32 Miles East on I-40 Frontage Road from Vega, TX to Amarillo, TX

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Where there’s Smoke

8/04/2016 Day #598

-Bill Here-

Great Balls of Fire and Automobile “Monoliths”.

It first appeared low on the horizon. Smoke and we all know what that means. We got closed and closer and eventually saw the flames. It was a race. We needed to get by it BEFORE those gusty winds out of the south pushed it over I-40 and our frontage road path! Will we make it?

We made it,  and left the mini-conflagration in our rear view mirror. But that was not the end of “strange” that day! . . . . . . Mia…

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Fire rapidly spreading towards livestock and buildings

Mia’s 2 Cents

Brush Fire – – I’ve seen the controlled burns  used by Plains farmer /ranchers when the clear off their fields, and this may have been one of those when it started, but it seemed to have gotten out of control. Greedy flames and tall columns of billowing smoke;  Smoke that was blowing  towards  acres and acres of open prairie, ranch houses, out buildings, equipment and livestock. . . and the frontage road that we were traveling on.We drove for several miles,getting closer and closer to the source of all that smoke, driving into the haze that the smoke created, and then. . .  we heard the first of many volunteer fire vehicles racing to help control the fire before it could destroy crops,homes or life. They came, from all directions, passing us from behind, coming from in front of us, cutting across the frontage road, streaking down the little dirt side roads, . . the cavalry of unsung heroes that would make the land safe once more.

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The famous “Cadillac Ranch”seen from the road.

Just when we thought the day couldn’t have any more excitement, we came across the strangest sight yet – people parked along the side of the road -on either side, for about a quarter of a mile and were streaming into and out of a field  a few miles outside of  Amarillo. As we went past, I snapped the picture above – not knowing exactly what I was looking at. Later,when we got setup in our site for the night, we looked at the downloaded pictures – and realized we had driven right past a famous piece of American Roadside culture,without even knowing what we were looking at. The well known piece of folk art called “The Cadillac Ranch” .  Click to learn more about the Cadillac Ranch  

Wow – it’s amazing what you can see on a short, 30 mile road trip. . .!!

Texas Mini-Twisters and Reality

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Imagine this in a neon green. . .

Bill Here-

No real-time pictures. You’re going to need to use your imagination on this one.

Sometimes you just see strange things happen. When we pulled into Vega at the Walnut RV Park I saw something that caught my interest. There was a neon green child’s pool swim ring by the side of the road. I thought, “how odd”? I figured it might have blown out of the back of a pick up truck? We had just arrived here so I didn’t have too much time to think about it or take a picture.

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Liftoff was just this side of the big white sign

The next day I was looking out the front windshield and saw a little whirlwind. It got bigger and bigger. It was right across the street, just 50 feet away. It picked up that neon green pool toy up. Higher and higher… round and round until it was 60-80-100 feet in the air over Historic Route 66 and moving north. I watched it until it was out of sight.

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She went that a’way

Sometimes you just rub your eyes and wonder, “did I really just see that”? Well… now I have a better idea how it got there.

Somewhere, somebody is trying to figure out how it got out of the pool. And who knows where it will end up. Life is kinda like that sometimes, isn’t it?

Walnut RV Park in Vega, TX

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Sitting at our site, view from the driver’s seat

About 95 miles from Waylon Jennings RV Park in Littlefield, TX

Cost: 2 days @ $25.00 per day
1 week @$125.00
Date stayed: 7/26/2016 – 8/3/2016
Altitude 4,060 feet
Days #589-597 – 4,839 miles downrange

-Bill Here-

A VERY nice park right on Historic Route 66 just off I-40. Spacious reasonable sites are well kept. WiFi, electric, water, and sewer all first class. Huge laundry room. Very secure park as friendly owners are are onsite. Roosters TexMex restaurant right across the street (Historic US Route 66) and is rated 4.5+ out of 5.

We stayed a night. Then another. Then a week. About 30 miles to Amarillo or NM border. No pool but for those people who spend a lot of time in RV parks, this is the kind of place that just “feels right”.

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Rooster’s., just across the road on historic Rt.66

Mia’s 2 Cents

Well. I have to agree with all the stuff that Bill has already said, but of course, i have to elaborate . . . .There are a couple of things that make this place unique for me. One is the great view .  Out the port side,  there is old Rt.66. People stop at all times of the day to take pictures of the signs. People in cars, in trucks and in RV’s,just stopping in the middle of the road, getting out and taking a quick photo. It’s fun to see the young, the older and the in between as they pose for their pictures. Then there is the Rooster itself, – a tiny little restaurant, out in the middle of the High Plains of  Texas, with a great Tex – Mex menu and a parking lot that is always full. At times, the over flow spills into the neighboring fields and along the highway. Out the starboard side and somewhat farther away, is I40 with it’s never ending parade of trucks. Cattle trucks, tankers, grain haulers, you name it- flowing in a steady stream all night and day.   The other thing for me, is the ever present wind -Ms.Lucy rocks  in the constant wind and it feels like the soothing motion of a boat in a gently breeze. Even more enjoyable because you know that gentle breeze can sometimes turn to a raging  beast, but usually doesn’t. – Ahhhh – This is a quiet place, a good safe place, for folks who full-time and want to have a safe and comfortable place to stay for a night, a week, or longer.  It’s not meant for families who are looking for a destination spot where the kids can be endlessly entertained, but for those who live on the road it is a nice little oasis.

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View off the Starboard side – I.40 in the distance with truck traffic

 

 

98 Miles North on U.S. Route 385 Littlefield,TX to Vega, TX

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Heading north on 385

– Bill Here –

Mia has already summed it up well with her “Beef It’s What’s for Dinner” post. That and the post about Dimmitt were part of this stretch.

But to reiterate. Corn, Windfarms, Cattle and the trucks that transport them, HUGE Dairy Farms and Feedlots in numbers that numb the mind. And the sky. If the Universe is endless, then the Texas sky must be right behind it. The abandoned buildings. Dreams that have come and gone…

You could spend a lifetime traveling in Texas and see only a fraction of 1% of all there is to see and feel.

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Cattle – As far as the eye can see

~ Mia ‘s 2 Cents ~

We’ve wandered through the Piney Woods country and through the beautiful Texas Hill Country, and loved all of it, but for me, – for us so far, the Texas High Plains has captured my heart – it lets my soul breathe. The vast expanses bring a sense of awe that I haven’t found elsewhere.

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Anecdotal Observations Regarding Fulltime RVing on the Planet Earth.

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Photo is a still from the classic, “Grapes of Wrath.” There were a a million stories during that migration across country, just as there are today.

From our observations over the past 4 1/2 years of full timing, it would appear to me that there are 4 classes of “RVing” that occur in most RV Parks.

Class 1: These are people who own 5th wheels and Pickup Trucks that cost almost $100,000 or more OR people who own Class A’s or Class C’s and toads that can cost upwards of $500,000. This class can demand perfection and can routinely stay at any RV Park, regardless of cost. They may be full-timers or “recreational” Part-timers. They are mobile. They have many options.

Class 2:  People who own smaller travel trailers, 5th Wheels or older Class A or Class C RVs. They are generally found in more inexpensive State, Federal or private RV parks. They may be full-timers or “recreational” Part-

timers. They are mobile. They have more limited options.

Class 3: Working people who live permanently or semi-permanently in a RV. May be a Class A or Class C, 5th Wheel or Travel Trailer.  They may be working a temporary job or between jobs. They may spend X months at one location and X months at another location. They usually are semi-mobile. They may have even more limited options.

Class 4:  People who are long term in a RV Park for a variety of reasons. Maybe unemployed, living on a small fixed income, or for whatever reason this is their only option. Used Travel Trailers can be had for a little as $500. Coupled with monthly site fees as low as $200, this is their ONLY option to live.  They are not mobile and are living out their lives in the RV Park as their neighborhood.

I don’t look down my nose at anyone. I know what it is like to be down and out. My comments are only to illustrate what the state of this country is. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people in RV Parks on any given day – and “There Are Millions of Stories in RV City”.

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Moven’ on down the road.  Photo from “Grapes of Wrath”

Beef It’s What’s for Dinner

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The wide open plains of West Texas, – where you can see for miles in every direction and the stars are amazing.  Most of the people we know would think this is way too boring and empty but we like it just fine.

There is a big wind farm to the west of us and you can see the huge turbines lazily turning in the wind. There are  thousands of acres of corn that stretch mile after mile and cattle – oh – you can’t imagine the cattle / dairy ranches that are here. The hay mounds are nothing like the little ones in Indiana, The hay “stacks” here are more like hay mountains, and are covered with huge tarps that are weighted down with hundreds of old tractor tires in rows.  It is really hard to judge the size because they are in open prairie and there’s nothing for comparison but I’m guessing that they are at least as high as a 2 to 3 story building and as long and wide as some strip malls I’ve seen, and there will be a couple dozen or so on a ranch – maybe more.

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The herds of white faced cattle covers unknown hundreds of square mile. On Rt. 40 alone, the road is full of cattle trucks that pass us – full of cattle, going both ways and the very air smells of cows – sometimes a little more than others, depending on which way the wind is blowing – and it is always blowing! – Don’t ask what’s for dinner it’s BEEF – in one form or another. Beef tips, beef stew, beef steak, tacos, burritos, nachos, burgers – it’s beef, and lots of it.  You have a choice, here, of beef, ground beef, or chicken. Pork and fish disappear from the menus and from small town groceries when you reach the high plains area. We’ve gone for almost two decades eating beef only on rare occasions, perhaps 3 or 4 times a year, to eating it 4 or 5 days a week. In all fairness, I must say that the beef you get here is NOT like the garbage that you get in the Midwest or even in the Southeastern states. The people here simply would not put up with that kind of “junk” meat- they wouldn’t serve it to their dogs! The beef that we see here is much leaner, much more tender, and not injected with 20% (or more) water. I think Texas keeps the best for themselves, and sells the rest off to other parts of the country. Ahhhhhhhhh – sigh – I love Texas – but all this talk of beef has made me hungry, I think I’ll go whip up a burger.

Help!!! I’ve been sucked into “The Last Picture Show”.

 

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Courtesy of Wikimedia by Billy Hathorn

Ever get that feeling that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand  straight up? While driving thru Dimmitt, TX on US Route 385 we drove by this scene. There wasn’t enough time to take a picture of our own so we are posting another’s. The only addition to the photo is there now is a big “FOR RENT” sign in the window. Complete buildings as well as many storefronts around the downtown square are vacant.

So much of small town America has died. Corporate franchise America now rules. The very thing that made America strong is gone. So sad. So chilling.

The only comfort I have comes from lyrics of the song “Atlantic City” written by Bruce Springsteen. (I prefer the Levon Helm version)

“Everything dies baby that’s a fact, but maybe everything that dies someday comes back.”

We can only hope.