Sunday, September 17, 2017

Smokey The Bear | Capitan | New Mexico



In light of the fires in the Northwest, I thought it was timely that I should find the Smokey Bear Park.  I guess some of us need reminders of what can happen with a campfire.  I have seen people go in their RVs after an evening campfire and leave the fire either in flames or smoldering.  One night, a campfire was left by my neighbor - I had to go out there and dump water on it so that I could feel safe going to sleep.


This is a little pond in the park, with signs that remind us that little creatures who live in or near ponds, streams or lakes need protection too.  This could include frogs, lizards, raccoons, turtles, birds and others, as well as plants in the areas.


Trees are obviously what is on our minds when the fires are raging.  It also destroys animals in the area, as well as destroying their habitat.

Back in the middle of last century, there was a fire raging in the Capitan area.  Some of the firefighters found a little bear cub clinging to a burning tree.  That cub was rescued, treated for his burns and was named "Smokey".  After he recovered from his wounds, he lived in the Washington, DC zoo until he died at the age of 26, which is considered a long lifespan for bears.  Since he had been the mascot for the fire safety campaign, he was brought home to Capitan and buried here in the park.  The photo below shows the gravesite.


This is the carving that is near his grave, you can see it in the photo above, but the light wasn't good enough to get the gravesite and this carving in one shot.


We are all familiar with Smokey's posters, ads and messages, as well as the figure below.  The museum has all sorts of vintage posters of reminders to put out your campfires completely, as well as other fire safety posters.


There were all sorts of plants and trees around the park, reminders that they would all be consumed by a careless fire.


I went back into my photos to find this Smokey hot air balloon that was in the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta about 2 years ago.  He still makes appearances in lots of the balloon gatherings.


On a lighter note, Capitan has a great store that was unfortunately closed when I was there.



I was wishing they had been open, it would have been fun to see what they had inside.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Oasis State Park | Portales | New Mexico

 
This is where I spent the Labor Day holiday weekend.  It was a nice quiet park with prairies all around.  This next shot is my campsite, actually only half of it because it was so shaded at that end.  I could have fit another RV in it! 
 
 
 
There are sand dunes in the area and there were lots of deer footprints in this area.  I never did see any deer, although I was told there were quite a few bucks there.
 
 
This little guy was always hanging around the lake, but I didn't see any of his friends.
 
 
On my way to the lake one evening, this little guy was crossing the road.  I didn't want him to get hit by a car, so I just hung around until he got the other side.
 

I love the color of this dragonfly, and he was nice enough to pose for me.  When he was flying around, it was like a flash of gold in the sun.
 
 
Another dragonfly was really striking when he was flying around, you'd just see the light wingtips fluttering.  He wasn't that good at posing, though.
 

A fishing tournament was held at the lake one day on the weekend.  Lots of people showed up to catch catfish since the lake was stocked.
 

 
Sunset at camp one night.
 
 
A few nights later, we had a full moon rising. 
 
 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Cadillac Ranch | Amarillo | Texas


Since I had not been to the panhandle of Texas, I decided to hop the border from New Mexico to the Amarillo area.  I'd heard of the Cadillac Ranch, saw photos, but hadn't seen it in person.  There are 10 old Cadillacs buried nose down in the ground, muddy ground when I was there.  From the frontage road right by Interstate 40, there are corn fields.  This field had a wide path to this tribute to Cadillacs.


As I approached, I smelled spray paint, people were spraying names, sayings and designs on these old cars.  There is so much paint on them that the surfaces are textured, big blobs of paint, some running down the sides.  For sure, if they were rusting before, they certainly are not rusting now!



Because people were leaving spray cans for other people to use, I picked up one and put my initial on one of the cars, just for fun.


Texas does it big,  like this 47' tall statue called Tex Randall, who was built by the owner of a curio shop in the 1950s to catch the attention of travelers.


And then Texas has some things that are over the top........


Another attention-getter is this dinosaur outside the steakhouse.


I'm not promoting this restaurant, I didn't even go inside.  Now that I think of it, there may have been some interesting things inside also.  The big draw here is that if you can consume a 72 ounce steak for dinner - then the dinner is free.  Of course, there's a time limit  - 1 hour!  The thought makes me a little queasy......  There were all sorts of cars and limos on the property with the restaurant name - check out the steer horns on these.....
  

The restaurant and the signs were moved from Route 66 when the interstate came through.


The sidewalks around this steakhouse had branding marks pressed into the concrete.


How many people have a zebra along with donkeys and cows??  I saw this one while I was driving along....


Yes, Texas is a little bit different...... 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Palo Duro Canyon State Park | Texas


Palo Duro Canyon has been compared to the Grand Canyon by some people.  The big difference is that you're down among the rock formations, instead of standing on the rim.  There isn't really a rim. 

 
The spire in the photo above is at the very end of the formation in the first photo, but it doesn't show on the first photo because it's so massive.
 
Unfortunately, it was mostly very overcast the day I went, so the photos don't seem to be as striking as they usually are.  Light quality does make a difference!
 

 
Toward the late afternoon, the sunny skies appeared, finally.
 
 
 
The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was here in the 1930s and helped build the roads through the park.  This chimney is a remnant of the village where the workers lived.
 
 
In the visitor center, a room is set aside for exhibits on the CCC, this jukebox got my attention!
 

Since this is Texas, they do things in a big way.  These flood gauges were all through the park.  It must have rained quite a bit the previous day, because I had to drive through some wet spots in the road.  This area is all red rock and soil, so the standing water was all reddish.  Unfortunately, it got on the truck and caked on before I got a chance to hose it down.  It took me well over an hour to get all the mud of.  The wheel wells were the worst and I was a bit soggy when I finished.

 

 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Jack Sizemore | RV Museum | Amarillo | Texas

 
This is the RV that was in the Robin Williams' movie "RV" and it was made in 1948 it's called a Flxible.  And that's the way the spelled it on the sign.
 
 
Probably the oldest one in the collection is this car camper - the back opens up as you'll see in the photo following.
 

 
Family Motor Coach of 1976.
 
 
Jack is the man who purchased these vehicles and restored them.  His business is, of course, selling RVs and parts.  I got a few parts from him and the price wasn't outrageous like some places are.
 
 
Whoever owned this rig certainly did lots of traveling - in many areas of the world. 
 

From 1936.

 
They had pop-ups back in the 1930s.
 

VW vans really got some camping experience.

 
Truck campers are quite popular now, and this is one of the last of these made in 1970.
 

I have seen something similar to this next one - the entire top half of the trailer slides down (see the wheel in the front) so it's half the height while traveling.


I didn't get inside this one, but they say it's the oldest Airstream, called the Torpedo, from the 1930s.

 

A cute little trailer, and they're starting the make new "retro" ones similar to this.

 

Everyone knows airstream.
 
 
 
For the bike enthusiast, there were some shiny models of all kinds and ages.
 




 
 
 
 
Including this one from the early 1900s - with a sidecar on the left side.  The sign says it's one of two that were known to exist, so obviously quite rare.
 
 
Harley Davidson from 1942, used in World War II.
 
 
Just for fun, they had some nostalgia items that weren't RV related.