Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Visit to Old Hachita Ghost Town in New Mexico

For one of our days in western New Mexico we decided to head southward from Silver City and strike out for the mining ghost town of Old Hachita. It is quite a trek from Silver City, but that’s what TexanTreks does! Adventures! So we were up before the sun and on our way.

The town of Old Hachita is not terribly hard to get to. You just need to know where it is and where to turn. From Interstate 10 take 146 southward to before heading west on 9. From the town of Hachita drive west a couple of miles. Before the road curves northward there is a gate on the left. That’s the gate to Old Hachita. Open it and head in.

Monday, December 19, 2011

TexanTreks is heading to Peru

Yes that's right. We're heading to Peru. Lima, Cuzco, Aguas Calientas, Machu Picchu. Definitely looking forward to an amazing trip!

All my friends ask "How did you decide to go to Peru?" Well it is kinda of complicated, but I guess not so much. My plan is to take a great adventure every year. Most likely January (weather permitting).

Last year I hit London and Paris for ten days. The original plan was to visit Egypt this year. Unfortunately it is just not safe to head to that part of the world right now with the revolutions and protests going on.

I've always been infatuated with the pictures and history channel shows about Machu Picchu. A truly fascinating place. Well I was bored one evening and started doing some basic research on the internet. The more surfing around I did, the more I thought to myself "Hey, I can do this."

So I began putting together a basic timeline for the trip. First I had to make sure my American Airlines miles were going to be able to get there. Check. Good to go.

Then I had to decide where to visit. Lima. For sure. Cuzco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Most definitely. Then the highlight of the trip. Machu Picchu. A couple of days at each would be good I though making a seven day tour.

Where to stay. Where to stay.

If you want, things can be quite affordable in Peru. The exchange rate of the Sole to the US dollar is quite favorable. If you want you can find hostels and hotels in the $30 a night range that look quite comfortable. We are going to splurge a bit (in Peru terms), but in US dollar terms we are staying at very nice hotels at extremely reasonable rates.

TexanTreks was able to find English speaking hotels that offered breakfast and amenities such as free wifi. We'll review our lodging in the trip reports that will come.

You'll definitely want to come back in January as the trip reports flow in from our Peru adventure. It should be EPIC!

Here's a basic timeline of the Peru Trip:
Day 1 travel day
Day 2 Cuzco and the Sacred Valley. Pisac ruins and shopping at Pisac market.
Day 3 Ollantaytambo Sacsayhuaman. Plaza de Armas
Day 4 train to Aguas Calientas. afternoon tour Macchu Pichu. hike Sun Gate.
Day 5 Machu Picchu all day. hike Huayna Picchu. train to Cuzco
Day 6 fly to Lima. Museum de Oro. check out the beach
Day 7 Lima. shopping. Plaza Mayor. San Francisco Monastery
Day 8 travel day

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hunting Marfa Agates in West Texas

Here is a detail of our trip to far West Texas in search of Marfa agates. Let’s start by saying this is not an easy place to get to. It is truly out in the middle of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong. The country is beautiful. It just takes a trek to get out there.

We stopped off at a nice little rock shop in Marfa and then headed south of town on our journey. We searched for a couple of hours finding a small take. I wouldn’t say the Marfa agates are plentiful as it takes a sharp eye to spot them. We found about ten between the three of us. There was also petrified wood around of which I found some nice pieces. I gave them all away though only keeping the one piece in the picture below.

My finds hunting Marfa Agate:

There is also the very famous Woodward Ranch in the area that is well worth the visit. Unfortunately when we were in town the Woodward Ranch was not open to visitors and we were unable to go. Next time for sure though! I’d love to get some of the famous Woodward Ranch red plume agate. I was able to pick up some specimens from a local rockshop though.

As much as I love rock hounding, for me the highlight of the day hunting Marfa agates was our encounter with the wonderful Texas Horned Lizard. More commonly known as the horned frog. See I am a TCU alum and we are the Horned Frogs so I love the little suckers. My mother is also working with the Fort Worth zoo and Texas Parks and Wildlife to study and reintroduce the Texas Horned lizard back into habitats in Texas where they are scarce now.

So as I was walking along, eyes to the ground in search of Marfa agate, this fella rose up and caught my eye. He was ready to stand his ground too! He didn’t take off or even hunker down to hide. He rose up as if to say “mess with me sucka!”

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My visit to Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris, France

One cannot visit Paris and not check out the wonderful Notre Dame Cathedral. It certainly did not disappoint. Notre Dame is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris and is easily accessable via the public transportation system.

My hotel was over closer to the Eiffel Tower almost right next to the Ecole Militaire. Notre Dame was just a short ride on the metro from my area. Both the metro and the RER trains have stops very close to the cathedral so there should be no problem getting there even for the most helpless of tourists.

Notre Dame Cathedral is actually on an island in the middle of the River Seine .

Friday, December 16, 2011

My trip to Craven Cottage for Fulham - Stoke City

Craven Cottage, London, England
Fulham FC - Stoke City, English Premier League Soccer

Well I had my choice of games on Sunday afternoon in London. I could either go to The Emirates and watch Arsenal against Wigan Athletic or I could head to Craven Cottage and catch the Fulham - Stoke match. A number of factors went into my decision to head to the Fulham FC game on that cold afternoon.

Truthfully, I am not much of an Arsenal fan at all. They play an attractive game for sure, but I have just never taken to their players other than a healthy respect for Theo Walcott. I was also unsure about being able to land a decently priced ticket on game day at The Emirates. Wigan was also a weak side so I didn’t really expect it to be much of a game anyways.

Thus, I chose to head to Craven Cottage. I knew I could get a ticket pretty easily there and they had one of my favorite American players in Clint Dempsey. I also expected a good match from a gritty Stoke City side.

So I hopped up that morning and grabbed breakfast at my hotel with the idea of hopping the train and heading to Craven Cottage. It was cold and wet as it was everyday on my stay in London. No surprise as that is the typical January London weather. It was a drizzly 40 degrees when I set out on the journey. I had looked up the route and felt prepared to make the trip.

The subways were no problem at all and I arrived quite early for the game. It was a decent walk from where the train dropped me, but in 15 minutes I was in front of Cravens Cottage. To say it was unassuming would be an understatement. I would say it barely looked like a stadium from the outside, but that just added to the experience.

outside Craven Cottage

I was well early as I wanted to make sure I landed a ticket. I hit the ticket office upon arrival and had no problem landing a plum seat for about $80 US. A little steep, but I wanted to sit on the sideline and I didn’t mind spending a little extra so as to not sit on the endlines. The gates weren’t open as of yet so I huddled outside in the wet cold and found a nice fellow to have a chat with while we both waited. He shared some of the history of the stadium and we talked some EPL for about 20 minutes.

By then the gates were open and we parted ways. Once inside I must say it is a wonderful grounds. I headed around to the back of the stadium to find the River Thames flowing just behind.

After taking in the Thames, I headed inside to find my seat. Quite happy with my spot I settled in and watched as the teams took the field for warmups. What an atmosphere as the crowd built and kickoff approached. I was lucky to have the Stoke City section only about thirty yards away. The yelling back and forth between the Stoke fans and Fulham fans was quite entertaining.

Then it was time for kickoff. Fulham were on the front foot as one would expect. Just before halftime Fulham grabbed the lead and it was none other than Clint Dempsey who got the goal. He slid in on the backpost and tapped in a low cross sending the Craven Cottage fans into a frenzy.

The game went 1-0 to halftime and the home fans were quite happy with the opening 45 minutes of play. The second half commensed and it was quite entertaining. Fulham searched for the dagger 2nd goal while Stoke had a few chances off their trademark long throw-ins. Then Fulham earned a penalty with about 20 minutes to play. Clint Dempsey stepped up and fired home giving Fulham the 2-0 victory.

The match ended without any further drama and the home side were victorious. I fought the mass of people heading for the trains to make my way back to the hotel. It was like a huge herd of ants all heading for the same destination. I squeezed onto the train and made my way home finishing a wonderful day at Craven Cottage. I couldn’t recommend Craven Cottage more. The atmosphere is wonderful and the people friendly. Most importantly it has the intimacy of the old English grounds that is being lost as the mega-stadiums popping up everywhere.

Welcome to!

Welcome to my website TexanTreks where I detail my many adventures not only around the United States, but also overseas. I thought this would be a fun way to allow my friends and family to follow my travels and adventures as I absolutely LOVE to travel.

I also aim to help fellow travelers with advice on getting around some of the tougher places that I enjoy visiting. See I don't really care for the typical "sit on the beach" vacation. I tend to like the "get out there" adventures. Hiking in the Colorado Rockies. Rockhounding in Wyoming or West Texas. Gemhunting in North Carolina or New Mexico. Oh did I mention trips to London and Paris?

The real reason I got motivated to start was that I am planning a trip to Peru. So I began researching the trip and found the absolute lack of good information on visiting Peru. Sure there are sites out there with bits and pieces, but not really a comprehensive site where I could really get good details.

So now here we are with I'll not only detail my adventures, but I also hope to provide a platform for other travelers to come and get ideas and advice for their trip as well.