Sunday, April 10, 2016

2016-6 Del Rio to Dallas Texas, a different route


on the Edge, how long can it hold on?

Seminole Canyon State Park, hike

Del Rio Texas

Ballinger Texas

Stephenville Texas

Del Rio to Dallas Texas

Campground:  Holiday Travel-L Rv park, Del Rio Tx.  Full hookups, w/cable Tv 70+ channels.  Weak Verizon signal.  Nice pull-thru sites w/grass, some trees.  Swimming pool/laundry/club house. PPA rate: $13.50 three nights, extra nights:  $20.00.

two signs at entrance to Holiday
Trav-L-RV park

Holiday Trav-L-RV park

Campground:  Ballinger City Park.  $15.00 50amp elect/water.  Pull-thru (parallel) sites.  Good Verizon signal.

Campground:  Stephenville City Park:  $15.00 senior rate.  30/50 amp, Water, dump station available.  Next to nice paved walking trail.  7 night limit.

As you may remember from last weeks report, I had a number of electronic problems to deal with. The lap-top computer was an easy fix in that it’s just the battery having been drained and needed to be plugged in to electric.  The Inverter which is part of the solar panel installation in the camper is more of a problem.  After calling the manufacturer, I will need to bring the camper into an authorized repair dealer.  So, instead of traveling along the gulf coast through Texas, I’ll be heading inland to the Dallas area for repairs.

Another note on the Inverter, besides giving an error message it has now turned off my “shore power” connection for electricity.  It came back on when I moved to a new campsite today, but definitely need to get it fixed.

This week I’m staying in the Del Rio area, a town of around 35,000 and another border town with Mexico.  It’s large enough to enable me to stock up on supplies and hit a few decent restaurants in the area and wait for my mail to arrive.  With one exciting tour which I’ll do tomorrow.

Amistad Lake on boarder of Texas and Mexico

enjoyed a couple of nice walks along a paved path

The land in this area of Texas is flat as can be.  With only the slightest of a rise and dip in the landscape I’m able to see the horizon in all directions, not even a mountain range can be seen off in the distance.  The area has had a bit of rain and the entire landscape is covered with fresh green rugged desert/prairie shrubs.  Boarder patrol vehicles sit on the highest point available or travel slowly on white limestone crushed paths along side the paved highways. Searching for illegal Mexicans crossing the boarder.

Seminole Canyon state park and historic site:

$3 entrance fee.  $5 guided tour

Approximately 35 miles from Del Rio is the Seminole Canyon State Park and Historic Site.  Ranger guided tours are available a couple days a week and I was heading out Wednesday morning to join the tour.   Our guide was not what I’d call a talkative person, providing only the briefest of introductions before heading into the canyon.  Actually it was more like “is everyone here?  Follow me…” until we got to the canyon floor. Where he provided very brief descriptions of the Seminole Canyon location and rock art.  To say the Rangers at this park had little enthusiasm for their jobs would be an understatement.

This area has been inhabited for over 7,000 years with the rock art beginning in the Middle Archaic period  4,000 years ago.  The pictographs are done in what is called the Lower Pecos River Style.  Numerous caves have these ancient painted walls along the Seminole Canyon and the Rio Grande River, though only one is available on a regular guided tour.  Others are available on a monthly tour which takes all day to get to the sites.  Two caves are only available via the Rio Grande river by boat, though the park has no information on guided boat tours or access to these two sites.  I was very disappointed by the lack of information both on the rock art and access to them.

The hike down into the canyon and at least having sufficient time to admire the rock art paintings was appreciated.  Our group asked very few questions as each question was answered with the briefest of explanations or simply “we don’t know” type answers.

Visitor Center above Seminole Canyon

the hike down into the canyon

a fun older couple on tour

rock art found in many caves in this area

Seminole Canyon

When I got back to the visitor center, some of the Rangers were leading school age children through various exercises with rather harsh comments like, “you have 3 minutes to finish your papers”  “if you don’t finish them, it doesn’t matter”.  I finally headed out the front door, where a half a dozen tables had been set up for the children’s activity projects, completely blocking the entrance.  I was told I would have to go back inside and use a side entrance to get out.  Needless to say, I was not impressed with the whole experience.

If you go, I would urge you to purchase one of three books they recommend on their website, it’s the only way you will be able to have a satisfying and knowledgeable experience.  Example:  Rock Art of the Lower Pecos by Carolyn E. Boyd.

Fate Bell Cave

grinding stones

rock surface used to prepare food over hundreds of years, shines in the light

shaman with butterfly wings

possibly 4,000 years old

Del Rio must get pretty darn hot during the summer months.  Many of the Rv’s and mobile homes have extensive roof coverings over them providing extra shade and relief from the heat of the sun.  The area has many Rv parks and along with them, enclosed storage units big enough to store boats and Rv’s.  The Amistad lake being fed by the Rio Grande River and Pecos is noted for the large mouth bass fishing.  One couple I met has come from Wisconsin every year around this time with their boat and truck camper, spending each day out on the lake.

huge covered awnings over mobile homes and some rv's

this large cover is over a double-wide mobile home

Palm trees are common in this area and indicate that the winters aren’t too cold.  The land is not suitable for farming as there is a solid layer of limestone almost at the surface everywhere.  Though sheep, goats and some cattle can survive on the local grasses and vegetation.

I was glad I hadn’t started my summers adventures too early, as they had a severe hail storm about 4 weeks ago with many billboards being flattened to the ground.  A wave of “dent repair” companies moved into town to fix all the dented vehicles.

Distance Traveled:  200 miles

Ballinger Texas

Trying to reduce the distance between me and the Dallas area, I’m driving 200 miles to Ballinger Texas.  A small western farming town on the way to Dallas.  Really odd, as I didn’t remember having been through this town in the past, but after checking out campsites, I noticed the city park as being very familiar.  So here I am coming into town from a different direction this time and once again, staying just one night in their city park.

The drive from Del Rio was uneventful with a light drizzly rain most of the way, but very little traffic and quite a few “picnic rest areas” to stop at along the way.  I really have to look into getting an auxiliary gas tank for the truck.  I usually fill up when the tank in around half empty since my route usually takes me through some remote rural areas and it would be nice not having to stop to refuel on these longer journeys.

Ballinger City Park, fishing off of the dam

a neat retro style picnic cover

the Indian Friend, overlooking my campsite

Distance Traveled:  119 miles

Stephenville Texas

I had a choice between staying in Dublin or Stephenville.  After driving through Dublin and not finding their city park which would have cost only $8 a night,  and the town looking very rundown and seedy, I headed on to Stephenville.  A nice sized town with 7 rv campsites in the city park.  I was able to get an easy pull-thru site and will stay for two days.  This is a great location for full-time Rv-ers.  close to shopping, nice walking path for exercise, two blocks from the historic part of town.

Almost to Dallas, but figured I’d take my time and finish the finally leg of my journey in a couple of days to get the Inverter repaired.  It will entail driving on some major highways through Dallas/Fort Worth including a toll road.  Never a fun journey driving through big cities, but hopefully I will be able to travel during off peak hours.

Distance Traveled:  111 miles.
North Dallas Texas

Update:  I arrived at the “National Indoor Rv Service” center to have the Inverter worked on/replaced.  Long story short, we have an upgraded version of the inverter and control panel being sent overnight to the Rv repair company.  I only have to pay for the overnight shipping.  The technician here has been very helpful in getting the inverter company to upgrade my unit to one that is more robust and serviceable.

I arrived on Tuesday and they weren’t able to look at the unit until Wednesday and order the parts required.  So I’ll be here thru Friday waiting for repairs to be completed.  At least I have free camping sort of.  I’m actually sitting on the back row of their service center, plugged into electric.  

Oh, and by driving up here on Tuesday, I missed a horrible hail storm that occurred in this area on Monday.  You might have seen it on TV.  The hail was the size of tennis and baseballs.  Huge and very damaging.  The locals say April is their tornado season and I’d like to be out of here by this coming weekend if possible.

The National Indoor Rv Service is a most unusual place.  It started out as an Indoor storage facility for pampered motor homes.  They store over 300 motor homes indoors and when a customer wants to use their unit, it is moved out to a staging area where it is plugged in to electric and all appliances are tested and turned on make sure they are working properly.  Tires are checked and inflated as needed.  Coaches are washed in a huge Rv washing machine if requested.  The customer then comes to National Indoor Rv, picks up their camper and drives off, knowing it’s ready to go.  

One of the service writers told me that the motor home owners (average cost $200,000 to $500,000) fall into two categories.  Those that go out and use their motor home every couple of weeks.  The other group, may take theirs out once a year, with a few expensive coaches having been in storage for over three years and never taken out.

They now sell motor homes as well, most of them in the $250,000 to $500,000 range.  As the service writer said, a lot of money being spent on units that don’t get all that much use.  People with way too much money to know what to do with it.

In the mean time, I sit here, content in my humble 5th wheel camper and waiting to get back on the open road and continue my journey.

more photos on my PICASA photos

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