We had an uneventful drive from Las Cruces, NM to Van Horn, TX. A 167 mile travel day.
Just after El Paso, TX we stopped to fuel up at a Flying J (81 gallons for $185). Wow… just realized the last time we put fuel in the Urban Escape Vehicle was at the end of April on our way back from CA to AZ.
After a restful evening at the Saguaro SKP park in Benson, AZ we packed up Tuesday morning and slowly continued east on I-10 for ~230 miles to the Elks Lodge in Las Cruces, NM.
Once again we drove through a brief rain shower… just enough to get the Coach and Silverado dirty 🙁
The Elks Lodge 1119 (←link) has three RV spots located on the side of the building. We went inside and paid $15 for the night.
We got in touch with old friends John & Eva who live in Las Cruces, NM. We have stayed in contact since the early ’90s when we were in Colorado Springs stationed at Fort Carson. John and I also deployed to Fort Hood, TX together for ~6 months.
John & Eva drove over to the Elks Lodge to meet us and go out for dinner. Although it was Taco Tuesday at the Elks Lodge, we opted to go elsewhere to dine and catch up. We couldn’t help but notice when we first checked in that the lodge still allows smoking which isn’t something we would enjoy with our meal.
We ended up at historic LaPosta de Mesilla (←link). This was our second time at this very nice restaurant. We dined together here a couple years ago when we passed through Las Cruces and visited John & Eva. The history of this famous Mexican restaurant is long and colorful. For more than a century and a half, these adobe walls have withstood the attack of elements and man, sheltering such personalities as Billy the Kid, Kit Carson, General Douglas MacArthur and Pancho Villa. A roaring Wild West town during the late 1800’s, Mesilla was the largest town in the Southwest between San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas. During this period, La Posta served as the Corn Exchange Hotel, a favorite stop on the Butterfield Stagecoach Line. Read more of the LaPosta de Mesilla story at the restaurants website.
Bird cages and aquariums greet visitors in the lobby at the restaurant.
Still and Eva browsed the gift shop after our meal. Luckily we made it out of the restaurant with just the price of the meal 🙂
After a great meal ( I recommend the combination plate #1) that we washed down with a couple tasty margarita’s we went over to John & Eva’s beautiful home here in Las Cruces. We continued to catch up on each other’s ‘going-ons’ and reminisced about old times. John was one of the first (of many) great NCO’s that I had the pleasure of working with during my 26 year Army career. I had just finished the Warrant Officer Candidate Course and was a WO1 when I first met John. It’s no secret that any successful Army officer’s career is predicated on the fine NCO’s that he/she learns from and is supported by. I learned early on to try and surround myself with good and capable NCO’s. John was one of the first (and best) that supported my Warrant Officer career. I am honored and humbled to still be able to call him my friend after all these years.
We also got a “treat” while visiting John & Eva’s house… John showed off his beautifully restored ’71 Chevelle to us. Nice job John! Here’s a car show flyer (below) that he made for an upcoming show. His car is pictured on the top left.
John & Eva dropped us back off at the Elks Lodge where we stretched out our farewells. Thanks for the hospitality John & Eva! See you next time we come through the area.
This morning (Wednesday) we’re going to press on (slowly) towards our youngest daughter’s house in Bowling Green, KY. Maybe we can swing by the Fort Hood, TX area and meet up with some more old Army friends. That would be nice. Stay tuned to see if it works out.
Around mid-day on Monday, we said our goodbyes to my mom, stepdad Jim, brother Steve & Cheryl and headed south on I-10 towards Tucson after hooking up the Silverado. For those of you wondering about our little dog “Coach”… well, we also said goodbye to him since mom stole (er, I mean adopted) him. He’s quite happy in the air conditioning at the “dirt farm” and really likes all his chicken “friends” 🙂
After traveling about 120 miles, we decided to stay overnight at the Escapees Park in Benson, AZ. We paid $22.31 for one night with full hookups. Electricity is metered and ended up costing us an additional $4.21 at checkout. We’ve stayed at the SKP Saguaro Co-op before back in April 2015. Click HERE for that posting. This is a nice jumping off spot for anyone wanting to visit Kartchner Caverns, Tombstone, or Bisbee AZ. Click on the active links to check out my previous posts on those local attractions.
Not a whole lot has changed here since our week-long stay last year. Although, we did notice a new covered pavilion had been built inside the cactus garden on the west side of the park and also a pretty cool looking water fountain outside the community building (below).
We had a nice evening stroll around the park under slightly overcast skies. It’s definitely much cooler here than back at Casa Grande where we’ve had a week of scorching hot temperatures. As a matter of fact we even drove through a brief micro-burst rain storm just after Tucson… the first rain we’ve seen in months. Just enough rain to get the Urban Escape Vehicle all dirty 🙁
We made plans to visit an old Army buddy in Las Cruces, NM tomorrow. So check back for a new travel update coming soon…
I know, I know… this is a long overdue blog post, but there just hasn’t been much to write about since we’re parked in one spot for so long. Let me bring you up to date on a few of our activities this past month:
After we got our daughter and grandson settled in their new RV park in Tempe, we moved down to my Mom, Stepdad, brother Steve & Cheryl’s place in Casa Grande. You can’t beat the monthly “moochdocking” rate here, especially with 50 amp hookups. Thanks Ma, Jimmy, Steve & Cheryl! We’ve been here since the beginning of June and have just been hanging out. I took care of a couple medical appointments with the VA here and we watched our grandson for a while during his summer break from school. Otherwise, we just stayed out of the heat as much as possible and helped out around the house a little.
We might have to rethink our nickname “dirt farm” for the homestead here since my mom has gotten even more chickens; over two dozen now. I’m thinking “chicken farm” would be more appropriate… what do you think?
Just before we moved from our RV park in Glendale to the Casa Grande “dirt farm”, we enjoyed the hospitality of my mom’s sister who lives north of Phoenix in Sun City Grand.
Aunt Kathy showed us her latest upgrade to the house. She had the entire wall remodeled with shelves and brickwork where there used to be a wooden wall unit/entertainment center. Looks nice Auntie!
Aunt Kathy often watches dogs (dog-sitting) for friends and neighbors. She had three that we took out for a walk once the sun started going down and it cooled off a bit.
Around the 11th of June, we went out to Macayo’s for my stepdad’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday Jimmy!
Jim got a rather appropriate gift (below) that alludes to mom’s chicken farm venture.
I also used the time parked in Casa Grande to take care of a few more little projects. One was to beef up the drawer slide supports under the rear closet.
The metal drawer slides have plastic mounts that screw to the back wall boards. Over time these plastic pieces start cracking and break from the large amount of weight we pile into the drawers. I’ve replaced a couple of these supports before but this time I decided to ‘beef’ them up to keep this from happening in the future.
It was nice to have access to all the power tools and wood scraps here at the “dirt farm”. I cut some wood strips to just the right size to support the mounting bracket(s). I cut one to support the plastic piece that screws to the back wall and another to support the plastic channel that the metal slide rides in. These are rock solid now and will probably outlast the coach.
Another project was to do something about the middle clothes rod support in our closet. The original middle support was kind of wimpy and was only attached to the ceiling. It was coming loose from all the weight of our full-timing clothes and my temporary fix was to put a ratcheting cargo bar in place between the floor and the bar. I decided to replace my temporary ‘fix’ with a 4′ board and use the floor for support since my cargo bar was kind of tacky 🙂 I can safely assume this is a common issue in Alpine coaches with the rear closet because I saw a similar fix in another Alpine or maybe it was a factory fix that was done on coaches after my model year. So I just copied what I remembered seeing and found an appropriate wood plank at Home Depot™ that I cut, stained, and drilled to fit.
I forgot to take a picture of the original support, but it was just a 6″ piece of wood with a hole drilled in it for the bar and it was sandwiched between the small strips of wood (at the top of the picture below) that were screwed into the ceiling.
This clothes bar will hold some serious weight now. Time to go buy more clothes 🙂
Before we left Casa Grande we took a trip back up to Tempe and replaced the tires on Jenny’s travel trailer so it’s safe to move should the need arise while we’re gone. I cleaned and stored the Harley because we decided to take the ATV (quad) with us in the back of the pickup for the next phase of our travels. See ya later Harley.
Anyway, it’s been great hanging out with family but it’s time to hit the road again. Our youngest daughter Joleen recently moved from Colorado Springs, CO to Bowling Green, KY with her fiancé. They just got a house and have been talking about needing some help renovating. Hopefully she’ll have 50 amp hookups installed by the time we arrive… but we’re not in too much of a hurry. We’ll take the leisurely route to get there and hopefully get to see some old friends and new sites.