Land of Enchantment

We’re home after a two week adventure. We headed west from our north Florida home without an itinerary and just wandered. What fun! We revisited old favorites, like Joseph’s in Santa Rosa, but mostly picked out destinations new to us.

First new stop was Hot Springs, Arkansas. We hadn’t spent time in Arkansas, just traveled through, and decided it deserved some love. Beautiful state. Check out our photos page.

Dining on onion burgers outdoors at Sid’s in El Reno, Oklahoma.

After a stop in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, we spent about a week in New Mexico, truly deserving of its nickname Land of Enchantment.

Nova and Butch hiking in New Mexico.

Thank y’all for following us on our latest adventure. I hope you enjoy the photos in the Pages section. Don’t miss our last page from our “abduction” in Roswell!

Get Your Kicks On Route 66

In 1982, we took our first vacation out west, traveling from our home in Jacksonville, Florida, to Arizona. As much as possible, we drove US 66 (Before it was decommissioned in 1985). We saw legendary tourist sites like the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona, and Cadillac Ranch (before it was relocated farther west) in Amarillo, Texas. Since that trip, we’ve been captivated by the history of the Mother Road.

Route 66 isn’t just an old highway. It represents a way of life in an era when folks were starting to experience automobile road trips. It was immortalized in song, movies, books, and a television series. Did you know that the Pixar movie Cars was originally titled Route 66?

I researched Route 66 history for a couple of novellas I wrote for an anthology, Romance on Route 66. (If y’all read romance, the ebook is still available on Amazon. But this isn’t shameless self-promotion, just an illustration of my affection for all things Route 66.) I have my sunroom decorated with Route 66 fabric and curios. My friend Dolores recently gifted me with her set of Route 66 diner style stoneware. Butch and I wear Route 66 souvenir T-shirts. So, yeah, it’s a passion.

Even as we plan for this year’s vacation, we are choosing to follow roads designated “Historic Route 66.” It’s well worth the occasional detour off the Interstate to enjoy the onion burger in El Reno, Oklahoma, or visit the hotel in Oatman, Arizona, where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard honeymooned. And don’t miss Santa Rosa, New Mexico, home of a number of great Mexican restaurants.

The Casita is suited for taking the roads less traveled, and we intend to take advantage of it. If you see Dixie Pixie at a campground during your travels, be sure to say howdy.

The Essentials for the Maiden Voyage

Last year, when we traveled to Texas to take delivery of our trailer, we had to pack judiciously for both the hotel stops and our camping. We were limited to the cab and bed of a regular cab pickup truck. We had 1000+ miles to travel … with a new puppy. Preparation was key to a relaxed, fun journey.

Dixie Pixie’s first campsite

Rockin’ “A” RV Park, Vernon, TX

Before the trip, Butch installed a cover for the pickup bed to protect items from the weather. This cover increased our storage so we could transport chairs and plastic storage containers for our camping necessities. We tried to think of everything we’d need on our first few days of Casita ownership.

Alas, we made numerous trips to the Vernon, Texas, Walmart for the items we didn’t pack and for groceries we couldn’t bring. Fortunately, the Walmart is located next door–within walking distance–of Rockin’ “A” RV Park and the Walmart trips enabled us to earn steps on our fitness trackers.

Here’s a list of what we brought and wished we brought. We have more on board now. These were bare essentials for starting out. I hope the list helps newbie campers. (If you don’t travel with pets, you can ignore our dog items)

  • Clothes for 5 days
  • Pet food, water, toys, treats, and crate
  • Essential medications and toiletries
  • Tools (Butch keeps basic tools in his truck’s toolbox)
  • RV toilet paper
  • Paper towels, plates, cups, and napkins (at least enough for a week)
  • Flatware (stainless. I don’t like plastic utensils)
  • Kitchen tools (i.e. spatula, can opener, knife, vegetable peeler)
  • Cookware *
  • Teakettle for boiling water (we’re tea drinkers, both hot and iced)
  • Two large bath towels, two hand towels, and a dishcloth
  • 2 pillows
  • 2 sleeping bags (our preference. Take bed linens if you want)
  • Whisk broom, disinfectant wipes, baby wipes
  • Small bottles of hand soap, dish soap
  • A zippered storage bag of laundry pods and dryer sheets.
  • Holding tank treatment
  • Our electronics and rechargers
  • Two folding lawn chairs

*I have a small set of stainless steel cookware perfect for RVs that nests for storage. It also has a griddle that doubles as a toaster. Although I added a 3 quart mini Instant Pot and an air fryer since that trip, this basic set enabled me to cook well-rounded meals.

Rice, Texas, at the Casita factory

I didn’t include grocery items. We picked up salt, pepper, butter, and food for meals during our first Walmart visit.

If you have suggestions to add to the list, please leave a comment.