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Old 10-26-2013, 09:46 AM   #1
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1993 21' Sovereign
austin , Texas
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going on 1st trip out of TX to AZ down I10

i am a new traveler ,we plan on going after thanksgiving. be in Phoenix by xmas, i am not a ice or snow driver, been in central TX most my life. and i can not drive to long. bad circulation and neuropathy , so i just need some quick and fast stop over places, need to keep budget down. might take me couple weeks to get there, maybe a good layover places for couple days.
maybe a VA hospital or clinic on way, i guess i ask for everything. who knows could be a new adventure.

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Old 10-26-2013, 09:49 AM   #2
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We drove I10 the entire length of Texas last January. The RV parks are few and far between, along I10. How much can you drive per day?

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Old 10-26-2013, 06:09 PM   #3
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Can't help much with Austin to West TX but once you are at the western end of TX I can make some suggestions.

Consider Balmorhea State Park or Davis Mts State Park east of Van Horn, TX. Both worth a stop... Balmorhea is closer to I-10 and a real surprise of a oasis in a lot of high desert...and Davis Mts State Park is an interesting place to of the highest places in West Texas (check weather there this time of year).

There are a couple of RV parks in Van Horn, and there's also a rest stop on I-10 just east of Van Horn that's actually quite nice ...we over-nighted there on the way to Davis Mts.

Heading on to El Paso, there are a few RV parks along the way, but El Paso has several and I believe there is a KOA there, too. We find El Paso traffic to be quite menacing and it seems nobody knows how to use turn signals there. Almost got side-swiped the last time we were there... It has reminded us of LA both times we've been through there with the trailer in try to avoid rush hours there if you can.

It's not a long drive to Las Cruces, NM from El Paso, and there are RV parks and another KAO there. If you wanted to go north a bit on I-25 from Las Cruces for a few nights, there's a nice NM state park not too far up the road...less than 20 miles...Leasburg Dam.

Once you leave the La Cruces area the best places to stay are Deming, NM (try Rock Hound State Park near Demming...NM state parks are well priced), then Lordsburg, NM. There's a rest stop between Demming and Lordsburg that has small casitas/ramadas that you can pull up to and spend the night if you like. Free. Not too far after Lordsburg you will enter AZ. If you want to take the time, you could go about 35 miles north of I-10 on 191 to Roper Lake State Park about 6 miles south of Safford. It's a good place to hunker down for a few nights of R&R.

Back on I-10 there are RV parks in Willcox and even more around Benson, AZ. Just east of Benson is the road that goes south to Tombstone which has several RV parks, and there's Kartchner Caverns State Park just south of I-10 on the way to Tombstone.

It's an easy drive from Benson to Tucson...and of course there are lots of RV parks near Tucson. And there's a most excellent VA hospital there, too, not far off the Interstate. In the Tuscon area, besides all the commercial RV parks, there is Catalina State Park on the NW side near Oro, Valley. And there's Gilbert Ray Campground west of the Tucson Mts (operated by Pima County). Both these are nice, and good places to spend a little time.

About 45 minutes north of Tucson on I-10 is Picacho Peak State Park, right off the Interstate to the west...exit 219 I think. In another hour or so you are in the Phx Metro area. If you want to stay in public campgrounds, check out Lost Dutchman State Park 5 miles NW of Apache Junction on the west end of Phx Metro...and the Maricopa County Recreation system that includes McDowell Mt and Usery Mt Parks (on the NE side), Cave Creek Park (on the north side) and Lake Pleasant (about 15 miles west of I-17 from Cave Creek).

All the state parks and Maricopa County Parks are reserveable... Gilbert Ray in Tucson is first come first served.

Hope this helps and gives you some places to look at! Safe travels!
TB & Greg and Abbey Schnauzer
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Old 10-26-2013, 06:52 PM   #4
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A very good friend of mine suffers from neuropathy -- I understand your need to stop frequently and applaud your spirit.

Although we're from the Northeast, we've been through that area a couple of times. We found the AllStays apps for iPhone to be very useful. They are also available for Android. If you're not a fan of smartphones, start here and explore the free overnight opportunities. I'm assuming that you can dry camp for a night or two.

We found West Texas to be incredibly friendly. We stopped at a restaurant along I-10 one night and asked the waiter if they could recommend a free place to park. He said "right here", so I said "I'll have another margarita!".

Good luck on the trip. I echo TBRich's recommendation of Balmorhea and, if you need a good hot springs, recommend Truth or Consequences in New Mexico. It's a bit north of I10, but the spas are great. Funky town, but the private spas are very reasonable, right on the Rio Grande.
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:24 PM   #5
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State parks in Junction TX, Balmorhea TX, Tucson AZ

Enjoy your trip! There is a state park on the Llano River just south of Junction, TX, and about 4 hours from Austin. We haven't stayed there, but the river is beautiful, and there is a mighty fine hamburger at Isaaks Restaurant.

I-10 west of there gets a little, uh, dull until you get to the Fort Davis area.

We stayed at Balmorrhea State Park in March 2013 and also recommend it as a pleasant, unexpected stop. A soak in the cool, natural springs pool (a CCC project) felt great. We even snorkeled there.

Fort Davis is a short and surprisingly scenic jaunt south of Balmorrhea. Fort Davis Mountains State Park is a nice stay, and you can check the very nearby McDonald Observatory for their star party schedule. This whole area has some of the darkest night skies in all of the lower 48.

If you can manage it on the way west or back east, we highly recommend taking the time to swing south into Big Bend country. The drive along the Rio Grande from Presidio to Big Bend National Park is spectacular (we don't use that word lightly). DO NOT, however, take your Airstream into Big Bend Ranch State Park. It is 26 miles one way on a completely ungraded/undeveloped dirt road full of soft spots, washboarding, tight turns, and unforgiving bumps. Ask us how we know that the hardware store in Presidio sells rivets.

We second the motion to go through El Paso outside of AM or PM rush hours. El Paso does have a huge military presence and a VA hospital: El Paso VA Health Care System Home

We've spent a quick night at Picacho Peak State Park just east of Tuscon and immediately off I-10. Access was easy, and the park was clean.

For a nice break, we also enjoyed the visitor's center and small botanic garden at the western section of Saguaro National Park right by Tucson.

Hope that helps, and safe journeys!
Alt & Liz
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:36 AM   #6
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thanks a lot for information, i will try as many places as i can. i can only drive from 150 to 200 miles a day, or even sit in front seat that long. about 2 hours before my feet and legs start hurting will bad. i wonder if i could lay down in trailer and let my partner drive. i use a vibrator with convertor to cig lighter while driving, i am to old to worry about the danger. life is a adventure now. i am a old marine, and need a little adventure. how does convertor work in trailer while on the road? ok to run heater how cold do these places get in winter,, from December to January? cold really does me in. i have spend very little time in cold places. might try the hot springs, looks like it might be worth the extra trip. seems be a lot of places to stay,, thanks again for the information, might want to leave earlier, stay longer.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:41 AM   #7
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All great recommendations for West Texas. The Prude Ranch has some RV sites near the Fort Davis area. Also, the Davis Mountains State Park is currently shut down for renovation until Feb 2014.

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Old 10-27-2013, 10:21 AM   #8
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To keep energy highest the old rule of stopping every two hours for at least fifteen minutes is a basic. Plan your stops in advance, in other words when concerns over health are highest. One can use not only state rest areas but truck stops on that route (I drive it often enough). Junction, TX has a favorite truck stop of mine (Segovia) and the town also has a well-known barbecue joint. I often use the excuse for a nice lunch to be the days midpoint even if not strictly at noon time. The rest of the day flows around this.

If one uses the idea (a small rule) of 2-4-2 (hours on the road: rest break -- lunch + fuel -- rest break) then a day of fair distance can be accomplished with minimal expenditure of energy. A framework of this sort to accommodate your specifics is how one plans. Fit the day to the stops, not the distances.. And, in your case, you might take a another page from truck drivers and choose the biggest road (Interstate being the biggest) even when getting to one takes a few more miles. Or, that to arrive at ones destination, one stays on the bigger road longer to avoid other types. This is also (all of the above pertains) indicated for best FE as any stop & go cuts drastically into the days mpg.

As Texans we tend to have to drive nearly 1000-miles to escape the heat, so look ahead to where you may wish to begin driving roads alternate to the biggest road . . or wait until the trailer is parked and one can tour solo. Keep notes about the times of departure you use, the number of stops and types, etc, to gain a basis of understanding for future planning. Costs are one thing -- $$ -- energy quite another.

In thinking about the latter, record-keeping will inform your checklist down to the time expended in setting camp or breaking it. One can zero in on hours of available drive time by keeping to daylight only. If I call for 3-hours in a day to take down and set up (my most comfortable pace), then I deduct that from daylight hours. And then plan stops. Thus, distances.

Truck drivers use 50-mph for all hours to estimate time of arrival. This includes rest, fuel and sleep. An average mph for you is what I am suggesting. The ability to plan your days in advance -- trip plan -- is how I read your original post. It doesn't matter how far you travel in day so much as to how you can best break out each task according to time.

As to mpg, in the same way, record all gallons / all miles. Find the cost of fuel per mile (cents per mile) to understand how to plan for that. The combination of hours-for-travel available, and the daily-cost-of-fuel is the goal, overall, of vacation planning. The big picture is great (total time and miles) but, as the devil is in the details, find the daily expenditure of time, money and energy that works best for you.

Records and notes will get you there.

ROHO Products has a good reputation among truck drivers and pilots, as does OREGON AERO for seating aids.

I look forward to escaping South Texas next year to join my son for some mountain fishing after his return from the Far East with the Marines. As concerns over time/energy/costs also matter a great deal to me you can bet I'll be minimizing expenses en route to the mountains. A man serious about such can cover a lot more ground with a good plan.

Good luck

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Old 10-27-2013, 11:44 AM   #9
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try this (when you find a place near where you want to be, zoom way in and switch to satelite view and you can see the layout, shade trees, etc.

you will have to copy and paste to your browser.
So Long!
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Old 10-27-2013, 02:43 PM   #10
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I meant to add -- but I'm sure you know - that Highway 290 from Austin is an easy drive all the way to I-10 (and far more scenic and quiet than I-10 from San Antonio).

Oh, and keep your tank topped off. Parts of I-10 really are remote.

As for the weather, heading west from Austin you are getting higher and dryer in Texas with each mile. I would generally expect pleasant days (70s) and cool nights (50s), but I'd be prepared for the occasional freezing temps. West Texas can get snow with the right cold front, so make sure you have enough provisions for unexpected overnight stops away from stores.

Here is my favorite weather resource: National Forecast Maps

Originally Posted by leolken View Post
i wonder if i could lay down in trailer and let my partner drive. i use a vibrator with convertor to cig lighter while driving, i am to old to worry about the danger.
I know you said you're not worried about the danger of riding in the trailer (have you considered how your partner would feel if something happened to you back there?), but for what it's worth, it is against the law in Texas:

"Sec. 545.419. RIDING IN HOUSE TRAILER. A person may not occupy a house trailer while it is being moved.

Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 165, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1995."

If you decide to do it anyway, I'd at least move back to your TV before getting too close to El Paso and a potential Border Patrol checkpoint.

Safe journey!
Alt & Liz
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Old 10-30-2013, 10:42 PM   #11
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I'm about to make that drive as well, from Austin to Tahoe and was planning on I10. After Balmorhea, which is a great spot, I was unsure where exactly to stay. Your info is very helpful. I'm caravanning with another trailer and was hoping to find some decent rest area's to over night. Thank you!

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