Sunday, February 21, 2016

2/17/16 Deming

I got up a bit earlier, than the day before, had soup for breakfast, packed up and headed down to the border. I had been here before and it's not much of a border town, but I had a few things to pick up. Sadly, they didn't have the tequila I was looking for and the restaurant was jammed. I looked at a few things, bought some cookies, and antibiotics for my recurring sinus infection, and headed back to the USA.

I headed north to Deming, with the idea of staying at the St. Clair Winery there. I had just rejoined Harvest Hosts and was anxious to try it out. But I had a bunch of errands to run first. I had 2 Amazon returns to do at UPS, and then Fedex my new iPad back to Apple. For $500+ it wasn't THAT much better than my old one and after only 2 weeks I was having trouble with the home button. No thanks. Well, this turned into a dog and pony show. I don't have a printer so needed them to print out the prepaid labels. I have done this before. Not in Deming. The place that was doing the Fedex told me they'd do it....for $3.50 per label. The UPS guy told me he couldn't do it and to go to the library. So I did. One hour, and 45 cents later, I had 3 labels, and got all my stuff shipped back. Of course now I was running late for the winery as they closed at 6pm. I got there 20 min before closing, checked in, and got to do a quick tasting. I fell in love with their Mimbres Pink and bought a few bottles. Including one chilled one. :-)  I went out to the rig, pulled out a chair, uncorked the wine and enjoyed the solitude. Their wines are sweet (at least the ones I tried were) but really yummy. I'm embarrassed to say I put away most of that bottle. :-)  Might have been the whole thing if I hadn't knocked it over. :-)  It was definitely a relaxing night.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

2/16/16 Pancho Villa SP

I slept in....I was tired from all the driving. I had planned to head down to the border and walk across but just couldn't muster the energy. Around 12:30 I decided to WALK there. Not sure what I was thinking. :-) I made it about 3/4 of a mi and turned back, so at least I got a little walk in.  I decided I deserved a break and a day of rest and just watched Doctor Who and read and whatnot.

For dinner I fired up the Instant Pot and made a fabulous stew. I used 1 can salsa style diced tomatoes, 1 bag of the frozen brown rice, 1.5 cans water, 2 chopped zucchini, some sliced dried garlic (love that stuff in soups), some onion soup mix, turmeric (for health benefits and it hides well in stuff like this :-), one bag of frozen mixed mushrooms (I think I got them at Walmart a while back and they were good in this soup), and chopped up one of those links of deer sausage the neighbor gave us. I added some other herbs and spices while tasting, you know how it is. Since the salsa tomatoes were a bit sour I put a little maple syrup in. Probably wouldn't have to with better tomatoes. Threw it in the pot, hit "Soup" set timer for 10 minutes, and left it alone. It was great. Would work great in a crockpot too I think.

2/15/16 Fort Stockton to Pancho Villa SP, Columbus NM.

I didn't realize it, but I had never driven through El Paso proper before. I'd always come down from the north and you miss most of it. I found out that "miss" is a mis-nomer in this case. Yet another horrible Texas city to drive through. Not as bad as San Antonio but close. Let's see.....let's take a ton of traffic, let them drive at 65-75, and let a ton of traffic get on the highway, with no room to merge. Either put in some acceleration lanes or lower the speed limit. (And enforce it.) It's not rocket science here, and just putting up signs bragging about how many people have died on your roads does not really help. Sigh....

I decided to head for Pancho Villa State Park in Columbus NM as I'd heard good things. After the misery of El Paso the wonderfully straight, flat and deserted border road highway 9 was a joy to drive. There's pretty much nothing for 60 miles. Pancho Villa is an odd little park. It has a weird layout and there's nothing really there, but it has a good feel. There are tons of doves and roadrunners. Lots of yucca and other desert plants. Annoying showers though, you have to turn the water back on every 20 seconds. Ah well. For $14/night for a site with electric, you can't beat it.

2/14/16 Baytown to Fort Stockton

It's Texas marathon day's so depressing when you cross the state line and it's mm 882, and you know you have to go aaaaallllll the way to zero. I didn't think I'd make it to Fort Stock, but the Harry Potter books made the time pass a lot easier, and the Steer-Safe steering stabilizer made the driving a lot less tiring. The miles rolled along, I stopped a few times for breakfast and lunch, and rolled into the FS Walmart right at sunset. And almost rolled right back out again when I saw that there were a bunch of yahoos who had their rigs parked in a line, blocking one of aisles, and they had a CAMPFIRE going. In a Walmart parking lot. This is the the kind of stupid shit that causes us to lose the privilege of parking there. If you need to toast marshmallows and sit around a fire drinking beer, take your ass to a campground. After almost 600 miles of driving I wasn't in the mood to find a new spot and just parked as far away as possible, hoping to not get caught in the crossfire if security or the police confronted them. I don't know if anyone did or not but thankfully no one kicked the rest of us out for their stupidity.

2/13/16 Pass Christian to Baytown, TX

Not much to say about this other than WTF is wrong with Louisiana that they cannot fix I-10? It's a washboard and has been for years. They should legalize weed and use the money to fix the infrastructure. God knows what they're doing with the casino $$ because it's certainly not going to roads and bridges.  Spent the night at Cracker Barrel and had some crappy pancakes. Bummer, I usually love them. :-(

2/12/16 Westward Ho.

I finally rolled out of Florida headed west. I had it in my head that I was going to Yuma and attempt yet again to join the Elks before I headed up to the Zion Native Flute School.  There were the usual last minute snafus.....I got a new mattress the day before the trip. I woke up in the morning with a sore back with the first waking thought being "I hate this thing."  I decided to try putting the old cushions over it. That was no good, now I needed a stool to get into bed. I said the hell with it and tossed it in the building on the way out.  I'll try it again when I get back, assuming it's not mildewed to death.  I also forgot all my beer, wine & seltzer. Ah well.

I installed a new Pioneer stereo before I left and tried the CD and radio for a bit, then settled in with the complete set of Harry Potter audiobooks.
Pioneer DEH-X4700BT Single-Din In-Dash CD Receiver with Mixtrax, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, USB, Pandora Ready & Android Music Support
This stereo comes with a remote which is SUPER handy. At some point I'm going to wire it into the house batteries so I can use it when I'm parked without fear of running the starting battery down.
And here are the HP audiobooks. Yes, they're stupidly expensive. :-(
Harry Potter 1- 7 Audio Collection

These seem to be excellent for long drives. I got into Pass Christian MS right at sunset and headed off to get my shrimp po boy fix. I spent the night at Walmart instead of the beach parking lot I've used before. Last time there was too much traffic in and out of that lot at 3-4am, and it kind of creeped me out. They've had a bit of a crime wave recently and I felt better staying somewhere well lit with security. Sad that it comes to that sometimes. But I had a quiet night at Walmart.