Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Third week - three states

Friend Maria and San Antonio
I was eager to see Maria and find out how she has settled into her retirement apartment. You’ll recall that I made a trip to San Antonio in January to help her get packed up to move from her large 3-bedroom home into a one-bedroom retirement apartment.

She has settled in and made good use of her small apartment, making it into a nice place to be. However, she still had a lot of stuff in her home that needed to be taken care of. She and I spent four days going through all the stuff, sorting things that she declared she “had to have” from the things she was willing to part with. Again, we had fun and lots of laughs.

I parked Jeremiah Junior in the apartment complex parking lot and stayed there at night. Each day I fixed breakfast before meeting Maria to work on the sorting project. She treated me to delicious lunches and dinners in the dining room. I met many of the nice people living there.

Heavy traffic and road construction
That sums up my drive on Hwy 35, from San Antonio to Keene, TX. Traffic was very heavy; there were miles of road construction and along the way I crept. Also the highway went right by West, Texas, where the fertilizer plant had exploded. On this stretch of road there were many emergency and police-type vehicles.

While it could be frustrating, I used the slow drive to enjoy and “mentally” pick bouquets of wildflowers growing alongside the road. The Texas state flower – Bluebonnet – and small yellow sunflowers look lovely together. I “added” light and dark pink flowers and also found some white ones.

Because of the traffic, I chose not to take any side trips from the highway and totally missed my hoped-for stop in Elm Mott to visit friends of my friend Carol Landau.

Keene, Texas
I spent one night at RV Ranch Park. A real nice place and I give the laundry/restroom area a high score. The building had plenty of washers and dryers in the middle portion and on the side walls there were seven complete – and very clean – bathrooms for total privacy. I was able to take care of laundry and showering at the same time.

Euless, Texas, was my next stop
My New Mexico friend Viola moved to a lovely home in Euless a few years ago. This community is between Fort Worth and Dallas. I stayed with her two nights.

We decided to tour the historic town of Grapevine and our timing was perfect! We arrived just before noon and in time to see one of the city’s unique attractions:  the “shoot out” by two would-be train robbers high atop the glockenspiel tower. Larger-than-life mechanical figures – Nat Barrett and Willy Majors – have a confrontation about robbing the incoming train.

The town features numerous life-size bronze statues. In front to the historic Wallis Hotel we found the “sidewalk judge”. Here’s where I snapped Viola’s photo. We also got some fresh produce – tomatoes and cantaloupe – at the Farmers Market.
The Lazy L RV Park, Sherman, Texas
This was a good one-night stop before driving into southeastern Oklahoma. I had more cantaloupe that I could eat in a couple of days and set out to give half of it to the first person I saw in the RV park. That person was a nice couple and they were delighted to have the fresh fruit --- providing I would accept a large bag of shelled pecans from their orchard! Whoo-eee!

The gas at the Sherman Walmart, using a Walmart gift card, was the cheapest gas so far - $3.01 per gallon. That’s 98 cents more than the most expensive gas so far.

Hugo Lake Corps of Engineers Park, Oklahoma
Arriving at a COE park on Sunday or Monday almost guarantees available campsites once the weekend fishers and boaters go home. With the lake to the rear and trees beside, Jeremiah Junior had a quiet, private place.

The birds provided continual songs and calls. I saw my first scissor-tail flycatcher – no mistaking a bird whose tail seems to be at least four times the length of the body. There were mystery birds that were audible from dusk to past 9 p.m. each night and they started in again before dawn.

Back into Texas; on my way to Arkansas
I left the serenity of Hugo Lake and soon was back in traffic – in Texarkana (city is in both Texas and Arkansas). And I was looking for the RV park that I had arranged for tonight. Isaiah, my Garmin, did his best – but alas no luck, even after two phone calls and close to an hour searching. I was actually glad that I could not find it because it was not the best of neighborhoods! I found Hwy 82 and continued east.

Besides an RV park, I was looking for a place to get propane. Locating Tucker’s RV Park in El Dorado, Ark, in a directory, I made a beeline for it. I had already exceeded my 200 miles for the day. Long the way I found a propane dealer!

FYI – North of the Dixon Line, the town is pronounced “El Dorādo” with a long A sound. South it is called El Dorado” with a short A. And for another “language” lesson, in Arkansas people catch “feesh” and “catfeesh” – Arkansas style – is delicious.

Tucker’s was an OK place for overnight – not wonderful, but at least hookups. And I was pooped!

Today, May 1, I drove the mostly deserted state highways to Cane Creek State Park! I’m looking forward to two days here. Tomorrow I’ll explore the park and tell you about it when I do my next posting.

"Life is like a hot bath;
The longer you stay in, the more wrinkled you get."

And as I look forward to birthday # 75 on Friday, I can vouch for the wrinkles!