Greetings from Ft. Stockton, TX!

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
We made it!

Worst travel day ever. 25 miles of severe wind gust. 35 miles from our final destination. At least the scenery makes up for the uber pucker factor. Experiencing heavy winds right now. To the west they are getting tornados. Time to batten down the hatches.
 

vraiblonde

Board Mommy
PREMO Member
Crazy day. Winds up to 50mph, so says the weather man. It was definitely brutal. I had a hard time driving my car, and Monello in the motorhome pulled over about 30 miles from the RV park because he didn't think he was going to make it. The only reason he forged ahead was because I had already run that gauntlet and assured him that it would get better about 10 miles down. Fortunately Mother Nature didn't make a liar out of me.

It sounds like a freight train in here now. We walked Apollo a few minutes ago and I thought I was going to fly him like a kite. The power keeps going in and out, but more alarming is the way the motorhome is rocking and rolling. Still not as bad as that first storm we encountered in Marathon - I remember well how terrified I was. And then we went through two or three more while we were there.

Needless to say, Monello was cranky and starving when he finally got here, so we set up and walked over to the little cafe at the RV park. Their specialty is chicken fried steak, which I'd never eaten before because battered and fried cube steak with gravy on it....even typing that makes me gag. But I tried it tonight and it was pretty good, although gross and I'll probably never have another one. It's checked off the list.

The drive was gorgeous! Hills and mesas and neat rock formations - I stopped at a rest area and was going to take some pics but the wind was blowing me all over the place. I'm really excited about this season's tripping. We both love it out west - it's just breathtaking wherever you look, it's lightly populated, and the people are laid back and pleasant. I can wear my cowboy hat and practice my Spanish. :D
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Quarter to 11 and we just pulled the slide outs in. The wind changed directions on us. Plus it's now raining. Before the rain the air was full of what I would call sand dust. Walking the dog you had to look down otherwise it would get in your eyes.

The winds here have the Florida Keys' wind beat. They aren't as strong but it's relentless.

On the ride out there is a whole lot of majestic nothing. The trees aren't more than 10 feet tall. It's all scrubby stuff. You can see up the hills as it's only about 50% vegetation. All the rivers and creeks that you drive over are dry creek beds. Now that it is raining, I guess they will have some water in them. Any critter that lives out there has to be quite hardy. Snowflakes need not apply.
 

Yooper

Childhood idol: George Washington, Fighter Pilot
PREMO Member
Glad to read you are both safe and sound. Well, at least safe! :p

Thanks, both, for the trip updates. Always really enjoyable to read of your travels. And psychs up both me and my wife for our upcoming trip(s).

Keep safe! And sound! Enjoy!

Fair winds and following seas! Isn't that how you Navy folks say it?

--- End of line (MCP)
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
We didn't take these pictures. I want to show what the west Texas scenery along I10 looks like. Miles of open land with scrubby bushes. Towns and exits are few and far between.



Our exit was 264. This is right around where the winds started kicking up around 3:30pm yesterday.


A very smart person put windmills out here


I saw a few rockslides along the way


If all goes well we should be able to take some pictures in the next few days.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Sadly Ft. Stockton isn't 1 of those quaint, dusty towns that we seem to be running into in Texas. They have a few older buildings and some history but nothing to make someone put it on their list of destinations. I'm not sorry we are here. It's a good midpoint in our trip. We are a stone's throw from the interstate. The downtown has a commercial area with pretty much everything we need except Vrai's beloved Walgreens.

The campground chatter is all focused on the wind. Each driver has a harrowing tale to tell about the recent winds. Our current neighbor is 81 years old and a full time RV traveler. I can't imagine myself full timing at that age but now that I think of it, why not. This campground is like the tide. Full in the morning. It empties out by noon. Only to be filled up again in the evening. There are rigs registed from various states. This is truely a crossroads destination campground.

Another thing I forgot about the west is how dark it gets after the sun goes down. Even in western Maryland, where the population is lower, there is still some light pollution in the evening. Here it's ink black in the evenings. There are no street lights in the campground. Most campers turn in early so around 11pm you need a flashlight to navigate outside. Even with a half moon high in the sky.
 

Yooper

Childhood idol: George Washington, Fighter Pilot
PREMO Member
Love the roadrunner pic. Now if you could just come up with a coyote pic or something from Acme I would be fulfilled! ;)

I was reading on Wikipedia that Fort Stockton was garrisoned after the Civil War by the 9th Cavalry, The Buffalo Soldiers. Very cool! If you visit the [old] fort [site], please give them a salute for me; from one cavalryman to another. Would appreciate it!

I guess, Big Bend? Or onward to another great Army post, Fort Bliss?

Safe travels. Hope the wind has died down....

--- End of line (MCP)
 
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Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
Here's the lastest from Fort Stockton.

Th only reason there is a Fort Stockton is because this is where the spring flowed out of the ground. Trail travelers and Indians would take their horses there for water. Not much flowing water in this part of Texas. Now due to farming wells, the water only flows in the winter. Crop irrigation drops the water table to low for a year round flow today.

The good news is that there has NOT been a campground shooting here. There are still a few days left, so it could happen. Unlike San ANtonio, which had a bit of an AUstin, TX, I think most folks around here pack heat.

The mesas round here fascinate me. They look like mountains with their tops cut off. A quick google search confirmed what I suspected. Wind, water and erosion removed the softer earth until it reaches the hardened layers. The eroded layers of dirt are currently blowing all over the place like lost souls. Our vehicles have a layer of fine Texas terra covering them. Even the cooler we leave outside looks like it's been there for months.

Vrai joked with me that she wondered what bad thing would happen to us when we were due to leave Kerrville. Our departure was delayed 2 days due to what turned out to be a loose gas cap. So thanking our lucky stars it wasn't something major. Not an hour after those words left her lips then we find that the battery on the Jeep was kaput. We quickly jump the Jeep and then head down the road.

I won't bore you with my travails of driving in the west Texas winds. Needless to say there was a moment where I was ready to pack it in and settle down. Or at least head back to the east coast where I would take my chances with the occasional hurricane.

Once we got to Ft Stockton the Jeep battery again was DOA. ANother jump start but this time we are blocking the only ntry to the campground. So rigs were backing up waiting for us to clear the path. You should see both of us work quickly like a well choreographed musical. Getting the cables hooked up, start the Jeep, unhook the cables, move ther Rav4, open up the travel lane for the road weary travelers. All who faced the same nerve wracking winds to get there.

I put the battery on my charger. I try to start it again and nothing. I suspect the battery. I'm in the lower 50 percentile in mechanical aptitude. At least that is what my ASVAB score claims. Paul Simon doesn't know much about biology. I know about as much when it comes to vehicles. Gas, tires, keys, adjust mirrors. Pretty much covers it. I do have a sweet back up camera on the dash. Oh and I can parallel park. Anywho I suspect the battery is bad. I remove the battery and take it over to the auto part store. This is 1 of those times when it pays for us to have 2 vehicles.

I bring the battery into the store. The gal at the counter asks for the vehicle info. She punches it in her computer. Tells me what model to get. The suggested model is clearly much larger than the battery I have on the cart in front of me. I'm all for women in non traditonal roles but when I'm purchasing auto parts I need the most knowledgeable person helping me. Because I have to rely on their expertise to get me the right parts. So I question that her recommendation doesn't seem correct. We look over the several dozen batteries for sale. She grunts and groans which doesn't make me think she's the most informed battery person in the store. I almost suggested that maybe 1 of her coworkers might be able to help us out. LSS, I get what looks to be a suitable battery.

Back at the campground with the new battery, I put it on the charger to make sure I have plenty of starting power. I set the battery in the Jeep, only to find out that the groove at the bottome of the battery isn't long enough to accept the tab on the Jeep. I struggle to get the terminal on the posts. It's a tight fit. I have to angle the battery and I get the negative side on. I try to do the other side but I need a 3rd hand. Vrai assists me and we get it on. I give it a try and I now have a working vehicle. Now to just batten down the battery and I'm good. The part that I detached needs to get screwed back in. But I can't get it in because of the slot mismatch issue. The battery is too far forward. It should sit back further but can't. I decide at this point that I want the correct battery. And the Jeep runs, so I drive it over to the parts store. My mission is not to leave until I have the correct battery.

The auto part store is now having their parking lot resurfaced. Great. I explain my issue to the sales gal. More hemming and hawing. Her knowledge of batteries hasn't increased since the last time I left. She types the info into the computer again and gets the same result. This mega huge battery is the replacement for my itty bitty battery. So at this point my head is getting pretty hard. I take the battery to the parking lot. Remove the other new battery. In the base where the battery goes there is a plastic wedge that appears removeable. I wiggle that part free. Now my battery compartment is large enough to accept the mega battery. I drop it in. Hooking up the terminals is a snap because on this battery the posts are recessed about and inch and half. I even have enough space to get the wedge in to firmly secure the battery in place. I'm good to go. I pay the difference in battery price and I fly out the door. Success.

And here you all thought that all we did was travel around to neat place and eat and drink to our heart's content. Well this is living on the road. We have the same challenges as those that live in 1 place. In the big picture the battery issue wasn't that big of a deal. It worked out in the end.

We met a couple from NJ that is in the campground. They have the same make and model RV as us. Only they have a 31 footer. We compare notes. They have been full time traveling since December. He remarked at how hard it was to drive in the wind. The wind has actually calmed down a bit since the gusts of Tuesday & Wednesday. They are having an issue with their RV steps not wanting to come down. They have a step ladder to get in and out of their RV. Welcome to RV life. Just like a stick & brick home, things always seem to be in some sort of needed repair. Just the other day I turned on the AC. Nothing happened. I turned the thermostat all the way down. Still nothing. I went and tried the bedroom AC. Still no love. While we are troubleshooting the issue(both of us scratching our heads), Vrai looks up and notices that the microwave oven isn't showing the time. The whole campground is without power. So it isn't our issue. That makes me extremely happy. Even though we don't have any cold air at the moment.

Speaking of cold air, here we often end up running both heat and AC in the same day. I like that we can have the screen door open during the day. We can only do that if the wind isn't blowing like crazy. Having that dust all over isn't fun.

I thought I would see a road runner while we were here. The main bird here seems to be the mouring dove. They are everywhere. I hear a few cooing while I type this.

My neighbor in the campground is 81 years old and is a full timer. He's a grandfather but doesn't have any great grand kids. He doesn't see any in the future. Yet the woman that we met yesterday, who looked to be around my age, already has a great grand kid. My mom has 17 grand kids. The youngest is a sophomore in high school. Theoretically every one of them could possibly give her a great grand but most likely won't happen for a while. I should start an office pool to see which grand kid is the first to reproduce.

Vrai walked in from taking Apollo out on a sniff & destroy mission. Now the door is shut and the heat has been turned on. She's usually the one that's hot all the time. I'm the one that is always putting a long sleeve shirt on. I think we have somehow changed preferences.

Time for me to wrap this up. I have to get on the other forum areas so I can argue politics with random strangers. *May all your cars start on the first try and your road trips be long and windless. * = an old Comanchee saying.

Be safe and stay warm.
 

Monello

Awww, jeez
PREMO Member
I guess, Big Bend? Or onward to another great Army post, Fort Bliss?
No Big Bend for us. That does seem like a destination for a lot of the other campers here.

Next stop El Paso on Sunday. ANother fairly long drive day. The last 1 of a while thankfully.
 

Yooper

Childhood idol: George Washington, Fighter Pilot
PREMO Member
Time for me to wrap this up. I have to get on the other forum areas so I can argue politics with random strangers. *May all your cars start on the first try and your road trips be long and windless. * = an old Comanchee saying.
What a GREAT write-up! Thank you. Feel like I'm with you both (so much so that I'm finding that I'm absentmindedly picking imaginary grit out of my ears as I type this).

Your story reminded me of an old French trapper saying I heard while trying to fix our RV battery on a trip last year up to the Great White North:

"Ensure you know whether your battery is a "regular" [left side positive] or an "R." And always make sure the CCA is correct." Or something like that; it was some old Quebecois who told me so I am not entirely sure if I understood correctly.

Learned quite a bit about batteries on that trip. More than I have ever wanted to know, but probably should have (as it would have kept what should have been a great trip from heading South - both literally and figuratively!).

Safe travels.

--- End of line (MCP)
 
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