Latest Update

Don’t forget to look at our Youtube page and follow us on Instagram – links on this blog. We are putting what we can on there so those who have no time to read updates can look at pictures and videos and see what we are up to.

This page gives an update on our current situation. It is useful for us to do this as it makes us review our changing situation and adjust accordingly. We will update it every month or so and archive previous ones as posts. Look for previous ones under “Life on the Road” – “Archived Monthly Updates”.

Update – 10 October 2017

At the time of our last update on 22 September 2017 we were in Parque Nacional Sierra de Organos Mexico. We have since explored a little more of Mainland Mexico and crossed back into the USA at Texas. We are currently in Black Canyon Campground, Santa Fe, USA.

Main features of this period:
Easy walking trails at Parque Organos in the sunshine.
Travelling up through northern Mexico to the border between Ojinaga, Mexico and Presidio, USA.
Scenic drives and walks at Big Bend National Park.
Views of the USA/Mexico border at Big Bend, separated by the Rio Grande.
Saving a Texan motorhome from falling into a culvit and making friends with its Texan owners.
Visiting the ghost town at Terlingua, buying delicious Big Bend honey and then eating good ole Texas BBQ.
More free camping plus some nice RV parks where we could shower and do laundry easily.
Visting El Paso [not “old El Paso”].
Walking up the hill to see the Three Rivers Petroglyphs.
Hiking a trail in the mist, 2 miles upwards, to a great view of the area around Aguirre Spring just in time to see the sun clear the skies.
The highlight of this period – Alberqueque Balloon Fiesta – the main reason for our return to the USA at this time and definitely worth coming for!
Visiting a lot of National Monuments and parks with hiking trails.
Putting our truck up for sale.

What is happening with the weather? We Brits love talking about weather!
At Organos we had a huge downpour. The dry riverbed that we camped beside waa dry when we arrived in the afternoon, became a torrent of rushing water just before dark and then dried up again by the time we got up in the morning. It was hot in northern Mexico as we travelled towards the border. At BJ’s RV Park near Terlingua we had rain but it was warm enough for us to share our bottle of wine with our new Texan friends sitting outside for an evening. It was sunny but also really windy up the hill at the petroglyphs – so windy we had to hang on to our hats. Since then it has been cool until lunchtime but hot in the afternoon so we have always found ourselves to be in the wrong outfits by mid afternoon! It has been quite windy off and on at Alberqueque – but not windy enough to prevent 500+ balloons from becoming airborne while we wandered amongst them. Our shorts are getting less air time these days and the jeans are having a comeback.

As we started to write this update, it was 6 degrees C at 6pm and people were walking past in hats, gloves and coats.

What have we been up to?
We have managed a bit more walking but no swimming. Sarah tried to swim at the Route 66 RV and Casino Park in Alberqueque but it was ice cold and gave her ear ache after only 15 minutes. She developed a head cold the next day but luckily fought it off within 24 hours (by not entering the pool again and going to the Balloon Fiesta instead).

We have eaten out here and there – everything from carnitas to barbacoa, Texan BBQ, local honey, “ribbon fries” at the Balloon Fiesta and lovely French baguettes with Duck Confit and Salami from Los Poblanos Farm Shop in Alberqueque. In Santa Fe we have been out for lunch several times and enjoyed them all. Jon has enjoyed a cold beer with his lunches and Sarah has had a cold glass of white wine – life is such a hardship!

We have seen hundreds of balloons of all shapes and colours, at sunset and sunrise, and we have been marvelling at the amount of deep-fried food available in the USA.

We have also advertised our truck for sale as available in the New Year. We have decided that, although we would like to keep it, we don’t need to go to the expense of shipping it back if someone wants it here.

Are we within our budget? Are we beaten or penniless?
We are not within our original budget but we have enough to do what we want to do.

What do we really think of it so far?
We liked Parque Nacional de Organos in Mexico, which reminded us of The Pinnacles, California, USA but this time with shorter hikes and less people. The first night we camped alone near the riverbed and were surprised to hear horses going past our truck at sunset and again early in the morning. There were four horses and riders in total that passed by, clearly on their way to somewhere, and then back again, through the park. We saw no one else that night. On the second night a large family party of Mexicans arrived to picnic for the evening close to our second camp site. A Swiss couple also camped next to us. They had spent several years travelling through South America, Central America and Mexico and were heading north. It was interesting to chat to them and hear a little about their travels.

We liked the scenery around Big Bend and it was fascinating to see the Rio Grande river marking the meandering border, some of which is through sections of canyons, between the USA and Mexico. We wondered where on earth [and how on earth] Trump’s wall will be built. This natural border is beautiful and it is a shame to spoil such a place. No one was there when we were, except the occasional other tourist.

We had a rest after crossing the border and enjoyed chatting to the Texans that we hauled out of the ditch, who were very easy, pleasant company.

We liked the petroglyphs as it made a nice, relaxing and inexpensive change to camp there for 2 nights and just do the easy uphill wander to view them without rushing off to our next stop. Our hike at Aguirre Spring in the mist was strenuous but worth it for the view. We also enjoyed a quick stop at White Sands National Monument and did a short, very hot, walk over the dunes.

We got to Alberqueque in plenty of time to sort out our visit to the Balloon Fiesta, which has been a most magnificient thing. Being able to wander about in the middle of hundreds of balloons, all trying to take off into the blue skies of New Mexico, is something we won’t forget easily. We are very glad that we decided to come back to the USA for this spectacle. It was surprisingly less expensive that we thought it would be for this event overall. Our RV park just out of town was pricey but this is expected at times of special events. The RV park was super clean with all mod cons available [we just happen to not need some of them]. There was free coffee and recreational room with a TV, a gym, a pool, full hook-ups, laundry facilities and lots of space so you can’t complain at that! We slept well there and enjoyed our relaxing stay.

For the Balloon Fiesta, we decided to see the Twilight Twinkle session and visit the park for late afternoon/evening on the Saturday – to see the balloons all lit up against the dark sky. As we arrived to enter before 3pm we unexpectedly, got in during the free admission time. We also managed to camp overnight that night 15 minutes walk away amongst some office buildings in what looked like a unused plot of land. We were up at 4.30am ready to walk back to the Balloon Park for 5.30am to see the Dawn Patrol and Mass Ascension of 500+ balloons into the early morning skies. We were stupid enough not to wear coats and froze throughout the first few hours! We chased from balloon to balloon, leaving one taking off as another one got ready, rushing over to stand right next to their burners to try to soak their warmth before they took off – in lieu of coats. The sun did not warm Alberqueque until 11am that day. Then it baked us so we had an ice cream!

There was musical entertainment at the Balloon Fiesta and we waited in vain for someone to play Prefab Sprout’s “The King of Rock n Roll” – the only words we knew were “Hot Dog, Jumping Frog, Alberqueque”. Unfortunately no one obliged by singing it except Sarah.

We did not go up in a balloon on this occasion for several reasons – although we wanted to really. The flights were all fully booked and higher more in price than outside Balloon Fiesta fortnight. We would love to take off in one of those baskets and flee about in the blue skies of New Mexico but we are waiting for the right opportunity and then we will go [maybe not in New Mexico, perhaps another US State]. We will probably wear coats when we do it.

We have fared better on the food front recently overall with an increase in our vegetable and salad intake, fresher ingredients and the return of the Clif Bar – the only thing worth visiting Walmart for! We hated the greasy, deep-fried, tasteless potato [was it a potato?] “ribbon fries” at the Balloon Fiesta and we chucked most of them in the bin. Everyone else was clearly enjoying theirs [these were very popular] so we are obviously in the minority on the enjoyment-of-deep-fried-stuff front! We also tried a falafel wrap and hummus with flatbread there – which was a much better option apart from the stodgy flatbread [we are used to making our own and them being cooked properly]. We despair of bread in North America except where someone is making French bread properly. Texan BBQ was smokey, meaty with amazingly poor bread and not quite what we had hoped for so we have not had any since. We enjoyed our French baguette and other lunch items from the farm shop in Alberqueque and also a lunch out at Saveur Bistro in Santa Fe, where we ate tasty soups, salad and a beef sandwich and unfortunately had no room left for cake!

Although we enjoyed many things in Baja California and mainland Mexico, we are pleased to be back in the USA. We have 6 months road insurance again and we intend to get full use of it – seeing all the things we wanted to fit in when we were here last time but didn’t due to it being too busy over July/August. We decided to leave the USA in July to avoid the crowds and because we wanted to see Mexico. We have now decided that we are happiest when we can go hiking in national and state parks and we want to see Grand Canyon and the southern states while we are in North America – so returning to the USA and getting on with those things is right for us at this time.

We have also spoken to many travellers over the last year and realised some time ago that our original hope of seeing Central and South America during this trip is not sensible. All the people who have spent time in countries from Argentina up to Mexico have taken over 5 years to do it. We do not have 5 years and must return to work in the UK next year. We don’t believe in dashing through countries just to say that we have been there and prefer to spend time doing whatever takes our fancy as we travel – this means our time has been taken up in North America for this trip and we are quite happy with that for now.

Don’t forget to look at our Youtube page and follow us on Instagram – links on this blog. We are putting what we can on there so those who have no time to read updates can look at pictures and videos and see what we are up to.

Where do we go from here?
Next we head to Colorado, Utah and Arizona to see Grand Canyon before the end of November. After that, no one knows as yet but there is plenty to see and do. Winter is approaching again. We might stay a little further south this year after spending much of last winter in Canada!



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