Half the fun of full-time RVing is the travel planning for the next adventure. With just a little over a month to go in our inaugural winter season in Tucson, AZ, it is time to pull out the road atlas, plot a route, and research things to see and places to stay.
We know we want to head to the Hill Country of Texas, and spend some time in Bandera, Texas, but there is a lot to see between Tucson and Bandera. Cooper and I spent two weeks in an RV resort in Kerrville, Texas, back in 2001. It was spring in Steamboat, snow was melting, and it was time to go thaw our bones after a long hectic winter. One of our Mazzola’s employees, Randy, said that his parents lived in the Hill Country of Texas, in Kerrville, and we might like to see that part of the country while the blue bonnets were in bloom. OK, Kerrville, it was.
The Hill Country is located just a bit northwest of San Antonio and west of Austin. With rolling hills and a bit milder climate, at least in the spring, it is really very charming. From Kerrville we were able to scout lots of other towns close by, and discovered Bandera. We took a day trip and were completely enthralled with the quaint cowboy-ness of the town. It is a true cowboy town turned art center. Although we don’t remember a whole lot about the town (it was 15 years ago, after all), we both have fond memories of the place and want to go back.
Actually, we had planned to spend the winter in Bandera, instead of in Tucson, but with friends already staying in Tucson, and able to ease us into the RV lifestyle, we decided it was a better option to try Tucson first. But Bandera is still an itch we need to scratch. It is the next destination on our RV adventure.
So the planning begins.
Our time in Tucson ends March 23rd (since our rent for the next month is due that day). We could stay a few more days or another whole month if we want to, but, at this point, we are getting antsy to move on. What’s the point of having a house on wheels if it never goes anywhere?
Looking at the Atlas (old-fashioned, I know, but still the best visual and you can write on it, mark it up, and easily bookmark the pages), we will be going through southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, west Texas and finally to Hill Country. I plotted the route and calculated the number of miles between logical stopping places, possible campgrounds (always looking for good state or federal parks first or good boondocking-dry camping locations), and interesting things to do along the way.
One of the standards we try to adhere to is the two-two-two method of RV travel. No more than two hundred miles a day, stop by 2 pm, and stay at least two days. This has proven to be a great way to travel, not wear yourself out, get settled before dark with a little time to explore, and make the stay long enough to create some memories. this is one of the little nuggets of the RV lifestyle we learned at one of the random happy hour RV gatherings we have experienced somewhere along the way. You can really learn a lot by just talking to people who have more experience than you do.
We have started talking to our RV neighbors about our upcoming plans, and people have been offering suggestions of places for us to visit along the way. Willcox, AZ, will probably require 3-4 days. While it is the winter home to a large flock of Sand Hill Cranes, by the time we get there, most of them will have headed north again. It is still a great birding area and there will be lots more birds to get pictures of. The Chiracahua National Monument is here and should be great for photos, what with all the unusual rock formations and all. And then there are all the vineyards. Lots to do in Willcox.
We are not sure what we will see or do in New Mexico just yet, but one other place we plan to stop is in Marfa, TX. While having lunch out at Steamboat friends Saundi and Harlan Lear’s RV ranchette, they told us that we should make an effort to see the Marfa Lights. I know I have heard about these mysterious lights before, probably on one of the Ancient Alien programs on PBS. While driving down through Marfa will take us off the interstate, we like those kinds of things and really prefer to be off the beaten path anyway. (You might have heard about Marfa in the news in the last few days. Supreme Court Justic Antonin Scalia just died there of a heart attack while visiting a guest ranch there. Could it have something to do with the lights???)
From Marfa we will head to Bandera and plan to park there for a while. We will use it as a base to visit the whole of Hill Country – Fredericksburg, Kerrville, New Braunfels, Boerne, Luckenbach, Austin and San Antonio (and whatever else we can find). The 125th Fiesta San Antonio is April 14 – 24 and I really want to go. I know it will be completely nuts and very crowded, but since we are right there anyway, we need to at least go on parade day. (Come on, Cooper. It will be fun and great for photos.)
That is as far as we have gotten in the planning so far. We haven’t even thought about how or when we will get back to Steamboat Springs. It will probably be about the middle of May (if the snow is gone). Once I get the details for this next leg of the trip figured out, there will be plenty of time to work on the Texas to Colorado leg of our adventure.
Travel planning is almost as much fun for me as the actual doing. The biggest problem is being able to choose from all the choices of things to see and do along the way. Do too much and it all becomes a blur. Do too little and the memories don’t form. If you have any suggestions for us along our route, please email me at tracy@BarnettsRVAdventure.com. Even if we don’t get there this time around, it can go on “the list”.