Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Travel to Colorado

July 18 to July 24:

We left Lake Georgetown on Tuesday morning headed to Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock is where I attended college (1972-1977) and I have only been back to the Texas Tech campus once since I graduated. We had a nice day to travel and arrived at our campground, Loop 289 RV Park, in the late afternoon. We were assigned a pull through site and got set up for our three day stay.

Loop 289 RV Park
This is a small RV Park with a number of long term residents. We found the park to be nice with full hookups and shopping located nearby (the park is right off the loop that goes around Lubbock). The RV park was located next to a Gander Mountain Store that was having a "going out of business" sale with prices marked down 50-80%. We took advantage of the sale to purchase some shoes and clothing. There was just a few days left before they closed and the selection was very limited, but we did find a few things in our sizes.

New pair of shoes for Connie.
We spent the two days in Lubbock visiting the Texas Tech campus along with the seeing the city. The campus had changed so much that I did not recognize most of it. The size of the campus has doubled and a number of new buildings have been added to the school. Also the medical school has greatly expanded and now occupies a large space next to the main campus.

We drove out to MacKenzie Park to see the prairie dog town. This small community of prairie dogs has been located here since the park opened in 1935. In most places the prairie dogs were eliminated as pests, but here they were allowed to survive next to the golf course in the park.

The next day we visited the National Ranching Heritage Museum which is located on the Texas Tech campus. The National Ranching Heritage Center is a museum and outdoor park with 49 historic structures dating back to the 1700's. In addition to the 19-acre historical park, the NRHC has 42 life-size bronze steer sculptures and a 44,000-square-foot museum with seven galleries featuring art exhibits, photography and artifacts that capture historical and contemporary Western life.

We also visited the Silent Wings Museum which is a history of the glider pilots and planes used during World War II. The army air force base in Lubbock was one of the places the pilots trained during the war. A group of former glider pilots started a small museum in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the 1980's and it was relocated to old Lubbock airport (once it shut down) in 2003. It was a very interesting museum and gave a history of this part of the war I knew very little about. The glider planes were able to carry a squad of men fully packed or a Jeep with a tow vehicle. Most of the glider planes were only used one time since the landing was a "controlled crash".

One of the glider planes used during WWII

Inside of the glider

 On Friday morning we left Lubbock and headed to Capulin, New Mexico for two days. Capulin is a town of 66 people (according to 2010 census) located about halfway between Clayton and Raton. We arrived at the Capulin RV Park early in the afternoon and got set up for our short stay here.

The town is located at 6600 feet in elevation so the temperatures were quite mild compared to our days in Texas. The park office sold grass fed Angus beef raised by a local rancher. Connie bought us a couple of steaks that we cooked for our dinner one night. It was so tender that you could almost cut it with a fork.

On Saturday we visited the Capulin Volcano National Monument which is located a couple of miles outside of town. We were fortunate to have a clear day for our trip to the top of the volcano. The last eruption of the volcano was about 55-60,000 years ago. I did not realize that there are at least 7 volcanoes located in this northeastern part of New Mexico. We stopped by the Visitor's Center to get our pass along with information about the park then drove to the parking lot near the top of the mountain. The top of the volcano is 8,182 feet in elevation and on a clear day you can see for 100 miles. We walked the loop trail (about 1.5 miles) around the rim of the volcano and then walked the carter vent trail (another 0.5 mile). The views from the loop trail were spectacular with it being a clear day.

Overhead picture of volcano from the park brochure.


Crater Vent Trail

On Sunday morning we left early to make the drive to Lissa and Scott Oklers house near Castle Rock, Colorado. They have 30 acres of land and offered to let us spend the night at their place on our trip north. Lissa and Connie were roommates in the Dallas area back in the 1980's and the last time they had seen one another was about 22 years ago. We pulled into their driveway and then made the tight drive down a gravel lane to their barn where were able to hook up to 20 amp electricity. The afternoon was warm but the nights are cool, so we did not have to run our A/C's while we were there. We had a great visit with Lissa and Scott along with their kids (now in their 20's). They served us elk steaks Sunday evening from a hunt that Scott and one of his sons had killed last winter. Monday morning Lissa fixed us coffee and breakfast and we visited for several hours before getting on the road again to continue our trip north.

Lissa and Scott

Scott, Lissa and Connie

Lissa in front of their house

Barn where we parked the motor home. It was a slow drive backing up the motor home and turning it around to leave.