A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Monday, October 31, 2022

The Town of Despair


Brownfield, Texas (pop. 9,358)

Our next stop was just thirty miles away to Coleman Park 
where we’ve stayed a couple of times in the past.  

And look who was there.
Silver Streak and the woman with the yellow extension cord.

When checking on the population for Brownfield I noticed that the high school was rated “academically unacceptable” in 2011 by the Texas State Board of Education; the county has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in Texas, also an “extremely high” rate of sexually transmitted diseases; that violent and property crimes were higher than the national average; the number of residents in prison is significantly higher than the state average and “Walmart chose not to renew their lease as the town was not sufficiently economically viable for them to continue to operate.”  Wow!  If Walmart doesn’t want to have anything to do with your town, you’ve seriously got a problem.

Add to that, I saw on Google maps satellite view that there was a Dollar General up a ways, a few blocks.  I went for a walk to get some milk.  They left town!  The store was vacant, boarded up.

But... Brownfield is the home to The Mad Hatter’s Pizza.
Its got that going for it.

Amanda and I blew into town in May of last year, and she discovered this fantastic place.

You can see inside this amazing eatery by clicking HERE

- comment replies -

Most any website for RV’ers has a section for people to input ideas.

Regarding  “...Walmart has not yet stocked the Halloween candy”, we stopped at Walmart in Levelland before coming to Brownfield.  An entire section of the garden department was crammed full of Christmas (I’ll be nice here) ‘decorations’ and Halloween hadn’t even happened yet.  There ought to be a law.  No Christmas decorations to be seen until after Thanksgiving.  You folks in countries that do not have Thanksgiving, I’ll leave it to you to set up your Christmas celebration standard.  Happy holidays.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

An Idea, Maintenance and an Adventure

 Levelland, Texas

This woman is over across the way from us.  She is in a Ford Transit van.  Most all vans are fixed up by their owner to live out from.  You don’t buy them ready-made.  I can see she has solar panels on top.  But I also see she has a plug-in on the side.  See the yellow extension cord.  That is unusual for a van.  That is also a pretty slick modification.  I admired it.  

Then a little spark went off in my head.  OMG!  Why didn’t I think of an extension cord?  See, our home comes with a twenty-foot long power cord to plug into electricity.  It is a heavy duty thick electrical cord.  It is a real challenge for me to get that thing back into its tiny compartment.  It is as if trying to coil up the transatlantic cable.

Why I could just plug it to an extension cord and run the extension cord out to the electrical hook-up. So much simpler.  I’ve only had this vehicle for fifteen years.  You can’t rush genius.  Well to be fair to myself, I rarely plug in so the issue didn’t surface all that much.  Its only that we are out on the road later in the year now, a bit colder and I have been using that electric heater more than ever.  A short  bright yellow (don’t like red) extension cord is on my shopping list now.

Every so often I have to defrost the freezer.  It is a real chore as the ice build-up on the back wall gets an inch thick and is hard to chip away, especially with those bolt heads.

A few years ago, in a rare moment of brilliance, I bought some plastic place mats and placed them inside.

All the ice build-up now happens on the place mats for the most part.  Pull the mat free and flex.
Look at those slabs of ice.  Easy peasy. 

Doing some planning on where we will be staying on down the road I came across a couple of reviews for the Walmart in Hobbs, New Mexico.

“Store is nasty.  Lots of meth heads roaming inside and outside store.  Store is not stocked hardly.”

“Good stay but management advised to lock your doors.”

Okay, this place I just gotta go see and stay at.  
Hey, did you expect anything different from me?
And that Barbara was what I had planned for Halloween, but we didn’t make it there in time.

- Comment reply -

“What would Beans bring to a potluck?”  Lizards.  Lots of lizards.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

What a Lovely Day Plus a Reunion


Levelland, Texas

The sun was out, no wind and it warmed up.  Happy traveler here.

I got involved doing a lot of things and finally just wanted to walk around a bit.

Across the highway are cotton fields.  I have always wanted to see a cotton plant up close.

I stopped to read the signs in the park.
Levelland has some fun events throughout the year.

That’s a nice service, if you know how to do this sort of thing.
I don’t.  I went to take a photo to complain about it on the blog.

In doing so, the phone scanned the emblem thingy automatically and a new window opened up.
Huh! Amazing. Technology, I’ll never understand it.

Three nights. That’s fine. 
Usually three nights is about right for us before I start getting the urge to move on.

I got to see cotton up close and even pinched off one to add to the interior decorations of our home.
A memento if you will.

Coming back around the other side of the park and lo and behold, this guy is here.
Incredibly, he was here when we were back in April.  So see, we do run into people we’ve seen before, occasionally.  I pondered on whether to go say hi, not remembering if we did visit or not back in April.  He wasn’t out so I went back home.  In preparing this post I pulled up the post about him from before. Boy, I’m glad I didn’t knock on his door.  I had forgotten all about Gene.  Click HERE to read about Gene and his Traveling Machine.  Its worth the read.

This RV is here a couple slots over from us.  This is how they make today what we have.
Same manufacture and model.  I would not want that slide-out in the back.  It is the bed I believe.  Just something to crack your head on when you walk around back, not to mention just another mechanical moving part to go haywire.  Keep it simple!

When I got home Beans was at the door waiting for me. I can’t believe it!  You went without me!!
Beans like exploring storm drains and culverts.  This one had her perplexed.
How can I get down in there with all that stuff in the way?

- Comment replies -

Michelle, if you see this, send me an email.  I have a story for you.

Any plan for Halloween?  That is coming up in another post.

I couldn’t ask Tommy about the birdhouse. We was off on another story which led me to another question I had (which I probably didn’t get to ask) and I forgot about the birdhouse.  The Silver Streak pulled out this morning and I walked over to check.  No birdhouse was left behind.

“Do I get the urge to set up and stay awhile?”  Yes, and it usually lasts for a week then I just need to move. Its called Zugunruhe: the urge within birds to migrate in the fall and spring.  
Only it affects me more frequently.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Dogs and People


Levelland, Texas

I have no new photos since we’ve been cooped up inside all day to due the cold wind blowing.

This here is from while at Dumas, Texhoma Park last weekend.

She pulled all four dogs out from the back side door of that car.
I cannot imagine the smell inside that car.

Well, yes I can.

Four dogs plus her and her husband. Just where and how do they sleep at night in that small trailer?
The record though stands at ten or twelve dogs.  I forget which.  This was many years ago and we pulled over at a rest stop.  It was a truck with a camper shell.  All types of dogs, all sizes, kept coming out.

I spent the better part of the day catching up on my journal which will ultimately be this year’s eBook.  At this point it will be the longest eBook so far, Sinbad and I on the Loose aside for that one is a collection of stories over the many years.

Thank you all for your comments. I’ll just address them here. 

I do enjoy a rainy day now and then. It forces me to focus on the journal, catch up on it and do some preliminary editing.  This time I had a lot to write, mostly about some of the people I had encounters with recently.  I refrain from putting too much about people on the blog in case they happen to look at the blog, as I have the title name on the back window.  I have thoughts at times as to removing it.  
When we arrived here in Levelland I walked over to where we stayed before just to check that there were no electrical hook-ups over there.  The guy with the Silver Streak was outside.  I said to him “I’m not following you.”  He replied, “I saw you pull in. I saw your ‘cool beans’ back in Littlefield.”  I’m sure he meant the Beans and I on the back window.  I told him Beans was my cat.  So I met Tommy.  What a nice guy.  I learned the trailer is a 1969 model and they’ve had it for ten years.  There is so much more to tell about Tommy and the trailer, too much to go into here and so much I was unable to retain.  The information was coming in at me faster than I could process.  Tommy was full of stories.  I’ll let you know if another birdhouse shows up unless we leave before they do.

We will stay in the Quartzsite area of Arizona for the winter, but will move around that area more so than usual...or at least that is the plan for this winter.  Subject to change.

Beans was looking at the email as I read it and was greatly offended that in the third photo it was mentioned she looked like a dog.  She growled and jumped up into her loft.  She’ll get over it.

Yes, I have randomly ran into people I’ve seen elsewhere but nothing really noteworthy became of it.  Most instances of seeing someone again happens while at Quartzsite.  Usually people gravitate to the same spot each year.  If I’ve met them before, I will stop by a say hi if I’m tooling around on the Honda.
Its not like we all sit around the campfire socializing and have potlucks.  Sure some do, but the vast majority of those who travel like us don’t have a set regimented schedule of returning to the same RV park every year to meet up with the same people each year.  Most nomads are not like that.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Nothing Better Than a Good Roll in the Dirt


Levelland, Texas (pop. 12,652)

Levelland’s free city campground just beyond the south edge of town was only thirty miles away from Littlefield.  Like most places in this area, we’ve been here before.  I had it in my mind what it looked like. I figured we’d continue on to the next town.  Too early to stop.  But when we arrived...oh-oh, not the place I was thinking of.  We are going to have to endure a rainy day on Friday.  My thoughts turned to that this would be a better place to sit out the rain day, than the next one on down the line.
The next place in Brownfield can be more congested, having to be too close to your neighbor.
This is better.

And so, here we set up camp.
Look who else is here.  See the shiny back end of the trailer?
Yep, Silver Streak left a day before us and here they are.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Sliver Streak


Littlefield, Texas

Here is the scene again of our current camp in Waylon Jennings Park.
Look to the right, behind us is a ‘tin can’ trailer.

This is a Silver Streak.  Its a confusing history but its safe to say they were made from 1949 through to 1997, the final ten years were custom built models only.  They resemble the more famously known Airstream trailers as the design was influenced by Wally Byam, the creator of Airstream.

Personally I like these more so.  I think they are so cool looking.  But then that has always been me.  I shy away from the popular and gravitate to the lesser known.  Always have regardless what it is.

This poor trailer has been around the block a few times.  You cannot see it in this photo but the roof is heavily dented from hailstorms.  The truck pulling it looked destined for the scrapyard.  The back was packed with all manner of tools, equipment, spare tires (3) and whatever else they may need.  I suspect they live full time on the road as we do.  I finally saw the woman one day.  She was probably in her forties or so and had long dreadlocks.  I never saw the guy until the day they were preparing to leave. I was surprised.  He looked just like one of the regular guys I have been seeing in the farmlands of the midwest all year. Short hair, clean shaved, plaid shirt, Levis, sneakers and a baseball cap.  What a odd couple.  They had a big bear of a dog. Calm, peaceful, never a peep out from him if I walked by, unlike this woman from Colorado on the far end.  Her two dogs are an issue that needs to be dealt with, or rather she needs to be.

Beans meanwhile will tear into them if they dare come near.
I don’t worry about her.  She can defend herself quite well.

You might be wondering what were they doing all that time inside the trailer that you never saw them, especially the guy, until they left?  I think he made this birdhouse for he hung it up before pulling out.

- comment reply -
“For all the years you’ve been traveling, what has been your most soul satisfying travel year?” 
 I have enjoyed every year of travel.  I love seeing something new and different every day regardless of what part of the country we are in.  But the question was “soul satisfying”.  For that it was this year.  I just felt it more, a connection with the land we traveled and the small towns we visited.  I was deeply impressed with the farmer’s life, the hard work they put in every single day just to put food in our stores ultimately winding up on our tables.  We think nothing about it.  But when seeing it on the grand scale it is, up close, it is overwhelming to comprehend.  Then I think of how these hard working folk endure the brutal winters every year, I cannot imagine.  Yep, this year touched my soul.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

How You Know You Are in Texas

It was cold in the morning at Walmart with no electricity to run my little heater. 
I had to dig out Mr. Buddy, my propane heater and that did the job keeping me alive.

Littlefield, Texas (pop. 5,843)

It was a nice drive of fifty some miles from Plainview to Littlefield, the last half of it on Farm Road 54.
We could just putz along at 45 mph.  Only two cars passed us by.

I knew this city camp park was in Littlefield for we were just here back in April.

That is the thing with traveling in west Texas.  There aren’t that many choices of routes to take heading to where you want to go in the west without having to take the same highways as before, passing through the same towns as before.

If you want to see what I posted on our first time at Waylon Jennings RV Park click HERE.

I tell the story of Waylon Jennings more than anything else.  

- comment replies -

Yep, you have the right idea Kathe.  I just may start to do that myself.  Depends on if I feel it is worth the effort or not at the time.

I have been missing the Dakotas and Nebraska a lot lately Debby while I am driving.  I think of Mr. Storlie’s cabin and the other vacant homes of Ambrose when I see it is icy cold, below freezing there.  And the school house in Alkabo.  I get severe weather warnings for those two places.

I fixed the photo Barbara.  Thank you for telling me.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Unhappy, Texas


I kind of was planning on staying another day at Texhoma Park in Dumas just to take advantage of the electricity to run the heater for it was to be at freezing the next morning.  But we’ve had enough of Dumas and left Monday.  Only two other travelers came in for the night on the windy afternoon previous.

Diesel was at $4.99 at the Walmart on the south edge of town.  
That is the highest since August 5 in North Dakota.
Another hundred dollar bill...

We went through Amarillo, Texas, the biggest town for us in a long time. 
Over two hundred thousand people! 
Nervous driving.  

We got through Amarillo unscathed and stopped in

Happy, Texas (pop. 678)

First impression:  this is not a happy place.

A YouTube traveler I follow was here a week ago.

As she walked down the street she got some “looks” from the locals.
Well, she was filming at the time.

On her way back to her car someone had let out a dog to guard the street corner.
It was barking at her.
She had to cross over to the other side of the street.

No one gave me any looks.  No dog was guarding the street corner either.  No one was out.
The place was dead.

All the towns we’ve been in this season looked happier.

I fixed some lunch.  A gray cat came by to look at Beans through the front windshield.  
It didn’t look happy.  It looked frightened and ran off.

I ate my lunch, let Beans out, then we left Happy, Texas.

We continued on for Plainview (pop. 22,143) where we’ve stayed before.  
Nothing special - Walmart, but a lot nicer than Happy.
Our home got a much needed wash driving through this heavy rainstorm.
It was a hundred twenty-five mile day for us.  That’s just how it is when traveling in Texas.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Oh Darn!


When I was touring the Big Well Museum in Greensburg, the lady on duty that morning handed me this flyer before I left.  She thought I would like to visit it on my way down the road.  I told her I saw it when I was here ten years ago and shared a bit of that day with her.  I thanked her and we were on our way.  I had no intention on stopping to see the same thing again or possibly meeting the guy.  I could see it from the highway as we passed through Mullinville.  When we got settled in Meade that afternoon, I looked the flyer over as I sipped my tea.  Oh my!  The guy had since passed on and the community had created a visitor center and preserved it all for everyone to see!  Now I was really miffed at myself for passing it by.

You can view my blogpost about it from wayback then by clicking HERE.

I went to the website and saw what I missed.  Click below to see a video of the inside of the center.


Meanwhile here in Dumas, Beans and I decided to sit out the windstorm.  Seven other travelers rolled in the evening before.  All with bigger higher profiles rigs than ours.  They all pulled out in the morning.       I received severe weather alerts in the morning:

“Southwest winds 25 to 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.  Winds this strong can make driving difficult, especially for high profile vehicles.  Use extra caution.” 

Are they nuts or am I a sissy?

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Welcome to Texas and Our Dilemma


We left Liberal, Kansas and just like that was in the dry scrubland of Oklahoma.  We continued on to the town of Guymon (pop. 12,965) that offered nothing except a Walmart parking lot.  
We ate lunch and got back on the road.
In no time at all we crossed over into Texas.  The parched landscape stretched out all around us.

I had to hoist the sunshade in the window.  Beans was complaining.
The sun was cooking her.

Like Sinbad, she insists on riding in my lap.  
She is too stubborn to move out from the sun beating down upon her.

The wind was hitting us broadside most of the way.  As the day grew on, the wind intensified.  Dust clouded the roadway from time to time.  We were in the “dust bowl” area after all.  Dodging tumbleweeds kept me entertained.  The final ten miles were particularly exciting.

Dumas, Texas (pop. 14,501)

One hundred and twenty miles later we arrived at Texhoma Park in Dumas.
Not really the kind of day we like but we’re in the Texas panhandle and there ain’t much out here.

Tomorrow Sunday is supposed to be even more windy with gusts up to fifty miles-per-hour.
If we get an early start we could be in Amarillo in an hour before it gets bad.  Maybe.
Monday it is to be very cold and rainy.  If we could make it to Lubbock, it will not be as cold.

Or...we stay put.  But as you can see by the sign, you can only stay here for 24 hours.

But its not like they are packing them in here.  We could sit out Sunday’s windstorm at Walmart.  Come Monday when the temperature drops thirty degrees and with a 87% chance of rain, we could come back to the park and plug in to run the heater.  That’s a new 24-hour period, right?

I am leaning towards the last option.  Beans is all for it.  She’s had enough driving for awhile.
Me too.
What would you do?