We spent the night on a trail
in the Guadalupe Mountains in southern New Mexico. In the
morning, I did some target shooting with my pistol to insure
that I was in good form for the upcoming hunt. We broke
camp and headed toward Carlsbad, NM.
The photos below are what we saw.
Despite the harsh terrain, the
local ocotillo were in bloom with brilliant red flowers.
After lunch, we headed south
from Carlsbad toward Pecos, TX. Along the way, we passed
many oil wells being drilled. This is a pretty big rig.
The west Texas deserts are
harsh and barren.
Further down the road, we
passed this gas burn-off device in operation. Excess
methane is burned to prevent explosions.
We eventually hit I-20 and
headed east toward Midland, TX. Along the way we passed
plenty of oil infrastructure.
Some of the plants were quite
large. I am not really sure what this plant does.
Oops. I am not sure what,
exactly, happened but I would bet money that it involved a cell
phone. Several days later, we watched a fellow in a pickup
towing a loaded stock trailer run through a red light and he did
not even know it; he was yakking on the phone. The sad
thing is that most folks think that they have spare brain cycles
that would allow them to drive and talk at the same time, but it
is rarely true.
Near Midland, we decided to
call a halt for the day and found an RV park that was close to
the freeway. The park was filled with oil workers who were
using their RV as their housing during their work. We
asked for a site with shade as it was well over 100 degrees, and
this is what we got. Thor barely fit. We were the
talk of the park and within 10 minutes we had a large crowd of
folks asking questions and poking around.
From Midland, we traveled east
on I-20 into the hill country part of Texas and headed for
Stephenville. Kathleen located a city park in Stephenville
that allowed camping for free. The park was large and well
kept. There were plenty of folks out playing baseball,
soccer and running.
Next morning, I was out nosing
around and came upon this group of butterflies chowing down on a
bit of old watermelon.
From Stephenville, we took the
backroads to Ft. Worth to visit a unimog buddy. Along the
way, we passed the AWACS plane on final approach to one of the
local military bases.
Our destination was Irving, TX
to visit our friend Vince. We met Vince at Overland Expo
the previous year. Vince has a U500 that he is building
out as an expedition camper. Above, the driver's side
front tire is off because he is testing some new bead-lock
rims. The new wheel is on the left.
His living compartment is based
on a military cargo container that was used for
electronics. The container is aluminum-foam sandwich and
is very robust.
Inside, Vince elected to use
tool boxes as his cabinets. Aluminum Superstrut is used to
For the galley, he used a
wood-topped tool cabinet and cut a hole for the sink.
The strut used
to affix the wall cabinets are visible above.
Vince had to remove his wheel
as part of his tests. The front axle of the U500 is
visible. Those disk brake rotors are really big.
Vince let us
park Thor in his shop and stay there. Thor barely fit with
only a minimum clearance on each side to allow passage.
A closeup of Vince's
ex-military bead lock wheels.
We had several nice dinners
with Vince in the Irving area. Vince was nice enough to
drive us around the area to get some parts for Thor. When
we finished at his place, we headed south toward Austin.
As we neared the center of Dallas, the structure above was
visible from the freeway. I have no idea what it is, but
it was interesting.
Our route gave us a good view
of the Dallas skyline.
Our destination was McKinney
Falls state park near Austin. After we had parked, I
noticed this odd caterpillar on one of my tires.
The camp was a bit pricey at
$30 but it was a nice, flat site that had electrical, water and
showers. There were nice oak trees that gave us shade.
We had a pleasant night and
next morning we went to check out the falls. Along the
way, we spotted fields of wild flowers that were blooming.
The falls were created as the
river passed over this ledge of limestone. The falls
created a nice pool below the ledge.
Note the convoluted paths that
have been eroded into the limestone by the water.
On a log in the river, I
spotted this family of turtles. They were watching me and
as I got close for a better shot, they bolted into the river.
Across the river on the far
bank, there were more turtles. The one on the right was
just coming out of the water to sun himself.
At the base of the limestone
ledge were some nice cypress trees.
Cypress "knees" are the visual
definition of "gnarly".
We motored south on I-35 and
had lunch in Buda, TX followed by several hours in the Cabela's
store there. One of the employees came to the parking lot
to see Thor and told us a story about a 500 lb hog that was shot
on a hunt that he guided. He had photos to back up his
story. From Buda, we headed toward Palmetto State park
near San Marcos. The park was uncrowded and we got a nice
It was nice to see Vince and the progress he
has made on his rig. Central Texas is green and scenic; a
far cry from the barren deserts of west Texas. Tomorrow,
we head into Gonzales for our third hog hunt.
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Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.