Sunday, March 29, 2009


I cannot help but equate this weather thing to the phenomenon that happens after the female of the human species gives birth to her off spring. Even though she has been in agony for hours and hours, the moment they lay the infant across her chest, the pain is forgotten. I believe if this didn’t happen, there would never be more than one child in every family! The extreme weather (torrential rain, thunder and lightning) we have experienced on the way to, and since arriving (more heavy rain and 30-40 mph wind) in Mansfield, Texas is only a faint memory as I look out the window this morning at the stillness and the sunshine. It is only 40’f but it is going to be a beautiful day!

As Phil suspected, our Penny the Pace needed a new alternator. By virtue of pure “dumb luck”, he found an excellent garage; a family owned business for 37 years called Dennis’s Quick Auto and Tire that was proficient and professional. They were also half the price of the first alternator we replaced in Oklahoma City, OK in 2005 on our first trip after retirement. She also received a lube, oil and filter and they checked all her belts and hoses and she ran perfectly from Snyder to Manchester, TX. We did have one scare when Phil applied the brakes coming up to an intersection and we started to slide. One car nearly turned left in front of us but stopped in time as we ran the red light. The roads had become very slick from the rain and it was a very near miss but no crash and no ticket so all is well.

Because of the volume, rainwater found ways to get inside our Penny around the slide as we drove down the road and we had to set up heaters and fans to dry her out after we parked. Phil says he has to investigate and do some more caulking when the weather improves and we are thoroughly dried out. There are no leaks unless the wind blows really hard or as we learned, when we are rolling along in a storm so it may be hard to find and stop them but never fear, Phil has a plan!

We will be visiting family in the area and doing our best to take in some interesting sights that I will report on as time goes by. We spent several very stimulating hours yesterday morning going over our maps and websites tentatively planning our route for the next couple weeks (about as far in advance as we like to go). Phil uses Microsoft Streets and Trips on our computers to determine mileage (we try not to drive more than 250 miles in any one travel day and we only have one “travel day” each week.) I have a “wish list” for places to go, people to visit and things to see in each state and we do our best to arrange the route to within 100 miles of these places. We also research public and camping club RV parks, terrain (as you might remember, I do not do mountains in Penny the Pace) and double check my “Life list of things to do before I die” or as many now are calling it, the “Bucket List” and try to include those stops along our path. Stay tuned … there are lots of fun things to look forward to as we continue our adventure!
Update on temperature: At 11:05 am CDT, it is now 65 degrees~ ~yes!
Until next time,

So you think Texas is all prairie? Check out this huge body of water covering 14, 922 acres called Hubbard Creek Reservoir five miles west of Breckenridge, Texas on US 180.

We drove by this delightful courthouse built of native limestone in 1883. Complete with clock and bell tower it is located in Shackelford County in Albany, Texas.

Our drive on U.S. 180 from Snyder to Mansfield, TX!
... and the rains (and the thunder and the lightning) came! See the river of water running in the ditch?

The Audie Murpy American Cotton Museum located at 600 Interstate 30 East in Greenville, Texas.

Directions: Exit 95 then west along the north side frontage road about a half-mile.

Audie was a humble man, which perhaps explains why this greatest American hero shares a museum with an agricultural product.

The Audie L. Murphy Memorial Hunt County Veterans Exhibit was dedicated on May 23, 1998 during Greenville's annual Audie Murphy Day. He called Greenville, Texas his home town

Audie Murphy died in a small plane crash at the age of 46. In the 25 years he spent in Hollywood he made 44 feature films and starred in 26 of them including his autobiography, "To Hell and Back." He was also an accomplished songwriter and author.

Audie Murphy, America's most decorated soldier. He received every decoration of valor that the United States had to offer some more than once as well as five decorations from France and Belgium. And he did it all before he reached the age of 21.

The originals are unaccounted for but this is a replica of the decorations received by Audie Murphy. During the three years he was in the service (27 months of active combat) he was awarded every decoration of valor that the United States had to offer. Among the 33 awards and decorations is the Medal of Honor, the highest military award that can be given to any individual in the U.S.A.

Sorry about the bad lighting but even so, it is an impressive, bigger than life rendering of Audie Murphy wielding a machine gun. This act earned him the Medal of Honor as he single-handedly held off Nazi troops to keep his unit from being overrun. He is credited with "terminating" 240 German soldiers during his three years (1942-1945) in the service of his country.

The base of the heroic-size (he was actually a small fellow) bronze of Audie Leon Murphy in the war memorial out in front of the museum and viewable from Interstate 30 near Greenville, Texas.

It is spring time in TEXAS~~ beautiful wild bluebonnets are flowering along the highways. Not sure what the orange flower is but it found a sweet spot to bloom.

Have you ever heard of or seen a top-loading dryer? The machine on the right is the dryer! This is our niece, Debbie's new washer and dryer set. They are both top loaders. The washer weighs the load and fills accordingly. No more bending or stooping and no doors to run into or get in the way. I believe they are made by the Fisher-Paykel Company in New Zealand.

Our niece, Debbie's husband Connie and their 11-year old son, Austin.

Phil and our dear niece, Debbie at her home in Arlington, Texas.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We are in Snyder arriving in west Texas this past Wednesday. As is usual in this part of the state in the spring, it has been very windy and today they are forecasting gusts up to 40 MPH. But, it is a warm wind and we are experiencing some increased humidity (as compared to AZ or NM) and it was 60’f when I got up at 5:30 am. We’re staying home today after several days of exploring the delightful spider web of highways around Snyder from Lubbock to Midland. Our travel east from Lakewood, NM on US 62/180 was not without incident. The last 30 miles Penny started doing her thing—dying when we slowed down or stopped at a light. She started back up each time and if Phil kept the RPM’s up she would run, so he would put her in neutral and keep his foot on the gas when we had to slow down or stop. Our sweet girl has an appointment tomorrow morning for diagnosis (Phil is pretty sure it is the alternator) and repair. Through these trials and tribulations, we do our best to keep our minds in a positive place because we know “this too will pass!”

This is NOT Verizon country! We have been on “extended network” for almost two weeks and it has taken a toll on my phone and it won’t hold a charge longer than one day if it is turned on. Yesterday, I charged it and turned it off so if you call, leave a voice mail and I’ll get back to you ASAP. For some reason, Phil isn’t having a similar problem with his Verizon phone … odd? This too will be resolved when we find a Verizon store!

When you hear the term, “flatlander” what do you think of? There is a Flatlander Festival in Goodland, KS and it is also the name of a country music band. Actually, this idiom originated many years ago as a derogatory term used by people from regions in Appalachia—primarily people from Vermont describing anyone from outside the area and I have decided it totally describes my mindset. I love this country! Take any highway and you can see for miles in all directions as you ride along. On the red and blue roads you will see farmlands, ranches, cattle, oil wells, old barns, antelope, and very few big trucks. Best of all are the small towns and I collect pictures of U.S. Post Offices so looking for them, we drive through and take a good look around. Phil always drives and he can wander all over the road and sightsee to his hearts content without my having anxiety attacks as happen to me on the interstates. We can see oncoming traffic miles in advance!

Did you know? When Texas was annexed in 1845, a resolution gave it the right to fly it’s flag at the same height as the national flag; Texas ranks number one in the U.S. in production of oil, natural gas, cattle, sheep, wool, rice, watermelon and cotton; Texas leads the nation in most farms (205,000) and most farmland (130,900,000 acres); Texas boasts 100 species of snakes, 16 of which are poisonous (southern copperhead, broad-banded copperhead. Trans-Pecos copperhead, Texas coral snake, western cottonmouth and 11 kinds of poisonous rattlesnakes)! Texas ranks first in the U.S. in highway mileage, with over 70,000 miles; Texas leads the nation in the sale of pickup trucks and this final factoid: along with birds that flock to the south in the winter, so do 100,000 or more retired folks, affectionately known as Winter Texans. They reportedly add $250 million to the Texas economy each winter. Phil and I are certainly doing our part LOL!

Lots of pictures this week—we have been on the go just about every day. Oh, and BTW, when I said, “I don’t do caves,” I should have listened. After everyone telling me I would be “just fine” down in Carlsbad Caverns I decided to go. BIG mistake! About three fourths of the way through the “Big Room” I was nearly felled by a major anxiety attack. I all but ran for the elevator (nearly 15 minutes away) and once I was at ground level, my nausea and shortness of breath disappeared. My funny man, Phil says, “No matter how bad you want to go, I will never take you into another cave!”

Until next time,

SKP RV Park called "The Ranch"; a very nice park centrally located between Artesia and Carlsbad, NM. Check out that blue, blue, sky!

Penny the Pace and The Lone Ranger at Escapee's Co-op Park, "The Ranch" in Lakewood, NM.

Waiting our turn to line up for Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner on St. Patrick's Day at "The Ranch."

UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico.

No visit to Roswell, NM would be complete without a stop to see this guy. He was actually a created by Hollywood for the movie.

Entrance to Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico.

Carlsbad Caverns entrance.

Phil (a rose) between two thorns.

Proof that I was there. Spectacular and beautiful sights to see ... but never again

Exploring Snyder, TX.

Phil posing with the famous white buffalo (bison) on the Scurry County Courthouse grounds.

Scurry County Courthouse before renovation ... then someone had a better idea~~~

Scurry County Courthouse after a major overhaul and resurfacing. Interesting building.

Lobby of the Scurry County Museum on the campus of the Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas. Opened in 1974 it is a repository for artifacts and information related to the history of Scurry County and the surrounding area.

Full-size mother bison and calf.

Around the chuckwagon on a cattle drive.

Recreation of an early 1900s cabin. Actually quite fancy in my opinion.
Beautiful bronze of the famous White Buffalo (bison).

Buddy Holly Center/Museum in Lubbock, TX. Holly, one of the all time rock and roll greats was on the Rock and Roll circuit for only 18 months and died in a small plane crash while touring, 2 February 1959 in Clear Lake, Iowa. He was 22 years old.

Located in the renovated "Old Fort Worth and Denver railroad Depot" in Lubbock, TX.

Because of copyright issues, there are no pictures allowed past this sign.

Life-size bronze of hometown celebrity, Buddy Holly.

Viet Nam Memorial near the CAF Museum in Midland, Texas.

A poignant bronze of a well-known scene in Viet Nam as soldiers help a wounded comrad to the LZ (landing zone) and a waiting Huey Helicopter.

Eternal Flame at four branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

CAF Hanger and museum in Midland, TX.

Commemorative Air Force Museum entrance. An all volunteer non-profit organization whose purpose relates to the preservation, demonstration and display of military aircraft through the ages.

"Fifi" the B-29 greets visitors as they enter the hanger where the work gets done.

The only known B-29 in the world capable of flying is in for maintenance. The next B-29 to fly will be "Doc" which is still a work in progress at another facility.

Waiting for her overhaul to be finished so she can fly in the next airshow demonstration held by the CAF.

Volunteer mechanics working on one of her engines.

Looks like this beauty is ready to roll out the door.

Sharp looking little jet.

Here is another beauty ready to fly.

Volunteers at work on a jigsaw puzzle of parts.