First Lajitas, Texas. Lajitas is an unincorporated town located between Big Band National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. Yes, I did not know there was also a state park named Big Bend, but there is.
“Welcome To The Other Side Of Nowhere” is the saying down here. Where you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere but sometimes that is exactly what you need. Just to get away from the cities and the noise. To go somewhere were the skies are vast, the views are spectacular and the air is pure. The hiking and off-roading trails are boundless and plentiful, so be sure to bring your Jeep or dirt bike. What you don’t get a lot of here is options. There are a few decent and some what famous restaurants around the area but there are no big grocery stores, just a small corner store where you can get the basics and meet the local mayor, who happens to be a goat. A, dare I say, bigger store is about half an hour away in the town of Study-Butte, TX with a population of a whole 267 people. So you can imagine the size of that store. We were surprised and happy to see that they did carry Blue Bell Ice Cream though.
Our Site At The Maverick Ranch RV Park In Lajitas, TX
Our Site At The Maverick Ranch RV Park In Lajitas, TX
There are a few RV parks to chose from when you are visiting the Big Bend area. Some are closer to Big Bend National Park and are located right in Study-Butte. However, we chose to stay a little further out at Maverick Ranch RV Park. Maverick Ranch RV Park is part of a luxury resort with a world class golf course (which we don’t play), spa, Equestrian center, Skeet and Clay shooting, Zip lines, restaurants and even an International Airport so you can fly in with your private jet. When you stay at the rv park, you are privy to partake in all of the resort and it’s activities, for an additional fee of course.
Restaurant At Lajitas Resort
Shops And Rooms At Lajitas Resort
Enjoying A Prickly Pear Margarita While David Plays With Trevor Hickle
David got to play with Trevor Hickle one night in the Thirsty Goat Saloon while I sat and enjoyed a Prickly Pear Margarita, a specialty down there. We had dinner there as well. It was good food but let’s just say that it certainly reflected resort prices and leave it at that.
Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
Maverick Ranch RV Park had some nice big sites, enough for our 45 foot Motor Coach and Jeep. Some back in spots were shorter but most were plenty long. We were in site 29 and we had no issue leveling our coach. Being right on the end we had a nice grassy corner next to us and the WiFi antenna was right across the way. We are happy to report that their WiFi actually was usable and worked thru out our stay. This was a good thing because the one thing we did not think when we booked this place, about being down in such a remote location, was our Verizon signal. Our phones were on extended network. Even with our cell phone booster, we could only stand in one spot (near the antenna booster) inside our rig to make calls. Our Verizon MiFi box was on roaming. So having the parks WiFi work well was a real big plus in our book.
The Office At Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
Maverick Ranch RV Resort In Lajitas, TX
The wonderful ladies in the office know all the great things to do in the area. They also have a big community center, laundry facilities and full bathrooms for your convenience. Weekly entertainment can be found in the community center as well as in the lounges and restaurants.
The Maverick Ranch RV Park was a great jumping off point to our adventures in the area. We set out to explore Big Bend, of course, as well as the towns of Study-Butte and Terlingua, TX.
National Geographic named highway 170 as a must drive and one of the “True Last Frontiers” to explore. When you make your way into the Big Bend area, you start your journey on this scenic highway, continuing all the way through Lajitas, dubbed River Road, and through to Presidio, TX. All the while traveling along the Rio Grande River.
River Road Scenic Drive
River Road Scenic Drive
Mexico is an easy crossing from inside Big Bend National Park or from Presidio. However, once a year in May the (unincorporated) town of Lajitas put on a festival called, “Voices From Both Sides“. It’s a gathering where the communities from both Lajitas, the surrounding towns and the Mexican communities get together and celebrate the coming together of two Nations. They wade across the river, singing and rejoicing at the reunions of old friends, while enjoying festival food, music and good times together. Now that would be a site to see and experience.
So, would we stay at Maverick Ranch RV Park again? Yes, yes we would. With the understanding that it is a distance from anywhere (but UPS does deliver out there). The people are great and super friendly. The food and entertainment good. The views are boundless. The quietness and peacefulness enveloping.
You know that saying, it’s not about the destination but the journey. Such can be said for this area. So enjoy the drive and the scenery as it passes you by. The quietness of the surrounding hills and canyons. The peacefulness at night walking around underneath the big star filled sky. For you’ll be in a big city again where the noises and lights will filter inside and you’ll long for those dark skies at night once again.
I will write up more on this area in another post. The things that we explored, our afternoon trip into Mexico and David playing at the famous StarLight Theatre. Until then, enjoy this video of Maverick Ranch RV Park from David.
When you find yourself driving to Big Bend National Park in far west Texas, you drive along some very desolate roads. You may not see another soul for miles.
This is not where you want to find yourself with a problem. And recently when we were driving down some of these roads, we found ourselves in such a situation.
You see, we were just driving along, admiring the scenery and isolation when all of a sudden our EEZTire TPMS started beeping at us. David was driving at the time and he noted that our rear passenger tire on our tow vehicle was steadily loosing pressure. Of course we were in the middle of no where without another soul around and we were on a 2 lane highway with little options to pull off. But the lucky part…we were in a construction zone. Lucky?
Yup…you read that right. We were in a construction zone in the middle of no where. However, as luck would have it, because of said construction zone, they had widened the highway with an extra driving lane, as they had one of the normally used driving lanes closed off with cones for them to work on.
Seeing we were also driving on a Sunday, it made the roads more desolate, however, it also made the construction zone a perfect place to pull over as no one was working at that time. So yes, we pulled over, through the cones (which thank goodness were spaced far enough apart for us to squeeze through) and onto a construction area. Which, looking back on the situation, we have no idea what they were actually doing to the road. It wasn’t freshly paved and it didn’t really have any signs of being worked on recently, other than the cones. Oh well….I shouldn’t take it for granted since it really was a perfect place to pull off safely, out of traffic, if their was any.
Yup…Tire Going Flat
David Trying The Green Slime To Plug Hole In Tire
David Adding Air To Tire
So what to do next? Well, after examination of the rear passenger tire on our Jeep, David determined that we had picked up a nail or something, in the construction zone of course, and it made a nice big hole in the tire. So air was rapidly escaping.
Alas, we did not have one. We thought we were prepared for everything. We had a spare if need be but David wanted to try to seal it first. So we did have some Green Slime for car tires.
The theory is, you take the cap off your tire and add the Slime inside the tire. Then air up and drive so the Slime oozes (technical term here) around on the inside of the tire. The way it works is when air hits the Slime, it hardens. So when you roll the tire, in theory, as the air wants to get out of the tire at the hole, air hits the Slime as it tries to get out and thus sealing the hole. Umm….you heard me say, in theory right? Well, We think our hole was just too big for the Slime to seal it properly. So most of it oozed out of the tire, through the hole. Live and learn. (If it had worked, you want to be sure to get the tire to a repair shop as Slime is not meant as a full repair.)
So plan two. David took a piece of rag with Slime on it and shoved it into the hole, plugging it in a sense. All we needed to do was limp to the next town, which was only a few miles up the road. Well, once we got some air into the tire and saw that it was holding pressure, that seemed to work long enough for us to get to the next town. That town was Valentine, Texas. Now Valentine, TX, as of the 2000 census, has a population of 187 people. And of course, this being Sunday, everything is shut down for the day and there is not another person in site. So we pull over into a parking area while David tries to patch the tire again. You see, at this point, we determined that we could not just change our tire too easily as the lug nuts were on there really tightly.
Slime Brand Tire Patch Kit we used. (Different from the liquid)
As David was working on the second plug, low and behold, a Good Samaritan (GS) who lived in Valentine came along and asked if we needed help. David jokingly said, well, if you had a patch kit that would help a lot. The next few words the gentleman said were a mystery as his west Texas accent was undecipherable to us upstate New Yorkers. He then took off in his truck and we pondered what he had said while trying to work on plugging the hole. About 20 minutes later, the GS came back and low and behold…he had a tire patch kit! Exactly what we needed! After talking to him a little bit more, we discovered he did not have a patch kit but his neighbor did. So he drove off to his neighbors house to retrieve it.
Tire Patched And Ready To Roll
So after just a couple plugs, which took all of less than 10 minutes, we were back on the road with a fully functioning tire. Thanks to the GS that stopped to help out strangers in his small town. I’m sorry to say, we do not remember his, nor his wife’s name. We offered to buy the patch kit from his neighbor as we did use it and they would not take anything for it. They just wanted us to pay it forward. So nice and very much appreciated. The perfect solution to our problem.
And before you say it, yes, we do have CoachNet Roadside Service. I actually was on the phone with them, in Valentine, TX, as the GS pulled up with the patch kit.
NOTICE: We just got off the phone with Costco where we purchased the tires last Sept 2016. We wanted to set a time to come in and have the tire checked and repaired properly if needed. We were told because we did a patch on the road, the tire warranty provided by Costco may be VOID. OUCH! So, while we will still carry a kit, we may think about it next time depending on where we are. We never would have thought that fixing a tire with a tire repair patch would void your warranty and we will find out for sure when we see them next week.
So back to the title of this post…How the TPMS system saved us from a worse situation. Well, that is totally true. If we did not have a TPMS system, air would have steadily leaked out of the tire without our knowledge until it was completely flat. We would have ended up dragging our Jeep down the road, on the rim and shredding the tire and then starting rim damage. It is way too easy to drag these tow vehicles down the road with the torque that is behind these giant diesel pushers. Sad to say, we have seen it happen. So a TPMS system will alert you to a leak or a high temp on your tire or what have you, before it becomes a bigger problem down the road.
Here is our blog post and video on why it’s important to have a TPMS system.
And the lesson that we learned was, no matter how seasoned an RVer that you are (we’ve been traveling since 2008), there is always something to learn. We learned that we were not as prepared as we thought/hoped we were. We need to carry a patch kit no matter where we are and let’s face it, they’re cheap enough to always have one. Also be sure you carry a small air compressor to put air back in the tire. (In this case, seeing we had the coach, we used the air system from the coach.) Leave both the patch kit and compressor in the tow car so you have it. After all, you never know when something may take place be it when the car is being towed, or you are driving it.. But rest assured, it is there for when you do need it. But ALWAYS, ALWAYS, be sure you have a good TPMS system!!! We use the EEZTire TPMS from EEZ RV Products.
Ok, ok, we get asked some of the same questions all the time. These questions we are kind of proud to be asked. Questions such as…”How do you keep your coach looking like it does.”, “Is that new?”, “What do you use for wax?”, and “How do you wash your coach?” So in the past we had made a video on how we wash the coach and that can be found on this page, however there is a secret to how we keep the coach looking so nice that goes beyond washing it. That is, we have it professionally waxed at least once if not twice a year.
Now not all washers and waxing companies are created equal and we surely have had our issues with some right down to not using the proper items to clean the coach. So it is important to know some things and what to watch for when having your coach or RV detailed. The first rule is when you find someone that does it right, keep them! Go back to the area at least once a year as good help is very hard to find, but when you do, you know it. So that is why we have only two people that work on our coach other than us. That is Andrew of A.N.S. Detailing and Dustin of Tiffin Motorhomes.
Andrew has been doing this for some time and is not only the owner of the company, but has personally trained his excellent employees to do the work as he would, and more importantly, as it should be done. As a coach owner himself, he more understands the needs and what needs to be done. (IMHO) They do not just wash and wax coaches and RV’s from Prevost on down, but also exotic cars some of which cost more than a coach. He also works directly with the Meguiar’s company even training with them as well as training for them. So all in all, you can see why we trust him to work on our home. He can be found in the Fountain Hills area of Arizona during the winter and Spearfish, SD area in the summer.
Dustin Working on Coach (Camera shy)
Dustin works for Tiffin Motorhomes as a painter in the service department. He has worked not only in the build plant doing paint work, but really shines when he works by himself or with a teammate under his guidance. Seeing we had special work done paint wise on our coach, Dustin is the one I ask for and choose to only work with, as he understands the needs of this particular coach. So along with that, he is the only other one that is able to wax it when work has been done. I trust his work as he takes pride in making something look factory new again. He is polite, funny, and just seems to care. Not that others are not the same for we have worked with various people at Tiffin of course, but in the case of paint…he is my go to guy.
Washing using the right brushes for the right areas.
So, back to washing and waxing. Of course we made a video on it which talks about the items to use, how to use them, and what to look out for when having your coach or RV washed and waxed. But in a nutshell, Only Lambswool for washing with poll head or Lambswool Mitt on the paint areas, use Boars Hair Brush Head (which is actually soft and not cheep!) for items like the roof, slide toppers, and slide topper casings, more or less anything that does not have paint. And the most important item….Deionized Water for rinsing!!! The use of Deionized Water allows for your coach or RV to dry almost spot free thus not needing you to dry it, which can actually make for fine “spider” scratches. Some of you may know, we carry with us CR Spotless Water Deionizer unit to use when we rinse. HINT…Based on where you may be, try NOT to wash your coach if it is windy and there is dust in the air as that will just collect in the water drops and make for spots. As far as what to use for soap. If you do not use a foam canon (you will see one in the video) then using baby shampoo and 1/4 cup vinegar does wonders. Just remember, it is the suds that clean…So you want a lot of suds.
Our Current Wax of Choice.
For the waxing we use Meguiar’s Ultimate Liquid Wax which is applied via a random orbital buffer. I carry with me a Black & Decker WP900 unit. The wax is then removed by hand using very soft micro fiber cloths like the AmazonBasic Microfiber Cleaning Cloths which I buy in 25 packs. Why so many? Well that is another tip…when removing wax be sure to adjust the cloth often and even change cloths or you will not only be removing wax, but also have the chance at leaving wax build up from the wax coming back off the cloth.
So that’s our secret, we use a professional when it comes to the waxing of our coach. Of course before you can wax it, you need to wash it and let it dry. I surely could wax it ourselves, after all, we do wash it. But overall, well, I hate waxing so I hire it out, but only to someone I can trust and would do it like I would.
UPDATE: Our friends at CR Spotless once again liked our writeup and has offered our readers 10% off there purchase! Use Coupon Code OOB15 (it is good to go for all water systems, wands, replacement hardware but is not applicable to sale items or the resin exchange.)
You read the title right…RV Windshield Repair for $10.00! (Prices vary) No, I am not kidding and it is not all that hard. In fact with the Rain-X Windshield Rain Kit that you can get from Amazon, you will be prepared to stop a rock chip and small spider crack from spreading to the point the windshield needs to be replaced.
Not a lot of people seem to know about these kits. In fact when I was making the below video, we had 4 people stop and ask what I was doing. When I told them, each of them replied they did not know such a thing was available.
Sure you can call a windshield repair guy to come take care of it. But what if you are not in a area that they will be able to get to you any time soon. You run the chance of that currently small rock hit becoming a full size windshield crack that now requires the windshield to be replaced.
It happened to us. We had a rock hit and called to get it repaired. They could not get to us that day and by the next morning due to the cold, we work up to that rock hit now being a full size crack. We then needed the entire windshield replaced. See blog post here.
Chip that turned into full crack.
So having a chip repair kit on-board could make all the difference and it really is not all that hard to use. However, there is one thing you really need to know. Once you use the kit, if it does not turn out well, a chip repair guy can not then come in and fix it. This is because the resin that is used would now be blocking the path for his resin to get into the crack. I will say however, I have personally repaired this current windshield four times now and a one other time it was done by a professional. All four of my repairs actually came out better then his. (Maybe I am just lucky.)
So, without going on and on, we made a video talking about the kit and showing an actual repair we did on our windshield. The things we do for our readers. It was quite hard chipping the glass just right in order to make the video for you. (Kidding!!!!!!)
So we did blog posts on RV Tank Use and hoses that included a CAM Lock Hose System and then we did one on Electronic Dump Valves. We mentioned that we put in the electronic dump valves so we did not need to go outside each time to dump our gray tank as we leave ours closed. So that blog post and video opened up quite the conversions here and elsewhere dealing with keeping the gray tank open or closed when you are parked.
We treat the gray tank like the black as it does have solids that get into it from washing dishes. You also have grease from cooking, not that you dump that down the drain, but it does get in again from cleaning. Don’t forget the washing detergent, shampoo, soap, etc and so on. Remember it is not just water going down the drain, these items can and do collect on the bottom of the tank and on the sides.
Icky muck build up from Gary Tank!
In fact, in the video of the of the RV Tank use and the new hose system, I showed you what the build up can be like as it was clearly shown on the side of the clear down tube I installed, all showing on the side the gray tank is on. This was collected “gunk” that stuck to the side of the tube that even after a flush. As such, you can only grossly imagine what the inside of the gray tank looks like if it is left open and only closed to fill some before dumping your black tank.
So like the black tank, we leave our gray closed and open it when it is close to full to thus allow for a best chance to PULL “gunk” out of the tank based on the force of the rushing water. Also the items scum that floats on the tops that kind of makes a thin film will also then be pulled away. That same scum that would otherwise be stuck to the bottom or sides and build up over time with the heavy items.
So, knowing that we leave ours closed and thus to us having the best chance of a clean tank each time we empty it, we wanted to have a professional cleaning done. This is in hopes to show you what is still in the tank when you think it is clean! So if we have gunk that comes out after we flushed it, and we leave it closed, imagine what a tank that is left open, with the build up I showed happens, would look like!
Of course we all also flush out our black tanks right? But of course you do. But after you emptied it, then flushed it, and even if you then filled it again with the flush water and then drained it again, you would think you are all cleaned out. Nope, not by a long shot. Things still stick and build up over time. So, of course we had to have the black tank also cleaned.
And you thought it was clean!
Much better after power flushed!
So enter the professional tank cleaner Todd. With a 4,000PSI pressure gas power washer with a special tip that shoots out 4 powerful jets backwards at an angle, thus washing will get your tanks as clean as it can be. The best want to show this is via video, so if you care to see what comes out of a tank you think is clean, feel free to watch this 7.5 minute video. Once you see what comes out of our gray tank that we keep closed, thus the best chance of keeping it clean, I think you might just get the point on the build up that can and will happen when you keep it open.
Look, we all have our own ways we do things. That’s great. If you care to leave your gray tank open, that’s fine by us. We just wanted to show why we keep it closed and empty it as needed. And yes, you would be more than likely going out to empty it every 2 or 4 days as we were. So now you can see why we installed the electric dump valves. :)
This was the first power tank cleaning we have done with our 2014 coach. After seeing this we will likely have the tanks professionally cleaned every other year.
First Sedona, Arizona. Well….we were not expecting what we found. With all the hype that everyone talks about Sedona, we were anxious to get there and explore. We’ve been trying for a couple years now to get to this town but things just never lined up quite right. This time, we left Cottonwood early (Sedona’s only a half hour drive) so we would have the whole day to explore.
The drive in to Sedona was beautiful. The red rocks and high peaks, gorgeous. When you get into town, not so much. While we were there on a weekday and it was not crowded, we did find it more difficult to get around than we had thought. We were hoping to just park and stroll around the streets but the way Sedona is laid out, you really do need a car or you’ll be walking quite a bit.
The thing that disappointed us most about Sedona was how touristy it was/felt. There was this one area of shopping that you could get out and walk around easily, but the shops were filled with cheap t-shirts, magnets and trinkets galore. There were booths set up on the sidewalk to take Jeep tours and helicopter tours and all sorts of tours. And let’s face it, if you have been to Sedona, you know how expensive everything is/can be. We looked around for a place to have lunch and it was crazy the prices they were charging out there. Too touristy for us. We ended up leaving Sedona and having lunch back in Cottonwood. As far as Sedona, we feel we were disappointed with what we thought we were getting into. The surrounding area, yes, a definite great place, great hiking. The town itself, we don’t see a need to go back.
UPDATED ADDED: Based on comments posted below from what seems to be from people that work or live in Sodona who do not know us vs readers of our blog, we wanted to add this…
Thanks for your comments. Some of you more than likely came here based on someone mentioning this post somewhere as you surely do not seem to be readers of an RV travel blog. If you were, you would clearly know that we go everywhere and post about everything and we call it like WE see it. We all have our opinions and that is what makes traveling great as well as being about to write about the experience. We have been doing this from 2008 and are one of the top RV travel blogs.
Yes, our experience was less than wonderful with the town that we had built up in our heads as something more. This build up more than likely is from the marking your town does.(So kudos to them.) But it is that same town that let a Del-Sol, a worldwide, only found in tourist areas, t-shirt place setup shop so that says something about direction. When you are then flooded with people trying to get you to take tours and come to a time share, again, tourist area comes to mind. You want a better experience to be posted, ask your town tourist association to clean up on that type of experience and ask the tour companies to better reflect the town and area with colors that fit the area. There are rules for the buildings and how they must look, the same should be true for the businesses. We do applaud not having major chain restaurants as we always seek out mom and pop places to eat as that we find is the best experience. And yes, some good food can surely be had!
You know also what we kind of found interesting in the comments made, it seems that the only ones disagreeing with us, for the most part, is the local business owners or workers that somehow found this post. This blog gets picked up all over the Internet in may areas that deal with RV and traveling and looking at comments in other places, well, we seems to have hit it mostly on the head so it is not just us. When people tend to agree with liking a small ghost town like Jerome better than a major stop with all it’s marking that draws people in. That says something.
Yes, Sedona has some great views, great trails, great art and that is what we came for. However that was quickly ruined, for us, by what is allowed to take place by the town.
Thanks again for taking the time to comment on behalf of Sedona. You do have some nice points.
A Scenic View Of Jerome, Arizona On The Road To Jerome
A Scenic View Of Jerome, Arizona On The Road To Jerome
Jerome, Arizona on the other hand was wonderful. We read that this was an old Copper mining town and now they tout it as an old ghost town. Well…it is an interesting old town that is nestled inside a mountainside. Ghost town, I’m not so sure of as it still is a working town that people still live in.
The drive up to Jerome is incredible. The views are a plenty and when you get closer, their is a great pull off scenic overlook area that you really can see the whole town and the Copper mines below. At the scenic overlook it also has some signs telling you the story behind Jerome.
The View From Jerome, AZ
Cool Old Buildings IN Jerome, AZ
Jerome was actually cut out of the mountain. So the streets run literally up and down the mountainside. It’s an easy town to get out and walk around but remember that when walking, you are at a higher elevation than you were in Cottonwood where you started. Plus, the hillsides and the steep inclines of the streets make for quite a little hike. Due to the 30-degree incline of the mountainside, gravity has pulled a number of buildings down the slope. A lot of great information can be found here about Jerome and it’s history.
We very much enjoyed walking around this town. So much so, we went back a couple days later. The views alone are totally worth it. The quaint little shops were good and we did not get that touristy feeling, even though this is a “tourist” town.
Outside The Liberty Theater In Jerome, AZ
Inside The Liberty Theater In Jerome, AZ
One of the really interesting things in Jerome is all the old historical buildings. They are everywhere up there. One neat one we found interesting was the old Liberty Theater. It was the original theater that opened in 1918 and featured silent movies and vaudeville acts. It was passed around to different owners and eventually sat empty for years until the current owners bought it and are in the process of restoring it to its original glory.
There are quite a few restaurants in Jerome and the two that we went to were both good. The first day we went to Grapes, a restaurant that was the original Pony Express Station back in the early 1900’s. They have good food and they help you pair local wines to your order.
However the next time we went up to Jerome we found Haunted Hamburger. It got great reviews online and it certainly did not disappoint.
Our Burgers From Haunted Hamburger In Jerome, AZ
The Shake At Haunted Hamburger In Jerome, AZ
Their burgers were wonderful and they make a super yummy shake that was plenty to share.
They have a wonderful outdoor patio with a great view of the Verde Valley and the San Fransisco Peaks that are 50 miles away!
Outdoor Patio At Haunted Hamburger In Jerome, AZ
Haunted Hamburger In Jerome, AZ
It was a bummer that the outdoor patio was full when we went there. We ended up sitting at the bar for lunch. Which is not bad because everywhere you sit in the restaurant, you can still get a great outdoor view with their giant floor to ceiling windows.
So would we go back Jerome? Yes, for sure. We very much enjoyed Jerome and all that it had to offer. In the two days that we spent exploring Jerome, we never did get to the many museums and historical parks that they have.