Catch Our RV Journey on YouTube!

The journey itself might be over, and our “A Year On The Road” RV adventure is officially in the books, but you can still catch up with all the excitement and intrigue on our YouTube channel, which now has almost 100 snapshot videos of different aspects of the trip in the bag.

Javelinas! Jevelinas! Finally, we get to see Javelinas!

From Pictured Rocks National Seashore in Michigan to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon, plus dozens of fascinating places and experiences in between, this is our chance to wow you with the visuals of this epic RV journey across 23 states.

Our latest contribution is all about those elusive Javelinas in Texas, but you’ll also find recent videos that highlight the vibrant Historic Market Square in San Antonio, Big Bend National Park and a stunning tequila sunset in New Mexico.

Check it all out on this link:

The stunning Natural Bridge Caverns just north of San Antonio featured in a recent snapshot video

Welcome To Don’t Mess With Texas!

With its hidden state-border crossing sign and slightly aggressive motto, Texas loomed large in our front windshield as we left New Mexico behind for what will be nearly two months in the Lone Star State, waiting out winter.

You have to be right up on this sign before you can make out what it is.

It quickly got a bit less peevish, and this would be an ongoing theme that took us by surprise. We experienced so much kindness and generosity in our first week in Texas.

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes distances. We try to limit our driving in Fati to 200 miles or less per day, and it was 271 miles to our next campground, so we boondocked at a handy pull-out off I-10 in Van Horn, just a few yards off the highway. There is a long strip of road running parallel to the interstate where trucks and RVs can rest overnight. This was our view:

Simon and Ruthie having a discussion about where she was going to take a comfort break that evening, with no dog park in sight.

We pushed on to Alpine the next day, and while the name of this little town should have been a hint, we somehow didn’t expect to be surrounded by mountain ranges. Texas is flat, right?

Well, right, but not Northwestern Texas. Alpine is flanked by the Davis and Glass Mountains, and sits at 4,462 feet above sea level. Not exactly the Rockies, but pretty impressive for cattle country.

Volcanic much?

We saw roadkill not far from this sign that had us wondering if our theory that javelina are a lie was wrong. But it was practically the size of a bus, which (fake) javelina are not. We later found out it was a feral pig.

We didn’t expect so many mule deer just wandering around town.

The reason for our four-day stop in Alpine’s peaceful Lost Alaskan RV Park was Big Bend National Park, located in the Chisos Mountains 72 miles to the south. Our base kept us on track for easy access to US-90, without putting extra miles on Fati.

On our way in to the park we stopped at the entry sign, where a biker was taking a photo of another couple. He offered to take our picture, too, and then some genius happened. Ruthie looks away when anyone points a camera in her direction, but this guy stamped his feet over and over, prompting several little woof-etts from her, and produced photos that look like she’s smiling. Brilliant!

Big Bend launched straight into its prehistoric past, being a location where a great deal of fossilized diversity was discovered. A little exhibit and walking trail tell its 130-million-year story, from the time it was a sea to the time when volcanos shaped the land before woodlands took over; from the monstrous sea creature uncovered here to gigantic dinosaurs, Native peoples, spats with Mexico, and the eventual creation of a National Park.

The landscape here is so changeable.

“Simon, NO! Don’t jump!”
This former mudflat was the site of some important fossil discoveries. Rhinos and camels once roamed the land. So did T-Rex.

One of its claims to fame was the 35-foot-wing-spanned Quetzalcoatlus northropi, the largest flying creature discovered so far, among other dinosaurs that have not yet been found elsewhere.

The pale bones flying just below the ceiling are so long it’s hard to get them into one shot. The near end is its head.

Coming from Florida, we were impressed by the park’s other reptilian claim to fame, clocking in at nearly 50-feet. Deinosuchus riograndens is a dinosaur-munching alligator big enough to take down giant herbivores that waded too close to its massive maw.

We had our picnic near a life-sized metal cutout of the gator.

Just to give a little perspective of the gator’s size. No dogs were harmed in the shooting of this photo.

Geologically, Big Bend is partially the result of the mother of all ka-blooeys. Visitors can drive into and hike all around the Chisos Basin, with an overlook smack in the remnants from an ancient volcano.

If you’ve been geology-ing along with us, you’ll know this is a volcanic plug.

Looking back at the volcanic bowl from a road outside the basin.

Breaking free from a larger continent, subsequent land-mass collisions that raised the land upward, the formation of Cretaceous Sea, and other complicated science-y stuff also contributed to the area’s geological face, and we did feel as if we were in some sort of strange jumble of landscapes; as if the planet had grabbed handfuls of topography from around the country and flung them willy-nilly into Big Bend and the surrounding area.

The wedge between the two mountains behind us is known as “The Window,” and it looks beyond the park into Mexico.

On the way back to Fati we detoured into Terlingua, a mining town turned ghost town. Very little is left here of the original structures, beyond a few crumbling buildings and a cemetery with a few old graves mixed in with the new.

The big draw for tourists is the Starlight Theatre bar. We were going to pop in and be like the cool kids, but it wasn’t open yet. Simon was unceremoniously ordered to back out the door when he stuck his head in to find out when the pleasure of swilling one of their tourist-priced ales could begin.

Fair enough, we’re happy to comply, but also…really? Politeness is free, we’d been looking forward to visiting, and we had a little bit of cash burning a hole in our pockets. We decided not to be cool kids that day.

You can keep your fancy Day-Glo trucks and $14 Margaritas. Don’t Mess With Venesses.

To confirm how right we were with our unreasonably bad attitudes, the Universe rewarded us with mule deer in the campground, not far from Fati, when we returned that evening. A day or so later karma rewarded us with a very sick dog. The two aren’t connected, but maybe we’ll be a bit more patient with our beer money next time.