Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Out With The Old and In With The New

2009 is just hours away. And I truly hope that the New Year for all of you is good to you and that you have good health. Today is my daughter's 40 birthday, one that is very special to Juno - as she relates in her blog you can click on to the right under Contributors. She and her brother, Jim who lives in New Mexico, are what their dad and I are most proud of. Okay, we are just like a lot of parents I know, but it still gives me a lump in my throat when I think about them.

Well, I said in a couple of blog entries ago that I felt changes were coming and they are. First, I have moved into my little house that my ex lives in, in the same little town. We are HOUSEMATES. Juno was at that point where she didn't need her mom living with her anymore! So, at the ripe age of 66, I moved out of my daughter's house (instead of into). Since my ex and I took that 5 week trip together to Texas and New Mexico a few months back, and we didn't kill each other, we figured we could live under the same roof. So far we are doing pretty good. I have everything in my bedroom except the kitchen and bathroom, so I spend a lot of time in my bedroom when home. We have always gotten along, just couldn't live together as husband and wife and we still don't want to live that way - as husband and wife - so don't get any ideas.

The other change is that I won't be taking off this winter. At least for awhile anyway. The big box company I work for, made changes in their requirement for being able to take a Personal Leave of Absence, which is what I was taking the last several years. What can I say, they make the rules and have their reasons. Now they require an associate to have a minimum of 1250 working hours in the previous 12 months prior to the leave date. I had only 870 hours at the first of December and at 30 hours average per week, it takes awhile to accumulate that much time now. So I re-grouped my thinking, after fuming for awhile. I visited with the store manager and he was very helpful with some options to consider.

I will keep working for awhile. I still have to pay off my truck and had half-heartily been paying more on the payments so I would pay it off sooner. Well, I am really going to accelerate those payments and get it paid off by the end of summer. There I said it so now I have to hold myself to it. I will take some time off in April - 2 or 3 weeks- and head west. The end of summer comes and bye-bye work and hello full retirement - and I am keeping my fingers crossed that this works out. So the New Year's Resolution is PAY THE TRUCK OFF and don't come up with other projects to "work" for.

Think it's going to work out for the good for me anyway and with the economy the way it is right, now I feel it's best for me to take a "wait and see" stance for awhile.

Make a good New Year's Resolution and stick to it this coming year. Best wishes to all of you this coming year. As it gets closer to April, I'll fill you in on my desert plans.

A great sweatshirt I got from my friend Sarah:

A quote credited to Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

Monday, December 22, 2008

My Christmas Time Advertising Pet Peeve. . . . .

Using the words: "EVERYONE WANTS. . . . . . "

Especially this year, with the economy the way it is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Changes are Due

I feel changes in my life coming upon me - I don't know what but time will bring them out. And, I feel they are for the better and will give me chances to explore those things I love and love to do and includes new things to love and love to do too.

So to reflect this I have changed the look of my blog site. I love the artwork of Joan Miro - surreal, imaginative and bizzare. You'll see those pieces right at the top. On the flip side, there are daily fitness tips at the end of the page. And, if you are a regular follower I would like to know. Scroll down on the right to see my followers and add yourself.

Thanks to my friend Sebastian for the Linus Mundy quote. I hope others will take the quote to heart too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

Wow, what a day that was at work. I am a cashier at Wally World nearby. We did pretty dang close to 1 mil for the day! That was a record breaker for our store.

I reported for work at 5:30 a.m. (found out could have gone in earlier) after driving around the parking lot looking for a place. Found one. The only other time I have seen the lot that full, was when we had a blizzard and I-70 was closed for several days. I counted over 80 semis in the parking lot, plus all the local people stocking up on groceries. Anyway, when I finally had my lunch break at 10 a.m., I couldn't remember where I had parked and it took me walking thru several rows before I found it. I was going to move my truck over to the area where associates are suppose to park but that area was full, so just left it. I got home around 3 p.m., slumped down in my overstuffed chair, fell asleep for a little bit, got up and crawled into bed for a 3 hour nap, ate and crawled back into bed for the night.

Son came up from New Mexico and spent a couple of days with us, so was good to see him again. We had dinner over at Juno's house. We played our traditional game of Tri-ominos. Think I won this year. Outside Christmas decorations are up as well as the tree inside is decorated. Last year I found some solar powered LED outside lights and we put them around the edge of the porch; but this year I put them around the two front windows along with those battery powered candles that have a photcell to come on at dark, hung a wreath at each window. I have an old-fashioned look to the front of the house. The lights in a smaller place look much better.

The work schedule came out for the work week ending 12/19 and it made me realize I need to get my application in for my next personal leave starting in January. Only 4 or 5 more weeks. My gosh all that I need to get done - new tires for the trailer, put the other cupboard latch on, get my financial house in order, do some other little fixer uppers and start getting the cupboards stocked again. Oh way, oh way, can't wait. Starting to shape up the direction to head this time - WESTWARD!

I want to see my friend Annie in Palm Springs, my brother out in Fullerton and my friend Bonnie near Fresno, explore the deserts of California and western Arizona. Going to take in one of those hot springs that seem to abound in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. WARMTH here I come!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thoughts & Collections

Seems like I have used that theme before. It's good then.

We made it home on Wednesday, Oct 15th in time to rest a little and, as I mentioned in the previous entry, attend daughter's first modeling debut. I am back at work with one week down and 10 or 11 to go.

Last Thursday morning, my friend Bonnie called me (I saw her in Kentucky on my previous trip) to tell me her breast cancer is back for the 7th time. She's one tough cookie (more on this in another posting), so my trip in January will include a visit to her out at her home in California. That will probably be my first goal.

The weather has been beautiful since we got home. I made a trip down to Dodge City to see my friends Sarah and Sherry, before starting work. We had fun just enjoying a leisure morning together.

The trip was a good one and I am very happy that Jim was so glad to see his youngest brother, Scott. When he laid eyes on Scott for the first time, that just made everything worth while. I just wish I hadn't gotten sick so we could have included his middle brother Ken. I didn't want to risk taking something to them, if it was contagious. But, we'll work on that. We had some funny moments, like with the raccoon; some happy moments, like with being brother Scott and with son; some interesting moments like me learning to be patient with someone else in the trailer with me. Best, I think was seeing Jim be able to get out of his little world at home and enjoy himself.

It will be interesting to see how the holiday season plays out in the retail environment, whether we are as busy as in the past. I am seeing a few Christmas things go past my register, but not near the decorations as normally see at this time. Tomorrow is Halloween, so that may spur some buying. It will be interesting to see how the economy does over the next several months after the elections, how much longer will we be in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lots of interesting things coming up. But, even with the feds lowering the interest rates to spur borrowing, I think it is foolish to wrap oneself up in more debt at this time. If it helps to lower one's monthly IOU's that could be a blessing. I am just waiting to see before I do anything.

You all have a good Thanksgiving and Christmas and I'll be back towards the end of December after everything plays out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One More Entry, but not Today, Later

We got home on Wednesday, Oct 15th just exhausted to a longer drive than I like to do - 4-5 hours is my limit. Have spent Thursday and Friday unloading and cleaning the inside of the trailer.

While we were gone, I had a neighbor tear down an old, old wooden shed in the back yard leaving a nice concrete pad to park the trailer on - maybe. It's wide enough and sits parallel to the alley. I'll have to do some playing around for the next few months to figure out how best to utilize the pad. Meanwhile, I am replacing the pigtails for the propane tanks, doing a little more rust removal and painting, getting the trailer winterized before it really gets cold - which it's suppose to start sometime this week. My dinette table is back up and the solar panel is putting a bit of extra charge to the battery to make it thru the winter months. I don't take my battery out of the trailer but the occasional charge from the solar panel seems to help it. The closet is stocked with clothes and ready for the next trip, my food replenishment list has been made and the cleaning inside makes it ready to roll come January (I hope). I have a few other little projects to work on but that's later.

Saturday, was the local Day of Caring for local breast cancer survivors. My daughter, Juno, is a 3-year survivor and she was debuting as one of the models in the show. I tried getting some pictures of her on the runway, but due to still some digital camera ignorance, I didn't get any real good pictures of her. But I did get one that I played around with and really like, even though it is blurry everywhere, but her face is so beautiful (can't tell I am a proud mom can you).

It's back to work on Saturday, the 25th and I will work thru the holiday season until sometime after January 1. Meanwhile, where am I going next? That time of year, well. . . . . where it is warm! And, I hope to include a visit to see my brother out in So. Cal. I'll wrap up sometime this week with the final blog for this trip, thoughts, etc.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Can You Smell It? It's a Chili Night here in Amarillo.

Pacific Hurricane Norbert sure has made the day miserable for this part of the country. We spent Saturday night in Roswell, NM at a very nice RV Park - Town & Country RV Park -More later.

It started raining on us shortly before we got to Lincoln NM, then let up until we got to the RV Park. Then it became a dodging game getting set up between rain showers. In a few hours we learned the area we were in was under a Tornado Watch until around midnight. It rained off and on during the night. We left around 9:30 a.m., again getting ready to leave between rain showers. On the road, it was almost 100% rain until we got here at the Amarillo TX KOA campground, east of the city. I am getting better from my Friday episode, but driving in the rain tired me out after 4 or so hours of driving. We may stay here Monday night also as there is another storm coming right behind Norbert. Probably do me some good to rest another day anyway. It's a very nice KOA - away from Interstate noises, cattle surround the place, and you don't really hear the jets taking off nearby - and I ended up having the manager back me in - whew, he did it in one swoosh. I gotta practice some more at home! There aren't many trees so this place could be hot during the hot time of the year. The restrooms and showers are clean.

Monday, Columbus Day. It was cold this morning with a cold front that went thru during the night. Suppose to get up around 54 here today. Since we have one/two extra days, we are going to stay here a couple more nights until it warms back up again before heading home. There are some things to see, if we want, that are close to us here.

A Scamp trailer parked in the space behind us last night. They are from Tennessee. Haven't met them yet. It's almost check-out time and they are still hooked up to water and electricity, so assume they are staying another night.

On our trip to here, we stopped in Lincoln NM to see the territory of Billy the Kid. We visited the courthouse where he was tried and escaped from, learned about the Lincoln Country Wars that took place between two mercantile owners. Jim had said that he always imagined the area where the LC Wars took place, was flat and not in a low mountainous area. The drive to Roswell was pretty with the trees changing color. The area is high desert and you gradually drop down to a lower elevation. If I had been to the Roswell area, I didn't remember it.

The Roswell RV Park we stayed at - Town & Country - is very nice and a Good Sam Park. I would recommend it to others that could find themselves in this area. Yes, one is close to their neighbor, but it's a nice park that I have considered staying at sometime in the future. It is quiet, not close to a major highway or interstate. The rest rooms and showers are clean. The shower stalls are big - even bigger than the one at my son's place! And, hooks, lots of hooks. I have never been in a shower stall with so many hooks.

Roswell, is known for the Roswell UFO sighting back in 1947. The city has "themed" itself on that, in fact, catch the City's street lights in the picture I took. Roswell has an interesting history and is the birth place of Demi Moore and John Denver - learn something new all the time. Frank Joyce, a radio DJ at the time, who interviewed the rancher W.W. Brazel, changed Roswell for ever. He died recently at the age of 85.

Here are a few pictures I took after leaving Socorro: Son, dad and mom and the famous Owl Bar in San Antonio.

Not much to report on our activities since deciding to stay because of the rain. We had lunch at Cracker Barrel yesterday and today I went to get gas - that's about all the activity, besides walking around the trailer and

outside when the rain has let up. We are ready to get home Wednesday.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Our Week in Socorro

Sunday night, after getting into bed and was just about dropping of, the trailer was jostled. Oh my gosh, is someone trying to get in, I thought. After a slight pause, I heard plop, plop, plop, plop running up and down the top of the roof about 4 or 5 times, then whatever it was jumped off. It must have been the neighbor’s cat that had jumped off the garage roof onto the top of the trailer.

Monday morning we took the truck and trailer down to clean the grasshopper parts and butterflies off. It took awhile, but it’s a lot cleaner.

Tuesday, found us at the famous Owl Bar in San Antonio NM for their famous green chili cheeseburgers. The Owl opened it’s doors around 1945, in time to feed the needs of the military and scientists located out at the Trinity Site, just 25 miles east of San Antonio, In fact, my dad had told our son that he remembered going to the Owl Bar a number of times. Since that time the bar was moved from one side of the building to it’s present location and the dining area has expanded. It has some really neat traditions - the original owner’s daughter, Rowena Baca, collects shoulder patches from various law-enforcement individuals who visit there. Also, another tradition, is putting a dollar bill (or higher amount), with your name or whatever you want to put on it, and tacking it to the wall somewhere. Once a year the bills are removed and the money is donated to area charities. The current bar came from the original Hilton Hotel. In the late 1800’s A.H. Hilton moved to San Antonio and opened the Hilton Mercantile Company. It also housed the first Hilton Hotel. Conrad Hilton, the originator of the Hilton Hotels was born here. On the way home, we stopped at my favorite tourist vendor in Socorro, and bought some new house numbers for Jim’s house - ceramic numbers with sunflowers painted on them. Tuesday night we watched the second Presidential Debate. No comment.

Wednesday was Reuben Day. We went to Socorro Springs and had Reuben Sandwiches. I expected a wonderful sandwich and I was somewhat disappointed. Wasn’t the worst, but I kind of expected more flavor. We went to bed a little on the early side as we were to get up around 4 a.m. to head to Albuquerque and spend the day seeing the various activities at the Balloon Fiesta, an annual week-long event held there.

We got up early Thursday morning around 4. I wasn’t feeling the whoopiest, a little bit of a headache; but I didn’t want to spoil the day for the other two so didn’t say anything and take some Tylenol and would make the best of it. Well, it turns out it was just son and I that went as Jim didn’t feel good. I ended up having a really great time with son. We got there in time (well, over an hour’s drive up there to the Park) to see the mornings ascension of the special shapes starting at 7 a.m. Following that are the games that are played which includes dropping a marker as close to the center of a bulls eye as possible by flying low and slow over the target and trying to grab an envelope off a tall pole by flying real close to the pole. In the envelope will be a prize - money, vehicle, etc. There are 4 poles and two were claimed. Today there was $2000 in each envelope. The balloonists have until 10 a.m. to try.

We did not stay for the evening activities of the balloon glow where the balloons are tethered but the burners are turned on - they usually try to do it in time to music so you get a mass look at the shapes at night “glowing”. Instead, we went to Gardunio’s for lunch. I had a smothered shredded beef burrito and it was good and very filling. From there we went to Uptown ABQ, which is a developed “city” shopping area that includes retail shops, restaurants, and apartments surrounding the area. It is really a fascinating area and has lots of major shops to tempt you. We went there only because they have an Apple store and I have never been in one and I wanted to see what one looks like plus all the products at once. I had fun playing with an iPod and an iPhone. Didn’t buy anything. From there we went to Fremont’s Fine Foods (http://www.fremontsfinefoods.com/about.html), where they import specialty foods from all over - including my favorite Walker’s Pure Butter Shortbread cookies from Scotland. There are other cookies, biscuits, jams and jellies, teas and coffees too. Again I didn’t buy anything.

For supper, the guys got a pizza from Pizza Hut and I got a salad from McDonald’s, as I wasn’t very hungry, and what was suppose to be a cherry slush from Sonic but ended up being a cherry limeade mixed with diet Sprite or Sierra Mist. I love cherry limeades but not made with diet pop as the artificially sweeteners used in them do not set well with my stomach.

One thing I did at the Balloon Fiesta is buy a generator for my trailer! I have had, in the back of mind, someday of getting one. So I did. No lectures about buying stuff in that kind of environment. I did it and the price was where I’ve seen from national suppliers on the Internet that sell less then the recommended mfg price.

Friday, I woke up around 4 a.m. not feeling very good and it has continued all day. I feel the salad from McDonald’s is the culprit. Son said that Socorro’s fast food places have a bad reputation for not following procedures for food handling, preparation or maintaining proper temperatures. Guess maybe I am a victim. I wasn’t bad enough to be 100% miserable as I did get some work done on the trailer and we went to the grocery store for some things. We also brought home my favorite pizza to bake in the oven at home. Hopefully, that hot green chili will make me feel better.

We are going to start heading home Saturday, if I feel okay. I am just tired and this episode today has wore me down. Jim called his brother in Phoenix tonight for a rain check on a visit. We’ll just take our time going home so as to not push me, in case I have something else. Haven’t decided on direction yet, but it will be eastward and not toward Albuquerque.

As a sad side note, the folks that flew this hot air balloon were involved in a tragic accident today, with the balloon hitting some electric wires, the gondola catching on fire and both men fell to the ground with the copilot being killed and the pilot in serious condition.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sights on Socorro!

Wednesday, 10/01/08

Slept in again and was awakened by the Park Patrol checking on our registration. We hadn’t paid yet as the clerk in the office said wait until morning as they didn’t like to have money left in the paying tube overnight.

We have been watching the wild life - quail, roadrunners - and just enjoying the quietness around. There was a man, Rick and his dog Lady, from Ajo AZ with his little 13’ Scamp trailer parked near us and we met him last night. Scamps are also fiberglass trailers like mine.

Here is a picture of the markers I mentioned in the previous post:

Jim is getting anxious to see his son, so we’ll call him tonight to see if we can come up a couple of days early. Jim has been doing pretty good on this trip, doing something he’s never done before. He’s not really ever liked to travel either so I have to give him a big pat on the back at how well he’s done. We talked with son and we’ll be heading his way on Friday.

Thursday - 10/2/08

Taking a leisure day. Went up to the library in Columbus and posted my recent entry on the blog, Jim picked out some books for sale at the library and is busy reading them now. I just finished a leisure lunch and finishing up another Lisa Scottoline book “Dead Ringer”. I am sitting under the awning and hear this funny noise behind me - not exactly a rat-a-tat-tat sound but close and I see a roadrunner on the top of the pickup cab! He is catching bugs as they fly by and did a good job of catching several while he was up there. I asked him to quietly get my camera. Meanwhile, the roadrunner jumped down on the back cover and caught a few more. Just as Jim was handing me the camera, he jumped off, ran about 5 yards and jumped up in midair and caught another bug.

It’s around 85 degrees in the shade with a nice breeze blowing, pretty comfortable. I did learn this morning at the SP office, that a fellow solo Casitian was here and left Monday. He is currently, they told me, up at Rock Hound SP which is just up the road towards Deming about 20 miles. He goes by the name of Dutchman and I thought I would drive up there later this afternoon and see if he is around. I have been wanting to meet him for a couple of years now and I am finally in the area he is in. He is a full-timer and spends his winters down in this area.

Friday - 10/3/08

We attempted to find the Dutchman today on our way to Socorro, but he had left Rock Hound Park and had headed north, I learned later - up in to the mountains area around Silver City. Next time I’ll catch him.

We stopped at Denny’s in Deming and had a brunch. It sure tasted good. I love crunchy hash browns and that’s just the way they fixed them. I was a happy camper. From Deming we headed northeast on a cutoff to I-25 at Hatch NM - famous for its perfect chili, nice and hot. Somewhere after leaving Deming we encountered what must have been a swarm of locust. The road was just littered with grasshopper parts as thick as the pavement. It was gross. There were whole bodies along the side of the road and occasionally they would hop up and get on the hood of the truck. This went on for 10 miles.

As we got closer to Hatch, the chili harvest was in its final stages and there were many places along the road to the Interstate that were selling the chili. One vendor was using his corrugated metal roof to dry his chili pods out.

From Hatch we headed north to Socorro and got into son’s around 3 p.m. He was waiting for us. Is so good to see him. It’s now Sunday. I did discover on Friday, after unloading the trailer, that “grasshopper parts” are all over the passenger side of the trailer and the truck’s mud flaps! Gross. Guess what is going thru the car wash next week?

Son and I just took a drive out on what is known as the Quebradas (kay-brah’das), which means “breaks”, Background Byway
- a scenic drive among colored cliffs, arroyos and rock formations. We had had rain during the night and had been having sprinkles/rain off and on all morning. The road is a 24-mile graded dirt road and it travels across BLM land. At some points turning around and looking at the rain squalls coming at us was pretty, but. . . . . . . We got to a sign that said the road was best done in 4-wheel drive or high clearance vehicles, so we decided to turn back since son’s car is a Focus. We hoped to get off the dirt road before too much rain hit us and got us stranded or one of the washes filled up with water. We made it and back to Socorro.

Friday night, we went to my favorite place to get a good pizza (and other delicious meals) at Socorro Springs Restaurant & Brewery (see My Favorite or Interesting Places, to the right and click on their web site - their menu does take Adobe 7.0). My favorite is the Elfego - pepperoni pizza with Hatch chili on top. Their pizzas are baked in their pecan wood fired ovens; and, I had not one but two glasses of Pumpkin beer (a popular seasonal beer)!

Tonight, we went to El Sombrero, my favorite Mexican Food restaurant. I had two soft tacos with shredded beef and a side of soapillias the way I like soapillias, not made from tortillas dropped in a deep fat fryer. Now it’s home and time to watch Amazing Race on TV.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Onward and Westward

9/27/08 - DEL RIO - We spent the night at the American RV Park west of Del Rio, just opposite Amistad National Recreation Area - right on the Rio Grande River. Very deserty here with lots of scrub brush, hot and dry and not a whole lot of trees for shade. The RV Park is pretty empty, but clean and the camp hosts are very nice. In fact, most campgrounds we have stayed in are fairly empty this time of year and we have had the pick of sights so far. Lake Amistad is filling up about 20 ft per week due to an abundance of water in the Rio Grande. The River is backed up even past the Pecos River.

We discovered the winter vacation land of the butterflies. It’s located between San Antonio and Del Rio. It’s like driving down a parade with confetti in the air. They look like the sulfurs and white butterflies - different colors from yellows to whites to blacks and in between. They are big ones and little ones. I asked a clerk at a convenience store if they were migrating or was this there spawning ground and she just said that they do this every year at this time. I forgot to bring my butterfly book that I bought on the last trip. We got stopped by a train sitting across the road and got to watch all the butterflies. It was pretty cool. I had never seen such a sight before.

Think we’ll stop over at the Amistad information office and learn more about the place after leaving here, then head to Langtry for some more history, over the Pecos River, then up to Fort Davis. I am hoping we can stay at the Old Prude Guest Ranch Campground . Today is son’s birthday. Happy Birthday Son.

We’ve learned a little bit more about the butterflies - the locals are tired of them and want them to go away. They, apparently, have been around for 3 weeks. They are of the snout-nose variety. We left most of them back before Sanderson and haven’t run across too many since then. A lot of them are on the front of the truck.

On the way, we stopped at Seminole Canyon and where the Pecos River joins the Rio Grande. I didn’t see near as many Border Patrol vehicles as I did on the trip through here in April of ‘07. We visited the Judge Roy Bean park in Langtry.

Currently, we are at the Prude Guest Ranch, using their RV park. We have full hookups (no cable or WiFi). I use to be a working ranch back in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. In 1921, the Prude’s starting taking in guests and that has been their primary purpose since then. There are a number of cabin rooms, a guest lodge and the ranch bunkhouses. It’s in a very pretty canyon nestled among some hills. Would be a nice place to spend summers as the average high is 88 degrees and average low is 30 degrees. The humidity is low and there is a nice breeze right now.

Lots of things to explore in this part of the country - Historic Fort Davis,
the cute little town of Fort Davis and it’s interesting shops, the McDonald Observatory, the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Garden and have a dinner or lunch at the Indian Lodge. And then there is just doing nothing. We’ll be here for a few days.

We got up this morning a bit on the late side for us - almost 8 a.m.! Fixed our coffees - although I had to try this mesquite roasted coffee I bought in Langtry. It was pretty darn good, but it would come second to my kona coffee I get from Hawaii (and it’s not really that expensive either) We sat outside, did some coffee sipping and watched the vultures/buzzards perching on fence posts or railings in the sun, drying themselves out from the nights dew. Speaking of the vultures/buzzards, we have seen a lot of them since the first day. Must be the “international” bird of Oklahoma and Texas!

Around 11 a.m. we stopped at the Fort Davis State Park office to find out the hours of the Indian Lodge and learned that the Sunday buffet they served would start in an hour. I drove Jim through the campground - which was quite full - and we wound ourselves up at the Lodge. We took the time to walk around the place, read some history on it (built by the C.C.C. in the mid-30’s), looked at the old pictures of the place. While we were sitting outside, a couple told us there was a BIGGGGGG tarantula on the wall. WOW, he was big - between 5-6 inches across with his body being around 1 to 1-1/2 wide! I measured him using the knuckles on my fingers. I attempted to get pictures of him, but alas, the batteries in the camera chose to expire on me, even my spare ones weren’t up to par.

We had a delicious buffet lunch, enjoyed watching many locals some in, greet each other and visit for a few minutes before getting in line. After lunch, we went down to Fort Davis to learn about the history. Because the place is so large, we used the electric golf cart they provide. They only do this for those who would have trouble getting around - so I used Jim as an excuse. (Still going to do that in a Walmart sometime!) We went around the whole place, read all the signs, went inside the restored buildings and looked at how life must have been, watched a 10 minute video and went through the museum. Jim likes western history, so seeing these places brings the history more to life.

After touring there, we needed to stop off at the local grocery store; but first, a stop for some ice cream was necessary. As were driving up to the Caboose Ice Cream Parlor I saw the word FUDGE at the Fort Davis Country store next door. I am a sucker for a good fudge. This is good fudge, a nice buttery creamy stuff. I didn’t get much but it’s going to take me awhile to eat it.

After getting the few groceries we needed, we came back to the trailer, I took a nap, Jim read. Then we got to the duty of emptying the holding tanks and as usual, it was an uphill job. With the two of us, it doesn’t take long to fill up the tank. Had a light supper of a couple slices of bread with my special butter (half butter and half canola oil whipped together - lasts longer and the oil sort of offsets the bad stuff of the butter - at least in my mind it does). Going to get comfortable and read some more in my book by Lisa Scottoline “Mistaken Identity”.

More tomorrow.

“Tomorrow - 9/29/08”

This morning, once again, we didn’t get up until 8 a.m. Must be this mountain air! We had breakfast at the Indian Lodge and because the bigger meal than Jim is use to, he wanted to come back and take a nap. While he was napping, I watched the turkey vultures drying them selves out - counted over 34 this morning. Did some reading and watched one of the prettiest flycatchers I have seen. It is a Vermillion Flycatcher and is only in this part of the country. It was the most beautiful red color. Have to see if I can get a picture. This afternoon, we’ll probably go into the town of Fort Davis and look around, browse thru some of the shops then come back to start getting ready to leave tomorrow heading westward - not sure of the direction yet but have a general idea.

I can see the Fort Davis Radio Antenna from our campsite. Just the top part of it is showing. The lady at the desk said they call it the “radio shack”. This radio antenna is just one of many large array antennas that look into outer space for radio waves. It is the system that our son works for at the VLBA (most people are more familiar with the VLA) in Socorro NM.

In the afternoon, we strolled around town and I did some browsing while Jim sat outside. I picked up a Christmas gift for Jim and a couple of other things. I always find these shops interesting and somethings something I can use or as gifts. Back to the trailer and some more reading and getting things ready to leave Tuesday morning. Will be heading west on Texas 118 towards I-10 and then westward.

Tuesday - 9/30/08

After getting our stay squared away, and loaded up we headed to I-10 via Texas 118. The road takes you up to the McDonald Observatory and since the road is not used much after that, it becomes a narrow two-lane road that must have been built when vehicles were slimmer. We only saw a pickup and a jogger on the next 25 miles or so heading down the other side of the mountain. When we got to the junction of TX 118 and TX 166, the road vastly improved - with lots of turnouts that had been landscaped with local plants and large boulders, fancy drainage areas with flagstone. Guess Texas had some extra highway money they needed to spend so they wouldn’t lose any in the next budget year! It was a road to die for out in the middle of nowhere and the only vehicle we saw on this road was the one that had passed us earlier.

The country is high desert, with lots of arid country plants and animals. Saw three tarantulas crossing the road and I tried to not run over them. We hit I-10 and headed west. Not very interesting although I am glad to see that some of the bad segments I remembered from ‘07 had been redone and were much better. We passed through El Paso without any trouble and hit it before the rush hour traffic started. I found the turnoff to take NM 9 to Columbus, NM by accident again, when I needed to fill up with gas before trekking across the desert. I don’t have a good city map of El Paso and I had to guess to take TX 178 to get to NM 9. Jim was getting a little bit uncomfortable at how close we were getting to the border when we turned off - just 2 miles. We saw a lot of Border Patrol vehicles on the highway and alongside the highway on a dirt track. I have been told one of they things they are looking for are footprints crossing the dirt road made from the last check. There is a volcanic rock area where one can see many piles of rocks obviously made by man. These, I was told are marker signs for folks crossing the border illegally and marking the way for them.

We got into Pancho Villa State Park around 4:30 p.m. and set up camp. Noting from our literature from the office, the local cafes closed around 6 p.m. and the grocery store at 7 p.m.. It was 6 p.m. when we read the closing hours, so we fixed a supper of sandwiches.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

HALLELUJAH We Make it to San Antonio area

We ended up coming in a day earlier, which I had wanted to only if i could get jim to agree; and I kind of tricked him when we got just within around 30 miles of where his brother lives. He was getting so nervous about seeing his little brother, that he was getting so up tight. I said something to him, “gee, we are only about 30 or so miles from San Antonio.” and he responded like I’d hoped and said call and see if we can come in a day early. Sure they said.

Trip down wasn’t much exciting just A Whole Lot More of Texas. We did come down towards the Canyon Lake area, northeast of San Antonio, crossed the Guadelupe River 2 or 3 times, good for rafting and kayaking so the signs and literature say. We stopped and called and got directions to brother Scott’s house and arrived here about 45 minutes later, even despite the going home traffic.

Wow, what a 10 acre spread he has with horses. Scott, he didn’t want me to say what he does for a living as he said everyone he has known or trained will be calling him for a job, is connected with Randolph AF base as a civilian. He lives about 8 miles from the base so doesn’t have to drive far to work. We went to Chili’s for dinner and just spent the afternoon and evening talking. Jim was so worked up about seeing his brother for the first time in 3 decades, he got pretty emotional. It was good to see and that made the twelve days getting here worth it.

And it’s been almost nonstop talking since he got here. Scott took us on Randolph AF Base in the afternoon and drove us around and showed us the different areas where different kinds of planes are kept (don’t ask me to name them as there were prop jobs and jet jobs and the only difference I could tell were some were little suckers and some were just a bit bigger suckers and then there were some reallllllly big suckers). He then took us to his office to see his “toys”. I was even impressed with the different types of “toys” under his responsibility - didn’t understand much but it was fun watching the men who knew what they were doing with the “toys”.

Randolph AF Base is a beautiful “campus” if one can call a base that. Built in the 30/very early 40’s when grace (probably not a good word choice for an AF base) and style (and space) could be incorporated into Southwestern architecture indicative of Texas’ early history with Mexico. Very clean and neat, attractively landscaped. We got to see the elaborate water tower and it surely kept a lot of brick layers busy building that for a long time! Oh, I was so mad I forgot to take my camera so I could get a picture of that. I have no idea if the Base is a functionally efficient (if one can say that too about a base), but I did get confused where we were going most of the time and what direction was North or South, and Scott is such a good (comical) commentator. It was a nice trip and I am glad he invited me along too.

We went out for dinner to a nice Tex-Mex place, did a quick tour around New Braunfels and came home via another confusing route. Time to hit the sack.

The two dogs, Tina and Chance, have given us lots of laughs while we are here and it’s good being around dogs. Tina is a Corgi and she is the Queen of the House. Chance is the Lord of the outside. Tina has this cute little habit of letting Chance know that he is to stay away from her food dish when it is dinner time. Chance is usually laying on the floor somewhere and she has to come running up to him and yaps at him as to tell him that the food in her dish is hers and stay away. She’ll do this twice. He could care less. Chance doesn’t warm up to strangers very fast, so it was a couple of days before Jim and I could pet him. He’s a big ole soft furry dog and he reminds me of daughter’s dog, Buster, when he takes a food tidbit from you - he doesn’t grab but very gently takes it out of your hand.

Oh, I forgot to say that I bought a electric trailer jack for the trailer. I know that someday it is going to be hard for me to crank up the trailer and so now I have a piece of machinery that will do it for me. I bought it off Dewaine just before we left Procter Lake.

Tomorrow is time to hit the road again for son’s place this time - in Socorro NM. We have had a great time here, Scott and his wife Viv, have been so great - just like old times. We have not gone anywhere special, but had lots of special time together with them. Their son, Brian, came over for dinner Wednesday night. He was leaving Thursday morning to go to his sister Debbie’s wedding on Saturday (also my son’s birthday), so it was really good to see him since he was around 7 or 8 years old! They are a great family.

We’ll pack the trailer in the morning and then head west towards Del Rio on US90. No telling what we’ll find out here. Last time I was in the area, some really bad storms went through and left the Del Rio area flooded. We’ll just play it by ear.

DEL RIO - We spent the night at the American RV Park west of Del Rio, just opposite Amistad National Recreation Area - right on the Rio Grande River. Very deserty here with lots of scrub brush, hot and dry and not a whole lot of trees for shade. The RV Park is pretty empty, but clean and the camp hosts are very nice. In fact, most campgrounds we have stayed in are fairly empty this time of year and we have had the pick of sights so far.

We discovered the winter vacation land of the butterflies. It’s located between San Antonio and Del Rio. It’s like driving down a parade with confetti in the air. They look like the sulfurs and white butterflies - different colors from yellows to whites to blacks and in between. They are big ones and little ones. I asked a clerk at a convenience store if they were migrating or was this there spawning ground and she just said that they do this every year at this time. I forgot to bring my butterfly book that I bought on the last trip. We got stopped by a train sitting across the road and got to watch all the butterflies. It was pretty cool. I had never seen such a sight before.

Think we’ll stop over at the Amistad information office and learn more about the place after leaving here, then head to Seminole Canyon for some more history, over the Pecos River, then up to Fort Davis. I am hoping we can stay at the Old Purdy Ranch Campground as it’s on a working ranch. Today is son’s birthday. Happy Birthday Son.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We think it's Thursday, 9/19 (we lose track of time)

We stopped and got some gas in Aspermont and I asked the lady at the counter about camping parks south of Abilene in the Brownwood area. She said her favorite was in the Proctor Lake area over near Comanche. As she was telling me about it, a nice looking gentleman, around my age, was standing beside me (I am not married to Jim and I can still recognize a nice looking man no matter what age he is, especially if he is wearing Wrangler jeans - that one is for you Brenda, back at work).. As she finished telling me everything, he asked if the Casita was mine and I said Yes. To make a nice conversation short, he is Ken from California with a daughter in Oklahoma and he was on his way to Rice TX to pick up his brand new 13 foot Casita. So we talked for a while longer.

We continued on our trek on US380 coming across a lot of wide open spaces, huge cultivated fields that currently had just been planted or were being readied to have something planted. This area was very flat. We went thru a couple of very nice, neat little towns, Haskell comes to mind as one of them. At Throckmorton we turned south on US283/183 towards Breckenridge and Cisco located on I-20.

So far on this trip, we have come across 6 wind farms between Oklahoma and Texas. Apparently another in Texas is being built as we encountered 6 trucks with the bases between Breckenridge and Cisco. Most of them we saw while we were having lunch at a picnic area south of Breckenridge.

We got here at Proctor Lake, at another COE campground called Copperas Park Thursday evening. Even with the confusing instructions in my Corp. campground directory it was still hard to find the place. Come to find out the Texas DOT District office in Brownwood took all the signs down around 3 years ago because they weren’t breakaway signs. They never got put back up! But, apparently all the signs for Brownwood Lake State Park got put back up as breakaway signs! I am going to write a letter to the Texas Dept. of Transportation when I get home; and, see if I stay at Brownwood Lake State Park. Humph! We had to ask at a convenience store down the road and he even expressed his disgust with the TDOT.

The campground is located not too far from Commanche, on US67/377. It is an interesting town, with the lots of cowboy history. The courthouse is in the center with businesses located around the courthouse, but with a western atmosphere. We originally were going to stay 3 nights, but liked it so much we added another night and will head towards San Antonio on Monday instead.

We got some laundry done (and I might say at the cleanest and best Laundromat I have encountered on my travels), some grocery shopping done, and a whole lot of just relaxing and enjoying the lake view and meeting people.

A couple next to us, Dewaine and Stella, have two little dogs Tina and Tana who are sisters. They recently turned 4 years old, so when in Brownwood Saturday, I picked up a small cake, a number “4” candle and some doggie bones for small dogs. We had a “birthday party” for the dogs Saturday night. Unfortunately, some “uninvited guests” drove us inside as those mosquitos are Texas size ones. Dewaine and Stella don’t live too far away but like to get away from time to time. They have a big Winnebago. Kind of makes Eggcarto look pretty small by comparison. We have really had an enjoyable time visiting with them. We exchanged e-mail addresses and hope to stay in touch with them from time to time.

Today, Sunday, I have been rearranging my kitchen area. The rack on the back wall over the sink was looking crappy, so I got rid of it and replaced it with one of those wire baskets with suction cups to hold the dish and hand soaps, etc. They do stay up pretty good while going down the road. I have 5 of them in the bathroom and very seldom have had one fall. I just have one more project to do and that is how do I want to hang my cooking utensils. I have several ideas, so that will be my next project. I still have plenty of projects to work on.

I got Jim a 4” memory foam pad, while in Brownwood yesterday, to add to the foam pads I had fixed up before leaving home (the existing was just too hard and his back hurt quite a bit when he got up in the morning). We cut it down to a smaller width, but now with 11 inches of padding (I had to leave the cushions there as didn’t have room in the truck to store them until I got home) he has to use a stool to get up on the bed. He slept much better last night, he said and no sore back this morning. I still need to trim the end down by the bathroom door so it’s not such a strain to open the door against the mattress.

Most of the people that came in Friday night have left the campground, so it has quieted down. It really wasn’t that noisy - a few boats on the lake, some water skiers. It sure was nice this morning sitting in the shade, sipping coffee and watching all those who had go get home so they could go to work tomorrow drive by us. We waved.

Am getting ready to take a shower. We have another load or two of things to wash at the Laundromat, then we’ll grab a bit to eat in town afterwards and start getting ready to leave tomorrow after we get back. I like to do what I can the night before so it doesn’t take so long in the morning. We should be out of here at my usual time of around 10 a.m.

We will be heading down towards San Antonio but staying another night on the road before seeing Jim’s brother Scott.

PS Here is picture of footprints on the back of my truck from the raccoon that harassed us at Copper Breaks.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Plans Change (Again)

We are off towards San Antonio now - switching back. We talked with brother Scott and he said they didn’t even get one drop of rain nor any gusts of wind from Hurricane Ike. Since it’s 2-1/2 weeks before son expects us to visit him, we have the time. We’ll take six days or so to get there, spending some time at different places - relaxing, doing laundry, restocking the food supply, figuring out how we can make Jim’s bed more comfortable and his sleeping warmer (him checking to see if the window is open would help). Darn, probably means I will be giving up my electric blanket I was hoarding for myself for when it really got cold.

We are in Aspermont TX at a little 5 slot RV Park in this town of, maybe, less than 2000 souls. And I have WiFi so am catching up on stuff. We had a very, very late lunch early early dinner at their local DQ, got some groceries and ice.

It’s awful dang flat for most of the travels today, lots of dairy farms and crops grown to support that industry. As we turned onto US380, the country changed into the “caprock” country - lots of draws, gullies and streams. You didn’t see hide nor hair of anything or anyone. We went thru a little town of Clairemont, shown on the map and it is a bunch of dilapidating buildings on the highway and a few souls standing and talking to each other (I think)in front of a machine shop - no store, no post office, no gas station, nada. But, it had a sign announcing your arrival to Clairemont. And, when you left.

We have a few chores to do outside before tucking ourselves in for the night. Tomorrow we’ll be over in the Texas Hill Country, which I know from experience can be quite beautiful in the Springtime. I don’t think we will have any more raccoon experiences tonight.

At Copper Breaks State Park where they grow big and noisy

Again, we didn’t go very far. We got away earlier than previous days. We stopped at Wal-Mart so Jim could get some T-shirts as he forgot to pack and a few grocery items. Then we stopped by the Route 66 Museum (at left)and took some pictures only as they weren’t open (either yet or not on Sunday). We went by Braun’s Ice Cream, where a truck carrying the part of a base to a wind turbine had an accident. The truck had passed us earlier when we were coming into Elk City. Thank heavens we encountered him before Braun’s.

We came down US283 thru the little towns of Mangum and Blair to Altus OK.; then, south to Vernon TX and west on US70 through Crowell, turning north on State 6 to Copper Breaks. We stopped at a road side rest area north of Vernon and had a bite of lunch and I gave Jim a haircut. The wind was playing havoc with his long hair! The country is FLAT, unlike Kansas’ flat. Ranching and farming, the little towns are neat and clean.

Here at Copper Breaks, there is only one other camper here in the Park right now and he is from Kansas too. We are somewhat sitting on top of a mesa overlooking the lake to the north of us. There is a nice wind blowing out of a northeasterly direction and it is a comfortable temperature right now. Didn’t take us long to get settled in and we are just enjoying the warm weather right now.

As you enter the Park, there is a herd of Texas Longhorns owned by the Parks and Wildlife Dept. These animals are descendants of original Longhorns that came about from the crossing of two types of beef brought in by the Spanish in the 1500’s: regular cattle for milk and beef and a specially bred black cattle that were used for fighting bulls. Many cattle escaped to run wild and from them developed the Texas Longhorn, a multicolored animal. They weren’t called the Texas Longhorn until after the Civil War. Seven other State Parks have Texas Longhorns.

Today is Day 2 at Copper Breaks. We arose on the late side, fixed a light breakfast, took showers (much nicer showers than at Fort Supply, at least my clothes didn’t get wet), and watched the only other camper leave around 10 am. We just lazed around, reading, working puzzles, fixed lunch. Around 2 p.m., we drove around the campground checking out the view of the Lake and other camp sights, to the Campground office to pay for tonight, looked at the museum information (interesting about Indians and the ranching industry then and now; and, how someone named Blair sunk $12 million dollars into a plan to get copper out of clay and nothing worked, he went broke and left). We drove into Crowell to pick up a few groceries and get some gas; then back to camp, read and BBQ’d some hamburgers for supper. (View of lake at Left above)

If one really wants to get away and have some REAL solitude, no kids running around, no big boats on the lake (not big enough), just contemplate life, read, write your memoir’s, nap, hike (lots of hiking trails), fish a little, smell the rain coming (which it didn’t), smell the rich, wet earth that’s being dug up by some critter underneath your window at night, watch the moon rise, hear the coyotes/wolves howl at the moon, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, watch the wildlife (Jim’s favorite were the roadrunners), or whatever, then Copper Breaks State Park is for you especially at this time of the year. The staff are wonderful. Restrooms are clean and plenty of hot water (what can you ask for when there isn’t anyone else here in the Park). It’s located on State Hwy. 6 between Crowell and Quanah. But bet it’s a hot bugger in the summer!

Tuesday, we head westward on US70 across the lower Texas Panhandle to Oasis State Park in New Mexico, on US70 just southwest of Clovis NM. We’ll probably be there just one night, then continue toward Roswell NM.

They Certainly Grow Them Big in Texas!

Just before bedtime, I headed up to the shower house. When I got about 50 ft from it, I encountered the BIGGEST raccoon I have ever seen rummaging around the trash dumpster. He was huge - as big as a small miniature, tiny horse, as big as a great dane or a standard poodle. I am so glad he thought I was the aggressor and left as I certainly didn’t feel very aggressive when I saw him. He was just HUGE. They really do grow bigger in Texas!

Then around 2 hours after we had gone to bed and I was in a good sleep, I heard a “bump, bump” and a “thud”. Jim woke up with a start, saying “what was that?” I told him it was some critter who wandered underneath not knowing how low it is and bumped himself on the frame or holding tanks, and just go back to sleep. So we settle down and all of a sudden there was the noisiest chattering, snorting and growling going on outside and whatever it was was really mad. He paced 3 times up and down the front of the trailer making his feelings be known. By the time I could get the outside lights on and look out a window, he was gone.

We settle down again, and I’ll be darn he was back again venting his frustrations only this time he banged something to make a metallic sound. Maybe he threw some gravel at the tire rims as all the chairs and table had been put up. If they hadn’t I then would have expected to see a masked face staring at me through the window! This time when the lights came on, I saw him scamper away - looked like a young raccoon as he wasn’t near as big as the one I saw earlier. Then a few minutes later, he came back and made some more noise, except on the back side of the trailer (probably ‘cause his forest protection was closer) and Jim hollered a expletive word at him and we never heard from him again!

We are now at New Mexico’s Oasis State Park, just north of Portales. There is a fishing lake and I understand the locals use it on weekends for their getaways. Cannon AFB is just north of us - west of Clovis. It’s another quiet place with only the camp host’s site and one other site occupied. Deserty with elm trees around the campsites. Sage, yucca, sunflowers along with some grass cover the ground. There are sand dunes just to the west of us, in fact the campground is in a dune area that has been stabilized with the vegetation. Temperature is right at 80 degrees and it’s almost 5 p.m. And dry air. Expect in the 50’s tonight.

There is a little museum here and just down the road is the Black Water Draw Site, a National Historic Landmark. This is a where prehistoric man and animals came to use the spring-fed waters; where the Clovis man hunted. Many archaeological digs have been done here.. The oldest hang-dug well is located here.

Good night.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Delay due to Fog

We didn’t make it very far today. Currently, we are at the Elk Creek RV Park in Elk City OK. It’s nice, clean, showers and rest rooms are clean, but we are packed in. (The price is reasonable for cable & WiFi - $22.50 with Sam’s discount) The main reason I am here is to catch up on Hurricane Ike, how and if it affected brother Scott in San Antonio, use of WiFi to catch my blog up and so Jim can watch the multiple number of football games that he is watching!

We didn’t get away until noon as I wanted to keep an eye on the fog that had settled in and preferred not to drive in unfamiliar territory in fog - besides we might miss seeing something. I haven’t quite gotten into a “hitch-up” routine yet and it’s probably because am sharing some of the chores and teaching Jim to do some easy things.

We drove south on US283, a fairly nice highway and nicer when you get closer to Cheyenne OK. The topography is rolling hills, cattle ranching, grasslands, sage and what looks like scrub oak. We pretty much followed the route that Custer did when he left Fort Supply to go after the Cheyenne Indians, so I imagined what it was like in this country in the winter with snow on the ground.

We did stop at the Washita Battlefield National Historic Site at Cheyenne on OK 47A. It is a fairly new facility, an excellent program on what took place here where Chief Black Kettle was killed, along with his wife, a very knowledgeable staff person by the name of Crystal. There is a self-guiding trail where you can drive around the Black Kettle National Grassland and see where Chief Black Kettle’s camp was. For those interested, there is food, lodging, an RV park at the City Park and a privately owned one; plus gas. The town is small but very, very neat and clean and shows an obvious pride by the locals.

Since it’s just 20 or so miles north of Sayre, located on I-40, we popped over here to this RV Park. Elk City has the Route 66 Museum, which looks interesting, plus we learned there is a museum to Beutler Bros located on the property. We might go see that since we are familiar with the company as they have supplied rodeo stock for the Phillipsburg KS PRCA rodeo forever!

I fixed a supper of baked potato and salad and now we are just relaxing. We only have a couple of hours drive tomorrow to Copper Breaks State Park.

First Day on the Road with the EX

And we are still speaking to each other! So far he’s a pretty good traveling companion but still has a lot of “the ropes” to learn. It helps that he has been around me and knows when to “get out of my hair”.

I had hoped to leave home around 10-10:30 a.m. but due to a technical glitch - the ball latch wouldn’t latch around the neck of the ball on the truck’s receiver hitch. So it was play around with that for awhile, say a few cuss words in between and finally it worked. I thought what am I going to do, if it won’t work - well, one thing we wouldn’t be leaving today.

We stopped in Hays to get Jim’s prescription, load up on a couple bags of ice for the ice chest (which is where I keep the pop and juices) and then we headed south on US 183. On the pretext of needing gas, we turned off US 183 at Greensburg to see what it looks like now after the F5 tornado that went through there in May of ‘06. There are new buildings going up along main street and a new Dillon’s (a Kansas Kroger grocery store) is being built, plus several banks and other businesses. You can still see a lot of the damage that was done to buildings.

We left with clouds, dark gray clouds over head and only saw a glimmer of sun a couple of times. After leaving Greensburg, I did get gas in the little town of Coldwater and saw the most interesting little electric car (looks like a golf cart but enclosed) used by an elderly gentleman. It has heat and AC and is street legal. As we proceeded towards the Oklahoma state line, the clouds got a little more ominous and every now and then a few drops would fall - a sign of what our night was going to be like.

The landscape, south of the state line, is of sand hills/mounds that have been stabilized, over the years, by brush/grass growth as well as some trees. I know there is an area east of here where a lot of folks like to go with their dune buggies/4-wheelers and ride around the dunes.

We are tonight, and tomorrow night, at COE’s Fort Supply Campground, near the little town of Fort Supply. Natch, it’s located on a lake and we are a hefty stone’s throw to the water’s edge. Jim watched a Large Blue Heron on a little jetty across the road from us while I fixed a spaghetti dinner. I pulled the awning out as it was sprinkling a little, even through the tree I had parked the trailer under.

When we were registering for our stay, the Camp Hostess told us about all the critters we could see - turkeys, mama raccoon and her 5 babies, deer and maybe even a skunk or two. She also told us the flies are bad (we already knew that) and that the campground is inundated with mayflies. They have life span of one day. They are born, reproduce and die in one day. Hence with a life span like that they have no mouth, since they don’t need to eat. She also mentioned about several places we might like to see on our trip, so I noted those in my notebook.

After dinner, (or rather during) it started raining , not hard but a nice gentle downpour. Jim and I decided to try the showers out. I have never encountered a shower where you have to keep pushing the button to keep the water coming. The water would stay on for almost a minute. It was hard to get a decent rinse. True “military style shower” - just like I take in the trailer. The bad thing was I didn’t know my clean clothes were getting wet while I was showering! I had one sleeve and the back of my top was dry and up around the waist band on my pants was dry - the rest was wet (including my underwear!) I almost felt like running out to the truck naked since it was raining and my clothes were wet, what difference did it make. Oh, ya my ex was with me and there was a camper across the road from the shower rooms. (To left: Drying out the clothes)

Good night.

SECOND DAY WITH EX. . . . . Or My new Weather Radio Works. Yea. . .Not

It rained ALL night, I mean ALL night! I slept good only waking when Jim would change positions on his bed - simply because I am not use to someone shaking the little trailer other than me. He didn’t sleep as good - new bed, harder than his at home, the sound of the rain on the roof. Ahhhh, the sound of rain on the roof - owners of fiberglass trailers know what I mean.

It stayed pretty warm throughout the night and no breeze even, so the rain came straight down. The only bad thing that woke us up with a start - twice - was my new weather radio blaring out at 11:30 p.m. and again around 2:30 a.m. that there is a flash flood warning for our area. Give me a break, I wanna go back to sleep. Most of the Flash Flood area was a little bit to the east of us, so we didn’t worry. But, that first one was certainly a startling wake up. Second time i shut the dang thing off and now only turn it on when I want to check the weather conditions.

We were going to explore Fort Supply but with the uncertainty of the rain showers, we decided not to. Instead we have been sitting under the awning, watching the rain come down, the Blue Heron do it’s thing, people driving by and waving. After lunch, it was nap time. After nap, we drove into the little village of Fort Supply for some ice and just drove around the area. There is a State Correctional facility to the east of town plus a facility for the severely disabled. The road to the Fort was closed.

Fort Supply was just that, a supply fort General Sheridan’s campaign against the Plains Indians, especially the Cheyennes and Arapahos, back in 1868. General Custer and the Seventh Calvary marched south from Fort Supply in 1868, to the Washita River when they met Cheyennes and allied tribes there followed the Battle of Washita. Following in 1874 to 1893, millions of cattle and horses were driven northward from Texas to railheads in Kansas, over the Western Cattle Trail. Following the opening of the Cherokee Strip in 1893, the need for a fort declined and the US gave the old military fort to the Territory of Oklahoma. It has been undergoing extensive renovation over the years.

There have been some pretty heavy reports of rainfalls east of us, primarily in Grant and Alfalfa counties up near the Kansas state line - as much as 12 inches in the last 24 hours! Thank heavens they were east of us. We only got around 2 inches.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we will hitch up and head southward. I would like to drive down either US 183 or US 283 towards Vernon TX and the Copper Breaks State Park southeast of Vernon for a couple of nights. There is some pretty country in southwest Oklahoma.

Tonight I’ll grill some hamburgers since it’s quite raining and the breezes have died down. The towels and clothes are finally dried out.

We changed dinner plans and went into Fort Supply and had some really great hamburgers at TK’s Diner. Jim had a regular hamburger and I had a jalapeno cheese hamburger with cheese fries! The burgers are very big and the cheese on the home style cut fries was REAL cheese melted on top. They were juicy and very tasty. Then I topped it off with apple pie and ice cream. Okay, tomorrow it’s back to traveling diet.

Back tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ike is Proving to be a Formidable Hurricane

So starting direction is changing to heading west and away from his affects. Brother Scott emailed us that Ike is projected to head right toward him, so I'd rather not put up with rain, flooding, winds, detours, etc and take the easy way out and head west! So we will visit brother Ken in Phoenix first.

Think we are going to head for Copper Breaks State Park (opps, it's Fort Supply State Park, near Woodward. Copper Breaks is near Vernon TX) near Woodward OK first, then wander our way towards Palo Duro Canyon State Park, near Amarillo, then angle southwestward to the southern part of New Mexico and over to Phoenix. We have plenty of time to sightsee, relax and take it easy and do nothing, if we want.

Until later.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Only One More Day to Get Ready

We WILL be ready to leave sometime Thursday morning (9/11). I finally finished the black water tank vent, after getting a new pop rivet gun. This one works like it is suppose to. The clothes are going in as well as the food supplies. Oh gosh, I am starting to get giddy.

The trailer won't get washed but maybe as we get closer to the San Antonio area, Hurricane Ike will take care of that for me. I have been watching the progress of the Hurricane as it moves towards the Texas coast; and, it's expected arrival time is around the time we had planned on being in the San Antonio area - we are actually going to Sequin. We may take one or two extra days getting down there and staying a bit longer in southwest Oklahoma until it looks okay to venture forward (er southward) - or, we may reverse our plans and head to Phoenix first. That's what nice about not having a schedule. But, if brother Scott needs us to come down we will do that too.

The weather has been unusually chilly here the last week or so. The trees are starting to lose their nice green color and changing to a dull green. A tree in my yard has already started shedding and turning it's pretty yellow color. We are packing clothes for cool, cold and hot weather.

I have one more doctor visit tomorrow. Summertime is when I get all my checkups and they are all pretty much turning out pretty good. The surgeon that did my 5-year colonoscopy checkup told me "to keep doing whatever I have been doing, as I am in better shape than I was 5 years ago!" WOW. That's great news for one in their mid-60's.

Well, until somewhere down the road. . . . . .

Friday, September 5, 2008

It's Almost Time

Just a little under a week to go and am off again. It's been somewhat a busy summer and the pace has picked up the last couple of weeks. I am still working Friday thru Mondays so my prep work is done during my days off. I am just too exhausted to do much after work.

First, I am concerned about my new friends I made on the last trip who live along the Gulf Coast. I just hope and pray they are okay and have not suffered themselves. I hope to hear from them sometime down the road.

Little Eggcarto has been getting a going over. At the start of the trip earlier this year, I encountered the tail end of a blizzard in southeastern Kansas and drove through lots of brine on the roadways. That's a great setup for rust if it isn't removed right away. Unfortunately, I had that accident on my first day of the trip, when I fell right onto my tailbone and fractured it. I couldn't do anything until the second night (and probably shouldn't have), and that was enough time for the brine to start working.

I have about two-thirds of the rust on the frame scraped and painted with Rusteolum; lite bulbs have been replaced or cleaned and checked out; a light bulb in the brake lite above the back window burned out and is being replaced (only to discover it wasn't the bulb but apparently some loose wiring which will need to be fixed, ugh); am putting screens over the propane vents to keep the mud daubers out; I replaced the trailer's emergency brake cord as the old one was rusting through; my new bed area has been finished and I have made the side dinette area into another bed for my passenger. The vent cap, on top for the black water tank, crumbled due to age and exposure to sunlight. Had a spare vent cap and started to put it on, having to drill new holes in the fiberglass to fit the new top for the rivets, when I discovered my pop rivet gun doesn't work! Ugh, another delay getting things done."Eggie" does need a good bath though, so hopefully will get that in before leaving.

Then there is the packing - food and some clothes - and making sure I have taken care of everything here at home, and the truck is ready to go too. My list of "to dos" keeps getting longer rather than shorter. Hopefully, that changes here in a few days!

I mentioned a passenger a couple of paragraphs ago. Yes, I will have one this time. He is my ex-husband and we still happen to be friends. Jim has a younger brother in the San Antonio area he hasn't seen for several decades; and, a middle brother in Phoenix he hasn't seen for 10-15 years. Jim has been wanting to see his brothers for sometime now but isn't really able to take the task on by himself. So we are heading south to visit the brothers. We'll take in brother Scott first, then wander around west Texas - visiting down near the Rio Grande River, heading up to Fort Davis, then up around Lincoln NM over to the Phoenix area to see brother Ken, then back over towards Socorro to see our son Jim around his birthday time in late September. While there we will take in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta in early October, then head home in time to get the trailer winterized (though may have to do it before we get home since Fall all ready seems to be here!); and, then head back to work for the holidays until January.

That's it for now. Will post another page before I leave.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ya I Know, I've Been Stalling. . . . . .

Writing about the Antiques Roadshow; but I wanted to include Sarah's birthday too and I had to wait for that to happen to include it. Okay here is the souvenir picture Juno and I got so you know we were there:
Now guess what, we were there just a bit longer than it took you to read this far! No, we were there from the time we walked through the door, went through all the checks, got our subject tickets, visited the appraisers and visited with the show sponsors, all in one hour and 10-15 minutes! What a bummer.

After we entered the door we were checked for tickets and items, we then walked across this large room to the next check point. As we walked across the first large room, we saw stanchions with rope across the room. We later learned this is where the "snake line" is and where you stand in line for two or three hours. Here we were just walking by it straight to the next checkpoint. Here we were issued "subject tickets" (furniture, paintings, Native American, etc) and escorted to our first stop.

The production room is huge and consists of a huge circle. Sections are dedicated to the various subject areas and the specialty appraisers are located there. My first stop was to the Jewelry as I had some costume jewelry. As I am squeezed between two people trying to hear what the appraiser said. I heard: costume jewelry, late 18th or early 19th Century, seed pearls are real but the sapphires are artificial and the metal has had a gold wash. Knew some of that, guessed at others and the appraisal was where I figured it would be. My paternal grandmother sent me this set of costume jewelry after she had visited us and seen her very first great grand children, back in 1969 or 70. No story on how or where she had acquired it - probably on one of her worldly travels.

On the way over to the Painting section, we saw how they did the spots that show someone with an item. In the center of the large circle, is another much smaller circle where the cameras are located. Around that circle are four spots where the selected items are featured. I think someone told me they can do several spots at a time. That's why you see people standing in line behind the featured spot. They do something like 30 to 50 of those.

At the Paintings table, Juno's appraiser looked at her sketch book done by someone back in the late 1800's who was on a safari with, assumed, her great great step-grandfather. It's beautifully done and there are a few water colorings in it. The Appraiser had a bit of trouble figuring out who the artist is, since everything that is written in the sketch book is in German. But she gave her a range and suggested getting the German translated to add more value.

She looked at the water color I am holding in the picture above and gave me a nice range for it. It is done by my step-grandfather when he was in his 20's. Unfortunately, there isn't much to judge his water colorings on as he was known more for his metal sculptures. After our visits, we were kind of ushered towards the exit. There we signed up for drawings by the event sponsors and to have the above souvenir picture taken. Juno did win an AR t-shirt. Then out the exit door we went at 8:30. Sorry no pictures as they don't allow them. Juno and I looked at each other and said, "Now What?"

We went to a Farmers Market in Old Town and I picked up some produce. Juno bought some excellent Y'et Yet BBQ Sauce and I bought some Jalapeno Salsa. From there we went and had a breakfast at an old fashioned soda fountain in Old Town. We both had eggs smothered in Monterry Jack cheese with real New Mexico green chili on top and hash browns. Guess what? We weren't hungry until dinner time.

Back to the trailer we went, we ended up taking naps for a couple of hours waiting for the rain to subside or quit. Just when we thought it would and try and decide what to do, it would start pouring again. Finally, around 3 p.m. we were so bored, we said the heck with it and went to the Botanic Gardens.
It was so nice and beautiful and we only got caught once in the rain.

On the way home, we had dinner at Strouds, just a few miles north of the RV Park we were staying in, and indulged in pan-fried chicken. Oh yum yum. The next morning we were up and gone around 8:30. Juno was soooooo glad to see her doggy. She missed him so much. So, in hind sight: if I had known we would get through so fast with an 8 a.m. door time, we would have stayed in Wichita only one night. The USI RV Park was a bit pricey for me and for what it offered. It was clean and quiet and the rest rooms and showers were exceptionally clean and the hosts were very friendly. But then, we wouldn't have gone to Botanic Gardens and some yum yum chicken. We might have done the Farmers Market and breakfast thing. I am glad we did it though, don't get to do those kind of things very often. I liked doing something with Juno too. Even though I live with her we don't do many things together.

So that's my Antiques Roadshow experience.


I thought her birthday was on the 22nd, instead it is the 23rd. Oh well. Sarah and Sherry had said they wanted some beads from Mardi Gras. I just couldn't give them strands of beads, could I? No, no, no not for those two.

So, thanks to Jeri in Baton Rouge and the wall plaque made by her son, I made a dish using some of the beads I collected. There was a basic pattern and then I just filled in as my spirit willed. Well, knowing the girls do recycling, I had to keep going with all those beads I had, so I bought some recyclable bags and decorated them.

And here is Sarah with her plate and recycled bags and Sherry with her recycled bags. Note: they both have bead necklaces on that I got at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, thanks to Jeri.
We went out to dinner at Applebee's and ended up getting our meals comp'd because it took so long. We had fun catching up back at Sarah's house and ate some delicious cake and ice cream. Sherry left around 10:30 and it wasn't much longer before Sarah and I were heading to bed. Wow, those wild party nights just end too soon!

That's my July. I have been working on things to get ready for the next trip in September to Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. More on that later. It's been so hot and uncomfortable, that I haven't forced myself to work on the rust on the frame of the trailer, but I have one-half of the back third done!

Don't know when the Wichita Antiques Roadshow will air but do know it will be early spring and it will be three one-hour shows. We have to watch it to see what we missed. Juno had a high school classmate go and also a former work colleague. We'll have to watch for them.