I'm so guilty of the pleasure of touring without grabbing my camera to rip off a photo here and there. Well, occasionally I would but only if it was something that really grabbed me, such as a Saguaro Cactus in bloom, North of Phoenix, AZ at a Lakeside State Park, May 19.
So I left San Jose on Tuesday, May 17, headed out to Arkansas to visit my Air Force buddy and long time friend; Stuart and his wife Saundra. It took me six days averaging about 400 miles a day, arriving on Sunday the 22nd of May. I logged 2200 miles getting there but a more direct route would of only been 1800 miles.
A visit with Stu usually involves several projects, all of which I encourage him to line up for my arrival. We set out to do one really big projects and a few small ones. The big project was clearing a path North of his house. This involved chain saw work as well as dragging stuff out of the ravine we were working in, to a burn pile. Working in an Arkansas forest requires extraordinary precautions to avoid the ticks and later I found out after the fact, Chiggers. Ticks are an obvious
but visual threat. Chiggers on the other hand, are so small, you need magnification to see them. They do pack a wallop though. Get this, they attach themselves to you, inject digestive fluids under your skin and then feed off of the digested cells. This leaves a mosquito sized welt with a little tiny blister at the peak. Fun, huh? These welts can persist for a week or more. If you visit Arkansas, call me so I can give you some forest precautions.
I left Arkansas on Monday, June 2nd. A wonderful and productive visit. Stuart and Saundra are wonderful, bend over backwards, give you the shirt off their back, hosts. Thank you to the both of you for such a wonderful visit.
Then I spent the next two weeks and 47 days in Texas. I have a fear of never being able to find the Texas border. No matter where you are in Texas, it takes two weeks and 47 days to get out of it. Don't get me started on the Texas freeway interchanges. I would rather be underground in a 100 acre rabbit warren, then enter a freeway interchange in Texas. The man stuck on the MTA? That's me, trying to exit a freeway interchange in Texas. Just toss me a sandwich as I pass
by you. I wouldn't doubt that they offer a Doctorate program in Texas Freeway Interchanges. They are much more difficult then a corn maze, all while going 70 MPH with my trailer in tow, sandwiched between two Semi Trucks. Has anybody else experienced a Texas Freeway interchange, and managed to exit without getting a heart attack? I think not.
After getting out of Texas, I decided to spend a Wednesday night in a former KOA campground in Clayton at New Mexico's Northeast border. While listening to a PBR station, I heard that Tucumcari was having a five day weekend music/car fest. Oh the Irony of it all. The path to Tucumcari required me to reenter Texas. OMG Supposedly it wasn't going to take me two weeks and forty seven days to exit Texas again, so I pointed my automobile and trailer back into Texas, knowing
full well the hazards involved and my GPS promise to only spend a few hours, not
days in Texas, to get on the path and arrive in Tucumcari.
On Friday morning, I left my camp site on UTE Lake (reservoir) to venture into Tucumcari and start my music/car fest adventure. I found the convention center and the ticket sales, investing $55 for four days of wonderful music. It turned out that buying the ticket was the highlight and most fun of the festival. It was downhill after that.
Now it is Sunday and all the activities are free. The music was provided by local headliners and actually could have been very entertaining. The thing for me was that people were coming and going from the band playing regardless of whether they had a pass or ticket. On top of that, the attendees were for the most part, chain smokers. Ewww!
Car viewing was suppose to be the other attraction. There were a handful of very nice custom cars but for the most part, the rest of the cars were restored or manufactured under a tight budget. In another words, most were not even worthy of being photographed.
My expectations of a wonderful festival were dashed by Tucumcari, a city with little if any budget, to pull off a festival of the scope I expected. An impoverished city that managed to clip me for $55 for their next years budget. Good for you Tucumcari. My hope is that my $55 provides your Mayor with one or more much needed meals.
A local resident of UTE Lake. A common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula). The one thing I love about this bird is it's fan tail. When it flys, it's like watching a kite. It doesn't have a library voice either. All of their calls are very very loud and unusual.
A Hedge Hog Cactus (Echinocereus Fasciculatus) as near as I can tell. If you know for sure, message me.
A festival oddity, Tats while you wait. Yes, I had his permission to photograph.
The Mayor's sole source of power. Actually, the gem of a wind turbine course held at the school in front of the wind turbine. Photographed from Tucumcari Mountain.
Didn't go inside but interesting electrical panels not to mention being next door to an actual antique.
Tornado proof. A storm cellar on top of instead of below ground. Where does one even learn how to build with stone? Incredible.