Wednesday, April 30, 2008

After Big Bend we travelled west deeper into Texas to visit some friends and fix various issues with the truck. In Del Rio we had to buy some parts and hack together the electrical connection between the truck and camper before sunset. We visited an old friend in Corpus Christi who is the radio personality for the local CHL hockey team - The Rays. Listen for him soon in the NHL- Josh Bogorad. Then drove up to San Antonio and got stuck in massive traffic for the "San Antonio Festival" before checking out the Alamo and the surprisingly impressive Riverwalk. We then moved on to Austin to visit a friend we made on the recent China trip. He took us out on his boat onto Lake Austin which his house backs up to. Earlier in the day we bit the bullet and got the "check engine" light looked at. As we all know, going into a shop to diagnose a "check engine" light is not too dissimilar to visiting the proctologist. After a few hours we now had a new idle air control valve, a fresh set of muffler bearings, a lighter wallet and a funny walk.

On the way east out of Texas, we stopped at Galveston and took a ferry to a shoreline road that used to go further until hurricane Katrina made it impassible.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

By the end of week one we made it to central New Mexico. It is unusually hot for this time of year here. After Chiricahua Nat. Mon. we headed up to the Whitewater River catwalk, Gila Cliff dwellings and then to White Sands Nat. Mon. where we took a 3 hour walk amongst the dunes that look like snow. Eastward, we hit Carlsbad Cavern which always impresses. The local accomodations, however, have seemed to slip over the years. We counted 8 of 8 toilets in the only nearby campground that were all plugged up. Add to that the early Greek style showers in the mens room with a noticable amount of un-picked up soap.

Before the trip we bought a Nikon D40 camera to handle pictures in difficult lighting situations and it paid off in the caves. The most unique formation was in Slaughter Canyon Cave. It looked like something straight out of an Iron Maiden album cover. Imagine the early explorers stumbling on this in candle light. I suspect they would have left a formation of their own right there.

Next we travelled down to Big Bend National Park in Texas. Still very hot during the day, but nice at night. The Rio Grande is quite low right now and they don't recommend swimming in it as the US and Mexico have vastly differing sewage standards.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We're back on the road again. We did spend 2 weeks in China at the end of March but had to get going on our USA/CAN trip soon thereafter. I'll probably post some China stuff after the USA trip but in a nutshell there was a lot of fun, pollution, dumplings, bargaining for anything, and chinese people. But not too many stray dogs.

We got through Arizona and part of New Mexico this week and checked out a few cacti and strange rock formations at Saguaro Nat. Park and Chiricahua Nat. Monument respectively. We get a "check engine" light occasionally in the Ford however disconnecting the battery to reset the computer takes care of that problem nicely. I'm sure there'll be more to this storyline later.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Big Loss

On February 7th my father passed away from Lung Cancer.  Betsy and I were fortunate enough to be able to be with him and my mom for the last few months.  Despite everything, he still had a positive attitude and put everyone else's concerns before his own.  He passed away with his entire family around him.  He will be sorely missed.