A Traveler and his Cat exploring America.

Sunday, April 30, 2023

Black Kettle National Grasslands


Near nothing much in western Oklahoma.

We stayed here in April of 2018

Same spot as it is about the only level place around to park in.

No one else here and if I recall that was the case last time too.  
Day visitors drop by but never stay long.
Now watch, I will have jinxed us by writing that.

Typical U.S. Forest Service signboard.
It is free to stay and oh so quiet.  Good cell service too.
That overnight stay in Elk City was noisy as could be with Interstate 40 being right there.

A couple books might die while we are here.

Big Fruit Evening Primrose.

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I believe the pink door was a beauty salon.
We are always on the move searching for good weather so pretty much avoid long bouts of nasty stuff.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Weather Not to be Driving In


We had a seventy-mile drive north to Vernon, Texas (pop. 10,078).  There we stayed the night under the threat of severe weather - high winds, rain, hail and tornados.  Fortunately only rain and wind materialized.  But something else happened…my debit card would no longer work.  DECLINED.  I spent the following day dealing with that.  I’ll not go into detail all that I went through.  What it came to be was the bank put a warning alert on the card due to transactions showing up in different places.  I explained to the woman at my bank that I travel around all the time and this has never happened before in all my years.  She got the card unlocked and made a notation “traveling the world”.  Well not quite, but I liked the sound of that and let it be.  The worst part was I feared having to have new card sent to me somewhere at sometime, not knowing where or when I would be there.  Thank goodness that was avoided and my old card worked the next time I used it in...

There was a break in the weather although the winds were still sweeping across the plains out of the north headlong right into us.  It was a short drive of thirty-four miles to Altus, Oklahoma (pop. 18,729).  There the weather kicked up again, no threats, but we were pinned down for two days due to high winds once again.  Altus had no used bookstores but did have a Salvation Army and a Goodwill.  So to have something to do on the second day we went to each.  Now I said awhile back I was done with those two thrift stores in looking for books.  I need to stick to my word.  Both were a waste of time.
But I did get these mural photos.

The third day was to be more of the same only with rain added to the high winds.  I saw the winds would be mild very early in the morning.  So we were up before dawn to make a run for it.  We got rolling just as the sun crested the far horizon.  Beans wasn’t happy.  This time we had seventy-eight miles to travel on a four-lane highway all to ourselves.  A very nice drive beating the wind before it started up for the day.  We were in Elk City, Oklahoma (pop. 11,561) before 9 a.m under dreary skies.  After some pancakes for breakfast I crawled back into my sleeping bag to get warm.  Fell asleep for two hours.  Woke up to 49 degrees (9C), rain and a cat walking on me.  I dug out the heater.  Hot tea and soup for a late lunch. 

The next few posts I’ll include these “Life Lessons’ from a YouTuber I follow 
who just celebrated her 32nd birthday.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Goodbye Knox City


Knox City, Texas

With great relief I rounded the turn out from the neighborhood with the vicious dogs stalking me left behind.  I was now in the upper end of the old business district.

A long since abandoned garage…

…and most likely a service station dating back to the 30’s and 40’s I suspect.

On down the highway, things picked up a bit.
I like these old acorn street lights.

Nicely done art tractor.

This was the only shop of this sort I saw in the entire town.
I wondered how it survived with hardly any tourist traffic coming through this area. 

Looking back up the highway from where I came.
No tourists.

Just before cutting in back to the RV Park I came across this.
Worth a look.

They had books, laying flat too.
Good prices at twenty-five cents but unfortunately nothing for me.

Beans was happy I came home without being mauled to death by the Knox City hounds.

Our stay was fine in Knox City except the cell service was poor if you had AT&T.  It took twice as long to upload posts for the blog and if I wanted to watch a short YouTube video I needed to be extra patient.  We stopped at their City Hall on the edge of town so I could drop off some money for the extra days past the two free days we stayed.  I was curious about what Mr. Rodriguez had said regarding our neighbor having paid for six months.  I wondered what amount he had to pay.  I asked the lady in City Hall.  She knew nothing about it.  “I’ll have to send someone out to look into this.”  Oops!  
I told her I didn’t mean to be a tattletale.  I was just curious.  
We got out if town posthaste. 


Thursday, April 27, 2023

Who Let the Dogs Out!?


Knox City, Texas

There was a brief window of “pleasant” weather so I went for a walk.  I just had to get out and stretch my legs.  I walked down the highway that cuts through town, kind of dead on both sides of the street, finding nothing photo-worthy.  Just before the edge of town I cut up a couple of streets into the residential section to avoid going back the way I came seeing the same nothing.

I was beginning to notice that about half the houses looked unlived in.    

Boy, I really wanted to go in this but it was posted NO TRESPASSING!

As I continued on my walk I was stirring up all the dogs in the neighborhood even those I could not see.

So my peaceful walk was no more.  Just constant dog barking following me.

Those homes that had someone living in them for the most part were littered with all sorts of unwanted debris in front and in back.
I didn’t take pictures of them.  That wouldn’t be nice.

I passed by their school complex, a collection of old buildings housing all grade levels for Knox City and little O’Brien a few miles south.  This is their football field and baseball outfield between me and the buildings.  Goat-head stickers grow here.

By now I had three dogs trailing me.  The one in front growled.  The black and white barked constantly creating ear pain.  The one in back was silent.  The silent ones you need to be extra careful of.
Yes, I was very uncomfortable wishing Beans was with me.  She’d tear into them.

One block more and they left me alone and I turned onto the other highway passing through town.
We will see what I saw on that road in the next post.

Safe to say, I would not want to live in Knox City!

If you missed it, I fixed the generator.  
It is the post before this one.  I posted it midday since I was so excited.



Found this online.  The guy had a generator just like mine.  There is a rubber hose vent line going to the regulator.  Dirt, bugs, mud dubber wasps had plugged the hose on his unit.  

The screen is his fix for the problem.

I was able to disconnect mine from the regulator.  

I pulled it out so I could blow into the end.  Blocked.  

I stuck a wire up in the hose from the outside while I blew into the other end.  That unblocked the line.
After reattaching the hose to the regulator the generator started right up!!  Couldn’t believe it.
Mine has foam wrapped over the end to keep bugs and dirt out.  You can see it has broken apart.
I will fix that anew. 
Oh happy day and this time I almost did jump for joy.

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Free Swimming

Knox City, Texas

Across the road from us is the city park.
I was surprised to find that this little town of just over one thousand people had a pool.


Aw but the pool looked to be in bad shape, not having been used in years.

I asked neighbor Mr. Joe Rodriguez about the pool and he assured me that it is still in use.
“They will clean it up, I think repaint it this year, and have it ready by the end of May before school is out.

And get this, he told me that the community supports the pool to the point that it is free admission for the kids to use at no charge.

Of all the city parks with swimming pools around the country that I have seen, free to the kids is a first.

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No, we have never been to Knox City before.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Knox City RV Park


Knox City, Texas (pop. 1065)

This is why we came here.
The weather was to turn cooler, cloudy and rainy for the upcoming week.
It sounded like a good place to wait out the weather.

It surprised me to find two other campers here being a small town way out in the sticks.
The trailer to the right is a family with five kids all who appear to be under ten years of age.  Notice two vehicles.  One to tow the trailer and the other to transport the troop.  Now five kids under ten could mean noise and chaos.  Instead they are really nice well-behaved kids that I hardly ever see outside.  All five have the blondest hair you can imagine.  Neither mom or dad have blonde hair.  Four of the kids are girls.  Kids number two and three appear to be twins one of which is the lone boy.  He and his sister who is the same size and look very much alike are real close sometimes walking with their arm around the other’s back which led me to believe the twins idea.

We are parked where we are because the only other spot was where a broken sewer line was being repaired.   The hole had been filled in by the time I took this photo but we’re not bothered by neighbors so we stayed put.

My neighbor looks like he has been here awhile judging by the tall grass under is fifth-wheel.  How can that be if there is a fourteen day limit?  Well I was talking with a neighbor across the street, Mr. Joe Rodriguez.  He lives in the white house above.  Nice guy.  He told me the guy paid the city extra money to stay for six months as he has a job nearby here somewhere.  He leaves at six in the morning and doesn’t return home until like nine at night.  
We can live close to a neighbor like that.

Here I got to use my new yellow extension cord for the first time.  Remember the lady in the van I saw last year using a yellow extension cord which gave me the idea?  This was so much easier to use than pulling out that heavy duty 50 amp cable that came with the camper. 

 I also am using the new surge protecter the camper last year recommended I get after he told me about his expensive electrical repairs he had to make when a power surge hit him somewhere while plugged in at a park.

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I guess a pot pie could be cooked in the Dutch Oven.  Really though not worth the bother with charcoal and all for a simple cook.  It and tamales can just wait until we are plugged in somewhere down the road.
The generator runs off of propane.  It is not your usual gas powered device.  I doubt a small engine repair shop would even look at it.  

Monday, April 24, 2023

One More Item for Trauma Day


When we were at the Walmart in Snyder, Texas recovering from our visit to the Vet, that afternoon I went to start up the generator to run the microwave for a frozen meal.  It would not start.  Just great!  I pulled out the owner’s manual (no help there), Googled some and gave up for the day.  This very well may be something I will not be able to fix myself.  Most likely it will require the expertise of a high-priced Onan certified technician at a RV service center such as Camping World that will require some advance appointment sometime later this year, if I am lucky.

Now the reality of my need for the generator is only to power the microwave oven for anywhere from three to five minutes every once in awhile.  That’s it.  As we drove those hundred miles that day I thought a lot about this situation.  What did I have in the freezer could I prepare on the stove top instead of using the microwave?  It came to only a turkey pot pie and my tamales actually needed the microwave.  I would just have to be more selective on my quick and easy meals from now on.

At our destination we would have plug-in hookups.  I could use the microwave then and eat up those items.  Then I thought more as I drove along.  I am over-reacting here.  All I need to do is plan ahead, set my dinner out ahead of time to defrost and then cook on the stove top.  And there was no reason to not have a microwave required entree or two in the freezer waiting for when we would be at a small city park with plug-ins.  I would just take advantage of the electrical services provided more often even if I have to pay-to-stay and not dry camp for free.  Whatever I have to pay to camp with plug-in electricity would take forever to amount to what the generator repair would cost.

That evening at camp I plugged in.  I ran the microwave.  Oh this is so much nicer using the microwave without that noisy generator churning away outside. 
Yes, this added trauma-for-the-day item was for the better in the end.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Lunch at Tuxedo Junction

 Halfway to our destination we turned north off of Highway 92.
Good as any place to eat lunch.
I could find no information about Tuxedo.  Lost and forgotten.
1907 is the number.

We pulled off onto a wide spot at the turn. The only place to do so.
Whatever used to be of Tuxedo appears to have been plowed under long ago.

Book Report:  I read the book recommended to me by Diane at Rita’s used book store.  
A really far-fetched story the stretches the limits of believability.  I lost track of the body-count from our lone hero’s super human skills while being mortally wounded.  Laughable at parts.  Still, it was fast moving and entertaining.  Would I read anymore of the books in the series?  Yes, if I can pick them up for a dollar or less.

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What is Beans’ problem and what medication does she take?
The only term I see on her initial workup from two years back is “bronchitis”.
She takes 5mg of prednisolone every 48 hours now, a reduced dosage from before.
It takes several days to take effect on her.