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STOP #268

We only had about a 90+ mile commute between campgrounds today. We were just about 15-miles along the route when we came over a hill and a saw a mountain range far off on the horizon and I thought to myself, could that be the Guadalupe Mountains I'm seeing already.

About 50-miles from our destination I remember asking Tricia her thoughts about what we were seeing. The mountains we were looking at dominated the horizon, nothing else even came close.

Then at 25-miles from our destination we pulled off the road and took this picture.

I was now sure this is where we were headed and they were indeed the Guadalupe Mountains. Not only does the Guadalupe Mountain Range have the highest peak in all of Texas, Signal Peak (8751 ft.), it has the four highest peaks in Texas.

Now that we were only 5-miles away it was evident just how tall this mountain is above the rest of the desert floor.

The next five miles was spent driving all uphill. I kept a close watch on ROVER's transmission temperature readings and he performed flawlessly.

Up, up, up we go!

Not quite there yet.

We finally made it to our reserved campsite and were able to just squeeze in. The site was listed as 22 feet, THE POD measures 28 feet, but we were well behind the line marking the front of the site. ROVER was tucked in on the side, also within the lines marking the edge of the site.

This is the awesome view we have when we look out of THE POD's door, but...

... not such a great view out the back window.

As you can see in the previous photo we have an Airstream neighbor across the drive. She is a solo female traveler from Boston who is headed for Seattle, eventually. The van you see on the right is also an Airstream and they were camped in the site right next to us at Hueco Tanks yesterday. I guess we must have the same travel agent!

FRIDAY - What a difference a day makes!

Yesterday we arrived at the campground around noon and the skies were clear and everyone was comfortable in shorts and t-shirts. Around 2AM our weather station alarmed that the outside temperature had reached 30°F, so we turned on the propane furnace to 62°F and went back to sleep.

When we awoke today at 8AM the temperature was just 19°F, that ties our all time low ever recorded. The next few days will also be chilly, but not that low. We have one empty 30lb. propane tank and another half full, so we decided to head into town to purchase more before the weekend gets here. We learned that lesson a month ago that most propane wholesalers are closed on the weekend. We save about 30-40 cents a gallon purchasing it from the wholesalers instead of going to the retailers like Tractor Supply and Ace Hardware. Our 30lb. tanks hold about 7 gallons of propane.

After securing the propane we filled up with gasoline and got breakfast at Taco Bell. Their breakfast burritos are far tastier, larger and cheaper than McDonald's version.

We purchased gas at the Murphy's Station outside of Walmart in Carlsbad, NM for $4.08 a gallon. We saw on our way into town there was a station selling gas for $4.44 a gallon, and there we people lined up at the pumps?

Carlsbad is about 50 miles from our current campsite, but when you need propane, you gotta do what you gotta do.

As we were leaving town the skies very rapidly clouded up and the winds picked up also. When we got back near the park Tricia took this photo of the Guadalupe Mountains.

Not the way I remember it from just yesterday?

Then by the time we climbed back up to the campground this is what was waiting for us.

SATURDAY - After the snow we had yesterday the temps are not expected to rise above 50°F today with winds sready at 15MPH, gusting to 25MPH, so that means no prolonged outdoor activities for us. Remember it's the Florida Boy writing this. 50°F is a great day for a hike! But I wasn't going to complain about some down time!! - T

That doesn't mean we are going into hibernation, so we'll get out and do the short 3/4-mile long Pinery Trail hike after lunch. It travels from the Visitor Center to the remnants of a stage station for the Butterfield Overland Mail Route (1858-1861). This location was built in 1858 and abandoned in 1859 when the route changed. Passengers and mail were transported by stage coach from St. Louis, MO to San Franscisco, CA for a period of three years until the transcontinental railroads were completed.

These stone markers were erected by the state of Texas in 1936 to commemorate the site.

These piled stone walls are all that remain at the site.

MONDAY - To summarize our visit here at Guadalupe Mountains National Park I'll first mention the good parts.

The hiking trails here are fantastic, there is something for everyone. Trails range from short .5-mile to overnight 11.5 mile treks. The views of the mountain peaks are stunning even from the parking lots. They have 20 tent-only campsites that you need to walk a short distance to from the parking area.

The not so good aspects are the campground is nothing more than a converted parking lot. They took away half of the major trailhead parking and called in a campground. They only have 5 slots (#26-30) for trailers over twenty feet long and you must be able to fit your truck and trailer in a 50 foot space. No exceptions on this, they are extremely strict. There are 8 slots for trailers twenty-two feet or less, 5 of them (#21-25) are double wide so you can park side by side like we did. The other 3 sites (#31-33) are single wide sites and are better suited for Class B vans. The smaller sites all have a picnic table and there is a bathroom with flush toilets on site. There is also potable water on the side of the bathhouse where you can fill small containers.

We lucked out because we reserved one of the smaller 22-foot sites and were able to squeeze our 28-foot trailer into it. They no longer will allow you to do this since they changed the rule on January 1st, 2022. Luckily I made this reservation last October and was grandfathered in, but they weren't happy about it. Actually the camphost was very hostile about it to us.

We also picked the wrong time to be here because it's Spring Break for the Texas colleges this week. I guess all the local college students who can't afford, or don't desire, to join the crowds of people on the beaches around the country all come to hike at this National Park. Beginning each morning there were probably hundreds of students passing by our trailer to access the trailhead on the other side of the parking lot. Then on Saturday and Sunday they were joined by families out hiking with their children.

We decided to avoid the crowded trails this weekend and just chill out in THE POD. It was still an enjoyable visit and recommend you visit too.

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