Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Second Highest Place in Texas

Ft. Davis State Park, TX and other places April 4 to 19, 2018

San Angelo to Ft. Davis

The Pogo Stick effect had been bugging me ever since we departed Red Bay, AL. I had talked to the manufacturer and to the designer and both agreed that even though our Super Steer MCU’s for the front air bags were correctly sized for the weight of our Phaeton, maybe switching to the lighter weight version would be better. But since we could never coordinate with Chris at Bay Diesel to swap us for the lighter pair we decided the best thing was to just remove them. In fairness, we had a hard time getting ahold of Chris. We tried phone calls, messages and even emails. Eventually we communicated and he did not have in stock what we needed.

San Angelo, fortunately, has a Freightliner shop. We made an appointment with them which determined our departure date from Dad’s.

Image result for freightliner san angelo

So bright and early on April 4th we rolled the Phaeton over to their lot not knowing exactly what the fix would be. Luckily, they were able to simply remove the MCU’s from the airlines and replace them with a splice designed for just that purpose.

By noon we were done and drove over to the San Angelo State Park, about 5 miles away. And the best part? The Pogo Stick Effect was gone!! Woohoo!!

Image result for san angelo state park

We picked a water front site, well sort of. The lake (reservoir) is at about 15 % capacity, so waterfront entails a whole lot of dry land and scrub brush between you and the actual water.

San Angelo State Park our site

Gabby adapted right away, becoming a prowler in the high grass.

Gabby in the high grass

Miss Maggie, her regal highness, was content to bask in the sunshine.

Maggie Sunshine

Including getting the Pogo Stick Effect fixed, we needed a few days to resupply and take care of some chores.

Our ultimate goal was to check out Ft. Davis State Park and enjoy some more cool weather. We got lucky and scored a week long reservation.

We had a couple of days to to make a one day trip so we opted once again to avoid the interstates as much as possible and come into Ft. Davis from the south. This meant we got to spend a night at Walmart in Ft. Stockton. We had to drive a few miles on on I-10 but our reward was to see this.

Ft Stockton arrival

The next night we decided to try our luck at seeing the Marfa Lights for the third time.

Marfa Lights

Yep, that’s pretty much all we saw. At the Marfa Lights park there was quite a crowd of people, probably about 40 in all. After a couple of hours we cursed our luck and went back to the Phaeton to go to bed. About 10 RVs and half a dozen car campers spent the night in the parking lot.

The last time we were in Ft. Davis we still had Roadie, a 19 foot Roadtrek. I was such a newbie then when we made reservations I asked if you could see the mountains from the campground.

Here is Roadie 12 years ago.

Roadie 1

And yep, you can definitely see the mountains from the campground.

Davis Mountains

One of the benefits of camping in remote state parks is the abundance of wildlife. Not only did we have rabbits and deer wandering by our campsite, there were lots of opportunities to bird watch.

Brer RabbitDeer at Ft Davis SPHummerIMG_1348Pretty bird1Pretty bird2Pretty bird3Quail

We had an anniversary while we were here too. We celebrated the 1 year mark of Frank’s hip replacement.

One Yr hip celebration

Couldn’t do that a year ago!

Last time we were here we didn’t have time to make the MacDocnald Observatory trip. But this time we did it.

The road to the Observatory.

Ft DAvis Mountain Roads

A few of structures at MacDonald’s.

MacDonald Observatory

EJ and  one of the observatories.

EJ Observatory

The telescope inside the observatory.

Inner workings of observatory.

Our guide. A millenial if we ever saw one. He definitely had the look, but as a young man he developed a love of astronomy. While he goes to college he guides up here in the summer. We threw all kids of questions at him, but never managed to stump him. Sorry for the bright picture but the sun was intense.

MacDonald Guide

We purposely chose the hottest day during our stay at Ft. Davis State Park to do a day trip to Balmorhea, TX. Now Balmorhea is just a dried up little Texas town with not much to show except for a filling station and a couple of bars. But what makes it unique is that just outside of town is the San Soloman Spring.

In the 1930’s the Civilian Conservation Corp built this enclosure to confine a natural lake fed by the springs. The water temperature runs between 72 and 76 degrees. And with the surrounding humidty at about 15 to 20 percent it’s mighty cold when you get out of the pool as all the moisture immediately evaporates off your skin.

The pool is home to thoushands of Rio Grande Tetras

which like to nibble on the dead skin on you feet and hands. At first it’s rather startling but you get used to it after a while.

San Saloman Springs

The spring boils up in the deep part of the pool supplying about 28,000,000 gallons of water to the pool everyday.

San Saloman Springs2

This seemed so incongrous to us, all this water in the middle of the Texas desert. But it was certainly refreshing.

Again, as happens in so many wonderous places we visit, we feel a little sad as our time here draws to an end. EJ prepares a fantastic dinner in the Phaeton prior to our departure tomorrow.

What's for Dinner We’ll see you next back in San Angelo.

Friday, April 6, 2018

San Angelo Part I

Rio Concho Manor Parking Lot, San Angelo, TX;  3-19 to 4-6-18

Dad made sure our spot was to available when we arrived, but best laid plans went awry. As we neared our designated parking spot we could see a big old Lincoln Town Car was occupying it.

We went through the routine of unhooking the car and stowing the tow parts while mulling over what to do. Soon, out of the office, came a person who informed us the offender had been contacted and would arrive shortly to move his vehicle.

And about 15 minutes later a cowboy arrived grumbling about wasted time spent dealing with local bureaucrats today. We thanked him as he pulled off continuing to grumble.

Cowboy Town Car

It was good to see Dad was doing well and within a few days of arrival we even made a trip over to see brother Terry and his wife Joy. Here is a picture of the Putnam men in front of Dad’s car.

Putnam Men

Dad had decided that he wanted EJ to work her magic so he wouldn’t have any financial worries in the future. Several days were spent analyzing and setting this up. But now all of the financial stuff has been taken care of and Dad has one less thing to worry about. He gets frustrated, as we all do, when things are more complicated than they need to be.

First thing we knew, 2 weeks had gone by and we decided it was time to do a little exploring. But more about that next time.