Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Great Escape 2016 Part 3

We met some friends of my MOM's here in Lajitas, TX (what are the odds of THAT???)  Randy and Barb Rawlings used to live upstairs from Mom and they stopped by and we chatted one morning.  They mentioned having taken the scenic trip through Big Bend Ranch State Park (to the NW of Big Bend National Park), along the Rio Grande River, to Presidio (where there is a grocery and a couple small restaurants).  

Along the way we saw this huge buzzard apparently drying his wings.

  They said it was a beautiful drive and recommended El Patio Mexican restaurant, which offers a buffet on Wednesday.  So, since we needed some groceries and wanted to see the area, we decided to take the drive on Wednesday.  It was indeed a beautiful drive.

There were some signs here and there that were informational signs.  This one about Gun Slinging in the Wild West was about various movies that used this exact spot for some movies.

  We saw some Road Runners (only one got pictures, as they move so quickly), saw some huge birds (of course buzzards/vultures, but also some huge hawk/eagle that was so high we couldn't see it well, but it was brown on the belly and flashed golden in the sun, so either some kind of hawk or maybe a couple Golden Eagles.  They were much too far away to get a picture of.  This road winds along, up and down and around, through the mountains along side the Rio Grande River.  There are tons of pull outs to see the scenery and take pictures (I took a ton but will limit myself here) and even places you could get right down to the Rio Grande River (but they were horribly muddy from all the rain), of both the US and Mexico. Any picture that is looking "across" the Rio Grande is of Mexico.  The pictures of places "before" the Rio Grande are the US.

Originally we thought we wanted to do a River float, but the Rio Grande is such a yucky brown dirty looking river we changed our mind.  Something about having water and color of something I used to change for my kids and grandkids for getting on my body and into my hair, mouth, eyes, nose etc. just changed our minds for us, LOL.

There was an area that had a bunch of Hoodoos, or Balancing Rocks.  Not sure if it is natural or "built" but they were still interesting.

There were fields of wild flowers, and we were amazed at the tenacity of the cacti, as they grew everywhere, even on the rock face of the hills and mountains and road cuts.

In all the "low spots" in the road (and "valleys or canyons") there were water height markers.

There was an area called Fort Leaton that was a fort in the area.  It had a nice walk around the "fort" which we took with all kinds of interesting cacti.  You could also go inside the fort, but we didn't want to take the time, this time, or spend the money, LOL.

They also had a "family cemetery" there, which was very interesting.

Then the next "exciting adventure" (NOT) started:  Once or twice on the way to Presidio we noticed the air on the truck would quit for a second and then start up again.  We thought that was weird but that was all.  We got to Presidio, ate at El Patio ($30.00 for a very unsatisfactory "mostly American Food" tiny buffet :-(), got groceries at a Thrifty Mart (smaller than IGA, but they had gallon sized bottles of snow cone syrup--they were out of cherry, naturally, LOL, so we didn't get any), got diesel fuel and headed back to camp.  The truck kept cutting out the air, gauge lights, etc. and acting like it had an electronics problem. . . we were really getting worried, as even at the campground we're miles and miles from help of any kind, but in the mountains, there was no cell phone coverage and no businesses.   We finally figured out if Mr. C kept the RPMs up on the truck and we unplugged any and all electrical stuff, including turning off the air conditioning and opening windows, he could keep it running.  So we didn't make any stop offs on the way back, all we did was go as fast as we safely could (remember, up and down, around and around the mountains. . . ) to get safely back to camp.

We arrived back at camp, unloaded groceries and started trying to decide what to do.  The closest Ford place was 2 hours away, he called and they can't even see us until the end of next week. . . so after hours and hours of thinking and figuring and trying to decide what is the best and safest thing to do we called the Ford place in Sweetwater, TX (4 hours away).  We thought Mr. C could drive up there, leave the truck, rent a car and come back and then we'd do the same to pick it up, so we started making calls.  No rental cars in Sweetwater, TX (although they DO have a Walmart, LOL).  So we finally decided we would cut our Big Bend trip short and pack up and head for Sweetwater, TX.  In the meantime we had my 10 lbs of clay coming. . . sometime. . . . what to do, what to do???  So we made the appointment with Ford in Sweetwater for Monday morning, cancelled our original stop in Odessa.  We found that Sweetwater Ford will take Verle back and forth to the Campground and if one is available we can get a loaner car from them. . . IF one is available. . . first come, first served. . .   In the meantime, Mr. C went down and asked the office gal if there is a local mechanic and she gave him a phone number, of a mechanic in Terlingua (about 20 minutes away).  He said he'd take a look at it and Mr. C took it down there (had to stay there as there was no loaner car or rental) and the guy cleaned up and tested the batteries and thought that fixed it until Verle got in to drive away and it did it again.  So he said bring it back in the morning and we'll figure out what the problem is.  (We kept our Monday appointment in Sweetwater, just in case, but Mr. C was worried about even making it to Sweetwater).  He took it in and was told that the mechanic, Bless his heart!!!, had made a bunch of phone calls to try to troubleshot it before we even got there.  We found that in Lubbock, TX the Ford dealer has a guy who ONLY works on our particular model and year of truck. . . guess what. . . he has a 31 day back log to even see anybody due to this exact same problem. . . They gave the mechanic some ideas of things to try the biggest being a "grounding problem" from road salt causing corrosion on the truck frame and there were 4-5 places to clean up to solve that part of the problem.  So the mechanic spent all morning cleaning off all these places of rust and salt and corrosion.  It seemed to fix the problem, until. . . Mr. C got halfway back to camp when he was stopped by a TX Sheriff (no he wasn't in trouble) for all the Mustangs (the cars) on the road. . . side note, here, there happens to be a Terlingua Racing Team Shelby Mustang (they look like Mr. C's car, although his is just a fake Shelby) Rally going on this weekend, right here at Maverick Ranch Resort. . .
Lots of fun in the next paragraph. . . or maybe the next post as this one is getting too long.    Anyway, while he was stopped for the Mustangs to move on, he had to sit and idle and at idling speed, guess what?  Yep, it started again and he lost all electronics to the point of even losing his clock setting. . . So he got back and said, we're heading for Sweetwater tomorrow.  So, sad to say, we won't even get to enter the Big Bend National Park this trip.  We'll have to save it for another year, I guess.  Although, as an aside, Mr. C, who has been here before says the drive we took Wednesday beats anything we'll see in Big Bend, except we won't get to do any hiking or looking for snakes or tarantulas or any other cool things.

Although sitting outside watching the Terlingua Racing Team playing here in the campground I did see a couple of cool bugs. . . a huge walking stick on my Flag/succulent planter, and this silly big bug that moved so fast he was hard to get a picture of.

Well, we received my box of polymer clay and have the RV all packed up and hooked up.  

We had one last campfire (actually our first and last, first because it's been too warm and last because nowhere else we're going allows campfires. . .)

Just hot dogs and fixings followed by my favorite, perfectly roasted (evenly lightly browned) marshmallows.  Mr. C prefers them flaming and charcoaled, yuck!!!!  LOLOL

That's it for this segment.  Next I'll tell you all about the Terlingua Racing Team and their Shelby Mustangs and the fun they had at our resort, LOL.  Thanks for reading along, Smiles, Sue C

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