Texas touring is desired to break the winter routine of Alb New Mexico. Navigator planning the route, leaving from Alb NM on afternoon of Saturday late March. Traveling in 2004 Holiday Rambler motor coach, 200 miles to Roswell NM, for night at Sam’s Club parking lot. After quiet night, we left for Texas state line. Tatum NM, followed a substantial distance by Bronco being the state line cross designation, with a couple of homes in existence. After Plains Texas, eventually turning south at Brownfield through cotton ranch land, oil wells, among countless miles of wind turbines around Big Springs, then on towards San Angelo,.
On arrival we spent the night in the city park near Lake Nasworthy. Gate was still open on arrival, so we paid $12 for the ‘ambiance’ of lakeside evening.
Easter weekend, so lots of families on Sunday. Leaving colorful eggshells scattered everywhere is Easter egg reminder. Not much in wildlife on this occasion, a few deer were seen roaming in early morning. Past years were prolific in Turkeys, wild hogs, vultures, donkeys, Llamas and even a white Peacock fanning it’s magnificent tail.
Headed south toward Junction Texas after 1st refill of fuel, and a bit of bird watching in the Llano River State Park, where bird blinds are close to the RV sites. Lots of migratory birds seen, as Texas has huge populations of migrating birds of every description.
Destination was the very large Garner State Park, where we observed the wild turkey’s in ‘strut’ broadly spreading their tails to attract females. This huge riverside park named after Sec of the Interior Nance Garner, of years long past, is usually open for camping, as the sites are numerous.
Departed in morning for Corpus Christi Lake State Park, where another two evenings spent. Trip to the gulf planned, to see the leftover damage from ‘Harvey’ hurricane. Hit and miss damage was evident, with structures destroyed, in between others relatively unscathed. Relatively little……, in comparison to the massive devastation of the Galveston Hurricane of past years.
The normal tourist occupancy of the local coast area is in the thousands of rooms. Only a couple of hundred are ready for occupancy right now. Crews are working to replace roofs [really high condos are scary to roof]. Windows are boarded on many high rises. Fascia coatings are gone on several structures walls. Restaurant structure in the bay ferry location, fell into the bay below, as pilings were loosened. Lots of jobs…… for those willing to work.
After staying 2 nights at Corpus Christi Lake State Park and seeing the coastal sites in the Honda CRV tow, we departed the coastal area and began heading back north.
Departed for San Antonio the next morning, leaving the filled lakeside RV parks behind. Last trip, during the endlessly repeated ‘Global Warming’, I had walked across the Corpus Christi lake. Following the last few years of heavy rainfall, it is quite deep this trip, with new aluminum pier for fishing. Guess the global warming has subsided for a while?
Drove along the designated hurricane escape highway, on toward San Antonio, for the next four nights stay, as we explore our old favorite areas. After checking in at our favorite San Antonio KOA, we drove the Honda tow into town and found an older section in San Antonio, where antiquey stuff is sold from ancient buildings lining the blocks. Fun day, Small stacking tables, cut glass door insert, Spanish military sword replica, 2 reproduction daggers, 2 wall hanging aluminum Conquistadors from the 1920’s, also happily found. The Honda CRV tow is now filled with treasures.
Brief stop with another ‘Goodwill’, Salvation Army thrift store excursion finding nothing special. The last generation of Obama economics has resulted in sparse little of much value donated to thrift charities. The previous Bush years, in glaring contrast, were awash in discards from affluence excess.
We venture forth today in search of treasures to sell in navigator’s little mall space. A stop at wonderful ‘Sea Island’, for excellent fish and chips, fried oysters, is on our radar.
A brief metal detecting few minutes in our RV spaces of the last days, resulted in a few quick quarters and dimes close to the surface. The newer Fisher F5 finds, ‘tones’ [there are 4 on the F5], on coins easily. I am usually shallow coin shooting, not too deep. I don’t do deep holes. Too much work and mess. A large, home fabricated ice pick serves nicely to poke and pry the coins out of the grass.
Leaving San Antonio KOA, for San Marcos Texas, we noticed ever more new development along the corridor of businesses that are expanding across former farm and ranch land. The hundred miles of cattle are long gone, replaced by new shopping venues and the business developments that support them.
Driving past San Marcos, southward, then into our favorite Lockhart State Park for an anticipated few nights stay, we were sadly informed of ‘No room at the inn’. The small, pleasant park was filled. Turning the rig back toward San Marcos, 17 miles backtrack, we entered our first RV park we ever stayed while in area years ago.
Pecan RV Park had been sold by the elderly lady some years back. The new owners razed her old house, leaving the slab of concrete as memory,…. then doubled the overnight prices. We paid for 2 nights among the numerous squirrels, so that we could accomplish our plans for meeting San Marcos friends, and our UT student grand daughter in Austin.
Evening meal at the Saltgrass Steak House in San Marcos was pleasant with old friends. Located above the San Marcos River Spring Lake, ‘Saltgrass’ [a Landry enterprise] has excellent ambiance and hearty fare. Iridescent black Grackles watch patiently within feet, for dropped bread, as the sound of rushing water cascades over the falls beneath the deck.
The Christian movie, ‘One Can Only Imagine’ is a must see for all that question life changing forces of Faith. Dennis Quaid portrays the mean father figure. His son is described from young life, on his way through poverty on his eventual path to fame and fortune, as a well known Christian entertainer of today. His trademark song is still played on most conventional radio stations today, Christian or Not.
‘Paul’ was conveniently in the theater nearby. Christians during Nero’s [and Caligula’s] time were systematically decimated. Used as oil soaked, living, burning torches, they were raised on penetrating poles above the edges of the Apian Way in Rome. A horrifically graphic, screaming message by the hundreds, for any considering Christianity as a way of life. ‘Circus’ routinely involved Christians being torn to shreds by wild animals inside the Colosseum, for the entertainment of Nero’s minions… his adoring anti-Christian ….voters.
Next day drive into Austin Texas for lunch with grand daughter. Austin is in constant traffic gridlock, similar to rush hour every hour. The day was spent in traffic more than lunch. Upon returning to San Marcos RV park, we sought a way to circumvent driving the rig back through Austin in the morning. This was necessary in order to avoid the horrible Austin traffic. With 50,000 students at UT alone [The Longhorns], the rush hour is endless, in spite of the countless, scheduled UT buses covering the city.
Bypassing the city, by taking narrow rural highways off of a backtrack, proved a better solution for the rig, although paying attention closely is demanded.
Staying the nights in Texas State Parks [there are over 100] along the route is always more enjoyable. Getting away from the cities offered more cancellation openings in the questionable reservation routine of the TSP reservation system.
Our old Ink’s Lake State Park had one precious night open. Enjoying the evening beside the large, constant level lake below Buchanon Dam, we watched the ducks, a Great Blue Heron and lots of squirrels accomplish their daily routine. Trailers and Fifth wheelers dominate the Texas RV scene, where heavy duty pick-up trucks are as common as work boots..
After a morning trip to check out Blackrock RV Park on Buchanon Reservoir, for possible vacancy [none], then driving the Honda CRV tow into a nearby town for an exhaust flange nut, to replace another that had fallen off the coach, we broke camp and moved out again.
No other State or lakeside Park openings nearby, we drove onward. Navigator noted Lake Brownwood State Park is on this route toward home. The night proved quite windy. Waves on the lake kept all of the boats on their trailers. Fishing was from the long dock, with good results for at least one party. Large Crappie crowded their ice chests.
With wind blowing, the awnings protecting the slide-outs rattled heavily. During wind, I throw heavy ropes over those awnings to hinder the destruction. Navigator noted the area that we had recently passed through, was being hit by hail and tornadoes.
Morning, windy and on the road again toward home, the speed is reduced against the wind. Fuel at Big Springs Texas and continue westward toward La Mesa Texas.
After leaving La Mesa Texas this morning, driving well over 100 miles, Stopped in Roswell New Mexico and filled at $2.25 per gallon at Sam’s Club, before rolling on again. A 400 mile day is not fun in the coach, especially when being passed by hurried semis on two lane highways.
Wind blew much of the return trip, more of a last dash, so additional fuel consumption was added to the slow progress. La Mesa, [Texans mis- pronounce it with a long E] has a nice city park in which they allow overnight free camping. They even supply water and electrical connection for overnight travelers.
The grassy park is quite nice with large pecan trees, squirrels and birds. Kids have a play set, along with a set of swings that are not maintained. The bolts that allow the swings to swing to and fro, were not grade 8 hardened and are all worn thin ….and breaking. Watching kids swing, after seeing the condition of those hanger bolts, was like watching amateur tightrope walkers practice death defying stunts, with no knowledge of the rope’s condition.
Driving highway northwest from Big Springs, both sides are involved in a big project of water irrigation, mixed with replacement oil well drilling operations. The old individual wells for oil, are apparently being replaced with the latest technology where multi-bore horizontal drilling is feasible.
Irrigation water is increasingly stored in massive plastic lined earthen ‘tanks’, then distributed miles in every direction through piping for irrigation of the crops. Cotton is still king here.
Wind turbine ‘farms’ dot miles of hilly range land across the western states, with cattle grazing and cotton growing beneath the large structures. Each individual blade, of a 3 blade turbine, is 150′ long. When wind blows stronger than they can handle, they are ‘feathered’ to prevent destruction. Hundreds of the turbines were feathered these days. We often noted on past trips, 3-truck convoys, with each carrying a 150′ hollow fiberglass turbine blade, for new or replacement.
As noted, the Texas State parks were mostly all filled this trip, due to the Bluebonnets in bloom, spring Break of students and tourists starting to arrive, along with good fishing attracting the working class. We only enjoyed sparse single nights in our favorite locations, between checking out less well known parks along the route, due to full bookings of the most desirable. Navigator was busy plotting and revising course changes throughout this spring venture.
Our last week was mostly on the move and not spending long at each area. Thunder Hog, the Holiday Rambler coach did well, in spite of being up over 100,000 miles and on the road every travel season for over 15 years since it was rolled out of the factory door. I noted several times, new sounds that brought forth concerns, followed by prayers to keep it purring until we got back home.
Drive up to house safely and happy. Unload all ‘stuff’ is team effort of tote and stash repeated for a duration of time. Drained the waste holding tanks, accomplished with no errors, now time to relax and watch some netflix mellow out series, sleep in the home bed tonight.. Tomorrow is oil change, creeper sliding beneath the belly of the beast to grease the dozen+ fittings ……ready for yet another trip. God be willing 😊
Lawns need mowing…..