Fort Stockton, Texas

Good morning, my friends. It was a short drive with plenty going on yesterday. We find ourselves in Fort Stockton, Texas, for three nights (two now).

As we left Fort Davis yesterday, I noticed another barn. There were a few more, but they were either too far off the road, or else they were hiding behind trees, making them impossible to capture.

The landscape on TX-17 looks similar to what we saw when we visited Chiricahua National Monument.

Topping a rise, we came upon this escarpment. I tried to identify it with what the Google could tell me about Texas. I have an idea it is the southern end of the Llano Estacado, but I'm not certain. Maybe one of you knows.

While we were out and about in Fort Davis the day before, our "check engine" light came on. This is never a good sign, but the truck was running just fine. Mike had a tool he could plug in to diagnose the problem. But then, he couldn't get the tool to work. Plan B was to drive to Fort Stockton, and check in at an Autozone where they could plug in a similar tool to diagnose the problem. And the truck was still running fine.

Fast forward to yesterday, and we're driving along...everything was going fine...until suddenly the truck started losing power. A message on the dash said something like "limiting engine speed." And then, "reduced fuel pressure." Uh-oh. And the truck continued to lose power and speed until we pulled off on the shoulder of I-10 and rolled to a complete stop. Some steam (not smoke) was visible, and there was a funny smell. Mike opened the hood, and with great relief told me it was simply a hose that had popped off the fuel filter. (Don't ask me to explain this.) He was able to put it back, and we continued on our merry way. 

But you know me...I never pass up an opportunity to photograph every blooming thing. Within about a 10-square-yard section, I saw all of these Texas wildflowers. According to the database I consulted, this first one goes by these names: Butterweed, Yellowtop, Cressleaf Groundsel, Floodplain Ragwort.

I believe this next one is Dotted Smartweed.

This next one is Desert Mallow.

I couldn't figure this one out. Maybe one of you knows.

Finally, my friend Marei informs me this one is called Chocolate Flower. Apparently when it opens in the morning, it smells like chocolate.

Checking out the wildflowers was my attempt to make lemonade from the lemons we'd been served up momentarily.

Back on the road, we made our way to our final destination of Fort Stockton. There was a little bit of freeway art. As you'll see in a minute, Fort Stockton is very proud of its giant roadrunner greeter known as Paisano Pete. Pretty much every business in Fort Stockton, including this RV park, has a picture of a roadrunner on their sign.

Also, off to the right was this series of sculptures. I'm assuming this is a nod to the historic Fort Stockton.

We checked in when Smitty discovered something upsetting. He snapped and edited this picture of the "dog park" directly across from their catio. Good grief. They're going to have to look at and listen to stupid woofies for the next three days. I'm telling you, the insults never end for kitties.

The wind was blowing like crazy when we arrived. It was kicking up dust that decreased visibility significantly. We were on our way to Autozone. Looking out my window, this bluff was just a few hundred yards off the road, and you can see how the dust obscures the view.

Reaching an intersection, visibility was near zero at times. Remember what we learned about driving through a dust storm while traveling through New Mexico?

We got our business taken care of at Autozone. It turns out the problem we'd had earlier in the day *was* the problem that lit up the "check engine" light. Mike purchased a new fuel filter, and he'll change that out when the wind dies down. Along our way, we saw Paisano Pete. I took the picture below through our windshield.

We drove around the block, looking for a place to park. As we went, we noticed this historic cemetery.

When we were parked, I was able to capture this picture of Paisano Pete. Measuring 11 feet tall and 22 feet long, he was the largest roadrunner in the world when he was established in Fort Stockton in 1980. 

Unfortunately, in 1993, Pete lost his "world’s largest" title to an enormous statue in Las Cruces, New Mexico. You might remember when we saw him as we approached Las Cruces last week.

I took this next picture so you could see how hard the wind was blowing.

And one of our stops while we were out and about was to purchase a new battery for Mike's anemometer. (If a thing can be measured, you know we will measure it.) Back at the RV, this was our highest reading, although there were gusts that were much stronger.

So I looked up the words the weatherman would use to describe wind at this speed. And look at that:

"Moderate Breeze"? Really? I'm sorry, but I believe wind this strong needs scarier words to describe it.

Fortunately, the kitties literally held down the fort while we were gone.

Sadie held down the back end.

So we don't really have any plans for Fort Stockton. There is a historic fort here, but we're a little forted out at this point. If we're bored, we might take it in. Mostly, this is a stop to take care of some "life" things. We'll do our grocery shopping today, and I'll wash some clothes. Mainly, we'll just hang out. Our longest drive of the trip will be between here and the next destination, and so it seems a good time to take a break from driving and sight-seeing. The wind has died down, and the weather should be nice the next couple of days. There will be some time to get back to my slow-stitching.

And I can't end this post without wishing a very happy 40th birthday to Matthew, our youngest.

Happy birthday, Sweetie! Hope it's a good one! And I just want to say that I'm much to youthful to have a youngest child who 40 years old. I'm sure there's been some mistake.


Barbara said...

Birthdays are a reward for having shown up 365 days in a row. It's like getting a badge for attendance. ~ Gina Barreca

Susan Pletcher said...

I’m envious of your great trip. Glad you’re getting in some days of down time. Happy Birthday to Matt. Darling picture! And what a gorgeous head of hair!! Happy Travels!!

Kara Benavides said...

I must express my deep anxiety for your dear kitties (sarcasm coming.) How could they possibly expect to do all their jobs you assign them when only resting on such few quilts? Surely you have a few more you could spare! For the kitties sakes! (insert kitty big eyes) treats will be accepted in leu(sp?) of more quilties.

Lyndsey said...

Happy birthday to Matthew, love the picture of him as a cute adorable little boy. Congratulations to you and Mike on being such youthful and adventurous parents. I'm pleased we are having some down time as I'm still exhausted from the last visit. So much to think about what happened at that time, the changes that have happened since and those that still need to happen.

Kate said...

Happy birthday to Matthew, hope he had a fun one. Texas has some wonderful wildflowers, it's a bit late in the season, but there should still be some blue bonnets blooming once you get farther north. So glad Mike was able to remedy the truck ills, it's never fun to have car problems when you are out on the road. Enjoy your slow stitching and downtime.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

Yes, you are much too young to have a 40 year old - you must have had him when you were a mere child. Happy Birth Day wishes to him.
Such a relief that Mike is so handy and 'knows things' - he's amazing. I would have been a basket case if that happened to us. Good excuse for you to get some great flower pictures though.

piecefulwendy said...

Belated birthday greetings to Matthew! I didn't know there was a roadrunner competition, but fun that you were able to see both. Good that the truck fix was a simple (and not too expensive) one. My phone told me that pretty yellow flower was a type of yarrow, but I don't know for sure.