A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Fierce Winds


I saw that severe winds were forecasted so we stayed an extra day at our community park location in Fort Hancock.  We were pretty much confined inside all day.  After lunch I laid down and started to drift off.  All of a sudden the phone blared out that horrible end-of-the-world warning sound.  Scared me to death like it always does.  GOOD GRIEF!!  I turned it off and read the warning.  I laid back down and started thinking.  It is against the law to text and drive at the same time yet they send a serious “Warning Info” text for you to read while driving.  Makes no sense.

Outside our window.
Keep in mind that white building.

Reports (quiet ones with no loud blaring sound) kept coming all day.

The next morning when we left.
That white building, I was watching the roofing shingles flapping in the winds.
They were blown away on the right portion of the photo. 
If you look closely they are gone just above the vent pipes.
Some are still there to the left but folded up to the left and further on down the roof line.

A couple photos from when back at Pancho Villa State Park.
What is the point of picking up your dog’s poop if you just leave the bag lying there?
Can anyone help me on this?

- comment reply -
Si!  Tengo Frijoles! <3  >^..^<  

Monday, February 27, 2023

Old Fort Hancock

Fort Hancock, Texas

Santa Teresa Church
I like the old mission style


On our rest day we drove out of town to view the site of Old Fort Hancock.

This was all there was to see.
It was known as Camp Rice then renamed Fort Hancock in 1886 after the death of General Winfield Scott Hancock, a hero of the Battle of Gettysburg.

Today it is barren field where cotton is planted in season.
The wall is in the distance.
I wondered what if any artifacts from the soldiers lay about in this plowed land.

Then we drove over to view the border crossing into Mexico.

Now I don’t intend to stir up any controversy from the following;  I just thought it was interesting.

In 2006 a news agency did a feature story about the risks taken by illegal immigrants all along the U.S border except for one place, Fort Hancock.  There stood a simple footbridge that people could casually stroll across from one side to the other.  It was the only place all along the border this exited.  Deputy Sheriff Mike Doyle spoke fondly of his Mexican neighbors. “Those are not the people we have problems with, because I am going to make it clear that those people on the other side are some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet in your life.”

That all changed four years later in 2010 when the same deputy said “We just got word that the cartel has threatened to kill children in schools across the border unless parents paid 5000 pesos.”  Naturally the residents of Fort Hancock were greatly concerned.  Another Sheriff advised local farmers to arm themselves.  Now a segmented wall is in place eliminating the once only free crossing back and forth of residents on both sides. 

A side note: In the 1994 film The Shawshank Redemption, Fort Hancock is where Red crosses the border to meet up with Andy Dufrense who had escaped prison and now lived in Zihuantanejo, Mexico.

We moved back out to the country roadway to spend the day before moving back to our community park for the night.  I was outside walking Beans when this beat up black pickup truck came wheeling in.  An old Mexican fellow was driving.  He rolled down his window and said “Usted vende burritos?”  I looked at him.  “Say what?”  He repeated himself, shook his head and took off as I said no comprende to myself.  Then it dawned on me.  He thought our home was a taco truck selling Mexican food.
Well that was a first.

- comment reply -
I don’t think I ever mentioned where we are headed to this year since we have no real plan.  Just pretty much wandering around new and different places keeping to nice weather.  Right now though we are working our way through south Texas to check on a site we got a tip on that may be a real good place to spend our future winter months.  

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Let the Adventure Begin


Fort Hancock, Texas

Now we are feeling like we’re getting somewhere.

Fort Hancock (pop.1213) sits along the border of Texas and Mexico.  
We discovered this place last year.  My Free Camping app directed us to a small place behind the Shell gas station that one could park for the night.  It is way up there in the far distance in the photo below.

A lively little town.

Well it was close to the interstate highway, close to a railroad crossing and a place big rig trucks would pull in for the night.  I thought we could do better further into town.  That is when I discovered their little park behind the community center.  It was quiet and no one bothered us.  

So there we returned for this year.  The weather is nice here which encouraged me to clean house, clean and pack away our little propane heater, and also pack away the cold weather down-filled military sleeping bag also.  We would take a day off from traveling too.

Right outside our door is this cottonwood tree where bees have made their hive in the gap between the bark and the heart of the tree.  We don’t bother them and they don’t bother us.

- comment reply -
I got twenty pills and give them to her at half the frequency recommended from when she really had it bad originally in Yuma, Arizona years back.  This is using ten pills over ten days which knocked it out before. Nipping it in the bud.  But that is the plan. Keep my eye open for small town vets all year long and stock piling pills for it seems Wheezer gets this every winter.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Quest for Pills


El Paso, Texas

Beans’ wheezing has returned.  My goal was to get her some more pills from a vet when we reached El Paso.  There were lots of vets in El Paso.  I hit up the first one on the west side of town.  I’ve been through El Paso at least three times.  What a madhouse.  The traffic is horrendous.  After a long ordeal of one way traffic streets, going around in circles, navigating through construction zones we made it to the first vet.  I presented our empty pill bottle having her medical folder tucked under my arm and was told they couldn’t give me any pills without seeing her for a consultation.  I mentioned how I was able to get pills in Montana, Nebraska and elsewhere but evidently it was a Texas thing.  No refills of prescriptions from other doctors without seeing the patient first.  Huh!  I should have done this while in New Mexico.

We went on over to Walmart for the night parking next to this little black car.

He’s not going anywhere.  
The back passenger door was caved in with the sheet metal right against the tire.

The next morning I vowed to not give up.  On the way out of town I’d hit up a couple more vets.  It is about thirty miles to get through El Paso.  You feel you are never going to escape the madness.  It takes forever it seems to get out from there. On the east side of town we stopped in here.

Okay, I’ll start off by saying we got the pills but boy did I ever earn them.  There was a young hispanic woman working as the receptionist.  She was wearing a face mask.  I told her what we needed handing her the bottle.  I think she was going to give me the same spiel as the other place did but the old guy vet stepped in from his office cutting her off.  “Yeah, just give him what he needs.  What do want,  twenty, thirty...just fill it as many as the bottle shows.”  She started to say something about how to write it up I think and the doc took off saying “Just put down blah blah, doctor so and so, Washington, blah blah”  I don’t know what all he was rambling about but the young woman gave up and started for the pills stored behind her.  Oh good, we’re going to get them.  Then the doc started in.  “Where are you going, where are you from, what did you do for work, where do you stay, there are no Walmarts south of here, you should go here and go there, go see this and that (he threw in Carlsbad Caverns as a suggestion; I said ‘been there’), what kind of gas milage do you get, how long is your RV” and on and on rapid fire interrogation pausing only long enough to get my answer.  I think the guy was lonely.  He had no patients scheduled, nothing to do.  By then the woman was ready to take my money handing me our bottle of pills.  All I could do was look at her with this expression on my face is he for real?  By the time we were done I kind of lagged around hoping for the doc to wander off (his last words were I couldn’t live like that) so I could ask her if he was like this all day long?  How do you manage?  All I could do was look at her with my eyes wide open, eyebrows up and I am pretty sure she got the message,  probably smiling at me behind her mask.  Her eyes were telling me, ‘Yep, this is how it is.’

I went outside whew!, took the above photo and drove away to hit up another nearby vet.  I’d stockpile on pills I thought.  There I got the same story as the first place.  I’m done!  We left El Paso for good.

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Wall

Heading east from Pancho Villa State Park eventually The Wall, the border between the United States and Mexico, came into view in the far distance to the south.


We came upon a dirt road that would take us in for a closer look.
We passed a large flat stacked with thousands of steel panels waiting to be erected in place.

I was surprised to see it was this tall.

The base of each panel is embedded in cement, how deep I do not know.

This old man gives you an idea of how tall The Wall is.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Pancho Villa’s Raid


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 there 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".

 And sometimes I complain about 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
with 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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Pancho Villa State Park


Columbus, New Mexico

I have been here twice before, once in 2014 with Sinbad and 2018 with Beans.

Oh-oh, things have changed.

Oh this looks like it will be fun to do.

But there still were envelopes and a pipe to deposit money in, so that was promising.

I grabbed an envelope and then went off searching.

Not like a lot of people here.

Every single site I saw had a RESERVATION SITE sign.  Where were the first come first served sites?
I spotted this for $10 as it had no hook-ups.  We’ll take it.

So I sat there trying to figure out the online reservation process.  I spent nearly an hour at it on the Reserve America website.  Okay, I took a break from the frustration to fix and eat my lunch during that hour.  Finally I made it to the check out part, clicked on it and saw there was an added four dollar registration fee.  That was nearly half again as much as the camp fee alone.  I could understand a dollar fee but four?  That’s criminal.  And just what benefit of service was I getting for this fee?  Nothing.  None of that fee went towards the maintenance or betterment of the park either.  I was paying extra money just to be annoyed and aggravated.  It would have been so much nicer and easier to walk on down to the pipe with a ten dollar bill in that envelope and drop it in.

So consider this: there are hundreds of campgrounds all over the country that require using the Reserve America system to pay for your campsite.  There are thousands of campers every single day paying that extra four dollar reservation fee to secure their campsite. 
 The income Reserve America is getting must be staggering.

And there’s more.
I knew this campground had showers.  One of the reasons for coming here.

Now I may be silly thinking that it is so wrong to be charging full price to stay here when the New Mexico State Parks cannot provide the normal services.  The fee should be cut in half at the very least since all we are doing now is just paying to park here and receiving nothing else. 

I said when starting out this year that I would try harder to not sound like a crotchety old man in my writing but they sure are making that difficult for me. 

At least we escaped the nasty weather to the north.  Our second day would be more high winds scheduled so I guess I’ll be giving Reserve America another four dollars for nothing.  It’s just four dollars.  I spent twice that much on each of the last two sandwiches I bought.  It’s not about the money, it just seems to me out right thievery.  

The next day this alert came blaring in on my phone.
We stayed put.