Odyssey Day 8 - 14

Click on any picture with a border for a larger view

Now for most of my trails you can download my GPS track (bread crumb trail) as well as the map of my track. For more info Click Track Info

Day 8
Last night I made some phone calls using the contact list that I assembled from the web before leaving Boston.  I found out that a local jeep club was having a jeep run at a ranch 4B's, that was about 150 miles from us. We left the hotel in Fort Worth at noon on Friday and arrived at the ranch at about 4:30 (we stopped for some grocery shopping) otherwise we would have arrived at 3:00.  There was a $75 charge for the two days of Jeeping, moderate or extreme.  It turns out that in Texas most 98% of the land is privately owned and there's very little opportunity to use your jeep to go somewhere.  Big Bend in Southwest Texas I am told is a beautiful area and full of jeep trails, however I am also told that you have to get a guide in order to go out on the trails.  I will be checking into that when I get back to town.  The hosting jeep club was exceedingly warm and friendly I felt like I was among friends from the very beginning. The staging and camping were to be held in a cow field on the 4B ranch.
I had forgotten, that out west camping means MOTOR HOMES there where 3 tenters (2 besides me) and 20 motor homes!
We arrived to find out the local church was supplying dinner on Friday night, breakfast and dinner on Saturday and Sunday breakfast.  For a donation to help with their youth group summer camp fund. 
Before dark set in we went to set up our tent. Trying to avoid the cow patties wasn't possible! So I spread out the ground cloth, unrolled the tent on top of it, kneeled down to set up the tent   and OWWWW!!!  I must have kneeled on a cactus!  I put my hand down to get up and OWWWW!!!  my hand got pricked!! Everywhere I put my hand I got pricked through the ground cloth.  I couldn't see anything looking at the grass; it was very short and brown because it had been well grazed.  With very close examination I found these little brown pea-sized thorn balls. I later found out they are called grass burrs. Just about now two other tenters showed up so I went over and asked "I bet you’re from this area, how do I find a place without these thorns?" They said "what thorns?    OWWWW!! O you mean these thorns, well you just have to look”. The only way to look was to put your hand in the grass to see if you got pricked! So we spent the next 45 minutes getting our hands pricked! And did find a spot without grass burrs. I later heard from the ranch owner that the grass burrs are NOT found in well fertilized areas.  Well, we are in a cow field, take that as a hint as to what we must be camping in! .
We had no sooner set up the tent when I heard the dinner bell. So we hoofed it over to the chuck wagon. Real Texas chili (read that no beans) or beans, home made sausage plus all the fixings, Jalapeno, biscuits onions...  It was great cooking!
Jeeps, yup all kinds from stock to the “Scorpion”
Generators in the motor homes ran all night long.
Shortly after dark 6:30 here the coyotes started to howl … sounds great whole packs howling at once!! That went on every so often all night long.


It’s a tuff life but somebody has to do it!

night temps  Friday 24, sat 34 sun 44

day temps sat 72 Sunday 79

You sure this is Texas, they look like goats to me.
Day 11
   7:30 AM we pack up camp, the first time on this trip.  I had hoped to dry everything off in the morning sun.  Every time the sun moved up on the horizon the cloud bank also moved up at the same rate.  As a result it took a while to dry things out.  We get on the road at 10:00. We stopped on the way for some stuff camcorder battery, food, some caster adj. bolts for the front axle of the jeep…
   We went back to Clarion Suites to pick up the bag I had left there, and to spend the night (it was that good).  That night I worked on the web site, soaked in a warm tub outside.

Fort Stockton ?  county seat

Day 12
   Left Quality Suites in Fort Worth at 12:00 check out time. (parting is such sweet sorrow) to head down Rt 281 (a “scenic Rt”) to the hills of Texas, but first a stop at Kinko’s to order some business cards. When you call them up they say 24 hours turn around time, when you get there its 24 hours to a proof then 4-5 hours to print.  I explained that I would not be in any one place long enough to use their time frame, so we worked out where they will call me when a proof is ready.  I can then call them with a fax # for where I am.  Then they can fax me a proof of the card. Then have them printed at a different Kinko’s, for me to pick up. Now its 1:30, go back to Quality Suites or press onward? I chose onward (or I’ll never leave Quality Suites).
     I am surprised at how non-desert like Texas is. There are a lot of plains grasses in un-irrigated fields.  One reason behind the saying that things are bigger in Texas is… While driving I noticed that there are a lot of TALL cellphone towers.  Later I figured out that the towers only LOOK tall, because there is NO tall object to compare the towers to. I had not seen a tree taller than 30 ft in days!
   We stop for the night in Stephensville TX. The Tarleton State University.  Got some fried chicken from the H.E.B. (grocery store chain) for dinner. Went back to the hotel to eat it and cook some oatmeal and found that the chicken was raw in the middle.  Back to H.E.B. to return the chicken, and get some at KFC.


You absolutely sure this is Texas? (at the time this was $0.60 higher than norm!)

Day 14
7:30 AM Sonora, TX.  Cold, 38 degrees. The sun has not come up yet.
   I-10 headed west.  When I made my plans for the road trip to get to Mesa, Arizona for a Saturday morning jeep run with the local jeep club, I forgot to take into account that we had to cross the entire state of  New Mexico to get to AZ. So… I shift into driving mode, I have not been in this mode yet on this Odyssey! Driving mode is when you get a rest stop, food and stretch only when the Jeep needs gas, at 12 MPG that happens more often than I wish!
   This is the way I pictured Texas to be, desert, scrub-like terrain. We just started seeing yucca cacti. 
   A little further west and the highway cuts into limestone hills. It’s great when you can see the striation of the limestone where it has been cut through for the road. I figure, there should be caves and caverns in an area with all this limestone. In fact in the cutouts you can see the beginning of caverns.  Where water has worked its way down and started to erode pockets out of the limestone. When they built the road they cut through the hills and exposed the pockets. We start to see road signs for tours of caverns!!
   It is starting to get windy a head wind. I figured this out when… I am behind an 18 wheeler (read that Big Truck) I catch up (drafting). I pull into the next lane to pass. And need a lot more gas pedal, when I get parallel to the cab all forward motion in excess of the truck speed stops! So windy in fact that at 70 MPH I can no longer pass an 18 wheeler.  So I settle in behind one (since I am drafting my MPG goes up from 12 to ~ 15 MPG.
   Later we are in areas that are rather flat and arid with occasional mountains poking up from the flat ground. Some of the mountains are quite jagged and others are soft and eroded  (When I say mountains, it depends on your point of reference, these are between 1000 and 2000 ft. in height.)  I find it quite striking that there are no foothills associated with these mountains. It is flat desert land, and BOING! There is a mountain.
Off in the distance you can see a mesa with fuzzy white poles on top. As we get closer it gets clearer that the poles are electric wind turbines! A whole farm of them, the entire mesa rim is covered with them! Must go on for 10 -15 MILES of wind turbines!
   We come to the town of Sierra Blanca it is quite obvious where it got its name as there is one mountain that is strikingly paler than the other mountains around it.  None of the mountains appear to have any kind of living material on them. 
   AHHH the end of Texas is in sight. I see El Paso. Today I have driven almost 4 times the length of Massachusetts! That was only about ½ of the way across Texas!
   El Paso is a U shaped town with mountains filling the U. It’s also right on the border of Mexico in fact from I-10 you can see the Rio Grand river just down to the left. The river is so sucked dry that you can walk across it to Mexico without getting your feet wet!
   They must expect some serious rain in El Paso, the catch basins and dry washes are HUGE!  I saw one catch basin that had to be 15 acres with a 12 ft dike! 
   We spent an hour at Kinko’s in El Paso trying to get them to follow through on a business card order from the Fort Worth Kinko’s
   Just after you enter New Mexico if you look off to the right, you will see a mountain where the rock striations are swirled around.  It is odd to see this on a mountain-sized scale.  Only two other places have I seen anything like this. One was across the San Juan River from Mexican Hat, Utah  (the formation not the town). The other place was in Idaho it was not visible from a paved road.  I stumbled across it by taking a jeep trail up into the mountains where across from a large hollow I saw a rock face several thousand feet high where the strata was folded like toffee.
   Next stop Las Cruces. One of the Jeeping capitals of the world! We will be baaaaack!



One of many rest stops on Rt 281

Continue the Odyssey with Day 15-21

[Welcome page]

The Odyssey

[Video, Jeeping 101]

[GPS Track info.]


[Odyssey] [Day 8-14] [Day 15 -21] [Day 22 - 28] [Day 29 - 35] [Day 36 - 42] [Day 43 - 49]

[City Match Name] [Name the Folige]


[the shaft] [airing down] [Salsa] [Air Compressor] [Cooking Meatloaf] [Articles in Low-Range]

[City Answers] [Foliage Answers]


[Choke Cherry] [Holy Cross] [Death Valley] [Chili Challenge] [Caballo Mts] [Gila NF Trip] [Titus Canyon]

[Woodpecker Mine]  [Picket Post]  [Box Canyon]

E-mail chris@seetheusabyjeep.com

E-mail Support@seetheusabyjeep.com