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Published: February 6th 2009
In addition to concerns about the health of Jon's mother, the weather in January did not cooperate. We had to dig-out the trailer on four occasions and ice storms were common.
Welcome to our second travel blog which will cover a trip to the southwest US. This is an area we skimmed by last winter, but promised ourselves to revisit. Our hope is to learn more about the natural history and culture of this great region.
The first major stop will be southeastern Arizona with a two week stay in the Tucson area. We expect to get as far west as Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, before heading back east to the Guadalupe Mountains, TX where we will meet up with our good friends Peter and Trudy. The four of us will then caravan down to the Big Bend region of Texas/Mexico. We will then work our way down the Rio Grande to Mission, TX for a one month stay at Bentsen Rio-Grande State Park, headquarters of the World Birding Center. Our objectives in the lower Rio Grande region are to learn all we can about this country's planned "security fence" and its implications for wildlife and to participate in the "hawk count" conducted at the park during the spring migration period. If possible, on our way home we will stop at Dauphin Island, Alabama to "catch" the spring migration of
Ready for departure.
We finally pulled out on the morning of 29 January, three weeks later than originally planned. A major ice storm moved through the region the day before we left and the roads were choked with salt and grime.
passerines coming back from their winter trip! We will share all of these experiences with you.
The trip began at 0700 EST on 29 January 2009.
The first three days of travel included passing through the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The first two days, we drove through areas that were hit by the ice storm that occurred right before we left. Although there was snow and/or ice everywhere, the roads were safe but nasty with salt, dirt and slush. Before arriving in New Orleans, we went through a ‘truck wash’. That was a real experience. We were in line with many semis and after we were headed down the driveway, we discovered that there was no way to turn around, we had to go through the facility. About an hour later, we emerged with headlights that actually could light up the road and clean windows. One of the worst problems was all of the salt dust. Both of us were hacking and coughing so it was great to get both the truck and Airstream clean on the outside, anyway.
We arrived in New Orleans Saturday and
Fort Chiswell RV Park, Max Meadows, VA.
After a 10 hour drive we finally arrived in southwest Virginia, with just enough time to hook-up the trailer, eat a modest supper, and go to bed. Snow flurries greeted us in the morning.
it was sunny and about 67° F, pure heaven. We were staying at the French Quarter RV Park adjacent to the French Quarter. It was so beautiful there, we decided to stay two nights and see a little more of the city. The three of us went for many lovely walks into the French Quarter and along the mighty Mississippi. Moxie really enjoyed not being cooped up in the truck or trailer for 23 hours a day and the same is true for us humans. On Sunday, we went for a long walk in the morning and then took Moxie back to the trailer. Lynn and Jon treated themselves to a Sunday dinner in the French Quarter (including an excellent gumbo), then went back and tried to stay awake for the Super Bowl.
New Orleans has really come alive in the last two years. Although the city population is less than 65% of what it was four years ago, it may never be larger. The tourists seem to have returned and the city is wonderfully vibrant. Where else would two strippers (in bikinis) come out onto Basin Street to pet Moxie in the middle of the day!
Fort Chiswell RV Park.
The truck and trailer were encrusted with salt and grime from the previous day's travels. We were determined to get clean before arriving in New Orleans.
trip beyond New Orleans was easier because of the one day break. We enjoyed crossing the rest of Louisiana and seeing rice farms and bayous and sunshine. We also enjoyed crossing Texas on I-10 versus I-20. After passing San Antonio, we saw no more major cities until we got to El Paso. We passed through Hill Country, rolling desert, cattle ranches, speeding trains, wind turbines, buttes, and increasingly large mountains that were weathered into amazing shapes.
We will be in the Tucson area for over two weeks and are looking forward to learning about the natural history and culture of this part of the country at a more leisurely pace. Expect another blog sometime soon!
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