A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Not in California!

Junction, Texas

You would never see this happening in California.

But see, we are in Texas.

In California this would be encircled with chain-link fencing topped off with razor wire, signs posted:
 Keep Out, No Trespassing, Violators will be prosecuted, punishable by fine or imprisonment.

It really is nothing to walk along this.
 Three feet wide, no water current and not slippery.

 This is all that is really needed.

Although California likes to proclaim itself as a liberal state it has more rules, regulations, restrictions and laws than most of the rest of the states in the nation.  It ranks #4 as the most restrictive state.  
Or to put it another way #47 in personal freedoms. 
Meanwhile Texas ranks #5 in having the most economic and personal freedoms along with one of the smallest governments in the country and low taxes.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Schreiner Park

Junction, Texas

I didn't see a large rock anywhere that could be used as podium.  It would have been nice then stand there and think of the history that surrounded that rock.

Some of the upcoming events that will give you a sense of the life around this area.
I don't think I'd fit in very well.  One thing of note, everyone I have encountered addresses me as "sir".
Texans are friendly and respectful. 

Beans would never forgive me.

I found this chainsaw sculpture done from broken oak trees. 
 Very nicely done I thought.

This was my only concern while staying here; 
I hope there is no wind storm and a oak limb falls on the Little House on the Highway.

Portrait of a happy cat.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

This For Sure Isn't Pecos!

Junction, Texas

We had a good prospect for camping at Richard's Park, a city run park in Sterling City.  But when we arrived a big banner informed us that for the month of March all campsites were by reservation only.  Seems that we came when some fair and country singing jamboree was to be taking place.  We ended up at a Walmart for the night.  The following day was another city park in Junction, only we'd be arriving on a Saturday.  So you can imagine my disbelievement (is that a word?) of our good fortune when we pulled in and found we had the place practically all to ourselves.  

This park is along the banks of the Llano River-the very steep banks.
As the sign above showed a three day limit for camping it doesn't show that it's FREE!
I'll take that.

That is Lake Junction.
The water slide looks like fun. (not a water slide, a rough cement spillway)

This park is a complete opposite of that in Pecos.
This was so refreshing to find.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

That's Not Snow, Beans

London, Texas

 Usually we get on the road after I have my cup of coffee and a granola bar, then will stop later along the way for breakfast. This was one of those stops.  The ground was cover with a white sand.
Looks like snow.  Someday Beans might get to see the real thing.

Of course she had to roll in it making her a grey cat. 
Most had fallen off by the time I got a picture.

Can you believe the speed limit on these two-lane country roads is 70 mph?
And me driving along at 45 mph.  No Texas driver has got upset with us.
Now if we were in California I'd get a single digit hand gesture and ran off the road.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I See Green!!

Sterling City, Texas

I cannot express to you the excitement I felt when I saw this green pasture while driving.  Really, since we crossed into Texas at El Paso over 400 miles ago there has been absolutely nothing green to be seen along the highways.  I don't mind telling you it was wearing me down and for a few days there I was very disillusioned about my choice of route through Texas.  I had only two choices and one I had done before with Sinbad when we went south to Big Bend.  So naturally I wanted to see new sights on a new route and headed east.

I took another photo out the side window trying to eliminate the reflection above.  Now what are the chances I'd get this power pole arrangement perfectly framed in the photo while driving 55 mph?

The next town was Sterling City and I pulled into their picnic area.  
Now this is a proper picnic area, not like that dump back in Pecos.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The Caboose

Monahans, Texas

At the site of the Million Barrel Oil Tank was this caboose you could go inside of.

Although I came to see the big oil debacle, I enjoyed this more.
The desk and a wash basin, but no sleeping arrangements that I saw.

I think it would be neat to ride back here. 
Notice the stove in back for heat and maybe cooking up some food and pot of coffee.

Now why would they even want to in the first place?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Million Barrel Oil Tank

Monahans, Texas

In 1928 during the oil boom of West Texas they pumped so much oil out of the ground in this area that there weren't enough barrels to store in.  Shell Oil Company got the idea to build a huge reservoir with a million barrel capacity. 

What looks like a high-banked speedway measures 522' x 426', is 35 feet deep and covers 8 acres of ground.  It had a wooden roof structure and you can see the pilings for the supports of the roof here. 

They filled it with oil but the weight of the oil, 315 million pounds, was too great for the cement and it cracked.  Most of the oil leaked out back into the ground.  What remained they pumped out and that was that. At a cost of $250,000 (1928 dollars) to build it was abandoned in a little over a month after the first drop of oil was placed in it.

Imagine one million of those barrels full of oil.

This might have been where the oil was dumped and it flowed on down into the reservoir.

30 years later Wayne Long bought the "barrel" and planned to make a water park from it.  It was to be called "Melody Park" where West Texans could come and swim, boat, fish and even water ski.  He patched all the cracks and filled it with water.  It opened on Oct. 6, 1958.  It closed on Oct. 7, 1958.  
All the water had leaked out.  

Today it is used by the County for social events and concerts.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Another Entry in the 'America the Beautiful' Series

Pecos, Texas

As historically romantic as Pecos may seem it wasn't.  Maybe we were on the wrong side of town.  The area surrounding the town is all oilfields.  Big trucks carrying drilling supplies and tankers carting off oil and natural gas were all about.  They tear up the pavement on all the main roads in town.  The town itself was covered with light brown dusty dirt, everything the same dirt brown color.

We spent the night at a travelers overnight/picnic area on the northern edge of town.
This place was a dump.  There were six large trash cans in the "park".  None were being used.
It's a lot easier to just toss your rubbish out the window.

All the cement tables were covered in graffiti.
Now maybe had that sign been in Spanish...naw, wouldn't of helped.

Trash was everywhere but worse so were all the bottles, half of which were broken.
I just didn't feel comfortable taking Beans out for a walk with all the broken glass about.
Cactus she can negotiate real well now, broken glass is a whole other thing.
Beans was not happy.

Trust me, I'm not out looking for this type of scenery.  It just happens to be the only thing I see going from one spot to another.  Texas is BIG and it's taking three days to get to our next point of interest.

The weather was nice here, no wind and the birds were singing.  So sad as obviously at some point in time (when it was new?) this spot in Pecos was a nice place for the traveler to stop and rest a spell.

You may have noticed the photos are smaller.  They will be that way from now on.  I am tired of presenting blurry photos for you on this blog.  As I am having to use a wifi hotspot to post on the blog that seems to be the issue.  The original photo is too much for the weak cell service connection.
I apologize. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

America the Beautiful

Van Horn, Texas

This is becoming a common theme with the places we park overnight.
This one was a large gravel lot behind a McDonald's and several hotel/motels.
It is a convenient and popular place for big rig trucks to pull off and rest for the night. 

You cannot help but think the truckers themselves are responsible for a large part of the litter,
especially those plastic soda bottles half-filled with what looks like tea; it ain't tea trust me.
I spared you the photo of a bottle full.

But it is free camping and with free you get what comes with the territory.
It's good enough for one night and we always park as far away as possible from the trucks.

We're not the only ones using these free sites.  There were two other RV's, a truck and camper and a young couple from North Carolina sleeping in their car next to us when I woke up in the morning.

You may have noticed the photos are smaller.  They will be that way from now on.  I am tired of presenting blurry photos for you on this blog.  As I am having to use a wifi hotspot to post on the blog that seems to be the issue.  The original photo is too much for the weak cell service connection.
I apologize. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Beans Climbs Cootes Hill

We camped where the U.S. 13th Calvary were camped in the early 1900's.  Cootes Hill, even though not very high, still offered a very good lookout post to the south where the Mexico border is three miles distant.  In the foreground was the location of the field hospital.

One afternoon during her walk, Beans got it in her mind to go to the top.
That is the edge of the RV at the right to give an idea as to how far away the summit is.

Yep, she slept good after that hike.
I didn't have my camera or phone with me to capture the moment.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Pancho Villa Raids Columbus, New Mexico

Pancho Villa State Park
Columbus, New Mexico

In the early hours of March 9, 1916, in need of arms, ammunition, food and clothing for their revolutionary goals Pancho Villas's 485 troops crossed the U.S./Mexican border three miles south of the little town of Columbus.  The day before he had sent two officers to scout out the town and they reported back only 30 to 50 U.S. troops were present.  In reality their were 350. Oops!  I bet someone got demoted in rank (or shot) over that bad piece of intel. Needless to say, things didn't go so well.  After all the shooting was over ten citizens and eight U.S. soldiers had died.  Villa lost 75 men.

Notice in the photo they burned down the very place they wanted to ransack for supplies,
the mercantile or general store.  Not a very smart bunch of banditos it seems.

A stray bullet stopped this clock at the exact moment of the attack.

One of the few cars in town too, collected a few bullet holes.

After the raid President Woodrow Wilson ordered 
General John "Black Jack" Pershing to capture Villa in a "Punitive Expedition".

Ha! And I was complaining of having to camp too close to my neighbor. 

Part of the reason the raiders didn't fare to well.

This was the first time a motorized armor plated truck was ever brought into use against an adversary.  This vehicle having yet to be named as a "tank" never saw any action.

And too, this was the first time aircraft was used in a military action
and the construction of a military airfield nearby. 

10,000 U.S. forces trailed Pancho Villa and his troops over 500 miles south into Mexico and never located them even though they did encounter a few skirmishes along the way with other revolutionary troops. Motorized trucks were used for the first time.  This allowed for hauling greater loads at a much faster pace but were prone to breakdowns and limitations as to where they could travel.

Sometimes mules and wagons still seemed to be the preferred method of moving men and supplies.

With the onset of the United States entering into WW1, President Wilson ordered Pershing and his troops back to the states.  The Mexican dictatorship was eventually overthrown and Villa retired to his hacienda in El Canutillo.  He was assassinated three years later and his assassins were never arrested. Pancho Villa's attack into New Mexico remains to be the only time a foreign country has invaded America.

You may have noticed the photos are smaller.  They will be that way from now on.  I am tired of presenting blurry photos for you on this blog.  As I am having to use a wifi hotspot to post on the blog that seems to be the issue.  The original photo is too much for the weak cell service connection.
I apologize.