Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where is Waldo?!

Well... Where are David and Rebecca?

Hmmm... I bet with a few hints you can guess.

As I mentioned in my last blog post we were in and (frankly much to my relief) we were leaving Texas. Now before anyone gets all mad I should probably clarify that statement.  I was relieved to be leaving Surfside Texas. I am sure there are very nice places in Texas somewhere.  Heaven knows it is a big enough land mass there probably are a few very nice places... but in any case... we actually left our spot several days early. While David and Delta were really enjoying the beach the foul weather was on its way so it turns out we seem to have left just in time. They would not have gotten to enjoy much of the beach anyway during the rain and snow so my guilt at wanting to go early was minimized a tad.

We headed west.... west.. and gee whiz... west again. Texas is friggen’ huge! I thought California was a long drive (north to south) but Texas is big any which way you cut it. We decided the path we would cut would be a little diagonal one up through the Marfa, Alpine, Marathon areas. Those areas were much recommended in the travel section of a Southern Living magazine that I happen to read but while there were a couple quirky shops in the area it really was not much to see.  Sorry... harsh maybe but true.  We kept right on driving.


We ended up stopping for the night at the Seminole Canyon State Park. Pretty little state park and at night you could see stars forever. David built a fire and we watched the sunset over the mountains.  

Snow and freezing temperatures were on the way that very next night so we only stayed one night. It seems we were on the run from the weather again.

We headed west again and yes we were STILL in Texas. It took forever it seemed to get to El Paso. Now I had visions of a sleepy little town... just like the one Marty Robbins sung about back in the day. My sisters are big fans of Marty Robbins... I'll have to share that story one of these times. I am sure it will be much appreciated.

But El Paso today is not the El Paso of John Wayne days.  It is not sleepy and it is not a town. It is a sprawling, groping, grasping, stretching city right on the border.  

However, if you thought some of the areas in El Paso appeared depressed all you had to do was look over the freeway southward to see a fence. 

It is a rather tall fence that literally was “The Border”.  If you want to see a real depressed area all you had to do was look on the other side of that fence. 

That is Juarez. We did not travel into Mexico (yet) on this trip.  Instead we kept going just a little further, took a deep breath, and said goodbye to Texas.  We then crossed into New Mexico.

We turned off of I-10 and instead hugged the border road (hwy 9) until our next stop.  This road was so close to the border we could see a fence and plenty of these guys wandering around. (Border Patrol) 

We saw one fellow out checking out tracks in one area and there were many places where people had stacked rocks in some sort of signal to each other for one reason or another.   This is a pretty tough game to play... the shrubs MIGHT be hip high and there is no water for miles nor trees to hide under or in.  If you are going to get over the fence, past the lights, past the snakes, scorpions etc and then make it miles to a road where someone MIGHT pick you up after you have given them untold amount of savings that you and your family members have literally slaved for... you are pretty desperate to get to where you are going. Which makes it a tough game for the guys and gals in the white trucks.  Desperate people are sometimes dangerous people.

When we got to our destination in the town of Columbus, New Mexico, we stayed at the Pancho Villa State Park. While the town is a very sleepy little town, it was actually a great little park! 

The area has a very  interesting history.  In 1916 Pancho Villa launched an attack from Mexico on the little town of Columbus, New Mexico, USA, killing 18 people.  This was the only ground invasion of the continental U.S. since 1812 and apparently the only once since.  Supposedly Villa's reasons for the attack was unknown... there were several rumors  of why he invaded but the rumor I favor is this one:

When Villa’s men came busting into town they  seemed to be looking for one fellow in particular. The rumor is that fellow promised to sell them a bunch of arms... he took the money but did not deliver the guns/ammo. When you consider Villas men rode several miles crossing the border into the United States, near an army base, and chose to attack a sleepy little town (that was not much of a town then either) there had to be a good reason.  Double crossing them on an arms deal seems like a pretty good reason to invade a little town.

As a result of this invasion and attack the US Government launched the great "Punative" attack against Pancho Villa and his army.  Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing launched 10,000 troops on an 11-month, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico.  It worked real well...  Villa and his men would ride their horses into the wilds... camp.. and after pouring out their coffee and picking up their bedrolls they hopped on their horses and left in the morning.  It took them only a few minutes to be riding again... where the army took ages.

Villa was quite a horseman (and showman) apparently... I love this picture:

Anyway, as I mentioned to try and catch Villa and his men,  General Pershing marched thousands of men, a new fangled tank machine, and new fangled automobiles into the desert of Mexico.   Imagine a Model-T driving in sand.

Mules had to be brought in to carry the fuel to refill the gas for the tanks and the automobiles.

There were supply wagons.... and ancient trucks... etc.  It took hours just to get the whole operation moving.

Additionally, the first US Air base was set up right across the street from where the old fort stands which is now the state park. This plane is in the museum at the State Park:

They used these linen skinned biplanes in their hunt for Pancho Villa and his men. 

However, the planes apparently had great difficulty flying over the soaring Alps- ike mountains in the desert of Mexico.  I am being sarcastic... there are no soaring mountains.   Several planes crashed.

After nearly a year General Pershing was finally called away and the "Punative" campaign was ended because the US entered WWI.   It was a fun park and we really enjoyed the museum that is at the park.

Just as a side note... Villa was a rather popular general during the Mexican Revolutionary Period.  Many different factions were trying to depose the corrupt leader of Mexico at that time...  earlier on the US Government was trying to stay out of the fights (as of course they usually do) within Mexico and did not want to show favoritism to one faction or another.

However, times have not changed much.  
Just like photos come back to haunt current politicians now... here is an early photo op.

This is a pre-Pancho Villa invasion of America photo of
General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing with General Pancho Villa.  
Pretty friendly eh?  Hamming it up for the paparazzi.
By the way...  that tall thin fellow on the left behind Pershing?  
That is a very young George Patton.

The outcome of that military campaign?  
They never caught Pancho Villa, he was assassinated many years later.

Then we headed.. guess where?  
Sensing a pattern yet?

Into Arizona we went for another one night stay at a gorgeous park right off of Interstate 10. The Picacho Peak State Park is filled filled with Saguaro cactus which stand all over the area, even up on top of the small mountainous outcropping near the park. 

 Here is the inside of a saguaro... we chopped one apart to see the innards:

I am totally kidding...  they send that wild Arizona lawman sheriff that is always in the news  for punishing prisoners after you if you mess with Arizona's saguaros.  Seriously... leave their cactuseseses.. cacti... alone.  Anyway, it is a great little park and were many travelers there and I particularly loved this little customized trailer.   

This is a great bit of work someone did.  These little trailers are so much cheaper than regular ones and if you know what you are doing you can really set it up nice. 

The surroundings were great... I loved the many different types of cactus and rocks etc. 


 I was half expecting to see the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote come zipping past at any moment... but no such luck. 

We stayed only one night and westward we went. We drove past Phoenix but would never have known it. It was pretty foggy but our GPS unit (Named Jill) took us on a side route which took us completely around Phoenix, through the Gila River Reservation and back on to the interstate. It was a well traveled fantastic road but like I said... due to the fog and the route we never got a glimpse of the city.

And then... here is a big hint to our current location... 
we cruised into Palm Springs. 

We stopped by an old friends house.. or his old house.. and then wandered into the city for food and drink. We did not set up camp in Palm Springs as there was no room at the Inn...  (Rv Park) so we actually stayed at a KOA just up the road in Banning.

From Banning the next morning we headed northwards. We stopped for one last night on the road at a hidden state park... well actually McConnell State Recreation Area but it was a very pretty little place and eerily empty. It was not far off the road but you have to drive off the interstate and through a few farmland plots to get there.  The little camping area was nice and the picnic spot on the river was very peaceful and pretty.  We never even unhitched the trailer so at O’Dark thirty the next morning we left and headed up to I-5 and then rolled on into the family homestead with happy hearts and weary minds. 

Quite the welcoming committee! 
My Grandson Donovan and Delta were fascinated with each other.

and now the final hints for where is Waldo David and Rebecca are?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mosey on over into Texas....

We mosied... mosyed.. moseyed....hmm  have to look that up.. anyway we wandered into Texas from our newly beloved Louisiana. We drove straight into Houston then went due south to Surfside.  Surfside sits right on the gulf, as did our RV park 'The Breeze'.  


David reserved us a fabulous spot at 'The Breeze'. There it is at the very end of the park there... with the red arrow.  Practically right on the beach.  This time we settled in for a longer stay.

David and Delta have been having the best time here.  As soon as we got there they hit the beach and did so several times nearly every day we were here.  She is getting better at her Frisbee catching, bike running, and she pretends to chase birds.  She is not fooling anyone... she really is just running with them as they skim the shore. 

 We collected a few shells... this time without the frenzied fever...  and rode our bikes along the beach.  The sand was packed harder so you could ride.... and drive(!) along the beach. 

There were not as many shells as there were in South Carolina but many of the same types  of shells were here.  However... along with shells thanks to Hurricane Ike in 2008 you can find pieces of china, or house tiling, brick chunks etc.  The houses along this strip of beach here at the gulf was pretty well destroyed and we watched a lot of construction going on around us.  I dunno about this hurricane business.  I think I might just throw in the towel... listen to mother nature's not so subtle hints and move to higher ground.   Of course.. people who rebuild after hurricanes think those in Tornado Alley are crazy... and those folks think Californian's with their earthquakes are nuts. To each their own.

One sunny day we drove about 40 miles up the strip of beach from Surfside to Galveston.  A busy little town with a lot of shops and quite a collection of large ornate victorian homes.  This home is the Bishop's Palace.  Hmm... it's good to be the Bishop. 

Surfside is right next to a HUGE plant.  The Dow Chemical plant is literally right down the road and is surrounded by many other types of plants.

I am sure some of the surrounding operations are independent of Dow but I bet they contribute to each others business in some way.  These plants are like cities.  They cover acres and acres... they have their own ports, roads, and rivers... they also employ a LOT of people... a lot of men primarily.They are cities unto themselves in an Escher kind of way.  Ignoring the obvious comments....  when you look closely at the plants... they are absolute honeycombs of industry. It is actually interesting in it's construction and operations.

The time, work, and thought that went into just the building of the plants are amazing.  They light up the sky at night and are literally buzzing with activity. 

At night along with the solid.... steady.... roar of the waves I could hear the hum all the way out towards the beach.

Between Surfside and the mainland is marshland.  The inter-coastal waterway winds through and you could see large barges and ships moving through.  It was kinda weird seeing it from the beach side.. it looked like the ships were making there way along the roads.  Also at night the shipping lanes were really obvious out in the Gulf.  We saw big ships making their way towards Dow's and whoever elses pier and beyond.. but at night when you looked out into the gulf it looked like there was a freeway with the lighted ships all in a line waiting their turn to dock and fill with stuff.

The sunrise is beautiful on the gulf.  Here is David and Delta out for their morning coffee walk:

I think David is part Aquaman.  Of course he might prefer a comparison to Poseidon...  :)

That trident thing is much groovier than the green tights...

Anyway, he loves anything to do with water.... oceans, gulf, rivers.. all of it.  He gets energy and peace from it all at the same time.  He was out walking the beach several times a day... sometimes I would go with him, and sometime he would take Delta... well... 90% of the time if we were going to walk the beach she was with him.

Anyway... I enjoyed the beach but not nearly as much as they did.  I also like the water but I have found I am more of a lake/river/forest kinda gal... a regular Naiad.

I enjoy the ocean but I am becoming afraid that the pacific region has spoiled me.  If I am going to listen or watch ocean waves I like the randomness and surges of the pacific.  One large wave crashing terrifically on the rocks while the next simply rolls up on the shore... there is a rise, a pitch, a danger to the whole affair.  You can't turn your back on that water.

 The waves here to me were... well.... monotonous... Buzzing and humming steadily.  Also.. there are no trees.  There were palms.. but these palms aren't really trees.. just tall skinny pokie bushes.

Dang it.  I tried to like it I really did... but I just could not wrap my head around it... I got no inspiration at all... not to write, not to read, not to scribble and scratch.  It also did not help that we had a few rain storms pass overhead so even if we wanted to go try to hang out on the beach we couldn't....  we were stuck inside. One storm even caused a flood warning and water came up over the road right near where we were staying.   

All in all.. it was a nice quiet park.  Very quiet setting.  
But... we are on the road again.  Heading steadily west and it does my heart good.

Ahhh.. but did I mention the sunrises?


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