Arizona to Alabama – Part Four

After being on the road for six weeks and seven thousand miles the trip plan was to slow down and relax a bit. Not sure that worked but that was the plan anyway. We booked four days at RV resorts in Phoenix and Tucson. Phoenix was a blur as we caught up on the business end of our lives which needed some personal attention. This stop also included getting some clean clothes and doing some grocery shopping. The RV park in Tucson was outstanding, well at least it had trees.

After leaving California next stop Arizona.  Spent a few days in Phoenix and Tucson.

After leaving California next stop Arizona. Spent a few days in Phoenix and Tucson.

We had heard of the Saguaro National Park but had not connected it with Tucson. It was a surprise find and fun to explore in the Sonoran Desert. Jan and I had a good time getting up close and personal with all the different kinds of cactus.

After checking out Phoenix and Tucs5don we take on Saguaro National Park...one more National Park checked off the list.

After checking out Phoenix and Tucson we take on Saguaro National Park…one more National Park checked off the list.

Saguaro NP - Impressive Prickly Pear Cactus.  This National Park is a gem for Tuscon.  Two sections one west and one east of the city.

Saguaro NP – Impressive Prickly Pear Cactus. This National Park is a gem for Tuscon. Two sections one west and one east of the city.

Jan checking out the park's name sake the Saguaro Cactus.

Jan checking out the park’s name sake the Saguaro Cactus.

Actually we spent two days checking out this National Park...very interesting learning about life in the desert.

Actually we spent two days checking out this National Park…very interesting learning about life in the desert.

Everywhere you look there are plenty of Saguaros.  After 75 years these cactus get their arms.  Many of these are over 100 years old and over 70 ft tall.

Everywhere you look there are plenty of Saguaros. After 75 years these cactus get their arms. Many of these are over 100 years old and over 70 ft tall.

After Arizona, we continue our trek east heading to Las Cruces, New Mexico. One thing that we wanted to do was take in the Hatch Pepper Festival. Our timing was off as we were a couple of weeks late. It was still interesting to check out the area. We find that New Mexico is calling us back and we are making plans to return in the next year or two.

For this trip only one night in New Mexico at Las Cruces.  The Hatch Chile capital!  Jan and I are into hot peppers and hot sauces.  New Mexico is calling us back...maybe next year.

For this trip only one night in New Mexico at Las Cruces. The Hatch Chile capital! Jan and I are into hot peppers and hot sauces. New Mexico is calling us back…maybe next year.

On this trip Larry missed out on the Microbreweries...finally a good one in Las Cruces...   It is good to be back in civilization!

On this trip Larry missed out on the Microbreweries…finally a good one in Las Cruces… It is good to be back in civilization!

After New Mexico, we head south to Texas. The destinations are Big Bend National Park, San Antonio and Padre Island at Corpus Christi. The trip south along the Rio Grande River was enjoyable.

Love these endless road photos.  After Arizona we continue the trip through the desert heading south  to Texas.

Love these endless road photos. After Arizona we continue the trip through the desert heading south to Texas.

Our route to the Big Bend National Park was down Texas highway 170.  Recommend this picturesque route along the Rio Grande and the Mexican border.

Our route to the Big Bend National Park was down Texas highway 170. Recommend this picturesque route along the Rio Grande and the Mexican border.

Views of the Rio Grande were spectacular...

Views of the Rio Grande were spectacular…

Although being so close to the Mexican  border made Jan a bit nervous!

Although being so close to the Mexican border made Jan a bit nervous!

Big Bend National Park was a last minute add on to our trip so we had to squeeze it in. We only had two nights there. Reservations were at the Lajitas Golf Course RV park. We chose a private park as the NP campground was right on the Rio Grande which made us nervous. Although in retrospect not sure it would have been an issue. We could have used another day easily and more if we planned any hikes.

Looking forward to checking out the Big Bend National Park.  This park has been on our list for a long time.  Good to be here now!

Looking forward to checking out the Big Bend National Park. This park has been on our list for a long time. Good to be here now!

Big Bend mountains...  It has three different terrains the river, the desert and the mountains.

Big Bend mountains… It has three different terrains the river, the desert and the mountains.

These mountains are different as they have a green foreground that sets off the rocks in the background.

These mountains are different as they have a green foreground that sets off the rocks in the background.

This day there are no clouds only blue sky to top off any photo.

This day there are no clouds only blue sky to top off any photo.

In the long past people actually lived here.  The main farms and ranches are maintained to the extend possible.  Lots of interesting history to take in...

In the long past people actually lived here. The main farms and ranches are maintained to the extend possible. Lots of interesting history to take in…

This is still a working windmill used to irrigate the old Sam Nail homestead.

This is still a working windmill used to irrigate the old Sam Nail homestead.

Then there was the Homer Wilson Ranch.  This was the largest ranch taken in by the national park.

Then there was the Homer Wilson Ranch. This was the largest ranch taken in by the national park.

Homer Wilson bunkhouse.  Nice hike down the hill through the desert...

Homer Wilson bunkhouse. Nice hike down the hill through the desert…

View across the park.  Note the notch in mountain in the background named the Window.

View across the park. Note the notch in mountain in the background named the Window.

More mountains in the desert.

More mountains in the desert.

Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande running down the middle.

Santa Elena Canyon with the Rio Grande running down the middle.

Santa Elena Canyon...hiking the trail.

Santa Elena Canyon…hiking the trail.

The muddy Rio Grande along the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.

The muddy Rio Grande along the Santa Elena Canyon Trail.

Santa Elena Canyon was a fun experience

Santa Elena Canyon was a fun experience

Big Bend desert...

Big Bend desert…

Sun is starting to set and brings out the color in the mountains...

Sun is starting to set and brings out the color in the mountains…

Many years back I had been to San Antonio and enjoyed the visit. When Jan and I were in Texas four years ago we planned to hit the city but it never worked out so it just stayed on the list. This trip it was right on the way to the next stop. It was good to be back in a big city. Exploring the Missions run by the National Park and experiencing the River walk were the main destinations. What we found interesting is the Missions in San Antonio are a collaborative effort with the NP system and the Catholic Church. Out of the five missions we did three, as we ran out of time to do the other two.

Here we are ready to check out downtown San Antonio

Here we are ready to check out downtown San Antonio

San Antonio has done a nice job making their city tourist friendly

San Antonio has done a nice job making their city tourist friendly

Another downtown photo opt...

Another downtown photo opt…

Lots of history at the Alamo...

Lots of history at the Alamo…

Alamo has lots of interesting corners to check out...

Alamo has lots of interesting corners to check out…

The Alamo Mission has withstood the test of time...

The Alamo Mission has withstood the test of time…

iconic Alamo Shrine...lots of history was made here...

iconic Alamo Shrine…lots of history was made here…

We spent a few hours touring the grounds and taking in all history.

We spent a few hours touring the grounds and taking in all history.

The San Antonio River walk.  Interesting place to explore...no problem finding a place to eat or get a drink.

The San Antonio River walk. Interesting place to explore…no problem finding a place to eat or get a drink.

View from the bridge...nice Mexican restaurant, yes we had lunch under the umbrella.

View from the bridge…nice Mexican restaurant, yes we had lunch under the umbrella.

San Antonio River...Jan ready for some lunch.

San Antonio River…Jan ready for some lunch.

Lots of bridges and other interesting features to see.

Lots of bridges and other interesting features to see.

River walk continues beyond downtown.

River walk continues beyond downtown.

River Walk

River Walk

San Antonio has a heritage Mission Tour.  There are five missions including the Alamo.  Mission Concepcion was the first stop after the Alamo.

San Antonio has a heritage Mission Tour. There are five missions including the Alamo. Mission Concepcion was the first stop after the Alamo.

Touring the Missions exceeded expectations. It was great seeing all the old buildings even on a rainy day.

Touring the Missions exceeded expectations. It was great seeing all the old buildings even on a rainy day.

Mission Concepcion

Mission Concepcion

Great arches to view the outside world

Great arches to view the outside world

Mission Concepcion the church...

Mission Concepcion the church…

Here is a shot while waiting for the rain to stop.

Here is a shot while waiting for the rain to stop.

Next stop Mission San Jose

Next stop Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose

Mission San Jose houses the park headquarters.  The grounds are extensive.

Mission San Jose houses the park headquarters. The grounds are extensive.

Mission San Jose stables

Mission San Jose stables

Would you believe I took over 100 pictures at this stop

Would you believe I took over 100 pictures at this stop

These buildings have withstood the test of time...well sort of...

These buildings have withstood the test of time…well sort of…

Much of the stone work was done by Native Americans

Much of the stone work was done by Native Americans

Church at Mission San Jose...college student playing to earn money for tuition.

Church at Mission San Jose…college student playing to earn money for tuition.

Church at Mission San Jose

Church at Mission San Jose

These Mission Buildings have lots of interesting features...

These Mission Buildings have lots of interesting features…

Another Mission stable.

Another Mission stable.

Jan and I were campground host at the Padre Island National Seashore a few years ago. It was a good experience and we enjoyed being there. It called us back. As we created the travel schedule we decided to spend our 50th Wedding Anniversary on the Padre Island beach. It was a good call. The weather was perfect which made the stay very pleasant. This is one place that keeps calling us back.

Continuing the Texas adventure, we make our way to Corpus Christi and the Padre Island National Seashore

Continuing the Texas adventure, we make our way to Corpus Christi and the Padre Island National Seashore

Here we are on Padre Island October 8th our 50th wedding anniversary...

Here we are on Padre Island October 8th our 50th wedding anniversary…

This is dinner for 50th anniversary celebration.  Looks like a RV on the road meal to me...except for the wine maybe...

This is dinner for 50th anniversary celebration. Looks like a RV on the road meal to me…except for the wine maybe…

Here we are 50 years ago...wow we look young in this picture.  My take is this looks very traditional for 1966!

Here we are 50 years ago…wow we look young in this picture. My take is this looks very traditional for 1966!

Early morning is a great time for a walk on the beach.  Of course I always take a camera or two.l

Early morning is a great time for a walk on the beach. Of course I always take a camera or two.l

We love being at Padre...we even had a fun RV site.

We love being at Padre…we even had a fun RV site.

Padre Island is not all beach...

Padre Island is not all beach…

North Padre Island beach goes for over 65 miles

North Padre Island beach goes for over 65 miles

Trees left out in the water after the last hurricane.  Pelicans keeping watch!

Trees left out in the water after the last hurricane. Pelicans keeping watch!

Somber look as the summer trip of 2016 winds down.

Somber look as the summer trip of 2016 winds down.

Here is a sunset picture over the Gulf. After Padre, we decide to head home to Alabama. Larry was struggling with back and leg issues so we cut the trip from 65 days to 60. After Texas, we spent two more days on the road missing Avery Island and Baton Rouge. Those stop went on the list for a later adventure.

Gulf of Mexico sunset...love those colors!

Gulf of Mexico sunset…love those colors!

It is good to be back in Alabama. Lots here to keep us busy. We have been back just over a week and already settling into the winter routine. It is good to catch up with all our friends here. The next trip will be this Spring when we head back to Michigan. Right now, our plan is to stay in Michigan most of the summer and not do a big trip next year. Although in two years we are considering heading back to Alaska for a rerun…

Any of you Northerners who head south you have an open invitation to stop over. We love showing off the Gulf Coast area.

God Bless,

Larry and Jan

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