Don blathers: On our first trip in 2006 we had perfect weather for five months. We don’t recall a drop of rain on our 16,000 mile odyssey. Our luck has faded. OK, OK, it’s winter. Still, grumble. It’s been cool, cloudy or raining most of this trip. Sometimes all three! Partly cloudy and warming is forecast for Monday. Thunderstorms back on Wednesday. And so it goes.
More woes. Before we left home I did some work on the toad brake wiring. I failed to adequately re-secure the wire harness, so of course, it dropped down where the most damage could be done to it – hanging below a strut in the back of KoKo. The strut is there to prevent damage to the gray water tank if the rig is driven over too much of a dip. When we exited a restaurant in Bandera, we drug and shorted out the brake wires. Of course, we did not notice this right away. I did notice on the short run to Kerrville that the engine was revving higher than I thought it should on the not all that steep hills. Then Dorothy noticed that the toad brake light indicator was blinking intermittently. So the toad brakes were on a little and slowing us down. How many miles of brake dust we lost is not known yet.
We have eaten out more in the last two months than in any time in our lives.
Rambling on. I note that we are just miles from the 100th parallel. [99.58758] So what? Well, if you draw a line that evenly divides Kansas east/west that is close to the 100th. Then extend the line vertically, north and south. All west of it is much different from the eastern half of the country – water-wise.
Saturday, March 10 - Today is cold and dreary with misty rain. We do not have cell phone or internet coverage here. The first time in 18 months - wow! We can go to the Visitor’s Center and connect to the internet.
Sunday – March 11 - The sun came out. A glorious and long awaited day.
We moved to a different site this morning - it’s much more spacious between sites and there is no mud.
We took a Sunday drive to see this part of the Hill Country. It did not work out as I planned. Glenda had no clue where we were. A key county road sign was missing. We wound up on a dirt road that became a private road. Bubba and his son came out in their Mule with a rifle mounted to make sure we turned around.
We enjoyed sitting outside for cocktails. Low 70’s. No bugs. Just right.
Monday – March 12 –
Today is our youngest grandson, Patrick’s, sixth birthday. Happy Birthday Patrick. We got you a present while in Mexico. We will mail it to you.
Another glorious day, A year ago, we planned to paddle the Nueces River. I noted in 2010 when we passed over it in Hondo that it was the prefect river to paddle. Recall that last year Texas had a record drought. They have had rain this year, but not enough to cover the bottom of the Nueces and all the other rivers in this area. And so it goes.
We did have a great drive in the heart of the Hill Country. Did the back roads, the bump gates, saw several exotic animals and some beautiful country.
Back Road, Trees Starting To Leaf
Rio Frio behind a low dam. Dry below the dam.
Our lunch site. Flowers starting to pop
At the side of the road! One of many.
Why it’s call the Hill Country
The Sun Goes
Tuesday – March 13 – We woke up to a fine mist. That removed all doubts that we would head somewhere else. We left Garner SP northbound on US83 toward Junction. As we climbed up on the mesa the mist degraded to fog with limited visibility. We saw over a 100 bikers headed south. A few miles north, we saw more bikers. One or more of them had wrecked on the slippery road.
In the places where the fog was not too thick, we saw more “exotic” animals along the roadside, just inside the fences. Many types of horns were represented. Wildebeest were walking along like cows.
A lot of the Hill Country is devoted to exotic animals. How they all make any money is beyond us. We do know the fencing companies made a lot money putting up double high wire fences to keep the exotics impounded.
When we got to Junction we headed west on I10. Yeah, I know we don’t interstates, but this section of I10 has a great road surface and sparse traffic.
Overnight parking is allowed in Texas roadside picnic areas and rest areas. We went through the town of Sheffield, a pitiful little town. Then past Ft. Lancaster where the Army tried camels instead of horses. Calvary soldiers on camels – the experiment didn’t work out well. Then it was on to our beautiful site. We had the best view up high and it was cool. And stars - so many stars - you forget that there are that many when you live in light pollution. We have the huge area to ourselves. Once in awhile a local truck goes by.
Not a bad parking place for free
Wednesday – March 14 – Crossed more of west Texas. I am not sure even the coyotes like it here. All the towns failed long ago. We overnighted in one of them, Van Horn, another sad town. We parked in the recently closed Dairy Queen lot. Dorothy wanted ice cream.
Thursday – March 14 – Finished Texas! We stopped at Costco in El Paso to get a few things. Gas $3.63.
Finally – Out West
Finally! We see mountains - we are really on our trip now. Big event was stopping in El Paso at Costco, but they didn’t have everything that we wanted. El Paso overlooks Juarez, MX, which is a very dangerous city. Thank goodness I don’t live there.
We arrived at Rockhound State Park. It’s a small park, up against a mountain. We look out our windows and see the mountain, yellow wildflowers, cacti and small junipers. What more could you want - views, cool at night, and phone, internet coverage and TV. To celebrate we had martini’s (oops, no vermouth!) but they were very good and we were relaxed. We are truly happy campers!
Friday – March 15 – We drove into Deming, did laundry and toured the Luna Mimbres Museum. They had collections of all manner of turn of the century items. We thought it was well presented, especially so for a small town.
Saturday – March 16 – We took a mile or so hike, it did not kill Dorothy and we got some needed exercise.
High winds are forecast so we moved from our perfect campsite to one with electricity so we can button up the rig from the wind born dust.
Sunday – March 17 – The winds came. 50mph rocks the rig, but the gusts only last a few seconds. The wind is supposed to lay down to gusts of only 30 by sunset.
I finished the taxes while the wind blew. Yippee!