Wednesday, May 15, 2013

April Showers bring May Flowers

April Showers

All of the issues and idiosyncrasies that arise in the first year of new bricks-and-sticks home ownership are magnified with our "new home" going through the equivalent of an earthquake every time we travel.  We spent nearly the entire month of April at "Camp New Horizons" (Junction City, KS) getting warranty work done on our 5th wheel.  "Down" time like this is similar to April showers--necessary, but not necessarily fun.  Fortunately, the "rainbow" at the end is we left with our rig better than new!

May Flowers

By the beginning of May, we were back on the road headed to the Texas Hill Country, Fredericksburg to be exact.  Known not only for its magnificent wildflower blooms in the spring, it is also the second most visited wine region in the United States (second only to Napa Valley) according to Orbitz Travel.  How ironic (or not) that its "wine road" is Route 290 and Napa Valley's is Route 29!  We enjoyed a pleasant weekend boondocking at the Gillespie County Fairgrounds which was hosting a Texas BBQ competition providing us with all the smells of a true down-home Texas locale! 

From Fredericksburg we traveled only a few miles to Kerrville, Texas, site of the 2013 New Horizons Owners' Rally.  Not sure what to expect, we were pleasantly surprised to be in the company of thirty-five New Horizons rigs, from 29-foot travel trailers manufactured in the late 1990's to 40+-foot Majestic 5th wheels that just left the factory floor when we were there in April.  Having seen only two New Horizons rigs on the road during our 2012 travels, we felt "at home".  It was wonderful to make new friends with similar interests: most New Horizons owners are retired full-timers and many of them boondockers, very educated and sophisticated in their purchase of their rigs and enjoying life to the fullest... no bias intended :-) !  Being the younger members of the group, we were regaled with must-do travel adventures and rig maintenance tips garnered from decades of lives "on the road"!

Austin, Texas was our next stop; so much to do and so little time!  Not sure if it's because we have been away from big cities for a while or if Austin is a particularly busy city for its size, but every restaurant, bar, festival, music venue, and even grocery store (flagship Whole Foods Market in downtown) that we visited was packed!!  The energy was enlivening and the diverse hip crowd (young and old, singles and families) made for great people-watching, we did our best to fulfill the popular slogan to "Keep Austin Weird"!  
Just another everyday "party" on 6th Street, Live Music Capital of the World
View of Austin from Mount Bonnell Park

View of Austin Lake from Mount Bonnell

Texas State Capitol in Austin

Although Karly and Jake had "guard" duty at the campground, on their behalf we  appreciated Austin's care and feeding of our canine friends.
Even a place to cool off in Lady Bird Lake

Dog Park at Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin

Happy Hour sign on 6th Street in Austin

From Austin we hit the ground running to travel to Benson, Arizona and visit a dear friend, Nomadic Explorer, who truly inspired us to follow our wanderin' dreams.  We enjoyed hiking the diversity of mountains, canyons and river valleys in the area with a "well-seasoned" guide.  Also had some fun in the historic town of Tombstone, still thriving with the likes of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!  

Desert highlands of Benson

San Pedro Riparian Valley

Our exploring would not be complete without learning the flora and fauna of the Arizona desert and as always, we were wowed by our friend's expertise.  Learning how to capture in photos, the singular beauty of such colorful wildlife in such a desert oasis, is also compliments of our extraordinary friend!

A Century Agave, living 100 years
but upon bloom will die...

As we wind down our visit to the Southwest with our friend this spring, realizing it will be nearly a year before we see each other again, perhaps the weather is more indicative of how we feel than we realize...showers fall even in the desert, but there is always a rainbow if you wish to find it!

Coming full circle: At the Sierra Vista, AZ Ford Service
Station with warranty repairs for the truck....
"A minor pot hole in the road of life"