Cave Dwellings: Our First Ever Big RV Trip…
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Our First Ever Big RV Trip…

 A word of warning..This is a long and tedious blog…Be aware that there is extreme danger of nodding off, drooling, and dropping your drink onto the keyboard….Please keep  your hands and feet inside the computer perimeter and strap yourself in tightly.  Also, be forwarned that there is a whiplash danger, as there are some steep dips and sudden turns while my mind jumps aimlessly from topic to topic..

I was rummaging through some old photos the other day and came across the Cave Dwellers first big trip with our new Cougar 5th wheel.  This was in March, 2004, before we  had a digital camera.  I sat down and scanned them (or most of them).  We actually got our 2004 Keystone Cougar in August of 2003, bought it in Michigan and drove it home to Sandwich…I thought I would share bore you with these photos…Let me just say that Den and I had been on a vacation longer than 2 weeks only once in our lives, and that was when we left Aug.18th, 2002, drove all the way to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, and arrived back in Sandwich Sept. 18th, one month later(11,000 miles in one month)…I knew this trip would be different, as we were still very much “newbies” at this RV stuff.  Let me just say that if a marriage can hold up after going from Illinois to California and back in one month in a confined space, it can withstand ANYTHING!!


Left is the inside of our little “lovenest” on wheels….Middle photo is Den, relaxing at Settler’s RV Park in Round Rock, TX…(pretty tight quarters).  The last photo was taken at Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, TX…This is really a great state park..Here are a few more pics of Pedernales..


We drove to Luckenbach, TX from there for a Sunday “jam session”…I love Luckenbach. Go, (if you can find it)…”ain’t nobody feelin’ no pain” there, that’s for sure!!…The Bayfield Bunch would love it!



Left, …well…what can I say?..We were in Van Horne, TX…and it was 80 degrees.  Using Van Horne as a home base, we drove up to Carlsbad Caverns..That middle pic is the entrance to the “bat cave”, where a gazillion bats exit at sunset April-Sept…Luckily we missed it by one month…I am not a big fan of bats after having them in our under construction bedroom 5 times while we were remodeling. Disappointed smile Right pic is Kitt Peak, AZ and the world’s largest solar telescope…We drove to the top of the 7000 ft. peak to visit and tour this observatory..and took our Cougar with us. (not one of our smarter decisions). I nearly wet myself as we drove up those steep grades with no guardrails…and coming DOWN that mountain with the Cougar pushing us around those twists and turns….well….a harrowing experience. Even McGyver was silent the whole way down, and I was making our my will.


Left pic, very heavy security before we could cross Hoover Dam.  They even searched our Cougar (no, they didn’t confiscate my liquor supply)…At this time, you could still drive across the dam bridge, but no semis or buses had been allowed since 9-11.  The photo on the right was taken at the MGM in Las Vegas…We met our daughter, Chris, who was there for a few days with some friends…We stayed in Sam’s Town, where we discovered there was razor wire on top the concrete walls around the park….The guy we parked next to had 2 Dobermans and asked if we brought our flack jackets..there had been gunshots on the other side of that concrete wall the night before…SAY WHAT????? Needless to say, we left at daybreak and never have been back.


Left, Den at our site in Alamo State Park, North of Wenden, AZ…a great stop in the middle of nowhere…no razor wire  hereFlirt male. The photo on the right was taken there also, and the middle photo is a stop sign on a gravel side road near the park…Those paper plates had names of towns with arrows on and how many miles it was….I know we were about 40 miles from Wenden. There was also a little place at that sign crossroad called the Wayward Inn …It was a beer/wine bar, gas station, grocery store, RV park, pool hall…A crotchety, crusty 74 year old guy named Walt (who had spent waaay too much time in the desert) owned it…He kept their milk out back in a huge freezer run by a couple HUGE generators…I actually got Walt to smile…once…his face almost cracked.


Left…our very first time to walk across the border into Nogales, MX.  We had a wonderful time, even stopping at an outdoor courtyard for a Tucate and a Marguerita…or 2….or 3Martini glassBe right back.  From what we are now told, Nogales is one of the most dangerous places to cross now.….I’m sure those border towns are suffering from the dip in tourism, which is all that keeps them going….


Left, we are back in Texas…I was standing on the banks of the Guadalupe River near Gruene, TX…Right photo is the old Cotton Gin and Grist Mill Restaurant in Gruene…


Of course you knew we went in for some adult beverages and nachos….If you have never been to Gruene, TX (pronounced Green), do make it on your list of things to see…That whole area and much of the Hill Country of Texas was founded by German immigrants….It’s a small world..


This was our very first trip to Jefferson, TX..and it remains one of our very favorite places now.  We had a great interesting spot…Dennis was almost eaten by the Rotweiler next door, and it rained that evening.  OOPS…I just realized that last photo of me was taken in Canyon Lake..I recognize the covered shelter outside the back window…We usually end up going from Canyon Lake to either Jefferson or Texarkana, TX traveling to and from Texas…Actually, my outfits use to be much more tame than they are now…I prefer the NOW look myself…I was waaay too boring in all navy blue.

I am quite sure some of you have nodded off by now…I almost did myself… I have 2 more photos of what still is sometimes our last stop before we pull into 518 W. Center in Sandwich…It is Lake Wappapello, MO…




This campground a bit of a distance South of St. Louis and almost into Arkansas…It is an army corp park, which means we old people get to stay cheap…leaving us more change to toss into our “drinks” fundRolling on the floor laughing!!  Usually on the last day of any of our trips, McGyver has to pull into the truck, kicking and screaming “NOOOOOOO….I WANT TO STAY LONGER!!!!” I haven’t changed in 9 years of camping…except that now I can be bribed with the promise of a campfire and glass of wine at home.

Before I end this drivel, I need to acknowledge a couple new and brave followers…First, there is Jeff, who didn’t have a blog. Thanks for checking in with our insanity, Jeff.  Then there is Mike Mills and Sandy, driving the motorhome dubbed Phannie, and pulling their “toad”, Mae….HMMMM…very interesting names, you two!!  Oh, and also joining this melee are Mark and Lauree, who travel in their Airstream Land Yacht….Welcome aboard to all!!!!…If we ever get this show “on the road” again, you will find that the crowd riding with us in our GMC is quite amicable….and like to party. They have to like it, after all,  they are with US!!!!


  1. That was a nice stroll down memory lane! :)

  2. That is quite a tale:) Lukenbach is a small but fun place:)

  3. As Bob Hope (remember him) would say, Thanks for the Memories,just so you are forwarned for our next trip together, When I attended the MO Highway Patrol School of Supervision way back when I was promoted to Sgt I received a special award as the class party animal, although there were a lot of younger candidates at the time, since the Graduation certificates were handed out by the Governor he got a big kick out of it, try to explain that to your bride when you get home, after two weeks of supposed hard studying.Having a ball at the Rally, Rigg's sends Donna a big sloppy pie plate lick,and says to tell Denny he met his buddy Fred. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.

  4. nice trip down memory lane!!..thank for sharing all the pictures!!

  5. Always fun to snoop around in someone else's memories. (I think I'm really nosier than I'd like to admit?)
    My wife and I have never been able to get in a vacation that was more than about 10 days it seems. Looking forward to changing that.
    Keep on scanning!

  6. I think it is some of the very early RV days & travels that are the most memorable. Everything was so new & exciting & refreshingly adventurous. Lots of first time 'Wow's & 'Oh Craps'.

  7. Great blog about a lot of terrific memories - why don't you do it all again??? Thanks for posting all those pics, I really enjoyed seeing them.

  8. I have been reading and enjoying your blog for quite some time.I am still in the working world so no blog for me until interesting things begin to happen. lol I am just down the road a piece....near Ottawa so we're practically neighbors!

  9. Howdy D&D,
    A COUGAR? RRRRRRRR Den really knows how to pick'em!!!!! Why did you trade??
    Thoroughly enjoyed your first long trip because it was ONCE AGAIN IN THE LAND THAT WE LOVE... TEXAS... Can't wait until y'all get back down here!!!
    Love all of your history lessons you teach to ALL of the world from HERE IN TEXAS!! Get Den off that combine and COME ON DOWN!!! I have a place out here in the mesquite with y'alls names on it, already picked out, scrapped off and I'll build Den a fire-ring to burn his wood in, even furnish the wood!!!!

  10. Congratulations in advance on your 43rd anniversary! :) With that being said, I believe that nothing could tear you apart, Dennis and Donna. At your age, I think traveling is the most beautiful thing that the two of you can do because majority of elders nowadays can't travel due to health problems. Good thing you have your RV around. Anyway, I salute your relationship! :)

  11. I can’t help but say, “awww” to all of your pictures and stories. The two of you have been through a lot of places and, probably, a lot of challenges that came with your trips. Traveling could test and discover some things in one’s self, and the two of you did it all together. I find it really sweet! Kudos! :)

    Rosalinda Rudloff

  12. The photos say how much you enjoyed your adventure more than words can say. Thanks to your RV, it made your trip a lot more convenient and comfy. I hope you’d share more adventures and have more wonderful memories together.

    -Tobias Thrash