Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander



WELCOME TO MY BLOG

If you like what you see, sign-up to receive notification updates and pass this on to your friends.

If you have suggestions or questions, please send me a note.

And don't forget to post a comment if you're moved to do so.

FOLLOW US...

Blog 284: Deep in the Heart of Texas

Davis Bayou Campground to Cranes Mill Park

From our Ocean Springs campground, we once again strode on to I-10 West and traveled across Mississippi and most all of Louisiana, stopping close to the Texas border at Vinton RV in Vinton, LA. This was just an easy-on, easy-off location for the night—just a place to rest up, and then go.

Vinton RV Sign

The next morning, we again pointed the coach west on I-10, scooting through the very light traffic of Houston, and then to exit 604 in Segun, Texas. After about an hour of taking Texas 46 to 2722 East to 2673 North, we arrived at our campground on Canyon Lake, Texas. Canyon Lake is strategically located, about 35 miles NE of San Antonio and 45 miles SW of Austin. It is a big, manmade lake created and managed by the Army Corp of Engineers.

Cranes Mill Park Sign

This place is our kind of park…small (just 30 sites), big sites, covered picnic tables, scrub country behind us, and lake views up front. Deer everywhere and lots of birds.

Corn Flowers

Bull Thistle

Oh Deer 2

Western Kingbird

For many hours over our stay, we stalked the scissor-tailed flycatcher (also known as the Texas bird-of-paradise or the swallow-tailed flycatcher) and were fortunate to get a photo or two (in reality, I probably shot 400 or more).

Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher

Our RV-really-good-friends from Oregon were in the area visiting family, and we spent time with this crew doing a little sightseeing, and then they took us out boating on the Caribbean-hued waters of the lake. Here are a couple of hot chicks on the boat.

Boating Babes

Old Trucks
Here is one old well-digging truck from the Texas heartland.

Old Well-Digging Truck

See you next time.

Travel Blog 257: Wildflowers, Steep Caves, and Crazy Aliens

Since my last blog, I had a week-long client engagement that took me from Orlando to San Jose and Chicago, and then back to Orlando. Early morning before my departure flight, we loaded up and did the Apopka Loop one last time. As always, lots of beautiful birds. Here is the first least bittern we have seen while exploring the loop.

Least Bittern

The day after my return back to Apopka, we loaded the bus and started our trek west: I-429, Florida Turnpike North, I-75 North, and then the long slog across I-10. The weather was clear, and with just a few exceptions, the roads were in good condition and the traffic light to moderate. In the Florida panhandle we stayed by Holt at the Eagles Landing RV Park. In Louisiana we spent a night at Sulphur at the A+ Motel and RV Park. All across Louisiana underwater trees and overflowing banks showed the results of weeks of continuous rain and the flooding that ensued. After circling around the north part of Houston we picked up 290 West heading to Austin.

Leander Meander
We spent a couple of nights in the northwest corner of the Austin metro area at the Leander KOA in Leander, one of the fastest growing towns in Texas. Here we took a day trip with old friends, driving by the LBJ ranch, a marvelous wildflower farm, and then on to the destination town of Fredricksburg, home of Admiral Nimitz. Although the bluebonnets were in retreat, the roadside wildflowers were at their height in one of the best years on record. I took multiple photos, but none did justice. For over two hundred miles we visually feasted upon vibrant reds and yellows, speckled with blues, and a background of various greens…enough to make retina overload.

Ft. Stockton
After lots of miles, we camped at the Ft. Stockton RV Park just off of I-10…easy on and easy off. Here is a shot of the Mexican paradise plant right by our campsite.

Mexican Paradise Plant

Carlsbad
At Fort Stockton we took 285 North into Carlsbad, and just a few miles north we set up camp at the Carlsbad KOA for three days. Each morning was chilly and calm, but by afternoon it was hot and windy. At this campground, Jack was introduced to a bunny plantation, and soon he suffered from a severe rabbit habit, spending hours on the coach dash, staring at the hundreds of rabbits. The birds were plentiful and loud with boattail starlings everywhere, lots of doves, and scaled quails. We also saw a scarlet tananger, a Bullock’s oriole, and a few hummers. Jan also took a great pic of a flowering cactus.

Scaled Quail

Hummer at Flowering Cactus

Flowering Cactus

Roswell Side Trip
A short hour north of our campground is the famous Roswell, home of alien landings, mystic happenings, and conspiracy theories.

Alien Jump Start

Alien RV

Just north of Roswell, we toured the loop of the Bitter Lake National Wildlife Preserve. We saw some stilts, gallinule, and a variety of ducks--not bad for a hot, windy, midday in the off-season.

Carlsbad Caverns NP
We had another early morning plan: We would all load up and be at the Carlsbad Caverns at 8 a.m. opening, and I would take the elevator down to the main caves and spend an hour shooting photos, and then return to our car and resume our day trip (Jan doesn’t like caves).

Surprise #1: The 7-mile entrance road to the caverns brought a nice surprise, as I was focused on the caverns, not wildlife…right in front of us 14 momma and baby bighorn sheep crossed the road, went up a short hill, and then turned and stared at us--great photo opp! A short time later we saw another herd, and later a couple rams. Great way to start the day.

Baby Sheep

Bighorn Sheep Herd

Surprise #2: As we pulled into the Visitor Center, there was Al Roker and a camera crew preparing to do a shoot for the Today Show’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park system. Jan hollered a greeting to Al and he smiled and waved back. I had a nice conversation with the lead cameraman.

Surprise #3: While showing my park pass to a ranger, he informed me that the elevators were broken and that it was a very steep and strenuous mile down just to reach the bottom and a very steep and more strenuous mile back up…my planned one-hour trip would take 3.5 to 4.5 hours…yikes! So I went to plan B, and we drove the 45-minute Walnut Canyon Desert Drive, and then we drove to another section of the park (Rattlesnake Springs) were we saw a flycatcher and a roadrunner resting in a tree.

Flycatcher

Resting Roadrunner

Guadalupe NP
Since we were no less than a half hour away, we drove into Texas, stopped at Guadalupe NP, and then returned back to Carlsbad to the patio of a wonderful restaurant where all four of us feasted on green chili cheeseburgers, carne tacos, and frijole charros. Great way to celebrate Mother’s Day!

Century Plant in Bloom

Finally, a public service announcement.

Public Service Announcement

See ya’ll soon.