Monday, January 5, 2015

Del Rio, Fort Stockton, and El Paso

So much to write about today!  When last we talked, dear blog reader, Bob and I were in Del Rio, TX after a long day of taking our road test and driving through rain and mud. We ended up at a small campground called Buzzards Roost, which took our Passport America (50% off) discount.  They had a pull-though space for us that was just barely big enough to fit into, but it worked out fine. The woman was super-nice, from New York City of all places! With the discount card the campground was only $16 (cash) for the night, and we would stay here again for one night.

On Saturday morning Bob and I took Auggie for his morning walk. As we were walking along the highway near the campground a large doberman/shepherd mix dog saw us, started barking, and headed for us across four lanes of traffic.

He was not welcoming us, but running fast and silent.  Bob immediately picked up Auggie and I turned to face the dog, shouting NO in a loud voice, then pointed back across the road and shouted GO.  The dog stopped in the middle of the lanes, looked confused, then turned around and ran back across the road (almost getting hit by a car on the way.) Texans do not like to tie up their dogs, and we see their bodies on the sides of the highways as we drive through towns. This experience with the dog brought to mind what I had learned years ago when I worked at kennels.

1)  Never run from an aggressive dog.  Do not throw anything at them or make threatening gestures.
2)  Turn and face them.
3)  Shout NO in a loud, deep, authoritative voice, and tell them to GO.  Most dogs who have had any training understand these words.
4)  If the dog attacks anyway, grab a paw, squeeze and twist.  Paws are a dog's weak spot.
5)  If the dog comes at your face or neck, shove your fist down his throat (OK, I have never had to do this, and I don't know if it would work but at least I have a plan. Ha!)

We also plan to start carrying a walking stick on our walks.  While a stick should not be used to threaten a dog because doing so could trigger an attack, in case the dog keeps coming it would be a weapon.

We headed out after that to Fort Stockton, TX, about 3 hours away. And started to see hills! Much of Texas is so flat that our senses were starved for some different topography.  It was really exciting to see the scenery.

Our Passport America campground we chose this time was called Parkview RV Park, basically a large parking lot.  But only $13 a night for full hookups and a drive through site, with plenty of space.  Fine for a one-nighter.  We talked to people there who had been stranded by the storm that passed through the night before we arrived.  Here it had brought ice, with very bad driving conditions. In fact, on our drive from Fort Stockton to El Paso we saw several trucks and a tractor-trailer that had flipped off the road and onto their sides at the edge of the road.  Since the posted speeds there on I-10 are 80 mph, I can only imagine that people were trying to get to their destination faster than the icy road allowed.

The scenery continued to change as we drove along.  Now we saw plains with mountains in the distance.

Bob and I both said that this looks like the Texas we were expecting.  We had not expected so much FLAT land in this state, after seeing so many movies about the West.  But I guess most of them were filmed in AZ or NM.

Before we left on our drive to El Paso Bob discovered that the CRV's battery was dead.  He was able to charge it enough to start it, fortunately. The car has to be started to put it into neutral for towing.  We are going to have to get this looked at soon.

Between Laredo and El Paso we have passed through several Border Patrol Inspection Stations.  This was something new to us--a road block where you have to stop and answer a few questions about whether you are a citizen and how many people are in your vehicle.  We have not been asked to show ID, but it feels like we are crossing an international border.  Border Patrol uses mobile video surveillance systems, including radar, daytime and infrared cameras, and laser range finders to catch illegals, so I guess they would know if we had 15 people in our motorhome!  This procedure drives Auggie crazy, and he barks to let them know his displeasure.

When I checked us in to Mission RV Park in El Paso last night I met the first snotty attitude we have experienced in Texas.  Just because of that (and the fact that the sites are so close together and the dog park has a strong urine smell) I would probably not return. Plus the Passport America price was only good for April-September and the person on the phone did not tell me that when I called to ask if they honored the card.  We paid 37.50 with a Good Sam discount, which was the most we have spent for a night in a long while.

We may wash our rig today at a car wash.  

Today we head into New Mexico!

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