Rio Grande Campground

Where is Rio Grande Campground?

Arrived in time to get one of very few unoccupied sites, perhaps the only site available for a large MH. This period is the ‘spring break’ period, and so is much busier than most other times of the year. This large campground provides electric and water, but no sewer hookups. A dump station is available.

This site and the next one are on opposite sides of Big Bend, affording different launch points for sightseeing.

I have always wanted to visit Big Bend. However, my overall impression is one of being slightly underwhelmed. The view points, points of interest, and general landscape did not live up to my imaginations. Just not as spectacular as I expected. Perhaps I have lived in Arizona too long!

Recommended for a one-time visit, unless you live in West Texas, in which case it may be a very suitable staple for frequent campouts.

Tags: Big Bend TX

No Name RV Park

Where is Marfa?

This destination was identified for two reasons: a) it is a jumping off place for the Big Bend National Park; b) it is near Ft. Davis and Mt. Locke, the home of the McDonald Observatory.

I worked at McDonald briefly in the 1970’s installing positional tracking electronics on the 107 inch telescope. So it was deja vu to revisit the observatory and take tours.

I also scouted some RV Parks and State Parks for reference on any return trip through this same area in the future.

Tags: Marfa TX

Cummins Diesel Shop

Where is El Paso?

Well, this was not an exciting stopover. My objective was to have the proper antifreeze and additives put into my cooling system, and to get educated, as I kept getting conflicting information from others. So I went to the “horses mouth.”

Basically, I spent the night without hookups on pavement in the parking lot of the Cummins shop. But I had company, as there was another motorhome there for service the following day also.

Service went OK on the 5th, and I was on my way about 1:00 PM.

Tags: El Paso TX

Poncho Villa State Park, NM

Where is Poncho Villa?

The first day was to consist of a simple trip to New Mexico. So after fueling in Sierra Vista, I departed for Deming as a plausible objective. This objective was not decided until I arrived there, as I was torn between two directions, north into New Mexico, or east and south, to Big Bend National Park, a place that I had wanted to visit for a long time. Big Bend won out, partially because I also wanted to visit a Cummins shop in El Paso, which was site closer than the Cummins shop in Albuquerque.

So, to Deming it was, or so I thought for a while. Deming did not impress me as a destination, once I arrived. So I did a quick check of road signs, saw one for Poncho Villa State Park directly south, on the Mexican border. This was not as whimsical as it sounds, as the forum inquiries had turned up this park as a nice destination, with full hookups, so Annie and I spontaneously rerouted to Poncho Villa. Poncho Villa had open sites, so I grabbed one.

Poncho Villa is almost part of the town of Columbus, NM. One resident, a waitress, (I saw a total of about 10) told me the population is 2000. When asked what people did in Columbus for a living, her first guess was “running drugs”. I moved on to other topics, such as what is the tomatodas, an item on the menu. Turns out that she cooks for the local elementary school days, and at the restaurant afternoons. We were the only two people in the restaurant, or on that street, for that matter. I could hear my tomatodas sizzling in the kitchen (by the way, be wary whenever you see tomatodas on the menu).

The town of Columbus has the appearance of a town in Mexico, with larger distances between buildings. It is quite an interesting place to visit. It was the site of the last insurgence into U.S. territory by the Mexican military, 1914 I believe it was (except for the Mexican unit that came into Texas in 2003, shooting at the Border Patrol – but that is another story).

Poncho Villa was chased through Mexico by General Pershing, but failed to catch Poncho. The interesting part of the story is that it was the first time mechanized vehicles were used in battle, instead of horses. That explain why Pershing was unable to capture Poncho Villa. Trucks were used on the ground, and airplanes were pressed into service for the first time.

Another interesting tidbit: even though the army was mechanized, it’s supply line was made up of mule trains.

While viewing the surroundings around a small knoll that had been made a historical marker simply because it was there best I could tell, I encountered a gentlemen from the Midwest. While chatting, he disclosed that he had taken the Jewish faith, and had been sent to Columbus by God for some ambiguous mission. He had made a date with the Mayor of Columbus, who is also the sole Realtor, and whose brother is the Police Chief, to take him to a no name mountain to blow the Shofar Ram’s horn that he carried, and to utter a prayer. Note Annie’s intense interest in the horn. Since I was looking for adventure, I volunteered to take him there, since we were looking at the mountain about 7 miles away. So we went to his car, he grabbed his Shofar Rams horn, and away we went.

So we went there, climbed up to a mine shaft (or was it a drug or smuggling tunnel into Mexico?), and the gentleman, Robert, prayed and tooted. Note Annie’s intense interest in the horn. I was politically correct, respecting his beliefs, and snapped a picture or two to email to him.

All things considered, I would rate Columbus, and Poncho Villa State Park highly as a RV destination. Chat up the friendly locals, to enhance your enjoyment.

Tags: Columbus NM

Trip 1: Big Bend, TX – Preparation

I expected to depart on my first real adventure today, but alas, preparations were not complete. There were a number of things remaining to do, obviously important, forgotten, nonetheless.

Suffice it to say that the motorhome is about ready, meaning packed with essentials, and that which was forgotten can be purchased en-route.

My destination is Big Bend National Park, Texas, Points between home and Big Bend will be determined on the fly.

Tags: Big Bend TX