Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Bayfield Mews progress

We were to Bayfield today to get a few things done. 

One thing was to put the van away for the winter, the end of a memorable summer:

The van in its winter home
We'll be settling in with our Waterloo daughter and family until our new place at the Bayfield Mews is ready to occupy. There were encouragements today. 

Inside painting is well underway:

Living room, looking out the back

Kitchen area
The flooring tiles were piled up waiting for installation. I forgot to get a picture of the ceramic tile that's going in the hallway and bathrooms, but this is the vinyl plank that will be used everywhere else:

We had to ask that the master bath be repainted, as we didn't like the colour match with the master bedroom.

Our patio slab is poured and looks good:

The target for bringing in appliances is the week of Nov 18. By then the floors and cabinets should be done. The countertops will follow shortly after. It's going to get done!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Back to Ontario - Clinton ON tonight

We had a very pleasant last-day drive home, a cool beautiful fall day. 

A couple of days ago we had lunch at a Cracker Barrel (and leftovers for lunch yesterday). In their store we saw something for a very sweet tooth:

Note there are 2 cups in the pack, total 1 lb!!
Today we stopped by our new place in Bayfield Mews. It's coming along, but slowly. 

Garage door and front window are in, so more-or-less weather-tight now

The back patio area is prepared for the concrete slab, about 12x18 feet

Inside is drywalled but not painted
After a stop for a construction update and mail in Bayfield, we carried on to Clinton where we'll be moochdocking at some friends tonight.

We had a good night last night in yet another Walmart. We decided to find one off the highway, as the last couple have been pretty noisy. One in Angola IN fit the bill, and was a good stop.

Angola is a bit north of Auburn IN, which has been a common stop with us. The Angola Walmart is about 3 miles off the highway though, and no highway noise at all. Maybe because it's so far off the highway, there were no big-rig trucks there, just us and one other camper. You'd still have to stop at Auburn or Lansing for the Cracker Barrel though. 😀

We stuck with I69 from Angola to the Port Huron MI border crossing. Although rough in places, I69 is improved from earlier years, and a straight-forward drive. The border crossing was likely the easiest we've ever had. He only asked one question, "how long were we in the US?". After a few seconds perusing his computer, he waved us on in to Canada.
Today's route:

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Sikeston MO to Angola IN

Another long driving day. It was a pretty day, and lots of tree colours along the way. We didn't stop for pictures today though, we were trying to get north of Ft Wayne to make our last day to home an easy one. See recent posts from The Furry Gnome or The Bayfield Bunch for some great fall colour pictures.

Getting through Indianapolis from I70 eastbound to I69 northbound was an absolute nightmare today! Some recent construction, it didn't seem recent enough to confuse the GPS, but we finally had to turn it off, it was totally lost and confusing us even more. It was about 3pm, and lots of fast traffic didn't help us at all. We did get through ok though in the end. Maybe we should have taken 465?

We'll try hard to not go through Indianapolis again, going or coming. One alternative we've done a time or two is to take US24 west from Ft Wayne, then find a good road to head south to I70 (like US 41), or even take US24 through to I57.

Here's today's map:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Paris TX to Sikeston MO

Yes, another Walmart. We did try a casino about 1/2 hr back. They had a nice RV area, but it was set up for big rigs, with full hookups, concrete parking pads, and $40+ camping fee. We were pretty disappointed with the lack of welcome there. 

It was quite windy most of the day, sometimes squirrely tailwinds, sometimes heavy crosswinds. Along the highway we saw this fellow, and thought it a funny thing for him to do with his outboard:

Amphibious, or jet-assist?
We noticed some round bales along the way with different-coloured wrapping than we're used to:

Turns out they are cotton bales! We've never really seen cotton baled except in old movies, and that looked a lot different:

The bales are huge, 8 bales was a common truckload

The bale ends must be 8 ft across, much larger than our usual hay bales

We did see some baling in progress, but too far away for pictures, especially on busy I55. Instead of the collection operation I showed yesterday, these combines suck in the cotton from the plants, and spit out these bales when full (or not full, for the last bale in a field). This saves quite a bit likely, no second tractor etc for field transfers. If you're interested, here's a link (click Here) to a short Youtube video of a John Deere baler that looks like what we saw in the distance.

Here's a map of today's travels. We took the blue route, almost all Interstates. Hwy82->I30->I40->I55. We're just reversing the common winter route south:

Monday, October 21, 2019

Youkum CountyTX to Paris TX

It was a pretty full travel day today. We thought we might make it to Texarkana, but came up short. We're at the Walmart in Paris TX, having mostly followed Hwy 82 east.

We trekked through a lot of West Texas in the morning. Besides periodic groups of oil-pumping rigs, we were surprised at the extent of the cotton fields. Thousands of acres that we could see from the road. Most of it is irrigated to grow, likely with Ogallala aquifer water. All the pictures we have today relate to cotton.

Mature cotton plants, ready for harvest

Part of the huge cotton field

An older-model cotton harvester

Each tooth combs a row

A newer model harvester at work

Preparing to dump the harvester hopper into the pickup wagon

The hopper swings up and out, dumping the cotton bolls into the wagon

Then they part company for a while

And the harvester carries on around the field

You can likely see the lighter-coloured where the harvester is working, and the darker area in the foreground? The lighter-coloured area is irrigated by a huge circular-orbiting sprayer, and the darker plants are outside the watering. Much less cotton on the non-irrigated plants.

The cotton is planted and harvested in the same arc as the irrigation sprayer, so the harvester goes round and round following the circular rows.

Here's a map of today's travel:


Sunday, October 20, 2019

New Mexico to Yoakum County TX, starting towards home

About 9am today, we decided to start home. That won't surprise some of you at least. 😃  It sounds like a decent weather window for heading north.

There's the odd Texas longhorn around, even though this is New Mexico:

You Southwest travellers will no doubt recognize this bird:

The Roadrunner is in a rest area just west of Las Cruces NM, only accessible from the eastbound lanes of I10. The rest area itself is gorgeous, and an award-winner:

There are a number of these gorgeous stone shelters

As we crossed to Alamogordo NM, the famous White Sands started showing up. The sand is really gypsum, but behaves like sand, complete with wind-blown dunes:

Here's a use for all those wine corks you might be saving. This was at the World's Largest Pistachio Nut farm at the north end of Alamogordo NM:

It's an exciting drive from Alamogordo to Cloudcroft NM at 8,600 ft elevation, lots of climbing and sharp curves, easier with the van than with an Airstream trailer in tow (right J&C?):

Some beautiful colours along the way
We were surprised to see hundreds of these pumping rigs east of Artesia NM. I think they were mostly natural gas, since they had compressing stations periodically:

 These went on for literally 50 miles or so along the highway, and most times as far back from the highway as we could see. It sure smelled like an oil patch.

Tonight we're camped (for free, so far) in the Yoakum County park, where a large birthday party was in progress:

There's even several electric hookups, although we didn't connect to one tonight.

Here's the travel map for today:

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Day trip to Columbus NM and Pancho Villa state park

Sunset from our site

Today we took a trip further south to have a look at the town of Columbus, and the Pancho Villa state park there. It gets really close to the Mexican border, and several people have recommended we park on the U.S. side and walk over, mostly to tour the Pink Store. We decided against doing that, but enjoyed the tour on the US side.

The first thing that surprised us was seeing fields of cotton. Live and learn, we thought it would be too dry in this area:

We also saw fields of red peppers growing, not such a surprise. We also saw truckloads of the peppers coming across from Mexico. It's pepper harvest time:

The Pancho Villa park was nice, but we like the views where we're camped now. The stonework in the picnic tables at PV was pretty special:


Along the highway we noticed  an odd stretched-out building. It looks like "cottages" associated with a small airport. I guess owners can fly in and stay for a while. Very private place:

Some of the cottages. Villas? Interconnected with covered walkways.

At the top of the arch is a stylized airplane

Except for the odd storm moving through, the days here are lovely. Low 20's C during the day (about 70F), down to about 10C / 48F at night. 

Later in the afternoon we took a hike around the edge of the campground:

On the path

Looking over part of the campground

A number of residences in the next valley over


Back at the campsite, we noticed a visitor passing through. Apparently these tarantulas are quite timid and can be trained. Not by us!:

Glowing in the late afternoon sun

Looks quite different in the shade

Today's map:

Pancho Villa State Park is at the bottom of the map, but I couldn't make Google Maps show the name to stay.