Sydney Harbour Bridge, December 22, 2023

Sydney Harbour Bridge, December 22, 2023
Sydney Harbour Bridge, December 22, 2023

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

WestWorld and Chaparral Park 6 km Volksmarch - Tuesday, December 20, 2022

New Mexico entered our rear-view mirror today. Now, we are in Arizona headed for Scottsdale. After two very full driving days, we are ready to stretch our legs. 

Arizona: the Grand Canyon state.

First, we needed to check in to WestWorld RV campground in Scottsdale. This RV park is new to us. Normally, we would stay in one of the beautiful regional parks, but those involved long drives when we wanted to visit Bob's aunt Sally or his cousin Charis. 

WestWorld is five minutes from Sally's house, and seven minutes from Charis and Michael's home. The campground is spare: no trees, no toilets or showers close by, and the hookups are water and electric, with a dump station on the premises. But, it makes up for it by being close to where we want to be!

After setting up in our site, we drove to Chaparral Park for a 6 km Volksmarch. It was a lovely afternoon with a great sunset as we drove back to the RV park.

Entering the park at the lake off of
Chaparral Rd.

We were on the Indian Bend Wash Path.

It looks tropical with all the big palm trees.

American wigeon (female).
American wigeon (female in front, male in back).
The cormorant area of the lake.
Look at all these cormorants!
Fountains in the park.
Santa on a mailbox.
Bob by Jackrabbit Rd.
The canal.
Ring-necked ducks (male and female)
The canal looking toward the mountains.

Barrow's goldeneye.
Walking back on the other side of the lake.

A sundog in the clouds formed by ice crystals up high.

Sundog.

A beautiful Arizona sunset.

Thank you to the Saguaro Sun Striders for a lovely walk. I particularly enjoyed seeing birds I don't usually see. Bob liked reading the history (online later) of the Hashknife Pony Express Post Route. 

At night, there is a gorgeous horse statue lit with neon lights near the Bell Rd. entrance to WestWorld. 


It's good to familiarize yourself with the entrances to the WestWorld campground during the day. The entrance at Pima Rd. is easy; however, at the back entrance on the Bell Rd. side, you need to navigate in the daytime first. Many entrances/exits were gated closed, so we had to wend our way around horse arenas to find our way in at night. It was pitch black!!

Today was great. It was fun to walk Chaparral Park and along the canal after hours in the truck. Tomorrow, we will visit with Bob's family in Scottsdale.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

A Day in Sonora Waiting for News on Our Truck, and an Update! - Sunday, December 18, 2022

Even though we are waiting to find out what's wrong with our truck, it doesn't mean we have to sit around. Bob made delicious omelets for breakfast. After our bodies were fueled up, we went on a walkabout. 

Yesterday afternoon, Bob walked around historic downtown Sonora, Texas. This afternoon, I wanted to hike the trails in Eaton Hill Nature Center & Preserve and then walk around town. 

The mechanic that our tow truck driver recommended was going to come over in the evening to see if he could diagnose the problem with Beauty (our Ford F350 pickup). After he lets us know the problem, we can make an informed decision on how to proceed.

We headed out of the RV park and walked to Eaton Hill Nature Center. The trails are open every day, but the Visitor Center has more limited hours and is not open on Sundays.

Elite RV Park, Sonora, TX.

Elite RV Park, Sonora, TX.

Dairy Queen is next door to this RV park.

From the RV park, we took the main highway toward I-10. Just before the freeway, we turned right to cross a dry creek. The entrance to Eaton Hill Nature Center was just down the road past the eastbound I-10 freeway ramp.

Immediately past the onramp to the freeway (on the city street), we saw a herd of Axis deer (also called chital or spotted deer). Axis deer are an invasive species originally from southern India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. In 1932, the Axis deer were introduced to Texas and were intended to be game animals. They were restricted to farms and controlled hunting sites. 

Some of the Axis deer eventually escaped, running wild around Texas. The problem is that the Axis deer compete with whitetail deer for resources. The Axis deer have no natural predators in Texas. Also, these invaders give birth twice a year, whereas white-tailed deer only give birth once per year. Axis deer are very hardy and have an increased resistance to native diseases; therefore, they do not have the same population decreases resulting from local disease outbreaks. This allows the axis deer populations to grow out of control, while the whitetail deer succumb to local disease outbreaks.

Axis deer (Axis axis).

Sometimes I know I'm being watched!

Eaton Hill Nature Center & Preserve: We entered the Eaton Hill Nature Center at Dry Devil's Trace Trailhead. This 37-acre preserve is situated between the Edwards Plateau and true West Texas. Eaton Hill has the flora and fauna of both the Texas Hill Country and the Chihuahuan Desert. More than two miles of hiking trails crisscross the property. Here are photos of our hike.

Dry Devil's Trace Trailhead.

Well, isn't this special? I chose all of my photos of Eaton Hill Nature Center in chronological order for my blog. Blogger put them all in reverse order. Grr! So, just bear with me here.

The photo below is the Lower Agave Rim Trail that we took to exit the park directly into the historic part of downtown Sonora. Those photos will be at the end of this section of photos in the park.

Lower Agave Ridge Trail to downtown.

The Century Plants have bloomed and now
will die, leaving offspring at the base of the plant.

Here, we are looking back at the DQ and RV park
from the Upper Agave Ridge Trail.

Bob on the Upper Agave Ridge Trail.

Agave Ridge Trail.

Dry Devil's Trace Trail connects with the 
Agave Ridge Trail.

Dry Devil's Trace Trail landscape.

It would be interesting to know the geology of
the way these holes eroded in this rock.

Coming off the Shinnery Stroll Trail to the 
Dry Devil's Trace Trail.

The easy Shinnery Stroll Trail.

Me at Shinnery Tank.

The easy Shinnery Stroll Trail.

The easy Shinnery Stroll Trail.


This part of the Upper Agave Ridge Trail hooks
into the Shinnery Stroll Trail.

Municipal Power and Light Plant.

Eaton Hill Nature Center & Preserve needs
a new sign on their Nature Center.

The 110+-year-old historical Eaton Home.

The Chicken Coop Loop.

The Chicken Coop Loop.

Jimmy's Frog Pond on the Chicken Coop Loop.

An old saddle on the Wildfire Run Trail.

Wildfire Run Trail.

Wildfire Run Trail.

The Wildfire Run Trail has a great view of the
red-roofed schools in Sonora, Texas.

Pencil cactus.

Wildfire Run Trail.

In the photo below, you can see I-10 which is right next to the Eaton Hill Nature Center. Bob is reading a plaque about a man from town who was in the Seabees.

Wildfire Run Trail. 

Pitaya: green strawberry hedgehog cactus.

Bob on Zed's Cut Trail.

Flag Tank at the top of the hill on Zed's Cut Trail.

Flag Tank.

Zed's Cut Trail has a 9/11/2001 Memorial
that was put in place on 9/11/2002.

Round Tank on Zed's Cut Trail.

The 9/11 Memorial flag as seen from 
Zed's Cut Trail.

Zed's Cut Trail.

Dry Devil's Trace Trail.

Dry Devil's Trace Trail.

Ancient-looking saddles on the Dry Devil's Trace Trail.

The hiking at Eaton Hill Nature Center is easy to moderate, but I would recommend hiking boots and hiking poles to help with the rocky terrain! Now, we are headed into downtown Sonora, Texas, on the Lower Agave Ridge Trail. Here's hoping Blogger can put my pictures in chronological order this time. (I may just import one photo at a time to make sure!)

St. John's Episcopal Church, Sonora, TX.

The historic Sutton County Jail was constructed in
1891 of local stone.


Miers Home Museum.

Sutton County Courthouse: In 1891, the Sutton County Courthouse was designed by Oscar Ruffini, a prominent architect from San Angelo. The courthouse is in the Second Empire style. Impressive handwork is evident in the limestone and dressed stone. The courthouse was completely restored and then rededicated in 2002. I did not look inside. If you would like to see photos of the inside, please visit the Texas Historical Commission site.

The Sutton County Courthouse.

The Sutton County Courthouse.

On the courthouse grounds, there are numerous historical markers. Two of them tell of the opposing factions from the Civil War who lived here. There is also a historical marker explaining where the town's well was located.




From the seat of Sutton's government, we walked down the old Main Street and then continued walking to the school complex. So far, this is quite an interesting walk.

Old Mercantile Building: Two-story Italianate Commercial Building constructed from 1902-1903.

Old Mercantile Building (previously used as a hotel
and telephone exchange).



The benches in front of the businesses on Main 
Street look very inviting.

This was the First National Bank from 1900-1928.

The Old Sonora Ice House Ranch Museum.

I am checking out the old fire truck in front
of the museum.

I am checking out the old fire truck in front
of the museum.

One of the bridges over Dry Devil's River.

Upright Prairie Coneflower.

Bob and I debated about what material the house below is made of. We came to the conclusion that it is made from small, flat stones. They are definitely not brick!
Pretty stone home.

This was one of the only stucco houses we
saw in town.

Next, we arrived at the Sonora school complex. The buildings all have red metal roofs and stand out with their rock construction.

Bob is in front of the Old Rock Schoolhouse.

The high school sports team is the Broncos.

All righty, then!

Old Rock Schoolhouse historical marker.

Old Rock Schoolhouse.

Two-story Italianate schoolhouse built in 1904.

The Old Rock Schoolhouse main entrance.

Sonoma Elementary School.

A cardinal on a windmill yard decoration.

We finished our walk going past the town's welcome intersection with its windmill and deer sculptures. 
The stonework on this house is beautiful!

The Sonora, Texas welcome windmill.

Deer sculptures across from the town's
welcome windmill. 

Deer sculptures across from the town's
welcome windmill. 

Deer sculptures across from the town's
welcome windmill. 

The walk was great, but baby it was cold outside. We finished walking at 4:45 pm at the Dairy Queen. After ordering our food, we sat at the table for a few minutes waiting for our food. 

Not one minute after our food was delivered, Bob's cell phone rang. It was the tow truck driver and his diesel mechanic friend. They were at our site to look at the truck and assess the situation. We gathered up our food, Bob got a bag to transport the sandwiches, and we carried our Blizzards separately. It's a good thing we were back from our walk and the Dairy Queen was next door to the RV park!

Update on our truck: The mechanic took one look at our truck and found the problem immediately. I was pretty close when I diagnosed the CAC tube. The problem was a blown O-ring for the CAC tube. 

Soooo, the solution is going to be the following: on Monday, an employee of the diesel mechanic will drive to San Angelo 72 miles north of Sonora, Texas, to buy two of the O-rings (we're hoping they have them; I guess he'll call before he heads up there). We want to have a replacement part in case this happens again.

When the mechanic's assistant returns with the parts, the diesel mechanic will install one of the O-rings. With any luck, we will be on our way Monday afternoon. We will push on to Deming, New Mexico Monday, and then head to Phoenix on Tuesday. Then we will be back on schedule! Woo hoo!

Once again, we'll keep you posted. Good night, all.