Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Local News - Dallas, TX and Surrounding Areas

This happened two days ago...Waxahachie, TX is about 12 miles south of the RV Park we are staying at...we could see the smoke plume coming from the plant.  The wind was taking the smoke northwest so thankfully we could not smell it and therefore were most likely not breathing in any toxic materials.  At least I hope we weren't!

Wild fires in the Bastrop, TX area have started up again...we aren't near there, thankfully.

Will Work for Tent Site!

The verdict came back yesterday that Mike could work with the maintenance guy here at the RV Park to cover our stay.  It appears that each day's work is equal to 2 nights...he worked yesterday leaf-blowing and today he guessed it...leaf blowing again.  I tried to procure a job of my own to do but nobody here is letting me work...some BS about needing to stay off my feet so my knee can heal. 

Ok, I know it's not BS but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

I am bored out of my ever-loving mind and am itching to get out of here.  There's nothing to see (except RVs, dirt, rocks, a few trees, and mostly-brown grass) and nothing to do (unless walking to the dollar store is your idea of a good time). 

A few random things I've learned during my stay here:

Pasta Sides (brand name) require 2 cups of liquid to cook - our cooking pot only holds 2 cups of liquid...if you fill it to the brim...leaving absolutely no room for the product.  Not to mention most of them require milk in addition to water, which is great if you HAVE milk...but that's not easy to keep on hand when you're minus a refrigerator.  Fail.

It is very difficult to find products that feed one or two, with no leftovers that need to be refrigerated.  You want to make pasta?  You're going to have to buy a whole jar of pasta sauce and then refrigerate the leftovers (and have a 3/4 bag of pasta to store, as well).  This leaves only one option...canned food.  One can of anything fits nicely in our pot...any less is not enough to feed us both, any more will overflow the pot.

Did I mention that I am sick of canned food?  I mean really, these people have no idea how to cook.  Plus there's no real nutritional value to most food found in a can.  The cows I've seen on the side of the road are starting to look pretty damn tasty right about now!

Even areas that boast 'warm' winters can get cold at night, which isn't so bad if you have a nice warm bed to curl up in at night but when you're sleeping outdoors it presents a problem.  I will say that if we weren't actively traveling things would be a bit easier.  Items that keep you warm are notoriously heavy...that's no issue if you have one set place you're camped out in for the duration of the cold season but when you're having to carry the stuff from one place to another every other day it becomes difficult, if not downright impossible.

We are apparently fairly likeable people...some of the folks here at the RV Park are already trying to keep us.  We have been offered the use of a small, beat-down trailer for the low price of $245 a month plus electric.  As tempting as that sounds I think we will have to pass...especially given the fact that even if we wanted to stay we don't have jobs and don't have $245 plus electric.  Granted, we could get jobs but we'd be walking at LEAST 4 miles (probably more like 8 miles) each day to get to and from an area populated enough to actually have work available.

Not to mention I really don't want to stay here.

My knee is feeling better, not 100 percent but definitely not as bad as when we first got here.  It's made a snap-crackle-pop sound a couple of times which has seemed to appears my legs swelling a few days ago may have made it susceptible to slipping out of place.  I just hope it heals up and doesn't keep happening.

Our plan is to be back on the road tomorrow, either by foot or by way of a ride that may or may not come through for us...we shall see!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Everything's Bigger in Texas!

Here we are, still in Texas and pretty much at a standstill for the time being.

Since my last post we continued on down the road toward Dallas when I realized that my legs were both swollen and my knee was badly hurting.  Unfortunately we were not in a place where we could stop so we searched out a campground that was 3 miles away from us (we had already walked 5 miles south and we had to actually backtrack some, then head west, to get to the place). 

You would think that of the thousands of vehicles that were passing us SOMEONE would stop to see if we needed help since I was obviously limping and sporting an ace bandage...but not one did.  Besides that one trucker that we met our first day here nobody has offered any help at all.

We did make it to the campground, which is mostly an RV Park with long-term guests, that has a few tent camping sites near the street...where we have been set up the last two nights.  The people here are pretty nice but money is running out fast, my knee is still in bad shape, and we're not close enough to the city (or anything, really) to find side jobs to replenish our funds. 

As a last ditch effort we offered to work around the campground to cover the cost of our stay here...the manager just got back from vacation last night and we asked this morning...we are still waiting to find out if she can get approval from the owner to do it or not.  If the answer is no we will have to hit the road today, injured knee or not, and find a patch of woods we can stealthily set up in for free.

Mike is more worried than I am...most likely because he is frustrated with his seeming inability to take care of me the way he wants to right now.  He also doesn't want to put me in a 'bad' situation which is why he has been choosing campgrounds and hotels to bed down in as opposed to random places off the road.  I knew when I signed up for this that those were possibilities, however, and I chose to do it anyway.

The way I see it...things will work out...not necessarily the way we expect or even want at the time but the way it's SUPPOSED to.  Right now this trip is an unfinished puzzle; not everything makes sense but that's just because we can't see the whole picture yet.  With a little patience and perseverence the reasons with become clearer!

So what's bigger in Texas?  Bigger problems, bigger pains, and bigger egos that don't allow most of the people here the heart to do anything to help anyone other than themselves.  At least that's what we've experienced so far...we hear that things are better the further from Dallas you get but obviously we're not making any distance right now to be able to find out.  In time, I suppose...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Big Changes!

A lot can change in a couple of days! 

Since my last post we left Elizabethton, TN, did laundry at a laundromat (talked to a kind Reverend there who, without being asked, gave us a small donation to help us out), then hiked 10 miles, got a ride from an older religious man, hiked another 8 miles, and finally got a ride the rest of the way to Greeneville, TN from a nice lady who's husband is also a hiker. We holed up in a cheap hotel room for the night there. 

The next day we hiked another 12 or so miles before reaching a gas station in Mosheim, TN where the Greyhound bus makes a once a day appearance to pick up people who want to purchase tickets at the Knoxville, TN station.  Not having much luck outrunning the cold snap bearing down on the state we opted to hop on the bus (waiting over 5 hours at the gas station for it to arrive...thankfully we had a lot of nice people to talk to during that time...the gas station attendant, an older gentleman, and a nice lady who gave us a few dollars to help us out, to mention a few) and purchased one-way tickets from Knoxville to Dallas, TX.  The bus left at 12:15am EST in the morning and we finally arrived here at 5:15pm CST today (or yesterday by the time I finish this post).

I'm not sure which is worse...walking miles upon miles with 30+ pounds on my back or being cramped on a bus, trying to sleep in uncomfortable positions while being woken up every hour at various stops for the duration of an 18 hour trip.

To top things off we ended up in a crappy part of town (south Dallas, TX in the DeSoto area) where everyone we've come in contact with has told us that this is no place to be walking around.  Unfortunately our current destination goal (Austin, TX) means we HAVE to walk through it...unless we are able to catch a quick ride out of here.

When we get to Austin, TX we intend on picking up a few side jobs to replenish our funds, which are getting on the low side given our bus fare to get down here.  Hopefully within a reasonable amount of time we are able to do so and our plan is to at some point purchase a cheap mini-van so we can drive to various locations we want to see and THEN hike as opposed to doing the whole thing on foot.  It's seeming that the way we are doing things now is hurting our ability to do that so we're taking it as a lesson learned and making the necessary adjustments to our plans.

I am not sure what the morning will bring but so far it seems that when things seem bleak and without chance of getting better it turns around and works out the way it's supposed to in the end.  We have had to put a lot of faith in that with each passing day but so far we have not been let down!

Tonight we are in a decent hotel room at a more than reasonable rate thanks to a trucker we met at a local waffle house while getting coffee and trying to figure out our next course of action.