Winter 2020 Trip, Day 16: City of Rocks, Gila Cliff Dwellings NM

I woke up well before sunrise at the Walmart in Deming, New Mexico.  I had some company:

0130200641a

I drove north to visit City of Rocks State Park.  We last visited the park in 2011.

This is the view from the approach to the park:

0130200804

0130200812_HDR

0130201046a

0130200935

Going for a run:

0130200829

0130200835

0130200837

0130200839a

0130200841b

0130200849b

0130200850

0130200853b

0130200858

I left City of Rocks and continued north into the Gila Wilderness.  The road was steep and serpentine, but there were great views:

0130201209a

0130201209d

At last I arrived at Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument.  This is our only unvisited National Park site in New Mexico, skipped so far because the road here is not drivable when towing our 5th wheel RV:

0130201451

Also visiting today were three young full-timing couples:

0130201233

I don’t think the visitor center has been updated since the 1970s:

0130201239

I decided to run the trail to the cliff dwellings.  The dwellings were built in late 1200s:

0130201337

0130201340a_HDR

0130201341

0130201342_HDR

0130201345a

0130201346c

0130201351a

0130201355

0130201449

I decided to drive the “no RVs allowed” section of Route 15 from the Route 35 junction to Pinos Altos.  The road is so narrow it has no center line and is incredibly steep and windy:

I continued south towards Lordsburg.  What views!

0130201659

I continued west into Arizona, did laundry in Tucson, then continued northwest to overnight at the Walmart of Coolidge, Arizona.  See the trip map for today’s drive.

Winter 2020 Trip, Day 14: Big Thicket NP, LBJ NHP

Early morning at the Cracker Barrel of Sulphur, Louisiana:

0128200701

I drove into Texas to visit Big Thicket National Preserve:

0128201132a

0128201041

Big Thicket contains at least ten distinct ecosystems, each driven primarily by how much drainage and flooding is present.  The area is a convergence of Western, Southeastern, and Eastern biomes:

0128201020

0128201021

0128201026

I ran one of the trails that passes through a Cypress slough:

0128201107

0128201111

0128201113a

0128201120

0128201121a

I continued east to visit Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park:

0128201704a

0128201650

0128201653

0128201709

0128201710

The park also preserves the nearby homestead of LBJ’s grandparents:

0128201723

0128201723a

0128201726

0128201726a

0128201728

0128201731a

0128201801

I drove over to Johnson City’s library to use their WiFi (my 2GB per month data plan is proving inadequate for this unplanned trip).  At closing, I asked for permission to overnight in the parking lot.  See the trip map for today’s drive.

Winter 2020 Trip, Day 13: Surprise Trip Extension, Jean Lafitte NHPP and New Orleans Jazz NHP

The original plan was that Trish would fly back today from Tallahassee this morning and then I would drive back to New York over the next few days.  I realized a couple days ago that the big Salton City and Glamis Fly-In is coming up next week and I’m already 600 miles closer to California than I would be in New York.  If so, what’s another 2,400 miles, right?  Trish green-lighted the trip and so this morning, saying goodbye to Trish at the airport, I headed west instead of north.

The first stop of the day was the Chalmette unit of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, home of the 1815 Battle of New Orleans, where Andrew Jackson convinced local Native Americans to help him defeat the British before expelling then from their lands on the Trail of Tears 15 years later.  Classy guy.

0127201558

0127201558a

Another great visitor center:

0127201520

0127201531

British forces lost thousands of troops as they repeatedly threw themselves from right to left against the US fortifications built atop the berm to the left of the ditch:

0127201600a

The other end of the US defensive position, looking back towards the visitor center.  The British attacked from left to right here:

0127201614

Next stop, the French Quarter of New Orleans to visit New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.  I parked and hoped I would still have wheels when I returned:

0127201656

0127201700

0127201701

0127201705

The visitor center:

0127201715a

0127201723

I continued west to overnight at a Cracker Barrel in Sulphur, Louisiana:

0127202225

See the trip map for today’s drive.

Winter 2020 Trip, Day 8: Fort Pickens at Gulf Island NS

Another chilly morning here in Florida.  I visited Battery Worth on my morning walk:

0122200840

0122200843_HDR

0122200846

0122200904a

0122200920a

This morning’s haul:

0122200932

We visited the Gulf Islands National Seashore at Fort Pickens:

0122201126

0122201132

0122201154

We then visited the fort itself:

0122201204a

0122201205

0122201208

This tunnel system was interesting:

0122201209

0122201209a

0122201211

0122201212b

Powder magazine:

0122201214

0122201215a

0122201218c

0122201232

0122201233a

0122201234

Battery Pensacola, an Endicott-Period fort, was built inside the older Fort Pickens:

0122201239

0122201242

This 10-inch smoothbore was sleeved with an 8-inch rifled bore:

0122201245b

0122201245c

Battery D of Fort Pickens was destroyed in a fire and explosion in 1899:

0122201246a

0122201247

0122201248a

0122201249

Fort Pickens is one end of the Florida National Scenic Trail, which terminates on the other end in the Everglades:

0122201254

Battery Payne:

0122201311

Battery Langdon:

0122201322

We drove west to St. George Island on Florida’s Forgotten Coast.  See the trip map for today’s drive.

Winter 2020 Trip, Day 5: Horseshoe Bend NMP, Tuskegee Airmen NHS, Tuskegee Institute NHS

Shabbos in Atlanta was enjoyable.  Turns out there were two families on the block that owned RVs!

I drove into Alabama to visit Horseshoe Bend National Military Park:

0119200816a

0119201005a

It was here that US forces under Andrew Jackson defeated the Red Stick Indians in 1814, but only after his Native American allies initiated an unauthorized attack on the Red Stick’s rear.  The Red Sticks had built a fortification across the neck of this natural bend.  US troops advanced from the foreground to the background of the photograph:

0119201014

The approximate location of the Red Stick’s fortification:

0119201020a

US artillery position:

0119201031

Memorial with incorrect date:

0119201031a

My next stop was Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site.  It was here that African-American pilots were trained for combat in World War II.  The visitor center was closed but it was still an interesting visit:

0119201135

0119201143a

0119201153

0119201155

My next stop was nearby Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site:

0119201213

This is Booker T. Washington’s house, The Oaks.  It was interesting to see the final chapter in Washington’s life, as we visited Booker T. Washington National Monument in 2016 where we saw the slave quarters where he grew up:

0119201216

0119201220

0119201222

0119201224a

0119201228

0119201230

I continued south to pick up Trish at the Mobile airport.  We then continued south to Duaphin Island.  See the trip map for today’s drive.