Dave and Cindy fulltime in a truck camper. (The Albino Rhino) travel blog

A striking "Question Mark" butterfly

Happy anniversary, Baby... don't say I never take you anywhere.

This huge spider had a web 3ft in diameter, across a stream...

It was about the size of a computer mouse, with legs extended.

No he didn't just roll out his own "yard". Too cool.

...And now we have our own little piece of "field"... Our best...

I bet this guy gets more channels than we do!

So... that's what 15 minutes of fame looks like on a bar...

Another Pipevine swallowtail... this time showing the underside of the wings.

"Pop-ups" are a great value, offering more space in a small package.

...HOWEVER...

35 foot limbs weighing a couple hundred pounds make short work of...

The only reason their weren't kids sleeping in here...

Is because as fate would have it, they stayed up late and...

An eye-catching "jade" centipede.

Tree: "1"... pick-up: "0".

His wife was NOT happy... she didn't want to go camping this...

Todd clears the road... the rest will wait until morning.

 

 

In case you're wondering, no... the park isn't liable for "acts of...

The next morning, we could see where the tree had broken.

"Hey, Honey... let's go camping and relax in the quiet solitude of...

And on our way out of the park... yet another fallen tree!...


The beginning of July was the beginning of the end for our stay at Caddo Lake State Park, as park hosts. Four months may have been pushing our limits, as we began looking forward to the 15th, our last day before moving on to Arkansas. On the 7th, Cindy and I celebrated 18 years of marital bliss at the River Bend restaurant… we should’ve gone sooner, it was awesome!

As our departure drew near, we scaled back on the amount of work we did for the park, and began cleaning our own property again. Cindy cleaned the inside of the rig, and I gave it the ole’ semi-annual wax job. The park staff invited us to a little fish fry before we left… to say “Happy Birthday” to a co-worker, and “Thank you” to us for helping keep the park clean. They were a great group to work for, and we may be back… but not in the summer. We’re still recovering from the daily onslaught of bug bites, humidity, and incidental contact with the occasional poison ivy leaf. (I must have a serious allergy to the stuff, because I just nick the edge of a leaf, and I’m scratchin’ for a week and a half.

The final week was no less interesting than the first, with new and interesting neighbors coming and going, and photo opportunities popping up now and then, with no effort on my part. (I finally got a picture of a question mark butterfly, when one came to drink from a puddle beneath the water spigot while I washed the truck.) One guy we met was a guy who became a millionaire in his 20’s as an engineer. The last neighbors we had were a nice a couple, who really enjoyed camping, and took it to the next level. Lawn chairs, homemade “portable outdoor kitchen”, extra table with ubiquitous red/white checkerboard tablecloth, Weber grill, and self-installed remote controlled LED light kit beneath his awning. The show-stopper, though… was when he rolled out the AstroTurf. Apparently, a stadium near their home put in new turf, and they nabbed a few pieces of the old turf for personal use. I actually stopped waxing the roof of the camper and climbed down just to get a picture of the “Norman Rockwell” scene behind us. (And before they left, he gave us a small piece we currently use as a door mat. It’s great for removing debris from our shoes!)

We actually left the park a few days earlier than we’d originally intended. The trees in the park had begun “attacking” campers, and we were nervous. Earlier in our stay, there had been instances of trees falling on power lines, and small branches falling on campers, or on campsites elsewhere in the park. Two weeks before we left, a 35ft branch fell on a pop-up camper; right on the compartment where some kids would’ve been sleeping, had they not fallen asleep on the couch in the center of the camper! The night before we left, we were watching TV and heard a loud noise from the site across the road. It sounded as though a trailer had rolled over on its side, in the brush. We rushed out with our flashlights, to find that a full grown 45ft tree had broken halfway up the trunk, and toppled over right on top of the guy’s truck. It was so big, that despite having broken halfway up and being located behind his site… it was still laying over the road, blocking anyone from leaving. This being a safety issue, the ranger on duty had to come down at 10:00pm, family members in tow, to do a little tree trimming and clear the road.

The scary part of all this, is that there was no wind that night… it was perfectly calm. The OTHER scary thing, as in many of the other incidents, is that this tree was alive… green… with no sign that it could fall at any given moment. We’re not talking about lightweight ‘dead’ wood here; we’re talking sap-filled heavy stuff. My friends, when seemingly healthy trees begin dropping around you with no apparent cause or warning, the smart camper gets out of the way.

In other news, the article I did for Truck Camper Magazine was finally posted, and many people seemed to enjoy it. I was pleasantly surprised by all the positive feedback, comments, and questions from people all over the world. (Yes, all over the world!) Some were inspired, some needed advice, and others just wanted to give us an “attaboy”. When all was said and done, we added a few friends to our “update request” list, and replied to about 50 emails. (One guy offered to send Cindy a “half-hundred dollar bill” he found many years ago, so she’d have a whole one, lol). I want to take this opportunity to thank all those who took an interest in our story, not to mention taking time to send us a message. Lest anyone think our 15 minutes of fame have gone to my head, fear not… I’m well aware that the number of ‘hits’ our journal received due to the article, is probably the equivalent of .000005% the number of hits that a video of a guy lighting his farts on fire gets on YouTube. Trust me, my hat still fits and my feet are still firmly planted on the ground. (If you're interested, and haven't seen it yet, it's on Truckcampermagazine.com or Google it by typing in: "Truck Campers Escape the Rat Race".)

Next up: Arkansas bound



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