Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dallas, TX

Odometer 27101

Trip meter 221 miles

After a chilly overnight in Abilene, we made preparations for what we hoped would be an easy 200 mile trip to Dallas. I woke at 5AM worried that the water hook-up bay was sub-freezing, and breaking all the plumbing fittings, and the new outside shower faucet I installed in Ajo. I have read on some of the RVers websites that Winnebago (our coach manufacturer) put some heat in the water bay ( water bay is my name for one of the outside compartments- also referred to by me as a "bins" or "the basement". These compartments accessed from the outside only- hang below the floor line of the coach, below the heated floor space). Wednesday morning I went out in the sub- freezing wind at 5 AM (in pajamas and a coat) to see if I could detect any warmth at all in the water hook-up bay. Nothing- not a whisper of warmth greeted my inquiring nose. Okay- maybe it only works on propane heat ( we have two separate systems for heating electric heat pump like most homes and propane heat like most RVs). So I switched over to propane heat and repeated the test. Nothing. So much for that information. Next I thought I'll hook up our electric portable heater and put it in there. Got it, and an extension cord out- its too big- wouldn't fit in the compartment. Next I get the idea of using the hair dryer. That works, and I crawl back in bed and snuggle up to Joan who jumps like a scalded cat at my icy touch.

After breakfast we asked the park host where we could get filled with propane. Turns out that is easy- 500 yards down the frontage road is a commercial filler who will sell to RVers. Good thing we asked because if we hadn't been told we would not even have found this place! The lot at the Centergas distributor is pot-holed gravel. On our way back out to the highway after filling up we hit a particularly bad set of holes and it sent things crashing in our cupboards. We have devised a system of bungee cords for the most vulnerable of our cabinets- and everything stayed inside. Whew!

As we approached Fort Worth we decided to stop for lunch, and this being Texas, we wanted to sample some BBQ. Joan found a Baker's Ribs restaurant and we dove off on the side streets, navigating by google maps. Of course, it is in a section of town that is undergoing major road reconstruction, roads closed, roads choked down to one lane, driveways torn up. We were able to find Bakers and find a place to park about 3 blocks away, AND there was a frozen yogurt shop across the street! Suffice to say, the brisket was superb, the yogurt was tasty- we were happy campers.

Back on the interstate, we braced ourselves for the heaviest traffic we would encounter thus far on this trip. Almost immediately we encountered a slow down and 3 lanes went from 65 mph to a crawl.
Turns out we were very lucky- we got past the wreck in 20 minutes or less. Joan got on the CB radio right away and found out the right two lanes were the place to be. The other side of the freeway wasn't so lucky. The police shut all 3 lanes, and traffic was backed up for four miles!
We saw this happen twice to the west bound lane, but thankfully not to us eastbounders.

These are the times when having a GPS calling out the turns is a lifesaver- we lived in Carrollton (far north Dallas) for 4 years in the early 80s, but twenty five intervening years left us lost. The "Farm to Market" roads as all the county roads are known, are in a dreadful state of repair. Once off the freeway we lumbered precariously down these paved roads, barely wide enough for our bus. The outside edge of the road has subsided in many places, making us slow to 35 mph or less to keep from overturning as the outside wheels dropped 4 to 8 inches at times.

We made it to the Austin's by 4 PM, and Sally, Joan and I trimmed the trees on both sides of the driveway in order to get the MH into place. We actually have it pretty good here. There is a pad where a mobile home stood before Jim and Sally built their present day home. We have water, sewer and electric!

We hope to stay here with the Austin's for a week. The weather is trending warmer each day (it didn't freeze last night). Jim Sally and Savannah are great fun to visit and Sally cooks Tex-mex and authentic Mexican food that is to die for. Today we will do some shopping for supplies and over the next several days I have some maintenance to do on the bus. Number one on the list is to fix the closet rod which snapped under the strain of too many clothes, over too many potholes.

. Jeff and Joan

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