Out for a hike near Bluff, Utah.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Bluff, Utah.

Where are they going next? North towards Wyoming.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Finding places to overnight

We stayed our first night in Texas at the rest area on the I-35. The tourist office there was closed, but they gave a 1-800 number if you needed any info. And the bathroom building was open because truckers stop in as well and use the facilities. And they left the WiFi on.

On Tuesday, we filled up with gas at $1.70 USD per gallon ($0.64 CAD per liter). Sherman is happily full of cheap fuel!

Good thing fuel is cheap, because it may not be a straight line north. We are finding that many places are closed, and we obviously knew that would be the case. Fortunately, most Texas State Parks are open, but each one has its own set of rules for doing so.

Jim had parted ways with us as soon as we crossed the border, and Roger and Mona were headed for Phoenix area so they said goodbye Tuesday morning. We are still traveling with Aron and Owenita, and Bob and Denise.

When we left the rest area Tuesday, we headed for the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area. Ruth and I have overnighted there before. It turned out it would have been okay, but they don't open to the public until April 1st, and it was only March 31st. And the lady would not bend the rules for us.

On to plan B.

We saw a roadside rest area by the Nueces River listed on iOverlander and it had decent reviews. Sure enough, it was a great spot...

Overnighting at 28.549652, -99.752680

The Nueces River.

It even had some shade.

Quite a lot of road noise during the day, but nice and quiet overnight. Especially compared to the I-35 rest stop the night before!

Texas backroads!

We always like to look at some of the fancy entrance gates to some of the ranch properties.



Road construction just before Uvalde.

On Wednesday, we headed to the town of Uvalde. We needed some supplies because although we had already stocked up on some items, we had purposely not crossed with a lot of fruits and veggies due to border regulations. 

We went to the H-E-B store there. Strangely enough, it was pretty much business as usual. The store was busy... as busy as it would have been on any normal day. In fact, the town itself seemed to be operating as normal. Ruth went in and got what we needed and I stayed in the rig.

Ruth and I had stayed in Uvalde before at the Cooks Slough Sanctuary. We drove over there, but there was a sign on the gate... closed due to coronavirus. Which totally makes no sense to us. And fortunately it makes no sense to Texas State Parks either. In our mind, given the current environment, outdoors is the best place to be! Certainly better than a crowded grocery store.

So, on to plan B again. We had thought about heading to Garner State Park, but we phoned them and they are only honoring current reservations for the month of April. Not accepting any new ones.

So we tried the Hill Country State Natural Area. They have an equestrian camping area, and it turned out they had two available sites. The lady on the phone was super helpful and said that if we booked the two sites online for the next night, she would fix the system to accept us for that night when we arrived. 



Texas long horned cattle.

They even said we could share a site with Bob and Denise!
Aron and Owenita are in their own single site.

There are over 40 miles (65 kms) of multi use trails in this park. We might stay more than two days! No problem staying away from other people here.

We went for a sunset hike to an overlook...

Looking down on the camping area.

Sunset in Texas Hill Country.

Ruth, enjoying the view.

The six of us are all off to do a hike this morning. It's overcast and they are calling for showers the next few days. But we have raincoats and are happy to be getting some exercise.

It might be a convoluted route north!

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Record low deal on the Instant Pot Mini 3 Quart.

And in Canada...



16 comments:

  1. Notifications I got from Iowa State parks is that they are open but only for self contained vehicles. Restrooms and public facilities are closed. That makes sense to me.

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  2. In the Lubbock area there's Palo Duro Canyon State Park and a little farther east Caprock Canyon State Park not as spectacular as Palo Duro But usually far less crowded and you can stay in the midst of the Bison Herd! Go by Turkey TX and see Bob Wills bus!

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    1. We have checked out Palo Duro because it is a fabulous park but they are booked up. I also think that they have closed some sites in order to space people out more. We are hoping to hit Caprock Canyon though, that is a park that we visited two years ago and loved it there, and it has lots of wide open areas for hiking where you are away from people. Been to Turkey, that same year, so we probably won't go there this year as we are trying to stay away from towns and cities, they contain people, lol. :-)

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  3. Welcome back to Texas! Normally we call snowbirds from Canada "Winter Texans", but I guess yall are Spring Texans?

    In Uvalde & now Bandera, you're near HEB HQ in San Antonio, so you'd expect the groceries to be well stocked around there, but they're also in better shape than most even where I am further east. Apparently HEB started game planning for an extended quarantine with suppliers in January which gave them a head start.

    https://www.texasmonthly.com/food/heb-prepared-coronavirus-pandemic/

    While the supply chains are still just fine pretty much everywhere, the distribution & restocking systems seem to be lacking with some grocery companies who've struggled to adapt to herds of hoarders. Kroger is also faring well with the crunch where I am, so for the rest of your trip N beyond TX & out of HEB territory they may be a good bet.

    That's a great park where you are even though it's undeveloped & lacks amenities like water/electric - plenty of good hiking & equestrian trails for visitors who are self-contained as Creigh Gordon mentioned. I'm guessing park managers at more developed parks in all states & provinces are deciding it's too much of a risk to their employees to have them cleaning up bathrooms & water sources after the public.

    But that may be what makes the State Natural Area where you are now a great choice for a hideout during the lockdown. Because they never had the amenities that require maintaining & cleaning up after the public to begin with, their employees can be kept safe so it's (almost?) just business as usual.

    No sense in not enjoying it if you can!

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    1. Sounds like HEB had their head in the game right from the start, good for them. Thank you Leilani, we will keep Kroger in mind once we head out of Texas. We are actually stocked up pretty well, it will mostly be just fresh fruits and vegetables and some meat that we will need to stock up on and maybe a bit of wine and beer :-), I am sure we will make out just fine.

      We are actually trying to source out these underdeveloped parks as they will contain a lot less people and a lot more wide open places for hiking and just being able to get outside without hordes of people close by. We are totally set up for boondocking and that is what we love to do most even in normal times.

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  4. Welcome to the Beautiful Texas Hill Country! We live between Bandera and Medina so we are "neighbors". Stay safe while visiting here and good luck in finding any paper products!!

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    1. Thank you for the welcome! You have a beautiful area here, we are really loving Hill Country State Natural Area, so much so that we are booked in for another two nights. Too bad we can't meet up with you, you will just have to accept our virtual wave hello.

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    2. "waving from here!" Would like to meet also but we have our gate locked and are eating out of the loaded freezer and cabinets. Our daughter, in Iowa, posted online that "my parents are locked, loaded and eating off the land in South Texas". It's not quite that desperate but we are definitely practicing "social distancing". Stay safe on your future travels and God bless.

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    3. Yep, we totally get that and totally understand. We are not locked down but we are treating ourselves that way. We just want to be out in the middle of nowhere where there is no one around but somewhere where we can get out and get in some hiking for fresh air and exercise. We are having no problems with this "social distancing" stuff. You guys take care and maybe one day in the future we will be able to cross paths when the world is back to normal, as if it has every been normal! Take care.

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  5. My parents are buried in Uvalde....I’ve visited there many times. Nice little town with an interesting town square. I love how the Texas back roads have shoulders the size of a second lane anywhere else ! Welcome back. I so enjoyed your travels through Mexico.

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    1. Uvalde looks like a nice little town. We would love to take the time some day to walk around the tow. As you said, it has an interesting town square and many of the buildings in the central area look like they have been nicely restored. Perhaps some other time in the future we will be get a better look at the town.

      We also love that the back roads are never very busy even under normal conditions.

      We are glad that you enjoyed our winter adventures in Mexico. :-)

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  6. I enjoy Central and West Texas. It's such a huge state you travel there forever. So much to see and do.

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    1. We do too, unfortunately we aren't going to be able to see or do as much as it has to offer, at least on this year's trip back north.

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  7. Kevin, get ready for some really cheap gas if you come thru Oklahoma City....it was 99 cents per gallon in numerous places yesterday.

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    1. We won't be going through Oklahoma City but with any luck we will still find lots of cheap gas, just maybe not quite that cheap!

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