In the week since our last travelogue update, we made it to our 2-week stop over point in Austin, TX for Thanksgiving with family.
Since leaving Cape Blanco Lighthouse in mid-October, we have journeyed 2273 miles towards our winter destination of Cedar Key, FL. Whew… way too many miles for these nomads, but just over a 1000 to go until our 2 month winter stop over!
Here’s the adventures from the past week:
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Our last inquiry on our Facebook page lead the an amazing campground outside Phoenix, so we decided to try crowdsourcing our routing again. Leasburg Dam State Park (our review) inbetween Las Cruces and Hatch did not disappoint.
It’s a small little state park not too far off I-25, and has a very unique feel to it. After reaching a dead-end on the unreserved site loop and needing to do an urgent toad unhitching to back out, we were able to snag a perfect spot for our bus. Site 6 is has a very private feel with its own little hacienda style shelter, and we got great WiFi reception using our WiFiRanger boosting gear.
The great WiFi allowed us to concentrate on getting a map refresh out for Coverage? – our iPhone/iPad app that overlays the major cellular carriers data maps that helps us pick our routing around keeping online. We ended up extending our stay here to 3 nights, and really wish we had the flexibility to extend even longer.
Soon after arriving, we learned that our friends Judy & Bryan, who were relief volunteers back at Cape Blanco, were just a day behind our track.
They joined up with us at the park. We enjoyed an evening campfire, and then journeying into Las Cruces for dinner at the iconic La Posta de Messila Mexican restaurant. It’s always so much fun to meet back up with fellow RVing friends on the road!
We were also surprised to discover that a blog follower had also randomly selected the park and recognized our bus, and came over to say hi! (And sorry, we didn’t catch your name… but *wave*).
Next our Facebook tour guides led us to Balmorhea State Park (our review), which was a perfect long day’s driving distance for us. We normally prefer driving 100-150 miles a day and then stopping for at least a couple days. But when needing to make miles and lots of distance inbetween towns in west Texas – 250 mile days seemed more palatable this time around.
We pulled in just after the office closed, parked the bus in the main parking lot and scoped out the campground on foot (see, we learned our lesson!). Upon returning to our bus, a couple approached us thanking us for inspiring them to hit the road. Woah.
Dawn & Todd has just hit the road a couple months ago. The idea of full time RVing had been planted in Todd’s mind while surfing YouTube during his recovery from a major surgery. He found our channel, and now here we were meeting up in west Texas in a small state park.
It’s mighty humbling to keep becoming random neighbors of our readers, fans and followers on the road – we definitely have no doubt we’re walking our intended paths.
At any rate, the campground at Balmorhea State Park was decent enough. The real attraction however is the huge spring fed pool, and thankfully our full day there was warm enough to enjoy it! Later that very night a wicked winter storm started to blow in. At 2pm, we were swimming and sunning ourselves and a few hours later we awoke to icicles dropping off our headlights! What a change!
Looking at the forecast, we decided we needed to hit the road NOW, or risk being caught in a deep freeze that could be quite unpleasant.
Arrival to Austin
Still bewildered at having been in swim suits just a few hours before, we cautiously hit the potentially icy roads eastward. It was looking like if we could make it to Junction,TX (another 250 miles down the road), we could get past the deep freeze line. Balmorhea and many cities in our path were projected to reach temperatures into the low 20s – and our bus just isn’t outfitted for that cold of weather yet.
We removed the central ducted propane heating system from our bus long ago, and are currently dependent on electric space heaters for our interior heat. And they generally do a fine job even when the temps dip into the upper 20s for a bit. But much lower than that and it becomes a real challenge to keep our space warm, and our plumbing systems protected.
And we are very thankful that we opted to add an engine block heater during our rebuild this past summer! Installing a diesel hydronics system is still a future goal of ours for the eventual heating system for the bus.. ya know, on that list of bus upgrades that keeps growing.
We made it into Junction, and while South Llano State Park came highly recommended to us, Junction North Llano RV Park (our review) was much closer off I-10 and became more appealing after a long days drive in rainy cold weather. We were ever so thankful that while they were turning away people on the phone, they had some 30A pull-thru spots in their overflow section that they could accommodate us in. And there was even delicious Texas BBQ right next door!
The next day, we hit the road and decided to make the final miles into Austin and arrive a day early.
Ever since, we’ve been catching up on sleep, trying to keep warm and spending time with family.
Austin – Meet-up Invitation
We are now parked in Austin until December 8. We’ll be concentrating our next week on quality time with family and will be keeping super busy.
Given the number of folks who have contacted us wanting to meet up, we’ve decided to host a meet-up next week. As our campsite is not ideal for this, the folks of Roadmap to Nomad have graciously offered to host the meet-up at their home.
If you’re in the Austin area, we’d love to meet you on December 4. Here’s the general schecule:
- 5:30 – 6p : Q&A Session – intended for folks in the planning stages of hitting the road. This will be a more moderated session – bring your questions, we’ll be happy to help!
- 6 – 7:30p : Meet-n-greet potluck social time. Bring a drink or snack to share, and meet up with us and other nomadic-minded folks.
If you’re interested in attending, please RVSP on our Event’s Page. (If you’re not into Facebook, then please just write us at firstname.lastname@example.org). In respect of our host’s privacy, we’ll only be sending the address to those who RSVP. For your planning purposes, they are in the Zilker Park area. We look forward to meeting up with you there!