Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Rally in the Texas Hill Country

Kerrville, Texas - As April draws to a close, we realized we have not taken traveling advantage of one of the two months of the year when RV travel is sensible in Texas; the other month besides April, of course, is October.  From May through September, the distance between the sun and Texas shortens to roughly 300 miles, causing our freeways to melt and the Gulf of Mexico to evaporate.  From November through early March, the weather is utterly unpredictable, but it doesn’t matter, because all the vegetation is either brown or missing, and the landscape unfit for recreation--or even viewing, for that matter.  (One should not infer from this mini-rant that I do not love my native state; I certainly do, as can be discerned from earlier posts from, say, the Texas hill country or Big Bend.  However, had I been consulted by the Almighty during Creation, I would have suggested that He give it a climate something like, well, San Diego.  However, I do not question His purpose; we merely compensate by air conditioning everything, and I do mean everything.)
Before the approaching inferno of the summer months, we decided we would take Phannie and Mae down to the RV Dreams rally in Kerrville, located in the midst of the winsome Texas hill country.  We had not previously attended an RV rally, so we thought this would be a good one for an initiation, as we had been following the promoters, Howard and Linda Payne, on their website, RV-Dreams, for quite a long time. Besides that, we have some wonderful mutual friends, Ed and Marilyn.
The trip to Kerrville was almost uneventful.  On I-35 south of Fort Worth, we were following an eighteen-wheeler fairly closely when I suddenly spotted a huge chunk of tire tread lying in the middle of my lane.  I had perhaps three seconds to catch sight of the derelict piece of tread as it appeared instantly from underneath the truck in front of me and disappeared under Phannie. I was utterly powerless to take any evasive action.  I was pretty sure that Phannie’s axles would clear the jagged tread remnant but, in a flash, it occurred to me that Mae, blissfully unsuspecting as she followed Phannie via her Blue Ox towbar, would likely get creamed by the piece of tread, which may have weighed as much as 20-30 pounds.  As I suspected, the tread did indeed clear Phannie’s undercarriage, and then I spotted in the right rear view mirror the piece of tread, now airborne and careening toward the highway shoulder, obviously having been launched into the air by its collision with something, which I assumed was poor Mae.
The engine brake was already slowing Phannie as I steered her toward the shoulder and stopped to see what mauling might have been done to our faithful little toad.  I hadn’t noticed anything amiss via the rearview camera, but only the top portion of the car is visible on the dashboard TV monitor.  To my amazement as I approached the car, Mae was totally blemish free!  I couldn’t figure it out until, turning around, I noticed that the mud guard that stretches the entire width of the coach behind Phannie’s rear wheels was bent backward about 30 degrees on the curbside end.  Further inspection revealed that the metal stringer holding the rubber flap had been bent, skewing the piece of rubber and the chrome nameplate upon which “Phaeton” is inscribed.

Phannie's mud guard saves Mae from injury!

I was so happy to learn that the mud guard had done its job in protecting Mae by deflecting toward the highway shoulder the piece of rubber that would certainly have damaged the little red car.  I’ll get son-in-law Tyler to bend it back into shape next time he’s over at our house.
We pulled into our spot at Buckhorn RV Resort as the sun was setting and hurried over to the rally headquarters to check in late.  Howard and Linda raced over and gave us a big hug, as though they had known us for ages.  What a nice greeting!  There were about 75 other RVers in the meet-and-greet gathering, but we didn’t stick around since we hadn’t begun to get set up after our arrival.  After that was done, we made a quick trip to one of the H. E. B. grocery stores in Kerrville to purchase a few food items that we would need for the next few days.  (We do not load much food into Phannie for departure from home--only those things that might go bad if left behind.  The other things we need--or might crave--are always available at our destination, so we don’t bother to schlep a bunch of food out to Phannie before departure.)
The park is very upscale and in a beautiful setting west of Kerrville on I-10.  I’ll have some photos in the next post.


  1. How wonderful to be "blemish" free. Hope our guard on our Phaeton does the same job! Enjoy the Rally.

  2. We always enjoy your writing. Glad Mae is OK. Sure wish we were there with you. Say Hi to dear friends, Howard & Linda, for us.
    Looking forward to seeing you in Colorado! Please don't dissapoint us.
    Can't wait for your next post.
    Have fun!!!!


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