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April 4, 2019Places We've BeenWest of San Antonio there are a few worthwhile destinations in west Texas. A popular destination is Marfa Texas. If you haven’t heard of Marfa, you may have seen pictures of the famous Prada store in the middle of nowhere that’s Marfa. Marfa is somewhat of a rite of passage for travelers driving through west Texas. Marfa is a bit of a hippie town with a super cool, laid back vibe and known for its ghost lights appearing at night off Hwy 67. If you plan to stay in Marfa I recommend staying over a weekend (Thurs-Sat). Most of the town businesses close Sunday-Tuesday. We stayed at the Tumble Inn Marfa right off Hwy 90. The self-check-in was easy and fast. The RV park was quiet during our stay, we met a few people passing through town. Our neighbor at the campground was living in his Argosy while renovating it. I give him credit, after our Airstream renovation I can’t imagine living in it while renovating. The Argosy owner toured our trailer to learn about some of our projects and upgrades. I used the laundry during our stay which is in a nice community area including a kitchen. The washer and dryer operated on a recommended donation bases of $2.00 per load. Our neighbors Argosy under construction Places to Eat & Drink in Marfa One of the places we visited was the Pizza Foundation. The pizza was excellent, not what you would expect from a remote Texas town. The owners were New England natives so Red Sox paraphernalia was on the walls, we felt right at home! There was beer and wine available and tables inside and outside to eat. We headed over to Planet Marfa a weekend only beer garden with games and varies seating areas for groups. We loved hanging out there among the locals and their pets. It was our kind of bar, a local band playing, cool laid-back vibe, just what you would expect in Texas. After sundown, we went to find the ghost lights that this little town is known for Marfa Lights . There is an observatory area off Hwy 90, 9 miles east toward Alpine. There were lots of people lined up to see the lights. Some waited in their cars, others brought lawn chairs and binoculars making it more of an event. We stayed for about 20 minutes and saw some lights. Was it mysterious and interesting? Yes, but not the weirdest thing we’ve ever experienced. You’ll have to go and see for yourself to know what they’re all about.  Coffee Shop Laundromat & Burritos The next morning, we headed to Frama at Tumbleweed not for the laundry, but for coffee. The laundromat has a coffee and ice cream shop next door with wi-fi. I love the idea for making the chore of laundry a less painful experience. Incorporating coffee and ice cream, two of my favorite things! Genius! We drove over to Marfa Burritos because, duh, Texas got to have breakfast burritos! Marfa Burritos is a small Mexican restaurant in what looks like an old home. We noted locals grabbing breakfast and knew we made a good choice and were in for some good eats. They take your order at the window inside and you can eat your burritos at one of the many tables inside or outside. The burritos were excellent and the ladies behind the counter made us feel right at home. Marfa is a fun stop for a night or two to check out the famous ghost lights and hang out with friendly Texans. [...]
April 3, 2019Places We've BeenWhen travelers think of caverns out west Carlsbad Caverns in NM are usually what comes to mind. We have not been, is that bad, Carlsbad? OK, no more corny jokes. We had limited time traveling and chose to spend time at White Sands National Monument in NM. We plan to visit Carlsbad Caverns someday in the future.  I learned about the Caverns of Sonora from Watson’s Wander Blog. They rated them as some of the best they had visited. I trust their expert traveling opinions and we were going right through Sonora, so why not stop? Visiting & Camping at the Caverns… The Caverns of Sonora are in Sonora Texas, three hours west of San Antonio off I-10. They have an RV Park right on site making it a perfect place to stop over and spend the night. Tickets for the cavern tour are $20 for an adult and they have several tours throughout the day. The tour is about 2 hours and involves some climbing, ducking and has slippery surfaces. So it’s recommended you wear good shoes. You are only allowed to take your camera on the tour all other personal belongings have to stay at ground level. We arrived late one afternoon, got the Airstream on a site and headed in for the tour. We called ahead to ensure there were camping and tours available. All the staff were friendly and very laid back. Eric and I were the only two people on the tour, score, private tour for the same price! Our tour guide was a young woman who recently started working at the caverns. She explained everything well and detailed about what to expect on the tour and the inner workings of the caverns. The History and Details of the Caverns The cave was discovered by a rancher around the turn of the 20th century. Later it was visited by locals and cavers. In the 1950s a caver saw the impact from humans visiting the cave and decided to develop it. His goal was to preserve it for future generations. Now the caverns are a U.S. National Natural Landmark. Most of the cave is still active and growing. The unique and abundant limestone formations are amazing. Each room in the cave gets more and more interesting like something from another world. Our tour guide did an excellent job of pointing out unique designs and explaining features of the cave that are still changing. She said the guides discover new formations all the time. We’re so glad we visited this amazing underground rock palace. We definitely recommend checking it out if you are visiting Texas.  [...]
March 1, 2019Places We've BeenThe Chiricahua National Monument is located in Willcox, Arizona. That’s Willcox and not Winslow, Arizona like you might be thinking from that Eagles song: “Standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.” (Winslow is in a different part of the state; we’ll save that for another blog post). Willcox, AZ is a small town off Interstate 10, about 80 miles Southeast of Tucson. Willcox is home to the Chiricahua National Monument. It’s also the state’s largest grape-growing region and home to several great wineries. We stayed at the Grande Vista RV Park. The park was clean and quiet with simple gravel, pull-through sites for short-term stays. We met a family living in their Airstream, traveling across the country with their Dachshunds! We shared travel stories, toured each other’s trailers, and exchanged Airstream tips.  This made our stay memorable. Sometimes it’s about the people, not the place, right? There are a few RV parks in Willcox, including a KOA. The town has very few restaurant choices and if you’re there on a Sunday hardly any. Chiricahua National Monument Chiricahua National Monument is made up of unique rhyolite rock formations. The rocks are pinnacle-shaped, giving the appearance of being stacked on top of each other throughout the landscape. The rock formations formed as a result of a volcanic eruption several million years ago, eventually causing the ash and debris to compact and form the rhyolite or stacked rock formations. Hiking the Chiricahuas gives you an up-close look at the beautiful rock formations and unique ecological features otherwise mostly hidden amongst the rocks that surround them. There are several varieties of plant life including desert succulents, a pine forest, mushrooms, and mosses. The Chiricahuas feature one of several “Sky Islands” in Arizona where the mountain ranges are elevated above the flat desert landscape seen off in the distance here.       Agave Plant If hiking isn’t your thing or you’re short on time, there are several scenic overlooks along the scenic drive where you can enjoy the beautiful vistas offered by these amazing rocks. Chiricahua National Monument is open year-round and does not charge an entrance fee. They offer overnight camping, a free hiker shuttle, horseback riding trails, and several hiking trails. It is hot most of the year and especially in the summer. We were there in February and even though it was windy and cold at the start of our hike, we warmed up fast. Willcox Wineries – Arizona’s Grape-Growing Hub! When we think of Arizona, wine is not the first beverage that comes to mind. The desert is known more for its margaritas. So we were pleasantly surprised when we discovered Arizona has some great wineries, most of which are in the southern part of the state. A dry, warm climate makes Arizona ideal for growing grapes. Arizona wine regions include Sonoita, Willcox, and Verde Valley. The first winery we visited was Coronado Vineyards, right off Interstate 10, which makes it a convenient place to stop. There was plenty of room to park the Airstream. Coronado offers wine by the glass, in addition to their tastings, and they have a beautiful outdoor space where you can enjoy your wine and the beautiful view of the vineyard and mountains behind them. We visited two tasting rooms in Willcox: Aridus and Keeling Schaefer. Both tasting rooms are located downtown near the train tracks. We found space to park the Airstream there too. We’ve actually returned to these wineries on different occasions while driving through Willcox. Their convenient location right off I-10 makes it hard not to stop.  Keeling Schaefer’s tasting room is inside a historic bank building and features a large bar and casual seating. We enjoyed each experience when we visited. The tasting room employee was very attentive and friendly. She shared ideas for things to do in the area as well as some of her own travel experiences. Aridus is across the train tracks in a newer building. The building and tasting room have a chic design. This is one of Aridus’ tasting rooms. The second is located in Scottsdale, AZ. But don’t let the fancy chic atmosphere and Scottsdale address intimidate you. We had friendly service each time we visited. On one occasion they were hosting a bridal shower in the seating area, and the employee did a great job of juggling us and the party. We enjoyed all their wines and purchased the Cab Franc along with a few Tank Series. Other places to visit in Southern AZ Patagonia State Park Sonoita Wine Region Tombstone Tubac Saguaro NP Tucson Mt Lemmon [...]
us on boat

Who We Are

We are Eric and Joann Heltzel. We live in our renovated Airstream Excella we call “Das Fass” (German for the barrel or keg). We've been living in our Airstream with our dachshund, Shannon, since 2016.

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