Round Top, Texas Trip – Fall 2021

My favorite photo from this trip. See the gallery for more.

Head east! We did! What a great trip this was. Our primary focus was to spend a week in Round Top, Texas for the bi-annual Antique Fair, likely the biggest of it’s kind in the world and definitely the biggest in the USA.

We avoided the Interstate on the trip out with great success, sticking to country backroads and state highways. See our route here on Google Maps. As the driver, those backroads are my home. So dang relaxing for me.

Outbound

Our first stop of mention was in Pie Town, New Mexico, very near the Very large Array which is always a great visit. This time, I needed a few geeky t-shirts to replace the one my GR Dog shredded as a pup and to bolster my supply just in-case he did it again. Alas, the VLA was closed for the Plandemic. No bigee, we will be back .. soon!

Lucky to arrive on Sunday, we shared in a great community dinner at the Pie-o-neer restaurant. It is truly “the gathering place” in this part of the Deep Outback USA. See the photo gallery which also includes a few pictures of the Toaster House which is a free boarding spot for hikers and cyclists traveling the Continental Divide.

Over the next few days we traversed through more of the New Mexico Outback, staying in Roswell and then treaveling east into Texas on US Highway 390, a truly fantastic road and route with little traffic and excellent road conditions and beautiful countryside. We stopped and stretched our legs in various small towns (Plains, Brownfield and Post), all inhabited by friendly, courteous people, without exception. We landed in Sweetwater, Texas at the Bar-J Hitchin’ Post RV Park. I mention this park because it was the nicest that we stayed in on this entire trip.

From a few miles of Interstate through Sweetwater we were back on the country roads of Texas – Highway 70 and 153, as the countryside blossomed more and more every mile. Passing through Winters and Coleman, Texas where we picked up US Highway 283, then US 84 taking us through to Waco, Texas – our first big destination of the trip.

In Waco, we spent a day at Magnolia Silos and traipsed around the area visiting local farm and ranch stores, antique shops, country butcher shops and more. The “absolute find” was the Homestead Heritage / Craft Village. What a wonderful place of soul stirring heritage, outstanding food and absolute top quality – Made in USA crafts and products. Enjoy this photo gallery and make sure you visit this great community when you are near by.

We also visited the Branch Davidian Massacre site to fully realize what a corrupt, abusive American government can and will do to its citizens. The last picture in the photo gallery sums up The Evil. This must never, ever happen again.

In parting, Waco is a beautiful old town on the Brazos River and “the place” of my favorite photo on this trip as seen at the top of this Blog post. See more of this in the photo gallery of my morning wanderings.

Our next stop was The BIG SHOW in and around Round Top, TX. The bi-annual Antique Fair mentioned in the first paragraph. We blocked off 5 days to take in as much as we could and I think we were able to cover about 20-25% of all that was there to see. Click —> photo and video gallery and enjoy the diversity of the stuff to see.

As a break from being on our feet, we took many side trips in the comfort of our old Church Truck, exploring the nearby country side. This wonderful old Country Store in Shelby, Texas (above) caught my eye enough to bring out the Big DSLR camera to capture it properly for high-resolution and clarity suitable for large format framing. Again, a full gallery awaits your interest. Please be patient as each photo loads in this gallery and when they do, Zoom way in and see the wonderful details.

Heading home, we took a more southerly route through Lockhart, TX to visit Black’s BBQ for Beef Brisket that is so dang good, it has inspired me to refine my skills at the pit. Next, we drove the Church Truck and Lucy Trailer across the Devil’s Backbone in the heart of Texas Hill country as we diverted to a wonderful stop in Luckenbach, Texas. Make sure you see the wonderful videos and photos in the associated gallery.

Inbound


We were off and through Fredricksburg, TX which will absolutely be a longer stop on the next trip and then onto the Interstate which was not so bad ’till it merged with I-20 and it turned into a much more busy and rough route.

One little gem we stumbled on for a nice dinner was the Hotel El Capitan in Van Horn, TX. See the gallery to entice your stop if nearby. Another accidental find along a diversion to the old highway now bypassed by the Interstate is Fort Lancaster, Texas. Lot’s of history that you can feel at this old fort. See the gallery and enjoy.

Rounding up the trip, we headed north off of the crazy Interstate at Lordsburg, NM and drove through Globe, Arizona to our overnight camp at Apache Junction to visit “Super Hunky” Rick Sieman and his wonderful wife Tina. Then it was home on highway 93, which by far was the very worst road we were on the entire trip. It is so bad, that the only way they will fix it is to shut it down and rebuild the entire surface between Wickenerg and the I-40 from scratch.

Anywaze .. God Bless Texas! .. A beautiful, great state with awesome people. We will definitely be back.

Other links to mention on this trip.

  • Eckermann’s Meat Market where we loaded up the cooler and Airstream fridge with all the beef and links we could fit. Since arriving home, I grilled one of the bone-in rib-eye steaks from Eckermann’s at about $9 a pound and it was absolutely outstanding.
  • JWS Village Market in Carmine, TX and their outstanding breakfast tacos!

RV Parks where we stayed.

  • J&H RV Park – Flagstaff, AZ – A well kept, park with great staff but overpriced at $83 per night for a 50amp back-in site.
  • Pie Town RV Park – Pie Town, NM – A great place for overnight stop on the deep part of the American outback. Clean, level, easy in and out. About $30 a night for a 50amp pull-through.
  • Trailer Village RV Park – Roswell, NM – Easy in and out, clean older facilities and $43 a night for a 50amp pull through site.
  • Bar Hitchin’ Post RV Park – Sweetwater, TX – The nicest park we stayed in the entire trip. About $40 for a nice pull through site with 50amps.
  • Patriot RV Park – Waco, TX – An older park with brand new owners. Great staff, easy in and out but older facilities that need expansion and upgrades. @ $30 a night for a 50amp site.
  • Round top – Carmine RV Park – Carmine, TX – An older park in a wonderful setting. The facilities were clean but need an upgrade. It was expensive during the Big event weekend at @ $65 a night.
  • Elite RV Park – Sonora, TX – Brand new park with super easy access and nice facilities. About $xx a night for 50amp pull through.
  • Wild West RV Park – Van Horn, TX – A decent park with good facilities, in town and walking distance to the Hotel El Capitan and Love’s Travel Stop. About $32 a night for 50amps.
  • Deming Roadrunner RV Park – Deming, NM – So sad, this was once a family’s pride and joy and now it is very run down now and filthy. The pluses were a roomy, pull through site for about $25 a night with 50amps.
  • Apache Junction KOA – Apache Junction, AZ – A very clean camp with clean facilities. $57 a night with pull through and 50amps.


Connecting with The Old West

Radio Goldfield – KGFN

In the very trying times of the Corona Virus Pandemic in the late winter and early spring of 2020, we are truly bombarded with a fire-hose of nefarious, negative news from form all corners of our illicit media in all facets. It is sad and there are few escapes.

Then there is KFGN – Radio GoldfieldThe Voice of the Old West, which is a heartfelt, drama free venue of wonderful music, outstanding uplifting commentary and superb, original comedy every single day. KGFN is truly a gift provided by the kind of people a sane person seeks as friends.

Located in the Outback of Nevada USA, KGFN can be heard of course in Goldfield where the station resides and also in Tonopah, Beatty, Hawthorne via FM repeaters. Best of all KGFN can be heard anywhere on this planet via streaming on your Internet connection.

I recommend and invite you to listen to, patronize and perhaps donate to KGFN – Radio Goldfield. The station website is at www.KGFN.org and on FaceBook

Tell Leon The Weather Burro that OutbackUSA.com sent you.



Time Capsule – 1936 Conoco Touraide Travel Guide

The 1936 US highway system
Here you can see how detailed this map is.

This Continental Oil Company travel guide was assembled for a private party back in 1936. You can see the route in the first image above. The guide is scanned into two very high resolution PDF files at 405 and 435 megabytes. Wait for the downloads to complete. When viewing the file in your computer, tablet or phone, wait for the file to completely load then zoom in and enjoy.

The files can be found here. Your best bet to view the files is via a desktop or laptop computer and via the Adobe Acrobat application.

Union Pacific 4014 Big Boy Nevada and California

Click HERE for a larger version

The Great Race Across the Southwest



For the final time this year, the Big Boy No. 4014 will ride the rails on the Union Pacific system, taking it through Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Wyoming. 

October 17th, 2019 – Please find my super high resolution gallery of the 4014 in Nevada and Eastern California on-line at the link below. Each image is 16-27 megabytes. Please be patient as they load as a gallery and individually. Feel free to download and print these photos. I only ask that the watermark stay intact.

Link to High Resolution Image Gallery HERE
Link to Schedule HERE
Link to Tracking Map HERE
Facebook Group HERE
Twitter Feed HERE

Leaving Caliente, NV
Passing through Ivanpah, CA
Leaving the historic Kelso, CA Station

Bryce Canyon National Park

I have visited this park a few times and have always enjoyed the splendor. This year, 2019 – with the very heavy snowfall and extended rain, it was a great opportunity to shoot a few more pictures. Please enjoy the gallery.

See the whole gallery HERE

The Lincoln Highway

While following the Union Pacific, Steam Locomotives #844 and #4014 “Big Boy”, on their way back from “The Great Race to Ogden”, I found myself on a path of incredible history, known as The Lincoln Highway.

Wikipedia excerpt:

“The Lincoln Highway was one of the earliest transcontinental highways for automobiles across the United States of America. Conceived in 1912 by Indiana entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, and formally dedicated October 31, 1913, the Lincoln Highway ran coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City west to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, originally through 13 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California.”

My goal was to catch the train in Granger, Wyoming which is due north of Interstate 80 west of Green River, Wyoming. About 20 miles from my exit off of the Interstate, I spied a county road #233 that was a definite shortcut. I took the next exit, county road #237 and was soon on what was a nice packed dirt and dried mud road when I crossed a very old, steel and iron truss bridge over the Blacks Fork river. The bridge looked like it was a 100+ years old but built sturdy and still in good condition.

Click HERE to see this photo in the OutbackUSA Gallery

I set out down this road, passing numerous telecom cable signs, repeater huts, ranches, and oil rigs. It became clear to me that I was on a special road. I knew the Lincoln Highway was over-ridden and bypassed by the Interstate in this locale. My quick web search showed I was smack dab on a piece of history. Under my wheels was the original, 1913 era Lincoln Highway, the Mormon Immigrant, Wagon Trail, the same for the California and Oregon Trail of the same purpose. It was also the path of the Pony Express, very near the first Transcontinental Railroad, the first Transcontinental Telegraph Route and later, the first Bell System, Transcontinental, Long Distance Telephone Route.

WOW! on this very same piece of earth lay fiber optic cables near my feet moving terabytes of data. The same route where just 160 years ago – wiry young men rode galloping horses carrying a few hundred postal letters to the west coast and back. That’s “some contrast”. Yes!

I was experiencing true, intense American History, in the middle of nowhere – The OutbackUSA!

I am now a “Rookie, Lincoln Highway Fan”. I could type more about this experience but, it would be best to experience and learn much more before I do. With that, I leave you some images along the way. There will be much more to come.

Update: 10/20/2020 – Follow this LINK to the Lincoln Highway Association and this LINK to the interactive map of all Lincoln Highway routes.

Click HERE to see this photo in the OutbackUSA Gallery
Click HERE to see this photo in the OutbackUSA Gallery
Click HERE to see this photo in the OutbackUSA Gallery
Click HERE to see this photo in the OutbackUSA Gallery – If this door could speak!

The Great Race to Ogden

#844 and #4014 Ascending the grade out of Echo Canyon, Utah
Looking far down the canyon through the morning sun and mild heatwaves to catch the historic train ascend a grade it has known as part, since inception.

There are a few times in your life when you have the opportunity to see a “one time event”.

“The Great Race to Ogden” was just that, an event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Great Race to Promontory with assets you have never seen before in a combination, you will never see again. Celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Golden Spike ceremony at Promontory Point, Utah – two restored Steam Locomotives of the Union Pacific Railroad and their very talented crews and support staff, made the journey from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Ogden, Utah to be the highlight of the celebration.

The 844 and newly restored 4014 “Big Boy” Steam Locomotives were the centerpieces of this event. Both are meticulously restored and cared for by the dedicated staff of the Union Pacific Steam Shop located in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

One their way home, I was able to catch and capture these beautiful machines beginning at Castle Rock, Utah – following to Rock Springs, Wyoming. I witnessed them pulling the grade in Echo Canyon, Utah and cruising past at speed at Leroy, Wyoming. I was also able to get up close for some very inspiring photos at Evanston, Wyoming.

I will have a full gallery available soon, that will include a few photos that I dare to say are “artwork”. Yes, I was lucky to catch the right light and the right setting to take a few magical photos. I know a few will be framed on my workshop wall. Maybe on your wall too?

I was also able to explore the southwest corner of Wyoming too include very remote sections of the original Lincoln Highway and a few towns that simply speak of deep American history in every inch.

I have a lot of photos to edit and a lot to talk about of this very Epic Trip. For now, I leave you with a 360 degree virtual reality of this awesome train passing by at Leroy, Wyoming. Pan to the right to follow the train as if you were standing near the roadbed. Stop the video at anytime to see the detail of the train, the crew and the railfans.

Future installments will include my introduction to the Historic, Lincoln Highway and a few backcountry towns that caught my eye: Granger, Wyoming – Helper, Utah and Baker, Nevada.

Stay tuned!

Just like you were there!

If the above video is not displayed in true, 360 degree format, please go to YouTube directly via this link. 2019 Union Pacific “Big Boy” and 844 Steam Locomotives

South Park City Museum

We didn’t find Jimmy or Cartman in our visit to Fairplay, Colorado but, we did tour the South Park City Museum – one of the best period correct displays of the Frontier Mining era of Old West.

Please enjoy the extensive photo gallery found HERE.

South Park City is an open-air museum located at the west end of Front Street in the town of Fairplay in Park County, Colorado. The museum is a historic reconstruction of a mining town from the days of the Colorado Gold Rush and the later Colorado Silver Boom in South Park in the late 1850s through the 1880s.

The museum contains thirty-five authentic relocated buildings filled with over 60,000 artifacts that depict many of the economic and social aspects of life in a gold or silver mining town in Colorado in the late 19th century. Two of the buildings, the South Park Brewery and the Summer Saloon, are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

A log structure known as “Father Dyer’s Chapel” was a hotel in Montgomery, Colorado but was dismantled, moved to Fairplay, and rebuilt as a church in 1868. It is named for John Lewis Dyer, the itinerant Methodist clergyman who preached in the area from 1861 to 1877 and is one of the sixteen founders of Colorado memorialized in the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.

The museum was opened in 1959 after two years of preparation by the South Park Historical Foundation. It is open daily from mid-May to mid-October.

2017 Solar Eclipse 360 Degree “Virtual Reality” Video

After helping some friends out at the 2017, Best In The Desert, Vegas to Reno Desert Race, we ventured up from the Pony Express Trail near Silver Springs, NV to Weiser, Idaho in the Outback of the USA to witness the Solar Eclipse in Totality. Weiser is a great little town that just suffered through a horrible winter that damaged many homes and buildings. The town pulled it all together and presented a great weekend full of festivities and small town hospitality.

The video is about 9 minutes long capturing the total eclipse a bit after 3 minutes in. During the entire duration, we witnessed the changing light and felt the temperature changes. When totality occurred, the entire town let out a cheer, which you can here on the video.

Remember, this is a 360 degree video – you can pan all around and look up or down. It’s like being there. For best results, view the video on a desktop or laptop computer. The Youtube Mobile interface for the video does not always render the 360 degree, VR experience.

You may alo want to try this link directly – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44_-2hBa4fo&t

The video size is about 9 gigabytes so, you will need a fast Internet connection. Enjoy, and please feel free to share.

Update August 24th, 2017 – See this interactive map of 2017, Solar Eclipse reports.
https://zeemaps.com/map?group=2652977#

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