Franklin Mountain State Park

Where is Franklin Mountain State Park?

While looking for a State Park near El Paso, after several phone calls, I was told that this park had five dry camp RV sites. I arrived simultaneously with a second RVer from Austin that had a bewildered look on his face. He made a reservation weeks ago for a site here, but discovered there were none. We located the Ranger, got a political sob story about his effort to develop five sites, and were told that we could park… ‘there’. He gave us the combination for the lock on the main gate in case we needed out early (I did), as he closed and locked the gate at 5 PM, until 8 AM the next morning..

I also had the honor of telling him that his reservations at the Hueco Tanks State Park, pronounced “Waco”, again made weeks earlier, was no good, as I was told on the phone that it is closed due to a lack of camp hosts. So much for the reliability of the Texas State Park reservation system.

This stop was another maintenance mission. I had previously visited a front end specialist in Tucson to address some steering ‘wander’. This supposed expert (ex race car driver) checked all steering and suspension components and consulted with the chassis manufacturer (Spartan). The net result is that he declared everything healthy and to specification and sent me away, after extracting a few hundred bucks from my back pocket.

While I was whistling my time away in the Cummins parking lot a few days ago, I started searching for another front end expert. After some inquiries, and being turned away after explaining that I wanted caster set to higher than manufacturer’s specification, one truck and bus alignment shop accepted the challenge, but not this day.

On the flip side of my trip from Big Bend, I called a day ahead and obtained a commitment to check it out,

The net result was that he measured below spec, and caster was increased to slightly above factory spec. I believe that handling is better, but have not driven enough in cross winds to be sure.

Tags: El Paso TX

Cottonwood Campground

Where is Cottonwood Campground?

I just strolled around my present camp site, in Big Bend and encountered a grey bearded older gentlemen that is from… you might have guessed, Columbus, NM, the place I just left. Now, what are the odds that one of Columbus’ 2000 residents would turn up at the same place? (Somehow I seriously doubt that number).

Cottonwood Campground offered a place to park, without any hookups (dry camp). I arrived without prepared tanks for a long visit, and have seen about all of Big Bend, so one night was plenty here. There were several tent camps, for which this location is best suited.

Big Bend? Deja Vu.

Tags: Big Bend TX

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