On the Road to El Paso

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We left our home in Kansas City on Tuesday, October 17th at 10:30 am and arrived in El Paso Texas around 1:00 pm on Friday, October 20th. It had been a long 4 days. This was the longest trip we had ever taken in our RV.

Our first overnight stop was Guthrie, Oklahoma. This was our longest leg of the trip, 345 miles. Along the route, we drove through the Flint Hills in Kansas. They are scenic and offered a nice diversion to the otherwise flat farm land.

Peggy's view
Peggy’s view following Andy

We arrived at the Cedar Valley RV Park in Guthrie around 5:30 pm and were happy to see that we were placed in the #1 spot. Since we would be there only one night, it made for an easy in and out. The campground was nice and very clean. The attendant was friendly and helpful. They have overnight, weekly and monthly spots. We would stay there again if we pass through that way.

At check-in we learned that Guthrie is home to the largest contiguous historic district on the National Register of historic places and the smallest national park in the United States. The Guthrie National Park consists of one tree and is located on 2nd street, by the post office. It sounded like an interesting place to take an evening stroll. Unfortunately, we did not have time to visit the park or the historic district.

While setting up, we discovered that the bolts attaching one of the awning arms to the side of our Solitude had pulled away. The rest of the evening was spent on a quick run for bolts and making the repair.

Yes, we know what happened. On the way to Guthrie, the pressure warning for the tires on the truck came on and Andy pulled over. Unfortunately, a mile marker along the shoulder got in the way and smacked the side of the Solitude, hitting the awning arm. I saw it happen, but didn’t see any damage at the time. The awning has since been successfully opened and has not pulled away from the side. Repair success!

We left Guthrie around 9:30 Wednesday morning and drove to Stamford, Texas, our first Texas overnight stop. This was a 284 mile drive. Along the way, the scenery changed from fields with crops to fields with windmills. This was the most windmills we had ever seen in one place. In addition to the windmills, we started seeing the pump jacks for the oil wells. And cotton fields. There were fields with rows of white cotton, interspersed with pump jacks and backed up with rows of windmills. The scenery definitely made the long drive a bit more interesting.

The pump jack below was taken at Monahans Sandhills State Park. It was a bit difficult to get a picture of one from the road. This particular pump jack had been there since 1957.

We arrived at the Davis RV Park in Stamford around 4:30 pm and got set up for the night. The park attendant was helpful and friendly. The park itself had seen better days and was in need of some repair. However, for an overnight stay with full hook-ups, it was okay. The neighbor’s unattended dog barked for hours and we sure felt sorry for it.

After we got settled, we decided to take a drive around town and get a bite to eat. If you are not familiar with Stamford, it is a small town about 40 miles north of Abilene, population about 2,900. While driving what appeared to be the downtown area, we saw an interesting abandoned building that Andy saw as a great photo opportunity.

Stamford Inn 1
Old Stamford Inn Stamford, TX
Stamford Inn 2
Old Stamford Inn Stamford, TX

After our little drive was complete, we stopped at the Subway closest to the RV park and had a quick dinner. While talking with the clerk, we learned that the building had once been a luxury hotel and Elvis Presley had stayed there. Of course, we checked it out. Historic Stamford Inn

The Stamford Inn was built in 1900. Over the years it changed from a luxury resort to a nursing home and in the late 70’s, a gentleman’s club. However, we couldn’t find any information about Elvis staying there. Local legend or well-kept secret?

The inn is in such disrepair that it is considered dangerous and not safe to enter. It was a struggle for Andy to only take pictures from the outside. However, there was another photo opportunity for Andy back at the RV park. When we checked in, we noticed a weathered, abandoned house on the edge of the park. Andy took some evening and early morning shots of the house. Below is a sampling. You can see more on our Photography by Andreas Facebook page.

Davis RV 1

Davis RV 2

Davis RV 3

Early Thursday morning we headed for our next stop, Monahans Sandhills State Park. We planned to get there before the 2:00 because we didn’t have reservations and wanted to be sure to get a spot. The drive was more windmills, cotton fields and pump jacks. Since this was our third day on the road, the dogs were getting used to the new routine. They were really liking all the extra walks.

Stopping for gas
Andy washing some bugs off our front window during one of our many stops for gas.

We arrived at the park right before 2:00 pm. The check in was smooth and we got a great spot. All the spots are on the asphalt and the grills and tables are in the sand. We declined the offer to rent sleds to ride down the dunes, however, we spent quite a bit of time walking up and down them with the dogs. They really enjoyed it. We were also very happy that it was a clear night and the park had minimal street lights. We were able to see more stars than we had been able to see in several years.

Sandhills set up
Our set up at Monahans Sandhills State Park

After a good sleep, we were up early for a morning walk on the dunes to watch the sunrise. As much as we wanted to linger, we also needed to get on the road to El Paso.

sand dunes 2
Monahans Sandhills State Park

 

sand dunes 1
Monahans Sandhills State Park
sand dunes 3
Monahans Sandhills State Park

Driving from Monahans to El Paso on Friday morning, we both watched the altitude numbers on our GPS climb as we ascended higher into the hills. We were surprised to see that the speed limit was 80 mph. We would not drive that fast pulling our rig and just enjoyed the mountainous scenery as we arrived closer to our destination.

We had reservations at an RV park in El Paso, however, they did not require that we make a deposit. That worked out well because they were our back up park. We wanted to stay at Ft. Bliss RV Park, however they do not take reservations. Andy had called Ft. Bliss RV Park earlier in the week and was told that there were no spots available. He was told to call back after 1:00 on the day we planned to arrive. He called them Friday around 1:30 pm, as we got closer to El Paso. There were 2 spots open.

We arrived at little before 3:00 pm El Paso time. We had gotten an hour back when we crossed into Mountain Time. The spots were still available and we were assigned the one farther from the highway. I immediately contacted the park with our reservation and let them know we did not need a spot at this time.

We set up our site and collapsed!Site 57 Ft. Bliss

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