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Adventures in the Villa

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pjtaia

2022-11-03 to 22-11-07 Borrego Springs, CA, and home to Redlands, CA…

We are attending the regular November Rally of the Airstream Club. All day Thursday and Friday the Airstreams pulled in to the RV park and we soon had about 35 rigs attending…

This is a nice park, with concrete pads and the weather is beautiful. Only downside is that this tree totally blocked my satellite dish, so I had to connect to park cable; this is always sub-optimal…

Mornings typically start with coffee provided by the rally host. mid-day we walked, chatted with neighbors, read, and, on Saturday, watched College Football!

Evenings found us gathered in the Rec Room for Happy Hours or Dinner…

But Monday eventually came, and we headed home…

It’s about 60 miles of driving through the desert still before we get back to civilization…

We arrived at the RV storage lot in Mentone Beach, parked the Airstream, loaded all our stuff into the truck and drove home to Redlands, where we unloaded all our stuff into the house…

After greeting our son and the dog the first thing I wanted to see was the wine cellar… The past 7 weeks were the busiest delivery season for the wine industry. Sixteen boxes awaited me. (and 7 more boxes arrived in the next 3 days…)

So we are home. 51 days and 5,700 miles…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

Next adventure: San Clemente State Beach, December 1-6…

2022-11-02 Leaving Deming, NM, traveling Tucson, AZ, 2022-11-03 Leaving Tucson, AZ, traveling to Borrego Springs, CA…

We had a leisurely morning at the campground because we have a relatively short day today…

We pulled out at about 11:00 am and headed west on the 10 towards Arizona.

The desert here is rather bleak and unforgiving, but there are interesting views aplenty…

We crossed over into Arizona eventually…

Arizona views are not that much different than those in New Mexico…

We exited the freeway in Tucson. We are visiting old Airstream friends who we met in Chula Vista, CA. They used to be “full-timers”, but they sold their Airstream and moved to a lovely house in the hills above Tucson…

On our way up the hill we passed a military base. There were literally hundreds of moth-balled airplanes sitting adjacent to the road. This went on for about a mile…

We continued up into the hills… after sharing a bottle of wine in their home we went out to dinner at a local “foodie” restaurant…

After dinner we retired to the Villa for the night.

Thursday, November 3…

We have a long day today. We headed out at 5:05 am…

Yes, it was dark, and these Tucson roads are bumpy…

After passing through a torrential downpour that caused freeway traffic to slow to 30 mph, we finally saw the light…

Arizona’s famous Saguaro cactus… These cacti live to be over 100 years old BEFORE they grow their branches…

We soon arrived at the Promised Land…

The bridge over the Colorado river…

We continued across the desert…

It has been more than 7 weeks since we have eaten Mexican food… (We rarely ever go to a Mexican restaurant outside California… too many BAD experiences…) So we stopped at Carmelita’s in Borrego Springs…

After lunch we drove the two short miles to the RV park and met up with our Airstream Club friends.

Happy Hours ensued; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2022-11-01 Leaving Marfa, TX, traveling to Deming, NM.

We are ready to leave the Marfa Yacht Club. The sunrise was great…

Here you can see a distant oil well burning off natural gas… These are ubiquitous around these parts of the Permian Basin…

As we left the RV park we passed the Prada store in Marfa…

Well, not really. This is a “sculpture”, a life size piece of art… It’s located out on the highway…

We passed a variety of views…

We did see this UFO…

It appears to be some sort of weather balloon tethered adjacent to a radar station…

We encountered some traffic driving through El Paso, then we arrived in Deming, NM. We chose a budget RV park, but Lynda reports they have the fastest, best, and cheapest laundry machines she has ever encountered…

Happy Hours ensued. An enjoyable time was had by all…

2022-10-31 Marfa, TX.

We have an entire day to spend in Marfa. After a leisurely morning we drove into town (2 miles) and found The Sentinel. It’s either a newspaper supported by a Cafe, or a Cafe that sends all its profits to a newspaper…

We stopped in for Lunch…

It’s a great space in an old adobe building… Inside we can see the steel structure that supports the adobe walls…

Across the street they are building a structure to house artist studios, galleries, and workshops…

We walked around the neighborhood for about an hour. We saw lots of activities going on to support and improve the town…

After we returned to the Villa I looked at the other structures here at the Marfa Yacht Club…

This appears to be a residence…

This is the pool… Closed for the season…

This is another residence…

We invited the occupants of our two neighboring Airstreams to join us for Happy Hours. We always have lots of fun playing Airstream Bingo, finding common things among our new friends…

The skies were threatening, and we saw many flashes of lightning… Or were they the “Marfa Lights”???

An enjoyable time was had by all…

This being Halloween, you can see bonus photos of our grandchildren…

2022-10-30 Leaving Abilene, TX, traveling to Marfa, TX.

We left Abilene early. We have a long day today, driving to Marfa, TX.

While I napped Lynda visited the Visitor Center; they had a large exhibit about the area…

Apparently there was a large bomber base built nearby during WWII; it was decommissioned many years ago. However, during its construction several rattlesnake dens were unearthed, arousing thousands of hibernating rattlesnakes…

There is also a large meteor crated in nearby Odessa, as well as a giant failed oil tank that leaked…

We turned south at Pecos, TX, and continued through the Texas wilderness…

We passed through the “town” of Balmorhea…

Apparently, Balmorhea was a thriving farm town 50 years ago… Cotton was thriving and many families had a good life here. However, in the 1970s, as the cost of energy soared, the cost to bring up water from 300′ deep wells made the farms unprofitable, and, as you can see, the town died…

We continued south…

We stopped to see an historical marker… (stopping and walking across the street was not a problem…)

This canyon was an old trail, called Wild Rose Pass, due to the wild roses…

We didn’t see wild roses, but some prankster left a few plastic roses…

We continued through this lovely area…

We finally arrived at the Marfa Yacht Club…

Marfa Yacht Club is an Airstream-only RV park. There are 9 campsites, all covered with a shade structure. In the summer it can get hot here…

We quickly set up, then we headed into town. Marfa was begun in the 1880s; today most of the buildings have been retored and contain viable businesses, galleries, restaurants, etc…

This is the county courthouse…

You may have noticed a lack of people in town. Well, this is Sunday afternoon, and most things are closed from mid-day Sunday until Thursday. On Friday the tourists begin to show up and it can be quite lively…

Here is the rest of the story:

Donald Clarence Judd (June 3, 1928 – February 12, 1994) was an American artist associated with minimalism (a term he nonetheless stridently disavowed).  In his work, Judd sought autonomy and clarity for the constructed object and the space created by it, ultimately achieving a rigorously democratic presentation without compositional hierarchy. He is generally considered the leading international exponent of “minimalism,” and its most important theoretician through such writings as “Specific Objects” (1964).  Judd voiced his unorthodox perception of minimalism in Arts Yearbook 8, where he says, “The new three dimensional work doesn’t constitute a movement, school, or style. The common aspects are too general and too little common to define a movement. The differences are greater than the similarities.”

He was a successful artist and art critic; he moved from painting to sculpture in the 1960s. In the early seventies Judd started making annual trips to Baja California with his family. He was affected by the clean, empty desert and this strong attachment to the land would remain with him for the rest of his life. In 1971 he rented a house in Marfa, Texas, where he would later buy 16 decaying buildings in Marfa, an entire decommissioned Army base, and over 32,000 acres of ranch land, collectively known as Ayala de Chinati.

The result is a town full of art, attracting visitors from all over the world…

Here is a perfect opportunity to turn an art deco former gas station and auto repair shop into, well, anything you want…

We had a great dinner here at the St. George Hotel… The first nice restaurant we’ve been in since October 10 – three weeks!

The food and service was wonderful. We returned to the villa. An enjoyable time was had by all…

2022-10-29 Leaving Lindale, TX, traveling to Abilene, TX.

After a nice breakfast with our friends we bid a fond farewell and headed west. Destination today is Abilene, TX. It rained all the way…

We passed through Putnam, TX…

Otherwise it was an uneventful drive…

Finally the KOA appeared…

We had quiet Happy Hours. An enjoyable time was had by all…

2022-10-28 Leaving Texarkana, TX, traveling to Lindale, TX.

We have never been to a Waffle House before. So we had to try it. Best reason is that its the only restaurant that we could walk to without crossing the 8 lane highway…

You would think that they would serve their signature meal with real butter… But this is the South…

After breakfast we caught up with the blog, read a little, and watched old sitcoms on TV.

At noon we headed towards Lindale, TX…

It rained most of the way…

We left the interstate and drove through back roads and some small towns… This is Gladewater, TX. Still raining…

Even though these are small two-lane roads with cross streets and driveways the speed limit is still 70 mph…

We soon arrived at our friend’s house in Lindale, TX…

Still raining. Hard…

We backed the Villa as far as possible into their barn/shed to get out of the inevitable hail storm…

We enjoyed an evening of food and wine and friendship…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2022-10-27 Leaving Mountain View, MO. Traveling through Arkansas, and into Texarkana, TX.

We pulled out of the campground at 6:30 AM. Best time of the day to be driving… Dark, but hints of light in the east, no traffic, and it always feels good to get an early start to the day.

After it got light we enjoyed the last of the Missouri autumn colors…

We crossed the boarder into Arkansas. We drove through Salem, AR, enjoying the old stone buildings. However, there wasn’t much else here…

We did stop in Evening Shade, AR. Wasn’t there once a TV sitcom set in Evening Shade? All the locals met in a diner? Well, there are no diners today in Evening Shade. We stopped at a gas station to buy some coffee…

Fall colors in Arkansas are not as dramatic as in Missouri…

We bypassed Little Rock. We spent a few days in Little Rock in 2019, so we did not stop today…

We pulled into a rest stop in Arkadelphia, AR. Yes, that really is a city. I think the city name expresses its love for large primitive boats full of pairs of animals…

And we soon were in Texarkana, TX.

We pulled into the local KOA, did minimal set-up, and happy hours ensued.

We considered going out to dinner, but the only decent restaurant was a BBQ place across an 8 lane highway with no crosswalks in sight… So we stayed in and made a light supper – pizza!

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2022-10-26 Mountain View, Missouri – Final Day of the Caravan

We set out this morning for a long drive to tour the Timber Charcoal Plant…

We see lots of industry and businesses alongside the road on our travels, and we rarely know what they are…

This is the Timber Charcoal Plant…

It has rained for the past 24 hours, and the sawdust covered dirt parking lot stuck to my truck’s tires…

The plant uses waste product from lumber mills. This is wood recently brought in from a mill that makes pallets, so all the scraps are about four feet long. It is all hardwood, usually oak, pecan, hickory…

Our tour was led by the owner, the third generation of his family owning this plant. His nephew works here, making it a 4th generation operation. He mentioned many times how they are not getting rich owning the plant, but all the employees have full health care, retirement plans, and good pay. They set production goals for the week (40 hours of work) and generally they finish by noon on Friday; they all get paid for their 40 hours, and they get to go home early…

When he was asked if his children will take over for him, he equivocated… I got the impression that he wants better things (college, profession) for his children, but he was still proud of what he has accomplished here…

These funny concrete and stucco buildings are the kilns. They burn the wood at about 260 degrees F. This places tremendous stress on the concrete and steel structure…

These giant pipes are part of the air cleaning system. They exhaust the smoke from the kilns and send it to be cleaned, so that air pollution is greatly reduced…

The kiln on the left is under construction – you can see the wood formwork for the concrete…

The roofs of the kilns are reinforced concrete, but the intense heat cracks the concrete and the roof will collapse. Therefore they build a steel exoskeleton atop the kiln to hold up the roof…

Here you can see the rows of kilns with their steel doors…

This kiln is being loaded with wood. The bundles are left with their steel straps on…

The wood will be stacked wall to wall and floor to ceiling…

This is a close-up of the steel door jamb, totally warped by the heat…

Another kiln under construction, steel door frame in place…

This what a fully loaded kiln looks like after it has been burned and cooled. It is about 25% of the original volume.

This plant produced high quality chunk charcoal; sizes will vary… (charcoal briquets use lesser quality charcoal that is mixed with water, paste, and sawdust, then formed into cute little uniform size briquets…) This piece of charcoal is almost 100% carbon…

This shows the steel ceiling supports of the steel exoskeleton above… warped from the heat, but still capable of holding up the roof…

Everything – equipment, buildings, people – are covered with soot… (no photographs of people allowed…)

The finished product, ready to be bagged. Smaller pieces are screened out, larger pieces are broken up…

The charcoal is bagged and the bags are put on pallets. They sell their product to many different resellers, so all the bags are proprietary, and the plant name is not mentioned. That way each brand can claim they are the best, and no one knows that it all comes from the same plant…

Their charcoal is sold to serious home BBQers, competitive BBQers, and professionals, such as BBQ restaurants…

We dusted the soot off our shoes and headed back to the campground…

We stopped for lunch in the town of Eminence…

We had a typical Ozarks lunch with another of our caravan friends…

We relaxed for the rest of the day. Tonight is the Final Banquet of the caravan, held at the campground clubhouse (or Pickin’ Shed, as they call it here in the South…).

The clubhouse is about 1000 yards from most of the Airstreams. Most caravaners chose to drive…

Once inside we had a little entertainment, then our final caravan meal, a nice catered affair…

Then more entertainment… This Final Banquet is a longstanding caravan tradition. In the olden days people dressed up in dinner jackets and formal dresses. We are much more casual today. This is all planned by a committee of caravan volunteers…

After much celebrating we returned to the Villa and an enjoyable time was had by all…

We returned to the Villa. End of Caravan – we depart at 0 dark 30 tomorrow, heading for Texarkana, TX. An enjoyable time was had by all…

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