Currently at the Ms G’s RV Park in Loraine, Texas. We are traveling back to my hometown of Tupelo, Mississippi to spend some time with family for Thanksgiving. I’ll be doing a short update each day of our drive this week.
We got a very good night’s sleep last night at the Oasis RV Park in Van Horn, Texas, despite its many quirks. The temperature dropped to about 26° by 7:00 AM this morning; but between our small electric space heater, the gas furnace, and the Reflectix in the windows, we were nice and cozy inside the rig.
It was bitterly cold outside with the wind chill around 19° when we pulled out of the park just before 9:00 AM. Our first order of business was to get both the vehicles inspected to complete our annual registration (since we renewed our vehicle registration online from Arizona in August when it came due, we had three days to get the inspection done once we crossed the state line back into Texas).
I had researched online to find an inspection station along our route, and the only one in Van Horn was listed at a Chevron station, so that’s where we went. Turns out, it’s actually the tire repair shop behind the Chevron station, and they were a little late getting to work this morning, so we had to wait in the cold for about 10 minutes or so. But when they finally arrived they took care of the inspection quickly, so now both vehicles are legal and we can stop thinking about that little detail. It was only a safety inspection (lights, wipers, horn), and cost $7 per vehicle.
After that, we made a quick stop at the Love’s station to fill up both vehicles with gas, and then we hit the road for a travel day of 273 miles. We started out on I-10 East, and then veered off onto I-20 East to head toward Dallas. Neither of us have ever traveled this portion of I-20, so we were both really fascinated by the scenery along the way. Our route took us through the heart of the West Texas oil patch. I’ve never seen so many pumping units, drilling rigs, production facilities, and yes, RV parks for the oilfield workers. It was amazing!!
As we drove through Odessa and Midland, I had so many memories of the first 16 years of my career when I worked for Hess Oil Company (formerly Amerada Hess). I had many opportunities to go out into the field and see these types of facilities first hand, but that was in Mississippi, Louisiana, and East Texas. I never saw any area that had the sheer density of pumping units and drilling rigs as we saw today along I-20. And there were so many flare stacks burning off the gas from the facilities–the landscape almost looked like a birthday cake! 🙂
We took our midday break at a rest stop near Monahans. Once again we had a simple lunch of hummus, avocado and veggie wraps with chips, along with some baby carrots and almond dip. After lunch we took a short walk around the rest stop, using the gravel path that they have provided for those who want a little exercise. They even had a playground for kids to burn off a little energy while their parents recover from the drive. We spent about an hour there at the rest stop before we moved on.
As we drove further east we saw less evidence of oil and gas production and started seeing a few more trees, albeit they are mesquite trees as this is still very much a dry climate. Finally about 3:00 PM we pulled into Ms. G’s RV Park in Loraine, Texas, our home for the night. Once again, this is a park that we selected because they offer the Passport America discount (50%), so we got a full hookup site for $15, although we’re only using the electrical hookup because the temperatures are going to be below freezing again tonight.
When I called this place a couple of weeks ago to make our reservation, the owner, Brad, told me to give him a call when we were about an hour away from arriving so he could be sure to be around. So today when my GPS told me we were an hour away, I gave Brad a call and got his answering machine–but it took me a minute to realize it was actually his machine. His message is, let’s just say, unique. I can’t quote it word for word, but he says he’s looking at a big buck, it’s just HUGE, and he just can’t believe what he’s seeing, so if he’s not around, he’s probably out trying to get that big ole buck.
Not one mention of the RV park.
Fortunately, when I had read the review of this park before making the reservation, I saw where someone who stayed here previously had also experienced the answering machine message, and they left a note in their review to forewarn the rest of us. Anyway, I left Brad a message, he called back, and I let him know we were on our way.
When we arrived, he met us at the entrance to direct us to our site. He’s a really nice guy, just a salt-of-the-earth type who is running this small business in a small town. He led us to our campsite and actually hooked up our electricity for us and helped us level the rig. He stuck around to chat for a bit before he had to leave and help the next arrival get settled.
The RV park is nothing to write home about. There are a lot of “permanent” residents, most likely oilfield workers. There’s a good bit of debris lying around, and there are a couple of dogs running loose in the park (I think they know we have cats in here because I opened the door once, and one of the dogs was just sitting there by the rig staring at the door.) But it’s fine for an overnight stay, especially for only $15.
I made a pot of chickpea curry with some brown rice for dinner, along with a side of green beans. And the rest of the evening has been quiet. It’s been too cold to do very much outside for the past two days, and we’re hoping for some warmer temperatures soon!
Tomorrow will be a short travel day, only about 144 miles into Mingus where we’ll be at Cactus Rose RV Park. We’re going to stay an extra day there so we can take a break from driving, and hopefully get some laundry done.
We don’t have a great internet connection here tonight, so hopefully this blog post will upload!