Today we completed our trek across Texas, mostly on secondary roads until we were just short of the Louisiana state line where we picked up I-10 again.
A couple on recumbent bikes … they dont' look all that comfortable and are awfully low to the ground
Photo on a TX-6 bridge support on TX-105
We thought they were exticnt
If nothing else, Texas is the American Flag and BBQ
Lots of police on the road, perhaps because it is the first of the month
A really old motorhome
You gotta love the names of some of the towns in rural Texas!
It's building looks like it hasn't been used in decades
Sour Lake, Texas; the birthplace of Texaco with the Spindletop oil discovery in 1901 and birth in 1903 of the petroleum company.
In far east Texas, the trees reminded us of New England
A novel way to display the Pledge of Allegience
Frog City RV Park … with no frogs for miles around
Never let be said that RVing is boring. About 8:00 PM this evening, our "shore" power went out. We quickly discovered that it was not us, or even the whole park, which went dark … but something "blew" outside and also darkened a local gas station and nearby hotel.
As there was a slight breeze and it was still daylight we decided to sit outside … and saw some beautiful sunset clouds (we'd have missed if the power had stayed on).
About an hour later we watched as the gas station lights suddenly came to life, immediately followed by the power in our RV park. Thankfully, we'll have a/c this evening which will make Debbie very happy … and a "Happy Wife is a Happy Life!"
This afternoon we toured the presidential miseum of our 41st president, George Herbert Walker Bush.
Two of many flags which line the Barbara Bush Drive entrance road
After watching a short movie on the life of the president, common at most of the presidential museums, we began our trip through the museum.
Most of the details about the President’s limo are classified, which makes sense since all work done on the cars is supervised by the Secret Service and no one without proper credentials can get too close to it. All ground services involving the limousine are arranged by the U.S. Army.
Still, it is known that the limo, affectionately nicknamed “the Beast”, has bullet proof windows as thick as telephone books, and bullet proof tires; if they are shot at there are wheel inserts which keep the limo driving. There is a remote starter with a bomb detector, self-healing fuel tank, a supplemental supply of oxygen, and layers of Kevlar under the car’s sheet metal from top to bottom.
Today’s Secret service is authorized by law to protect the President, Vice President, the President-elect and the Vice President-elect and their immediate families; former Presidents and their spouses’ children of former presidents until age 16; visiting heads of foreign states or governments; and major Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates.
President George’ Bush’s code name was “Timberwolf” and the First Lady’s code name was “Tranquility”.
George Bush's Parents and Family
Barbara Bush's Parents and Family
George Bush's Youth
Family had a huge impact on George Bush, as evidenced by a reference to it in his 1989 Inaugral Address.
Circa 1940 Jutebox
World War II
Radio similar to the one the Bush family heard the news of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
When Pearl Harbor was attacked, Bush, then seventeen and still in school, decided to enter the Navy. Six months later, having graduated from Phillips Academy, he entered the Navy on his eighteenth birthday and began preflight training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His training took ten months and when he finished his training he was commissioned as an ensign in the naval reserve. Still only eighteen, he was the youngest naval aviator in the Navy.
After flight training, Bush was assigned to Torpedo Squadron (VT-51), based on USS San Jacinto (CVL-30)
In spring 1944. San Jacinto was part of a task force that participated in operations in the Marianas in June 1944.
Some of his first missions were flying torpedo runs in crucial operations against Marcus and Wake Islands. Later, he was also flew in missions in the Marianas. It was while returning from one of these runs, on June 19, 1943, that he experienced a forced water landing. Ensign Bush was rescued by another ship, though the plane was not recovered. He was credited with sinking a small cargo ship along with another pilot during these missions.
On August 1, 1943, Bush was promoted to Lieutenant First Grade. The USS San Jacinto then began attacking the Japanese in the Bonin Islands. The plane he was flying was a Grumman-built TBM Avenger
Lt. Bush''s Avenger
Flight jacket, and helmet similar to the one worn by George Bush. This was donated by his flight instructor
TBM Avenger Pilot Seat and Paracute
This operation went on for some time. On September 2, 1944, Bush piloted one of the four planes that attacked Chi Chi Jima.
Photo of Bush's carrier launch for this mission
The Japanese fired back using anti-aircraft missiles. His plane was hit, and his engine caught on fire. Despite this, he and his crewmates managed to complete the attack run, and their shots scored several direct hits that did immense damage. He flew out several miles, and then he bailed out. The two other crewmen on the plane were killed in action, one dying when his parachute didn't open. Bush waited several hours in an inflatable raft, while Japanese boats were on their way to capture him. However, other military planes circled over Bush in order to protect him, until a submarine named USS Finback
rescued him. Bush stayed on the sub for a month, and helped to rescue other pilots, before being delivered to Midway.
Lt Bush's recollection on his shootdown and rescue.
Throughout 1944, Bush flew a total of 58 combat missions. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross
He completed his studies and graduated in just 2½ years
Geroge Bush' First Baseman's Glove from his years at Yale. During his presidency, he kept it in a drawer of his Oval Office Desk
Arrival of his first son, George W. Bush
1947 Studebaker which took George and Barbara to Texas
George and Barbara's first home in Texas
After graduation, his father's business connections proved useful as he ventured into the oil business, starting as an oil field equipment salesman for Dresser Industries. While working for Dresser, Bush lived in various places with his family: Odessa TX; Ventura, Bakersfield and Compton, CA; and Midland, TX. According to his eldest so, George W. Bush, then age two, the family lived in one of the few duplexes in Odessa with an indoor bathroom, which they "shared with a couple of hookers"Bush started the Bush-Overbey Oil Development company in 1951 and in 1953 co-founded the Zapata Petroleum Company
In 1954 he was named president of the Zapata Offshore Company, a subsidiary which specialized in offshore drilling.
Bush's Political Career
Bush's career in politics began in 1963 when he was elected chairman of the Harris County Republican Party. The following year, he ran against the incumbent Democrat in the race. He presented himself as a young Conservative Republican in contrast to the aging liberal Democrat Yarborough. He campaigned against civil rights legislation pending before Congress, stating that he believed it gave too much power to the federal government. Bush lost the election 56% to 44%,though he did outpoll Republican presidential nominee Barry Goldwater, who lost by an overwhelming margin toLyndon Johnson.
In 1966, Bush was elected to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives winning 57 percent of the ballots cast in a race against Democrat Frank Briscoe, who was the district attorney of Harris County.Bush was the first Republican to represent Houston in the U.S. House.
His voting record in the House was generally conservative. He voted for the Civil RIghts Act of 1968, although it was generally unpopular in his district. He supported the Nixon Administation's Vietnam policies, but broke with Republicans on the issue of birth control, which he supported.Despite being a first-term congressman, Bush was appointed to the powerfu House Ways and Means Committee where he voted to abolish the military draft. He was elected to a second term in 1968.
Ambassador to the United Nations (1971–1973)
Following his 1970 loss, Bush was well known as a prominent Republican businessman from the "Sun Belt", a group of states in the Southern part of the country. Nixon noticed and appreciated the sacrifice Bush had made of his Congressional position, so he appointed him Ambassador to the United Nations. He was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, and served for two years, beginning in 1971.
When I turned my back, Debbie managed to sit down with the Ambassador!
Chairman of the Republican National Committee (1973–1974)
Amidst the Watergate scandal, Nixon asked Bush to become chairman of the Republican Naitonal Committee. Bush accepted, and held this position when the popularity of both Nixon and the Republican Party plummeted.He defended Nixon steadfastly, but later as Nixon's complicity became clear, Bush focused more on defending the Republican Party, while still maintaining loyalty to Nixon. As chairman, Bush formally requested that Nixon eventually resign for the good of the Republican party.
Envoy to China (1974–1975)
President Gerald Ford appointed Bush to be Chief of the U.S. Liason Office in the People's Republic of China.
Since the United States at the time maintained official relations with the Republic of CHina on Taiwan and not the People's Republic of China, the Liaison Office did not have the official status of an embassy and Bush did not formally hold the position of "ambassador", though he unofficially acted as one. The 14 months that he spent in China were largely seen as beneficial for U.S. China Relations.
Director of Central Intelligence (1976–1977)
In 1976 Ford brought Bush back to Washington to become Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
He served in this role for 357 days, from January 30, 1976, to January 20, 1977.The CIA had been rocked by a series of revelations, including those based on investigations by the Church Committee regarding illegal and unauthorized activities by the CIA and Bush was credited with helping to restore the agency's morale. In his capacity as DCI, Bush gave national security briefings to President Jimmy Carter both as a presidential candidate and as president-elect, and discussed the possibility of remaining in that position in a Carter administration.
Bush ran for the 1980 presidential nomination but finished second to Ronal Reagan. He then accepted Reagan's offer to run as his Vice President, a position he held for eight years.
The Ultimate Prize
In 1988, George Bush ran for and was nominated as the GOP's presidential candidate which he won in a landslide.
The pinnacle of George Bush's presidency was his putting together a multi-national coallition for the liberation of Kuwait to evict Saddam Hussein trom Kuawit
Patriot (l) and and Scud (r) missles
Abrams M1A1 Tank (full scale model)
George H.W. Bush was a one-term president. Because of this, his accomplishments are often overlooked or minimized. However, he undertook many actions, especially in the area of foreign policy.
His most important foreign policy accomplishments were:
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany
The collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War
The First Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm
Important domestic policy achievements include:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (1990)
The Clean Air Act (1990)
The Bush White House
Finally, someone you can trust in the Oval Office!
There were "windows" under the White House facade through which we could look into the following rooms.
State Dining Room
Bush Era Dinner Plate
Section of the Berlin Wall
Bush's Phone Diplomacy
Bush's Secure Phone
The 1992 Election
American presidential election, 1992
Andre V. Marrou
James “Bo” Gritz
Lenora B. Fulani
Peace and Freedom
Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.
James Mac Warren
A tribute to Barbara Bush on her passing earlier this year
Included are a pair of George Bush's socks recognizing her charitable works
Some of the Hundreds of White House Gifts
(as with many other exhibits, the gifts are on display behind glass, causing distracting reflections)
George Bush's 28' cigarette boat which he kept at the family home in Kennebuckport, ME
George Bush's Famous Sock Collection
Jumping out of Damaged and Perfectly Good Airplanes
Parachute and helmet George Bush Used in Recent Jumps
USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77)
The ultiamte honor: USS George H.W. Bush (CVN-77) is the tenth and final Nimitz-class supercarrier.
Overall: 1,092 feet
Waterline: 1,040 feet
Overall: 252 feet
Waterline: 134 feet
Maximum navigational: 37 feet
After leaving the museum, we walked around the grounds.
President George H. W. Bush
Sculpture; "The Day the Wall Came Down"
Walkway blocks acknowleging donors to the Library & Museum – this one recognizing former first lady Lady Bird Johnson
A quote from President Bush's Inaugral Speech
Presidential "Catch and Release" Pond
Bush Family Burial Plot
Seen are the graves of Barbara Bush (r) and their daughter Robin (l)
We both agree that this was one of the better of the 13 presidential libraries and museums (we've now visited 12) administered by the National Park Service … in part as it effectively covers the extraordiinary life of George H.W. Bush as a person as much as trying to bolster his political legacy … and the emphasis on Barbara Bush and her many commitments to learning, charitable causes and the less fortunate.
Leaving Fort Stockton early this morning …under a nearly full moon,
the Texas landscape was pretty non-descript, although with more vegetarion than many of the areas west of the city. However, the morning sun made some initial photography a bit challenging.
One of many groups of wind turbines located on flat-topped mesas
There is a clear deliiation between the limestone on the bottom and sandstone laid down at a later date.
All along I-10, we see isoolated homes, miles and miles from neighbors, stores, medical facilities or even gas stations
A pair of white cattle
Winds were out of the southeast at up to 12 MPH
While sheltered when driving through cuts in the rocks to make way for the road, when leaving such sheltered areas we often get "slammed" from the side making driving a challenge, particularly if there is a semi trying to pass at the same time.
Our dogs would never have stayed put in the back of any open truck!
Horses, of course … and of different colors
A long stretch of paving limited travel to a single lane
More roadwork, this time to repair a damage guard rail
We were by this couple before we had a chance to stop to see what type of trouble they might be experiencing
Nineteen miles beyond Junction, TX (where we'd originally planned to stay before changing our travel plans) we eixted I-10 for the first time since leaving California on on to US-290, a pretty and surprisingly better road than we'd aticipated.
Passing through Harper, a Lutheran church steeple dominated the skyline
and a Baptist church was notable by its lack of a steeple
while most ot the rest of the town had a distinctly "western" ambience.
Daily, we continue to pass dozens, and sometimes hundreds of RVs … Class As, Class Bs, Class Cs, Fifth-wheels, Travel Trailers, Truck Campers and Pop-up campers (below).
We found a great spot to pull off for lunch, which Debbie makes before we leave each morning.
Back on the road, we drove through the town of
Yes, this is the city's hospital
Leaving the town, we passed a monument to the Texas Rangers
We also passed dozens of ranches … with only their entrance gates visible
amd many of the 53 wineries
in Texas Hill Country …
most offering "free tastings".
Other items of interest …
Entering Johnson City, most notable as the location of LBJ's Ranch
We considered taking a tour of the Johnson Ranch but we have had three long days on the road and after visiting the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library adn Museum tomorrow, we've another 1,200 miles we'd like to cover in just four days.
Leaving Las Cruses, we discovered near non-stop cattle feed lots between our campground and the Texas border.
There was also an used item outlet which seemed to advertise it sold everything people might want but may not need.
About 20 minutes into today's trip,
Replacing the feed lots along the I-10 corridor were brightly painted malls.
As mentioned in the past, we always keep our eyes on the winds as they can affect driving safety. Fortunately, they didn't look as if they'd be a problem today.
Many overhead signs warned drivers about leaving children and pets in unattended vehicles.
The drive through El Paso was a slalom course of road construciton, although even with the many barriers, the road was in better shape than when we were here several years ago. However, slow-moving, over loaded vehicles were still in evidence.
Immediately to our right (south) we could see Ciudad Juárez
in between which the fence separating the Unidted States and Mexico was clearly visible.
Before leaving the outskirts of the city, we passed a building whose messages seemed to be a bit of an oxymoron.
Before I forget … yes, there were many decorated bridges and sound barriers throughout the length of I-10 in El Paso which made Debbie wonder why those back home can't be made more attractive.
There was also an attractive sculpture.
Then the landscape changed dramnatically.
The police were still out there
Passing several agricultural fields, Debbie spotted a crop duster pilot at work.
A number of miles later, we reached a broder inspection station. It was interesting that the commerical trucks were directed into one lane and all other vehicles into another.
This is the inspector who spoke to us, asking just two questions: "How many people are in the vehicle?" and "Are you both U.S. citizens?" Then, "Have a good day."
The two agents apparently checking the trucks were just chatting and dirinking water. All we could figure out is that perhaps their concern has to do with non-commerical trucks
Continuing east …
One of many abandoned RVs apparently used in the past as a homestead
Just a hundred yards up the road from the prior breakdown
While much of the landscape is relatively to very flat,
there are occasional hills through which the road bed was cut.
Where blasting was required the exposed rock faces were often both colorful and even artistic.
As happened yesterday, we passed a lone walker miles from any town
The first evidence of oil production we've seen in since leaving California
Not even sure this walker had any any interest in the breakdown
Occasionally, we got the uneasy feeling we were being watched.
With temperatures topping at 100o, we discarded concern about one of the signs we repeatedly saw along the road.
We spotted several dust devils … most of which dissipated as quickly as they appeared
With our RV repairs seemingly behind us, we were finally able to "escape" the blistering heat of Chandler and the Phoeniz area this morning as we headed for Tuscon
and then on east to New Mexico. Today turned out to be the first day since we entered California on July 3rd that we have not seen temperatures above the 100o mark!
Who remembers John Wayne's movie "Rooster Cogburn"?
This base also serves as a boneyard for discarded commerical airplanes. If we were not committed to a schedule to get back East, we'd have stopped here and other places along the way. Other places we wish we'd had time to visit included
Friends and family helping with a move
There seemed to be police everywhere. Fortunately, we tend to travel well below the posted speed limits
As we travel, we always keep an eye on the weather and winds. Flags
are frequenly a much better bellweather of the wind direction and speed than reports we can pull off the internet on our phones while traveling.
The landscape through which we passed today varied wilidly … with the flat and mostly barren land between Phoenix and Tucson, becoming more rolling as we began heading more easterly
Terraced banks where hillsides had been blasted to makeway for the Interstate
Suddenly, out of nowhere, huge boulders akin to the landscape of Carefree, AZ
Note how small the mother and child look
Then more flat land with green vegetation in the distance.
Looking beyond the sand the vision of a large lake was nothing more than a mirage
This fellow walking in 90o heat with a pack and guitar had many, many miles before reaching the next town.
Both in and around the Phoenix area and frequently along I-10 across southern Arizona were warnings concerning high winds
One of the most incredible sights: Monster dust storm sweeps across southern Arizona.
Photo from the Internet
The culprit was a towering dust storm, along the leading edge of a vigorous thunderstorm complex, known as a haboob. Arizonans not only dealt with dust but also hurricane-force wind gusts, hail and torrential rain.
We have experienced only one such event many years ago when approachign Phoenixx from the south. Fortunately, the zero visibility period lasted for only about five minutes. When that happened, we pulled over and put our hazard flashers on. What we've learned since is that what you should do is:
Pull over to the shoulder, stop and put your vehicle in Park.
Take your foot off the brake.
Do NOT put your flahsers on as someone still driving through such low or near zero visilility might take brake lights or flashers as being a drive on the road ahead of them … and drive right into the parked vechicle.
There were more unhappy speeders,
a one-horse trailer,
others apparently relocating,
an Amtrak train passing a long freight train heading in the opposite direction
and the Continental Divide.
We stopped at an overlook just west of Las Cruses
where a large Roadrunner scupture dominated the landscape
before crossing a "muddy" Rio Grand River
and then reaching a really pretty Hacienda RV Resort for the evening.
During our seven hours on the road, Debbie was able to capture the creative artwork on many bridges
and a couple of decorative sound barriers
many of which I missed while driving.
This evening, we watched the setting sun, not spectacular, but still pretty.
I was up by 5:30 AM this morning for a call back home to Brian who gaciously agreed to locate and ship our spare step motor to us for delivery tomorrow morning … hopefully!
After the call I went outside to read and was treated with a wonderful pre-dawn sky.
Bill, the local mobile RV repair man, was right on time and confirmed that problem we were having with our steps was the motor. More specifically, it was the nylon gears which are apparently stripped. Thus, having my spare already enroute with FedEx was a prudent decision.
Debbie went to lunch with her firend Jane while I worked on sorting, culling, labeling and filing photos.
Tonight, another golden sunset.
The sky held another treat this evening … the moon together with both Mars and Saturn visible with the naked eye.
Hopefully, FedEx will come through and my step motor will be here as scheduled by 10:30 AM so Bill and I can install it and Debbie and I can plan to be back on the road by Saturday morning.
This morning we unhooked our utilities and got ready to drive back to Earnhardt Ford
so they could install the newly fabricated air conditioning line and recharge our compressor.
The BAD news is that, without warning, the steps, which we use to enter and exit our motorhome suddely started making a grinding noise and would not fully extend or retract.
After some consideration, we decided that they would not extend while driving so we got the coach to the Ford Dealer, where we were told that it might take all day to to complete the work due to their service shop's back-up.
We then retured to Kneaders where I indulged in a massive
and Debbie had a "to-kill-for" lemon drop pastry. Fortunately the restaurant was relatively empty so we killed time over several cups of coffee. Meanwhile, we had decided to go see a movie. After a stop a Marshalls where we did some clothes shopping … and I bought some lightweight shirts and shorts … we returned to the the AMC theater to watch
The previews were still running when I got a call and was told our RV was eady to be picked up. So, after what turned out to be a much better movie than I'd anticipated we returned picked up our coach and were further surprised when thebill for the work came in 25% lower that the quote initially given to us.
After returning our motorhome to the RV park where we've been staying we drive to a Campiong World (RV store) in Mesa to pick up a a few items. We were disappointed to see a number of tattered flags.
Meantime, we'd contacted a mobile RV service mechanic who can stop by tomorrow to see if our steps can be reparied or whether a new motor will be needed. If so, it was beginning to look like we migh tbe "stranded" here in Chandler into next week … when the temperatures are supposed to ease to the low 100o level and the annual Monsoom rain are slated to start.
Then it occurred to me there was some GOOD news … I have a spare motor for our motorhome's steps!
The BAD news is that it is my garage in Pennsylvania (up until this trip I had it stowed in the basement of our coach but the decided, I'll never need it so took it our and left it at home)!
However, the GOOD news is that our neighbor, Brian, has volunteeered to retrieve the mechanism and FedEx it to us for delivery on Friday morning, albeit the cost to overnight it will nto be cheap!
Arriving back at Sue Ann and Bob's for dinner, we noticed the temperature had reached
By the time we returne to our motorhome for the evening, however, it had cooled to 103o.
Rising early again and with the temperature still hovering in only the mid-80os I grabbed my morning orange juice and book, Ron Chernow's excellent and nearly 800-page tome "Alexander Hamilton" and read for nearly an hour in the shade of our motorhome.
About that time Debbie joned me … with two cups of steaming coffee. We sat outside until close to 7:30 when the heat induced us back inside our air conditioned coach.
Shortly thereafter, we heard rumbles of thunder off to the east.
Suddenly, a dark cloud appeared and lingered directly overhead,
producing an extremely brief shower … although clear blue skies were visible toward the horizon in all directions.
Later on we met up with Robert and Sue Ann at the local
for the 10:00 AM showing of
In which Chris Pratt's Character, Owen Grady, and his "pet" Velociraptor from mthe first Jurrasic World film, Blue, played major roles.
Then the four of us had lunch at Kneaders Bakery and Cafe.
Back in the car the temperature was reading a staggering
Fortunately, that was not the air temperature but caused by a combination of the ambient temperature and the heat rising from the blacktop beheath our vehicle.
We then went back to Bob and Sue Ann's house for the afternoon and where Debbie was also able to get our laundry done.
Late this afternoon we got a call from the Ford dealer which is having our damaged dash air conditioning line fabricated to let us know the part was in. Hopefully, they can complete the repairs and recharge the a/c condenser by the end of the day tomorrow. If so, we will plan to get back on the road and continue our eastward trip on Thursday morning.
Tonight's 8:00 PM temperature is at 108o, with tomorrow's forecast of record-setting high (north of 116o) and morning low (89o) temperatures.