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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DAY 135; ELKHART - ALTO, TEXAS

We start this evening with two Rocking Chairs. I happen to like old fashioned rocking chairs. These two are hand crafted and finished to a glossy transparency ... and all by a saw mill - which I stupidly did not take a photograph of.. I have an old rocking chair in my room at home...I miss it.

Astonished at the large number of lakes in this area of Texas. Here are a few more...

More for the critters as it is out in the north 40.

I 'specially like this photo...homes are being built around this lake.

Reflection pictures are always special for me. I have done a few really good ones...alas, they have ALL gone the way of the Wine Cellar..

Another image or two of our current road: Highway Texas 294.

No berm...but I don't care...is peaceful and I like walking here.

Please say HELLO to US 287. For old timers with my blogs, you will recall that last Summer I walked US 287 from Central Wyoming high in the Rocky Mountains, all the way into the Oklahoma Panhandle.

Today, I found US 287 again deep in the heart of Texas. Followed US 287 for about 3 miles ... like a fleeting moment of the past.

Click click>..this is a field of Oil Wells. The pumps are miniture - about 6 feet high and 6 feet long...but, there are DOZENS of them in this small clearing of about the size of two football fields.
As I walked further along Texas 294, there turned out to be at least hundreds of these miniature oil pumps. They are noisy...need lubrication, so even though the forest of trees block them from view, you can hear them grinding away.


This miniature oil pump is sitting directly on a cemetery. A couple hours later, I returned to SPIA by walking by here again...there was a funeral in progress...the pump cranking away with total indifference.

An up close view of the simplicity of these pumps. Somebody is making a bundle of $$ with this oil field.

The white soil is now behind us. All the local soil is now a deep red...beyond rust...really red.

These two roosters were feeding along side the highway. I walked right up to them...then simply cluck cluck-ed at me and kept on eating the seeds off wheat-like grass. Not the least bit anxious or afraid of me.

This fellow was a bit smaller that his buddy, but he looked fierce, ready to take on all comers..

A gorgeous lady
Every town and even the countryside is full of churches...the Highway has a sign "CHURCH" when approaching one. This sign is at the entrance of the town of ALTO, TEXAS, where we walked this afternoon. We have now reached US 69.

A home entering ALTO, TEXAS.

One of a few rather elegant Estate type homes upon entering ALTO, TEXAS.

ALTO, TEXAS main street. US 69 crosses at the "T" at the end of the street.

Was hot today & humid. Must admit, enjoyed a BLIZZARD and ice water before starting my walk back to SPIA>

DAILY REPORT: "Walked 22 miles this morning. Added another 10 miles this afternoon.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 34 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.68 for the day.

We are parked on Texas 294 a couple miles before reaching ALTO, TEXAS...a nice shady spot.
In the morning, will drive into ALTO, park SPIA, and begin the long walk out of Texas and into Louisiana.

.

Monday, May 30, 2011

DAY 134: FAIRFIELD - EKHART, TEXAS

As we walk further East on US 84, we start finding true Ranch Estates...beautiful homes, expansive immaculate fields, and a few cattle scattered here and there...mostly under big shady trees. In the distance are visible a couple oil wells.

WHITE is the color of the soil in these parts...except for one single hill top near the above photograph of the Ranch House. This hill top is a deep RED color and continues for about 2 miles along US 84.

Just after daybreak, I came face to face with a magnificent 4-point Buck. My camera was in my pocket, so no photograph (4-point = four horns on each side of his rack.

Expansive trimmed fields of the Ultra Rich.

Then down the road 5 miles or so is the Country Store...last thing I expected to see out here, but I stopped in...and sure enough, they served Breakfast. The way I consume calories, my large bowl of porridge does not last over a couple hours. On my long early morning walks, I often stop in a handy eatery for scrambled eggs, hash brown, toast, and Ice Tea.

It is a treat I feel my body needs when I ask it to walk 20 - plus miles every morning, day after week after month. At $9.00 per day, it is, however, taking up 1/3 of my TOTAL budget, so I must limit my "second" breakfast to 2 or 3 times a week in the future.


Please say HELLO to William. William and Donna were on duty at the Country Store when I walked in. William and I chatted for 15 minutes or so about walking...

...while Donna - please say HELLO to Donna -...while Donna whipped up an excellent plate of scrambled eggs and waffles (for a change).

Really was very good, Donna...just what I needed to get me thru the 24 miles I walked this morning.

I saw two water pumping / storage plants operated by nearby towns. Did not see such an operation anywhere to the West in Texas. Out yonder, seems everyone has their own water well.

We are finally leaving the open grass plains of Texas. When I turned off US 84 this afternoon onto Texas Highway 294, I was greeted by mile upon mile of tall green Pine Trees...most loaded with big pine cones.

Quite a change from the thousands of miles I have walked since the last trees...the Redwoods in Northern California.

Not everyone is elegantly rich. This man is remodeling this home...as are many along Highway 294.

I like the Pine Trees so much, I added a second photograph.

Please notice that Highway 294 has NO Berm...and not once was I nearly run over.

The following photographs are of WATER: Some streams. Some ponds. Some lakes.

But, everywhere nearly everyone has - or is close by - standing or running water.

A major change from the past few weeks where getting a drink for their crops is a costly exercise for many farmers.

A running Creek flowing under Highway 294.

A bubbling brook flowing through the trees and rocks of a lucky landowner.

A pond in the front yard of this home owner.

A small lake with homes around it.

A rather large pond - or smallish lake - in the front yard of this home...even has a boat dock.

A "water" plant very similar to our Cat Tail of the Pacific Northwest.

A meandering brook flowing beneath Highway 294.

Special Request: Please say HELLO to Ben Jones. I met Ben YESTERDAY, and failed to include his photograph. Ben is 56, lives on a small farm, and does a bit of this and a bit of that; i.e. small jobs for others.

From his own garden, he was offering baskets of red potato, a small basket of green string beans, and 8 jars of home-processed honey. Ben says they will not keep the 5 bee hives next year as they are too much work for the $$ they return.

Ben reminded me very much of a famous runner - F.G. ...looks you straight in the eye as he ponders what he is about to say...then says it in a deliberate clearly enunciated tone...I really wanted to give Ben a hug, but I felt he might not understand.

DAILY REPORT: Walked 24 miles this morning and another 14 this afternoon. Was given a one-way ride part of the way in the afternoon by Robert and his friend, Sharon. Thank you both for making that 180 to come back for me.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 38 miles @ $0.02 per mile - $0.76 for the day.
Will be making another donation to SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG. It will be for $25.00 for the month of May 2011.

SPIA, SAM & ME are parked in a "for sale" business parking lot - hope we do not get kicked out during the night - in the small town of EKHART, TEXAS. Tomorrow we will walk on Highway 294 to ALTO, TEXAS; then, turn South East on Highway 69 heading for Louisiana.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

DAY 133: MEXIA - FAIRFIELD, TEXAS

US 84 leaving MEXIA, TEXAS (Pronounced: Ma Hair) Got a number of folks to say the name...just to be certain I had it right.

One mile from this intersection, I was as close to death as ever on my walk. Look carefully at photographs of US 84. The berm is at least 8 feet wide. Nearly everyone uses the berm as a second lane...almost always when cars pass one another, the slower vehicle - even 18-wheelers - take to the Berm to allow the faster cars to pass.

I was walking facing traffic. There were a few vehicles coming towards me...no one was passing. A pickup truck in the middle of the line took to the Berm to pass on the Right Hand Side...just so happened, I was walking in the Berm lane at that spot.

The pickup truck kept coming directly at me, not slowing, not trying to miss me, and I jumped out of the way at the last instant as he whizzed not two feet from me. He definitely was TRYING to hit me !

Later in the afternoon, about 15 miles away, another vehicle swerved into the Berm lane directly at me, honking, and gesturing for me to get the He__ off the road.

US 84 may be the best engineered and finest constructed road I have ever walked; the Texas drivers detest and physically try to eliminate Me, the walker from "their" road.

Unsettling to say the least

MA HAIR, looking back from US 84.

Entrance to a local ranch.

Many businesses are closed. This one may be "seasonal". Many items are already ripe and on the market.

A "failed" factory, not far from MEXIA, TEXAS.

When US 84 crosses County Lines, the surface of the highway often changes in quality and materials used. It may be a US National Highway, but it appears that local Counties maintain it.

Downtown FAIRFIELD, TEXAS. A small town of 3,000 +,. True, it was Sunday, Memorial Day, but just the same, appeared to be many closed businesses and a large number of "Antique" and "second hand" shops.

Most outstanding of all, however, is the large number of "religious" establishments...from elegant churches to in-garage missions. At least one on each town block. "God Bless You" is a favorite way of saying goodbye. Predominate on Marquees is the phrase...He died to forgive your sins...wonder what such psychology does for the VERY sinful...a kinda license to do Bad ???

Apologize...said I would not go there !

FAIRFIELD, TEXAS Courthouse.

The Post Office.

US 84...note the nice wide Berm...used as the 4th lane by nearly everyone.

I know...getting tired of seeing US 84...Well, in 36 hours, we will hang a right at the town of RUSK, TEXAS, and follow US 69 then US 190 into Louisiana, which we should reach in about 6 - 7 days.
OK...promise...the last you will see of US 84.

Key to the "White Soil" ? The motel sign says Limestone Inn. Could it be Limestone in this part of Texas that makes ALL the soil white? If so, this area has definitely been a Sea-Bottom in the distant past.

A new Oil Well - one of many around here. Note: no Pump ! Wonder what is used to pull the oil up. My goodness...all that "white" soil.

At first thought this might be a Shetland Pony...but, he is too robust...any suggestions?

A couple days ago, we posted a sign declaring this part of Texas as the "Goat Meat" Capital...

There are a large number of goat ranches along US 84.

Home Garden # 4 in Texas...not completely true, as produce from this home garden is sold by the owners in their small shop.

Please say HELLO to Jessie Jones. Jessie and I had a rather comfy long chat...me sitting in the Rocking Chair (just like I have at home). 65 year old Jessie spends his time tending his rather large garden which supplements their income. He recently visited KEY WEST, FLORIDA, and was keen to share his 5 days there with me...

DAILY UPDATE: Walked 23 miles this morning. After a 1-hour nap, put in another 14 miles.
Total for the day: 37 miles.

SEE YOUR IMPACT.ORG: Credit 37 miles @ $0.02 per mile = $0.74 for the day.

SPIA, SAM & ME are parked in a shady pull-off US 84 about 5 miles East of FAIRFIELD, TEXAS. It became extraordinarily HOT & Humid this afternoon...the shade is very welcome.

In the morning, will leave SPIA parked and head East on US 84 toward LONG LAKE, TEXAS; then PALESTINE, TEXAS. We will reach PALESTINE tomorrow evening. The next day, we should reach RUSK, TEXAS where we will turn South on US 69.