Feb 202015

Well, yesterday started out good. After a round of goodbyes with Mike and Elaine Loscher, we left Lone Star Corral a little after 10 a.m., made a quick stop for fuel, and then traveled a few miles west on U.S. Highway 90 to the small town of Sabinal, where we turned north on State Route 127, a good two lane road. Terry and I both remarked that Sanibel is an interesting looking little town with an Old West flavor and that we’ll have to spend some time checking it out the next time we’re in the area.

At Concan, no more than a wide spot in the road, we picked up U.S. Highway 83, another good two lane road, and took it north 79 miles. There wasn’t much to see along the way; a few small ranches, the occasional trading post, a couple of campgrounds, and then the small town of Leakey, which is home to the Leakey Eagles.

Leakey Eagles

I was worried about a bunch of incontinent birds of prey swarming our Winnebago, but it turns out the Leakey Eagles are the local school football team. I don’t know, I think I’d have chosen something a little more intimidating. Maybe the Screaming Eagles. I’m sure the 101st Airborne Division wouldn’t object. Although, come to think of it, I was pretty intimidated by the thought of all those Leakey Eagles making a mess on my motorhome and tow car.

We were climbing most of the way from Leakey to Interstate 10, but it was a gentle climb with frequent passing zones.

US 83 uphill

We eventually reached Interstate 10 and turned west. This is a route we’ve driven so many times we could do it in our sleep. If we had a nickel for every mile we’ve driven on this highway we’d have… well, a whole bunch of nickels.

Interstate 10 Texas

The further west we drove the more hilly the country got. I guess they call these mountains here, but I’ve spent a lot of years living in real mountain country, so I wasn’t impressed.

INterstatye 10 west Texas

Terry said this looked like a pyramid. I thought it looked like a boob. Go figure.

Pyramid mountain

We stopped at the Flying J in Fort Stockton for diesel, and it was one of the easiest to get in and out of that we’ve ever been in. Whoever laid out their RV islands really knew what they were doing.

There are several RV parks in Fort Stockton and I thought of stopping at one of them, but decided to push on another 47 miles to Saddleback Mountain RV Park in Balmorhea, a small Passport America affiliate we have stayed at for years when traveling through the area. That’s when things went to hell.

A lot of RVers have said they had heard that Saddleback was filled with oilfield workers and had no spaces available. I called ahead and was told that’s not true, that most of the oilfield guys had left and they had at least eight empty spaces.

I had a bad feeling when we arrived. It used to be a nice clean little campground with pull through sites. It looked trashy. Several run down long term RVs were parked there, one partially covered with tarps, and another site had a large wire cage and the droppings from what looked a large dog. In the past the trees had always been pruned back to make getting into the sites easy without scratching your paint. Now they are hanging into the sites and one would have to be very careful not to get some “desert pin stripping.”

Looking back, I should have just kept on driving, but we had already driven 350 miles and were tired. Our Progressive Industries Electrical Management System showed an open ground on first site we tried and wouldn’t allow power to go through. The pedestal was dead at the next site, and the one after that, the fourth one showed reverse polarity on the EMS readout. Like an idiot I tried a fifth site (yeah, I’m that dumb) and this time there was a big blue flash at the plug. Rut-ro!

That was enough for me. I’m sorry to see that Saddleback Mountain has fallen into such disrepair, but I’m not going to burn up my coach in a trashy place like that. I’ll go elsewhere from now on. I went to the office and got my money back, even though the clerk insisted the power was good, and we drove another 70 miles to Van Horn, arriving at Southern Star RV Park with 428 long miles behind us. This is a very clean, friendly, very nice Passport America park, and we paid $15 for a pull through full hookup site. We’ll definitely make this our new regular stop in this part of the country.

But wait, there’s more! I was afraid that the last power pedestal at Saddleback had fried our EMS system, which is designed to sacrifice itself to save the RV. And when we plugged in at Southern Star there was no power coming through. I was thinking I’d have to call the nice folks at Progressive Industries to order a new board for the EMS, but on a hunch, I smelled the plug on our power cord, and sure enough, it smelled burned. I took it apart and both the wire for one leg of the 50 amp cord and the ground wire were burned off the connections. The light was fading, but with Terry helping I managed to rewire the plug, and when I put it back together and plugged it back into the power pedestal, good, clean electricity was flowing into our motorhome!

We were frazzled and worn out, so after answering some e-mail, having a quick dinner, and watching a little TV, we were ready for bed. Today will be an easy day, about 220 miles to the Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park in Deming, New Mexico. After yesterday, we need an easy one.

Have you entered our latest Free Drawing yet? This week’s prize is an audiobook of Crazy Days in Big Lake, the third book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Crazy Days test final

Thought For The Day – If ignorance is bliss why aren’t more people happy?

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Nick Russell

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  9 Responses to “Well, It Started Out Good”

  1. Nick’s not the only one to think that mountain looks like a boob.

    The official name of it is Squawteat Peak.

  2. Next time through Balmorhea, check out the State Park. Nice park, sites and history.

  3. Next time you pass through Balmorhea I recommend you check out Balmorhea State Park . It has a hugh natural spring there they train scuba divers. Pretty cool.

  4. I’ve been visiting Garner State Park and Leakey, Texas for 70 years.It is pronounced “Lakey”.

  5. Nick, why to men and women see things so differently? Why does an electrical problem like that only happen on 400 plus mile day instead of a 220 mile day? Inquiring minds want to know. Glad it all worked out in the end. Are you planning on forwarding your thoughts to Passport America?

  6. Well if anyone ever wondered if they need a surge protector for their RV this would be the post to show them. Sorry the unit sacrificed, but glad the coach made it.

  7. Guess it pays to be handy. (I didn’t know you had it in you.)

  8. Thanks for the tip on the garbage campground, we have crossed I-10 a few times also.
    I will X it off the Passport book yet today.

  9. I’m proud of ya Nick ! You’re almost an honorary electrician now……….Good job !

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