A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Old Yeller


Mason, Texas

Fred Gipson who wrote the 1956 novel Old Yeller was from the town of Mason.  In the following year Walt Disney made a movie version of the book.  I know I saw the movie but I was only nine years old at the time so don’t remember much about it.  I do know it is not a happy story.  I looked it up in wikipedia.

I was right.  Not a happy story.

The library in Mason has this statue out in front.  There isn’t any write-up about it.

Back at the campground there is a rodeo arena nearby.  Usually when we stay near these there is always a good crop of flies around.  Not here though.  This was nice.  Rodeo stuff is a whole different culture than I am not familiar with.  I’ve seen some on TV but that’s about it.  I don’t understand it much.

We had a nice relaxing two days at the campground of Mason City Park.  Just what we needed in getting our heads realigned.  Our neighbors were from north of Austin.  They were on their way to Big Bend National Park when the fuel pump went out.  The truck was in the shop in town waiting for the part to come in.  The tow truck driver brought their trailer to the park for them after delivering the truck to the shop.  The local Sheriff gave the wife and two grandkids (both little girls) a ride to the trailer.  I bet the girls loved that.  I think the truck was to be ready the day we left.

Here I caught Beans up on the dash helping me navigate through a new town.
Just don’t go filpping on toggle switches for me anymore sweetie, okay?

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Spring Cleaning?


Trying to not be too dejected having failed once again we turned to the northwest leaving Kerrville behind.  By lunch time we entered the small town of Mason.  Parked in their town square I eyed the park in front of us.  I asked a local walking by if he knew of a place we could stay the night without being bothered.  “Well there is an RV park at the fairgrounds I think.  You passed by it if you came in from Fredericksburg.”  I hadn’t seen it.  I thanked him and we went the few miles back. 

It was a lovely spot by the golf course for ten dollars a night.

And there were showers!  
That alone was worth the price of admission.

This was the first thing I did.   
Beans didn’t even get her exploratory walk first.

That shower did a lot to renew my spirit. 

Earlier passing through Fredericksburg I spotted a do-it-yourself car wash.
The Little House on the Highway had been heavily targeted by the birds during that stay beneath the huge shade tree at the Sonora rest stop.

Now the RV was clean, I was clean, now to clean one more item.

Naw, I couldn’t do that to her.
The next day I did a real good clean inside including sweeping, shaking out rugs and wiping down the floors.  We were feeling pretty good by now, looking forward to new adventures.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Time to Stop the Madness


Kerrville, Texas

That afternoon in the Walmart parking lot I had a rethink of my plan.  I filled up before leaving Quartzite, Arizona.  Now I had just filled up for the fourth time in three weeks here in Kerrville.  That is $390.82 on fuel alone and we’re not even halfway across Texas yet.  This would be by some accounts insanity.  We are two months earlier than we were last year trying to cross through the South.  I had hoped to beat the humidity this time.  Was I just fooling myself into believing that?  Then I keep getting these reports of increased tornado activity predicted for this season throughout the entire area we would be in.  I don’t need that added stress.  Beans and I are turning back once again.  Another failure.  I was disappointed.  I really wanted to see the Atlantic Ocean again.  The only other time I saw it was with Sinbad in 2014.  The way things are going in this country and with all the uncertainty in the world today I may never ever see the Atlantic again.  Hell, we didn’t even make it to the Gulf Coast.  I would have felt some degree of accomplishment had I been able to dip my feet in the gulf waters again.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am grateful for what we do and having the ability to go to the places we do.  There are many who don’t get the opportunities we do.  I realize that, believe me.

Seeing people like this guy makes me feel good.  He has taken a fifth-wheel trailer off of the undercarriage and mounted it to a long flatbed trailer.   He has an ATV and a dune buggy on the back.

He is towing this mess with this truck with a dually rear axel.
Imagine how much fuel he buys most likely more than twice as often as I.
Imagine trying to park somewhere in a town.
That cut-out in the front of the trailer should be over the bed of his truck.
Look at how much added length he has created?
What was this guy thinking?
Oh yeah, there was a FOR SALE sign on the back of the trailer.
Good luck with that.

Beans is worn out.  Me too I think.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Dash Board Warning Light!!


After we left No More Camping Junction City Park we headed to Kerrville about an hour away.  It was also about time to throw away another one-hundred dollar bill - fill up with fuel.   I took the off ramp to town and stopped to find cheap fuel on my Gas Buddy app.  It is hot.  I turned on the AC for the first time this year.  I put the gas station address into the GPS and took off.  Claire (my GPS girl) was confused sending me to streets that no longer existed.  Not her fault; the information she has is over ten years old.  Beans was excited to be in a town and jumped up onto the dash to watch things go by.  I am trying to find my way around Claire’s directions on busy city streets and then I see this!

OH NO!!  I don’t need this now!

I see another gas station having the same price I was going for and wheel on in.  The pump is slow.  That’s okay.  I sit there trying to think...what to do now?   If I had a warning light on me it would be on.
I don’t need this stress!

Well I was close with the hundred dollar bill prediction.

I started the engine.  The light went off.  Whew!  I pulled in the parking lot next door out of the way.  I ran a scan for fault codes.  NO CODES FOUND.  Well that’s encouraging.  What the hell does  !  mean?  I dug out the owners manual to look at Instrument Lights.  !  Acceleration skid control (ASR).  What the hell is that?  Then I remember this toggle switch on the dash that I have never used.  Beans must have flipped the toggle jumping up on the dash.  I pushed OFF.

I sat there, calmed myself, logged in my fuel stop figures then opened up the iPad to view the rest stop we were heading for just out of town.  It was then I saw a Walmart only a half a mile down the boulevard in front of us.  That would do just fine.  We pulled in.  No signs about not allowing overnight parking.  Good.  I had a cup of tea and took Beans took for a walk.
I am happy she is once again getting comfortable with city noises.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

We Lose Another One


We pulled into a rest area near Sonora after the Emerald House tour.  In front of the truck and trailer was a big shady spot.  We stopped under the tree.  What do you think Beans?  I don’t think we can do much better than this.  Now if the trailer people stay there we won’t have a big-rig pull in behind leaving the engine running all night long.

They did stay and we had a nice afternoon and night.
It was a tight squeeze for trucks and big RVs.

We would be going into Junction, Texas and I had fond memories of the lovely city park where we stayed years ago.  I think Sinbad was with me then.  I got on my freecamping app to get the coordinates taking us there.  I started reading the reviews, the most recent was at the top and it was only a week old.

I have sad news to report. Due to folks misusing/abusing the free no reservation camping and not treating the space respectfully, the town revoked the option last week after decades of use. We were shocked that no one was camping when we arrived at night and the mystery was solved when a park employee kindly but firmly told us in the morning that we couldn't camp there anymore.  Totally understandable, but definitely a shame. It's a nice spot to visit when passing through the area.

To say I was disappointed is putting it mildly.  I had been looking forward to going there for a couple of weeks.  This type of thing is becoming more commonplace.  As more and more rectal orifices buy RVs the  more places we are losing to these idiots trashing our public lands.

We went on to Schreiner Park anyway as it was on our way.  I just had to see it for myself. 

Yep, we camped up there under the trees.

Sad but I cannot fault the town any.  
No doubt some set up homesteading staying well past the three day limit.

The Llano River flows by.  I remember people walking across this dam and thought at the time why the city or county had not fenced this off to keep idiots from falling off.

We ate lunch.  Beans did a walk around and we left Schreiner Park in Junction Texas for the last time.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

The Emerald House

 Ozona, Texas

We went to their little County Fair Park for a lunch break.

I didn’t plan on featuring this house on the blog but Beans insisted.  She loved it.

So here it thanks to Beans.

Sheesh, we had to make two laps around the house.
She had to sniff and smell everything...twice.

We could not go inside.
Picture taken though a broken window. 

I told her the boogie man lived in there under the house but she didn’t care.
She wanted to go in.

Another broken window photo.  Up high this time.  Best I could do.
I think it was the kitchen.

As many times this house has been moved I am surprised it hadn’t fallen apart.

Aw gee, come on Beans!
I had a difficult time tearing her away from the Emerald House.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Alley Oop Fantasy Land


Do you remember this comic strip?

Ninety years on and the comic strip is still being published. 

In front of the city park is this.

This is...just this.

There isn’t much more than that in Alley Oop Fantasy Land.

You can climb the ladder and sit on Dinny as Alley Oop did and have a photo taken.
The sign on the ladder states:  DANGER DO NOT CLIMB
I am so confused.
And that’s it for the Fantasy Land tour.
There is some oil well stuff which the Turkey Vultures love to perch on and warm themselves in the sun.

On the other side of Fantasy Land is this display.

What they don’t tell you is that these wind turbine blades are made of fiberglass, have a life expectancy of twenty to twenty-five years and then must be replaced.  What do they do with them then?
  Dig massive craters in the ground and bury them.

A wind turbine blade graveyard.  
See the tiny big bulldozer?

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Iraan, Texas

 We drove on to Iraan ten miles beyond the trashed littered turnout lunch spot.

There the small town had a travelers RV park of nine sites with all hookups available for ten dollars a night.  Eight of the nine sites were taken by long-term squatters - oilfield workers.  I knew this beforehand from the reviews but we had no interest in staying there anyway. 

Behind the RV park was the city park itself where one could park for free with no services.  It was a sprawling many acre site covered in dead grass.  Spring had yet to arrive in Iraan.

We parked in front of this little building.

This sign was on the door so naturally I went in.

It was what once the jail for the town, most likely relocated here for historical reasons.

Nearby was the main pavilion for city picnic barbecue get-togethers.
The date the last time this was reserved for any occasion was in 2013 or so it showed on the sign.

The name of the town comes from the owners of the land - Ira & Ann - who donated some acreage to create a town for the workers at the newly discovered oil field in 1926.
If you can read this it is interesting about Ira’s life.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Don’t Mess With Texas


These stickers are given out at Texas welcome centers by the Texas Department of Transportation in part of the anti-littering on Texas roadways campaign. 

I am sure there is a double entrendre with the slogan.

We pulled off onto Hwy 190 and then over in a turnout for a lunch break.

This scene greeted me as I stepped out the door.

Yep, the campaign seems to be working well.

Someone asked and yes, we are now officially in oil and gas producing country
after leaving Fort Stockton.

We wound up staying a second night in Fort Stockton as the winds were whipping out of the north.
For the second night we moved out from where we were to escape Walmart Radio blaring in the parking lot.  Most annoying it is.  I pity the poor Walmart employees subjected to that racket all day long inside the store and out.  There is no escaping it unless you do as we did.