Friday, April 11, 2014

J = Journey to the Hill Country


It’s another one of those “West Texas Winds to Blow Your House Over” days as Suzanne and I pack up our rigs to leave Rio Grande Village campground at Big Bend National Park.  I finish packing first and decide to drive up to the camp store parking lot to soak up some fast, free Wi-Fi and check my travel routing and weather reports.  As I return to the rig from walking Millie, I notice the wispy clouds and colors make a halfway decent backdrop and snap a photo to become our new WinnieViews blog header!


A short time later, Suzanne and her Bratty Tracker roll in and park behind us to get some free Wi-Fi of their own.  Winds are gusting at over 30 mph, and expected to continue for most of the day.  No fun to drive RVs on days like this, but Suzanne’s is running low on propane and the nearest refill available today is over 70 miles away in Terlingua, so no other choice but to battle it out and drive.

We take final photos of our little “Skinnie Winnie” caravan, and my dear traveling buddy retreats from the winds to rev up her Winnie and head west into the (eventual) sunset. What a fun and amazing time we’ve had these past 3 weeks!  Happy Trails, my friend!


I stay on a little longer to catch up with email and blogs from the past week, and decide to only go as far as Fort Stockton today. 

As Millie and I leave the bright green trees of the Rio Grande river banks, it marks the beginning of our 2,000-mile week-long journey back to chilly Chicago.  I pause to take one last photo of the cute little stone tunnel with the Sierra del Carmen mountains of Mexico towering behind it.  What an incredible Winter of travel this has been to both Mexico and Texas!


It takes a little over an hour to traverse this huge park and reach the northern entrance at Persimmon Gap.  We stop for Millie to stretch her legs and me to get a few last shots of the welcome sign and the Big Bend bluebonnets still in full bloom!


Our remaining drive north to Fort Stockton is pleasant and uneventful.  The winds have now diminished, and we roll into a decidedly less crowded “Camp Wally” than it had been here during Spring Break a couple weeks before.


The next morning, I check the weather forecasts carefully (always wise to do when rolling your home through the Midwest’s “tornado alley” in the Springtime!).  Rather than take the long, dull Interstate northeast across Texas, I decide to take a 2-lane highway over to the Texas Hill Country.  It’s still a bit early in the season for the best bluebonnet viewing there, but I should definitely see something!

Our selected Highway 190 begins with vast vistas of dry Texas scrub.  Not an overly pretty drive, but a different and interesting one.


Iraan, Texas sounds like a curious place, but there’s not much there other than oil field workers and (apparently) a very accomplished High School marching band!  I now start seeing dozens of oil and gas drilling rigs, and only now share the highway with large industrial equipment and tanker trucks.


The speed limit on these roads is 75 mph, and these big rigs drive that or faster.  Thankfully, the roads are pretty empty so they can pass my slower-moving Winnie without too much trouble!


As we drive through a 60-mile cellphone “dead zone”, I notice the flat oil fields have now given way to mesquite trees and the beginnings of rolling hills.  As we near our destination of Llano, Texas, I begin seeing small patches of bluebonnets along the side of the road.  This should make a very nice place to stop indeed!








  1. Love the pictures ~ bluebonnets are so pretty and the picture of Suzanne captures her funness. sigh ~ what you fun you two have had ....

  2. So enjoyed sharing your week at Big Bend, and getting to know Suzanne a little more through your posts. Hope you do see some of the gorgeous wild flowers that proliferate throughout the Texas Hill Country. You're a little earlier there than we were last year, and all of the locals kept apologizing for the fact that the flowers were not so hot that year, but we though they were spectacular.


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