About four pm the Team headed back to the Castle. It was nice to start with sitting under the bridge next to the water at Lake Amistad. By four pm the temperature was 101 deg F. Time for the AC to get to work. This is the Teams last day in Del Rio and it is very much time to move to cooler areas. Where are the cooler areas in Texas. Research may show us where to go next.
For my readers that would like to have reviews of campgrounds there is a very decent site that does that exact thing. It is http://www.rvparkreviews.com/
I am a contributor to that site as well as many other RVers. Feel free to add your reviews to the site when you are out camping.
For the next few months the problem will be to stay cool while out trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Late yesterday the weather forecast was checked and it was not nice. High winds, hot and very dusty were the anticipated conditions. So I went looking for a campsite with 120 volt to run the AC. Boondocking in blowing dirt with temps in the 90s is not on my agenda.
This morning the Team moved to Amistad Outdoors campground. A tow of almost 3 miles was required. Short term cost is $23 for water, electric, sewer, cable TV and excellent wifi. If you want longer they are $138 a week with all the services. For monthly they get $200 plus electric. It is a clean place and the site that was chosen is next to the office building and behind a long storage shed. The hope was to block some of the wind. No hope.
Fishing in the prevailing 30+ mph wind was a lesson in not falling off the pier as it turned out. There were two bites but my reactions were too slow. Tonight the Asian buffet is on the schedule.
This is not a great time of the year to be in Del Rio but two things combined to get me here. The parks that were planned and the roads around them had all shut down from the wildfires and the weekend was upon me. So the Team dipped south away from the fires to what was going to be some $2 a night boondocking. Well there was one night cheap but the heat forces me into AC mode and it sure FEELS GOOD.
For now Sunday morning the Team will be rolling. Tentative targets are all north of I-10 and east of San Antonio. We will just have to wait and see where reality turns out to be. The search continues for the best places for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Texas wildfire information:
On the road at 7:30 am made for a good start on the plan changes. When my body rolled out of bed, the Team was planning on going to Junction and stay the weekend at the state park. It was not to be. There is a wildfire over there now and the road south from the park was closed. So when we got to Ozona for diesel fuel, the internet was checked for updates on the wild fires.
With that information in hand, it seemed the only safe way was to head south to Del Rio for the weekend and see what develops. The Team headed south on highway 163 to Comstock and then south on 90 to Del Rio. Most of highway is decently scenic. The new blog header picture came from this area. Another spot seemed picture worthy so here it is.
Several emergency Forest Service trucks passed me while on this highway. That’s odd since they were going the wrong way. The fires were behind me. As was soon learned there was a new one up ahead about twenty miles north of Comstock. Soon there was equipment cutting fire breaks in the brush. Other men were doing whatever is needed. At an old business parking lot was a fancy mobile command center set up with a staging area set up next to it. Then the smoke was noticed.
The smoke was on the other side of a ridge paralleling the highway. There were several picture worthy scenes along the way. The grass along side the road was way too dry for me to chance the exhaust system setting fire to it if I pulled off to get a picture.
Finally at Dead Mans Pass was a paved pull off for the historical marker. These next two pictures were taken from there. The smoke was creating a haze that made the picture less than sharp.
After that stop, we had lollygagged enough and it time to clear out of the area without any more stops. More fire equipment from Del Rio passed me as they were headed to the fire.
The Team continued on to the San Pedro Campground where we are the only camper here. We have been fortunate to dodge two wildfires in New Mexico, five known ones in Texas and the new one north of Comstock. After we arrived here I got word that the state paark at Junction had closed and evacuated the camapers. Pushing my luck does not sound wise to me, so more data will be gathered before we roll again. The Team has not been in any real danger yet and that is the way it will stay as for as we are concerned.
Here is the campsite we are at near Del Rio. We were here about a month ago on our way to Big Bend. Now that Big Bend in cooler weather is a great place to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
The Team was rolling about 9:30am MDT for the hour and a half drive to north of Las Cruces. At 7 pm CDT we pulled into an I-10 rest stop for the night. When we got to Las Cruces the wind was ripping the flags off the poles and dirt came in with the air when you inhaled. ENOUGH I CRIED. I AM TIRED OF EATING DIRT ALL DAY. So the Team stayed on I-10 and came back into Texas.
We kept rolling until the wind was not clouding the sky with dirt. By then we were to the area where the wildfires were smoking up everything.
So we kept rolling and rolling and rolling. Around Fort Stockton somebody sent the cavalry out to check on us.
We told them we were fine and kept on rolling and rolling.
Eventually my ability to drive safely was coming to an end when this rest area east of Bakersfield Texas came into view. With a little luck my body will get some rest tonight and be ready to roll in the morning. The view is not too bad is it?
Over 400 miles of towing in one day is not the way to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
It has been a very bad day for being on the road. Supposedly the winds and dirt only got up to around 55 mph in the gusts. WOW what a mess. At least it should be a short trip tomorrow and no damage has happened to the OFM Team.
So what do you do when you cannot safely get outside or drive? TheOFM cooked up some excellent food.
Combine all the ingredients shown in the picture above and prepare it according to the instructions for the rice blend. It turned out wonderful for eating while watching the wind blow tumbleweeds, rocks and small dogs tumbling down the pavement. The time is some after eight pm and the I-net signal is weak.
Hopefully the Team will be lucky and find some I-net signal of some sort tomorrow. It should be a much more exciting day of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Check out this mess: http://www.mylifeoutdoors.com/2011/04/last-chance-fire-burns-in-guadalupe.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Mylifeoutdoors+%28My+Life+Outdoors%29
This is where I WAS heading in the morning. Now it will be time to formulate a plan B for going out and trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Edit: I-net can be scarce out here so the Teams may be off the air fairly often the next few days. It is bath and bed time so for the moment the Teams Plan B is going to look at the Rio Grande somewhere.
This morning the sun is bright and the breeze light but cool. The temperatures here are wonderful even if the dirt blows a lot. The solar panels are working hard filling my batts with good stuff. Since it has been a few weeks since the panels were dusted and since no rain has happened, it seemed a good time to clean them. The output at 9am was 4.3 amps. The panels are flat not tilted. The batts have been full by 11 am each morning so they have been working just fine as is.
Once my body was on top of the Castle it could be seen that there was not much dust on the panels. They were dusted off with a soft brush. The door side panel had a partial shadow from the raised television antenna on it. Ok now the Team has a chance to see how much amperage difference it makes. The antenna was lowered. Without the shadow on that panel, the charging amperage had jumped to 7.2 amps or over a 60% increase in charge. WOW that is a major difference. That shadow probably covered less than 20% of the panel surface.
Survival on the Trail
A reader comment asked about what survival stuff is taken on my walks. For the short walks of an hour or so it is only water and a granola bar. For longer walks my hydration pack and a belt mounted water bottle, several granola bars or cereal in a baggie. Maps are seldom needed since my path is always on developed well defined trails. A very long walk time for me is five hours. Keep it light and simple. Most of the time a map is not needed. Some places have interconnection trails so a map is needed to make certain my feet take the correct trail. It is a fact of life that mostly wherever my head wants me to go; there have been lots of folks there ahead of me making a blatant trail.
Tuesday the rent at Dream Catcher RV Park is used up and it is time to move the Castle. Where will the Teams go?? Boy that is a great question. The temperatures are so nice here now that leaving southern New Mexico seems like a bad choice. Hmmmm Fort Cummings and the gold mines still have some unexplored places that need my attention. Hmmmm.??????
While on the roof my memory worked for a change. Surprised the dickens out of me it did. So the next chore was the lubrication of the antenna. Three points need a squirt every six months (or when I remember to do it). It was back up the ladder and three quick squirts and back down the ladder. Of course the up the ladder and down the ladder took a lot longer than the lubrication process. Here is the lubricant that is used for the antenna.
The Castle keeps the spare sewer hoses in the back bumper like most trailers. However the bumper had only access to the eight foot tube from one end. When a spare hose would slide to the door side of the bumper, it was not reachable with anything normally carried. Today that trouble was rectified. A ½” diameter hole was drilled near the bottom of the door side plate on the hose storage container.
Now the rod for extending the awning can be inserted into the hole to push wayward hoses close enough to the other end to be retrieved for use.
Sewer Hose Repairs
That last fix up reminded me that one of the Castles sewer hoses had a rip in it that needed attention. The hose was retrieved from the back of the Truck and examined again. Yep dere it tis.
The split was nearer to one end than the other. Therefore a shorter hose could be made of it. The coil wire was cut with wire cutters and the short section removed from the connector. Then the connector was reinstalled into the longer section to make up a nice eight foot section of usable sewer hose.
Most of the time the standard 10 foot hose is too long for the Castle’s needs. This will make it more convenient for dumping at dump stations. Many folks have the 20 foot hoses and couplers to make very long sewer hoses. My choice is to use the built in capability of the Castle called holding tanks rather than have the extra long hoses. The Castle only needs to be dumped every two weeks or longer. Many of the better places we like to go do not have sewer at the site anyway, so holding and dumping is what we do. It is not really a bad chore at all.
Since this Team does not have a lot of stuff scattered all over the place, we can couple up and head to a dump station in about five minutes. At most places we are looking at a twenty minute chore on a bad day. It certainly beats when using a “Blue Boy” was tried. That was an expensive mistake for this Team.
Tomorrow might be a golf day if the wind allows it. If not, another way will be found to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
An important chore filled the day. My Medicare notice and membership card came in the mail received today. The OFM is officially a registered OLD person now. That is wonderful news isn't it. Most of the day was reading and studying about which parts of Medicare to sign up for. Coordination between the VA system and Medicare was important. Finally a decision was made that seems to fit my circumstances. It will not slow me down in the pursuit of trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM
Surprises sometimes are way too abundant in an adventure. Especially when they come during an adventure that is expected to be a bland so what drive into nowhere. Tonight is the super abbreviated version with nearly no details compared to the encyclopedia of writing it would take to actually tell the whole story.
The beginning is very nondescript at best.
The drive crosses BLM land, state land, private land and who knows land. The Delorme map was reasonably accurate. Narrow enticing roads led off into the desert frequently, but the Exploring Team stayed on the “main” road for the whole trip. We just followed the road and pressed onward. Actually very quickly it was noticed that there are little oddities off to the sides of the road often. Each one needs to be checked out in detail, but not today.
A nice ways into the desert we go around the Goat Mountains as we head for the backside of Cooke’s Range. As we passed the end of Goat Mountains a mine comes into view. Working or not is not known. However there are a lot of tailings piled here and a serious road up the hill to an unknown destination.
The road we started on is Keeler and the road to the right is Green Leaf Mine road. They meet out here in the middle of absolutely nowhere.
You can see for miles and there is no sign of buildings. A few windmills but no buildings. It is awesome. Being an obstinate Team we chose to continue on Keeler until something stops us. So we took the road to the left of the intersection.
Along the way we are on BLM land that is free for roaming around upon to your hearts delight. For a few miles we are paralleling Cooke’s Mountain Range. Dozens of oddities beckon for exploring every mile we travel. Suddenly around a curve is the dreaded POSTED sign. The Team does not do anything that could cause trouble with folks so we stopped.
Now where are we???? For the first time since this blog started the GPS has to be brought out to locate us. My guess turned out to be correct but confirmation is much better. And now my readers that want to can pinpoint exactly where we were at the posted point.
The coordinates were plotted on the Delorme map and corresponded to the azimuth that was shot of Cooke’s peak intersecting with the road. Great double confirmation is wonderful. Here is the penciled in X on the Delorme map.
It was lunch time so my bagel and apple were eaten. A pile of water was consumed to help ward off my dehydration. The GPS said we were at 5400 feet elevation. HMMMM that area across the road looks like it needs me to walk among the cacti and brush and check it out. So off my feet took me to see what is there.
While walking along the top edge of the gully paying attention for rattlesnakes, a small odd pile of rocks in the gully was noticed. So my feet hopped down into the gully to have a closer look.
Somebody has been prospecting here. Maybe they were checking that hole in the gully bed for GOLD!!!!! OH MY, this could be interesting. Here is a picture of the water worn hole in the rock of the gully bed.
My hand refused to reach into the hole to check for anything exciting. So a visual examination was all that was done. The evidence was strong that someone had dug out all the rock and dirt that had filled the hole.
WOW that was exciting but it is time to find the truck and head on down the adventure road. Ah there the Truck is patiently waiting for the Team. While the Team was down in the gully, a vehicle was heard going past the Truck and on into the ranch beyond the POSTED signs.
We retraced out path to the intersection and started on down the Greenleaf Mine road. There were even more roads leading off into the desert. Hundreds of great boondocking spots were seen in the area.
But what is that ahead? It is a free range traffic jam. We waited impatiently for the traffic to clear then headed on down the road.
There is evidence of mining activity all over the area. Here is one more that we passed on this road. There were a lot of tire tracks going into this particular mine area. More tracks were going up into the canyon area to the right of the picture.
When we got within a few miles of the highway, the only boondockers seen was this one. They were at another mine area and are definitely isolated from the rest of the world.
After a couple of more miles the Team was back out at highway 26 and headed for the Castle. To my surprise the Truck only accrued about fifty miles on this adventure. There are many square miles left to explore and let us not forget that on the other side of the mountains is the Fort Cummings area that has not been finished yet either.
Keep in mind that this is only about 15% of todays adventure at one of at least a dozen mountains in sight from Deming that could be explored in the attempts at trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
The main trail at Rock Hound State Park is the Thunder Egg Trail. Last time it was walked in a counter clockwise direction. My advice then was to walk it in the clockwise direction. That advice was followed for this walk and it is good advice. The grade is much gentler in the clockwise direction.
This view is near the end of the trail as the campground is approached. It was a welcome view. The trail is not really difficult but the blowing sand was not comfortable.
Near the high spot of the trail is the red dot trail that leads up to the main rock collecting area. My feet have not been up there but my fathers feet were up there several times forty years ago.
Here is the goal.
This view is from the high point also. The big rock next to the trail has interesting inclusions in it. Look closely when you come here to see all the different embeds.
My finger is pointed to Spring Canyon, the location of my failed assent a couple of days ago. The canyon is to the right of my finger.
This drought has taken its toll on the vegetation along the trail. This cactus is in dire need of water to fluff it up some again.
This bush is beyond hope. The drought has claimed it. At least the sign tells what it used to be.
This walk is a very nice place for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
An equipment appraisal is in order. A pair of my normal nylon (plastic of some sort) pants failed on me the other day. Wal-Mart had some decent looking cotton Wrangler cargo pants on the rack so maybe it is time to try out some of them. They are a lot cheaper than the plastic pants.
WOW they are wrong for hiking. By the time a few hundred meters were behind me it was obvious that the plastic pants are a lot better. The cotton ones are HEAVY AND HOT.
Academy, Magellan brand, in the south and Sportsmans Warehouse in the west sells the light ripstop pants for multiple uses. They dry quickly and are extremely comfortable. Plus when the perspiration got into the cotton pants, my inner thighs became chapped. These were the first cotton pants in my possession for decades and will likely be the last.
Those pants are not the way to try to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
April has not been a wonderful month in Deming, NM. The temperatures have been excellent and bright sun every day. However the winds have been difficult on 2 of every 3 days it seems. The winds pick up the dirt and pebbles and blast everything in sight. The day of this hike the wind was blowing very strongly. The hope was that the wind would keep the flies, that ran me out on the last attempt, would be suppressed. It was a good bet.
After moseying over to the park from the Castle, the Truck chose a nice parking spot near the trailhead. Little did the OFM know he is not man enough for what was ahead. The brim full 20 oz water bottle was placed in it’s holder on my belt. My wide brim straw hat was tethered by the chin strap to my head and away the Team went. Here is the start of the trail.
Very quickly it was apparent this trail required my attention as to the footing. There were many loose stones and places to twist an ankle. It was entirely satisfactory but care was needed.
The trail winds up the canyon and climbs very quickly. The scenery was nice but some green would have been nicer. The drought is strong here in the canyon.
No trail map was available but the trail was well defined so no problem was expected. However there is at least one spot to make and error. The trail came to a fork a little past this spot where a rest break was taken.
Naturally my choice was WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL. The main trail is the fork to the left. My choice was to the right. It looked more interesting. And as it was to be proven, it is more interesting. The path followed the edge of the wash up down and around until it came to this old water trough. Actually there is plenty of fresh “evidence” of recent cattle occupancy in the area.
From here the trail got rather faint which gave me a clue my feet were on the wrong path. They kept on going forward so we wound around until we came to another watering trough form times of old.
At this point the trail stopped totally. A look around convinced me that the proper trail was up on the ridge to my left. As it worked out the Team made our way through some serious brush and down into a sort of grotto. Looking upstream showed that a person alone had no business going that way. The cattle evidence was abundant and seemed to lead down stream. So my feet led the way around a corner or two and yippee on the side of the grotto was a place to scramble safely up to the top. Nope I did not get a picture since both hands were occupied holding me on the side of the wall.
Up on top finally and there was the trail. The meandering path my feet led me on was a lot more interesting than the main trail turned out to be on the return trip down the mountain. So right turn and on up the trail the Team went.
By now my lungs were telling me that they needed me to slow way down. The pace was noticeably slowed. It was obvious the altitude of over 5000 feet was taking its toll on me. I certainly wish my body was tougher than this, but it is what I have to work with. Onward the stroll continued for a good ways. Finally it was more stop and breathe time than climbing time. A check of the water bottle showed a bit less than half a bottle remaining. RATZZZZ it is time to turn around.
From topographical maps later, my estimate is the Team only made it about halfway up the trail. My personal safety rules required me to turn around and head back from this point.
As it was the water bottle was emptied a couple of hundred yards before the Truck was reached. Yep good safety decision it was. But the adventure was not over yet.
The passenger side door of the Truck was open fully and my position was next to the passenger seat as my hiking gear was removed and placed into its place in the truck. As my water bottle was being placed into its holder between the front seats, a strong gust of wind slammed the Truck door into the back of my head. It rang my bell good enough that I did not feel my face hit the seat cushion. When I regain my senses, my nose was mashed on the seat, my glasses were askew and the door was banging into the back of my right leg thigh.
After that mess was under control, it was realized that a bad headache was working on me now. Thankfully there was not a sign of blood from all this. It did require me to sit in the driver seat a few minutes before it seemed all my senses had returned. Simple events like this are great reminders that all the safety precautions a person alone can take might still not be enough. It does not stop me but does cause me to think about what else can be done to be safe out in the wild.
It is important to be careful and safe when you are trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.
Now for a few favorites from the Deming Museum read onward.
Just past the cheerful greeter is this “painting” hanging on the wall. Closer examination told the story of a cloth piecework scene. It was great.
A special historical mirror resides in the museum also.
Notice the paintings in the reflection that decorate the stairs up to the second level.
This is only one of MANY good to excellent paintings providing pleasure for the visitors.
A cart left over from an industrious mans work to make a living provided some interesting insights to life of a few years back in time.
Notice the cut down vehicle tires on the cart wheels.
A couple of things from the upstairs part of the museum made my short list. Some of the old business machines, printing devices and other items that I could not identify must have been used by the dinosaurs it seemed. This sewing machine is the first hand powered model seen in all my antique viewing.
From the wear showing on the machine it was used for a long time.
Someone has allowed for the display of a coin collection that is amazing. There were coins from all parts of the world and many different time periods. Check out the dating on thes coins.
At the first of this blog the statement was “a few” of my favorites. In reality this sampling is from over fifty individual pictures taken of just “favorites”. The rooms pictures seen yesterday was part of a set of over a hundred shots. The Museum is a wonderful way to spend a few DAYS trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.