Wednesday, April 23, 2014

That's Why Rvs Have Wheels

We had a great trip yesterday and decided to make a detour and a route change.  We have been to Guadalupe Mountains Natl Park twice and wanted a change of scenery.   We were looking for a boondocking spot called Avalon Reservoir outside of Carlsbad, NM on our way to Roswell.  I figure Norma will get a kick out of it after she finds out I have already fashioned my aluminum foil hat just for this trip :)   We couldn't find the reservoir and opted for the Brantley State Park outside of Carlsbad.   Can't beat primitive sites for $8 a night including water and dump station.  

As you can see, we had an idyllic spot right on the water.   What a view and the weather was fantastic.  Saw a couple of kids pass by and kick the water and they left after a few minutes.  Other than that we were all by our lonesomes.   Went for a long walk around the park and along the water and the winds picked up and that made me thirsty.   Our clocks had changed on the cellphones automatically so we were an hour behind now but for us it was still 6 p.m. and good enough for happy hour.   I fixed a great salad with chicken for dinner.  We had put the crockpot on in the morning, hooked up to the inverter and stowed in the kitchen sink.   Man was that good chicken and cooked with energy from the sun.  You can't beat that.   We are really into this "new to us" Redbox where you can rent a video for $1.20 and have it for 24 hours dropping it off at the next stop.   We fired up the video and it was really dark out.  I opened the door and said that we should go out and watch the stars instead.   OMG!  A flood of pests entered the rv.   The walls were covered with all kinds of tiny flying insects.   We closed everything up, cleaned up the mess and then headed to higher ground to the day use parking lot.   Ended up finishing the movie and having a good night.  Whew!

Yep, I hadn't even showered yet but I am on a kick to stick to our budget and to eating healthy.   So I decided to make our own McMuffins using whole grain English muffins, low-fat turkey sausage and eggs, no cheese.   They were fantastic this morning and I cooked up the sausage and stowed it in the freezer.  We've been doing a mini-fast two days a week on Monday and Thursday, 300 calories morning and night with nothing in between and no alcohol.  Seems to be working and my pants are getting saggy.

A disturbing fact though about the lake we stayed at.   You can fish but not eat what you catch.  The levels of DDT are very high.   So this morning we went to the ranger's station and asked about the water since it was a reservoir and what they did with the water.   He said it is used for irrigation.  Yikes!  DDT on our food!  
We will spend two days at a Passport America park in Dexter, NM.  I want to do some caulking on the exterior lights and sides, work on our route plan and work on a proposal that I need to submit for the national convention in November.  We are heading east to Phoenix to see Brian and Sue and old friends from Mexico Sagi and Michelle.  From there we want to pass by the Grand Canyon then on to Reno to visit my oldest sister before heading to the Oregon coast where we will meet up with my brother Steve and SIL Michelle.    Also we have friends in Eugene to see and people in Seattle.   I think I need to talk with Croft and Norma about when we will be there to visit.  We need more time!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Overnight At The Marfa LIghts

Took off from Lake Amistad and stopped by the dump station to fertilize Mother Earth and then fill up with water. They have very good facilities at the lake and the price of $4 per night can't be beat.  We stopped off at Langtry, Tx although we have been there many times.  It is a Texas tourist information site and we picked up a few brochures and maps. 

Got to Marfa in the afternoon around 4 p.m.  and took a long nap.  The train tracks are across the highway and the trains run regularly during the day.  We think only two passed by last night and only one caught my attention.  Yep, it was chilly at night but we kept warm without any problems.  There was another rv from California parked behind us.

So the lights are real and we did see them.  Lots of them.  We know they aren't headlights but these lights stir quite a bit of controversy even there at the visitor's center.  The binoculars they provide do a good job.  We sat outside for about two hours after dusk and had fun chatting with other people and listening to people tell their stories and give their opinions.  Some people we saw; a heavy woman with very squeaky shoes, a bicyclist you was dressed and looked like Lance Armstrong who was biking across country (we saw him smoking dope, very healthy I'm sure), a French couple, a drunk couple and he knew all about the lights!   It was fun.  Just an observation.  You can see the lights below.

I thought it was truly amazing.  Of course, no one will ever know the truth because they don't want us to. I am convinced they are beings who live inside the mountains and have an agreement to be left alone and the Marfa lights is the cover.  You can tell I couldn't let go.

Sunrise from the bedroom this morning with a fresh pot of coffee, warm heat from the furnace and lots of juice being generated from Mother Nature.  

P.S.  Yep, we passed the Prada shoe and handbag store outside of Valentine, Tx sitting along the highway all by itself.   A small 3m X 3m building looking like  a New York storefront.  Wierd!

Monday, April 21, 2014

On The Road To Marfa

 We spent Sunday at the lake doing some hiking and taking pictures.  Quite a few people showed up for Easter picnics but they were all pretty quiet groups.   Another Cruiser rv pulled in next to us yesterday afternoon.  We met Jim and Martha from Florida.  A very nice couple that just started rving this last week.   Previously they had purchased a trawler and traveled the South Pacific for four years!  Can you imagine.  They are headed to Alaska and we may just run into them again.   That was fun!

The great train bridge that runs across the lake.  

 Cactus in bloom along the trails.   There are several nature hikes and we did most of them.

Guess who standing next to the lake.  There is really very little water left.  The drought has taken its toll.  We saw only two boats all day.   People were attempting to fish but not much to catch either.  

 My first selfie!

We're in Alpine at the moment and after checking our mail we are stopping by the grocery and get some gas too before heading out to the Marfa Lights visitor's area.  Hopefully we will spend the night and then continue on tomorrow.  All is good!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lake Amistad

Headed out of San Antonio around 8:45 this morning and headed straight for Hwy 90.   We pulled over in Castroville to visit a credit union branch to make a deposit and do a correction on an account.  Americans don't get the concept of a passport.   They refused to take my U.S. passport as and ID.  They said my Texas ID card was expired so they couldn't help me.  Finally, after some coaxing the teller said she would make an exception.  I mentioned to her that I could get a fake Texas ID or driver's license in a garage in San Antonio for $25 and she said, "well, that would work".   Oh brother.

We checked our emails at a McDonald's and had a senior coffee before taking off again.   The drive was easy and the road pretty good.   Here is a pic of a small wind farm.  In today's San  Antonio Express on the front page is a story about how wind farms are changing the economic face of Texas and helping to create jobs as well as cheaper energy.

As we were leaving Uvalde, dead ahead of us comes a helicopter.  No police or emergency vehicles but this chopper sat down just meters from the red light we were waiting at.   Pretty cool but a bit concerning not knowing what it was doing.

We arrived to Del Rio at 2:30 and filled up with gas.   What a deal, $3.45 a gallon, that was the best price we found on the way out of San Antonio.  We stopped by the local Walmart to check on wifi systems and also to pick up a new map.  Walmart Del Rio only carries a city map of San Antonio?  Why a city map of San Antonio I'll never know unless it is for the fact that this is a military town and servicemen are transferred to San Antonio and need a map to get around?

We got to the lake a little after and found our spot.  This one is $4 a night no hookups but is very, very quiet and only a few campers.  I guess that's because the drought has left the lake pretty empty.   Took a quiet nap on a wonderful Sealy Francis Plush mattress and now we are at the local McD's for email.   We are heading back for a hike before happy hour and sunset if the sun comes out.  As you can tell by the pic it is pretty much overcast but this afternoon the solar was pulling in 2.5 amps.  Very happy with everything so far.  We will stay here until Monday when we head out to Marfa, Tx to spend the night and see the Marfa lights.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Mattress Day!

Yesterday was a productive day.  I got the painting done at the house and almost decided to stay for a few days and paint all the trim and eaves but that can wait.  Too much fun to be had this trip.  My friend and neighbor across the street is a carpenter and he helped me finish hanging the infamous cabinet door.  Done.  Today Jimmy is making a support for the back of the cabinet for the flat screen mount. 

Still needs two more coats of paint but it will do the job!

Today we are off to a place called Billie Bob's Mattress Warehouse.  We have been wanting to replace the mattress since we bought this travel trailer.   The rv mattress is flimsy and not like the mattress at home.   I have researched this to death including the new memory foam.   Walmart has a memory foam that you can order on line and have it delivered to the store nearest you.   The problem is, it takes up to three days to come to life.   I want to be able to try it out before we buy one so we will see what Billie Bob has to offer.

I have read tons of reviews about Billie Bob and many of them are terrible.  So why am I interested in seeing Billie Bob you might be wondering?   The reviews are all pretty much the same.  The service stinks and the employees are rude and uncaring.   However, in all the reviews they say they have the best mattress at the best price and would buy there again.  Funny, isn't it?  

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Excellent Border Crossing At Laredo II

Took off at 7:30 this morning.  Pulled the trailer out of the drive without a hitch (actually the hitch works great now!).   Stopped for gas and to air up the tires and headed through Monterrey hitting a bit of morning traffic although light as school is out this week and next.

We headed for the libre.  Smooth as glass and I insist it is just as good if not better than the autopista.   Stopped in Sabinas Hidalgo and prepared breakfast with leftovers from the fridge at home.  Off we went again for the border arriving in Nuevo Laredo at noot.  Took us an hour to cross the bridge and the U.S. border agents were fantastic.  Funny and talkative, we had a woman at the booth and she talked up a storm.  Off Juan went for his permit and I headed for the X-ray machine.   Took twenty minutes for both and off we went to San Antonio.

Just had a nice dinner with friends and we are driveway camping at our neighbor's house.  

More tomorrow.  It was a great start and everything is working well.   The pins I installed for the hitch worked great and we never dropped a bar. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Last Sleep Before Launch!

We can't get any more ready than we are now.  Everything is packed, trailer loaded and hooked up.  All systems are go and it looks like tomorrow will be a breeze to the border except for the permit process.  What the heck, we're on the road!

So, you won't hear from me until tomorrow night sometime.   Early bird gets the worm.  First stop is San Antonio to see the accountant and do a touch up on the house, painting the fascia that was replaced last week.