry into electricity at the tent sites, she and her husband decided to plumb all the tent sites for electricity, which meant I could have a site down near the river!

I think Frank is really going to like this place – “dog friendly” seems like more than just a slogan.  They not only have a cute little dog park (aptly named “Circle the Waggins” … those of you who know me also know that I love puns!), they also offer a dog walking service, too. Judging from the pictures on the front page of the Website, they have a lot of deer, too (I hope you’re following the links to the various campgrounds that I’ve included in the titles)!

My only concern – staying into mid-October means that I’m probably going to encounter some snow.  I was hoping to avoid that, but so be it.  Knock on wood that it’s not enough where I have problems driving on to my next stop!

The drive here from Pagosa Springs is about 150 miles and should take a little less than 3 hours.  The reservation has been made – Jay offered a great rate for a month-long stay.  It worked out to $13.68 / night!

That’s it for now – this is as far as I’ve gotten with making actual reservations … since I extended my stay in La Veta, it means I’m cutting out another location I had planned on visiting – Taos, NM.  That’ll have to be saved for a future part of the journey, too.  I have planned stops that take me from early November to the end of February in south Texas, but the last two weeks of October are somewhat undecided at the moment.  I’ll fill in the details tomorrow.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2015 in 2015

 

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