Palo Dura Canyon – Lighthouse Trail

I made it…

I drove from Dallas and was going to stop at Lake Arrowhead State Park.  I drove thru the park but was not enamored by it and I felt like driving more so I continued on.  I looked up a place in my Passport America book and found the Long Branch RV Park right outside of Crowell, TX so I headed there.  I got there just as the sun was setting.  I was the only one in this small park.  The hosts acted like they had not had anyone there all summer.  They were so friendly.  The next morning I was headed to Palo Dura State Park.

Hard to put into words the beauty of Palo Dura Canyon…

Although I haven’t been to all of the Texas state parks I think that so far Palo Dura Canyon State Park is the most beautiful.  There is a 10% grade after you check into the park.  I was camped at the Hackberry Campground, which the ranger had recommended.  The weather was perfect in the high 80’s to low 90’s.  It seems hot by a lot of standards but compared to 108 it was perfect.  As I was setting up camp and getting leveled, about 10 wild turkets crossed in front of me.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a picture.  This is a pic of the moon from my campsite.

The Lighthouse Trail… 

I arose the following morning and was determined to get my hiking legs going after not using them all summer due to the extreme heat in Tyler.  I checked my map and saw a short trail with the trailhead at the end of the campground.  PERFECT!  I grabbed my small pack and headed out.  The trail was only 2 miles round trip.  You hike 1 mile up the trail and then 1 mile back to the trailhead.  That seemed easy enough.  I got to the end of the trail and checked my map.  Wait a gosh darn minute Jimbo, there is another trail a short distance up the road called the Lighthouse Trail.  It would take you up to the Lighthouse ( I showed a pic of the Lighthouse in my last post).  It was 6 miles round trip.  So off I go.  These are some pics as I was hiking up this trail.

Tough Climb!!

The Lighthouse Trail is fairly easy until you get to the last section.  Then it becomes a bear.  It was extremely steep and lots of rock and small pebbles making it very slippery.  You couldn’t even see the Lighthouse until you made this final climb.  I decided I would have to make this climb so up I went.

I got thru this section and then you could see the Lighthouse.  There is actually the Lighthouse and Castle Peak.  Between them is a plateau that reaches from one to the other.  I just had to get on top of that plateau.  I had met some bicyclists who showed me some pics they had taken on top of it.  So off I went, not sure how I was going to get up there.  I noticed the trail going to a small area right at the base of the Lighthouse.  I got up there and then noticed I would have to cross a ledge no more than a foot across.  I used to be scared out of my wits of heights, but snow skiing ended my fear.  However, this ledge was about 40-50 feet to rocks below.  GO FOR IT JIMBO!  I guess you know I made it.  WHAT A VIEW!

Yours truly at the base of the Lighthouse…

The bicyclists had shown me their pics of them posing in front of the Lighthouse.  I have a small tripod for my camera but forgot to pack it.  I had to balance the camera on rocks and probably took a dozen pics before I could get the right angle.  This is what I finally took.

The Lighthouse is 310 feet high with some of it below the plateau I was standing on.  The ledge I was referring to is on the right side of the plateau.  Now I had to walk along that ledge to climb down.  It is funny how you can see something from one angle and then it looks completely different from another angle.  Looking down at the ledge made it look much bigger then it was and I easily walked along it and made my way down.

I hiked the 3 miles back to the trailhead and then hiked to the other trail where I had to go another mile.  All in all I hiked 8 miles altogether.  That is probably the furthest I hiked since I hiked 20 miles for my Boy Scout hiking merit badge 50+ years ago.  When I got back to my campsite I was beat but very elated that I had completed it.  My feet were sore and my body was tired.

Hit The Road Jimbo…

The call that I have been waiting for

At 10:00am I finally got the call from the Ford dealer in Dallas stating that the new pump was installed and it was ready for pickup at any time.  When he first got on the line I was afraid that he would say – “Wrong pump Jimbo” – or “Still has a problem Jimbo!”  Thank you Daniel at the Ford dealer for getting it right.  I then had to ask him to pick me up at the InTown Suites.  I purposely stayed there since it was only 2 miles from the dealer.

Am I crazy giving away my Corona’s

In the mean time the maintenance crew for InTown Suites had just knocked on my door to tell me that they were installing a new A/C in my room.  PERFECT TIMING.  I had 2 TV dinners, water, a couple of Dr Peppers and of course my Corona’s.  Rather then have to haul all of that stuff I gave them to the maintenance crew.  He told his guys to come in and grab the water and Dr. Peppers, while he kept the TV dinners and the Corona’s  for himself.  What a guy!!  That way the refrigerator was cleaned out.

Don’t stop now, this is too much fun…

I was planning on heading over to Lake Arrowhead State Park out side of Wichita Falls, TX.  I didn’t get out of Dallas until about 2:00pm.  Once I hit Wichita Falls I decided to go on further.  The “Breeze” (my Lazy Daze) was running GREAT and I was really enjoying driving it and didn’t want to stop.  I finally drove all the way to a tiny RV park 10 miles outside of Crowell, TX.  I pulled in as it was starting to get dark.  The hosts were really nice people and they were so glad to see me.  I was the only one in the park.  I am so thankful that this day ended the way it did.

On to Palo Dura State Park…

Tomorrow I will be heading out to Palo Dura State Park.  Since the weather has improved and it no longer feels like I am on the equator in the middle of summer, I am thinking of staying there for 3 days .  I have heard that there is no Internet or cell phone coverage so I may not be able to share my experience there until later.



Thanks everyone for all the words of encouragement and thanks Steve for the infamous pump part number.  I am just so happy to be back on the road and in an adventurous mindset!

Fish And Visitors……


Fish and visitors smell in three days.

Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1736

I have moved from my son’s home in Fort Worth to an InTown Suite in Dallas.  I could have stayed longer at his home but there is an old saying that goes “Fish and visitors smell in 3 days”…  I decided since my repair pump had been shipped I would like to be near where my rig was being repaired.  Right now I am only about 2 miles from the dealer.

I am in an InTown Suite that does come with a refrigerator and microwave.  Much bigger then my Lazy Daze home onb wheels, but a whole lot less confortable.  After I checked in my son drove me to a Walmart where I was able to pick up some TV dinners (delicious – not), fruit and of course some Corona’s.  I can’t wait to get my rig back and get out of here!

All right, great cable TV…Even “Breaking Bad”

At least I have great cable tv.  I watched a movie (Me and Me Only – not bad) and also got in part of a football game here and there.  But I am really looking forward to my favorite TV series that I rarely get a chance to see.  It is “Breaking Bad”, a crazy series about a high school science teacher who is diagnosed with incurable cancer who decides to manufacture meth to suport his family after he dies.  It is on my most favorite list but I rarely get a chance to see.

I didn’t realize it, but the term ‘breaking bad’ is a southern colloquialism and it means when someone who has taken a turn off the path of the straight and narrow, when they’ve gone wrong.  I got this from Wikipedia.

Tonight I will be able to watch the latest episode in Season 4.  I also saw a previous episode last month, but have a lot of catching up to do.

Short Stop-Over In Dallas

I started out from Tyler, TX and made it as far as McKinney, TX where the old rig slowed down and refused to go any further.  Fortunately I was in a Walmart parking lot and not at the side of the road somewhere off the beaten path.  I have been having problems with my rig as it keeps acting like it was running out of gas.  I had the fuel filter replaced, then the fuel pump and it would run fine for a while and then poop out.

I called Coach-Net and asked them to tow it to the nearest Ford dealer.  There is one located about 2 miles down the road but they told me that they would not be able to work on it right away and had me towed to Dallas about 33 miles away.  The tow company had to get my rig there by 6:00 and we had not left McKinney until after 5:00.  So I am riding in the tow truck pulling my rig, sailing down the road about 70 mph.  I don’t even drive that fast myself.  What an experience!!!!!

I dropped it off at the dealer but had to find a motel as I could not sleep in their lot.  Even if I could it was way too hot (103) so the dealer dropped me off at a Motel 6 where I spent 2 glorious nights.

I called the dealer early the next morning to check in on the fate of my rig.  Seems that it was a fuel problem and it was due to a defective intake fuel pump that is located within the fuel tank.  Since my rig is a 1991, Ford no longer manufactured the part.  The mechanic said they were checking around and they thought they had located someone who had the part.  No such luck!!  They called me the next day to inform me that the part they were sent does not fit the tanks of RVs.  They suggested I go online and try to locate it.  I found one and was having it shipped out next day delivery.  However, since it was Friday noon the part would actually ship on Monday and they would receive it on Tuesday.

I was in the Motel 6 from Wednesday through Friday.  I didn’t really want to venture very far hoping that the repairs would be accomplished quickly and I could move on down the road.  By that time I really had cabin fever bad.  It is funny that the room I was staying in at the Motel 6 was larger than my rig but the walls seemed like they were closing in on my.  I really appreciate my rig even more now.  I haven’t really experienced cabin fever even though I have been cooped up in my rig for the last 6 weeks due to the 100+ temperatures and high humidity.

My son and his wife live in Fort Worth so I called him and he saved me from another night at the Motel 6.  HOORAY!!!!!  Thanks Curt and Jackie for saving my sanity.  I will be staying with them until my rig is repaired and ready to go.  I am hoping that I will be back on the road either Tuesday or Wednesday and head over to the Lake Arrowhead State Park at Wichita Falls, TX.  I will be so happy that I am final getting this lingering problem fixed and not have it to worry about.

Ready To Hit The Road!

I have been camp hosting here in Tyler, TX since 7/8/2011.  Since I got here it has been like camping in the Mohave Desert.  There has been only one day since I got here that the temperature has been below 100 degrees and that day it hit 98.  Another interesting fact was that for 22 days the temperature was over 105.  Seems like Arizona only with humidity which makes it even worse.

I am planning on heading Northwest where I will stay at Lake Arrowhead State Park for a few days and then on to Palo Dura State Park for another few days.  Both these destinations are in Texas and both are still predicted to be quite hot.  From there I am headed into the mountains of northern New Mexico where I am hoping temperatures will cool off.

There has not been too much to blog about during my time here.  I start my day by working for a couple of hours early in the morning before it gets too hot.  Then it is inside for the remainder of the day.  I have taken a lot of time re-organizing my rig.  I have gone through every cabinet including outside storage.  Anything I didn’t use for the last year is going to the Good Will.  I gave away some CD’s to some of the people in the park and am getting rid of many of the books I have read.  It is so nice to have a Kindle where all my books are stored.    Right now I am finishing up on my outside storage, which should be completed before I depart.

I am looking forward to getting back on the road.  I have HITCH ITCH something fierce and can’t wait.  Also looking forward to more frequent blogs showing pics of the beautiful places I visit.  Thanks everyone for being so patient during this time.

42 Days with no relief in site!

I have been workamping in Tyler, TX for 30 days now and every day has been over 100 degrees.  They have forecast it to be HOT, HOTTER, and HOTTEST!!!  But aside from heat, life is good.  My day consists of getting up early and work for 1-2 hours starting at 7:30am.  My work day usually ends at 10:30am.  Then it is back to my rig for the remainder of the day. I am in charge of mowing all the lawn and it takes me about 5 days to complete it.  I do have a riding lawnmower so it isn’t too strenuous.

Fortunately if I keep the blinds in my rig closed all day it will help with the heat.  That and the fact my A/C is running 24/7 set at 74 degrees.  In fact it is quite comfortable inside.

You are probably wondering what I have been doing with all that excess time.  Well to begin with I am organizing the interior of my rig.  I am going through every cabinet and getting rid of those items I haven’t even looked at for the past year that I have been on the road.  If I haven’t used it by now chances are I won’t ever be using it and it either goes to the junk or the Goodwill or to others who might have a need for it.  I have also purchased a bunch of plastic shoe boxes from Walmart to keep my stuff organized.  My label maker has been working overtime.  Now if I need something I usually can find it without digging through a bunch of junk.  I am also surprised by the amount of extra room I have freed up in my cabinets.  I still have more to do but I should be finished with all the organizing by the time I leave here.  I also have cable TV and can watch some of my favorite shows as well.

By the way, I am leaving here on 8/24 and heading north east to Lake Arrowhead State Park for a few days and finally to Palo Dura State Park.  After that I will be in the mountains of New Mexico for a while.  It should be a lot cooler there.  Hooray!!!

I apologize for not writing anything in my blog for some time but there hasn’t really been too much to say.  I promise I will be posting on a more regular basis from now on.  I have gotten several emails from friends wondering whether I have shriveled up in this heat.  It is pretty unbearable but I just don’t go outside much and only when I have to.



Blogs I Follow – Old Fat Man Adventures

I have been following Old Fat Man Adventures for several years now.  I first noticed it on the hitchitch site where you will find many blogs pertaining to the RV lifestyle.   The Old Fat Man is actually Barney.  He is a single fulltime RV’er who travels with his pickup truck that pulls his travel trailer named “Comfort Castle”.

Most of the time you will see him in Southern Texas along the Gulf Coast.  He usually spends the winter and sometimes even the summer down there.  His big interests are golfing, kayaking, fishing, eating and just hanging out.  His descriptions of the towns and people wherever he stays are priceless.  He also gives a lot of “How To” tips on his blog which is also very useful to a guy like me that is not the most handy person in the world.

I followed his blog for several years without even once meeting him.  I would write comments on his blog whenever applicable.  When he was ready to move on down the road one day he asked for suggestions on where to travel next.  I wrote that he should probably check out New Mexico.  It wasn’t too far to drive from Texas to get to New Mexico and since I have had experience camping there I figured it was a nice place to go.  I don’t know if that had any affect on his future travels or not, but he did take off and head there.

I was staying in the Rockhound State Park with several other friends and one day Jim and Gayle of Life’s Little Adventures fame and I  had just completed a hike and we were talking at their site.  Then this truck pulls out and out pops this guy and came up to us and wondered if I was Jim Melvin.  I was amazed since this guy knew my name and I don’t every recall meeting him.  Well it turned out to be Barney.  He was spending some time in Deming, NM and I had commented on his blog about checking out some petroglyphs I had seen north of Deming.

He introduced himself and we talked for some time about all kinds of things including the Texas Gulf Coast.  I was amazed that we knew each other for some time without having ever meeting.  That just goes to show you how powerful the Internet can be.  You never know who may be reading your blog.

I was hoping I could stop by and see Barney on my way to San Antonio, TX but I just did not have enough time.  I have spoken with many people who have traveled the Gulf Coast and all highly recommend going there.  It is high on my list but would rather go there in the cooler months.  I just hope when I go that I can meet up with Barney once again.

After following Barney’s Old Fat Man Adventures for several years it was really nice to actually meet up with him.  It just makes his blog more meaningful.   I highly recommend reading his blog especially if you are planning on traveling to the Texas Gulf Coast.

Out of Retirement?? Am I Nuts!!!

After Caddo Lake I traveled 108 miles to Tyler, TX.  I first checked my route using Microsoft Streets and Trips and it said it was only about 75 miles.  It had me traveling south to connect to I20 and then travel the 46 miles on I20 to Tyler.  NOT ACCEPTABLE!!!!!

If you don’t already know me by now I hate traveling on interstate highways.  Give me a two lane country road any day of the week, but an Interstate, FORGET IT!!  I like to travel 50-55 MPH and hate to slow anybody else down.  I am aware that the 18 wheelers have schedules to meet and I am very thankful for the job they do.  However, if I am going 55 and everyone else is going 70 I may be causing them unnecessary delays.  But the real truth of the matter is, I like to slow down and see the countryside.

Anyway I changed my route to Tyler and stayed on the two lane highways.  It added 33 miles to my route but the peace of mind was well worth it.  You may ask why I am going to Tyler, TX.  Well on they had a posting for a job at a new RV park south of Tyler.  I wasn’t even looking for a job at the time but since I was already in Texas and can always use a few extra bucks, I decided to check it out.

The job sounded like your typical camp host position.  A FHU site in exchange for working in the park.  I wrote the owner and she told me to call her husband which I did.  They only required 30 hours work per month in exchange for a FHU site, but I would have to pay the electricity.  There was already a host on site and I would just be filling in for him now and then.  To make a long story short I told him I was interested and nearby so he said just come on down and report to the other camp host.

This is not your ordinary park.  For one thing it is brand new and doesn’t even have all the electrical hookups wired yet.  There are only 5 rigs parked here including the camp host’s and mine.  The owner is looking to rent to extended campers only at this time and not for people that would only be staying a day or two.  The laundry room is still under construction (washers, dryers, showers, wi-fi).  They haven’t yet enabled the cable TV yet but that is also in the works.

I helped the other camp host over the weekend spraying for ants watering garden and around the entrance.  On Tuesday I met the owner and he told me he only wants me to work the minimum hours (30 per month).  That is fine with me as I am not looking for a full time job anyway.  Just something to lower the campsite fees for a month and eliminate any driving thus saving me some money.  I figure it will save me about $700 just for one month.  I agreed to work for one month only which the owner was OK with.  My main job is to get up early and pull weeds for any hour each day and help the camp host greeting cars on the weekends.  Not a bad deal.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

Here is the entrance to the park.

It is very nice with about 50 full hook-up sites.

Here is my home for a month

I am close to many stores here.  I think it will really develop into a nice park for snow-birders in the winter.  The owners are very nice putting a lot of time and money into making this a great park.  I plan on using the time here to save money and re-organizing all of my storage.

One Year On The Road

It has been one year on July 12 that I started my fulltime RV’ing lifestyle.  I can’t believe it has been a whole year.  I took the time to go back through this year and show you some of the highlights of my adventure.

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

July, 2010 – Inyokern, CA –  My very first campsite at the beginning of my adventure.  I was really a rookie back then.

July, 2010 – Sequoia National Park – Boondocking in Fish Creek Campsite in the Sequoias.

August, 2010 – Sisters, OR – Camping on the Metolius River outside of Sisters, OR.  What a fantastic spot.

August, 2010 – Crater Lake National Park.  Words cannot describe this beautiful place.

September, 2010 – Eugene, OR – Getting my solar panels installed.  My boondocking will be much quieter and more efficient from now on.

October, 2010 – Albuquerque, NM – Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – 10 fabulous days with other fun Lazy Daze owners.

October, 2010 – Palomas, Mexico – Central park.  Visited there after attending Escapees Chapter 21 Rally.

October, 2010 – Deming, NM – Rockhound State Park – This a rock hounds dream park.  Lots of different rocks.

November, 2010 – Socorro, NM – Bosque Del Apache National Wildlife Refuge – Visited there during the Festival of the Cranes event.

December, 2010 – January, 2011 – Death Valley, CA – A beautiful view of Death Valley during an annual Lazy Daze Rally.

January, 2011 – Quartzsite, AZ – Got together with a bunch of Lazy Daze owners during the Quartzsite RV Show.  It was a blast boondocking in the desert.  Lots of food, a campfire every night and the BIG TENT RV Show.

February, 2011 – Anza-Borrego, CA – Boondocking in the Anza-Borrego Desert.

February, 2011 – Niland, CA – Boondocking with the LOW’s (Loners On Wheels) at Slab City.  Everyone should go there at least once.

February/March, 2011 – Benson, AZ – The winter SW Lazy Daze Rally at Pato Blanco RV Resort.  Lots of great food and people.

March, 2011 – Picacho Peak, AZ – A civil war re-enactment at Picacho Peak State Park.  Event lasted all week-end with gun battles and actual tents and other equipment during that era..

March, 2011 – Douglas, AZ – Visiting with friends at Bell Starr’s Silverado Ranch.  Belle is wearing the pink hat.  We all helped Belle work on her ranch projects.  A MUST see.  She is quite a lady.

April, 2011 – Alamogordo, NM – White Sands National Monument.  Very surreal.

May, 2011 – Carlsbad, NM – Carlsbad Caverns.  A MUST see.

May, 2011 – Melvin, TX – I just had to visit there.

May, 2011 – San Antonio, TX – The Alamo in downtown San Antonio, TX.  Another MUST see.

May, 2010 – San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio River-walk.  A really neat and fun place.

May, 2011 – San Antonio, TX – The Tower of Americas.  The view from the top is spectacular.

May, 2011 – Luckenbach, TX.  I just had to visit here because of the song made famous by Willie Nelson and Waylan Jennings.

May, 2011 – Blanco, TX – My campsite in Blanco State Park.  How about that for a back yard?

June, 2011 – Fort Worth, TX.  The highlight of my year.  Being able to visit my family.  It was sooooo much fun.

July, 2011 – Karnack, TX –   Caddo Lake State Park.  I spent a week here and loved every minute.

It has been a wonderful year.  I have traveled 12,702 miles in 6 different states and 2 different countries.  I have attended 8 RV Rallies where I have met a lot of people, learned a lot about things I never knew anything about, and spent money upgrading my rig.

This year has been much better then I even anticipated.  I met a lot of great people who I continue to keep in touch with.  I am looking forward this next year to travel to places I have never seen before and meet more wonderful people.

Jefferson, TX

I took this day to unhook and travel 15 miles to the quaint little town of Jefferson, TX.  There are lots of old buildings and homes and the area offers steamboat tours of Caddo Lake and surrounding areas as well.  I enjoyed browsing through many of the antique and collectibles shops (junk stores HA!).

Be sure to click and then click again to enlarge all photos.

Anybody for a unusual ride in this limousine.  I’m not too sure about sitting on top though.

This was Broadway Street which is only a few blocks long.

I really liked this neat little key holder for my rig.  At $4 I couldn’t resist.

It was real pleasant drive from the Caddo Lake SP to Jefferson, TX all on two lane country roads.  I got to see the wonderful farmland along the way and a lot of neat homes.  I just love driving the two-lane highways.  It is soooooo relaxing.