Thursday, October 29, 2015

Last Day on the Gulf of Mexico (mostly pictures)

Location: Bolivar Peninsula RV Park (el. 20 ft); Crystal Beach, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

Today is my last day on the Peninsula. I will have been here four days when I leave tomorrow. It's been a relaxing time, which is what I expected. I didn't explore like I usually do in places I visit because I've been here some much other the years.

Just some pictures:  
This is looking south along the seawall. I got lucky with the gull flying by. This portion of Galveston doesn't have a beach area.

I'm guessing the sign provides the legal liability protection for people falling off the seawall.

Looking north along the seawall. This is the point where the beach area begins.

You could stay in a motel with a nice view of the Gulf

An amusement park on a pier,,,called the Pleasure Pier

The beach continues straight towards East Beach while the road veers away.

This is the seawall at Fort Travis which is located near the point of the Bolivar Peninsula. It is the old home of Jane Long, "Mother of Texas". I wrote about his place and her about a year ago. 

Beach houses with a view.

The beaches along the Peninsula were deserted. I enjoyed a long walk along the beach today.

More beaches

Sunset over Galveston. Ships at anchor.

Freedom on the beach at sunset. She will be rolling to Louisiana tomorrow.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Just Cruising the Seawall and Riding the Ferry

Location: Bolivar Peninsula RV Park (el. 20 ft); Crystal Beach, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

Just a short post. I haven't done anything really exciting since I've been here. Mostly, I've cruised around the Island and Peninsula. I tried to get some pictures of the "near full" moon rising last night, but I haven't studied up on the camera settings for such shots. I may just be too lazy to figure it out although, the moon rising over the Gulf last night was very nice and it would have been good to get a picture. 

The beach on the Peninsula. You can drive on it for miles.

A large ship passing across our bow.

Every time I visit Galveston, I look to see if this old beach house is still standing. I call it the "tea pot house". I don't think anyone has lived in it for a while.

I'm not sure if I was shooting for the flying gull or Seawolf Park.

I was shooting for the dolphin

Pelicans look kind of clumsy on land, but they are good flyers and are fun to watch when they are diving in the water. 

This picture if for my sister. She likes the Bolivar Lighthouse. It was built in 1872 and retired in 1933. It was built of brick with cast iron plates. When it was active, the color scheme was black/white bands. Of course now that it is privately owned, it is rusting away which gives it is brownish/black look. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Galveston-Bolivar Peninsula

Location: Bolivar Peninsula RV Park (el. 20 ft); Crystal Beach, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

I saw the Gulf of Mexico yesterday. I've seen it many, many times over the years and each time I get a comforting feeling when seeing it. Come to think of it, I got that same feeling when seeing the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Heck, the feeling was there at the Great Lakes too. I guess any large body of water will invoke that feeling. I wonder if it is because I was born in Port Arthur, Texas which is only about 20 miles from the Gulf. We moved to South Dakota which was the first of the many states we lived in when I was two years of age, so if I was imprinted with the Gulf, it would have had to have been during those 2 years. Maybe the "comforting affliction" to large bodies of water is due to the time I served in the U.S. Navy with 3 1/2 years aboard the U.S.S. Manitowoc (LST 1180). All of those are possible, but I'm real sure the reason is the vacations taken when my kids were growing up. A couple trips to Panama City, Florida and a couple more to Galveston are what makes me connected to the Gulf. Those memories are still fresh in my mind and that is what gives me that comforting feeling. As I drive along the seawall in Galveston or ride across the Bolivar Ferry, the kids are in my memories as they play in the sand, body surf in the waves, feeding the seagulls,,,,,,,. That is why Alzheimer's is such a terrible disease. It robs us of our memories and they are what makes us who we are. They give us comforting feelings when remembering and can bring up emotions from decades ago. A memory. Just a small memory can bring a smile or laugh or tear. It doesn't matter which emotion, just as long as the memories stay alive inside of us. 

Oh well, time marches on, and we need to keep in step for if we fall out of step too much, those guys in white coats show up.

Campsite at Bolivar Peninsula RV Park
I've stayed here before about a year ago.

I only had about 120 miles to travel yesterday so I pulled out of Stephen F. Austin SP about 9:30 am. 
I planned to hit Houston before noon. I had hopes that traffic would be light as everyone would still be at work, watching the clock, and waiting for lunch. I was right. I passed through Houston doing 60 mph and most of the time the lane ahead of me was clear. I haven't been as lucky in times past while traveling through Houston but yesterday was great. 

I stopped just south of Houston at a place called Buc-ees. A very large place with 56 gas pumps. 
The clerk inside said the store in Baytown has 96 pumps. The inside is wide open and not crowded with products placed everywhere like so many places now-a-days. It was nice. Gee, I must be getting a little "touched in the head" if I'm commenting about how nice a gas station is. 

While crossing on the Bolivar Ferry, I went up top so I could get a good look at Liberty's roof. 
Everything looked good except for a seam opening up along the front. I've checked inside and there are no leaks but I need to have it sealed up before this weekend when more rain is predicted. Luckily, the RV Park recommended a local RV Tech that does work in the park. 
The open seam is in the upper left
of the picture. The tech will seal the
entire seam.
I don't need a highly technical person, just one that has the right material to seal the seam. He came by and inspected Liberty and said, "no problem". I told him to fix it on Wednesday which is suppose to be sunny and very little wind. I figure about an hour and he will have Liberty's "wound stitched up". (how is that for projecting life forces onto an inanimate object???,,,LOL)

The Gulf is still dirty looking from all of the battering it took from the recent storms so I didn't take many pictures. I hope it settles down before I leave. 
A view from the causeway on Gulf Freeway leading to Galveston

I think this guy is stuck. He is down by the East Beach area with is not very touristy. I guess the Captain didn't read the sign about "dangerous currents".

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Chased the Rain to Stephen F. Austin SP

Location: Stephen F. Austin State Park (el. 175 ft); San Felipe, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

Knowing I had a 370 mile tow ahead of me, I pulled out of San Angelo State Park early. I was emptying my tanks shortly after sunrise and was on the road by 8:15.
That has to be one of the earliest departure times for me in a very long time. The skies were clear but after checking the Radar, I knew I may catch up to the rain before reaching my destination. Sure enough, about 1 hour from my new campground, the rains started. My choices were to go ahead and set up in the rain or pull over an wait. 

As I was deciding, a Rest Area sign appeared. Perfect. I pulled in and reclined my seat. Just as I was about to nod off into a nice nap while listening to the raindrops pitty-pat on the roof, some jake-leg trucker pulled in beside me and put his rig in high idle while he went inside the rest area. After waiting for 15 minutes and he not returning, I pulled out and headed on my way. 

I arrived at Stephen F. Austin State Park with a light rain falling but I knew it would end in just a few minutes.
There are two deer in this picture.
Can you find the other one?
The park is about 50 miles west of Houston, Texas. I camped here in December of last year as I began my swing through the western states.

The campsites are nice and level with the park located only a couple miles from Interstate 10. The sites are full hook-ups but since I'll only be here one night, I won't need them. 

I'll pull out this morning about 10:00 with hopes of being on the other side of Houston by 12:00 where I'll stop at a Walmart before heading on to Bolivar Peninsula. I will be passing through Galveston and will take the Ferry to the Peninsula. I will be staying in the same campground from October of last year. I'm looking forward to seeing the water again. I haven't seen the ocean or the Gulf in a long time. I think I'll really enjoy the Ferry ride this time. 

The weather should be clear by then with just a little bit of rain showers. I don't mind the little rain at all.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Moving Day Tomorrow and Bump in Night Update

Location: San Angelo State Park (el. 2,000 ft); San Angelo, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

I stayed put today and watched the weather most of the day. The cold front came through this area sometime early this morning and helped push the heavy rain off to the east. The front did this with gusts of wind in the 20 to 30 mph range. That is fine with me because Liberty has handled that much wind force and more in the past. It's about 6:00 pm now and both the wind and rain has stopped. The radar shows heavy rain still in the eastern half of Texas, but I think that it may be moving on into the Gulf of Mexico by noon tomorrow (fingers crossed). 

My plan is to hitch up early tomorrow morning and be on the road by about 8:00 am. I'll be heading towards Galveston, but not sure how far I'll go towards getting there. A lot will depend on the weather, which I'll be able to track on my cell phone as I'm driving. I have a couple places that I can stop along the way if the weather doesn't continue to move on as fast as I hope. Except for the first 100 miles, I will be on Interstate highways. I need to stay off of the secondary roads due to the increased potential for flooding. If the weather cooperates, I hope to stop tomorrow at Stephen F. Austin State Park near Sealy, Texas. I stayed there about a year ago and it is a nice park. I called them today to see if they were flooded or thought they may flood and was informed that they were good. I didn't make reservations because I'm not 100% sure I'll make it there before having to stop. It will be a long haul of about 370 miles but since I've been sitting for a few days, it will be a nice change to have wheels rolling again and seeing new things. 

It should be an interesting trip as I chase the cold front to the east and keep an eye out for the remnants of Hurricane Patricia coming up from the south. I'll also be aware of any flooding.

Update on the bump in the night: 
I asked the park rangers if they had received any reports like mine and they said No. I also asked my neighbor campers about anything similar happening and they said No. Most looked at me kind of "cockeyed" as if I had been drinking or something. I decided not to ask anyone else such questions. However, I did check for any tracks, hair, blood around Liberty and also to see if she had any dents. I did not see anything out of the ordinary. I'm beginning to think I may have imagined the whole thing. I guess it would be better to think I imagined it than to think something big enough to shake Liberty, but not leave any sign, is wandering around out there at night. Oh well, what is, is, and what ain't, ain't. 

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.  

Friday, October 23, 2015

Stay Put or Risk Going Into The Belly of the Beast????

Location: San Angelo State Park (el. 2,000 ft); San Angelo, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

Today was suppose to be moving day but I extended my stay here one more day due to predicted bad weather along my planned route. Looking at the weather forecast now, I'm debating on whether to extend another day or pull out tomorrow. 

San Angelo is about 200 miles west of Austin/San Antonio and 500 miles from my next main destination which is Galveston, Texas. Standing in the way are strong thunderstorms being fed by moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, Hurricane Patricia, the strongest hurricane to ever exist in the western hemisphere, is about to collide with the Pacific coast of Old Mexico. Whatever is left after that collision is expected to cross Old Mexico and enter Texas. The path that it takes will be saturated with rain and storms as the worn out hurricane will continue to suck moisture from the Pacific Ocean and dump it along its path. To make matters worse, there is a cold front entering Texas from the northwest. This cold front will eventually sweep all the rain off to the east. The big question is where will this cold front from the northwest meet up with the remnants of Patricia. That meeting should produce some mighty big storms and I don't want to be anywhere close. Right now, that intersection is predicted to occur sometime tomorrow around the San Antonio area.

Liberty is sitting on a nice hill, to protect against flash flooding, with a hard surface campsite, so we won't get stuck in the mud. She has a full tank of fresh water and half empty waste tanks, so if the heavy storms hit here, we should be fine.   

My decision, to stay or go, will be made tomorrow morning. I will keep a close eye on the weather forecasts with hopes of falling in behind the cold front as it sweeps the storms away to the east. I have done this several times in my travels and it has worked pretty good, most of the time. 

On the lighter side, here are a few pictures from around the area.

A dam along the Concho River which flows through San Angelo. There were a couple of fishermen catching catfish and using Oscar Meyer hotdogs as bait. They told me it had to be Oscar Meyer as other brands would not work. I told them I remembered using cheese for catfish when I was fishing several decades ago. Neither had heard of that, but said they would try it one day. 

"The Pearl of the Conchos"
A statue of a mermaid as she offers a pearl to visitors. The fresh water mussels in the Concho River and its tributaries produce pearls of various colors. I can understand the pearl part, but a mermaid this far inland is a little strange.

Storms are brewing or as my mother used to say,,,,
"A cloud is coming up."

The sun found a hole in the clouds before it set

This is the Mesquite tree outside my door. I have grown to like them. Each one has its own characteristics of twisted trunks and limbs. 
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Moving Day and A Bump in the Night

Location: San Angelo State Park (el. 2,000 ft); San Angelo, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 cell phone)
(click picture to enlarge)

Before leaving Amarillo, I found a nice RV museum located inside one of the RV dealerships. It seems to be the personal collection of the owner and some of his friends. The price was right (free) and I had some time so I went inside. There were several vintage RV's and motorcycles. It was good to wander around through the past. I took several pictures, but due to the small space of the museum, only a few turned out.
I liked the motorcycle but I also liked
the old metal flyswatter on the left.
I remember those, do you?

This old Airstream was hanging in the air
so I couldn't see inside. The list of places
on the left are of the Airstream Caravans
that were done to prove the worth of the
Airstream RV. I wasn't able to confirm
if this one actually took part in those caravans,
but if it did, that's a good one to have.

This picture gives an idea of the layout
of the place. The RV bus is from the
Robin WIlliams movie

Sunrise over Oasis RV Park

Amarillo surprised me. I wasn't expecting such a nice place that had so many good vibrations. I will add it to my list of "good vib places". There's a lesson to be learned in there somewhere.

I pulled out of Amarillo early with a 325 mile tow ahead of me. I violated my "rule of 2's" but it was OK, this time. What is the "rule of 2's"? It's "travel no more than 200 miles per day, get to the campground by 2:00 and stay at least 2 days." Well, I definitely blew the 200 mile and 2:00 part, but will be staying here for 3 days to make up for it. Here is, San Angelo State Park. I chose it because it is along the way to where I'm going, which is the Galveston area. There are a couple things to see here, but not sure if I will be able to do them due to bad weather being predicted for this area over the next few days. I left Amarillo before the rains hit there and dodged some pretty bad looking thunder-busters as I passed through Lubbock. I would like to see this place get some rain to help break the drought they are in, but maybe not heavy rain while I'm here. 
Typical landscape in the Texas Panhandle. I passed miles and miles of cultivated fields on both sides of the highway. This is in stark contrast to the many fields that are laying fallow in several of the southern states. 

This was the only tree for many miles. I would imagine everyone has been protecting it for a long time.

It's not a good picture, but those are bales of cotton in the distance. I passed mile after mile of cotton fields. All were in different stages of harvesting. I hadn't realized this part of Texas was such a large cotton producer.

As the land started changing from farm land to cattle range, wind farms started showing up. 

This is what a lot of the area looks like around here. Hilly and dry.

The boat ramp in the park indicates the low water level of the lake due to the drought. Based on the dam, I would estimate it to be about 20 feet low, at least.
This is my campsite for the next few days. 
Oh, I almost forgot "the bump in the night". Last night as I was turning in, something bumped Liberty. The bump was big enough to shake her and me.  I've been living in Liberty for 2 years now and I can tell when something isn't normal. This was not normal. There are only a few other campers in this campground and it would be out of the ordinary for any of them to be wandering around someone else's campsite at 10:00 pm. I thought it may have been an animal rubbing against the landing gear but still not sure. I waited to see if another bump would occur and when one didn't, I went on to sleep. Maybe tonight I will leave some of the outside lights on. I'll check for tracks or signs outside after making this post and maybe a second cup of coffee.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Hippies Did It ---- Cadillac Ranch

Location: Oasis RV Park (el. 3,800 ft); Amarillo, Texas

(all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia 929 Cell Phone)
(click pictures to enlarge)

They are located along what used to be Route 66, now I-40, and have been there since 1974, wow, 41 years. There are 10 of them about 700 feet into a farmers field. You can park alongside the interstate frontage road and enter through the gate. The gate allows one person to walk through at a time and is self-closing. Hmmm,,, keeping something in or out?.  

The pink sign to the left reads,,"This isn't a national park, so don't litter".

Getting closer

Buried cars????

The property is/was owned by the local billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. The "3" was his idea since he thought III or "the third" was pretentious. Being a little goofy himself, he brought in some Hippies from San Francisco that called themselves The Ant Farm. He asked them to make an interesting art structure that would be around for a long time. They definitely completed their goal because it has survived for more than 4 decades and visited daily. The Hippies bought junked Cadillac cars from junk yards around the area. Supposedly none cost more than $200.00. They buried them nose down in a line. They range from a 1949 Club Sedan to a 1963 Sedan de Ville. It is suppose to be a memorial to the "tail fin". It wasn't long after they finished that visitors started painting graffiti on the cars. That was OK with Marsh and the Hippies. They liked the idea of visitors participating in the art project. I have passed this place about 6 times since I've been here and each time there are at least a dozen people around.    

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.