Saturday, April 22, 2017

Farther Along

 Even the deer have to walk the line in Llano

Friday, April 14

We have arrived. Llano, Texas. Cooper BBQ. We have been hankering to get back here for two years. We plan to stay and eat for a few days. The city park is next to the river. Just a level parking lot with stripes that has full hookups for $15.

We stuffed ourselves on pork ribs at noon. Never thought about even a cracker for dinner.

The Pits 

 What’s In The Pits

Where The Stuff In The Pits Goes

We enjoyed watching a 2004 movie The Notebook. Decent movies are rare.

We have only been without hookups the two days we stayed with friends in Marksville. Did not need them then and only needed AC a day or so since. It’s been overcast almost every day keeping the temperature down. When we leave here we will be boondocking more. Hope the temp stays low. That will determine the stops we make. We wanted to go to Chaco Canyon, but after seeing the pictures on Mary and David's blog, we took a pass. Just too much uneven terrain for our feet.

How Verizon carryover data works. After you use your current monthly allotment any carryover from the previous month is throttled, the same as if you have the unlimited plan. It’s a use it or lose it type of deal. Any carryover not used in the next month is gone. It’s a great biz plan for Verizon. 

Saturday, April 15
We walked around looking at the hundreds of types of granite and quartzite at The Living Stone Company. Stone from all over the world in slabs of about 6 by 10 feet. Not any of the common stuff you see at the big box stores. The prices are quite reasonable.

This was our 9th consecutive cloudy day.

The highlight of the day was Prime Rib at Coopers. The cashier recognized us.

 The day after the ribs. Ever eaten really juicy prime rib on butcher paper?

A few samples of the thousand or so slabs of granite

Sunday, April 16

We picked up brisket and goat at Coopers and headed west.
Day 10 of clouds. Some rain is forecast in the Hill Country, so we hope to get out of hills before getting wet. Goodbye, water, hookups, humidity and green things.

We stopped for a nap at one the wonderful Texas RA that is above and well off I10. We woke to a shower and hung around until the rain stopped.

We over-nighted at one of our fav Texas RA’s. It is atop a mesa near the town of Sheffield. We are the only ones here. A delightful breeze and two bars of VZ.

These girls were traveling with their family from Mississippi to California

Monday, April 17
We are another 2.5 hours west, deep in the wasteland of the southwest. It will be like this through much of southern New Mexico and Arizona. In California, we have to endure the worst of the worst, the Mojave. We could have taken a more northern route, but I want to try Organ Pipe, weather permitting, and get a window fixed right in Phoenix. Besides the northern route would mean going through Death Valley again. ARG!

Tuesday, April 18
A long day. We planned to stay at Hueco Tanks just east of El Paso. We had never been there and wanted to see why some friends go there every year. Our planning should have included reservations as there was no room at the inn.

It was another 90 minutes to Deming to a private park we know. After 5.5 hours driving and several stops, we were not tired when we arrived. Odd for us.

Along the way, we saw a sign for Border Patrol Museum and wheeled in. It was interesting and NOT taxpayer funded.

 Footwear to pass as a horse
Footwear to pass yourself off as a carpet

Foreground, a motorcycle with space for three passengers
Background, a homebrew go-cart to ferry passengers over the border

Home made boat used from Cuba to Florida

Wednesday, April 19
Our reason for stopping in Deming is to restock our wine. I only like sweet wine and St. Clair has several to choose from. We replenished the cellar and the bins and the Jeep with wine.

Spent time re-doing our route be able to get to Phoenix for an appointment and to escape the gravel pit early. Making definite plans is not something we like to do. We much prefer the la-te-da mode of traveling. It’s a lot more crowded the last few years with more people retiring.

We have made reservations for the next 10 days. ARG! Our usual per night parking fees have been $10 a night for the last few years. This trip if we stay south of $25 I will be surprised.

The Gravel Pit
The southwest is a large undeveloped gravel pit punctuated with low mountains of no merit and pockets of green where it's irrigated, along with some scenery. I suppose the aggregate has washed down from ancient mountains and filled in valleys.

Vast areas of the gravel pit are used by the Air Force and Navy as a bombing range.  In the past, the Army tested missiles in New Mexico and nuclear weapons in both New Mexico and Nevada. No worries if a missile blew up or went off course. It would just hit some other rabbit warren.

I forget the disagreeable parts of the southwest until we pass through it. Full-time RV folks use it as a haven from the winter.  We have tried that. We prefer to be at home, rather than living in a gravel pit.

Thursday, April 20

We made the 35-mile drive from Deming to The City Of Rocks. We have passed by here twice before and had not stopped. It’s worth a stop. Wind eroded Pumice rocks in the middle of nowhere. The formations are not unlike those at The Alabama Hills in CA and Vedauvoo in Wyoming.

We opted for a dry site as the placement of electric sites was not appealing. Our site has two large oak trees which shade it from the afternoon sun. We have enjoyed sitting outside enjoying the balmy temp and the fresh breeze. We have opened the windows the last few nights at dark. By 3 am the furnace has been cutting on.

Friday/Saturday, April 19/20

Just up the road from the City of Rocks is Silver City. It seemed like an OK place to spend the weekend. We took a drive through the Ponderosa Pines.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Half Way There

Dear Diary, We are half way to somewhere. No idea what we half-way to. Maybe half-way across Texas.

Dorothy notes the slave quarters need maintenance

 At Coral and DD's In Marksville

Pernadles Falls State Park
I juiced this to make it seem that it was not heavily overcast

We started the trip with new cab curtains, new rear window shade, installed third generation window storage trays, replaced hot water gas valve, installed variable speed fan switches for our personal fans, replaced Bilstein shocks, 100m maintenance and several other items we can not recall.

We name our trips. Most do not have very imaginative names, like The Rock Trip. This year I saw a great name Our Trek To The Zombie-Free Haven North Of The 49th. Seems appropriate for going to BC.

Since we will be eating rather than hiking this year, we are already calling it the Eating Trip. Dorothy was talking with a friend with an agile imagination who suggested Gourmet Eating sounded better, so it will be The Traveling Gourmets. We are not going to just toss the Zombie name either.

Tuesday, April 4
Selma is on the most direct route headed west from Montgomery. It was known as The Queen City Of The Black Belt and was one of the wealthiest cities in the US before the Civil War. You have probably have heard of the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma. We had no idea who Pettus was so we looked him up. Turns out he was a civil war hero and a proslavery fanatic. This was the reason MLK picked the bridge as the starting point for the march to Montgomery. It certainly was the site for a lot of head-knocking and bloodshed.

We spent the night at Roosevelt SP, just east of Jackson. A good deal, full hookups for $14

Wednesday, April 5
We are mooch docking with our former neighbors on their estate near Marksville, LA. The property has been in the family for several generations and all of his relatives live here.

Thursday, April 6
We got a fine start yesterday on eating in Bunkie, LA at Dugout Grill and Bar Rocky's Tails and Shells. A gourmet hamburger and sweet potato fries. The potatoes are grown across the street. That was topped that evening by gourmet dining at the Red River Grill in Marksville, LA

The folks we are staying with are natives to the area. His family goes back generations. So they know everyone and every place to eat in a wide area. We are suggesting he put in a one site RV pad in the back.

Friday, April 7
We drove two hours to Baton Rouge and are dry camping at Parr Park. It’s quiet and only $10. The weather is perfect so we have no need for AC. We had a late lunch at a Greek and Lebanese restaurant we have been to before. It was a good as we remembered it. I had three appetizers and Dorothy had one appetizer and the Chicken Korma. We did not need dinner.

Saturday, April 8
I read this morning that Bigfoot kept a lumberjack as a sex slave and his wife says he is no longer the man she married.

We had appetizers for lunch at The Chimes - East. Dorothy had a cup of gumbo and crab cakes. I had a bowl of gumbo and alligator. All divine and we are stuffed.

Baton Rouge has the densest traffic of ANY city we know. Perhaps the flooding last fall concentrated folks here?

Sunday, April 9
We got away early to drive to Lafayette to eat breakfast at Prejean’s. We had such good memories of the food. The parking lot was about empty. That should have been a clue. I should have put my fork down after the first bite and left. I didn’t. A mistake. $40 wasted.

Drove another two hours and parked at Niblett’s Bluff, a city park. Not bad for $22. No bluff in site. Perhaps it is concealed by the greatly swollen Sabine River, the border of LA and TX.

Monday, April 10
You are still reading?
Today’s goal was to gain back the latitude we gave up by going to Baton Rouge and do it without going too near Houston. If took several tries with various waypoints set to force Glenda to take us north of the city. A good FM road, but also lots of stoplights for a time slowed us down. 

We parked at Lake Summerville, a COE campground. It was an area of Texas we had not been in. Low hills, big ranches, some wildflowers. There are two adjacent campgrounds on the lake. I turned into the first one, drove three miles to the check-in where we saw a sign on the window closed for repairs. We thought it would have been nice if they had put that sign at the turn-off. We were even more surprised that the check-in was manned. Yep, there was someone there to tell us it was closed.

Tuesday, April 11
Day 8. We continued west through the southern end of Austin where we found rain. We stopped at Pernadles SP, [Lyndon, a local, pronounced it Perda Nal Lis], because we had not been here before and the rain was getting annoying. Texas parks are a value IF, you are going to stay in several in a year. The park pass is up to $70 which means you don’t have to pay the daily entrance fee per person. That fee here is $6, so add in the $20 site charge and the cost is $32 a night.

Wednesday, April 12
Another hour west brought us to Fredericksburg. I always recall the town from how it was 50 years ago. Every downtown storefront was boarded up. 25 years ago it started its rise to a tourist mecca. Cutesy stores, over 100 vineyards in the area and some great eating.

We were going to stay at Ross and Beverly's, but the city leaf truck broke down and could not remove the pile of leafs where we would park on the street. We found decent accommodations for $30 and that's the low price in town. The city park is now $40. 

Had a superb Red Snapper at a most unusual place, The Hilltop Cafe.

These two look like they need good meal

Thursday, April 13
Laundry, shopping at the best grocery store chain the country, H-E-B and dinner with Ross and Beverly.

Some folks think Whole Foods and Trader Joe's are good. We don't care for them.