Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday March 21-Moving Days-South Llano River Resort to Sims residence, Port Arthur Tx

We slept a bit later Tuesday morning, sleeping in until after 7AM bit we still got  away about 9:30. Pretty good and I liked the extra few minutes of sack time. There was no change in the weather from yesterday but we had much more traffic when we neared San Antonio. There was a question of how to navigate San Antonio; I wanted to stay on I-10 through town but the Garmin, I Pad, Google maps and Stella ganged up on me and we took Loop 1604. I don't like the short stretch of the loop near the old air base, where you have to navigate lots of traffic and some traffic lights. It seems absurd to me for a major loop around a large city has to be controlled by traffic devices...

We made good time and arrived at the Houston West KOA in Brookshire about 2:30. We met our delightful neighbors, Van and Pat, who invited us over for some wine and chat, so we went over and stayed for a couple of hours. Van designed robotics and worked for NASA at one time. He went to work for a private company after and told us a story of an aircraft that had gone down in the ocean in what was believed to be about 6.000 feet of water. The Discovery channel wanted to recover the aircraft for a television documentary and approached his company to design and build a robotic submarine to perform the recovery. They agreed on a price and the unit was built and delivered. When it arrived on site, it was discovered that the depth of the water was 10,000 feet instead of 6,000 and when the recovery was tried, the extreme depth was more than it could handle and it failed. They again approached the company to build another recovery vehicle. This time they wanted to lease the vehicle for the recovery of the aircraft, but the company responded that this would be satisfactory and that they wanted to buy the original underwater vehicle back at the original price. Of course, that was met with approval, so the unit was built, taken out and the aircraft was recovered. The Discovery channel had their documentary, the aircraft and then the company recovered the original underwater craft, which was virtually undamaged, so they could sell it and make plenty of profit. 

We had a nice visit with them and perhaps we'll meet up with them again. They are from the Breaux Bridge Louisiana area and we occasionally go to the area, so it's possible.

Wednesday morning we again slept in but we don't have nearly as far to drive today. We didn't leave until after 10 but we breezed through Houston with only minor slowdowns along the way. We got  to Bill's house about 12:30 and were soon backed into his driveway to "moochdock" for a few days. I stole this term from our friend Howard Payne ( 

We sat outside chatting with Bill for awhile after getting set up and I came in to write this and relax for a bit. It should be a good time here and we're looking forward to it.

So long.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday March 20, 2017-Moving Day-Lost Alaskan RV Park to South Llano River RV Park, Junction Tx

After another great West Texas chapter rally ended in Alpine, it was time to move on to the next location. We were up and moving about 7 this morning  for the approximately 260 mile drive. We watched many of our friends as they pulled out for their next destination, including our travel buddies Nancy and Dave. They are going home to Terrell and we are heading in another direction to the next rally in Kinder La. We will miss them but will see them in a few weeks at another rally. 

It was a spectacular day for traveling, cool this morning with blue skies and few clouds in the sky and warming into the low 80's later in the day. We didn't have much traffic and made good time, pulling into this park a little after 2. It is our first time to come to this park and it appears to be very new, with large piles of materiel all over the place. On their park map, they show lots of new sites, some of which are up but unoccupied at this time. There is a nice view of the Llano river and a nice bridge over the river in the background. The office closes from 12-3PM but they had thoughtfully left a packet out for us, since we had reservations. We found our site quickly and were all set up in just  minutes. This is going to be a nice park in the future, when they get a few things straightened out. Many good size rocks are scattered about, making walks rather difficult and there is nothing pretty here, but all that will change soon I guess. It is your typical RV park with spotty WIFI but this too can be fixed pretty easily. I'd come back for an overnight stay.

We've changed our plans a little bit and will go to our scheduled stop in Brookshire tomorrow but then we'll go to Bill and Ornell's house for  few days to visit our friends.

So long.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday March 18, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

We had a nice time at the rally hall yesterday, with the official start of the rally with a Meet and Greet. It was nice to meet a few new friends and to see all of the old ones. 

After the Meet and Greet, we had a white elephant gift exchange. Everyone with a white elephant was allowed to get another one from someone. We got a sack full of assorted "stuff" that we didn't need, but there will be another gift exchange somewhere and someone else will own it. We saw a few things that we had gotten before and will probably get again. It was a lot of fun.

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Today we went to The Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine. The museum was good and showed many artifacts from the early days of the area. There was a very interesting collection of old maps of the United States, Texas and Mexico.

We then went to the Big Bend Brewing Co. in Alpine and sampled four of their beers. Some were good, others not so much but we had fun with our friends. Most of the large group went on a tour of the brewery but a few of us stayed in the hospitality room and sipped on a selection of beers. 

We returned to the park to rest for awhile before the rally finale of barbecued brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken along with all the trimmings for supper and then a fun time of door prizes and some raffles of larger items. What a fun time!

We are sad to see another West Texas rally end but there will be more chapter rallies coming up soon and there is always next year!

So long.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday March 17, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

Yesterday evening, a group of about 20 of us from the rally drove the 20 or so miles to the Marfa lights viewing area. We had driven past it a couple of days ago when we went to Terlingua, and thought it was a roadside rest area.

I did get a good photo of a beautiful sunet!

There were quite a few folks already there but there is plenty of parking space and we were soon set up with our lawn chairs on the elevated viewing area, waiting on the big show. We waited and waited, but the only thing we saw was some house lights and some sort of emergency vehicle flashing red lights that were way off in the distance. Bummer...

I hope to have some time to come back to check the lights again before we leave. I did some Wikipedia research and learned that the lights have been reported as ghost or mystery lights from an unknown source. Some scientific research decided that the lights were merely reflections of vehicle lights from nearby highway 67 between Presidio and Marfa. 

The first published account of the lights appeared in the July 1957 issue of Coronet magazine. In 1976, Elton Miles' Tales of the Big Bend included stories dating to the 19th century, and a photograph of the Marfa lights taken by a local rancher.
The earliest anecdote commonly cited for the observation of the Marfa Lights is that of the cowboy Robert Reed Ellison in March 1883. This was while he was herding cattle through the Paisano Pass southwest across the Marfa plain. The lights were next reported in 1885 by Joe and Anne Humphreys. Both stories appear in Cecilia Thompson's book History of Marfa and Presidio County, Texas 1535-1946.

Referring to the Marfa Lights View Park east of Marfa, James Bunnell states, "you might just see mysterious orbs of light suddenly appear above desert foliage. These balls of light may remain stationary as they pulse on and off with intensity varying from dim to almost blinding brilliance. Then again, these ghostly lights may dart across the desert...or perform splits and mergers. Light colors are usually yellow-orange but other hues, including green, blue and red are also seen. Marfa Mystery Lights (MLs) usually fly above desert vegetation but below background mesas.

Bunnell lists 34 Marfa lights sightings from 1945 through 2008. Monitoring stations were put in place starting in 2003. He has identified "an average of 9.5 MLs on 5.25 nights per year", but thinks the monitoring stations may only be finding half of the MLs in Mitchell Flat.

I suppose that since there have only been 34 sightings, we shouldn't feel too bad. Maybe next time.

So long.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday March 14, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

Today we visited the Big Bend National Park the Big Bend Ranch State Park and the ruins and ghost town at Terlingua. Stella and I and two of our kids visited Big Bend waaay back in 1980 or 81, but we had forgotten how wild and beautiful this area is.

The national park covers 801,163 acres (324,219 ha).[1] A variety of Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil organisms exist in abundance, and the park has artifacts estimated to be 9000 years old. Historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century.
For more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km), the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles (190 km) along that boundary. The park was named after the area, which is bounded by a large bend in the river, and Texas–Mexico border.

No, this is not a group of illegals but are visitors to the Big Bend Ranch State Park. I'm pretty certain that they all have permits allowing them to float the river. 

These are photos of the ruins of some houses found in the town of Terlingua. I didn't see or hear any ghosts but there were plenty of ruined homes and buildings. 

At one time, Terlingua was home to the Chisos Mountain Mining Co. the Terlingua Chili Cookoff, both of 'em. Yes, now there are two!

I read online that some vandals damaged some walls of one of the ruined homes, but I don't know how you could tell that they were damaged. You can see from the photos that they are in-fact ruins, but I don't doubt that some ne'er-do-wells did damage something. I hope the Sheriff's Office can catch these bad guys and only wish Judge Roy Bean was still around to find them guilty.

So long.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday March 13, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

Today we drove up to the Fort Davis National Historic Site, where the old fort had been established in 1854. The fort site was dedicated as a National Historic site in 1960.

Hoping to protect the garrison from winter northers, Smith tucked the fort into a canyon flanked on three sides by sheer rock walls. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail, and to control activities on the southern stem of the Great Comanche War Trail and Mescalero Apache war trails. 

Thanks to Wikipedia for the above information.

This is a description on the original layout if the fort.

As you can see the sheer rock walls surrounding one side of the fort.

The ruined walls behind the house would have contained the kitchen, which was separate from the main house because of fire danger.

This two story building was one of the officer's quarters. We noticed in one of the other officer's quarter buildings that the two quarters were separated by a hallway that ran completely through the building, called a "dog trot" in a conventional house.

This was Lieutenant's and Officer's Row. Each house could house two officers.

Fort Davis is important in understanding the presence of African Americans in the West and in the frontier military because the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry regiments and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments, all-black regiments (known as the buffalo soldiers), which were established after the Civil War, were stationed at the post. Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt led Troops C, F, H, and I of the 9th Cavalry in reoccupying the fort on 29 June 1867.[2]:19 They rebuilt the fort, using limestone and adobe, outside the canyon walls.

This is one of the enlisted men's barracks that has been outfitted with uniforms, weapons and various military gear and equipment that was commonly used during the time. Everything has been covered with plastic due to the replacement of the roof recently.

 Notice the wooden slats to support  mattress that was about 1" thick. 

If you're ever in this area, this is an attraction that you don't want to miss. It is not hard to imagine what it was like back in the late 1800's and the hardships that these men and some with their families went through. Enlisted men made $13 a month and if their wives went to work at the fort, she could earn $5-$10 per month. Keep in mind that these brave men protected the area for that much money and today, fast food workers flipping burgers demand $15 per hour! Enough rant...

So long.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday March 10, 2017-Moving Day-Quail Springs RV Park to Lost Alaskan RV Park, Alpine TX

We stayed an extra day in Uvalde on Thursday to explore the area but didn't get much accomplished. We went to visit Fort Inge, the site of an old army fort from many years ago but when we arrived, the fort and museum was closed. The roads to the fort were dirt and pretty bad and the area around the entrance was very  neglected and overgrown but we were bummed about driving all the way out there to find it closed.

We did find a very nice restaurant at the airport in Uvalde called the Hangar 6 Air Cafe. A very helpful waitress helped us decide what we wanted to order and the food was very good. Our friend George S. had recommended a place called the Oasis Outback but we learned that it is only open for lunch and we wanted to eat supper. It was very good and we would advise you to try it, especially if you like airplanes and watching them take off and land. One interesting thing that we noticed was that the ceiling fans have blades that look like actual propellers from an airplane! 

This morning we were up and ready to go by 8:45. Today was a great day for a drive. It started out cloudy and overcast and we ran through a short rain, but it was more like a mist and didn't last very long. Our trucks and trailers are so filthy that it won't matter.

We arrived about 3, after what seemed to be a looooong drive. I guess it was a combination of no traffic and limited scenery to look at but we were tired upon arrival. We really made pretty good time.

As soon as we arrived, some of our Heartland friends that are already here came by. It was good to see them and after a short visit, we kept on working on getting set up. We had one little boo-boo when we were escorted to the wrong site. The gentleman doing escort duty today apparently misunderstood what site we were to go to and took us to #14 instead of #4. We soon got it straightened out and were soon set up. Everything worked as advertised and after having a park crew to trim a couple of tree limbs so they wouldn't rub on the trailer, we were set!

More friends came by for short visits during the afternoon. The weather is just about perfect here, with cool temps in the evening. It was warm this afternoon when in the sun, but once I got into the shade, all was well. We are looking forward to many others to arrive and I'm sure that we'll have a great time.

So long.