OTRA - TX - Ft. Stockton
Jun 30, 2011
|Another long day of driving...grand total of 50 minutes! At the rate we're going, we MIGHT get to PA, NJ, NY and OH by winter!!
Left at 9:30 a.m., easy drive along I-10, and into Comanche Land RV Park in Ft. Stockton by 10:20. We stayed at this campground back in 2008 on our way from SD to Concan Texas and I said "Never again". Well, I've decided I said that because it is a typical desert campground with no amenities (pool, mini golf, clubhouse, etc.) and that was probably the first time we had stopped in such a place on our way south. Of course, by now, we're quite used to the "nothing but sand and stone and no trees" desert campgrounds so it's really not all that bad. We didn't want to be on the road over the 4th of July weekend and this place is in our budget AND it has cable and wifi so we'll stay here 'til next week sometime. It's actually the nicest of all the RV parks in the Ft. Stockton area.
Got set up and then drove around town a little bit, checking out the other RV parks (ours appears to be the nicest) and picking up some history along with a geocache. Today's history lesson will be the history of Comanche Springs...
Once one of the largest artesian spring systems in Texas, Comanche Springs provided 60 million gallons of water per day that was relied upon by the Indians, mail coaches to El Paso and San Diego, explorers, freight wagon trains to Mexico, adventurers, surveyors, rangers, cattle and horse herds, gold seekers, settlers, emigrants, outlaws and other 2-legged and 4-legged critters living in or passing through the area. Access to water in the west is always critical and, in the days of horse-drawn vehicles, trails were laid out from water source to water source with the distance between them as close as possible. Depending on the terrain, 20 to 25 miles was a good day’s travel.
As early as 1875, farmers began using the water from Comanche Springs for irrigation. One account measured the 1899 flow at some 500 gallons per second.
Comanche Springs was a stopping point for early travelers and later for residents, tourists and travelers. By the 1930s, the Springs drew visitors and tourists to enjoy the unique waters in an area of the state noted for its lack of rainfall and rivers. A bathhouse, swimming pool and pavilion were constructed in 1938. Alarmed by the fact that the Springs now seemed to be drying, the city and farmers who relied on the flows, hired water experts to identify the cause of the problem. The experts reported that the large number of irrigation water wells drilled into the aquifer lowered the level of the water and caused the Springs to go dry. After negotiations with the surrounding land owners failed, a lawsuit was filed to stop the land owners from interfering with the normal flow from the Springs. This lawsuit defined Texas groundwater law.
In 1954, the Texas Court of Appeals rejected all legal claims of the Pecos County Water Control and Improvement District to the groundwater and said that its rights to the Springs came only after the water emerged from the ground and prior to that time, the defendants could beneficially use any amount of water regardless of the impact on the Springs. Today, the Springs flow only in the winter when the irrigation pumps are not being used. Texas has allowed for the formation of underground water districts to protect and regulate the use of underground water. All water wells are now permitted by the county and are monitored to ensure that no harm is done by overpumping.
The convergence of multiple highways and rail at Ft. Stockton is due to the historic usage of the Springs as a watering stop by generations of travelers over hundreds of years.
This evening we went back to town to enjoy an evening of music, part of the Blue Moon on the Park Live Concert series at Zero Stone Park sponsored by the public library. The night was beautiful, sitting under big old trees with a nice breeze after a hot day. There was quite a good turnout with people sitting at picnic tables, on chairs and blankets, enjoying the music of Guitar Slim.
Well, what a rude way to start today! Bob took Taco out for his walk and discovered our outside shower was leaking. It appears the cold water faucet has broken loose from it's stem (or something like that) and doesn't turn off completely. Since we've never used this shower, I have no idea how this happened nor do I have any idea of how to fix it. Nor can I find a shut-off valve for just the outside shower anywhere in this RV. Sheesh! So now we are without water since the only place we could turn it off is at the campsite water faucet where we hook the hose up. Of course, there's no RV repair place in town and of course this happened on a holiday weekend. Oh well....we shall survive. There is an RV repair place in San Angelo, our next stop, so we'll make do until then. In the meantime, we can look into the rear basement to see if there are any shut-off valves under there.
So, we looked in the rear basement and, from what we can see, there's not a single shut-off valve on any of the lines. Granted, we may have missed them but.....so, we took the thing apart and have decided to just replace the whole faucet assembly. On Tuesday, we're off to the plumbing store for a faucet and at least 4 shut-off valves...2 for the bathroom and 2 for the kitchen. I think this is something we can do (I hope!)
This evening we went to Day 1 of the 2 day Ft. Stockton 4th of July celebration. As we were walking along checking out all the food stands, Bob stopped to talk to a gentleman and his wife, Hyman and Angel. We found out their daughter, Star, was the female singer with the Grupo Fuerzzo, band for the evening. We got to talking and enjoyed their company so much, Bob went back to the truck for our chairs and that's where we spent the rest of the evening. Enjoyed ourselves very much...even though the band, which was VERY GOOD...was a bit loud. Of course, we were sitting only about 50 from the speakers so we did get the full effect, LOL. They played Tejano music which is basically Tex-Mex in English so if any of you are planning a shindig and want some good music, send me a note and I'll tell you how to get in touch with them. After a bit, Hyman's brother, Gil, came along and joined us. He drove all the way from Odessa to watch his niece sing. Pretty good uncle, if you ask me.
Bob and I had two very good gorditas for supper. Gorditas are similar to pita pockets but much heartier. You can fill them with anything. Ours were filled with lettuce, meat and diced tomatoes. I think I like much of the Mexican foods as long as they're not too spicey.
So after an evening of good food, good music and good company, we left around 11:30 and made our way back to the house and were met at the door by two hungry critters who were quite glad to see us. And so to bed (after we fed the critters, obviously).
Today was "fix the faucet" day so off we went...first to the local hardware store in search of Shark Bite shut-off valves (these were recommended by the people on the Titanium board)...they didn't have them but we were able to get end plugs for future emergencies. They told us about a camper supply store (we had passed it before and I didn't know they were still in business) so that's where we got our faucet setup. Then back to Ace Hardware where we picked up some plastic shut-off valves. They had the Shark Bite ones but they seemed heavy and we're using them on PEX pipe so I didn't know if they would work or not. Well, the plastic thingys were impossible to install on the pipe so back to Ace I went to get the Shark Bite. Wow, is that easy to work with! Anyway, after a little bit of cutting here and there to make the piping fit in the area better (it's rather rigid), we popped the Shark Bite valve on the hot water line and all is well...so far. We will check our work every once in awhile to make sure it holds. We only did the hot water line because it was impossible to bend that line to hook up with the outside faucet properly but by cutting it and inserting the valve, it works. Will install one on the cold water line sometime in the future...and 2 on the kitchen water lines. Did 4 day's worth of dishes this evening and the kitchen is neat again.