Sunday, September 24, 2017

Texas Highways, Scenes, and Rest Parks ...

Driving across Texas, this time in mid-January 2017, was at leisure. Traffic was light so we could enjoy the scenery. No need to hurry. Weather was beautiful. It was a clear day with very comfortable temperatures. Overnight stops were either at rest parks or paved areas made for multiple vehicles to pull off the highway.

Our stop at the first rest park in Texas, where we saw the sign
telling us Texas allows overnight parking at their rest parks.
Another Texas rest park, this one with trees, where we pulled
into the lanes for longer vehicles while giving Angel a break.
In case you thought Texas was all flat, have a look at the rock that was cut to put this highway through.
Beautiful rock
Nice scenery
Enjoying another pretty road scene
The next rest area was long with a lot of concrete and parking. It had large areas off to our right where the grass had been mowed, making it very nice for walking Angel, which also gave us exercise. It afforded beautiful views both ahead of us as well as behind us. This was a great place to stop for the night.
Great stop for Angel's walk and a night stop
View looking to the rear with lots of area to park
Since we were the only ones parked here, I took advantage of the opportunity to remove a rug from our stairway entry. I went to the rear opposite side of the RV to shake it in the wind moving away from me.

What? Not Again?

I got a whiff of propane in the air. Another propane leak? We had just paid $228.20 at RV Lifestyles in Quartzsite to have a propane leak fixed and this smell was coming from the same location! We had no choice but to again shut down everything, that is, all things, using propane. Fixing the leak would have to wait until we could get to our friends' place in Louisiana.

So for the second time this year, we turned off the RV refrigerator which was running on gas. We moved everything from that refrigerator to the refrigerator in the trailer, which was running off of solar. This meant every time we ate I had to run back to the trailer, unlock the door, hop up in to the trailer, and retrieve everything needed to fix a meal, and carry it back to the RV. When we were done eating, I had to do it all again to put things back in that refrigerator, until we could get the propane leak fixed. The good thing was we had a back-up refrigerator and did not have any food spoil.

Brakes went Metal-to-Metal

The brakes on our motorhome went metal to metal as we continued around Austin.

We took great care and kept our fingers crossed that we could make it to our destination in Louisiana. If you remember from my other posts, we knew when we left Blue Mesa Ranch near Gunnison, Colorado that this was inevitable. Then it was a matter of how far we could go before needing it! We were fortunate to make it this far. Brakes were not the only items that needed attention.

The next night we stayed in the Walmart parking lot in Bryan, Texas.

Bryan, Texas, Walmart near recycling area at right of their lot 
We continued on this beautiful stretch of two-lane road shaded by pine trees on both sides of the road.

Pine trees shade this beautiful stretch of two-lane highway
Crossing this bridge afforded us more beautiful views on our way to the Escapees Park in Livingston, Texas.
More beautiful views as we continued toward Livingston, TX
Escapees Park in Livingston, Texas

We arrived at the Escapees Park in Livingston, and claimed our hugs, for which Escapees members are famous. We then proceeded to our boondocking campsite across from the laundry room. This gave us an opportunity to do laundry before continuing on to Louisiana.

Escapees building, Livingston, Texas, where members pick
up mail.
Clubhouse at Escapees Park in Livingston, Texas
Escapees members view movies on this big screen TV in
the clubhouse.
Beautiful clouds as we left Livingston, Texas, enroute to Louisiana

Clouds in the sky as we left Livingston
In the next post, we will enter the state of Louisiana and arrive at our friends' place. Follow us to see what we do, where we go, who we see, and more...

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dream Catching and Deli Delights at the Adobe Deli in New Mexico

As we continued east through New Mexico, we stopped at the Dream Catcher Escapees RV Park in Deming. Everyone at this park has been friendly and made us feel welcome both times we have stopped here. We planned to boondock here for five days to keep from using gas every day on our trek east, but our plans changed.

Due to high winds on the interstate, we extended our stay to seven days to wait until the dangerous winds died down. While parked, John took the opportunity to make additional, better, temporary repairs to the brackets securing the solar panels on our Haulmark trailer. When we reach our friends place in Louisiana, he will make more permanent repairs.



The site we chose for boondocking was a short distance from the dog run. It was also convenient to the gate we used on Taco Tuesday to walk over to the restaurant for fifty-cent tacos, which were comparable in size to their price. Approximately twenty people participated in Taco Tuesday.  Everyone ordered the fifty-cent tacos, but newcomers were urged to order four since they were smaller than regular size tacos.

After the tacos were served, the fellow next to me asked how I would describe them. My first thought was silver-dollar size. He thought a little, then nodded his head in agreement. I could say it goes along with the old saying 'you get what you pay for'. Actually it was more about the comraderie of the group than the food. I really liked Taco Tuesday at Del Taco better, but I am glad we went, just for the adventure!

Escapees Dream Catcher Park in Deming

This park is easy access to and from the highway and the sites are all very level, with no grassy sites, just gravel type roadways and parking. People can stay here all year, but it can get hot in summer and cold in winter. It is not fancy, but in my opinion, is a worthwhile stop for its friendliness and what it has to offer.

The clubhouse has at least four access doors and seems very large as well as accommodating. The front door takes you to the office where you check in. Another door in front to the right of the office  door lets you enter a large area next to the office, where people can watch TV or join in group games two or three evenings per week. I especially enjoyed playing Mexican Train played with dominoes. A community jigsaw puzzle that I also enjoyed was always in process for puzzle enthusiasts as well as anyone who wanted to put a piece in as they walked by. This area is also a gathering place where people gather around a large round table to get to know one another every day at 4 PM for an hour. Another area is set aside with wi-fi for anyone needing to get on the internet.

Two other doors are at the opposite side of the building. One accesses the laundry area. There is a nice-sized kitchen just off of the laundry area and an interior doorway, that is shut off after hours, that enters an extra large room where tables and chairs can be set up for potlucks, etc. From this extra large room, there is an interior doorway where one can come and go to the TV/game room/office  areas. The fourth exit is accessible from this extra large room by going through a hallway past the restrooms and showers. It has an entry code for guests who need access to restrooms and showers after hours, while the rest of the clubhouse is not accessible.

Adobe Deli

One evening, a group of approximately twenty people went to the Adobe Deli. People like us who did not have a daily driver vehicle were invited to ride with others who had extra seats available in their vehicles. I was glad someone else was driving who knew the way. You will see why when you view the video below. The Adobe Deli was in an old, old school, but it was dark when we arrived, so I did not get any photos of the outside.

The building used to be a school and still has the entry/exit doors in use from that era. Many other scenes from inside the Adobe Deli can be seen in the video and the photos below. The food was great and everyone in the group had a fun evening at the Deli!

Click on the video. Watch the opening scenes to see the route we took to the Adobe Deli, and see more information about the inside and the Deli cuisine.



Welcome to Adobe Deli

French Onion Soup

Loaf of bread -- Being cut into smaller pieces to pass

Extreme Hero Sub with a side of onion rings

Shish-Kabobs piled high, enough for two and
leftovers to take home.

Rack of Ribs, also for two, with enough to take home for
another meal

Windmill fan mounted on ceiling in another room

Wine Cellar

Crocodile in glassed case

Look at his eyes...and teeth!
View of snow-capped mountain in distance
The above photo is a view of the Dream Catcher Park in Deming as we left on January 22nd.  We followed a shortcut where traffic was minimal as we traveled around the large city of El Paso, Texas, on a Sunday morning.

Shortcut around El Paso, mountain scenery and
continental divide (next four exits)
We stopped at the first rest park in Texas, and was pleased to find a sign that said Texas allows overnight parking at all of their rest parks. Before dark, the sidewalk was lined with other travelers.

The first rest park in Texas was our overnight stop.
In the next post, we will continue our east bound journey across the State of Texas to our friends' place north of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Thoughts and Photos After Hurricane Irma ...

Our decision to stay-put was the beginning of another adventure. Needless to say, our thoughts were filled with a lot of anxious moments, as our undivided attention continued to focus on Irma. More than anything, we needed to know her wind speed/direction and her path related to our location. We also needed divine intervention. Not paying attention to every intricate detail as it related to our location could mean catastrophic results.

We posted updates on Facebook of our situation as it related to our zip code location. Everything seemed to unfold as predicted. The rain started, there were tornado watches, the winds started to increase, and then came the first gust of wind.

It was still light outside when that first gust of wind lightly rocked the RV when it hit us from the side. Even though it was inevitable, I still jumped when I felt it. John looked at me, and commented, “Let's do it again!” Then we both laughed, knowing we would! And I jumped again when I felt the next two gusts of wind at later intervals. We had already rolled up our window awnings. Window awnings on this RV are accessible from inside the coach.  We just opened the window, reached outside, unhooked them, and slowly let them roll up.

When we finally went to bed, Angel was between us. It was really raining and with the noise of the rain and the wind hitting the RV, Angel voiced his dislike of the storm as he barked once and growled. We told him it was a bad storm and the rain and wind would continue all night long. He settled down as though he understood.

We had chocked the wheels on our trailer, which was directly behind us. John parked our daily driver in front of the motorhome and in line with the direction of the wind with enough room for the pine tree at the right front of our RV to fall parallel to the van or perpendicular between the RV and the van. Roots on that tree spread out approximately three feet in either direction. The electric went off for half a second, but never affected the time on the microwave. Thankfully, we never lost power.

At one point while continuing to pray, I remember trying to somewhat relax as I imagined our RV as a giant cradle gently moving with the rhythm of the elements. I woke up minutes before 2 AM. Predictions were that the wind speeds would continue to increase every fifteen minutes, from an easterly direction hitting us on the side, until 3 AM. By 4 AM, the wind direction rotated and was coming at us from the back, so the movement on the RV was not as noticeable.

Except for the wind and the rain, the night was fairly uneventful for us except for an occasional pine cone or small limb falling from the pine trees around us, occasionally making a loud noise when landing or bounding off our roof. Fortunately, all trees were still standing in the morning.The highest predicted wind speed for our area was 49 mph, but there were a couple of times when the gusts felt a lot higher than 49 mph, or maybe it was just how many we felt while watching the tall tree tops swaying back and forth.

We are Safe

It is hard to find words to express the relief we feel. This all could have turned out very badly. Thank God, everyone who remained in our park is safe. It was 8 AM on September 11 when we awoke. Hurricane Irma was straight west of us and further west of Ocala heading in a northward path along/near the west coast of Florida. Overall, winds in our area were decreasing to 20-some mph with tree tops occasionally moving at higher gusts. Rain was letting up to a light mist.

What we Found Outside

Small to medium branches from pine trees and bark from palm trees were scattered throughout the park. Please read the captions under the photos for description of the photos.

Small tree went down at fence boundary northeast of us.

A limb which came down in row of RVs southeast of us has
already been moved near the trunk of the tree next to the 
red truck.
John and Angel are walking ahead as I lag behind to take a
photo of the drive going toward the front entrance of our park.
This beautiful duck pond was nothing but a dry hole when we
checked in here in April. 
The ducks obviously survived the hurricane.
Old Glory, a little tattered from the storm, is still flying. The
branches are from the tall tree that toppled over the duck pond 
toward the driveway. Vehicles at the back of this photo are in 
the storage section.

View from opposite direction showing fallen tree and rain
waters. Ducks are swimming on the other side of the fallen 
tree.

Wider view of pond and fallen tree shows debris field in
grassy area and close proximity to park drive.
Rain waters collected in this grassy area, located between the 
main drive and the drive along the row of trees at the back 
(south boundary) of the photo. We have named the drive 
along the row of trees the "shady lane" since it is often 
shaded by the trees. There are no campsites along this 
particular stretch of the "shady lane".
Flooding looking west along the "shady lane" 
View of the "shady lane" before the flood
waters. You can see the mail box in both the 
photo above and the previous one. 
View of same camper from east end looking west and off to
the north
New storage building which was protecting things under the
blue tarp is setting upside down behind the RV.  It had three 
lightweight ropes over its top, obviously not enough to protect 
it from the winds. Flood waters are an extension of those in 
the grassy area. 
Debris in grassy area and skirting down at front of fifth wheel
 in row across from the clubhouse.


Palm fronds in foreground. The fellow with an RV parked 
between the scooter and big tree left temporarily fearing the 
big tree might be taken down by the wind and damage his RV. 
He removed the roof from his screen room, and left his car and 
the red scooter, which looks like it never moved. 
Debris on main drive entering/exiting the park.
John and Angel are waiting for me to catch up as we head back
to our RV, passing the duck pond on the right. The blue and 
white building ahead on left is one of the restroom/shower/
laundry buildings.

Ground was saturated under parts of the Storage section,
and some debris was setting in front of some of the units.
Angel liked getting out even if he had to tread a little water.
Light debris and limbs were common. 

Puddles and pine branches as we walk back to
 the RV.

We turned the picnic table with the PVC pipes upside down
 so the wind would not flip it through the air during the storm. 
The ground is saturated; look close to see where water has 
collected.   
We thank God for watching over us and keeping us safe. And thank you for all of your prayers for everyone touched by Hurricane Irma. We are very thankful to be safe.

Food for thought ... Did Irma die due to natural causes or was she beaten to death by prayer? Think about it...

John did a post reviewing the park where we are and then followed it with his post on the Aftermath of Irma.  Here's the link for his review: Our Review of Whispering Pines RV Park, Silver Springs FL . When you get to the bottom of that post, click on "Newer Posts" to see his review on "Aftermath of Hurricane Irma at Whispering Pines RV Park".

In the next post, I will get back to where I left off ... arriving at the Escapees Park in Deming, New Mexico. If you would like to be notified when the next post publishes, put your email address in the appropriate box at the top right of this blog. Be sure to go to your email inbox and confirm your request, so you receive a notification.

Thank you for following my blog. Many thanks for purchasing through my links, from which I may make a few pennies which help to defray planned and unplanned expenses.

Feel free to add your comments below.


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Riding out Irma ... We Hope

Even though my posts are still catching up to where we are now, many of you know that we are in Florida; with Irma on her way here too, I decided to skip ahead and give you a little update. My plan is to resume regular posts after our current situation is behind us.

Yesterday morning, Friday, September 8, we made the decision to stay. This decision has literally been up in the air, and it has not been an easy one to make. Along with everyone else, we have been watching weather reports, predictions, and projections, as well as traffic reports, etc. and trying to process all of this data with common sense.

At first we thought we might need/want to evacuate. Many mandatory evacuations have been ordered, but so far there have been none for Marion County, where we are. Yesterday, John was able to download a free scanner for his cell phone so we could hear what was going on around us in this county. Things are crazy! Evacuating traffic is filling the highways and not moving very fast.

We stocked up on groceries several days ago. The water shelf was already bare, but with access to safe water where we are, we filled all of our extra gallon water jugs and will be refreshing the tanks on our motorhome later today. Our refrigerator is full. I have prepared food so if we lose power, we can quickly retrieve something to eat. Yesterday was a sunny day with a breeze, so I got the laundry done and hung out to dry.

Rain is a given, but our area is not in any surge area. Hopefully any excess water we get will drain off to the west into the Oklawaha River Basin and keep any waters here below the height of entering any of our vehicles.

The wind, we have heard, by the time it gets to the area from Tampa to Orlando, will reduce to 115 miles per hour, and down to 65 by the time it gets to the Georgia State Line. We are hopeful that we can withstand winds coming at us from the front or rear, but are not sure what any side winds will do to us. Our RV is constructed of steel framing, and in the center, away from windows, we have an aisle with the bathroom and kitchen on one side and the shower and refrigerator on the other. And we are in an area of tall pine trees.

When I was a child growing up, many times I heard my mother say that the trees surrounding our house saved us during many storms. We can only hope that no debris comes flying through the atmosphere with us as a target.

There is not much of anything else I can say at this point. You can read more detail at John's blog at
http://incargonito.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2017-09-11T09:43:00-07:00&max-results=1&start=1&by-date=false.

We will try our best with God's help to weather the storm and be safe. If we are still here after the storm, I will post an update.


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Ehrenberg to Deming

We left our boondocking spot in the desert near Ehrenberg on January 9th. Rain was in the forecast. We had considered making our night stop at Goodyear at the BLM, but changed our mind as we drove past it from I-10. It did not look like a place we wanted to venture with our low clearance Class A pulling a cargo trailer. We continued on with views of Saddle Mountain, elevation 3,037 feet, on our right and stopped for the night in Tonopah at a truck stop where they allowed overnight parking.

Saddle Mountain
The truck stop was actually a pretty decent place to stop for the night. We parked along the back fence, out of the way, where it would be easy to take Angel out for his potty and exercise breaks. The truck stop itself had a convenience store with a couple of fast food places inside. We opted to get a subway sandwich and take back to the RV for our evening meal.  From Tonopah, we got gas in Buckeye and headed south on 85 to Gila Bend.

A railroad track runs along the main highway going through town. In order to avoid parking overnight where we might get awakened by a train whistle in the middle of the night, we pulled in at a McDonald’s, grabbed some lunch, and John pulled up some apps on his phone to locate other possibilities.

We opted for the Elks, which allowed overnight parking for RV’s for $5 a night, even for non-members. We paid for three nights, so as to kill some time and not use up all of our fuel at once. It was close to the local sheriff’s office and very uneventful except for a helicopter coming and going from the heliport across the street.

Their parking lot was spacious with a lot of room for parking and walking Angel. They had a dumpster at the far end of the lot at the other end of the building. We could probably have gone inside and used their facilities, but did not want to take advantage of their generosity without being accompanied by a member.

Elks sign on building

Elk statue in courtyard

Our rig at far side of Elks parking lot

Beautiful Barrel cactus with yellow flowers in their landscaping
On one of our walks, we noticed that our skid bar located on the bottom right of our receiver hitch was worn clear through and the rear part had caught something and bent backwards. This is part of the hazards of driving an RV that is too low to the ground, probably overloaded, and then burdened with pulling a trailer adding tongue weight to the hitch.

We needed to pick up some supplies, so we drove a short distance to Casa Grande and stopped at the Walmart. They do not allow overnight parking, nor did we want to stay at the Escapees Park there because their sites are rather narrow and hard to navigate with our trailer.

Rainbow and storm clouds over Wells Fargo Bank in Casa Grande
When we came out from doing our shopping at Walmart, we noticed that our solar brackets had broken loose, and the front crossbar had tipped over, allowing the bar to rub on the roof of the trailer. John had no choice but to make temporary repairs. Ratchet straps would keep us from losing anything, but the movement of the bar would put a hole in the sheet metal roof and damage the POR-15 rust sealant and Kool Seal topping. He re-secured the bracket enough to get us somewhere that better repairs could be made.

Ratchet Tie Down Straps - 4 Pk - 15 Ft- 500 Lbs Load Cap- 1500 Lb Break Strength- Cambuckle Alternative- Cargo Straps for Moving Appliances, Lawn Equipment, Motorcycle - Includes 2 Bungee Cord

Sam’s parking lot in Casa Grande, conveniently located to get on I-10 the next morning, was our night parking spot near other Rvers.

We still had clouds as we passed Picacho Peak Road the next morning when we headed for Tuscon.

Clouds over Picacho Peak
Sunday before noon was a great time to drive through Tucson with light traffic, even though we still had clouds above the landscape.

Rocks along highway east of Tucson

Highway east of Tucson on way to New Mexico

Welcome to New Mexico, Land of Enchantment
Of all of the times we have driven through New Mexico, we have always seen trains, and this time was no exception.

Train on track in New Mexico
After our previous visit at the Escapees park in Benson the last time through, we decided to pull into a truck stop west of Benson to spend the night.

In the next post, we will arrive at the Escapees Park in Deming, New Mexico. If you would like to be notified when the next post publishes, put your email address in the appropriate box at the top right of this blog. Be sure to go to your email inbox and confirm your request, so you receive notification.

Thank you for following my blog. Many thanks for purchasing through my links, from which I may make a few pennies which help to defray planned and unplanned expenses.