Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Texas, September 11 - November 29 2005

This is our third major fall trip, although we aren't going as far east as we have the past two years. We will be attending the thrid Datastorm Rally in Kerrville, Texas (same location as last year) and then the International Quilt Festival in Houston. The general plan is to see the Texas south coast after that, and the Big Bend country on the way home. Grand Circle
Most of our trips start out either north, or south, but this time we went due east. We are traveling in rather short distances, and our first stops were in Redding and Susanville, after passing around the north side of Mt Lassen, then Fallon, Nevada. Mt Lassen
Fallon began our trip across the "Loneliest Road in America," US 50 from Fallon to Ely. We made a number of stops on our first day on the road, including the petroglyphs at Grimes Point, Sand Mountain, and "The loneliest phone booth on the loneliest road." Grimes Point Sand Mountain
The loneliest phone booth
We spent a night at the Austin RV Park and Baptist Church, and took a number of photos of the old mining town of Austin. There are several old churches, and a "castle" at the west end of town that overlooks the cemetary. Austin RV Park Austin RV Park Austin,NV
Austin,NV Austin,NV
Austin,NV Austin,NV
We made a number of stops between Austin and Ely, including the Hickison Petroglyphs and the town of Eureka. The stretch of US 50 west of Eureka (view looking west) shows why it has the loneliest road nickname.
Hickison Petroglyphs Hickison Petroglyphs Loneliest Road Eureka Nevada Eureka Nevada
At one point it would have been nicer if the road had been lonelier. A Nevada trooper came around a corner at us with all lights on, and we slowed (downhill stretch) as much as we could. He was followed by another, and we managed to stop, only this one didn't drive past. He stopped beside us and said "We have a wide load coming. Find a spot and get off the road as fast as possible!" Problem was the shoulder was very abrupt and steeply sloped. I looked ahead and saw a spot where it was less steep, but we didn't make it before the next trooper came at us in our lane, gesturing emphatically to get off, so over we went. Thank heaven for a low center-of-gravity! The load was an ore-truck bed, 25-1/2 feet wide, which is roughly pavement-edge to pavement edge. He raced by us at about 50 with very little clearance.

These pictures were taken a couple of days later at the Utah/Nevada border.
Wide Load Wide Load
Wide Load
At the east end of US 50 in Nevada we stopped at Great Basin National Park. It is the only National Park in Nevada, and its most prominent feature is Lehman Caves. Despite a lot of damage when it was a commercial cave venture in the early 20th century, Lehman Caves are still worth the visit. Lehman Caves Lehman Caves
Lehman Caves Lehman Caves
Entering Utah, we traveled up to Salt Lake City, where we spent a few days at Motosat getting some upgrades to our satellite TV and internet systems. Along the way, Holly added the Provo river to her list of rivers. Datastorm production line Provo River
We spent a couple of days exploring the town of St George before beginning our National Park visits. This is a view of the temple from the bluffs north of town. St George
The first of our Grand Circle parks was Zion, where we spent several days hiking. For each of the following parks I took so many pictures that the only way to present them is on a page of their own. Click the image to the right to go to the Zion page, which also has links to the other park pictures. Zion
Leaving Zion, we parked the motor home at a park in Kanab and drove the car down to the Grand Canyon North Rim. Again click the picture for the whole lot of them. The fall colors were as good as we saw last year in New England. Yellow Quaking Aspens against Blue Spruce. North Rim
One reason for staying in Kanab was a visit to Best Friends, probably the best known rescue operation for dogs and cats in the US. Best Friends Best Friends
Best Friends
Bryce Canyon was the next stop, where picture opportunities are everywhere. Click the image to see all of them! Bryce
There was a lot of rugged scenery between Bryce and Capitol Reef, and more good fall colors. We hiked in the petrified wood of Escalante State Park, but did not have the camera with us. The photo of us in Grand Wash will take you to the Capito Reef pictures. Escalante Escalante
Capitol Reef
While traveling between Capitol Reef and Moab, Joy and I saw an actual lightning strike for the first time in our lives. Hit about 500 feet in front of us (based on an estimated 1/2 second before the huge thunderclap hit us) and ended in a very blinding flare. It looked like it hit a parked, unoccupied vehicle, but there was no obvious damage when we drove past.

We stayed in Moab for visits to both Canyonlands (the north section, Island In The Sky) and Arches. A highlight of the Arches visit was a hike up to Delicate Arch at sunset.
Delicate Arch
From Moab it was on to Cortez, Colorado, and a visit to Mesa Verde. We climbed down to the Spruce Tree House and Cliff Palace. Mesa Verde
Our plans were to head down to Santa Fe, but the weather was fairly bad for a few days so we holed up in Durango until things cleared up. Durango
We spent several days in the Santa Fe area. Internet dishes are becoming much more common sights in RV parks - there were a half dozen in the park we stayed at in Santa Fe, including this one belonging to John Christman. It is a 1.2 meter dish, the largest that Motosat makes for mobile use. Santa Fe F3 Dish
A side trip up the Rio Grande valley took us to Taos, where we did the tourist thing around downtown. Holly got a good swim in the river along the way back. Taos Taos
Rio Grande Gorge Rio Grande
Heading down from Santa Fe to Carlsbad we made the obligatory stop at the UFO museum in Roswell. Roswell
At Carlsbad we spent a couple of days and did several of the tours. A highlight and new thing for us was to leave the lighted areas with a small group and tour an area entirely by candlelight (the Left Hand Tunnel tour). We also watched the bats exit in the evening, although the numbers are reportedly low because migration south had already begun. Carlsbad Carlsbad
Carlsbad Carlsbad
There were two stops between Carlsbad and Kerrville, Texas. The first was at a small private airstrip south of San Angelo, where Don and Jade Smucker live with their German Shepherd, Taj. They attended the first two Datastorm rallies, but were leaving a couple of days later on a trip to Mexico so were going to miss this one.

The second stop was at the Caves of Sonora, our first trip into a privately-owned cave. Some very spectacular formations, and we were the only ones there (including in their campground).
San Angelo San Angelo
Caves of Sonora Caves of Sonora
The Kerrville rally was well attended, despite hurricanes and high fuel prices. It was a whirlwind week, giving multiple seminars and installing a new prototype 1-meter dish between sessions. This was an install-by-committee, with several installers working on it along with help from some other attendees. Then it had problems, so on the day we left we removed it, and replaced it with the only other one there is (from the roof of Motosat President Jim Pendleton's coach) . In the process of removing Jim's we managed to damage the wiring rather extensively, so although it is working it will require factory repairs. We left the original dish in place as a fallback in case of problems. Kerrville Rally Kerrville Rally
New XF-2 Dish
After Kerrville we headed for Houston, where the main reason for visiting was the immense International Quilt Festival, something Joy has wanted to see for years. Click on the image of the grand-prize-winning quilt at right to see a page of quilt exhibits. Other pictures below give some idea of the size of the vendor area. Houston International Quilt Festival
Houston International Quilt Festival Joy with Alex Anderson of Simply Quilts Houston International Quilt Festival Houston International Quilt Festival

We had a very enjoyable visit at the Cockerell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Sciences. As was the case last year in Washington, DC, we found that going places in early November is a very good time to avoid crowds!
Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center
Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center Cockerell Butterfly Center
We found Space Center Houston to be too Disnyesque for the most part, but the visit to the actual Space Center, where we saw the original Mission Control Center and the astronaut training area, was well worth it. Space Center Houston Space Center Houston
Space Center Houston
We spent three days on the warm beaches of Port Aransas and a bit of touring around Corpus Christi. Port Aransas Port Aransas Port Aransas
Port Aransas Port Aransas Port Aransas
Port Aransas Port Aransas
We enjoyed the hospitality of Barry and Janet Wilder in Harlingen for a couple of nights. Online types and Escapees may know Janet as the "Road Princess." They ushered us around to the main sights of extreme south Texas, including the beaches at the natural mouth of the Rio Grande, South Padre, and a local nature preserve. Harlingen Boca Chica
South Padre Nature Preserve
We traveled up the Rio Grande, through Laredo and Del Rio, getting a sense of this isolated part of the US. Then it was down to Big Bend, where we stayed a few days at Rio Grande Village and explored the park. Boquillas Canyon, Chisos Basin, and Santa Elena Canyon. We were joined on the visit to Santa Elena by Bob Giddings - if you haven't read any of Bob's stuff it is hosted here at as Speed Bumps. Well worth the read! Big Bend Big Bend Big Bend
Big Bend Big Bend
Big Bend Big Bend
From Big Bend we turned North and West to home. Sedona for Thanksgiving with Joy's sister. We had planned to go north to Salt Lake City to repair the damage done to the new dish wiring when it was installed, but the weather up that way turned nasty, so we deferred it to another day and went straight home instead.
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