We took a short six mile detour off the highway for an interesting visit to Fort McKavett. It turns out everyone was preparing for the Christmas program later that day. Decorations were being made in the traditional way they might have been back in the 1860’s when the fort was a remote military post during the Texas Indian Wars.
It was fun to watch Cody Mobley shooting wet plate ambrotype photographs of reenactors dressed as a dragoon and a citizen inside the restored barracks decorated for Christmas.
Cody Mobley shooting wet plate ambrotype photographs in the barracks of Fort McKavett.
We have been wandering eastward toward Texas and stopped for two days at the City of Rocks State Park north of Deming, NM. It’s a pretty unique place. As the name suggests the park really is a city of very large rocks with several short hiking trails through them.
The weather turned chilly and the wind picked up. When we weren’t hiking we stayed snug in the RV. I was able to spend some time woking on minor updates for Halfmile’s Pacific Crest Trail maps for next year’s hikers.
Salvation Mountain at the entrance to Slab City, CA.
Slab City is a pretty interesting place and since we are meandering east on our way to Austin for Christmas we decided to stop for a few days.
It’s am unregulated encampment on the site of an abandoned Marine barracks where 150 or so permanent residents and 1,000 or so folks in all manner of RV’s camp in the Sonoran Desert about 150 miles east of San Diego. The “Last Free Place in America” say the signs.
Slab City has fancy new RV’s, old abandoned RV’s that haven’t run in years, art, religion, live music, a 24 hour library, piles of trash, and many interesting characters. We have been here three nights and have barely scratched the surface of the place.
At the entrance to Slab City is Salvation Mountain where Leonard Knight spend about 35 years building an elaborate adobe, straw, and paint religious monument. Leonard passed away in 2014, but a foundation carries on his work. I had the pleasure of meeting him on a previous trip here in 2007.
The East Jesus art installation was an interesting stop too. It’s not religions but refers to East Jesus as in the middle of nowhere, which pretty well describes Slab City.
Last week we traveled from the chilly mountains near Idyllwild, CA to the warmth of the Pacific Ocean and Oceanside, CA.
First stop was Guajome County Park for a few pleasant nights and a shakedown of the RV. Fortunately the Guajome Park was near a Home Depot store since the RV needed some minor repairs. We fixed the leaking kitchen sink drain, wired up the portable solar panel, replaced the tv antenna, and fixed the broken screen on the bathroom vent fan. We also organized and repacked the RV and can actually find most of the things we need now.
From Guajome Park to Oceanside Harbor is about a 20 mile round trip on a lovely bike path and we made the trip twice on our new folding bikes. Neither of us have been biking much the past few years but it was great fun and good exercise.
We hosted dinners at the RV for some of our friends from Oceanside and San Diego.
For our final night we moved to Oceanside Harbor which allows overnight camping in a parking lot right on the beach and what a spectacular sunset. Deb had a little mishap with the machine that dispenses parking permits and accidentally purchased two $28 permits but that got sorted out without too much trouble. It was a surprisingly relaxing and peaceful place considering we were in a parking lot.
We recently purchased a motorhome and will be exploring the country in our tiny home on wheels for the next year or two. The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity as we purchased the new (to us) RV, moved out of our rented cabin in Idyllwild, downsized our belongings, sold my car, and moved everything into either storage or the RV.
The RV is a 2005 Winnebago Aspect. It’s 26 feet long, which is mid-sized by today’s standards. We wanted a comfortable space to live, but still small enough to travel to out of the way parks and other places. The dining area slides out on the left side of the RV which adds a lot of room when you are parked.
As we moved out of Idyllwild the weather had turned cold and was dropping into the mid 20’s at night. We spent two chilly nights in the RV at the County Park in Idyllwild as we packed up the cabin and traveled to the warmth of Oceanside, CA.
Note: It’s been awhile since I updated the blog. I’m not still hiking the Colorado Trail. Back in August I ended the Colorado Trail hike after 300 miles when I came down with a chest cold that slowed me down quite a lot at high elevations. The Colorado Trail was a great hike and I’m looking forward to finishing the final 180 miles someday soon.