Sunday, March 5, 2017

Big Bend Ranch to Benson Arizona

Rockhound State Park

Since the last posting we traveled north from Big Bend Ranch State park intending to stay at the Marfa lights viewing area.  After stopping for lunch in the town of Marfa and having a nice lunch at the Paisano hotel (see the pictures below); we decided to travel on to El Paso since it was still early in the day.

We discovered that Marfa, Texas is a very pretty town with a gorgeous county government building.
 Also a great looking church.
The Paisano hotel was built in 1930 and was the staging location for the movie "Giant".  Many of the scenes were filmed in locations around Marfa including the Big Bend area.


We arrived at the Fort Bliss Famcamp late in the afternoon.  Unfortunately the park was booked full with no sites available.  The camp host told us that it was perfectly alright to boondock on a nearby parking lot (next to the PX gas station).  We had a fairly pleasant evening with the solar system allowing TV watching and web browsing all evening.
Boondocking at Sunrise at Ft Bliss

The next morning the park had a vacant site we available where we stayed for three days.
Ft Bliss must have one of the largest PX food courts.

On the advice of our neighbor, Mario (whose home town is El Paso), we had a wonderful steak dinner at the Cattleman's Restaurant.  The restaurant is located southeast of El Paso out in the middle of the desert.  There is quite a ranch facility which includes a petting zoo and a small lake.  The ranch was also the scene for a number of movie shooting locations. Anyhow, the steaks and the service were awesome.

Petting Zoo

From El Paso we headed west for a relatively short drive into New Mexico.  Near Deming New Mexico there are several nice state parks.  Three years ago we stayed at a commercial RV park. This time we decided to try the nearby Rockhound State Park.

What an awesome park!  Gorgeous views on the west side of the Florida Mountains.  This very popular park was nearly full with only a few no hook-up sites available. Still a deal at $10 per day.  Our solar installation paid off allowing us a very comfortable three day stay.  The temperatures ranged from the mid-seventies during the day to lows at night in the forties.  Our propane catalytic heater kept the coach comfortable without draining the batteries.  See the great video of the park posted by the "Love Your RV"folks.

We did have some dust storms blowing thru the valley below.

To shorten the drive to Benson Arizona (our current location), we stopped for a one night id-way stop-over at the Willcox Playa Wildlife Refuge (Willcox, AZ).   The camp site at the refuge was nothing more than a gravel turn-around.  It was a very quiet peaceful campsite with only the sound of an occasional passing car or truck.

The refuge is a stop-over point for the sandhill cranes on their migrations.  Unfortunately, the cranes apparently had already left for northern nesting.  We only saw a roadrunner .

The next day it was only a short hop to Encore park at Benson Arizona, Valley Vista RV Resort.  Valley Vista is one of the Encore parks included in our Thousand Trails membership.  A week of full hook-ups for free (another great deal).

 While at Benson, we only did little in the way of sightseeing.  Our few activities will be the subject of the next posting. If you like to follow our travels, you can subscribe  to this blog via email or via RSS feeds (see the "Subscribe..." and "Receive Posts..." section on the right side of the page).

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