Wednesday, January 2, 2008




I had intended to leave today to continue on my trip, but I had forgotten that the Alamo was located in San Antonio. Besides, the hot tub beckoned! However, I hadn’t really counted on having to pay the full price of $35 for the extra night. But, having made my plans for the day, I did.

I am paying today for the hot sauce I ate last night. My digestive system simply can’t tolerate spices any more! And to make matters worse, I stepped on my eyeglasses that have the prescription for working on the computer. They had fallen on the floor, and I didn’t see them when I stepped down from reaching into the cupboard to get some plates.


The city bus stop is right across the road from the RV park, making it very simple to get downtown. The Alamo is located there, and there are all kinds of signs to guide tourists to the

the Alamo Chapel
area. The site itself has been restored to what it looked like in 1836. Thanks to the movie starring John Wayne, it is the most famous spot in Texas where 189 defenders fell to Santa Anna’s army of thousands of soldiers. Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis did their best to hold off the attack, but they were vastly outnumbered, and refused to surrender.

The only original structures of the fort that remain are the Long Barrack and the chapel. The latter is considered a shrine and visitors are asked to treat it as such. No photographs are allowed inside where some of the original fresco can still be seen. The names of every patriot are listed, along with displays of some of the artifacts found there.

Rebuilt Officers Quarters

New Fountain

The aquifer that runs through the site contains koi fish and gardens. At one side, next to the Long Barrack, there is a small courtyard where a very knowledgeable guide gave a lengthy history of the Alamo – who Santa Anna was (a Mexican president who overthrew all the democractic laws that had been set down), why the people defended the Alamo (they declared themselves independent of Mexico as a separate country). And he gave a detailed description of the battle, which really brought the entire experience to life.


Very near the Alamo area, there is a subterranian section of San Antonio, through which the San Antonio River wanders. The locals have turned this into a tourist area, with all sorts of restaurants and souvenir shops bordering the river footpath. If you wish, you can rent a boat to go through this area, just like Venice, Italy!
After wandering around this area, I boarded another bus out to see Mission San Juan, one of the
Detail on Church
oldest missions in Texas, as I understand it. There is the original church, surrounded by a wall, as well as the remains of the area where the priests and visitors stayed.
Just outside the walls is an old mill where the local people brought their corn to be ground. A volunteer demonstrated the process.
After this interesting stop I got back on the bus to return to Travelers Rest RV -- and the hot tub!


I was back on the road again, having left San Antonio to head west to El Paso. This area of Texas is the real “Old West”, with ranches spread out for miles and miles along the highway. There are very few buildings in sight, and the odd head of cattle fenced in. There are fewer and fewer trees to be seen, and more of the sagebrush and cactus. The scenery is becoming hilly – certainly not what I would call mountains, but prominences of maybe a few hundred feet that appear more and more frequently as I move further west.

There seem to be an inordinately large number of deer and antelope killed on this stretch of highway. I suppose it is because it is relatively flat open land, and the animals try to cross. There are many, many tractor transports along this area, and I expect that the animals are primarily killed at night time.

The rest areas have warning signs “Watch for Snakes”, so I’ve been careful with Ripley. Speaking of Ripley, the Linatone is working. She is shedding much less than she was.

The rest areas also feature wireless internet, so that has been a big advantage.

I’ve noticed signs advertising deer feeders and deer corn. To me, who loathes hunting in any event, it seems terribly unsporting to set food out for deer so that the hunters can just stay behind their blinds and wait for the unsuspecting animal to come to the food so they can shoot it without getting out.

In Texas, there are many “game ranches” where hunters pay a lot of money to shoot exotic animals. The animals are often excess zoo stock that are sold in auctions. They are then taken to these ranches where they are put into pens until a hunter comes to shoot them. It is called “sport hunting”, and according to the Standard-Times newspaper, it is a booming business. The article goes on to say “High oil prices are pushing landowners to improve their properties, often with exotic species such as blackbuck antelope, axis deer, eland, fallow deer, kudu, mouflon, elk, aoudad and gemsbok.” “Sportsmen will spend $10,000 and more for a deer hunt.”

The article features a man named Aubrey Lange, who runs a helicopter service. He states that he has killed more than 400 coyotes and more than 400 feral hogs this year from the air. “Helicopters are a wonderful platform for shooting, Kyle (Aubrey’s son) said, adding that pig hunting grows in significance as land owners seek to protect fawns as well as property values.“

On an entirely different note, the same newspaper mentions that “Academy Sports & Outdoors gave away 26 bicycles to Reagan Elementary pupils who have perfect attendance and have good citizenship.”

Country music is about all that I can find on the radio, in English. I do like the New Country, but some of the old twanging hurtin’ type of music is too much for me.

I tried my luck with two local lottery tickets, but I was no luckier than I have been back home.

I stopped for the night at the Circle Bar Truck stop in Ozona, Texas, 318 km from my morning departure. Gas is $2.99/gallon. This is a large truck stop, with plenty of parking. At the rear of the property there is a separate building that houses race cars. It seems that the Circle Bar sponsors Rick Crawford. Since I’m not a race car fan, I have no idea who he is, but assume that he is one of the better race car drivers.

There is a Motel 6 attached to the truck stop, but it does not appear to be very busy.


It was very cold last night, and my generator always dies after about an hour’s use. I will have to have it looked at. Ripley and I snuggled under several blankets and were warm as long as we stayed there.

I decided to go into the restaurant for breakfast, mainly because they have wireless internet in there. The breakfast buffet was quite plentiful for $7.37 with coffee, and I enjoyed a Spanish omelet, bacon, biscuit, hash browns and fruit.

As I continued on down the highway, I tried to visualize pioneers and cowboys going up and down the hills, which were gradually increasing in size. The cowboys wouldn’t have much trouble, but I wondered how pioneers with wagons could manage.

The highway is quite clean, and I soon realized why. There are teams of clean-up crews who come along with long-handled grapplers to pick up any garbage at varying parts of the highway.
You don't want to mess with these!

As I drove along, I decided to switch to my own music and listened to CD’s of The Chieftains, Nelly Furtado, Eric Clapton, Josh Groban and Jesse Cook – an eclectic collection, but a nice change from the country music.

There are lots more dead animals on the sides of the road – very disturbing.

I was interested to see that there are many wind turbines in this region. Very appropriate, considering that the winds are very gusty.


I was going along at a pace of 55 mph for many miles and had hoped to get to Fort Stockton or further west today. But the fates had other plans for me. At mile 281 on Highway 10, the engine suddenly started to chug, chug, and then died! The engine would start, I had plenty of gas, but when I put my foot on the accelerator, nothing happened. I tried this several times, just to be sure.

I was thanking my lucky stars that I had taken out the emergency roadside service insurance before I left, and this would be the second time that I used it. BUT, my cell phone indicated that there was no service. I was miles from nowhere and in desperation; I tried to flag someone down to borrow a cell phone. One man did stop and tried to see what was wrong. He couldn’t figure it out, but did check my radiator which was a little low. He added water, but still nothing happened. So, he apologized that he couldn’t help and went on his way. He warned me that I was lucky that I wasn’t in Mexico because it would have been very dangerous for me to have someone stop. He was Mexican himself, so I appreciated the warning, although I really have no intentions of driving in Mexico.

The only number I could call on my cell phone was the emergency number, 911. I did do that and contacted the police and asked them if it was possible for them to call my ERS in Canada. They couldn’t do that, but the person who answered said that she would try to have a patrol car come by.

I tried for some time to flag someone else down, but no one would stop. Eventually, another RV stopped about a quarter mile behind me, and I decided to trudge up there to see if I could borrow their cell phone. They had a busted radiator hose, and they did very kindly lend me their phone to contact my ERS in Quebec. The person who answered took down the information, and promised to call me back. In about 15 minutes she did call back to say that she could arrange for a tow into the town of Fort Stockton – BUT it would cost $500!!! The ERS would pay $250 of that. What choice did I have?? I can’t believe the cost.

Two hours later the tow truck showed up. It was a big rig (necessary for my heavy RV) and the driver’s overalls said his name was “Cornbread”. It took him a bit of time to hook up Philippa and he couldn’t disconnect the drive shaft because the bolts were corroded, so he suggested that I put the RV in neutral for the tow in. Ripley and I climbed into the cab with him for the 25-mile drive to Fort Stockton. By this time it was 4:30 p.m., and I was afraid that the garage would be closed by the time we arrived.

Cornbread told me that he had a pit bull that usually travels with him, but the dispatcher told him I had a dog, so he dropped his dog off on his way. She’s really his daughter’s dog, but he takes her on his runs. I asked him about his nickname, and he admitted that he loves cornbread, but he really got the name because he doesn’t know his own strength and breaks things. I could believe it, as he is a big, burly guy. When I asked him if he knew what might be wrong with my rig, he responded that he thought it was probably the transmission. I really wanted to hear that!!


Eventually we got to Fort Stockton, and I was greeted by a family who also had broken down. Their transmission went as they were traveling from Phoenix to Florida, and it would cost them $10,000 to replace it because it is a very old RV and there are no rebuilt engines anywhere around. The owner of EZ Auto & RV Repair had already left for the day, so I had no choice but to spend the night at the garage, along with this family of eight, who were all squeezed into an RV smaller than mine. Carol Roseman is a retired schoolteacher, as is her husband. They had their son-in-law Charles and various grandchildren (Mike, Curtis, Chris, Lizette and Keith) with them on the trip, and have decided that it would not be worth investing $10,000 in a new engine. They have been here since Wednesday, and are currently negotiating to buy a van to return home to Phoenix, but Carol is hampered by the fact that she can only withdraw $300 each day from the ATM machines here.

We walked over to a nearby Wal Mart to pick up a few groceries, and the three boys who came with us were very helpful in carrying the packages. Ripley was very popular with the younger boys, especially Curtis. She wasn’t so sure about all the attention from this stranger boy.

The tow truck driver had dropped me off right beside the roadway in front of the garage, and the boys offered to push me closer to their rig at the back, for safety. I decided to try driving my RV – and it drove!! I was tempted to just continue on my trip, but that would have been foolish because the same thing might happen again, and I’d be stuck with another huge towing fee. The boys thought that the owner of the garage, Charles Ezell, would be in on Saturday morning, so I resigned myself to spending at least one night there, and hoped that they were right. Otherwise, I could see myself having to spend Christmas here because of the holidays.

To make matters worse, the night was very cold and my generator gave out. Charles (the son-in-law, not the garage owner) checked the oil level, and very kindly walked to a nearby store to buy more oil, as I had run out. The generator still gave out after about an hour.

We each retired to our RV’s for a cold night’s sleep (at least for Ripley and me—with eight people in their rig, they probably were warmer).

I called my brother Carl, just to let him know what had happened. There was nothing he could do to help me, but it was good to be able to vent my frustration.


Under the circumstances, it’s not too surprising that I didn’t sleep well and was up early.

Charles (the son-in-law) had a look at the transmission and felt that the problem was more than like a torque converter, a part which would be much cheaper than a new transmission. He’s not a mechanic, but said that he works on his hotrod at home. Keith tightened the generator mounts (which were shaking) and also cleaned the spark plug on my generator, and it did run a little better – but still died after about an hour.

I decided to bake an angel food cake as a small thanks to this generous family, who were so kind to me. Unfortunately, the bottom was burned. My propane oven is not great.

Nine o’clock came and went and Charles Ezell, the garage owner did not show up. Mike told me that it was his son’s birthday today, so it sure didn’t look very promising.

Meanwhile, Carol had managed to accumulate enough money to purchase the van, and had gone off to collect it. The family started to make preparations to leave, but were forced to leave a lot of their possession behind, as there simply wasn’t enough room for much luggage with eight people in the van, including the grandfather who is in a wheelchair. He had been a teacher of geology before retirement.

My hives have returned on my legs and rear end.

Charles (the son-in-law) offered to move their RV over near mine so that I could plug into their generator, which worked just fine. As they were leaving it behind, he and Carol offered me anything that was in it, from canned goods to a coat, to bedding. I don’t have much extra space, but I did take the coat and canned goods.

Around noon, they were finally ready to leave and asked for my phone number so that they could check on me. They also gave me their address in Phoenix and invited me to drop in on my way through.

After they left, I felt quite bereft. The wind had picked up, the temperature was very chilly, and I envisioned a lonely Christmas sitting in the garage lot, and was considering checking into a nearby Motel 6. As I sat at my computer, working on my blog, around 2:00 p.m. there was a knock on the door. The garage owner, Charles Ezell, had dropped by with his two sons, just to see if the Ransom family had got off, and wondered what I was doing there. I was very, very glad to see him, and I explained my predicament.

Charles had a look and declared that there was nothing wrong with my transmission. The problem was a $25 fuel filter!!! I couldn’t believe it. On November 15th I had a tune-up done at Dennis Automotive back in Florida and expected them to take care of all the things needed. Charles agreed that it was something that they should have replaced, but it was very obvious that the one he took out was old and corroded and had not been touched for quite some time. He charged me $100 total for the labour and part, so this fuel filter ended up costing me $600 in total (towing and repair). Can you imagine how angry and frustrated I felt, but at the same time grateful that I wasn’t facing replacing the transmission? Charles did say that he couldn’t guarantee that the fuel pump might go, but offered to follow me to the edge of town to see whether or not I was able to drive. I had wanted to get a photograph of the 20’ roadrunner
statue that the brochure on Fort Stockton bragged about, so I drove ahead while he closed up his garage. Unfortunately, I accidentally passed the statue while I was looking at the opposite side of the street, and by the time I realized my mistake and turned around, I guess Charles must have come and gone. In any event, I waited for about half an hour before deciding to continue on my trip.

So, I was back on the road about 3:30 p.m., twenty-seven hours after my break-down. At least I wasn’t going to spend Christmas in Fort Stockton, and I tried to put the incident behind me. You can be assured, however, that I will be contacting Dennis Automotive in Florida to complain of their oversight, and possibly get reimbursed. I had considered legal action, but the legal fees would probably be greater than what I might be able to recover. Nevertheless, it sure messed up everything, and caused me a lot of stress.

I pushed myself and drove 409 kms. to the Flying JH Truck Stop near El Paso. It was a cold night again because the generator kept dying.


Ripley and I huddled under blankets and managed to keep warm, but I sure didn’t want to leave the warm bed. After Ripley’s walk I treated myself to a buffet breakfast in the restaurant at the Flying J. My server had a European accent, and I think she may have been from Germany or Austria. She was very cheerful, and I left her a large tip.

My hives have increased, so I took an antihistamine (Aerius); I also had a migraine (surprise, surprise) and took one of my expensive pills.

I was determined to get to Deming, New Mexico today, so ploughed on, after a short stop at a Walgreen’s in El Paso, in order to purchase a gift for the Secret Santa draw planned for Christmas Eve at my destination. I found a small battery-operate water fountain (two for $10) so I got both – one for me and one for the Secret Santa.


Just as I entered New Mexico, I came across a very picturesque visitor center, stopped to give Ripley a walk and to pick up several brochures. There was also a free internet connection, so I took advantage of that to email my brother and sister-in-law that I was no longer stuck at the garage in Fort Stockton, and expected to be in Deming in a few hours.

I passed a border patrol inspection station as I drove into New Mexico. From what I read in a local newspaper, they are constantly on the alert for drug smuggling, as well as illegal aliens. It must be a very difficult job, since the Mexico/US border extends for hundreds of miles.

I passed a large black hawk sitting on a fencepost in this arid region filled with cactus and other desert plants.

Fireworks seem to be a big deal here in the southwest, as I have passed a number of warehouses with huge signs advertising rock bottom prices. I imagine that you can buy a lot of fireworks there that are illegal in Canada!

In some of the regions of the highway there were signs warning of possible dust storms, as the area became more and more hilly. The slope is very gentle, so I didn’t really feel any problem in driving the RV, but I was steadily climbing higher. Deming’s elevation is
4335 feet.


Finally, I arrived at LoW Hi Ranch, four miles south of Deming, my destination for at least the next month. Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-ya) is the current manager. The park is located four miles south of Deming, in a quiet area, and the vista to the east includes a large outcropping in the midst of the desert. The term used by the locals is “cerro”, a Spanish word with which I am very familiar. A cerro is larger than a hill but smaller than a mountain; in Costa Rica, near the Cano Palma Biological Station, the cerro is the only high promontory in the midst of the lowland rainforest, and is used as a marker for boaters in the region.

LoWHi Ranch is owned by five members of Loners on Wheels, and was founded by Edith Lane, who felt there was a need for a park where singles could gather and feel comfortable, rather than being in a park with a bunch of couples. Events are planned around singles, although I have noticed that several people have paired up. This is allowed so long as they don’t travel in the same RV.

View from Low Hi Ranch
The Ranch is not fancy; there is no wi fi, pool or cable TV, but it does have a rec hall, a dial-up internet room and the bunk house which is where the Happy Hour takes place every day at 4:00. There is also a book and movie swap, jigsaw puzzles and games in the bunkhouse, with a wood stove for heat. The park has several cactus gardens, and a fenced-in Bark Park for dogs to play. Off to the west of the main area is the remains of a gravel pit, with trails, and Ripley enjoys being led off leash there so that she can track down rabbits and mice. I took Ripley out there shortly after I arrived, along with a new beach ball. She soon made short work out of it, though biting it so that it deflated.

However, it is much colder here than I had anticipated. In fact, there is a warning in the office to unhook my water hose at night so that it doesn’t freeze.

While I was hooking up, Larry came over to give me a hand. He’s one of the long-term occupants here.

I decided to pass on Happy Hour because I was very tired after my long drive, and went to bed early.


I was up early to take Ripley for a walk to the gravel pit, and on my way back I went into the bunkhouse where I met Al (a Canadian who lived in Alberta and Ontario), Bruce and Max, the three men who are work camping here. Later, I met Donna Lee who works in the office along with Marcia.

There is a roadrunner who seems to hang out around the bunkhouse – at least that is where I’ve seen him several times.

At 10:30 those who planned to go to Palomas, Mexico congregated by the office. Of course, I was looking for a ride with someone, and asked Doris if I could ride with her in her truck. I’m so glad that I went down with her, as we laughed almost all the way there and back. She is 74 years old, has been RV’ing for several years now and has a raunchy sense of humour. She has a place in Burlington, Iowa where she spends the summer, and then winters in the southwest. She is a truly adventurous, fun-loving person and we got along really well.
Crossing the Border at Palomas


The LoW’s have a tradition of traveling to Palomas, Mexico to The Pink Store every Tuesday, but because tomorrow is Christmas and the store is closed, this week’s trip was moved to today.

Deming is only about 35 miles from the border town of Columbus where we parked our cars, and then walked across the border into Palomas. It is what you might imagine a bordertown to look like. Many children and women begging for money and asking you to buy something. Men
standing around in groups. A square with a statue. Stores of different types. Dentists and eye doctors seem to be prevalent, and I understand that it is possible to get work done here much more cheaply than back in the USA and that the practitioners are well qualified. Perhaps I will look into coming to a dentist here. In addition, there is a pharmacy where you can buy prescription drugs over the counter without a prescription. I asked for Imitrex, a migraine remedy that costs $36 per pill in Canada. I bought a package of two for the same price.

The Pink Store is a real treat. Besides the restaurant in the back area, it is also a store of wonderful things – sterling silver or turquoise jewelry, handwoven rugs,
handpainted pottery, ceramic parrots of all shapes and sizes, stained glass windows, handblown glass, wooden furniture, etc. etc. I am proud to say that I restrained myself from going crazy,
but did buy two small painted animals – a turtle and a lizard.
friend Donna had sent me some money for Christmas, so I indulged in a leather purse, with many zippers and pockets.
Thanks, Donna!!

I didn’t count exactly how many people were at our set of tables in the restaurant area, but I
Bruce, Luis and Donna Lee
we numbered about forty. Luis was our server and did a very creditable job in taking care of all of us as we each ordered what we liked from the menu. After my experience with the effects of eating hot food back in San Antonio, I wanted to be more cautious this time. I decided to have beefsteak, with vegetables, rice and a salad. The tortilla chips and salsa were really tasty as well. I was tempted to have a beer, but settled for a Coke.

While we ate, we were serenaded by a roving group of musicians, singing Christmas carols and other songs in Spanish.

At the end of the meal, we all drew numbers provided by the owner of The Pink Store to win prizes. And, much to my surprise, I won a lovely pair of Kokopeli earrings. Kokopeli is the legendary trickster in southwestern mythology.

Considering that I had contemplated spending Christmas Eve in the parking lot of the garage back in San Antonio, I truly enjoyed being with this group of people, all of whom were on their own, as well, for Christmas.

On our way back, Doris asked if I needed anything in town, so we headed to the Wal Mart store for some supplies. She is really kind and I’m very glad to get to know her. She’s been on her own for quite a long time, having divorced her husband many years ago and having raised her two sons on her own. Doris also has a Jack Russell, as well as a rat terrier (Patches and Little One).
My new friend Doris

When we returned to the park, we learned that there were six huge rigs that had come in from Houston, to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us. They were a group who were on their way to California, to watch the Rose Parade.

At 5:30 p.m. we met in the rec hall for appetizers and the Secret Santa gift exchange. There were 34 gifts in total, and the rule was that you could choose one of the wrapped gifts or else steal one of the ones that had been opened already. Then the person whose gift was taken would be able to get another gift. Two of the gifts were a bottle of Bacardi rum and a bottle of good wine, and these exchanged hands quite a few times. I don’t really think it was fair, because the maximum amount to spend was supposed to be $10, and these were obviously the two most expensive gifts there. Instead of having a limit of, say two or three steals only for any one gift, there was no limit and the whole thing dragged on a great deal.
Fish Potholder

I received an olive oil dispenser, some tea lights and two small votive candle holders. Nobody wanted to steal my gift, but perhaps I can re-gift them!



The day was very cold, but sunny. I got up around 8:30 a.m. to take Ripley for her walk, and encountered the roadrunner perched on the fence beside the bunkhouse.

To all of you who sent me a Christmas card, thank you! It was wonderful to receive them and to know that I am remembered by friends back home.

I had given Ripley a Christmas present of a new coat. She really needs some extra covering in this weather.

Although it was a bit windy, I decided to take Ripley out for a bike run on the adjacent roads, thinking that the traffic shouldn’t be too bad on Christmas Day. We went east to the next side road (gravel) and headed down. There was quite a westerly wind coming up, and it pushed the bike along very well. We encountered three Chihuahuas who tore out of a yard and surrounded Ripley. Fortunately they just barked at her as we wheeled on by. By this time, I thought we should turn around, and it became harder and harder to push the bike, as the wind was really picking up. Eventually I got off and walked, so we were both pretty tired by the time we got back, where I discovered that I had a flat tire – probably from the little burrs that are everywhere. They have very sharp points on them.

The winds have picked up, and the gusts are around 40 mph. Apparently, this is a common occurrence in these parts. In any event, the RV rocked in the wind.

Shortly after I returned, my brother Carl and sister-in-law Jennie called me from Canada, to wish me a Merry Christmas, and it was nice to hear from them. It’s quite amazing to me that we have the technology these days to make such a call. I was in the middle of the New Mexico desert and they came in clear as a bell. Carl and Jennie, and their children, their spouses and their grandchildren all were planning to go out for Chinese food instead of someone having to cook the traditional turkey. Sounds good to me. No fuss. No muss.

Speaking of dinners, the campground had a turkey and ham dinner at 2:00 p.m. in the rec hall. June is a LoW, who has bought a lovely adobe-style house nearby, and she cooked the turkey
Marcia and June
and ham in the campground’s oven. We all brought a dish (I brought mashed sweet potatoes and a large slab cake with a reindeer on it). Doris and I sat together, and I counted 39 people at this meal. The deal is that you bring your own dinnerware, cutlery and coffee mug and /or wineglass. There was a choice of red or white wine, as well as Kahlua, and plenty of food for everyone. All in all, it was a lovely way to spend Christmas day.

I ended the day by watching Soapdish and Venus videos, borrowed from the library here.



I hadn’t realized that Americans don’t celebrate Boxing Day, and it is simply a working day for them. Of course, all the stores are open and there are bargains galore.

I slept in, reading a novel in bed and drinking coffee – something that is so deliciously decadent.

But of course, I can’t stay in bed too long because of Ripley. So, up we went for a long walk in the back gravel area. She loves to get off leash, and leap around in the sagebrush looking for rabbits and mice. I don’t think I need to worry about snakes, as it is too cold for them. I also took her into the cactus garden on the opposite side of the campground, as I was interested in seeing what they had here. One of the smaller gardens has several bird feeders, which attracts primarily sparrows, from what I could see. I know there are a million kinds of sparrows, but quite frankly I can’t tell one from another.

After the heavy, gusty winds yesterday, there are tumbleweeds all over the place. I also saw not only cottontail rabbits, but jackrabbits as well.

Ripley is having a lot of trouble with the little burrs that are everywhere. I am told that they are called goatheads here in New Mexico, and boy, do they hurt. They have very sharp spurs on them, and poor Ripley keeps getting them in her paws. I will have to see if I can get her some bootees to wear. I may have to make them, as there is no pet store in Deming.

I indulged in a lovely breakfast of bacon, scrambled eggs, egg nog, coffee and freshly baked crescent rolls. My oven is getting a workout recently!

I wandered over to the office and chatted with Marcia. She is originally from Oregon but travels extensively, working as she goes. It seems that quite a few people do this, working in a campground for a month or more, getting their site free in exchange, plus a little bit of money. Sounds good to me, but as a Canadian I don’t think that I can do this.

Later on, I watched two more videos – Cabaret and Consenting Adults. I had seen Cabaret years ago, but had forgotten how well it had been done. The other video was new to me and the plot was about how Kevin Kline was set up by Kevin Spacek to take the fall for the murder of his wife.



Doris and I drove into Deming to see about renting a car for me. I learned that there was a small rental agency at the regional airport and we headed over there. Yes, the owner could rent me a car (he had only one available) – but he could not provide liability insurance. If I still had my policy in Canada, I could have been covered, but since I put my car up on blocks, I had cancelled the liability portion, leaving only the fire and theft portion. I was terribly disappointed, as I had been hearing of a Canadian woman who had just left LowHi Ranch, who had rented a car for a month. I suppose that she had a policy on her car back home, and thus didn’t have a problem.

We then went to the Ford dealership to see if they would rent me a car. The saleswoman was very keen to sell me a car, but they don’t rent. It seems that I may have to go to Las Cruces, fifty miles away.


While we were in town, Doris wanted to check out the other RV campgrounds to see how much their rental was, as her water line has been frozen for a few days and she does not have running water as a result. She has been here for awhile and is thinking of moving to one of these others. Two of them offered an indoor pool and hot tub and free wifi. One also offered free cable TV while the other charged $11.50 for the month. Their monthly rental fee was $209 and $225, respectively. It is very tempting to move there myself, but I have already paid up front for a month, so for the time being, I will stay put at LoWHi Ranch.

At the edge of Deming, there is a sign indicating that various service clubs, and I was pleased to see that there is a Rotary club here which meets on Thursdays at noon at the Holiday Inn. As a past president of the Pickering Rotary Club, I have access to this great network wherever I go, and I plan to attend their next meeting to meet the local business people.

Doris very kindly drove me to the library so that I could log on to the internet there. You are allowed to use it for one hour daily, for free, so I was able to catch up on my email. However, blogs are blocked.

We then went on to the local grocery store Peppers, and the inevitable dollar store. Doris seems to enjoy my company, and I suspect that she likes to get out and about as well, so it is a big help to me.


By the time we returned to the campground, the winds had picked up violently again, making the RV rock and plunging the temperature to an unpleasant degree. Like everyone else, I retreated to my RV, turned up the heat and hibernated. This is not exactly what I had imagined when I planned to come here.

I cannot find NPR on the radio. There is a country station from Deming and a station in Silver City which plays music I have never heard before. Many of them are protest songs and Bob Dylan is one of the featured singers.

I spent some time on the phone calling car rental agencies in Las Cruces. I quickly became discouraged after receiving their quote including the required liability insurance. The prices are all over $1,000 for a month’s rental. A few of them did, however, suggest that I go online to see if I could get a better deal. Consequently, Doris agreed to drive me into the library again tomorrow, when we met at Happy Hour.


Once again we returned to Deming, this time taking my bike with its flat tire along to drop off at the bike repair store that I had noticed yesterday. However, when we arrived I was told by the neighbouring auto repair shop that the bike shop went out of business. So, on we went to the library where I spent my allotted hour online at Travelocity and Expedia, checking out rental agencies in Las Cruces. Their rates were lower, but were still more than I had anticipated. I did check out a two-week rental and also a one-week rental, but at this point I am not going to commit until I have given it more thought.

We can’t seem to come into town without stopping at the Wal Mart store (there are very few retail stores here. Doris is a bad influence on me, as she loves to shop too!

The temperature is milder today, with little winds, making it much more pleasant. I just wish that the sun didn’t go down so early (just after 5:00 p.m.).

My evening’s entertainment was the movie Jamaica Inn starring a very young Jayne Seymour. It takes place in England, probably in the early 1900’s and was about smugglers. Not terribly exciting.


I woke up with a bad sinus headache, so stayed in bed until 11:00 when there was a knock on my door. Doris was heading into town and wondered if I wanted to go in with her, but I was feeling too ill.

Instead, I took Ripley for a long, slow walk to the back gravel field and sat while Ripley explored the trails and bushes. The goatheads are a real plague for her.

Later, I ran into Donna Lee, who told me about another club called WINS which caters to singles as well. The nice thing about this club is that they have dance rallies where they actually teach you to dance. There is rally coming up in Casa Grande, Arizona in mid-February, and I think that I might go to it. I have always wanted to learn the proper dance steps, and Donna Lee assures me that there are many singles who partner up at dances. She herself loves to dance and will be leaving here shortly to go to a few places in Arizona to dance the night away.

I must say it has been a real eye-opener to see so many independent women traveling around, doing exactly what they want. The RV culture is another world entirely from the business world that I have been so accustomed to. Time doesn’t really matter and people do what they feel like doing, instead of what they have to do.

By the time Happy Hour came, I was feeling better, and Doris offered to take me to the KMart after supper when I had noticed an ad for a crockpot on sale for $10. When we got there, we went browsing. The crockpot was not available yet, as the sale doesn’t start until tomorrow, but Doris happily bought a very pretty blue soft wool sweater and some paraphernalia to set up her TV.

Jan Barnes phoned me to tell me that they would be arriving at LoWHi Ranch tomorrow. Jan and Brad are Ripley’s “grandparents” and it will be great to meet them after emailing back and forth. It will be interesting to see what Ripley’s reaction is.


The day started out mild and it was soon warm enough to sit outside the RV in my collapsible chair, drinking coffee and reading my novel. I have found a new author whom I am enjoying. Lisa Gardner has written quite a few mystery novels, and the title of the one I found in the library is “The Next Accident”. I still have hives; I wish I could find the source of the problem.

I checked my propane tank, and find that I have used up almost the entire tank, because of the cold weather. I will have to be a bit careful until I can get a refill, and will depend more on my ceramic electric heater for the next day or two. Fortunately, the weather prediction is for reasonably warm weather for the next few days.

Doris wandered by, and we decided to take our three dogs to the Bark Park so that they could play. Patches and Little One raced around, but Ripley just grumbled and growled and sat on my lap. She does not want to share me with any other dog! I thought that she would enjoy playing with two other dogs her own size, but she had other ideas. Patches was playing with the remnants of Ripley’s beach ball and that made her even grouchier, so that she turned on Patches and the two of them lit into each other. Fortunately, neither one of them actually bit the other, and no one was hurt, but it has brought home to me just how possessive she is of me!

Doris travels in an RV model called a Scamp, which is a small fifth wheel rig. It has a tiny kitchen and she does not have a stove, so I offered for her to use mine to bake some rolls. We sat and chatted while they baked.


Jan and Brad Barnes arrived around 3:00 while I was out with Ripley on a walk, so we headed over there on our return. We were greeted by their two Siberian Huskies, who recognized her right away. She knew them, but wasn’t too keen on being with them. Jan soon appeared in the
doorway of the RV, and Ripley went wild!
"Grandma" Jan & Rpley
And then Brad joined us and Ripley greeted him ecstatically as well. We went inside their RV and sat and chatted for some time. I feel as though we weren’t just meeting for the first time, but simply renewing an ongoing acquaintanceship. Jan revealed to me that they go around from campground to campground, working as they go, and gave me the details on how to work legally in the United States. I will definitely look into it. She also showed me their computer set-up, with an air card from T-Mobile that allows them to get on the internet no matter where they are, at a fee of $29.95 per month. Even though we had just met, there was no awkwardness in our conversation, and we soon headed over to the bunkhouse for Happy Hour, after agreeing to go out for supper later.

Marcia had some announcements for us at Happy Hour. First of all, Al (the Canadian from Alberta/Ontario) had been in a bad car accident in Las Cruces. His truck was totaled and he is in the hospital there. I sincerely hope that he bought the additional medical insurance that is available to Canadians; otherwise, he will have a hefty bill to pay after OHIP pays the amount that they will provide. Here in the United States, the medical fees are exorbitant. Apparently, he will be discharged in a day or two, but is suffering from a concussion at the moment. Hopefully he will be alright.

Marcia also mentioned that the group is going to The Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico again tomorrow for a New Years Eve lunch.

I have been concerned that I have not heard anything from my good friend Sandra back in Canada, so decided to phone her and wish her and her husband Bruce a Happy New Year. However, I was interrupting a card game, so we did not talk for very long. It seems that she did not receive my Christmas parcel, or some of the earlier correspondence that I had sent her. She is not a computer person, so it had not been possible to send her emails, but I had sent a couple to her daughter Jennifer, to pass along to her. She did take down my address and phone number, so I look forward to hearing from her.


Because it was Sunday evening, we had to search for a restaurant that was open, but luckily found a Chinese restaurant on the main street of Deming. We each chose a main dish and shared the three dishes – sweet and sour pork; beef with peppers; and moo goo guy pan. We continued to talk about our dogs, and our lives just as though we had been friends for some time as we ate, and Brad very kindly picked up the check as a “thank you” for taking such good care of their grand daughter. I am so pleased that they think Ripley is in good hands.

Unfortunately, they are leaving tomorrow as they have to be in Tucson by tomorrow evening. So I was glad to have had an opportunity to spend some time with them today.

I couldn’t help but marvel at the sky tonight as I took Ripley out for her evening walk. There is not a cloud in the sky, and because there is no pollution in this area, the stars literally sparkled in all parts of the sky.

For the next month, my blog entries will necessarily be sporadic, and unless there is something unusual in my daily routine, they will be brief. Aside from the fact that my internet access will be intermittent, I also hope to have time to devote to some of the other writings, as well as the crafts (knitting, crocheting, needlework) that I had wanted to do on this trip.


Laura Kelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura Kelly said...

Ah Marilyn, you have certainly had your ups and downs, literally and figuratively. Your descriptions of the camaraderie among RVers and your serendipitous friendships are charming and heartening. I love reading your blog. We have had some cold ptrches as well but it has been at least 70 F all week. Perhaps that will entice you to come back.