30 March-3 April 2015; Bye bye Hill Country, Fixes, More History

We have been absolutely fascinated with the Texas Hill Country!  A lot of it has to do with the great relatives and new friends we’ve met.  We completely understand why people love this part of Texas.

Monday was pretty much a slow day, watching the clouds roll in and getting some work done.  We did find plenty of time to ride the bike trails again, and I really got my butt whooped in cribbage.   There are a lot of deer in this park, and any walk or bike trip in the early evenings provided plenty of opportunities to see the wildlife.

 

These gals about ran me over when I was coming over the top of the hill.

These gals about ran me over when I was coming over the top of the hill.

Tuesday morning we were up early, as it was the last day we would be in Kerrville, and we wanted to get as much “pre-move” stuff done that we could as it was supposed to rain Tuesday night.  We also wanted to have time to explore some of the downtown area of Kerrville.

Dumb Ron/Tech Tip:  We will get to the Dumb Ron part in a minute.  When we know the weather may not be so nice either the night before, or the morning of a move, we get as much taken care of the day before.  This consists of everything from making sure the cupboards are properly stacked (reference a previous post about getting hit in the head with a can of beans when you open the cupboard after a move…happened to me twice,) to making all your air and fluid checks, putting away the yard mat, stowing the grill, putting the flag pole away and putting the tow bar back on the Coach, and putting the tow connection on the truck.  I had done the fluid checks, and all was well, so I decided to check the Coach tire air pressures…something you should do before every move.  I’ve been real pleased with these Sumitomo tires we bought earlier this year.  They ride real nice, and hold their pressure real well…unless Dumb Ron appears!  I was checking my last tire, and when I pulled the pressure gauge off, air kept coming out of the valve stem…at a very high rate. I quickly surmised that the needle in the valve was either loose, or the rubber around the needle was bad.  So…not having a needle valve tool, I pulled out my trusty jack-knife to see if I could tighten the valve…no luck.  In order to prevent the tire from completely deflating, I put the cover back on the valve, which seemed to keep the leak to a very low hum.  Now what?  Can’t drive to a tire store, because my pressure is too low.  Take the truck and go get a tool and a new needle valve just in case?  Maybe…Hey, Dumb Ron, you have the Good Sam Roadside Assist that you paid for that includes tire replacement, repair, etc., etc.  Duh!  I called them, and as always, they were very good about making sure I was in a safe location, then asked what the issue was.

Side Bar:  A Roadside Assist Program is a must if you own an RV.  I’ve talked about this before, but just a quick recap.  Good Sam has one for $79 per year, and so does a company called Coachnet.  FMCA also recently added a program.  Read the reviews, and go with what gives you the most sense of security.  You can read the good, bad and ugly on any of these programs.  As Terri always says about Trip Advisor or anything else, you typically only see feedback on the very good, or the very bad.  We used Good Sam back in July when I had a stop engine warning light  come on…this is the light that comes on after the check engine light, and means the Coach will shut down soon.  Not to tread over previously plowed territory and to make it short…Good Sam towed me to a repair facility back then.  It would have cost me over $700 out-of-pocket had I not had this coverage.  For you boaters, it is very similar to SeaTow.  Needless to say, this protection paid for itself many times over back in July…now back to present day:

The nice lady on the phone said she would get a mobile tire repair person out as soon as she could.  She said the most it would be is $85 for parts if they needed to remove the tire and replace the valve, or if I needed a new tire, I’d need to pay for that.  Good Sam doesn’t cover the cost of maintenance/repairs for the most part…they just get you the help you need, the tow is free if you need it, and there’s no service call fee for a mobile service like I was getting.  By the way…the service call would have been $150 to just get the truck and mechanic out!  About a half hour later, Don from A&A Tire in Kerrville called and said he was at the gate to the campground.  I went and let him in, and in short order I was back in business, as shown below:

First, Don used his needle valve tool to try and tighten the valve...no luck.  He then went and got a new needle valve and without losing much air at all, got the old one put and the new one inserted.  After a quick leak check with some soapy water, all was good to go!

First, Don used his needle valve tool to try and tighten the valve…no luck. He then went and got a new needle valve and without losing much air at all, got the old one out and the new one inserted. After a quick leak check with some soapy water, all was good to go!

Don said he loved an easy fix...well so did I!  After he got me up to pressure and did another leak check, I asked him what the damage was, and he said, nothing...all this is included in your plan!

Don said he loved an easy fix…well so did I! After he got me up to pressure and did another leak check, I asked him what the damage was, and he said, nothing…all this is included in your plan!

Moral of the story…get a good Roadside Assist plan.  I hate to say it, but I’m sure this won’t be the last time we use it…it it part of this way of life.  Hope for the best, and plan for the worst…don’t know who coined that phrase, but I like it.

After that near debacle was attended to, we headed into Kerrville, and walked historic downtown and checked out some of the shops.  We ended up for lunch at a little out-of-the-way hole in the wall (our favorite type of place) called Conchita’s on Main.  It is highly recommended by Trip Advisor, and now we know why.  We walked in about 2:15, and they close at 2:30.  The owner couldn’t have been nicer.  We were the only ones there, and it was obvious she was cleaning up for the day, but she insisted we stay.  She and her husband plan to full time RV in the next two years, so you can imagine what we talked about. This is a real nice TexMex place that specializes in…”Avocado Chicken egg rolls?”  At a TexMex place??  You bet, and they were the bomb.  She said she’d cook us up two of her favorite plates.  We got two of those egg rolls, and two chicken pan-fried tacos with rice and salad.  It was all awesome, and provided our dinner as well, as there was so much food.

The owner of Concitas said she was advised 13 years ago when she started this business to 1. Consistency, 2. Presentation, and 3. Have something no one else has, or uniqueness.  She nailed it with the egg roles.  I don't even like Avacado, and these were splendid.

A shot of the inside of this little place. The owner of Concita’s on Main said she was advised 13 years ago when she started this business, that in order to be successful you have to have:  1. Consistency, 2. Presentation, and 3. Have something no one else has, or uniqueness. She nailed it with the egg rolls. I don’t even like avocado, and these were splendid.

After lunch, we went to the visitor’s center and took a walk along the new “Riverwalk” that is being expanded to about six miles (more or less depending on who you ask) and provides hiking, biking, will have a water park, and many picnic areas.

Guadalupe River in downtown Kerrville.

Guadalupe River in downtown Kerrville.

When we got back to camp, we took a bike ride to wear off some of the egg rolls.  The deer were out in full force again, and after watching this little gal for while, she decided it was time to raise the flag and get gone.

Outta here!

Outta here!

We were in bed early, as April Fools day was move day.  We planned to head to San Angelo, and the Goodfellow AFB FamCamp on Lake Nasworthy.  We had the tanks drained, and everything ready to roll by 09:00.  It was only about 160 miles away, but we wanted to be early, as the last I had called the camp, they were full, but expected one or two people to check out on the first.  We are sure glad we left early!  The roads were great, and we were amazed at how the landscape changed all of a sudden.  Before we knew it, the Hill country was gone, and we were in the Panhandle Plains.  You can see for miles and miles, and we were also joined by several oil field trucks.  Apparently this area has been blooming up until just a bit ago with the oil and gas industry.  They have been building everywhere…but things have slowed down quite a bit since gas prices have dropped.  Funny, we like low gas prices for the most part, but that is apparently putting quite a crimp in the Texas oil and gas industry.  Way too easy to go political here, so I won’t.

In any case, it was a nice drive, and we pulled into the FamCamp at about 1:00.  We parked in a huge parking lot and took a walk around the camp.  The staff is off on Tues and Wed, and the web site said it is first come, first serve…so we served.  We found one open space in the older section of the park which has full hook ups and actually has trees.   The newer section has power and water, but no sewer, and is essentially a big parking lot.  Terri stood guard in the spot and I went to retrieve the Coach.  As I was getting in the Coach, a guy named Dean came running across the parking lot.  He said he didn’t know where the camp host was, but to pick what I wanted and pay at the office in the morning.  Dean used to be the camp host here, so I took him for what he had to say.  We got pulled in and set up just in time.  Right after we were where we needed to be, a couple other folks pulled in and had to go to overflow.  These are nice wide spots with newly poured slabs to park on.

All set up in our new home spot for a few days, and getting ready to explore.

All set up in our new home spot for a few days, and getting ready to explore.

We checked out the park, then headed out to the base to do some shopping at the BX and restock our groceries at the commissary.  Goodfellow is an Intel training base, and with so many students here, and a relatively small retiree community, we felt like we were alone shopping.  A nice change from some of the other bases we have been at lately.

We got back in the early evening, and enjoyed the sunset.  Does the wind ever stop here?  I don’t think the steady wind has been less than 15 MPH since we arrived.  We mentioned several times that it’s like being in Montana or Wyoming again!  The wind has been nice however, as it was in the high 80’s to low 90’s…unseasonably warm.

I’ve mentioned RVilliage a few times in the past.  It is a way for RV folk to see who is where they are, and get together for a meal or whatever.  One kewl thing I found the other day, is if you keep up with checking into and out of the places you are staying, you can see a map of where you’ve been.  Below is a screen shot of where we have been since we started this full-time gig in Sep of last year.

Pretty neat, huh?  We hope to add many more dots over the ensuing months.

Pretty neat, huh? We hope to add many more dots over the ensuing months.

We were up and out before noon on Thursday, after some work and other house cleaning chores.  We decided to go check out the San Angelo State Park.  We have our Texas State Park pass, so entry is free.  The place is huge, has a lot of camp sites, but is sparsely populated.  There used to be a huge lake in the center of the park called O.C. Fisher.  This five-mile by five-mile (estimate) lake dried up in 2012, and is nothing but near desert now.  Water, and the draught is a huge issue in this part of Texas.  Look below:

This entire area used to be a huge lake!

This entire area used to be a huge lake…for about as far as the eye can see!

We went into town and stopped at the visitors center to learn more about the area.  We asked about where they are getting their water with the draught.  We were told that there is a lake just north of here that provides all the drinking water for the area, but it is currently at 15% capacity, and will be dry soon.  So…several wells have been drilled north of here that will provide water for the future.  The problem is, the water is full of Radium, and they are in the process of building a plant to treat the water.  They are hopeful the plant will be done before the aforementioned lake is out of water.  In fact, the lake we are on, Nasworthy, only has water because they pump it in from the other lakes in the area.  This the only recreational water in the area.  The Conchos River has three branches coming into town, and all but the main artery are severely deficient in water flow.  We were also told that they have had no measurable precipitation so far this year in this area…rain seems to follow us, so we will see what happens.

After talking with the nice folk at the visitors center, we strolled along the main branch of the Conchos, and happened upon a strange sculpture garden.

A horse made of "leftovers" as the sign said.  Hmmm.

A horse made of “leftovers” as the sign said. Hmmm.

The rest of the sculptures were “modern art,” which I just don’t get, so no pictures of that.  After we got back to the camp, we were treated to a great “moon rise” over Nasworthy.

Awesome clouds.

Awesome clouds.

I spoke about the wind earlier…this stuff takes any particles of dirt or whatever, and provides a nice layer of dirt varnish over anything left outside.  I washed the truck on Thursday, and this morning it has a nasty layer of crud all over it.  Oh well, the price you pay I guess.

This morning I awoke to pictures of our most recent mail from our daughter Mandi.  One interesting tidbit of mail was a letter from the state of Florida indicating they were suspending my license effective 15   April due to a notification from my insurance company that my insurance had been terminated on my Honda CRV!  Folks, we sold our CRV a while back, and I even sent the requisite paperwork into the state to let them know I’d sold it.  Needless to say, my morning began with a bang.  The letter, of course had no phone numbers for anyone I could talk to…who talks to anyone these days?  It did have some info on how I could go on-line and provide proof of insurance, and everything would be fine.  But, hey…I don’t own it!!  There was an obscure note on the back of the letter that said if I had sold the vehicle, I needed to provide a certified letter of such to the state, and they had to have it in hand before 15 April, or my license would be terminated, and I would need to pay $150 to get it reinstated.  Sey Wut??  I already did everything the State required!  I had to talk to someone, and soon.  I let my fingers do the walking, and finally found a customer service number for the main motor vehicle department in Tallahassee.  I was on hold for about 40 minutes, and finally, a nice young lady named Kim came to my rescue.  I explained the situation to her, and she said she needed to put me on hold to check some things out.  After a few minutes, she came back on-line and said, yep, we show the vehicle has been re-registered and it is not in your name any longer.  OK sez me…why the letter?  She said it is strictly an insurance thing.  She asked if I still had the policy they have on file for my Ford, and I said, yes, of course.  Back on hold!  After a few minutes, she came back on-line and said everything was cleared up.  I immediately went on the FL DL check website, and sure enough, everything was clear!  What a potential nightmare!!  Apparently there are a few left hands not talking to the right hands in the DMV.  I will say this is the first and only bad experience I’ve had with the FL DMV. They are very easy to work with, and most things can be done on-line.  Kim was very nice and professional, and got the situation resolved, but there was no reason for this to have happened at all.

Enough of that nonsense.  Terri had scouted out a place called Fort Concho in downtown San Angelo, and off we went.  From the flyer we received at the Fort:  “Established in December 1867, Fort Concho was built to protect frontier settlements, patrol and map the vast West Texas region, and quell hostile threats in the area.  Constructed for the most part of native limestone (my note:like almost everything around here is!) Fort Concho consisted of at least 40 buildings and covered 1,600 acres.  Fort Concho served as regimental headquarters for some of the most famous frontier units like the 4th and 10th Cavalry.”  Four regiments of the Buffalo Soldiers served here as well.  At full strength, this place supported around 400 men.  The Fort was closed in June, 1889.  Most of the buildings became residences, or warehouses, until some citizens of the area reclaimed most of the Post and restored about 23 structures to their original condition.  This restoration was done by the citizens of San Angelo!  Even though it is now a National Historic Landmark, the locals here made this happen.  What an impressive undertaking, and exemplary restoration of our nations history:

Inside one of the restored enlisted barracks.

Inside one of the restored enlisted barracks.

A view of the parade ground and two of the barracks.

A view of the parade ground and two of the barracks.

A view of "Officers Row."  This is on the opposite side of the enlisted barracks of the parade field.  The Fort was bult in a "U" shape, with no walls.  There were no trees in the area, so no walls...all of the buldings were limestone.

A view of “Officers Row.” This is on the opposite side of the enlisted barracks of the parade field. The Fort was built in a “U” shape, with no walls. There were no trees in the area, so no walls…all of the buildings were limestone.

Outside of one of the restored Officer Quarters.  This was the first one built, and housed the Commander and Post Surgeon until other quarters were built to get the men out of tents.

Outside of one of the restored Officer Quarters. This was the first one built, and housed the Commander and Post Surgeon until other quarters were built to get the men out of tents.

A view inside of one of the wings of the hospital.

A view inside of one of the wings of the hospital.

There is so much to see, that I couldn’t capture it all here.  There is a living history stables, the original headquarters building, and much, much more.  If you are ever in the area, this is a must see.

After that little trek, we headed further downtown, and checked out Eggemeyers General Store.  The place is huge, and is inside the original operating location.  Gorgeous inside, and perfectly restored; however, as the nice gentleman at the visitors center told me, “It’s a great place for the ladies, but the men will be bored.”  He was mostly right, as there is plenty to keep the “shopper” in your family busy, but I was enthralled with the architecture and restoration.  So much so, I forgot to take any pictures.

That’s about it for now!  We hope you are having a reflective Good Friday, and wish you all a glorious Easter Sunday! It’s not about the bunny!!

As always we hope this finds you Happy, Healthy, and Living your Dreams!!

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One thought on “30 March-3 April 2015; Bye bye Hill Country, Fixes, More History

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