Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On The Road Again

So, if you read the last post, you know we had a one-year break from our RV plans and are now back on the road again. Speaking of Willie Nelson, I almost rode my bike through Luckenbach, TX a few days ago but had to divert my route at the last minute with a change of plans - thought that would have been cool.  I mean is there anyone on this planet that does not have the words to that song in their head?  "Let's go to Luckenbach Texas, with Waylon and Willie and the boys...."

Anyhow, we hitched up the RV, loaded up the bike, and headed for the Mobile area (specifically Robertsdale) just to get moving again.  (We had planned to head to Branson, MO, but the weather forecast was for severe weather, lots of rain, and flooding, all of which proved to be correct). Shaun wanted to go but that will have to wait for another time.

We stayed 5 days at Styx River Resort in Robertsdale and really enjoyed it.  Styx River Resort is one of several Ocean Canyon properties in Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

We went to the beach at Gulf Shores (of course), toured the Pensacola Naval Air Station museum, and I got a great bike ride in along the Emerald Coast from Gulf Shores to Ft. Walton beach and back. This shot was on the barrier island between Pensacola Beach and Ft. Walton Beach.  Part of it is a bird-nesting area which limits speeds to 25 mph which is probably a good thing since there was lots of sand on the road which can be very tricky for motorcycles.

And we need some airplane pictures in here.  The Pensacola Naval Air Station is the home of the Blue Angels.

And if we could have carried one of the display aircraft out of the museum, this was our first choice.  Pretty cool float plane for that early era of aviation, especially the wooden floats.  Hey, airplanes and water, a great combination.

Next stop - Port Arthur, TX.  We had stayed at the Port Arthur RV Resort a year ago and it's a convenient stop so why not again?  Went to church at First Baptist Nederland, toured Sea Rim State Park (nice walk on the beach) and timing was right for the annual Port Neches festival with tunnel boat races, a car show, a parade for Veterans, carnival rides, and lots of food.

Rhonda and I took a trip down memory lane when we spotted a 1964 Mustang in the car show.  When we met back in 1974, she had a 1965 3-speed 289 cu in V-8 (close to this same color) which was a positive attribute of hers along with so many others!  

She later traded it in for a Datsun B210 hatchback (close to the color below) before we got married. This may be the actual car in the picture, man it was ugly.  That of course was grounds for calling off the wedding, but after considering all the other attributes, we went ahead with the nuptuals and 40 years later are traveling around in an RV visiting the grandkids!  

Speaking of traveling around in an RV visiting the grandkids, we were very excited for our next stop, Austin, TX, to see Adam and the grandkids.  It had been a year since we visited last and Bryce just turned ten, Alexis is almost eight, and Connor is almost twelve.  They are growing up so fast and I will never tell them what their Granny did with her Mustang.

Their latest interest (including Adam's) is "bouldering" and we got to watch all of them in action with that. Adam and Connor are both successfully completing the more difficult climbs now.

Alexis and Bryce are doing well for their age also.

The grandkids spent Saturday night on the RV with us and got some swim time in at the Longhorn RV Resort pool.  Movie-time before bedtime was "Epic."

I got in for awhile also........

............. but eventually ended up in the much warmer hot-tub!  Yes, I understand that some sunshine is needed on those legs and should be included in our RV travel plans.

Earlier in the week while the grandkids were still in school, I took the opportunity to spend a couple of days on the number one motorcycle ride in TX, also rated in the top ten rides in the country - "Three Sisters" also nicknamed "Twisted Sisters."  It's about a 100-mile ride in the hill country of TX  west of Austin and San Antonio, comprised of ranch roads 335, 336, and 337. 

It was an awesome ride, actually not terribly difficult, but with beautiful scenery and enough challenge to definitely make it worth the trip.  But it can be dangerous and there are signs to warn you about that.

I had to ride about 150 miles just to get to the route, rode it twice (the view is different each way), and then back home.  If you do the math and add an extra 100 miles or so for chasing rabbits and sightseeing, that's around 600 miles and I do not have fun after about 350 at a time.  So, I rented a little cabin on the Rio Frio River in Leakey and overnighted.  Let's just say it was quaint, but nice, nothing to do there but shower and sleep, but that was what I needed.

Note the crystal clear water and some tubers on the river - too cold for me.

Back to the ride.  An interesting and new concept for me was the idea to just post a yellow gauge at low spots in the road to alert travelers of how much water they would be driving into when it rains and floods. I guess it cuts down on the number of bridges you have to build??????  These things are everywhere and top out at 5 feet.  Most of the creekbeds are dry this time of the year as in the case below to the right side of the road with the yellow gauge on the left side.

But they do have a few bridges, this one on the Nueces River.  Again, the water is crystal clear and displays as an aqua color in the white rock beds - beautiful.

This was a nice descent down to the Neuces.  Note also the rock walls along the right side.  There are 2 issues on the route you have be careful with.  Apparently the rock in this area is very brittle and there were many instances rounding curves where rocks were laying in the road.  The second issue is narrow roads with no shoulder protection at all.

Actually, there is a 3rd issue, about 10 cattle guards on RR 336.  I read that this is free range country for cattle and you are liable if you hit one of them.  The cattle guards are not a big deal, but another oddity for me.  All were at 90 degrees to the road except for one coming out of a curve which could be an issue if you did not get lined up soon enough (not the one in the picture).

There are lots of "roller coaster" hills, especially on RR335, with quick up and down steep hills.  I wish my camera did them justice but this will give you an idea.

At the higher elevations, the panoramic views were beautiful - again, I wish our camera did them justice.

That's it for now.  We are actually in the Big Bend area already, I am just behind on the blog.  Gonna spend some time along the Rio Grand River in Big Bend Park and in the towns of  Alpine, Marfa, Marathon, and Ft. Davis before heading to New Mexico.

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