This is primarily a travel blog in which I write about traveling in our motorhome. Our travels have

Nacogdoches, TX, United States
I began this blog as a vehicle for reporting on a 47-day trip made by my wife and me in our motorhome down to the Yucatan Peninsula and back. I continued writing about our post-Yucatan travels and gradually began including non-travel related topics. I often rant about things that piss me off, such as gun violence, fracking, healthcare, education, and anything else that pushes my button. I have a photography gallery on my Smugmug site (

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Waltzing Across Texas

We got on the highway yesterday at 3:30 PM. Late, as usual, and not without several problems, as usual. Most were minor but their cumulative effect was extremely frustrating. First, there was the 15-minute job of installing the tire pressure monitoring system. I spent at least two hours on it and to put off finishing the job until tonight.

I also needed LP gas. I drove the motorhome across town for the LP gas and discovered that only cash or check was accepted as payment. However, the attendant said he would fill the tank, give me the ticket, and I could drive to their office and pay with a credit card. Just one of the nice things about small towns. The directions he gave me were to continue south on the divided highway and cut across to the northbound side when I saw the Trade Days on the left. Then I was to drive northbound and turn into the Econo Lodge (on the right) and drive around the motel to the gas company office. Simple enough. After the tank was filled I drove south until I saw the Trade Days and turned at the cross-over and headed back north. I saw the Econo Lodge coming up, turned into the parking lot, and continued towards the back to drive around the motel. Only I couldn’t drive around the motel. The parking lot ended behind the motel. Fortunately, there was room to turn around. I drove back to the front of the motel, stopped, and looked for any hint of a gas company. Seeing nothing, I shut down the motorhome and began walking to the motel office to ask where the gas company was. Before I made it to the front door I met a man walking towards me. He was coming to tell me that my TV antenna was up on the motorhome. That usually results in it getting knocked off, but apparently I had beaten the odds this time. When I asked him about the gas company he said he thought it was next door. The only building next door was, if the sign was to be believed, a realtor’s office. To make a long story short, it was also the office for the gas company and after several attempts at her computer, the secretary was able to charge my credit card for the purchase. I returned to the motorhome and remembered to lower the TV antenna.

Once back home, I realized that the fresh water tank was empty. I connected a hose and began filling it. Do you know how long it takes to fill a one-hundred-gallon tank with a garden hose? Well, water flows out of our tap at about four gallons per minute, if that fast. I stopped it at about 65 gallons. I could finish filling it down the road.

The next task was to hook the car to the tow bar behind the motorhome. This was a new system and I had trouble with what went where and how it went, so it took much longer than expected. Then we packed everything that had not yet put into the motorhome into the car. We would sort it out later.

Finally, at 3:30 we were ready to leave and headed to our first stop, only ninety miles away at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant on I-20 near Tyler, TX. They allowed overnight parking in their back parking lot (Carol Ann had called them to make sure). Half-way there, Carol Ann shouts, “Oh, shit!” and I immediately started looking for what was about to hit us. “I forgot my purse” she said. It shouldn’t have been that big of a problem because we both have the same credit cards and she never drives the motorhome, so her driver’s license wasn’t necessary. The problem was that she had all of our cash in her purse. I had absolutely no money in my wallet. Still, we decided not to turn around. She would have her sister Fed Ex the purse to our son’s apartment in California, our destination. People ship diamonds with FedEx, so why not her purse? We could drive 1,600 miles without any money. Everyone takes credit cards. We hope.

We left the Cracker Barrel this morning at 9:30, pulled into a rest area around 11:30 for lunch, and stopped for fuel around 1:30 this afternoon. Our previous motorhome was a diesel model and our new motorhome is a gasoline model. With the diesel, I usually looked for a truck stop, pulled in with the 18-wheelers, and filled up with diesel. Truck pumps are much faster that the gas pumps around in front. There is also a lot more room to maneuver around the diesel pumps. The diesel motorhome had fuel tank doors on both sides of the coach so it didn't matter what side the pump was on. Now I have to find a gas station that has enough room for my thirty-eight-foot motorhome with car in tow. It’s not always easy. It also has only one fuel door so the pump has to be on the driver's side. Today we pulled into a station that looked like we could use either of the pumps on the outside of the island. I made a big circle around all of the pumps so that I would be facing out towards the highway when I pulled up to the pump. I stopped and Carol Ann got out to see if the hose would reach. It wouldn’t. I made another circle around the pumps, you can’t put a motorhome into reverse when towing a car. This time around I managed to pull up a little closer to the pump. Carol Ann got out and gave me the okay. The gas gauge was down to one-quarter of a tank so I should be able to pump about sixty gallons before it was full. We would still be there if I had waited for the tank to fill. The pump was so pressure-sensitive that it quickly shut off every time Carol Ann or I squeezed the handle (we traded turns). It made no difference how you situated the nozzle or how slowly you squeezed. It was squeeze, off, squeeze, off, squeeze, off. We managed to get 27 gallons before our hands got tired and we quit. We wanted to reach Abilene before dark and we had enough fuel to get us there.

We pulled into an RV park in Abilene a little after 4:00 PM. Good Sam rates this RV park as the best in Abilene. Well, all I can say is, I’m very glad we aren’t staying at one of the others. The sign on the door said the office closed early today and would reopen at 8:30 AM. It listed the site numbers that were available. Just take your pick and pay them in the morning. We chose a site and parked the motorhome. The park is supposed to have good (and free) wi-fi, but it requires a password. I called the phone number listed for the park, hoping to get a password, but all I got was a recorded message. I’m posting this using my cellular data plan. Tomorrow we drive to Van Horn, another 350 miles and still in Texas. I hope I can get there without having to stop for gas more than two or three times.


Bill said...

Geez Robert, a lot of speed bumps on your first day. At least it wasn't a slide out that was left out instead of the tv antenna (yes, I've really seen that).

cantinero 46 said...

Robert,driving across Texas can take forever,also when filling up make sure your ass end is up higher than the front.gas tanks cutoff the flo because they think the tank is getting full sooner,hope your hands survived,can be very frustrating when you need 65-70 pull around and face the other way.