Author Archives: compasschris
I must say us humans are crazy. No matter how many times we go to the ocean we take a bunch of pictures like we have never seen water before and we may never see it again.
Well the same holds true for rocks (big ole rocks). It has always been a joke that I I take so many pictures that I would even take a picture of a rock . Being out west there are a lot of rocks to take pictures of, and yes I have tried to take a picture of them all. Not a big deal since I can easily smuggle my pictures back across state lines on a small digital card..Now my wife on the other hand, let’s hope she does not get pulled over, or get ask to take the car through the weight station. Pictures alone don’t cut it for her nooooooo! She has to have rocks from every exact location bagged and tagged. So next time you come visit and you see a mountain in my back yard, you will know know how it got there. We were afraid Arizona might run out of rocks.
Enjoy these spectacular pictures. It amazes me how some look more like paintings than real pictures.
Nothing beats a good referral as they say in business. Equally as important nothing beats a good suggestion of great places to go for vacation and fun. Well as much as I enjoy giving my older brother a hard way to go. Today I have to give him a “high 5 ” for always talking about “The Zona”.
Even though he knows we are boat people, beach people, and bums. He also knows we value anywhere that is top shelf in the great outdoors. That combined with a great social and recreational environment creates a landscape for exploration.
Recalling seven or eight years ago while visiting he brought us a book on Arizona and said you two have to go check this out “so get it on the list”. When people reiterate things with passion more than once, twice or five times you had better listen up, because chances are there is something worth while to see… I say if you are gambling on sending water people to the desert you must be holding a hand full of Aces knowing you are right.
Thanks big brother for dialing us in on these Mile Marker Memories. You just forgot to tell me that once I turn left off I-40 west onto I-17 south that the Ambassador III would drop like a rock from 7000′ to 1400′ in short order. And that folks is the difference between the mountains and the desert.
With all the driving we do we really enjoy somewhere that you can park the car and walk around for hours taking it all in. Santa Fe is the perfect place for this. This historic town has is all: museums, shopping, restaurant, and loads of art studios. Here is a small slide show we put together, check it out.
Being in a metropolitan city surrounded by the beautiful Sandia Mountains soaring almost 10,000′ in elevation, and with Albuquerque itself at about 5600′ is defiantly a recipe for breathtaking views. Regardless of how windy it can get this time of year. It is constantly having us saying look at this, look at that. I will not even try to go into explaining the history we have come to know. We will leave that to you and Google, or even better yet Southwest Airlines. Now top it off with how ABQ has parlayed Historic Route 66 into the mix and they have our completed attention.
OK back to this wind thing, so we dodged most of the snow and made it out of Lubbock, however we notice the wind increasingly picking up like crazy in Fort Sumner, NM. We stopped to check and make sure “Billy The Kid” was still in his grave. Pam and I looked at each other…yep, done… were out of here.
Heading north up the highway to Sana Rosa the wind wearing me out broadsiding the van. A poor 18 wheeler in front of me is all over the place trying to keep it between the lines. We are talking 30-40 mile sustained winds for 80 miles while climbing up in elevation. Well as if that was not fun enough we made it to I-40 that was just reopened 2 hours earlier from the storm. Now we are heading on into 50 mile winds straight on. Now as we all know this is nothing new to this area, but it is all new to us at this level. Anyway 115 miles later we are at our new home for the week, and the wind is pretty much done and back to normal for the most part. It appears this is a cycle repeated every spring but hey, don’t worry about us starting to shake every time the fan kicks in. Now that we have seen how beautiful things are we are past it and kind of use to it.
As I write this the weather guys is calling for 55 MPH winds today.
Since having our heads buried in the Hill Country for a few days. We figured like normal we would just circumnavigate our way to our next location, which was to be Amarillo and figure our accommodations out when we got there. After driving the first 150 miles and seeing only 6 cars we felt like we were in the middle of no where. Then all the sudden in Sweetwater we started seeing wind mills, wind mills and crazy amounts of windmills for miles and miles. We are talking a thousand plus and that’s just what we past.
We finally decided after 320 miles behind us and it being Saturday let’s just go ahead and visit Lubbock for a couple of days and see what up. GOOD CALL, Amarillo got 18″ of snow and Interstate 40 shut down. We got 4″ in Lubbock and the highway to Clovis, NM we planned to take was closed too. The word they like to use for snow here is blizzard. Defined as a lot of damn wind, blowing snow, dirt and anything unattached around and in your way while driving… More on this wind thing later.
Well come to find out Lubbock has provided us with a lot of talented people we all have had the pleasure of enjoying for many years. Maybe you have heard of some of them…Buddy Holly,Mac Davis, Tanya Tucker, The Gatlin Brothers, Oh and some dudes name Waylon Jennings, and James Dean and many more. Lubbock is the home of the Cactus Theater, and Cactus Cuties.
Like we said before, if you go to a fun city don’t focus in on it so much that you miss what’s within a short drive a way. For us after 2 weeks of fun in San Antonio we moved 60 miles up the road to the “Hill Country” town of Fredericksburg. Settled by German immigrants in 1846. I will describe as the main hub for Luckenbach, the massive and beautiful Enchanted Rock, and just down the road in Stonewall where you will find the famed ” LBJ ‘s Ranch AKA The Texas White House“. The area is equal distance away from both Austin and San Antonio, so if you ever visit either and want to take a ride it’s worth checking out. LBJ’s home makes me think of Graceland, you just got to love the 60’s and all the hi tech gadgets (let’s just say telephone obsession, and I thought my dad was bad) and decor, but no green shag carpet thanks to Lady Bird.
The area was so interesting we spent 3 days canvasing it all, and really enjoyed getting lost on many of the back roads discovering ranches, more winery’s and scenic views. GPS find KOA… recalculating…when possible make a u turn.
The Hill Country is a Texas Napa Valley waiting to happen with many first class locations well worth stopping in.
So checking into the San Antonio KOA campground the lady ask “Are you here for the rodeo and live stock show?” Puzzled I had to check myself and see if my beach bum looking self had anything on me that made me look like a bronco rider. I must admit I had done no real research on San Antonio so other than what friends and family have told me, we knew zero other than this is the home of the infamous Alamo, and the SA Spurs basketball team.. “No I replied”. Well the stampede is about to come down the street here kicking off the show. “What show” I said. Well as we found out, the show is a huge thing and its going on the block next to us. OK a huge rodeo and livestock show. Oh! there’s music too, lots of music…check out the line up picture showing who’s playing…I looked at Pam and said “this is going to be fun”.
So you might want to put San Antonio as a must do on your vacation list. When it comes to history, food, culture, entertainment value these folks have it going on. Be it history and Missions, the River Walk, or the Hill Country you could spend a while here and not run out of things to do. We just spent two weeks here and then move 60 miles up the road for a few days days, and we have left a lot of things untouched, but we will be back.
As typical it is hard to define a place properly unless you look at the whole picture and from our point of view it has to encompass the location and what goes on within a 60 mile radius, or you miss out on a lot. Especially if you are in a place the size of TEXAS where people have to drive 25 miles or more to HEB for a gallon of milk. HEB (Here Everything’s Better) owns the South Texas grocery store world here hands down. There is no Kroger, Publix, WD…it’s all HEB with a few Wally Worlds.
We quickly dialed into that while CC is the main city hub, Mustang Island and Padre Island are the massive beach and seashore areas. Port A is the actual (locals) beach town here. Tee shirt shops, restaurants, golf cart rental, vacation homes, you know the drill. Port Aransas is importantly the gateway to the shipping harbor in CC bay which is the 6th largest port in the country in shipping tonnage. By the looks of things oil is at the top of the list, our drive down manufactures row is dominated by Valero and Conoco on a grand scale. Noteworthy as well, Port A is the home to the University of Texas Marine Institute a very impressive educational place.
35 miles away you have the largest ranch in the world that is slightly bigger than the state of Rhode Island. Here we thought Ford just made the name of the popular Kings Ranch pick up truck up cause it sounded cool…not a chance.
While CC is not a destination we would typically pick for a vacation it is an interesting place and we have learned a lot about Texas Gulf Coast culture being here. Not to mention with 70 and 80 degree temperatures in February is a plus… And hey! if you need some alone time to reflect, meditate just head to Padre Island in the off season you have a hundred miles of solitude, or head down some long lonesome road there is plenty of space to ponder your thoughts.
More CC pictures to come.
Galveston is a beautiful city with a lot of rich history. From the massive Seawall to the Port, it was a fun place to spend a week relaxing and taking it all in. Just watch your speed going through Jamaica Beach…NO I did not get a ticket, but looks like they give out plenty… Enjoy another Mile Marker Memory. Click on any picture to view as a slide show