Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011-13 Mayo Florida

John and Margie

Mayo Florida

Charles Springs

Dowling Park (Advent Christian Village)

Lafayette Blue Springs State Park

Florida Folk Festival, one more time

Campground:  Suwannee River Rendezvous.  $21 per day water/Elect.  ( @ weekly rate)  A fish camp style “resort” and campground.  Lots of spreading oak trees, small motel, cabins and campsites.  Entertainment on weekends and  Grandma Susie’s cooking shack opened on weekends. Note:  poor set up to use dump station behind bath house.  Tree in way, requires user to park 20 ft away.

Holy Leaping Sturgeon!  I’ve arrived on the Suwannee River. And yes, the sturgeon are huge and leaping high out of the water and another adventure begins.  Just look out for those sturgeon that can get up to 8 ft long and weigh 200 lbs.

I traveled to north central Florida and once again I’m near about 6 natural springs.  The Suwannee River Rendezvous even has a small natural spring right on property called Convict Springs.  It got it’s name many years ago when prison chain gangs would come through this area on work duty.  Since the prison was too far for them to go back too each evening, they set up camp here at what became known as Convict springs.

Convict Springs

Today it’s still a campground and “resort” but there are no convicts, that I know of any way.  It’s a chance to explore the deep south and the tiny town of Mayo, population 900 and surrounding area.  As well as visit with my good friends John Sterpe and Margie.

The last couple of days it’s been a steamy 95-98 degrees with no rain in the immediate future.  The Suwannee River is at an all time record low with raw limestone walls once covered by the Suwannee River, now exposed as the dark river meanders along at it’s lower level.

On the way to Suwannee River I came across an old train sitting on the side of hwy 19/98.  It was along a lonely stretch of highway as straight as an arrow as the highway cut through a thick forest of pine  and oak trees.   I’d seen it unexpectedly each time I drove this section of quiet rural highway and finally stopped to check it out.  The locomotive, surrounded by a metal fence and paved loop, the diminutive park called what else, Wayside Park with a big sign indicating no overnight camping permitted.  Darn, and I can tell you, it would have made a great spot to stop overnight.  A crystal clear spring fed stream runs through the thick jungle on the edge of the park and a small patch of well trimmed grass.   No picnic table, no trash can, no restroom.  Just the locomotive behind the fence and a quiet wayside stop along a lonely road.  The train was originally used to haul the lumber from the forests to sawmills in the area.  Now a silent reminder of how our country started.

Today I drove the mile or so into the tiny town of Mayo. This is the county seat so they have the big county court house in the center of town.  Two historic buildings are across the street.  The first being the three story wood building which was the original county courthouse.  It’s white clapboard siding and wrap around balconies fill most of the block it sits on.  Stairs that lean to one side and the long balcony that has a dip and sway add to the years of use.  A lot of paint goes into maintaining this old place.  The other historic building is the house of the 7 gables.  It was commissioned after the owner read the book, the House of the 7 Gables.  An oddity in a small southern town.  The octagon shaped main section looks overwhelmed by the 6 gables on top.  The seventh extending over the rectangular extension.

I had lunch at a small café in town operated by Peggy.  She makes a pretty good Cuban sandwich and a nice broccoli salad.  We happened to both be cancer survivors and  when we got onto Oprah’s last couple of shows (I watched the 2nd to last show with charley the dog in the rec room of  Suwannee River Resort), Peggy said she had sent in a couple letters to Oprah suggesting that she do a show on what life was like for survivors after the cancer.   Peggy described her own miracle after recovering from cancer.  Said she had twins and the Dr. said, why sure, she could have had more than twins since her “eggs” dropped pretty much all at once after recovering from cancer.  Who knew!   Her family moved from the Orlando area to Mayo so she could raise her kids in a small town.  We both lived in Orlando during the same period.

While out wondering around the town of Mayo, I notice a prison gang working in town, planting new shrubs.  There was an additional prison team in the town park doing similar work.  So it appears those work teams of years ago that Convict Springs was named after all still being utilized today.

I was able to hook up with my friends John and Margie today and as it happened, it’s Margie’s Birthday so of course I took them both out to lunch to celebrate.  We went into the town of High Springs and ate at a top notch restaurant called “The Great Outdoors”.  A beautifully old restored building with indoor and outdoor seating.  Two of John’s large paintings are prominently displayed in the main room.  And yes, I feel privileged to know the artist.

The next day, John and I went on one of our springs adventures.  Searching the back roads for some of the many springs along the Suwannee River.  This is the kind of day I live for.  Exploring with a friend who loves to take pictures for inspiration for his paintings of the Real Florida.  After taking the usual wrong turn, we finally headed back to Mayo and headed north on county road 51, down dirt roads as white as powdered sugar and just about as fine.  Another dead end.  The springs were on the other side of the Suwannee.

Not to worry, we figured out the National Geographic map "The Suwannee River Wilderness Trail".  Down more powder white dirt roads and we finally reached Charles Springs.  It’s a natural spring with two limestone natural bridges over the springs.  Drought has reduced the springs to a gentle swirling pool of water.  The natural drainage leading to the Suwannee is just a dry channel.  4 young Spanish speaking guys were snorkeling along in the Suwannee River.  I was tempted to jump in too, but we needed to explore some more.

We headed north to Dowling Park, thinking it was another springs.  Not.  It is an Advent Christian Village.  Out here in the deep south.  An almost Stepford Wives looking community perfectly manicured homes on once acre lots in natural settings of tall Pines and oaks with lawns so perfectly meticulous they must have used a tweezers.  Further in, smaller closer concrete block Florida homes lined up along gentle curving roads that are also gulf cart friendly and finally a mature living 4 story manor and small Village.  John and I ate in a small cafe in the Village where I had another one of those odd meals I‘ve had along the way.  I ordered a Tilapia topped César salad.  What I got was shredded iceberg lettuce with black olives, croutons and  a dressing that was between an Italian or Greek dressing.  Weird.  Not bad, just really weird.

John at Lafayette Springs State Park

After lunch we headed west across the Suwannee River and headed back south towards Lafayette Springs.  Along the way, we stopped and took some great pictures of old farm buildings and Florida cracker homes.  To ensure that we would reach Lafayette Springs, I finally turned on my Droid GPS and spoke into it for  directions.  I don’t bother to type most stuff into the Droid as it’s word recognition software is great.  John was amazed at how quickly the Droid searched for, found and gave directions to the springs.

Lafayette Springs State Park
Lafayette Springs State Park.  What a great small Florida park.  They’ve recently built new restrooms, raised tree house cabins and handicapped ramps and sidewalks to the springs and picnic areas.  Yet the natural beauty of the area exudes.  John convinced me to jump into the cool 72 degree clear springs and we snorkeled around and looked into the deep springs cave.  The springs are flowing pretty good as the water tumbled  over moss covered limestone rocks into the Suwannee River.  We swam through the springs and tumbled over those moss covered rocks and were dumped into the Suwannee which is surprisingly a warm 80 degrees.  Heaven.  With the river so low, a nice sandy beach has appeared for sunning.  It was hard to get me out of the water.  Swimming between the warm currents, into the cooler spring waters mixing with the Suwannee River, one could find the perfect temperature for cooling off on a hot day.

More photo's at Picasa.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

2011-12 Inverness Florida

Inverness Florida
Great Blue Heron

I’ve been checking out the area and if you’ve never experienced the Real Florida this is about as close as it gets.  The town is surrounded by lakes covered with lily pads, lush landscapes, cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, cattle farms and horse ranches with there 4 board wood fences.  Rich green pastures and an air-boat in every yard.

Just down the street from where I’m staying along the Withlacoochee River is one of many fishing camps called Riverside Lodge & Rv Resort.  I had to stop by and take a picture of their signage out front.  An orange painted trailer with a man sitting in a canoe fishing on top of the trailer.  It is one of the best advertisements I’ve ever seen.  The owners son came out and gave me a tour of the place on his gulf cart.

They’ve got lots of old and newer deluxe cabins, about 14 Rv sites right on the Withlacoochee River, with a couple small gators on the banks of the river near their boat dock, and they even have 4 platforms for tenters on an island.  What a cool place.  Nice to meet locals from the area.  A tad overpriced for their campsites, (unless you have Passport America) but still a fun place to check out.

Today I went on the Wild Bill Air Boat Ride on the Withlacoochee River.  $30.00.  It’s barely a hop and a skip from 1000 Palms where I’m staying.  The Air boat holds up to 20+ people in a stadium seating arrangement.  The day is very warm and sunny.  The water as flat and calm as plate glass reflecting a deep blue sky, or is that the effect from my sunglasses.  Our captain is a heavy set good ole country boy with a soft voice as he describes the scenery each time we stop and he turns off the huge fan blades that propel our flat bottomed boat across the water, weeds and hydrilla.  Gators are everywhere along with ibis and great blue herons.  An osprey nest is high up ion a dead tree and we watch an osprey catch a fish and struggle to fly off with it.

Withlacochee River

Along hwy 44 east of Inverness:

Had lunch at a local place called the Fish House and had a fish sandwich.  The mild white fish was lightly blackened and covered over half the plate.  Hardly saw the sub roll it was sitting on.  They do special dinners once a week and you have to make reservations for the special of the evening.  Only one dish is served and they are always packed.  This week it was a complete Turkey dinner.  Why not?  No reason to wait all year to have a good turkey dinner.

Molly McGees
I also checked out Molly McGee’s.  It’s a colorful Deli and Mini Mart that specializes in Cuban Sandwiches.  When I first walked in, it was a bit confusing.  The place is an odd mix of a mini-mart and a really eclectic shop/restaurant seating area. They were out of Cuban bread, so I had an 8” turkey sub with chips and a drink for $6.  Molly put a lot of heart into making one tasty sub.  The place is a wild collection of stuff inside and out that Molly has collected throughout the years.  She tells me her and her sister used to go out  competing to find the best stuff and that what’s in the shop is not her real good stuff, just more of the stuff she collected along the way.  And now Molly wonders what on earth she was thinking buying all this stuff and the money spent on it.  Well, for us customers, it sure is fun to see all the things she’s acquired along the way.  Great atmosphere, great subs.
Molly McGee's dining room

Checked out their local flea market which was a total disappointment, but we’re hitting the heat of the summer and they may be slowing down during the summer months.

and you know there are more pictures at:  my Picasa site.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011-11 Mississippi to Florida

Waveland, Bay St Louis, MS

Robertsdale AL

Perry Fl

Inverness Fl

Campground:  Hidden Bay Rv.  $20 (Passport America half/price)  full hookups.  Simple campground mostly pull thru sites.  Nice swimming pool and new laundry room.  Rec room is always locked but looks nice through the windows.

Campground:  Camping World, Robertsdale Al.  Repair work done, so I got the campsite/parking area with full hookups for free.

Campground:  Perry Fl KOA.  Full hookups, with cable TV and wi-fi.  $30 (with discounts) - $39+.  I was abler to get a Military discount having worked for the Navy, $30.  Mini gulf course, big swimming pool and spa. Usually never stay at KOA's, they are too expensive.

Campground:  Thousand Palms, Inverness Fl.  Passport America, $16.50 half/off.  Elect/water.  5 over the air TV stations available. Swimming pool, club house, small laundry.  Nice old Florida park.



This is a nice location to be in.  Away from the big cities and close to the Gulf Coast beaches.  About an hours drive to New Orleans along some back roads through the bayou country.  I went to the beach yesterday and enjoyed the sun (under my umbrella) with a nice breeze to keep the heat of the day from getting too much.  The Gulf waters are already warm and it was fun splashing around in them.  Didn’t see any tar or oil from the oil spills, but I’m sure they haven’t just disappeared.  Will be interesting to see when and where that ecological disaster finally shows up.  As I’m sure it will in the future.   You know millions of gallon of oil just doesn’t go away, never to be heard from again.

5 years later, scars are still visible from Katrina

A few more homes have been built along the coast.  Higher up and more fortified against the next big hurricane.  But much of the land is still scarred and empty.  Concrete foundations, driveways to no where.  And they are slowly rebuilding the roadway along the gulf shores.  Reminds me of little worker ants after their mound has been stepped on and they furiously start to rebuild it all over again in the same place.  Except here it’s taking much longer and the effort seems just as futile.

Hidden Bay where I’m staying for a few days is pretty empty and when I called to make my Passport America reservations, the owner said, gee we normally don’t like to take Passport America on weekends, but they would anyway.  (there are no restrictions on the Passport web page for this campground) Well, when I got here and saw how empty it was, I can imagine that they would have liked to collect the full nightly fee.  Kind of gives the impression that they are just barely holding on.

Buccaneer State park which was completely devastated by the hurricane 5 years ago has reopened with over 200 campsites, many with gulf views.  I’d plan on staying here the next time I’m in the area.  I understand the full hookup sites are $24 a night.  Great price for a million dollar location and views.

This is also the home to a gazillion Waffle House restaurants.  Not sure why especially since the food is marginal at best.

So this morning as I was putzing  around and I discovered a bolt was protruding up through the floor in my kitchen pushing up the linoleum.   Can’t imagine what it’s attached to underneath the camper and or what it’s supposed to be holding (up?).  I’ve got an appt at an Rv dealer tomorrow and hopefully they’ll be able to fix things quickly and I’ll be on my way.
who would think a bolt could unscrew itself

 So as if that wasn't enough, as I was trying to make a few calls on my Droid Verizon phone, I could make the call, but the person on the other line couldn't hear me.  What’s up…..  Did a quick search using the Droid for a local Verizon dealer, brought it in and they were able to fix it.  For all those techie people out there, the Verizon techie told me it was probably the “app killer” program I had loaded on my phone.  As it kills programs and leaves tons of stuff on the ram memory, clogging up the whole system.  He deleted the program and re-booted the phone and all is well now.  Said the clue was if your phone starts giving crash messages like, “program not loading, wait or force closure“ your ram is clogged.    Also said try to remove battery and reinstall, which forces the phone to completely start over like new.  Usually works…. I’ll try and remember that next time.


Next day, the “bolt” popping up through the floor has been fixed and they didn’t even cut into the flooring where it shows.  Nice work done by Camping World.  Course it took most of the day, but I’m staying overnight in their free campsites.  Warranty work that would have normally cost $228 but was free under the warranty and a free campsite for the night.  I’m pumped.  You know free is my favorite price.  

Just a note on Alabama.  Robertsdale, where I’ve stayed overnight while the camper was being fixed, is on the peninsula sticking out into the gulf of Mexico.  From what I’ve learned about the area, is, it’s a great vacation area especially for campers.  there are numerous Rv parks near the Alabama coast, some within walking distance of the beaches as well as a State Park.  I think I will explore this area again.  It’s also close to Pensacola Fl.


As I entered Florida, I felt like I was coming home again.  Even though I grew up in Mich.  I still feel Florida is home.  The scenery has become much more lush.  With the tall pine trees and large oak trees dominating the skyline.  I’m traveling inland along hwy 20, a peaceful but perhaps boring country road for some as all one sees are thick forests, lush ferns, rivers and streams and naturally occurring scrub palms and sable palms along the way.  Fresh cut grass as they have to cut the grass constantly along the sides of the roadways and continually cut back the advances of the shrubs and trees.  In a few areas, the trees actually made a canopy over the roadway.  This is virgin Florida and much of the land is owned by lumber companies.

I eventually head south around the bend in Florida onto hwy 98/19/Alt 27.  Which follows the western side of the state through small cracker towns, the heart of the old south.  In Perry I had a late lunch at Pouncey’s a local restaurant where I had a country meal for $7.95.  Included fried chicken, a drink, and three sides along with cornbread.  Best home made mashed potato’s I’ve had in ages, a nice cucumber/tomato/onion salad and a peach short cake.  Yum.  Southern cooking, at it’s best.

1000 Palms Rv Resort
I drove into Inverness, a southern country town with a great feel in the heart of Florida.  I’m here to check out a campground I plan on staying at this coming winter season as it’s a part of Florida I really enjoy.  Of course my AZ friends will not be happy, but I feel I need to experience more of our wonderful country and this is an area I think I’ll enjoy next winter.

Also having my eye exam.  Already, the Dr. here in Inverness is questioning whether I really have glaucoma.  Additional test will be done this coming week.

I'm hoping that the hour drive from Orlando will not be too much for my friends and relatives to come visit me when I come back into the area for next winters season.    If not, I should be able to camp in the Orlando area for a couple of weeks to visit with everyone this coming fall season.

And there's an open invitation for all my AZ friends to come visit Florida, especially while I'm here this coming winter season.

After my short stay here in Inverness, I'll be heading north to do more exploring, so join me as the adventure continues.
1000 Palms, nice warm pool during the summer, not heated in winter

Friday, May 6, 2011

2011-10, Texas


Campground:  Hamlin City Rv Park.  Full Hookups, free first night, then $10 after that.  On Main Street, corner lot with about a dozen campsites.

Campground:  Faunt Le Roy Park.  Gatesville Tx.  This is a city park with 8 Rv sites and a couple tent sites.  30 amp Elect & Water. $15 per night.  Loop with campsites parallel to the circular road.  Park is used for local walks, picnic area and kids playground.  Sites were originally free for the first two nights, but they now charge for every day you stay.

I left Clovis NM heading SE on hwy 84 driving into Texas, the landscape changed from prairie to both dry farming and irrigated farm land.  I was told they now dig wells thousands of feet down to get to the water table.  Cotton, peanuts, alfalfa and hay are just being planted.  Many  of the farms containing those one armed oil rigs.  To the point the air is infused with the smell of pungent crude oil.  And the land is flat flat flat.

You know as I travel down these country roads, I love seeing the water towers off in the distance.  Many in this area are the bullet or stubby rocket looking water towers sitting high on their metal stilts.  The reason I like to see them on the horizon is that they let me know another community is up ahead.  Most of the town along hwy 84 are in the 5,000 to 6,000 population range.  Each with its own grain silos.  The high-rises of the farming community.   The more water towers, the larger the town.

Heading SE  from the Abilene area, again through the heart of Texas, I’ve left the vast farming communities behind and have entered the rolling hills covered with trees and grass, interspersed with cattle ranches. With small streams and rivers running through them.   Nice to finally hit areas with wooded landscapes once again.  I love driving down these country roads.  Some are 4 lane divided highways with grassy medians in between.  Others are true 2 lane country roads  following the curves and rolling topography.

I’ll be in  this this small community of Gatesville for a couple of days, doing some shopping and laundry before continuing my trek east.  I may even visit their history museum with the largest collection of spurs in the world.

Nice little community with the typical courthouse in the center of town.  It’s also the location of at least 5 prisons.  Each prison specializes in different enterprises, like making garments, agriculture and some even help in the local community rebuilding and fixing various community buildings.

While doing laundry today, I met the owner as he was fixing one of the dryers.  Started to tell me his story.  He has had 7 brain surgeries and with one, the Dr’s were certain he was dead…. Needless to say, he survived each one, costing over a million dollars.  He showed me the top of his head, and I must admit it sure looked all bumpy from all those surgeries.  At 70, he still works and maintains his business’s.  As he owns over a city block of property, some acreage that he leases out to a farmer, a home on the gulf coarse as well as another beautiful stone house on the top of a hill overlooking this wonderful part of Texas.  I wondered when he was going to begin living life and he did too.  But he said he keeps getting caught up in the next project that needs fixing or one of his business that needs managing.  Nice guy,  says he and his wife are almost ready to get out there and travel.

I in the meantime, explore the area and have really enjoyed staying in the city park.  It’s a spit of land surrounded on three sides by the small river.  A deep gorge created by years of erosion from the river.  Black cows graze in a pasture on one side leading into the park which is only two blocks from town, but miles away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the community.   I’m enjoying being surrounded by huge trees covered in their new spring growth, the grassy field dotted with more trees in the center of the park.  Locals come by throughout the day to have a picnic lunch, walk the circle or play with their kids.

Enjoyed reading a book this afternoon, while getting some sun.  It’s a perfect 78 degrees and sunny day.  Perfect afternoon to just enjoy a day in the park.  Note:  I'm the only camper in the park.

My final stay in Texas is Beaumont.  A town near the eastern boarder of Texas, oil country.  A town of about 100,000.  The downtown has a few tall buildings and when I drove around today, it appeared neat and clean downtown area, but almost completely deserted on a Friday morning.

I’ve come downtown to tour a few places, like the small Edison Museum.  A man who in grade school was told by his teacher that he was addled and was sent home.  Fortunately his mother believed in him and he was home schooled from then on, to eventually become the inventor with the most patents of any other person.

When he later married, he called his daughter Dot and his son, Dash after the years he had worked as a telegraph operator and helping to improve the equipment, before going onto to creating the electric light bulb, the phonograph, the first movie camera and projector, the nickel-iron alkaline storage battery and so many more.

More than that, I find his story compelling in that he was able to excel after that teacher sent him home.  He believed in exploring what had never been done with the idea that invention was 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  Imagine what anyone else can do today with that same attitude.  Who will invent the next power source to replace fossil fuels, nuclear power and go beyond wind and solar power.  It’s out there, waiting for someone to invent it.  Hope I see it in my lifetime.

Oh and I went to their art museum, a super nice looking building, not terribly large, with only a couple galleries, the rest of the space taken up by conference rooms etc.  Saw two main exhibits, all large art pieces covering the huge gallery walls.  One artists media works of trees and animals…. Another, a local folk artist who created wonderful metal sculptures.  After his passing, the art community gathered his pieces and many are now on display in the museum.  Next door is the Energy museum.

I stopped by the McFaddin-Ward House and took a few pictures from the outside, but since they wouldn’t permit photos inside, I opted not to take the tour.  So you and I will just have to go online to see what the inside looked like.  They did have a big impressive visitor center building across the street from the historic house with a nice parking area.  Obviously they think this is one heck of a house.

Next stop, Bay St Louis.

Don't forget to check out a few extra pictures on my Picasa web site.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

2011-09 Last Week in New Mexico

Last Week in New Mexico

Blackwater Draw Site, National Historic Landmark

Campground:  Oasis State Park, NM. Near Clovis.  $14 Elect. & Water.  All sites are pull through sites overlooking the prairie landscape.

I’m spending my last week in New Mexico.  It’s there windy time of the year.  Today and tomorrow are expected to be exceptionally windy with highs of 50-70 miles per hour.  I may have to throw the anchor over the side of the camper to keep it in place. My friend Alex O says it's the annual "Great Springtime Real Estate Transfer"

I’m back at Casino Hollywood, San Felipe where my campsite is only $10 a night.  Waiting for my Doctors appointment on Thursday.  Then I’ll be heading back out on the road.  I’ve been following the news on gas prices and they are saying the price of fuel could reach $6.00 a gallon by summer.  Not something we Rv’ers are looking forward to nor anyone else who has to drive.

route 66 tour cars
While re-cooping from my hernia surgery, which I might add is progressing very nicely thank you, I saw a caravan of  Route 66 cars drive past my camper yesterday.  They paused, a scout jumped out of one of the cars and began checking the dirt roadway that winds around the scrubby hills surrounding the RV park and casino.  Come to find out, it is part of the original Route 66 and the tour master was bringing the group along this section to experience a bit of the original route.

They ended up having to route around a gully before getting onto the Route 66 dirt road.  Slowly winding their way up and around the pinion pine and cedar dotted hill, disappearing into the distance.  About 20 minutes later, they had backtracked, so I can only assume they reached a dead end somewhere on San Felipe Pueblo Reservation land.  But what an adventure they were having.  Me taking pictures and them while they  were taking pictures of we Rv’ers in the casino campground.

Thursday.  My doctors appoint complete.  I’ve been given a 100% clearance, no restrictions and I can get ready to head back out on the open road.  Whoopee!  Imagine, only 10 days to recover from a hernia operation.

This evening while enjoying a windless evening with the sun setting to the west over the barren hills warn into soft rounded hills, four wild horses came down out of those hills in search of desert grasses.  Two black stallions with ribs showing a rough life of foraging for food, one blond beauty with a long main looking as showy as any model on a runway and finally a lone palomino  all painted black and white keeping his distance from the others.  Wild horses, what one would expect to see out west… right here, one hundred yards from my campsite.   This is one of the reasons I travel.

Saturday.  My heart is once again soaring.  I’m back on the open road heading west and eventually SE on a rural road hwy 84.  I’ve decided to head closer to the Gulf of Mexico to hopefully avoid any problems with the horrid weather the country has been experiencing.  I don’t want to become another Dorothy flying overhead in a tornado.  I’ll be heading SE all across Texas in a day or so.

Abandoned church, near Clovis NM

As I head east about 150 miles outside of Albuquerque,  the topography changes from those wonderful mountain ranges to flat and gently rolling plains landscapes.  I stop to take some pictures of an abandoned church.  It’s windows and doors long since removed or broken, the white paint sandblasted off of the clap board siding.  But it still has so much character.   Surprisingly still in fairly good shape.

I’m heading towards Clovis and the site of North Americas (Blackwater Draw) traditionally accepted as the oldest evidence of  Native American culture.  Some 12,000 years old.  A site where a cache of  fluted Clovis points were discovered.  Where  Mammoth bones were found with spears and Clovis points embedded in them.  The oldest hand-dug well.  Bison bones, camel and horses before they became extinct in North America and eventually reintroduced by the Spanish explorers.

They’ve built a metal two story building over one of the excavation sites so that I was able to see the bones still in their exact location after discovery.  Evidence of Clovis, Folsom and later still Paleo-Indian cultures.

road leading into old gravel pit, site of Clovis discoveries

Imagine a young farm boy discovers the bones and tusks of a giant extinct mammoth on his farmland.  Literally sticking out of the wind swept sands of this barren prairie landscape.   But after the discovery, the land is purchased and becomes a gravel pit.  The owner permits archeologists to dig up the bones and do research, all while the gravel pit continues to dig up this treasure trove of archeological discoveries.  Destroying much of the evidence along the way.  Eventually the site is sold to the state of New Mexico which now overseas the site.

Of special interest is that these bones of Mammoth, camel, saber-tooth cats are not petrified.  They are the actual bones preserved by the special dynamics of the area.

My campsite overlooks the dry grass prairie as flat as a pancake.  Giving the impression that the earth really is flat.  At night with the sky turning black, twinkling lights appear off on the horizon miles away.  Civilization at a distance, the rest miles and miles of dry grasses, a lone tree off in the distance.  Not a house or building of any kind to be seen for miles.  Open land providing space for the mind to regenerate and  revel in the solitude and peace out here.

Next Week, Texas.