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.