Apr 6 - A Sharp Turn and a Crash

  • Move from Hondo, TX to near Water Valley, TX
  • Route: US-90 to TX-55 (Uvalde) to US-277 to US-87 (San Angelo)
  • Fueled (diesel) at 3.959
  • Miles Today: 252
  • Total Spring12 bus-house miles : 452
  • Total Spring12 toad miles : 18
  • Tonight's camp: Coke County Rest Area off US-87
  • Weather: morning low 64, high 92, low humidity; clear skies; brisk southerly breezes.
  • Notables: 1. Surprisingly interesting geography north of Uvalde on the western edge of the Texas Hill Country along TX-55; 2. A glorious tail wind almost all day long was the icing on a fine day of travel; 3. Wildflowers in the Texas Hill country can be spectacular.

At least with this motorhome, the difference between a brisk headwind and the same amount of tailwind is dramatic... the tailwind is a much more relaxed, quiet, and civilized driving experience. I often whine about seeing the "other guy" on the tailwind side of the highway... with the big grin on his face... enjoying the ride while we're plowing into the wind in the opposite direction. Well, today, I was the guy with the grin on his face. The wind noise over the cabin decreases dramatically and the bus-house just seems to float down the road... effortlessly... being pushed along by solar powered winds. I think I'll wait for favorable winds more often.

Even though we climbed well over 1000 feet today we still got better than 8 mpg. Considering the climb, if we hadn't had the tailwind we would have been closer to 7 mpg. Hey... I know that's not much, but one mpg is one mpg... a 12% difference... which adds up when we're burning about a thousand gallons per year.

The drive through the western edge of the Texas Hill Country along TX-55 north of Uvalde was more enjoyable than we thought it would be. Hills, rocky outcroppings, substantial up and down grades, exposed cuts, and miles and miles of very low density population combined to keep our heads swiveling and eyes searching.

And the wildflowers! This time of the year wildflowers bloom alongside the highways and, sometimes, in fields for as far you you can see. Wonderful splashes of purples, blues, yellows, and reds seem to be everywhere. I'm not sure what the various varieties are all called but in Texas it's the spring equivalent to the autumn leaves of fall.

We did have one dramatic experience while negotiating the twists and turns of the road today. On one particularly tight turn we heard a series of bangs and crashes from inside the bus-house. Looking back, Dar discovered that a cabinet door had popped open... the cabinet that houses her laptop computer... and the PC and a mouse and a few other things were now on the floor. She ran back, picked it all up, and re-stowed everything... this time making sure the security rod we have for that door was in place (somehow it had been overlooked in our preparations). But this is one way to learn... and you can be assured it's on our checklist now. Three months of sitting in one place isn't good for keeping the nomad in practice and sharp when it comes to this kind of thing.  And the computer? The tough 6 year old Dell survived the ordeal without a scratch.  Since I'm in dire need of the latest iPad I was a touch disappointed... thinking this might be my opportunity. But no... the wait continues.

Tonight we're parked in a rest area along US-87 just north of Water Valley in Texas. Since it's just an overnight, we were seeking a no-cost solution to our camping problem. When we drove in to check this option out, we found it good enough to trump putting a few more miles under our belt to stay in a Walmart parking lot a little further up the road. Some Texas rest areas are marvelous... clean, shaded, cared for... and most allow overnight parking at no cost. They even have free wifi to boot. I mean... how can you beat that? Free overnight parking, free internet... it's enough to make me want to live the life of a traveling vagabond.

Slightly Better than Most