We’ve been in a lot of RV parks over the years, from upscale resorts with every amenity you could imagine, to mom and pop places where they call you by name and tell you about their grandkids as you check in. But I don’t think we have ever been to one as nasty as Parkview RV Park in Fort Stockton, Texas. If we had taken the time to look the place over Friday evening when we checked in, we would have kept on driving and found a rest area or a truck stop to spend the night in. But we didn’t, so we have nobody but ourselves to blame.
There were a few nice RVs there, mostly overnighters, I’m sure, but the majority looked to be parked there long term. Run down trailers with trash piled up outside the doors, beer cans and dog crap laying all around, and a general air of neglect.
Yesterday morning when I went outside to unhook our water and electric and get ready to leave, two pit bulls ran up at me snarling and baring their teeth. I yelled at them and they stopped a few feet short of me and stood there, growling. About that time a fellow came out of one of the long term trailers and said “Just ignore them. They’re just challenging you. They won’t bite. They do that to everybody.” I told him I’d appreciate him calling the dogs inside, but he told me to ignore them again.
I’ve seen what a pit bull can do to a human being, and before I continued unhooking, I went back into the bus and stuck a Glock in my back pocket. The dogs stood their ground, but never came any closer, which I’m glad for.
Now, before anybody goes off on me about how pit bulls have an undeserved reputation, or saying that I should have called the manager or the police, don’t waste your breath. I love good dogs, but I will not tolerate a dangerous animal. I’ve written enough newspaper stories about pit bull attacks first hand to want to listen. The manager of this place obviously doesn’t care or he wouldn’t allow people to have those kinds of dogs running loose. And I wasn’t about to sit there for a couple of hours waiting for the cops to show up on a non-emergency call. Since the owner would not corral his animals, I would have defended myself if they had come at me. End of story.
We drove 120 miles west on Interstate 10, and the bus performed well, cruising right along and climbing the hills without getting hot. Of course, it was a much cooler day than Friday was. When we left Fort Stockton, it was 45 degrees.
At Van Horn we topped off our fuel tank, then followed State Route 54 north for 55 miles. This nice two lane road follows a couple of mountain ranges with awesome views, and except for an occasional dip, it’s a flat route.
At the junction with U.S. Highway 180/62 we turned west and passed through Salt Flat, which is nothing but a couple of old buildings and a historical marker telling the story of the El Paso Salt War.
It seems that for centuries, Mexicans and Apache Indians came here to collect salt from an ancient lake bed. In the 1870s, a couple of white businessmen from El Paso claimed the land and then demanded that the Mexican salt collectors pay them for harvesting what they had collected for generations for free. Hostilities broke out, and by the time the matter was resolved several men had been killed and the United States and Mexico were on the brink of war.
Twenty or so miles past Salt Flat we rached our destination, the home of our friends Mike and Pam Steffen. Mike taught classes with us at Life on Wheels and is a well known RV columinist. You’ve probably read his articles and columns in Thousand Trails magazine, Trailer Life and such. Mike and Pam have a big spread here, with a bunch of friendly dogs for me to get my puppy fix with, including yes, a very gentle pit bull. I spent the evening getting licked and tussled by my puppy pals, and loved every minute of it.
This is one of the small handful of places where we have not been able to get online with our Verizon aircard. But Mike was kind enough to leave his WiFi connection open for us. We’ll be here a couple of days before we continue our trek west.
Thought For The Day – “The duty of the press is to print the truth and raise hell” Mark Twain