Sunday, January 26, 2020

Day 78 - San Elizario, TX - HH

A very short drive today though I got turned around several time getting here. And the GPS was getting confused as well. We are at Licon Dairy, another Harvest Host stop. A small, 4th generation family business that makes asadero cheese also known as oaxaca cheese. They have a small restaurant to highlight their cheese.

There is a petting zoo as well and it seems to be a very popular stop for families especially since today is Sunday. There are some unusual animals here such camel, llama and ostrich. Thank you to Licon Dairy for allowing RVs to use your parking lot.

The pano below was taken yesterday evening from a colleagues home in the hills above El Paso. The sunlight illuminating the mountains from under the clouds was hard to pass up. We had homemade paella and caribou pot pie. Delicious dinner and wonderful company celebrating Australia Day. Thank you Craig and Vanessa for your hospitality!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Day 77 -

Today, we visited the Border Patrol museum just north of the El Paso airport. The museum is free and is not operated or funded by he government. They had a nice collection of historical items and photos. I had always assumed that most of their activity was on our southern border. I didn’t realize the amount of smuggling that went on at the Canadian border. Especially during prohibition.

I enjoyed our short visit. We then went along a scenic drive through the hills overlooking El Paso and Juarez, Mexico. We stopped at a park at the highest point of the road with panoramic views to the east, south and west.

The park was pretty crowded as it was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The next photo shows a large sculpture of an “X”. I don’t know what it stands for.

In the pano, you can see the downtown area as well as the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP). Later this evening, we visited with some for colleagues from the university whom I had worked with for years as part of the Barrow project. They were celebrating Australia Day which, we think, is tomorrow. We had a great time visiting them.

Friday, January 24, 2020

Day 74, 75, 76 - El Paso, TX

Wednesday (74) - An even shorter drive than yesterday, only 37 miles through El Paso to Mission RV Park southeast of town. We are here for several days. It is not a Thousand Trails or Encore Resort but just one we found on the AllStays app. We have several things we need to get done and, thanks to my colleague who lives here, we have a whole list of things to see and do in the area.

The highways through El Paso had a lot of construction going on so narrow lanes and almost no acceleration lanes for merging traffic. Not a nice city to drive through with a large vehicle. After setting up, we headed out to do a little exploring.The first couple of stops were missions, a Mexican bakery, and a Native American museum. The car was covered with dirt from the trip so we ran it through a car wash. Now, we can see out the windows again.

BTW, this RV Park has a pool and jacuzzi but it isn’t anywhere near as nice as Needles or Benson. But it’s in El Paso and there isn’t a lot of choice. Sous vide’d two turkey breasts from frozen. Added salt, pepper, sage, and a little butter. Vacuum sealed it, 145°F for 5 hours. Came out perfect…

Thursday (75) - We are heading for the Apple Store as Bridget’s iPad needs to be replaced. One of the physical switches doesn’t work. Since there are only three actual switches, that’s a significant percentage. They needed to order one so hopefully it arrives before we leave the area. The Apple Genius said that it was usually only a few days but the weekend is around the corner. We stopped at a couple of other stores along the way. Lunch was at Red Lobster. We hadn’t been there in maybe a decade.

My “project” for the afternoon was stuffed cabbage rolls. There was a recent FB post with pictures and it sounded good. We’ll see how it works with limited counter space...

It came out pretty tasty though neither of us were really hungry at dinner time due to our Red Lobster lunch. The cabbage rolls were made in the Instant Pot and were done pretty quickly (18 min at high pressure) though the prep time was probably close to an hour. What did surprise me is that there was enough counter space in this kitchen.

Friday (76) - Today, we visited the El Paso Zoo. Nice, small zoo with some nice exhibits but a lot of things were closed either for the season or due to very light attendance. It was pretty empty. Some of the animals weren’t out yet due to the near freezing overnight temperature. But came out later. E.g. when we left, all four lions were out.

Like many zoos, many of the animals were not very active such as this orangutan.

Display spaces were generally large with several animals sharing the pens. This one, for example, had antelope and giraffe.

It was a nice visit. When we were getting ready to leave, I received a call from Apple. Bridget’s iPad was ready to be picked up. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Day 73 - La Union, NM - HH

We are at another Harvest Hosts site. La Viña Winery is the oldest winery in New Mexico and is located just a bit north of El Paso, TX, but still in New Mexico. We only travelled about 80 miles today and arrived mid-morning. Before they were open. Another class A had arrived just before us. They had stayed here last week as well so they knew where to park. It was another moderately windy drive today with rain and cooler temperatures added in. Lots of police along the highway as well as road maintenance crews.

It was 50°F at noon and according to Weather Underground, this may be the high temperature for the day. The house batteries were down to 68% this morning and due to cooler temperatures last night, I ran the generator so I could pre-heat the engine to help make sure it would start. It ran really rough after starting so I suspect the there may be a problem with the intake grid heater as it shouldn’t need to be plugged in at these moderate temperatures. Oh well, one more thing to possibly repair.

When we arrived at the winery, the house batteries were still only at 82% so I ran the generator for half an hour. Long enough to get them to 88%. Maybe some solar still wouldn’t be a bad idea though it wouldn’t help much on wet, overcast days like today. The question in my head is what total wattage should I plan for. Should cables and components be sized for just enough to get by or plan for additional panels sometime in the future. Even when dry camping like this (not boondocking), it would be great if the generator wasn’t needed. I’ll probably need to run the generator again late afternoon so the batteries are back to ~90%.

We did a tasting here and met some of the other RVers parked here. One couple in a 5th wheel are on their way back to Colorado after traveling for a month or so. This has been another fantastic HH location. Tomorrow, we are headed just past El Paso for several days including a visit with a former colleague that I originally met as part of the planning process for the Barrow science facility.

We both liked the Caliente so we picked up a bottle. A semi-sweet with hints of chocolate and chilies. We got to keep the glasses. Something to put into the curio cabinet?