A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Janis Joplin

One of the big ticket items for me on my to-do list for this trip was go to Port Arthur Texas, the birthplace and home of Janis Joplin, the lead singer for Big Brother and the Holding Company.  I am a huge fan of Janis and have all of her music.  People either like her or they don't.  I feel she was one of the greatest white blues singers there was.

Her home on 32nd street viewed from the Mexican church from across the street which wasn't there when she lived here.

Yep, behind that tangled mass of vegetation stands a run-down little while clapboard house where Janis and her family lived and now someone else does. 

Just so you know you are at the right place.  I've read where Janis did not like Port Arthur very much and couldn't get away from it soon enough.  I couldn't blame her one bit.  It is a dreary oil refinery town on the gulf coastline near Louisiana.  It really took a beating from hurricanes Ike and Rita in recent times.

I'd think her parents Dorothy and Seth took much better care of their home.  Her farther was a supervisor at one of the refinery plants.

Janis had a younger brother and sister.  Michael is an artist and Laura wrote a book about her sister.  They jointly watch over her estate.  To think the three of them ran and played on this porch.

Janis would be 70 now and one can only wonder the music she would have created in these 40 some years had she lived.

We've been in very poor Internet areas the last few days, that is why no postings.  We are now in a State Park in Louisiana with a swamp right outside our door.  Boy how much I would like to see an alligator but I doubt there are any right near us.  Sinbad is on the lookout for one while I write this.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


The fog lifted and I was able to see the Gulf of Mexico.

I'll find a quiet spot for Sinbad to get out an explore today.

Friday, March 28, 2014

We Made It!

We drove all the way from California to see the Gulf of Mexico for the first time ever.
It's out there...somewhere. 
At Mustang Island State Park near Corpus Christi, Texas

Judge Roy Bean, Langtry, Texas

I was in desperate need of milk.  Every little store in south Texas had only 2% and full on whole milk.  Non-fat milk is a rare commodity in these parts.  I missed another store in Langtry (darn near missed Langtry altogether) and turned off the highway to loop back around.  It was then I came upon Judge Roy Bean's Jersey Lilly Saloon.  This was on my list of things to see for this trip but ever since the breakdown I haven't been thinking too clearly.  I stopped, went in the the real nice tourist information center leaving my camera back with Sinbad.  
Remember, I'm not thinking straight.  So I used the iPhone for these.

Click on this picture so you can read it better if you wish. 
It was such a nice sign I didn't want to crop it out.

It kind of looks like something made up but it is the real deal, the rebuilt saloon after a fire destroyed the original one in 1896.
I guess I have in mind saloons like you see in the movies but you have to remember this was no big town, just a little railroad stopover in the vast southwest Texas wild lands. 

I suppose it was okay to cuss quietly.  The spitting on the floor part, just think about it.

 I was really expecting some sort of theater venue so was a bit disappointed to see it was in name only. On a side note, I have with me a 6 CD set of 100 of the best opera classics that I am listening to as we cross Texas.  It just seems so fitting.  So now you know a little bit more about me and are probably glad you don't have to ride along listening Puccini, Verdi, Rossini, Mozart and more.

After reading that the few items inside were not original I didn't bother taking any pictures.
Remember, "not thinking clearly" plus I was on that quest for non-fat milk.

The little store didn't have milk of any type, but I did get some really cool "Don't Mess With Texas" stickers at the visitor center where one was promptly placed on the back of the RV.
I love Texas!

I spent two days at the previous blog post Seminole Canyon, rested up and am now back on track thinking clearly once again.  Oh yeah, found non-fat milk in Del Rio Texas.  All is good.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Seminole Canyon, Texas

The snakes had better sense than I and stayed in their holes 
all snug and warm against the blowing the wind.

They weren't just a woofin' either!

See!  On the edge just to get this photo for you.

At trail's end

Looks like some people didn't read the sign.

 These snail shells were scattered all around the area.  I asked the ranger ladies back at camp about them.  One didn't seem to be aware of them and the other had to think about it some.  I guess people don't notice things like I do or ask questions.  She said they are a land snail and come out more so when it is wet.  Who would of thought snails lived in the desert?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Everything is BIG in Texas

even the wind!

We've been driving headlong into the wind much longer than being any fun.  We're camped near the Pecos River and may stay a day or so.  If the Internet connection cooperates I may be able to get off a better post than this while here.

Nothing Remains the Same

Located between Marfa and Valentine Texas stands this "art piece" in the middle of the vast west Texas flatlands.  Since we were last here 3 years ago, it has fallen victim to vandals.  Both ends of the building had been marked with graffiti and then covered over.   Worse still some idiot had sliced the front edge of both awnings.  You can see my post from 2011 here.  

I say nothing remains the same but the inventory inside was the same.  
I guess sales are pretty slow in these parts of Texas. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Border

This is the border of Mexico and America in New Mexico.  The iron work stretched for mile upon mile seemingly endlessly.  I couldn't make sense of it.  What was the point?  Anyone could climb over it.  I did.  It would stop a vehicle.  Probably a tank too.

Here I had climbed over and was now standing in Mexico, unless I needed to be on the other side of the barbed wire fence to be officially in Mexico, I don't know.  Maybe I was on the border itself, neither in one country or the other.  Perhaps the iron work is the American barrier and the barbed wire is Mexican barrier.  America has a bigger budget for that sort of thing.

There was a vast expanse of desert on each side of the border as far as I could see, plus much more beyond the horizon.  I cannot imagine anyone walking all the distance.  It would take days if not weeks and with no water anywhere. Why just my standing to get this picture my socks got filled with stickers.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sierra Blanca, Texas

Pretty much the general state of the entire business district of town.

Notice the movie characters in the display window.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Repaired and Back in Business

Correct fluid line arrived 

being installed

along with new belt.

Cut in original line which caused loss of transmission fluid.

We were rolling along before noon.  Everything seems to be fine.  
Good thing I cleaned the windshield yesterday.

Day Three

Wrong part arrived yesterday.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Unexpected Adventure

Breakdown on Interstate 10

Midway between the California border and Phoenix Arizona,  a belt frayed on the engine.  The fine piece of fray flap flapped around cutting a rubber line transmission fluid ran in to the cooler.  Loss all transmission fluid = loss all of going anywhere.  We made it to a nice rest stop,

where the last of the fluid dribbled out onto the pavement.

There was beautiful scenery all around.

Some medication was required to deal with the situation.  
Just kidding.  I don't drink, but found this nearby while waiting for the tow truck and thought it funny.

Big enough truck, ya think?!  
Nice guy Bob who said yes, he has hauled those big monster motor homes on this.

Sinbad and I got to ride in the RV on the way into a Dodge dealer in Avondale outside of Phoenix.  Wow, that is the way to travel.  I sat back and enjoyed the scenery as we motored on.

Bob backed that big rig right to the loading bay

where it looks like we will be camping for awhile.  
We have everything we need and even get free internet and shade too.
What more could we ask for?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Modern Times

- continued from yesterday -

In 2004 I bought a 1995 Isuzu Trooper.  Air conditioning, automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power everything!  What a powerful age we live in!

I had that vehicle for 4 years and really liked it.  It now lives in Alaska.  
These photos are from a trip to Death Valley.

I had to smile at this when digging out these photos from 2005.  Death Valley fuel prices are always astronomic for they have to truck the fuel in from so far away.  So at the time I was shocked enough to take this photo.  Ha!  These are standard everyday California prices now.

Our entry into the RV world was in 1999 with a 1972 Winnebago Brave.

 Sinbad liked it.

We had it for 8 years and had a lot of fun in it.  Then in 2007 came the 2006 View, purchased used at one year old as the previous owner wanted a new 2007 model.  This RV was like moving from a Land Rover to an Isuzu Trooper and I was spoiled in no time at all, which is part of the reason in selling the Trooper when I did.  How could one ever go back to roughing it after this?  To this day it remains the best investment I've ever made.

So come along as Sinbad and I head east once again with no real plan in mind, 
just seeing what there is to see along the back roads of America.

But first, it'll take us a couple of days of travel just to get out of California
 which is what we are doing while you are reading this.