Category Archives: Texas

From New Mexico to Arkansas

I have covered a lot of ground since I left my friends’ place in Lemitar, New Mexico a three weeks ago, roughly 1,500 miles. That is a lot of different scenery. Instead of giving you a step by step detailed report, I will give you the highlights of the trip, including some random thoughts / observations.
I had heard a lot about Roswell, NM and people told me I should stop there to check out the International UFO Museum.

Mexican alien - how ironic

First off, I did not get abducted. Several blocks of downtown Roswell are all about aliens, green little guys. It doesn’t matter if it is the tax preparer or the gift store, everyone has an alien painted on the window, a little much if you ask me. I didn’t go into the museum, only to the gift store, I can only take so much. The story about Roswell is that in 1947 a UFO crashed in the area. It wasn’t until the late 70’s until conspiracy theories started to develop about a government cover-up as to what was recovered back in 1947. Was it a surveillance balloon or some spacecraft and its occupants? Will we ever know and do we really care? At least Roswell has been attracting visitors from all over the world.
The scenery changed from hilly grassland dotted with pine trees to pretty flat desert land, no more hills or mountains in the distance, and eventually into farmland once I hit highway 70 heading towards the Texas border. The Texas panhandle, especially the western part, is as flat as a pancake,

Flat enough for you?

nothing but fields all the way to the horizon and beyond. There are lot’s of feed lodges along hwy 60, pretty smelly in some areas.
My destination was the Palo Duro Canyon. I had been in the same area last June, but back then the Canyon was flooded and therefore closed. This time the weather was perfect. Palo Duro is the second largest canyon in the US, after the Grand Canyon. Have you ever heard of it? The canyon is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide and 800 feet deep. Only a relatively small area has been turned into a state park, the rest is owned privately and is inaccessible to the public.

The Lighthouse - Palo Duro Canyon. Yes, it's in Texas

The canyon is beautiful, lot’s and lot’s of green. Cottonwood trees along the creeks and juniper pines and mesquite trees throughout the canyon. The green makes a nice contrast to the red mud hills and mesas in the park. What is really nice is that you can drive to the bottom of the canyon. The campgrounds are also located at the bottom. Another neat feature is that you can hike and climb all over the place, as long as you are careful and don’t trample over plants. In contrast to the Grand Canyon, the hills and mesas in Palo Duro are mainly formed by mud and gypsum and not rock, less footing and more slipping. I got my hiking mojo back at Palo Duro. I went for two four hour plus hikes, climbed up Capitol Peak and

One of my "mountain" hikes

explored the mesa behind my campsite. What fun it was to be able to take advantage of all those climbing possibilities. I have to admit that I was a little more hesitant than I used to be and always took the easier way out. Palo Duro is not as intimidating as the Grand Canyon and at this time of year not nearly as crowded.
Please tell me why Texans have to let their car engines idle, no matter if they are in the car or not. What’s up with that? There is not even a law against idling in Texas. Idle more than three minutes in New York City and you run the risk of getting a ticket. While I am bitching, what’s up with putting up bright lights all around your camp site? Keep them on until you go to bed, but why all night? It is so hard to find a totally dark place

Who wouldn't like to wake up to this?

nowadays. So much light pollution comes from near, and not so nearby towns and cities that we should appreciate the darkness when we venture into nature. That’s at least why I like to get out of town. Don’t get me started on passing over double yellow lines, no passing zone…
From Palo Duro I went via farm roads and small highways to Dallas. I don’t like Dallas, but I have to admit that I found some interesting places this time around. And as long as you stay off the freeways, it’s not so bad. I didn’t come to Dallas to find interesting places, but to visit my friend Lynn. Thank you Lynn for letting me stay, not only the planned two nights, but three. I love visiting my friends; I hate to say good bye. I just never know when I’ll see anyone again.
Before I reached Dallas I drove through a lot of grassland, big ranches with cattle and horses. From time to time the earth opened up and all of a sudden there was a canyon, totally unexpected. Caprock Canyons State Park was one of those surprises, a small park but with nice hiking trails.
Not only have I crossed time zones moving east, but it seems also weather zones. When I left Nevada “way back” at the end of March the temperatures had already reached the 80s. New Mexico was not quite so warm (26F in the mountains over night) and the western part of Texas greeted me with 103 F, back into the 60s just a few days later. The West has been very dry and everywhere a fire ban has been in effect; a stark contrast to the East where it has been raining seemingly non-stop.
Besides visiting with Lynn in Dallas, I also took care of some errands. Once again, I was totally overwhelmed when I walked into one of the supermarkets. The produce section alone was larger than most of the supermarkets I had been shopping in; too bad that produce just don’t last very long.
Originally, I had planned on just driving east back to New York. If you have been following my travels you might have noticed that plans are meant to be changed. Since I still have two months to get back to New York, I decided that I would drive up to Nebraska. I once drove through Nebraska back in the late 90s on I-80. I remember liking the area and now I want to go back.
This post has taken me several attempts to complete and as I am writing this, I am sitting at Lake Ouachita (Wash-i-taw – don’t ask) in Arkansas. The drive from Dallas to Oklahoma and now Arkansas has been full of surprises.

Wild flowers and the Kiamichi Mountains

Again, I stayed on the smallest roads possible and I have been at awe at all the green and all the trees; oak, cottonwoods, maple, pine and many more. You have to remember that from mid December on I have not seen many trees or green grass. Yes, there was the Gila Forest, but that was mostly evergreens and in a relatively small area. But now just driving down a country road seeing all this lush greenery is just wonderful. The biggest surprise to me was Oklahoma. The only thing that came to mind was – dust bowl. But the south eastern corner is anything but. It is all GREEN, meadows with wildflowers framed by trees. The smell of morning dew on the grass, it just smells so fresh.
I have stayed at some state parks; they are nice, but often crowded and noisy. A ranger told me about a spot in the woods, two miles of the

My kind of spot

highway, no hook-up, no lights and no people. I crave solitude when I am out in nature, the quieter and further away from people the better. I prefer nature’s music at night, cicadas, crickets, frogs and the wind in the leaves is just fine with me. The moon was watching over me, not quite full yet.

Cicada, hatched after 13 years

Throughout my trip / journey I have traveled through many small towns (population 1,000 or less) and most of the time I have been saddened by

Main Street - small town Texas

their condition; storefronts boarded up, buildings falling apart or just a shell of a building standing. I don’t even like to take photos of these places anymore. The downturn does not necessarily stem from this recession. I spoke with a woman in one of those towns and she said that some of the stores had been empty for ten years! People just moved away to find jobs elsewhere. Arkansas seems not to fit that mold, at least the 100 miles I drove through so far. Even just the houses along side the road seemed to be in better condition than what I saw in the other direction over in Oklahoma. I drove through chicken country, many Tyson signs next to the farm’s name and many, many, many chicken houses, those long ones where the chicks get raised.

Paris to Detroit via Reno in less than an hour, only in Texas.

I have been hiking or walking in the woods in Oklahoma and Arkansas. As pretty as the trees are, I get a little bored walking through the forest. There is nothing to climb on; I need some rocks to climb over, a little challenge and fun.

Fourteen months on the road – 30,000 miles, but who is counting.

This post had been further delayed due to lack of internet connection.

Galveston Island – Ike the forgotten hurricane

We have to do a little time travel and go back a few weeks to June 17th.  You might remember I started to write about my drive from Austin to Galveston Island when I was interrupted by a “flood” in my camper.  Then some other things came up and I never got around to even start writing about my time in Galveston.  OK, here we go.
Let’s pick-up the story in Richmond.  As you probably remember temperatures had been pretty high.  I don’t have air-conditioning in the camper and I drive with the windows down.  Camper temperatures usually run in the high 90s F (36C) and at night in the 80s F (30C).  The truck driving temps run at around 100 F+ (40C), with the wind blowing it really doesn’t feel that bad.  You know something is not quite right when you get into your car and deem it comfortably cool, then look at the thermometer just to see that it is 100 F.

The drive to the coast was uneventful.  My right foot finally got a break thanks to long flat stretches of road flanked by corn fields.  My destination for the day was Oyster Creek near Freeport.  The only place where I could find a campground that was not right next to a highway.  Once I reached the Freeport area the scenery changed; fields were replaced by petrochemical plants.  A lovely site.

Petrochemical plant

It was still very early in the day and very hot.  What to do when you are near a beach and it is hot and humid?  Well, you go to the beach for a swim.  This was my first Texas beach experience; boy was I in for a surprise.  Did you know that Texans ruin a nice beach by parking their cars right by the water?  Why on earth would anyone do this? 

Beach parking - Surfside Beach


At least the water was refreshing and it was a ton of fun diving into the waves.  The waves were not very high, but they were very strong, had to watch not to get my back knocked out of whack.  There were no showers of any kind at this beach and I to live with the sticky salt water until I got back to the campground.

I had gotten in touch with John, a filmmaker/photographer who had invited me to stay in his driveway.  He is an early bird, up by 5:30 AM.  He suggested I’ll come early to take some photos in the nice early sunlight.  Well, I couldn’t get up that early, but I left the campground by 8 AM, which is early for me.  The sunlight was beautiful and I took pictures at the beach town of Surfside Beach.  The colorful stilt beach houses looked great in the light.  I should try to get up earlier from time to time.  Then again, sunset light is beautiful as well.

Stilt houses - Surfside Beach

By the time I met up with John the temperatures and humidity were at uncomfortable levels.  Despite all that John was generous enough to drive and walk me all over the Galveston area.

My first impression of the place – wasteland.  The petrochemical plants and the lack of trees just made me think of that.  I had been completely oblivious / ignorant to the fact that Galveston had been hit by hurricane Ike just two years ago and the place had been under six feet plus of water.  All the salt water had killed most of the Live Oak trees that once graced the streets and provided the needed shade.  All in all the city lost some 40,000 trees!!!  We still hear about hurricane Katrina, but when was the last time you heard about Ike?  John and Susan’s house was six feet under water.  You can’t quite comprehend what that means until you see the water level marks and talk with people who had lost everything.

Hurricane Ike damaged Flagship Hotel

When I was in Alabama, 90 miles from the Gulf I had seen what damage Ike had done to the forests in the area.  I had no idea that a hurricane travels that far inland.

Dead tree sculpture

In one small part of Galveston a handful of dead trees were turned into sculptures, very neat, but it came with a steep price tag.

Being a photographer himself, John appreciates nice light and he likes the early morning light.  So the next morning we were off at 6 AM! To catch the sunrise and see some birds that one otherwise won’t see.  Unfortunately, the birds did not cooperate. 

Tanker at sunRise

We did however see a lot of people who had been fishing over night.  After some more touring of the area we were back at the house by 9 AM and it was already unbearably hot and humid.  Best thing to do was stay put in air conditioning.

Later in the afternoon we headed out again to photograph a Juneteenth parade.  That the celebration of the end of slavery.  Somehow the news reached Texas later than the other southern states.  Being from New York I figured I’d see a couple of hundred people marching, OK at least 50 people.  Well, this was more of a gathering of about a dozen people who walked two blocks to a church; accompanied by one drum and one other bell like instrument.  At least I learned something new.

Before I headed out the next day John and Susan gave me some pointers about places to see and places to avoid on my way to Marfa.

One of those places was Blessing; in particular the Blessing Hotel Coffee Shop.  I did stop by and had lunch with Vicky, her husband Mickey and a friend Chris.  This place serves a buffet style lunch in a communal setting and it wasn’t bad at all.  Don’t know if I would drive 40 miles one way to make it a special occasion, but if you are in the area, stop by.  Vicky, Mickey and Chris had indeed driven 40 miles (64 km) just for lunch.  Here in Texas distance is measured differently.  30 miles (48 km) is considered just around the corner.

When I left Austin, my friends had mentioned their parents’ lake house just west of San Antonio.  That’s where I was headed.  I’d be there just in time to meet up with them again.  As you know I spent some time at the lake. 

Now you know what I did in Galveston.  FYI, I am now in Socorro, New Mexico.  As I am writing this at 9:30 PM I am watching this beautiful sliver of a moon just outside my window. There are hardly any light around here which makes for great star gazing. Life is good.
Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll make it to Gilroy by July 24 for the Garlic Festival.  Just a few mountains between here and the coast.

More to come about south Texas.

10,000 miles!

I hit the 10,000 mile mark while I was driving through Amarillo.  However, looking at my US map it looks like I have only covered a tiny fraction of the country.

I quick recap and some stats:

10,000 miles driven
118 days on the road (only 8 nights not slept in the camper)
880 gallons of gas pumped

the little hick ups:

2 leaks that soaked my carpet – fixed for now
faulty ground wire that runs the turning signals & lights of the camper – fixed
broken fridge, for 2 days – fixed
broken seal around the bathroom skylight, only little water leaked in – fixed
damaged eye hook that ties the camper to the truck – fixed
small hole in the tire – patched

the good stuff:

met a bunch of nice people
made some new friends
saw a lot of beautiful country – plenty more to come
learned more about how people outside of big cities live

I am finally leaving Texas, spent more than a month here.  Heading towards Gilroy, California for the garlic festival on July 23-25.  I really want to go to this festival.  Hope that I make it without ending up rushing too much.

Have to pack up now to get on the road.

Where I am

Just to give you a little update where I have been since I left Lake Medina.  Once I left the Hill Country I headed south west towards the Mexican border.  I stayed on highway 90 all the way to Marfa.  Not many towns along the way better make sure you have a full tank of gas or really good fuel economy.  Past some ghost towns as well, no ghost in sight however.  I stayed in Marathon and Marfa before I headed north towards the Texas panhandle.  Once north of I-10 the land was a flat as a pancake.

Spent the night in the Sandhills State Park just east of Monahans.  Still trying to get the sand out of the camper and everything else, nice place however.  Heading towards Amarillo today.

A more detailed account of my stay in Marathon and Marfa will follow, eventually.  The Galveston report is still in the works.  As I said, writer’s block.

All New Yorkers – stay cool.  I have been fortunate to enjoy night temperatures in the 60s.

Writer’s block in West Texas

Open spaces

I am enjoying the scenery out in West Texas.  Despite plenty of time on my hands, I don’t manage to get anything on paper.  My head is as empty as the land around me.  Bare with me.

At least I can still take pictures.

Happy 4th of July.

Freight train

More freight train

Rain cloud

Thank you

A very sincere and heartfelt thank you to Don, Patricia, Joanna and Alison for letting me stay at their lake house while I was waiting for my fridge to be repaired. None of my food spoiled thanks to having access to their fridge.

Also thank you to Wayne at Hill Country RV & Mobile Home Supply ( who not only told me what to do before going ahead and ordering a new cooling system for my fridge (I know I was not always patient). But who also ran another diagnostic test. The fridge is working at the point.  Might have been a blockage that was finally dislodged.  If you ever need help with your RV or camper and you are in the Bandera area, see Wayne.

Thank you to Bill at East End campers in New York for the help via telephone.

To top off this day of good fortune; I came back to the lake just to see an almost full moon shining above the lake. Illuminating the cliffs and reflecting on the water. Stars above in a cloud free night sky. Who needs a shower when you have a lake?

I must have done something right in life to be so fortunate. Thank you.

In a funk

Traveling by yourself has definitely advantages, but also disadvantages.  When you are in a funk and things start to go wrong there is nobody who can get you out of that mood.

After the water leak, which was bad but was taken care off, my fridge broke down on Tuesday.  What was supposed to be a relaxing Wednesday at Lake Medina, turned into a not so pleasant experience.  Camper fridges don’t work the same way as regular home fridges.  They run on an absorption system with an ammonia and water solution.  Well, somehow a blockage got into the cooling tubes, preventing the fridge and freezer from getting cold.  A new fridge cost a whooping $1,100, yes all that for a 6.3 cubic foot fridge.  As it turns out, the fridge is still under warranty.  Norcold will pay for a new cooling system and I pay the guy to remove the old and put in the new, at an hourly rate of $85.  I think I am in the wrong business.

If I had a clear head all this really would not be so bad.  I am “stuck” at beautiful Lake Medina where I am parked next to my friends’ house.  I have a great view onto the lake as I am writing this.  Basically, my ice cream melted, I guess a melted pint has fewer calories than a frozen one (I couldn’t just throw it out), and hopefully my bread will just re-freeze when the freezer is fixed.  All the other stuff is kept kind of cold by ice.  My friends had to go back to Austin otherwise I would be using the fridge in the house.  It will cost me a couple of hundred dollars for the installation and I have to endure the beauty of the lake.  Why am I still in a funk?  This could really be much worse.

I had a great day on Monday and Tuesday with Alison, Joanna and her parents.  It was really nice to have dinner in a family setting.  Having had dinner with friends in the last couple of weeks was nice, but it was special having parents around and sharing stories.  Tuesday we took care of a couple of things at the house and the afternoon was spent on the lake.  This time it was not in a small boat with a tiny out border like at Lake Alexander, but a real motorboat.  Wow, what fun we had.  I had my first waterskiing lesson and I even stood up on the skies and went for 100 yards or so before I crashed.  Actually, I think I let go of the rope, couldn’t handle the little waves.  What a thrill.  I was just thinking to myself that I am the luckiest person in the world.  Traveling and meeting wonderful people.  Thank you Joanna, Alison, Patricia and Don!  It is funny in a way, Joanna and Alison only lived a few blocks away from me in NYC and we have a mutual friend, but we never met until I drove to Austin.  There are reasons to leave Manhattan from time to time.

Let’s hope that my mood will have improved by tomorrow so that I can catch up on my writing and photo editing.  Blogs without photos are only half the fun.

Austin, mosquitoes, heat and more

It has been a week since my last post and so much happened that I just don’t know where to start. I am bubbling over with little stories. Should I go in chronological order or as it pops into my head? OK, let’s try to chronological order.  As you know I did make it to Austin where I parked my camper next to my friends’ house.  My first dry camping experience in a city.  Worked out great, quiet street.  Better than some campgrounds I stayed at lately.  Austin was just as hot as Dallas; luckily the nights were cool, relatively speaking. 

One of my friends, Joanna, has a handyman business, Handychicks.  We had a little conversation about the name, since I have never been very fond of the term chicks in reference to women.  In any case, Joanna needed some help on a project and since I am kind of handy myself I said yes and helped stain a deck and a six foot tall fence. I had to think of Mark Twain the entire time I was painting. The project was not bad, but the heat and humidity were a little bothersome, 96 F (37 C) and the heat index hovered at around 102 F (40 C).  But nothing was as bad as the mosquitoes.  Once again, I was eaten alive.  Within no time I had over a dozen nasty red bites on each leg, yuck.  I know I am sweet and all, but I would prefer if these suckers would leave me alone. 

Spending time in both Dallas and Austin with friends was great.  I haven’t had this much company in a long time.  It will take some getting used to being back on the road by myself again. It was great meeting you Joanna and Allison. Thank you for your hospitality, I love your dogs, would have taken one with me if you would have let me. Looking forward to seeing you again.

A quick Dallas note, I was able to replenish my special dark bread supply. I have now 14 pounds of my bread in the freezer. That should last the next three months. I should get a sponsorship deal with the Rubschlager company. I have been eating their bread for almost 20 years! Any connections anyone?

After the mammoth 250 mile drive from Dallas to Austin, I decided to break up my drive to Galveston into two days. Fortunately, the wind was not that bad anymore and I could even use my cruise control for longer stretches. I stayed overnight at a RV park in Richmond. I had asked for a spot in the shade. Well, there was one tree, better than nothing. Thanks to the incredible heat around here (who drives around Texas in June anyway?) I added a new accessory to my wardrobe, a frozen bandana. I have started to put a wet bandana into the freezer until frozen stiff, roll it up and wrap it around my neck. It really cools me down, at least for a while. Just keep in mind, what once was frozen will melt and drip on your shirt…

Sorry, have to interrupt the chronological report. Just arrived at my campground near Gonzales thinking it is still early and I have plenty of time to update my blog. Things just don’t always work out that way. Had to deal with a big leaking something in my camper. Just had hooked up my city water connection and was getting ready to do some laundry (yes, I still have to take care of those pesky household chores.) when I stepped outside and saw water coming out of three corners of my camper. Big time shit. I had water dripping in the past and had blamed the city intake connection. However, the intake was dry. I am not 100% sure yet, but it seemed to have been a loose hose connection to the bathroom faucet. The result: a wet basement ceiling, wet carpet under the dining table and of course some of the bags under the table and their contents. Let’s hope that the plywood covering the interior structure of the camper dries out nicely over night. It is pretty warm and for now I have my fan blowing into the basement. Have to check what my camper warranty says about these kinds of issues. Being a camper owner is not much different from being a home owner. Other than the water issue I had to deal with a broken rear light due to a faulty ground wire. Which meant I had to re-crimp all the little wires in the plug which connects to the truck. Driving without a right turning signal is not that great. Last week I replaced a vent cap on the roof. Must have hit a low hanging branch somewhere. Good thing it was not a low hanging bridge. Thank God none of my low clearance bridge nightmares have come true so far.  Next is the malfunctioning seal in the toilet.

Now that is has gotten so late, I won’t get around to report about my drive to the Texas coast or my stay in Galveston or put up any photos. Stay tuned to find out where Jicky had lunch with Vicky and Mickey.

But before I say good night I want to send a big thank you to John and Susan in Galveston. Thank you John for showing me your Galveston, despite the heat, and giving me the historic background and the stories. Thank you for all the CDs, I did like the Texas music. Thanks also for letting me “camp” in your driveway.

A night for a big bowl of ice cream! Good thing I don’t drink.

Tough drive to Austin

I-635 & 75 overpass

I had to leave Dallas sooner than later. However, it was nice to stay put for a little bit and to have some company. Thank you again Lynn and thank you Jay for the location tip for the overpass. The median across from the Motel 6 parking lot gives you a great vantage point. I might not like Dallas, but the people I met sure were very generous. Thank you Kathy for the chili, I’ll have some tonight – it was very good.

OK, the drive from Dallas to Austin. The straight line to Austin would be I-35, approximately 200 miles. I took the not so straight line which totaled 250 miles. I left Dallas on highway 67 and then moseyed on down the two lane highway 174, eventually heading a little west towards Waco and then south on highway 95 to Austin.
When I looked at my odometer and my clock, I realized that I had only driven 40 miles in one hour! I wasn’t sightseeing; it was the head winds of about 25 miles an hour that kept me from moving. As hard as I pressed that gas pedal, I could not make it to the 55 mph mark. The engine would rav and I was only going 40 – 45mph. The fact that I was driving through hilly terrain did not help either.
On the bright side, I did drive through some beautiful rolling hills country side. The green of the trees and bushes was not the same uniform green anymore as I had been seeing in Mississippi and Louisiana. The spectrum ran the gamut from dark green to silvery green, not sure if that is a real color or not, but that what it looked like. It reminded me of my last trip when I drove through Nevada where the sagebrush alone came in a wide variety of shades of green.

Valley Mills

Several of the small towns I passed had big western themed murals painted on their buildings. The buildings themselves looked like the buildings we are used to seeing in the old western movies. I stopped in one of those towns, Valley Mills, just to take pictures and ended up having lunch; who could resist a restaurant named “Cowgirl’s Café”, anyone? Nice little place, great place for burger fans, not so great when you don’t eat meat. But there is always the good old grilled cheese sandwich, hard to mess that up. The place was decorated with, what else, cowgirl and also some cowboy memorabilia, pretty neat.

Cowgirl's Cafe

The Cowgirls

Drove past Crawford, but no sightings of George.W.
Other than rolling hills I also saw some life stock, long horn cattle and I mean LONG horn, wow. No photos this time around, but I have the feeling that I will see more of them. Also saw some goats with cute little baby goats. Let’s hope that they were milk goats.
Texas drivers are impatient or plain old stupid. Double yellow do not pass lines don’t mean anything to them. Now I know why so many states have in addition to the lines signs that say DO NOT PASS. It is not so bad when I get passed in a no passing zone, except when I have to move to the right so that the idiot who passed me doesn’t drive into oncoming traffic. Not so fun is when you see headlights coming towards you, on your lane. I thought Miami drivers were bad, but they only make passing impossible, Texas drivers are dangerous.
It took me seven hours to drive to Austin. I was pooped, but very happy to park my camper next to Allison and Joanna’s house, thank you! The campgrounds around Austin were full. I didn’t know that this weekend was the big Republic of Texas biker rally.

Texas State Capitol (Austin)

I spend today wandering around downtown Austin, despite 95 F temperatures. I had brunch at a nice place on S. Congress Avenue and that’s where I concluded that, no matter where I live, there have to be good restaurants. I don’t eat out often, but when I do I like it to be something good, something that I cannot or would not make myself.
Next stop, Galveston Island, I am just not sure exactly when I’ll be there. It is a 280 mile drive and I will not do that in one day, no way Jose!

Dallas – hot as hell

Well I made it to Dallas from Atlanta, Texas at the north eastern end of the state.
The 200 mile drive took me a mere 7 hours, including an hour for lunch in Wills Point.  Texas is not as flat as everyone always says.  It might seem flat, but when you are hauling five tons+ every little incline turns into work and slows me down to 40 mph.  I continue to stay away from the interstates, though I felt I was cheating a little taking highway 80, which used to be the Dallas connection before I-20 came along.

Deadwood - 108 Happy people and one old grouch

Anyway, I thought I was moving along quite well until I reached the outskirts of Dallas.  My recollection from 18 years ago was that Dallas freeway driving was hell and it still is.  Therefore, I stayed away from the faster I-635 and followed a local street to my campground.  Big mistake.  Not only did it take much longer, but the road condition of Forest Lane was so bad that all my cabinets and closets were rearranged.  That had not happened before, not even after driving on a dirt road.

My campground was 30 minutes north of downtown Dallas and it was not the regular RV campground, but more of a RV parking lot.  Most people at this campground were working people living in their RVs full time.  Not too much shade either and that was something I could have really used.  Outside temperatures reached the mid 90s and the thermostat inside my camper was stuck at 99 F (37 C), it is limited to two digits.

RV parking lot

On a high note, I met friends for dinner who I hadn’t seen since my brief work stint in Dallas back in the early 1990s.  Thanks Jimmy and Teresa for a fun evening.  Next time I’ll bring my wallet!

The temperatures did not improve the next day.  I don’t recall having dripped this much in a long time.  My travel good fortune continues.  Lynn, my former manager of Dallas days, generously invited me to stay with her.  First, I figured I’ll be OK, but after another day and night without AC I gladly accepted the invitation.  Thank you Lynn, you saved me from heat exhaustion!  I haven’t left the house much ever since.  Thanks to Lynn, I have met some photographers who not only gave me some travel tips for Texas, but also hooked me up with some other people to visit.  Looks like I’ll be spending some time in Texas.  Did you know that this is a really big state? 🙂