Our “Grand Loop Trip” has begun! That’s what we’re calling our 11-month journey this year.
Grand Loop Leg 1: Austin TX, to Fredericksburg, TX (82.5 miles…kind of)
We left Austin, Texas on Sunday, January 3, 2016. Let me tell you, our first Grand Loop day was a really long day.
Before I explain, let me start by saying that at some point in Austin I think I bulged a disc in my neck. I’ve ruptured one before so I know what they feel like, and sure enough this was a bulge. So I’d been in quite a bit of pain for about a week before we left Austin. This is important because it limited my ability to do things significantly and Brittany had to take up the slack. (I’m really blessed to have such an amazing wife.)
Ok, so here is why the day was so long…
You see, we had to run the little boys, (Javen and Silas) who had spent Christmas break with us, back to Austin to drop them off at the airport and we had to get Meriwether to Fredericksburg.
So the day started early by heading out to church at the Austin Stone, then returning to Meriwether and breaking down camp at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin. Javen and Silas helped me with all of the outside stuff so that was really nice.
And of course something crazy had to happen. So randomly the bay door to our wet bay, where all the valves are for the water and sewer, broke. We were at the dump station when it happened and I was trying to fix it and in a ton of pain, and it just wasn’t happening.
So I broke out the duct tape and taped the thing shut well enough so that we could get to Fredericksburg and deal with it later. Then we drove to Fredericksburg but, about 15 miles from our RVpark we had to pull over to re-tape my temporary fix job. After the re-taping we headed on over to Fredericksburg RV Park where we set up camp. Again the boys were a huge help to me as the pain continued to sear in my shoulder.
After this, Brittany drove us back to Austin to drop off the boys at the airport and after an emotional goodbye with them, Brittany drove the two of us back to Fredericksburg.
So our 82.5 mile first leg was actually around 247.5 miles when all was said and done!
Needless to say we were exhausted, poor Brittany had done most of the driving and I was in a ridiculous amount of pain by the time we got home.
Fredericksburg was wonderful as always though! We’ve been there a few times and each time we enjoy it as much as the last.
We got to see our friends Lisa and Dan of RV Liberty and meet their son Dana who just returned from serving our country overseas. Enjoyed some great BBQ with them at Cranky Frank’s.
We also got to enjoy a dinner with the awesome folks behind both Escapees (Cathie Carr) and Xscapers (Travis and Melanie Carr).
As far as Meriwether goes, we had the folks from Quick 2 Fix It come out and do the repairs on the wet bay door and our toilet seal which for whatever reason stopped holding water yet again.
While in Fredericksburg, Brittany and I made a trip out to Becker Vineyards, took a drive to Kerrville just for fun and made a quick but beautiful jaunt out to see Stonehenge II. Unfortunately for us Enchanted Rock was closed but we did manage to make the obligatory pilgrimage to Alamo Springs Cafe for some of the best burgers in Texas.
As far as work goes, we got some good work done in Fredericksburg for our clients but it took awhile for us, and Rhythm, to adjust to the boys not being with us.
The whole time in Fredericksburg I still had the pain in my neck, shoulder, back and right arm. We bought a massager and I took a few prescribed pain killers. I also got a ton of rest over the last few days before the next leg of our journey.
Grand Loop Leg 2: Fredericksburg, TX to Ozona, TX (153 miles)
On Friday January 15th we decided to leave Fredericksburg RV Park and head out on our westward journey. We decided this because I was still in pain but the pain was the least it had been in a long time. Also because our next few driving days were going to be long ones and we figured we’d cut down some of our trip even if was just by an hour or two.
I drove Meriwether and Brittany took Smaug as we headed out on I-10 West. We drove until the sun set and found a little town called Ozona, Texas. There was nowhere to park, but we did find a hotel that had a whole lot of empty truck parking. So Brittany ran inside and asked if they’d mind if we parked there for the night. They were really kind and said we could.
Keeping the slides in always reminds us of being little kids and having a fort for some reason. It was fun to “rough it” a little.
So after parking Meriwether, we went out and found a little Mexican restaurant called Moreno’s where we were the only people in the entire restaurant and we had some pretty decent dinners. The carne asada burrito was excellent, the enchiladas verdes were good, too.
Returning to Meriwether we were exhausted. There was some random hispanic man shouting for what seemed like hours somewhere near our rig. But we made the best of it and snuggled up in our fort. Then Brittany read a few chapters from “Blue Highways” out loud as I drifted off to sleep.
Early the next morning we continued on our westward journey.
Grand Loop Leg 3: Ozona, TX to Las Cruces, NM (391 miles)
Saturday January 16th 2016 we made it to Las Cruces, NM! We’re staying at a pretty nice little park called Hacienda RV Park.
We got here and began to set up. Of course for whatever reason, our potable water hose connection is leaking. It is leaking in not one, but two places! First it is leaking at our pressure regulator valve that is connected to the spigot. Second it is leaking at the quick connect where the hose connects to Meriwether.
So I just unplugged it and we’re running off our tanks until I can look at it when I’m not exhausted after a 391 mile drive.
After we set up camp we headed out to a little local pizzeria and winery here called Luna Rossa which is walking distance from the RV park. We enjoyed a pizza together, Brittany tacked on a “small” slice of lemon raspberry cake for her dessert. Where does she put all that? She’s so little!
Anyway, the good news is that we’re here for a week and the weather looks decent. So I should be able to troubleshoot the potable water leak. The other good news is that they have a hot tub here, so we hope to use it a few times this week. Unfortunately today it was not open which is why I’m taking the time to bust out this article.
So there it is folks! For all those following our Grand Loop, you are now all caught up.
Feel free to comment, ask questions etc. We do this not only to record our travels for ourselves but also to share what the full time RV lifestyle is like for our fellow travelers and those thinking about it!
Looks like a great trip so far! Oh, and that piece of cake makes me what to put the computer down and go bake. Looking forward to your updates.
Brittany said she really enjoyed that slice of cake. I have to tell you that thing was huge and the photos don’t even do it justice. I mean it was big! Thanks for joining us on our journey Missy!
Hopefully you are feeling better and the rest of your Grand loop trip is free of Merriweather issues! Enjoy!
Thanks Vickie! Actually just today is the first day that I’m feeling really well. Appreciate your good vibes!
We were only in Las Cruces for one night but we also ate at Luna Rossa as well! I should have gotten the cake!
Haha. Or at our place. The breakfast burritos we made last night for dinner were off the chain good! The sangria Brittany had at Luna Rossa was really good too according to her for what it’s worth.
We’ll be back in New Mexico and probably Las Cruces one day so we’ll have to try the sangria! We didn’t spend hardly any time in NM because it was too cold for our current setup with the pop up camper!
I see that you are heading to Sedona. We loved Sedona when we visited last summer. Hope you enjoy this magical place!
We can’t wait for Sedona! It has been on our radar for a long time Kerri!