Planning a trip? Dreaming of travel? Perhaps some of our adventures could inspire yours! Over the last several years we’ve had the distinct pleasure of many cross country journeys traveling though the Lower 48 in tents and our various teardrop campers as well as an amazing Alaska adventure that did not involve a camper. To learn more about our day to day adventures, recent blog posts are below. To learn more about Steve & Karen, click on the About Us link. All Things [email protected] is about using and caring for [email protected] trailers. Every other link is about travel adventures. Enjoy exploring, and leave us comments! We love hearing from you. And if you’d like to follow us, Subscribe by signing up at the bottom of this page.

Where in the World?

Where are Steve & Karen now?

At [email protected], a [email protected] Rally in Ehrenberg, Arizona celebrating Steve’s birthday by greeting old friends and meeting new friends in the nüCamp Family and enjoying moderate temperatures. We’ll be here until Sunday when we’ll winterize our unit and trek north to I-40 then begin heading east with a first major stop in Santa Fe.

Chiricahua National Monument

It was a ranger in Big Bend who told us about Chiricahua National Monument near Willcox, Arizona in the southeastern part of the state. Knowing that legislation has been presented to Congress to change it’s status to a national park, he encouraged us to visit before it gets “discovered”. The park is named for the Chiricahua Apache people, nomadic hunter gatherers who spent their summers in the cooler mountains. Of course we decided to visit in the winter and were treated to the absolutely magical scene of the rhyolite rock pinnacles, dressed in snow. We didn’t feel prepared for any lengthy hikes in the snow but delighted in the driving the eight mile scenic road to the top and hiking the half mile Massai Point Nature Trail. It definitely required that we watched each and every step we took but the views were positively stupendous! We had some great interactions with rangers and volunteers at the Visitor Center as well as with other visitors and took the opportunity to become Park Protectors by joining the WNPA and becoming part of legions of citizens supporting the mission of the incredible national park system that we treasure.

Our visit began with a trip to the Visitor Center. It’s small but the staff was friendly.
The eight mile trip to the top delighted with amazing views.
The view from Massai Point was phenomenal. There is the background is the Turkey Creek Caldera that erupted 27 million years ago to create these fascinating rock spires.
We weren’t the only critters to leave our footprints.
The Mexican Jays enjoyed frolicking in the snow.
And looking down on us from above.
The flora and fauna as well as the geology in this desert landscape is intriguing.
Interpretive signs everywhere helped us appreciate the scenes in front of us.
The rhyolite pinnacles are amazing to behold.
Sometimes they look ready to topple over.
We were amazed at every turn and so grateful that this national monument was created to protect this geology and allow us to enjoy it.
Fellow visitors offered to take this photo of us together.
And of course we had to build a tiny snowman and name him “Bob”.

Shakespeare Ghost Town

Today we visited Stratford upon Avon. That is the ruins of the historic Stratford Hotel on Avon Avenue in the ghost town of Shakespeare near Lordsburg, New Mexico. A small spring here in southern New Mexico served as a source of water for travelers at least since the time of the Apache. After the discovery of gold in California, Forty-Niners traveling this southern route would stop here to refresh themselves and their animals. In 1854 the US military established an Army Mail depot here. From 1858 to 1861 it was stagecoach stop for the Butterfield Overland Mail. Just after the Civil War the tiny community changed its name to Grant to honor the Union war hero. By 1870 this place was a boomtown, now called Ralston, after the San Francisco businessman backing the mines. The town of three thousand men boasted 16 saloons and no churches. Then the surface silver ran out in 1871. The Coinage Act of 1873 devalued silver bullion. On top of that Ralston was involved in the Great Diamond Hoax of 1872 so the town’s name was tarnished and the boom was over. By the 1879 Englishmen Col. William Boyle and Gen. John Boyle were the movers and shakers in the town they renamed the Shakespeare. They bought up mine claims and were owners of the hotel they renamed the Stratford on the main street renamed Avon Avenue. All this was as a second gold and silver mining rush came on that spurred economic growth into the 1890s until mining ceased again. Then just after the turn of the 20th Century there was a third mining boom. This time the precious metal was copper and times were good again until the last mine shut down in 1929. During the Great Depression Frank and Rita Hill purchased the abandoned town of Shakespeare as a cattle ranch in 1935. But Rita who had starred in silent films in Hollywood, and who was a teacher was truly interested in the history here. Along with Emma Marble Muir who had moved here as a young girl in 1880, Rita began to document Shakespeare’s history and to offer tours of the ghost town. As the years passed Janaloo, Rita & Frank‘s daughter who had left to pursue a career as a model and a dancer, returned and joined her mother in preserving the history and by 1973 Shakespeare was a National Historic Site. These three extraordinary women were extremely instrumental in preserving this part of New Mexico history. Today this town on privately owned property is still cared for by family and is opened to the public for guided tours by appointment. We were privileged to take the tour and as members of Harvest Hosts, to spend the night under starry skies here.

Dave, our tour guide, greeted us and confirmed our tour reservation.
Dating back to the earliest days of the community, this is the earliest saloon.
The saloon is tiny and had few offerings but it served the residents and travelers well.
Meals were cooked on an open hearth.
Relics from the era include original pieces and donated items.
The Shakespeare Hotel offered accommodations for travelers.
Reportedly Billy the Kid worked at the Shakespeare Hotel waiting tables and washing dishes.
The oldest building on the site, built in 1854 and enlarged in 1856.
Many artifacts remain from the mining operations.
The assay office for the silver miners.
An exceedingly well equipped blacksmith shop.
The cone shaped bucket was used for fighting fires. The unstable design assured it wouldn’t be borrowed for other uses.
An important part of the family story involves Janaloo returning to run the family and to help preserve the history all the while continuing her own career.
There are still former students living in Lordsburg who remember learning to dance and performing at the studio.
At the end of the day we’ve got a beautiful and peaceful location for an overnight stay.

Fort Davis National Historic Site

Along our way from Stillwell Store just north of Big Bend to Van Horn RV Park in west of Texas, we detoured off the fastest route for a few of miles to visit Fort Davis National Historic Site. This was an impromptu stop. We’d spotted it on the map and couldn’t resist the opportunity, we had the time to spare. We started our visit at the Visitors Center to watch the film and visit the museum to learn about this fort established by the US Army in 1854 shortly after both the end of the Mexican War and and the discovery of gold in California to establish and guard the San Antonia – El Paso Trail. It interprets life in this part of Texas as the Apache seek to defend their lands against encroachment by white settlers and the military seek to protect emigrants as well as the passage of mail and freight across the newly expanded United States. We walked the trail around the perimeter of the fort and visited places like the commissary and the hospital to learn more about what life was like for soldiers, officers, and their families here in the mid-Nineteenth Century.

Although no native peoples resided here full time, various bands of Apache and Comanche hunted in this area.
The San Antonio – El Paso Road was part of the southernmost major highway across the US in the 19th Century.
The troops stationed here were involved in conflict with the natives but engagements were usually the result of native raids upon herds at the post or civilian ranched
The latter part of the 19th Century was a time of intense clash of cultures as well as technological change.
The children of officers amused themselves in many ways like their counterparts in the East.
Pulled by either two or four mules, this freight wagon had a capacity similar to a modern F-250.
The foot soldier, a part of the US military since the American Revolution remained a mainstay at the frontier forts.
Early US Cavalry units were of great value across the Great Plains.

Just before we left the grounds we paused for a 21st Century moment and did a FaceTime chat with our friend Amanda aboard Cunard’s Queen Victoria just before sailing out of New York harbor on the second leg of her around the world journey!

Big Bend National Park

Bigger than the state of Delaware, Big Bend encompasses three distinct ecological systems – desert, river, and mountains.
Volcanoes shaped this landscape hundreds of millions of years ago.

This has been an amazing experience in Big Bend National Park with a three night stay at Stillwell Store & RV Park off of TX FM 2627 outside the park to the north in southern Texas. We loved the vast expanses around our campsite, our taciturn host, our shore power hookup, and incredible starry skies. Over the course of three days we visited three of the four Visitors Centers, absorbed valuable information from the park video at Panther Junction, participated in ranger talks, immersed ourselves in the beauty and natural history of the desert, the mountains, and the river – the three major ecosystems found inside the park boundaries, and learned so much about the geology, the flora, and the fauna here. We saw roadrunners and javelinas, visited with a fellow [email protected] camper, picnicked at the historic Daniels Ranch along the Rio Grande River and gazed over into Mexico. We admired the Mexican craft items left for sale on the honor system but heeded the NPS admonition to not purchase any in this manner. We gazed out over the desert landscape from a bluff above the fossil beds and stared gape-jawed at the remains and reconstructions of absolutely huge animals who once swam, walked, and flew here. We made our way past a historic resort to some thermal hot springs along the river one day then the next day we were up in the Chisos Mountains dining at the soon to be renovated Chisos Mountain Lodge. We didn’t get to see it all this trip, we always need to save something for next time and the time after. Actually this was a next time. Our first trip was an overnight in the Chisos Campground in August 1974 that involved a floorless canvas tent, air mattresses, a flash flood, a visit to Santa Eleña Canyon, some sticky mud and a ruined set of binoculars. Despite the misadventures we we incredibly impressed and vowed to come back. And we intend to return yet again.

At the center of the park, Panther Junction is a great starting point for a visit to Big Bend and is the location for many of the ranger talks.
The desert captivated us as we drove south into the park.
A bluff above the Fossil Discovery site is a great place from which to survey the desert.
Paleontologists have uncovered the remains of gigantic animals that inhabited the land and sea in this area.

Wouldn’t want hang out with this creature in close quarters!
Perhaps the largest ever flying dinosaur!
Picnic along the Rio Grande at Daniels Ranch
Hot springs at the edge of the Rio Grande River.
Sandstone is evidence that this area was at the bottom of a sea in the very distant past.
A ranger talk helped orient us to the geology we were seeing.
Lunch at the soon to be renovated Chisos Mountain Lodge was a treat.
A view from Chisos Mountain Lodge
Along the Window View Trail in the Chisos Mountains.
Roadrunners are a treat to watch, and rarely pose for photographs.
Javalinas are similar to pigs in appearance but are exceedingly well adapted for desert survival.
Stillwell Store and RV Park is part of the storied history of Stillwell Ranch north of Big Bend National Park
With few neighbors and very little artificial light our campsite offered a spectacular view of the night sky.
Our second trip to Big Bend in 49 years was a wonderful adventure.

We’re looking forward to returning to this amazing park located in the big bend of the Rio Grande River in southern Texas.

Historic Fort Stockton

We chose to make our stay at Fort Stockton Resort RV Park a two nighter to give us a chance to do laundry and other housekeeping chores but we also wanted to explore a little too. Historic Fort Stockton was a great opportunity to step back in time to the American Frontier. Owned by the city and managed by the Fort Stockton Historical Society, it details the US Military history here from the establishment in 1859 of Camp Stockton near Comanche Springs, a significant water source, to protect the US- Mexican border from Comanche Indian attacks from the north. Abandoned during the American Civil War, it was rebuilt in the postwar era to protect American pioneers traveling the San Antonio – El Paso Road. It was here that African-American troops were first referred to as Buffalo Soldiers by Comanches to compliment their bravery and note their similarity to the esteemed American Bison. We enjoyed the small museum and the opportunity to tour not only original but also reconstructed buildings right here on the edge of town.

A reliable source of water in this dry environment drew travelers such as the Apache, Comanche, and white settlers.
A model of the fort with all the buildings facing out onto the parade ground.
An officer stationed at Fort Stockton, Wedemeyer was a photographer and left behind some amazing photographs illustrating life at the fort.
After the American Civil War many African Americans served in the US Army in the western states.
Cavalry troops were useful in the vast expanses of the American West.
The Mess Hall was one of the reconstructed buildings.
The original guardhouse is the oldest building still standing.
The enlisted men were housed in the barracks, now reconstructed.
Fort Stockton RV Resort was a great place to stay two nights, do laundry, visit the historic fort, and enjoy the sunset.

Texas Hill Country

It was fifty years ago, on our first visit to Texas that we first heard about the Hill Country but our travels through Texas tended to take us a more northern route to always to include a visit with family. These last couple of days we’ve enjoyed immersing ourselves in the beauty of this area with its green rolling hills, rivers, and lakes. The Hill Country’s karst topography depends on its abundant limestone that was once at the bottom of a sea but now contributes to the hills and valleys, rivers and springs, and even the sink holes of this region. As we continue our trek westward after leaving Galveston, we’ve enjoying the scenery and fun things to do here. First stop Guadalupe Brewing Company in New Braunfels, Texas on Friday night as an overnight Harvest Hosts stop. Great German influenced beer, delicious pizza, a great vibe, and a couple of folks just settling in the area that came back to our [email protected] for more fun conversation. The next day, a very beautiful Saturday, we did a slight detour to visit Lost Maples State Natural Area to hike and get close up and personal with the landscape. From there we checked our the Hill Country Arts Foundation for another Harvest Hosts overnight. Unfortunately the season for The Point Theater has not opened so we couldn’t see a play this trip but we delighted not only in a visit to the gift shop but also wandering through the Stonehenge recreation at sunset. Then on Sunday we continued west to Fort Stockton, Texas into another of the seven regions of Texas and a stay at Fort Stockton Resort and RV Park.

Somehow we failed to take pictures inside Guadalupe Brewing, but it was a happening place on a Friday night. They make some particularly fine stouts!
We parked out back and after the brewery closed, we had it all to ourselves.
On Saturday we continued west with a stop at Lost Maples Natural Area for a little hiking. Don’t know if we saw any maple trees with all the foliage off but it’s a beautiful area.
Several places along the trail we crossed streams using stepping stones.
And just stood admiring our surroundings.
By late Saturday afternoon we arrived at the Hill Country Arts Foundation near Ingram, Texas.
We visited Stonehenge II which started as a joke and was originally constructed in a field on a nearly ranch.
Our campsite at the Arts Foundation was overlooking the lake and adjacent to the outdoor theater. Peaceful place.
By Sunday evening we’d left Hill Country and were settling in for two nights at the Fort Stockton Resort and RV Park.

The Bryan Museum in Galveston

Galveston, Oh Galveston!. Yes, we’ve got that song stuck in our heads as we visit this historic Texas town for the first time. A visit to the Texas Gulf Coast has been on our list for a very long time. We were fortunate to snag a two night reservation at Galveston Island State Park on the beach side! It gives us easy access to long beach walks. What could be better? With one full day for exploration we set our sites on the Bryan Museum. Wow! There’s so much Texas history here that one could spend an entire college semester just getting an overview. The museum traces the history of this area beginning with Paleo-Indians through Spanish exploration and settlement, the American Revolution, Mexican independence, the Republic of Texas, the Mexican War, Texas statehood and beyond into the present. The museum was founded by J.P. Bryan, the great great great grandnephew of Stephen F. Austin whose efforts beginning in 1821 led to Anglo settlement in Texas which was then a sparsely populated northern territory of Mexico, and to the Texas Revolution. Building on a lifelong interest in history and its importance and a massive collection of artifacts passed down through the family, this museum, housed in the former Galveston Children’s Orphanage is a gem. From there we briefly explored the shops in the historic The Strand district, at least long enough to purchase a sticker for the side of our camper then headed to the Coastal Grill there for a fabulous meal before heading home to our [email protected] 400. Life is and adventure!

Every major phase of Texas history and how it relates to broader scopes of American and World history is covered in depth in this museum.
A Virginia native, Stephen F Austin moved to Texas at the age of five. When he was eleven he was sent to live with relatives and pursue and education in Connecticut and Kentucky before returning and playing a key role in white settlement in Texas.
Without the efforts of Stephen F. Austin, the history of Texas would played out very differently.
Battle of San Jacinto lasted only 18 minutes but we spent far longer reading about it and studying this amazing diorama. Did the Yellow Rose of Texas play a role in this key battle for Texas independence?
In 1900 Galveston suffered one of the worst natural disasters in US history when a ferocious hurricane hit the low lying unprepared community. This well done short documentary film tells the tale of the storm, its aftermath, and the rebuilding of the city.
Housed in what was once the Galveston Children’s Orphanage, you get the feeling of elegance that pervaded much of late 19th Century Galveston.
Family heirlooms comprise a huge portion of the artifacts displayed in this amazing museum.
Our view of the sunset both from our campsite and along the beach are captivating!
We’ve delighted in watching the shorebirds and the surf of the Gulf of Mexico as we trek up and down this beautiful beach.
Galveston Island State Park, a beautiful place to call home for two nights!

Heading West

Now that we’re down to more southern latitudes, we’re enjoying warmer weather. We’re contemplating putting away the cold weather gear for a while and de-winterizing the camper. Our plan at this point is to begin moving westward but not too quickly. For now we’re doing easy travel days but only single night stays. We’re enjoying our campgrounds but not seeking out museums or parks to visit but just enjoying the scenery wherever home is for the night. Our thought is that we’re on a bit of a timetable. We have to be back to Florida by early March and back in Ohio by late March. Since we’ll be driving all the way to the Arizona-California border, we want to be able to linger a bit in the western states before we begin to trek eastward again.

Gunter Hill Campground, a lovely Army Corps of Engineers campground just west of Montgomery, Alabama. Here we met Ted & Lorraine traveling in a [email protected] 400 and exchanged contact information. Hopefully we’ll meet up again in Massachusetts.
Sioux Bayou RV Park and Hideway Bar just outside Gautier, Mississippi. The view from the deck outside the dive bar was phenomenal. We enjoyed chatting with Evan who is traveling in a [email protected] 320 Boondock and heading to Florida. He filled us in on some great places to visit in New Mexico.
Lafayette KOA Holiday near Lafayette, Louisiana offered us some great amenities and the opportunity for a long walk at sunset.

H&H Soul Food

Let’s just say that Macon, Georgia is worth a visit. For us for so many years, it was a location to pass by on I-75 when going from here to there. Then just recently we realized that the Ocmulgee Mounds site was immediately adjacent to the site. We booked a campsite for two nights at the Forsyth KOA Journey so we could enjoy a day at that national park then realized there’s so many Things to Do in Macon. Upon the advice of Ray who we met at Congaree, we decided that we should at least fit in a meal at. need link. H&H Soul Food. Wow! We are so glad we did. We were attracted to it because of the role of the founders in the history of The Allman Brothers Band. The artwork adorning the exterior and interior of the restaurant is a tribute to the Southern Rock explosion that centered in Macon. And the food is delicious our Ramblin’ Man and Red Dog were delicate Southern Biscuits dressed with foods such as fried chicken, collard greens, red eye gravy, smoked brisket, and all sorts of yummy Southern tastes. Not only that, the atmosphere is friendly. It was not long before we were deep into conversation with Jeany, a solo traveler at the next table comparing notes on Macon opportunities. She was doing a self-guided walking tour. We were well cared for KeKe and we loved our conversation with Kayla. We will return for a longer visit in the Macon area and can’t wait for another great meal at H&H. Back at the campground we enjoyed large flock of geese flying overhead as we got out our chairs and enjoyed a bit of a propane campfire.