More time in Texas

On November 28th we left Phoenix and went to stay just outside of Stafford, AZ as we traveled to Lubbock, TX. On the way there we drove through some small poor looking towns and some tiny farming and Indian communities. That was pretty much the only excitement. There were lots of beat up looking houses with cars and junk laying around in their yards to look at and wonder why is it just laying in the yard? We intended on staying at a state park, but on the drive there we decided to boondock. We love being in the desert with no one else around. They say the desert is full of life even though you don’t hear or see it and I believe it is probably true, but if you sit out quietly under a moon, even a quarter full you feel as alone as if you are the only one on the moon. I don’t intentionally meditate, but this may be close. It’s not something I can describe, you have to be there doing it alone to understand. We just parked, ate dinner, did some reading, slept and left the next morning, nothing too exciting.

The next morning on the highway after leaving Safford we saw the funniest sign: “like nose hair- litter is ugly”.

The next stop was in Deming, NM, just like the last time we traveled this route, but we stayed at Rock Hound State Park for the night instead of City of Rocks. We went for lunch at Irmas mexican restaurant right after we got setup because the last time we were here it was closed for Easter. Delicious! I had a nice nap after that. I really wanted to go out for a hike, but was tired and not feeling well.

The last stop in New Mexico before getting to Lubbock was Carlsbad. We just stayed at a regular campground to make it easy and to have power so we could charge devices and be warm. We got there early enough for us to revisit Blakes Lotaburger and test Kat’s theory that you really need a double burger for the correct burger to bun ratio….it was deliciously correct. The double meat green chili cheeseburger is a double hit!

In Lubbock we once again parked back in Story and Miriam’s driveway. For some reason they really like having the camper parked in the driveway. They said it was comforting to see it out the window. Maybe we block the view of the neighbors house or they just like having us around? We did alot of eating of chips and queso at Torchy’s Tacos, not only because it is delicious, but because it is on the way home from the daily walks they take. We also spend most the first of the week having fires in the chiminea, hanging out and talking, but then it just got too cold at night to even be outside.

While staying there we tried to be helpful to them in addition to us finally getting some caulking done on the camper. We still have some spots to do, but Kat got quite alot done. Some things we were able to help with were staining a section of fence, a little painting, taking down a satelite dish that had gotten bent over when a branch fell on it and just hauling stuff in the back of the truck. I like working with Miriam on projects because she breaks things down into 45 minute or 1 hour sessions. You don’t get exhausted or overwhelmed with jobs that need to get done and it seems to work well. We also did fun stuff like go to the Buddy Holly museum. Not really that fun, but I never went when I was living there during college and it was a tiny bit interesting.

It didn’t seem like we wore out our welcome and we hated to leave, but they had their kids coming home for the holidays and we wanted to get settled in Austin before we left for the holidays too. We left on Monday and went to Hords Creek Lake, which is just before Coleman, Texas and a halfway point to Austin. It was only a 3 1/2 hour drive but felt like an eternity. How many wind mills, oil pumps and cotton fields can keep you entertained? I do like the drives through the little towns though. I always wonder what keeps people there and what kind of jobs do they have?

We didn’t make a reservation at Hords Creek Lake because when Kat looked online to make a reservation there were a lot of open spots. Like – all of them! We had a hard time deciding which spot to take since there were so many options and they all looked nice. We found one in a sunny spot next to the lake. Of course the people who came in right as we did parked only one spot away. What? It was like being at the movies and chosing your seat before everyone comes in and sits right next to you. I think they had the same idea as us when chosing a site. There is quite a bit of space between campsites so it was no big deal and it was too chilly to be outside anyway since the sun was going down.

After getting setup we went into Coleman to get fuel for our next days drive. There were a lot of deer as we went through the campground. It’s a pretty big park with different loops spread out all along the lake. I bet it gets pretty busy in the summer. I really do like Corp of Engineer parks and only 16 dollars! The most exciting thing that happened was on the way into town- an armadillo sighting! It was dead on the road, but we were still excited. I hope one day to see one alive in the wild. We actually saw two and of course we had to stop and take a picture. But, wait, there was more excitement- we also saw a dead javelina, skunks and a dead something or other all in the same 20 yards. Weird how they were all in the same section of highway. We were super careful in crossing the highway so we wouldn’t join them laying in the grass.

The drive into Austin continued to prove to us that Texas is boring to drive through. But, hey we were going to stay in one spot for a few days, so that was something to look forward to and we were going to get to visit some friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. The first night we had a campfire, well, I did while Kat was inside doing some work. I was pretty excited because at Hords Creek we got a bunch of free wood. The excitement didn’t last long because it was pretty green and just made a lot of smoke. I snuck out into the woods for some branches to help out getting it hot enough to burn at least a little, but with the recent snow it was not very successful. I forgot about that and the one area where I found some branches also had some cactus that I walked through and got into my hands. Ok, no more fires!

Austin was good, we liked the McKinney State park a lot, the sites were pretty private and it was quiet. We bought a Texas State Park pass and found out that if you stay more than one night you get one night half off! First time we have encountered any discounts like that. They are all about customer service the lady told me. Since we will be around Texas most of January we can definitely make this work for us. We met up one night in San Marcos with Cori and Greg who we met way back in Phoenix and also saw in Valley of the Gods, UT . That was awesome and we will meet up again when we all get back after Christmas. We also saw our friends Karen and Molly who took us to Salt Lick BBQ for lunch. It was a long rainy drive, but oh man, was it good! I would go back in a hearbeat. I keep thinking about those ribs. We really enjoyed the atmosphere too. When we got back to the camper we hung out and played cards until the rain let up enough for them to drive home.

Sunday was a busy day with packing and cleaning out the fridge so we could put the camper in storage while we are gone for the holidays. We had already gone to check out the storage place and signed all of the paperwork so we could just drop it off and go to a hotel near the airport. Hmmmph, didn’t work out that easy. I pulled in and we decided there was enough room to just pull forward across from our spot so I could back up and there we got stuck in the mud! How do you back up a truck with a camper weighing it down and no room to move forward? You don’t. I know we had enough time to not have to worry, but it was frustrating and annoying. With stones, sticks, some horsemats we use for leveling (thanks Lee!) and 4WD we finally got it parked.

I was headed out in the morning to New Jersey and Kat was leaving the next day for England. We planned to come back to Austin and enjoy New Years Eve with Casey and Julie who are back from Portland. We hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and has a Happy New Years Eve.

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