Heading out from Luna Lake to Las Cruces we had a variety of landscapes, first mountains with lots of trees, then they thinned and thinned until there was nothing but long lonely stretches of road for miles. We made the journey pretty much straight through, stopping to top off the tank and make a quick snack back in the Airstream. We arrived at our first Harvest Host spot, the Rio Grande Winery in Las Cruces a little after 4 pm. Unfortunately, I am not a wine drinker, but Joel enjoyed their local beers and we sat out on their gorgeous patio while the sun set. We dry camped near the vineyards along with two other campers, an Airstream (nice older couple) and a young couple who just purchased a van and were beginning their adventures of full time van living/travel. We had a great time talking with them and wished them a safe journey. It is nice to see people taking the leap and following their dreams.
Unexpected places are what make a road trip interesting. Luna Lake was just such a place. We had planned to stop at Cosmic Campground, a dark sky viewing spot near the border of AZ and NM. However, Joel decided to make a change in plans and we ended up at Luna Lake. It is gorgeous! The weather was perfect and we were lucky to snag a lakeview spot. There are no hookups at Luna Lake, so this was our first chance to try out our dry camping skills with our newly installed solar system. We enjoyed a huge evening fire (free firewood everywhere as they were cutting down all the dead trees to thin out the forest for fire season). We had this great forest/lake view out our bedroom window. The camp spots were spaced far apart so you felt like you had the place all to yourself. It got a bit chilly at night, after nearly freezing to death, Joel finally turned on the heater (he thought we would run the battery too low). But, guess what?!? We had a nearly full battery still the next morning…ugghh, me and the dogs are still shivering!
We said a sad “goodbye” to our buddies Linda, Thurman and their adorable little dog Gidget as we head to Carlsbad Caverns (a 2 day drive). We had such a fun time with them, they will be missed! We got a late start since I accidentally left my credit card at the brewery/restaurant the night before. They didn’t open until 2 pm, we were hoping to leave town by 9 am. Through perseverance, we finally got a hold of someone at the restaurant, retrieved the card (what a hassle it would have been trying to order a new one while on the road) and headed out of town late – but credit card in hand!
Get Your Kicks on Route 66
We cruised into Williams, AZ to meet up with our good friends (and fellow Airstreamers) Linda and Thurman. We have a buddy site at the Grand Canyon Railroad RV Park. When they say “railroad” they are not kidding! It’s just a few hundred feet away and super fun at 1 am when a conductor decides to lay on his airhorn for 10 minutes!! However, this didn’t spoil our trip as we enjoyed a day shopping in the cute little town. With so many the kitschy souvenir shops, we all ended up with something new to take home -including a few extra pounds as the BBQ was great at the Cruisers 66 Cafe. Shortly after we arrived for dinner, I happened to look down at my hand to realize that my wedding ring was gone. I remembered taking it off to clean it in our RV, but didn’t remember putting it back on. I was too panicky I couldn’t wait until after our meal, so I ran back to the campsite to look for it. I went through every spot I had been to no avail, I was feeling more than a bit desperate when I finally searched a cupboard one more time and it was laying at the bottom of a bin. Ugghhh! It’s always something, but so happy I found it.
We spent another day at the Grand Canyon Deer Farm. We have all visited before, but this is not to be missed when you are in the Williams’ area. The deer are very friendly when you have a cup of food in your hands, not so much once it is gone! They are ever hopeful though, so come around to check if you have gone for a refill. In addition to deer, they have all sorts of other creatures including reindeer, a camel, miniature horses, a zonky (yes, you read that right, a mix between a donkey and a zebra), and prickly porcupines just to name a few. You can get up close with most the creatures who come in as rescues and their staff is super friendly and informative.
Site Seeing in Sedona
Williams is about 1hr 20min to Sedona, AZ so of course we took the drive down. The winding drive down through the mountains into town is so beautiful, it’s simply breathtaking. On this trip we visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which none of us have been to before. It sits high atop the red rocks and though Catholic in faith, its doors are open to all for a visit. Once you arrive, you walk up a circular ramp that takes you to the entry doors. I was more than surprised upon entering to see a 90 foot tall iron cross with Jesus looking down as he hangs from the cross, his eyes are piercing. There is such a deeply spiritual feel to it, I had to sit in a pew and just pray. So thankful for our good friends, this great trip and how fortunate we are to have these opportunities. May God bless each of you!
Our first stop outside California is fabulous Las Vegas! We stayed at the Oasis RV Resort which is a few short miles from the strip. It has a resort worthy pool, security, and is convenient to freeways, attractions and of course, casinos. We didn’t spend too much time in the casinos, as I have cousins who live in town and they are a lot more fun to hang out with. My cousin Steve took us on a UTV ride though the desert around Mt. Charleston. It was Joel’s first time in a UTV and we had so much fun that my cheeks hurt from laughing afterwards. They recently adopted the cutest golden doodle puppy named Ollie. I am so in love with Ollie and he is a great sport, racing along through the desert at 60 mph, his ears flying in the wind. It was a great visit and good to catch up with cousin Steve and cousin Shannon.
Hello! We spent a few days at Orangeland RV Park in lovely Orange, CA. This is a great park and we highly recommend it. The trick is that you cannot reserve on-line like you can with most every other RV park. You have to go onto their website, submit a request to stay, they review and let you know in a few days if they have availability. However, you can also just call and if you don’t mind being on hold for a while, make a reservation that way. This park is super close to Disneyland which is just now starting to open up after being shut down for over a year due to COVID. We spent some time at Downtown Disney and discovered the bowling alley was open and Joel, not having bowled in over a year, had to go. He had a great time, but found out his bowling skills are pretty rusty! He was even sore the next day, so I think now that things are starting to open up more and more, we will be spending more time in bowling alleys.
We pulled into the San Mateo Campground in San Onofre/San Clemente during the week and it was so quiet! Only a few sites were occupied and we really enjoyed the bustling sounds of nature around us. We had a couple of squirrels that seemed to be fighting for the territory in front of our campsite. Watching them chase each other around was quite amusing.
We had a nice surprise when my brother and nephew came up and we spent the day biking along the coastal trails. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with sushi and s’mores – they go together — really! S’mores actually go with everything 🙂
We spent some time shopping in downtown San Clemente, a favorite spot with lots of cute boutiques and Joel spent some time on the “husband’s bench” waiting me out! We are so limited on space, we can’t take on much more, but there is always a cute blouse that I can’t resist. I am already going to have to get rid of a few more things to make room.
We head to Orangeland RV Park in Orange for a few days and then fabulous Las Vegas!
We are in the final weeks counting down to our upcoming cross-country trip. The map is a rough guesstimate of our stops which we expect to take about 6 months. We are starting out in Lake Elsinore, CA, then heading to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns and San Antonio, TX. I hope you will follow along with us on our next adventure!