The issue of the Journal of the BTS that led to holing up in Alpine and working is done and dusted. It is at the printer and with this morning’s coffee I am finishing the Interactive PDF version that online-only subscribers receive in lieu of the print Journal. Yesterday I was able to start exploring the area and took a scenic drive through the Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area about 40 miles south of here on Hwy. 118. It is a restoration stronghold for the Desert Bighorn Sheep, but I wasn’t lucky enough to see one. I was lucky enough to get the timing right though, as yesterday’s first day of May was the opening of the driving tour season in the park. A permit is required for hiking, hunting and primitive camping access.
Alpine has surprised me and I wish I would have been able to enjoy it more. Catching some live weekend music at the Railroad Blues would likely be a fun experience. So far the only thing I dislike about Alpine is all of the maddening one-way streets and four-way stops. But I do have two more days here before I head west through El Paso and into New Mexico for two nights in Deming, just north of the boot heel of the "Land of Enchantment". Below is my itinerary for this leg of my road trip.
21-26 Big Bend National Park, Texas
27-> Lost Alaskan RV Park, Alpine, Texas
<-3 Lost Alaskan RV Park, Alpine, Texas
4-5 Roadrunner RV Park, Deming, New Mexico
6 Tombstone RV Park, Tombstone, New Mexico
7-9 Rose Canyon, Coronado National Forest, Tucson, Arizona
10-11 Pichaco Peak State Park, Eloy, Arizona
On Sunday, May 7, I will arrive in the Coronado National Forest where I have a primitive campsite (no hookups) for two nights in the Willow Edge Loop of Rose Canyon Campground. The next afternoon Dr. Brent Hendrixson and his three students will meet me there and we will begin three-four nights of scorpion research collecting. On the 10th, we all will break camp and move to Pichaco Peak State Park near Eloy where I’ll be staying for two nights with electricity. Brent and his crew will be moving on to camp at Lost Dutchman State Park in Apache Junction closer to Phoenix on Thursday, May 11, but I’ll stay camped at Pichaco for my second night and probably just truck up to join them for the evening’s scorpion hunt and then say my goodbyes and head back to my site at Pichaco. They are moving at a quick pace farther to the west to work three sites in southern California next. I can’t travel at that speed and don’t want to pass through areas so quickly. In fact, on the 12th I will visit Tucson’s Saguaro National Park and find someplace nearby to stay in the area for a couple more days, and then will backtrack to New Mexico and likely stay at the park in Deming again. I have a friend in Albuquerque who works at the Rattlesnake Museum (I plan to visit) and hopefully she will be able to join me for some snake hunting in the boot heel. Rather than tow my rig all the way north to ABQ, if the park in Deming that I’ll see this Thursday is adequate, I’ll probably just stay there for the week and make all trips to ABQ and other farther north New Mexico destinations by truck alone. Next on the agenda will be returning to Texas to visit Guadalupe Mountains National Park and New Mexico’s adjacent Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
When I hit the road I had no plans to return to the Midwest anytime soon, but my driver’s license is expiring on my August 5 birthday so I am forced to return to Chicagoland for a visit. That works out perfect as I have far too many clothes on the road with me. I will find someplace to store my RV starting July 1 and between then and now will pack up everything unneeded and haul it back to storage. I know I will be restless there and not want to stay long, plus I have new adventures to get ready for come late July and early August.
I had been hoping since this adventure started that sooner rather than later my mate Mark would be able to take a trip over from England and join me. Being here for my birthday sounds like perfect timing and he is currently shopping air fare for a two-week trip with my August 5 birthday in the middle. So, after my quick return to Chicagoland in early July, I will be coming up with a plan for his visit, which will likely begin by me picking up at Phoenix airport. I’ve also extended open invites to other friends to join me at any points along the road, and I am hoping that Chad is going to be able to meet us in the southwest and that maybe, just maybe, Apple will as well.
&emdash; All the best, M