Monday, August 25, 2014

Winter Travel Plans - 08/25/14

Monday – August 25, 2014
Winter Travel Plans
Chicago, Illinois

We’re about a month away from departing the Chicago area to begin our extended snowbirding adventure. Our plan is to leave in early October and spend eight months on the road exploring the southwest region of the U.S. The past three years we have spent the winter months exploring the southeast region of the U.S. We are looking forward to the change of scenery on this trip.

Our travel plans are to continue our tour of the National Parks and Monuments in Utah followed by a visit to the Grand Canyon. In September 2013 we visited the Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah. Then in early October the U.S. Government shut down, which disrupted our planned visits to the remainder of the National Parks in Utah. Weather permitting, we may visit Mesa Verde National Park and Durango, Colorado.

Since we both enjoy astronomy, we also plan to visit the McDonald Observatory near Fort Davis, Texas. The observatory is a research unit of The University of Texas at Austin. It is one of the world's leading centers for astronomical research. The telescopes are located on the top of Mount Locke and Mount Fowlkes in the Davis Mountains of West Texas at an elevation of 7,000 feet. This region of Texas offers some of the darkest night skies in the continental United States. Perfect might sky conditions for novice astronomers such as ourselves!

We are still contemplating what routes we will travel to the southwest. Depending on the weather conditions, we will make a decision whether we take a northern or southern route. As is our style, we have no set timetable to be at a certain place at a certain time. Freedom from a set schedule allows us to stop and linger for a while whenever we see something of interest along the way.

We plan to spend the majority of our time boondocking for free on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) throughout the southwest. Most of our time for the winter months will be spent in southern Arizona. We also plan to visit Slab City in Niland, California: just one of many locations on our bucket list. We will decide when we get there if it is suitable for our camping preferences. Based on what I’ve read, this area appeals to quite a few winter snowbirds, however, some campers did not feel comfortable staying there. So we shall see!

Soon it will be time to start packing for our winter adventure.

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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