Monday, April 30, 2007

DRYING OUT

LESSON 8. . . . .
One can take a nice hot shower and wash their hair on less than 6 gallons of hot water!

LESSON 9. . . . .
It’s okay to change one’s mind when traveling. I am going to stay another night here at Seminole; and, instead of going to Big Bend Nat’l Park as planned I am going to Davis Mtn State Park and spend a night or two, then onto Poncho Villa State Park in New Mexico. I don’t think one can justifiable do Big Bend in a couple of days so I am going to save that area for another time when I can spend more time.

LESSON 10
When in southern Texas during monsoon season, be sure and close the windows before going to bed! Otherwise, one has bedding to dry out

What a night. It started pouring at 1:10 a.m. (or at least that’s when I was awakened by rain and thunder) and I couldn’t get the windows closed fast enough to keep the rain from coming in. Consequently, the coverlet, sheets, mattress pad and padding at the foot of my bed got wet. The heavy rain finally quit around 5:30 a.m. and I am running the heater to have some warmth and help dry out my sheets and coverlet, etc. Hopefully, I can dry out my bedding in time for tonight. It’s starting to get light and it’s still pretty cloudy out. The Camp Host just said they had 70 mph winds over in Del Rio and there is a lot of flash flooding east of Del Rio. Glad I was here, we only had 4 inches of downpour.

Later in the day: I am here at the Tx Visitor information Center at Langtry and will be going through Judge Roy Bean’s buildings and learning some more history of the area. This is a really beautiful facility and very neatly arranged. It looks fairly new. Will upate you the next chance I get - where ever that may be. I will try and get some pictures posted before I leave the Visitor Center.

LESSONS LEARNED . . . . Already

Sunday night, 4/29/07
It’s almost 6 p.m. and I am sitting here waiting for my spaghetti to finish cooking (my first full meal I have made inside!) and thought since I had so much trouble getting a consistent link back in Bandera - I am not going to have any good links for awhile; and, I am losing my thoughts of what is going on around me and with me, I need to record what I see, where I am and what thoughts are going through my head somewhere. So these notes are being installed in a word processing file for later transfer over to my blog.

Tonight I am in Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site, just west of Comstock TX. We are under a tornado warning for several more hours. I hear thunder coming from the southwest, so rain may be on our agenda for the night. There is a restroom building very close and the Park Host said we are to go there if it gets bad. Hey, I am from Kansas! One can see Mexico from here - just a mere 3 miles to the south. We can barely make out the Rio Grande River.

In fact, the Park Hosts I just met are from Hays. Their name is Flanders and her maiden name is McDonald, Peggy. I was told the average rainfall for the year in this area is 14 inches - they are already at 30 inches. It is an arid area, with lots of prickly pear cactus in bloom along with lots of other wildflowers. One of my favorite flowers, the lantanna, grows wild here.

There are 3 other Casitas here at the Park; and, like myself will be going over to Big Bend National Park next. (Yummy, am eating this wonderful Mexican bread I got in Hondo - it’s sweet with a creamy spread on it.) I may leave tomorrow or wait until Tuesday to leave. It takes quite a bit to set up and take down.

Anyway, I left Bandera around 10 a.m. and headed down TX 173 (for those trying to follow my route) to US 90 at Hondo. Then I just headed west to here. When I have the chance I will attempt (thunderstorm is now overhead) to map out the routes I have taken for those who want to follow along.

The Casita Rally was great. I learned some new things and was pleasantly pleased that what I had learned ahead of time helped me out. I met some good people, especially Betty, Carole, and Kathie - single ladies like myself. Betty is my mentor - she is going to be 77 next month and has logged over 22,000 miles in the last 3 years with her Casita by herself. Carole is 57 and has been traveling several years since she lost her husband to cancer; Kathie, is 70 this year and has traveled quite a bit also with her two dogs.

LESSON 3. . . . .
Beware of the water. Need I say more?
LESSON 4. . . . .
Make sure the sewer line hose is firmly secured into the dump hole!
LESSON 5. . . . .
Definitely don’t mess with Texas. They do love their State and do they ever love their flag. I bet the sale of Texas flags far exceeds any other state, for as many I see.
LESSON 6. . . . .
Calm down, the internet is not available everywhere. I was just told when I get to Langtry to go to the TDOT office (TX Dept. of Transportation) and use their wifi to update my blog and check e-mails.
LESSON 7. . . . .
This is fun, fun, fun. I just met some folks from Canada and they were petrified about the tornado warning, so the Park Host and I pointed out the wall cloud and see that funnel shaped thing hanging down? No not really, but when we told him it was breaking up and moving more northward, he was somewhat relieved

The Bandera area is really beautiful this time of year. It is very green (and humid). The wildflowers are all over. The Bluebonnets are past their prime, we were told, but they are still pretty. I walked down to the Medina River several times; and, oh my, it’s clear. You can see the pebbles at the bottom; but I guess it can get to be a pretty nasty river when flooding hits.

Kathie and I drove up to Kerrville to get a few things from Wal-Mart. I know, I know but Bandera is a old-timey cowboy town with saloons and BBQ places, some gas stations and a grocery store. On the way up we saw a family of baby turkey vultures on the side of the road waiting for food, we assumed. Two-one/half hours later when we went back to Bandera, they were in the same spot. I mention the turkey vultures because in the little town where I live, the turkey vultures show up in the spring and depart in October. Daughter and I just love to watch them when they are soaring - they are so good at it.

Back to the trip. There are deer hunting ranches all over this part of the country. You can tell them by the very high wire fences along side the highway, instead of the usual barb wire fences. And, Texans love to make huge and ornate entrances to their ranches. I wish I had taken some pictures of them.

We had plenty of company in Bandera while there because a motorcycle rally was going on called Thunder in the Hills. When we were on our poker run and found this lovely place to take a picture, one of the nice gentlemen took the four of us together with a beautiful backdrop behind us. While we were on the poker run I deciphered a message in our instructions which read: “Stop and eat ice cream at Rio Frio” and “Have Mexican food at Mama Chivalo’s in Leakey”. Funny no one else deciphered those messages. Didn’t win us any prizes but we had fun.

My route from Hays took me down US 183 to Albany TX, from there it was on US 283 until US 87 to Fredericksburg TX (really neat town I want to go back and investigate - German heritage area)l; from Fredericksburg on US 87 to TX RM 473, then TX 27 to FM 480, TX-173 to TX-16 into Bandera.

That’s all for tonight. I should go take a walk - said should. but a shower and sleep sounds better. Good night.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Texas Hill Country landscape


Texas Hill Country landscape
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

Eggcarto's belly aglow


Eggcarto's belly aglow
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

And Lesson #2 is. . . . . .

Showering: Wear as little as possible, especially in a humid climate when using the public shower in an RV park. That's wear "as little loose clothing" as possible, it makes the process go faster. No, that doesn't mean a bathing suit, at least not for me. And, go at 4 in the morning - that's when you have all the hot water you want.

I forgot to post this one.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Whew! Finally got out of Ellis

Was beginning to wonder if I was going to get on the road. I stopped by the trailer, on the way home from work in the morning, to do some last minute packing (think I got more done in that 20 minutes than in 7 days) and securing of items. Went home and put my head down for 4 hours of good sleep. "We" all finally left Ellis around 1:30 p.m. (being that late wasn't on my schedule), stopped in Hays to say good by to daughter Juno. On the way over I remembered Jim and I hadn't checked the operation of the lights on the trailer before I left. So, with Juno's help, we checked and lo and behold nothing worked! Yikes, I drove all the way over with no brake or signal lights. Well, finally got that taken care of and got out of Hays around 2:30 (sill even further behind now).

I was hoping to make it to Vernon TX the first night but with the late start, there was no way I could with only 4 hours of sleep. I made it to Weatherford OK and slept in a WAL-MART parking lot! The trip the first day, thank heavens, was uneventful. It had been quite a few years since I had traveled in the southern part of the State and when I hit a certain part of the highway, I remembered an episode I had with a steer. I was on my way down to Phoenix (take one of many routes) and I was absolutely bored. I spied a steer in the pasture next to the highway and picked up my CB mike and said into the mike: "Hello, Mr steer, how are you?" And, he responded back in a low voice,"I am fine and where are you headed?" So I explained to him where and why and we carried on the conversation for a few more minutes before I was out of range. No fooling, a talking steer and using a CB to boot (sorry for the pun).

Wednesday morn up bright and early and on the road after a good night's sleep despite the 4-wheel ATV's running some kind of course behind me. There were so many places I wanted to stop and investigate - small little towns, buildings, history markers; but Bandera was still a long ways away. I've made a "go back and see" book for those things. At around 1 p.m. I had to stop and take a nap. Found a very nice rest area, parked under a tree and slept for an hour. That got me into Bandera. I missed the "cook your own steak" at the 11 St Cowboy Bar and the Patsy Kline show but enjoyed just visiting. A very nice gentleman, Lowell, helped me set up and get things functioning, especially the trailer battery. I had inadvertenly let it run down during the drive down (didn't have the right switches on and now I know). On top of that, my door latch wouldn't work so had to "lock" the door with a bungee cord! I have a baseball bat under my bed, just in case.

I finally have my hot water heater fixed thanks to a fellow named Lindy from Arkansas. He fixed the lock on my door, but I still have to do just a bit more as he suggested. Lindy is guru of Casita fix-its. I met some other single ladies and we spent about 4 or 5 hours looking at others Casitas and getting ideas for things we might do. The ladies are all from Texas. After getting too much sun from the outing, I retired to take a nap and slept past dinner, so fixed myself a nice cool salad and having a beer. I also have the TV hooked up but need a cable cord from my trailer to the RV park's cable hookup.

Tonight games are planned for the group and tomorrow there is a poker run or sightseeing trips. I was fascinated by Fredericksburg as I drove through and downtown Bandera is really neat with all the "cowboy" places of business (they sure do like the saloons and BBQ places here). There is wine tasting and line dancing tomorrow night on the agenda. Saturday we have sessions to address issues one faces while traveling, ending with a cookout Sat night and a "see you next year" on Sunday. The organizers (Brad & Bev from Santa Fe) have done a great job.

I am trying to post some pictures so bear with me if they don't show up.

More Casitas all in a row


More Casitas
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

Eggcarto, Big Red & Friends


Eggcarto, Big Red & Friends
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

Texas Bluebonnets


Texas Bluebonnets
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not a Good day!!!!

I was extremely tired when I got home from work this morning and my intention was to sleep a few hours and then get started on those last minute projects you really can't do until the day before departure. Opps, slept much longer than planned and had to scrub some plans.

I flushed Eggcarto's plumbing again and then took him out to practice backing. Still didn't have much luck but it was better than the other day. I have to find the "right moment" (thanks JE) to straighten out the truck. The refrigerator was (repeat was) cooled down to a nice 33 degrees. I say was because I stopped by and checked the temperature just a little while ago and it wasn't working and the temperature was up to 67 degrees. Not a good temp to keep milk, etc in! I reset everything and will see how it looks in the morning. I am loading up extra ice chests anyway and my plan now is to use them.

I work tonight; and I must say, it doesn't look very nice outside. Rather dark and gray and slight sprinkling. Might be my first introduction to hooking up in the rain. Cheerio until next posting, somewhere on the road.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Are We Ready?

SUNDAY, APRIL 22 NOTES:
HELP, it feels like I am not going to make it. Waxing has gone by the wayside, still don't have the rivet job done (here I come Bandera with a list of things I need help with), but my hanging clothes are in the closet and odds and ends are finding homes in the cupboards. I have the refrigerator on and it has started cooling down faster than I expected. I won't put food items in until Monday night. Moosey has his spot staked out on the bed and he is secured with a purple (for K-State naturally) cord.

Just got back (again) from the local grocery store with more things for the cupboards. Thursday night at the rally is potluck and so am working on making sweet & sour meatballs to take. The reason why I am making them ahead of time is because there are around 280 people (that breaks down to about 150 other little "eggs" there) and I am going to make enough for whatever I can, freeze them at home and put them in that ice chest I said I was taking, and heat them up Thursday.

It did rain early this morning, but not as much as predicted. And, the rodeo didn't get rained on. Tomorrow I should finish packing my personal things, batten everything down, do one more flush of the plumbing system, and then take Eggcarto out on a shake-down run (through the local fairgrounds should do it) and re-secure what ever came loose. More rain is in the forecast, so it could be interesting. I have some pictures but will wait unti later to post them. Right now it's time to fix supper and hit the sack for a couple of hours before going to work tonight.

SATURDAY, APRIL 21 NOTES:
I ended coming home from work at 3 a.m. not feeling very good. Have no idea what it could have been. Since I slept late I got a late start on today's activities. I did give the back yard lawn (and some henbit too) its well deserved butch haircut. Now, NOAA is predicting 100% chance of rain late this afternoon and tonight. That's sure going to make the Ft Hays University's rodeo performance tonight interesting.

No waxing, but did get up the carbon monoxide detector up and flushed the plumbing of its "bleach" water. Will do another flushing tomorrow or Monday. I still need to put a rivet in the one place outside before I leave, but I haven't practiced yet. Tomorrow I turn the refrigerator on to start cooling it down. Hopefully, it will be cool enough Monday night to load up with those items. I do not have a freezer so am living life without one! I am taking my cooler filled with ice just in case I don't know what I am doing!

FRIDAY, APRIL 20 NOTES:
I did manage to get some more work done on the trailer. No, didn't get any waxing done, but did get the plumbing system flushed of the RV antifreeze - all except the water heater. I still can't get the plug out as I need a 1-1/16" socket to remove it. Am hoping at the rally someone will help me. Oh, I did find the water heater anode I had misplaced. Actually, I didn't misplace it as it had fallen down under a cushion on an overstuffed chair. I did put my bed together and it looked so inviting to try out - I did just that for 90 minutes!

Did get one bit of a scare when I opened the trailer up today - whew what is that odor - it smelled like buring rubber or wires and; of course, I immediately thought I had burned wires on my hand. Oh heavens not just a few days before leaving. It turned out to be the new sewer hose I had left inside overnight. Boy, do those things stink when they are new.

Tomorrow the plumbing system will be flushed of the bleach water in the system - maybe a little waxing. And, since the back yard is gracing us with its glorious green color it will get shorn of it's lovely tops into a butch.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I Flunked Backing 101

Grrrrrrrr.... I tried to learn backing Eggcarto today. I got the turning the steering wheel the opposite way I wanted the trailer to go and got him backed into the imaginary parking spot; but, what comes next? The truck is at an angle and if I tried to straighten the truck out to back straight. . . the trailer kept turning. I just can't pick up the front end of the truck and straighten it out! It was frustrating and then became embarrassing. I became the "spectacle" of the hour by some of the locals - word must have gotten out that someone is driving around the local fairgrounds with a trailer, let's go watch. I would ask each one that came by to watch if they knew how to back a single axle trailer - nope. Oh well, I bet by the time I get home from my trip I'll have a better hang of it.

Am slowly getting ready. There is still about a couple more hours of waxing to do; I checked out the sewer hose today and found a leak - not exactly a thing you want to leak on you at a time of need. I started to remove the RV antifreeze from the plumbing system and couldn't find my water heater anode. Now where did I put that???? How does one lose an anode? I hope to spend a night in Eggcarto before I leave Tuesday - probably the night it's forecast to rain, my luck.

In between sleeping, working, housework, getting Eggcarto ready, there has been yard work to do. The snow/rain we had on Friday the 13th tried to discourage the garden plants, but they stood their ground and have given us a lot of pleasure so far.

Time for dinner. I will post before I leave Tuesday (the 24th) and as soon as I can again that night or the next day.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Moosey & Friends


Moosey & Friends
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

Here are my traveling companions (except the real dog): Moosey (obvious), Traveler (he's a little lamb) is sitting in front of Moosey and Pink Sheep is the one with the Number 3 on his side (he's a Breast Cancer Sheep from Serta). The real live dog is Nipper, he belongs to daughter Juno. If you look hard you will see two yellow circles to the left of Nipper's nose - that is his friend Squeaky Octopus.

Moosey had an accident, shortly after I put him in the trailer. The day before I went to Dodge City to get Eggcarto checked out, I moved the trailer over in front of the house. I had forgotten Moosey was sitting on the table and discovered him on the floor upon going inside later that same day, His horns had broken off in two pieces. Well. . . . you can see he is okay now. I won't do that again!

The darn rain, snow and cold windy weather is keeping me from finishing the waxing on the outside. I still have about 5 hours of waxing to go, I have rust from the metal areas to remove and repaint; the pop-riveting project, stocking food and personal items to go. i worked on configuring the coverlet to fit the bed and finished the window valances yesterday. The inside pictures will come next week.

Since today is lousy outside, am doing housework and baking cookies.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Connected


Connected
Originally uploaded by NomadWoman.

For those who haven't seen Big Red and Eggcarto - here they are.

Getting Ready

Today is a good day to start my blog - chilly and rainy; and also a good day to learn another new thing - blogging! I plan on using this space to keep my travel logs with Big Red (truck), Eggcarto (travel trailer), Moosey (will see later), Traveler (will see him later too) and Pink Sheep (and him later too).

As my family and friends know, I retire from full-time work at the end of May. I bought a little 16 foot travel trailer called a Casita from some folks in Missouri last September and promptly named "him". During the winter months, I started learning about electricity, plumbing, gray & black water, volts, amps, DC & AC, propane and so on. When the weather started turning nice, I really started to learn hands on (though haven't gotten to the gray/black water yet!). I took Eggcarto to Dodge City to get a good check-up and all systems are go. I also had an opportunity to show him off to my friends Sarah and Sherry.

He's had his tires, brakes and bearings checked. Weather permitting, he's getting a waxing (he's made of fiberglass), new rivet covers, and I get to do my first pop-rivet on him. I am going to learn "how to rivet" first on some practice material before I try it on Eggcarto. I am making window valances, modifying the sheets and coverlet to fit the bed. Next week he gets "sanitized" - the winter antifreeze removed from the plumbing. He's getting stocked with food, utensils, personal items. I only have a refrigerator so have to think about what I really want to take that's cold. And, storage space is limited, so that is a challenge I am having fun with. Folks who own these small trailers, suggest start out with as little as possible and add as you go along.

Leaning has been exciting to me. Not only am I learning about trailering, I bought a digital camera last December and am learning about it and being able to post my pictures here so you can see what and where I am or have been.

My first Maiden Voyage will be to a Casita Rally in Bandera, Texas April 25th through the 29th. There are 140 registrations, so lots of Casitas and lots of ideas to pick up on and new people to meet. From there I plan on wandering my way over to the Big Bend area as I have never seen that area; from there to southern New Mexico, up to Socorro NM to see my son Jim and spend a few days with him and then home through southern Colorado. I don't have any definte plans after that for now, but as in my web address: following the winds.