Archive for May, 2010

Happy Memorial Day

Monday, May 31st, 2010

Click for Granbury, Texas Forecast

memorial-day.JPG

We’re on the move and in the Granbury, Texas area for the Memorial Day weekend.  Granbury is a fantastic historical town just southwest of Fort Worth.

It turns out that Memorial Day weekend is a really big deal in this town.  We made the mistake of pulling our rig through the town square on our way to the 377 RV Park, located behind the Cowboy Marketplace.  The town was established in the mid-1800’s and is a retirement and antiquing destination.  Most of the buildings date back many years.

granbury1-480.jpg

The town square is home to the county courthouse and is the site of much of the activity on holiday weekends..

granbury3-480.jpg

Vendors and musical entertainment abound.

granbury2-480.jpg

The activities are not limited to the square.  The Granbury City Beach was packed and the boats filled Lake Granbury. The lake has been drawing boaters since about 1970.

Wherever you are this weekend, we hope that you’re having an enjoyable time.  Don’t forget to give thanks to the men and women in our armed forces, to whom we owe everything.

Mushroom Vent Cover

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Most of the plastic covers that are on the roof of RV’s are manufactured with designed obsolescence in mind.  The vents that crank open for ventilation, the range hood vent door, and many light lenses are made of material that has a low tolerance for  exposure to the sun.  They simply deteriorate, becoming very brittle and cracking.  We have had to replace all of the roof vents on our Montana and have also added Maxi-Vent covers to help protect them in the future.

No different are the mushroom vent covers that allow for pressure equalization and ventilation of the “attic” area between the roof and the indoor ceiling. (Click on Photo for Close-Up)

attic-vent1.jpg

At least this vent offers a simple solution.  New vents are available at various RV stores for somewhere between $9.00 and $18.00, depending on the dealer’s particular gouge factor. (Montana Part Number 102776.)

mushroom-vent.jpg

Simply unscrew the cap from the old assembly in a counterclockwise motion and replace it with the cap from the new one.  If the portion under the cap is damaged, simply replace the entire vent by removing the four nuts and installing the new one.  Don’t forget to use some plumber’s tape to protect from leaks.

Falcon Resevoir

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Click for Zapata, Texas Forecast

A scenic route from Laredo back to our South Texas location is to follow US Hwy 83 which follows the Rio Grande River and the US border with Mexico.

The route takes you through several small, typical South Texas towns.  It was Sunday, but it appears that many of these buildings are boarded up.

town2.jpg

When driving through South Texas, it is difficult to keep your windshield clean because of the huge populations of butterflies.  These butterflies are drawn only to plants that are native to this subtropic area.  Unfortunately, 95% of these local plant species have been forced into extinction.  Many residents and park authorities have been promoting the planting of more of the remaining native plants. (Click on picture for larger view.)

butterfly-480.jpg

We had been wanting to visit the Falcon Lake area.  The reservoir extends along the Rio Grande River from the Falcon Dam on the southeast to the town of Zapata, Texas on the northwest.  The Falcon State Park occupies a large section on the US side of the lake.

falcon-res-map.jpg

The Falcon Dam was constructed in the early 1950’s and is dedicated to Mexican President Cortines and US President Eisenhower.  The roadway on top of the dam provides a border crossing between the two countries. (Click on Photo to Enlarge)

falcon-480.jpg

As with all sections of the Rio Grande River, including most of its reservoirs or lakes, residents on both sides of the border have equal access for fishing and other recreation.  With the recent focus on border security, this must give the border patrol headaches.

Looking at the real estate prices in the area, Falcon Lake seems to be a real bargain when it comes to lakefront property.

FM 1015, Onion Or Not?

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Click for Weslaco, Texas Forecast

(Just a note:  Due to a rash of spam comments, we had to add an easy math question to make sure a human is posting and not a computer.)

I’m sure that it is a coincidence, but here along Farm to Market FM 1015, just north of Weslaco, TX, fields of the Texas 1015 onions are grown in the late winter and early spring.  Unfortunately, this past winter provided the area with too much water for proper onion harvesting.

It wasn’t until late April that some of the fields were processed.  One of the fun things about living in the Rio Grande Valley is watching the cycle of this vast source of vegetables and fruit.  Once harvested, certain vegetables, like carrots and onions that don’t meet specifications of size and shape, are left in the field.

Several “Winter Texans” enjoy trying to find usable leftovers that are completely fine for consumption, but not particularly pretty.  Here, Tinka fills a bag with leftover onions, while Rick, wisely, stayed in the jeep.

onions.jpg

We were told later that the fruit and vegetable stands were not using Texas onions this year because of the water damage.  Most of our onions are coming from Mexico this year. Hopefully, we’ll have better luck with the weather next year.

Time On Your Hands?

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Have you ever been driving along the highway and spotted 5th wheels or trailers stationed along the road at various ranch entrances?   These gates are, generally, access points for oil and gas drilling activity.

Well, we went to visit some friends that agreed to monitor activity at one of these gates for 30 days.  This particular gate was quite active.  They noticed a slight down time in activity between midnight and 3:00 AM each morning.  But, in essence, it was a 24/7 activity.

Unless they were outside, the gate must remain closed.  Sensors advised them when a vehicle approached the gate from either direction. The coming and going of each vehicle needed to be logged and signatures collected upon entry to the property.

gate1.jpg

The typical set up includes electricity, provided by a diesel generator with about 10-day supply of fuel, and an ample supply of water. Gray water is discharged and the black tanks are serviced every 10 days.

gate2.jpg

Now, whoever developed the design of this gate lock had entirely too much time on his hands.

gate3.jpg

In order to allow multiple land owners or other people access to the land, there are holes for eight different locks on the latch mechanism.  By removing one of the locks, a hole is vacant in the end of the device.  Rotating the bent handle until the straight bar lines up with the empty hole, allows you to pull the handle out with the bar passing through the hole, thus disengaging the gate.  Quite ingenious.