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Balmorhea Road Trip

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SHANEA

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Balmorhea Road Trip
« on: September 06, 2007, 07:32:53 PM »
Made a mad dash from East Texas to Balmorhea last Friday.  Took right at 12 hours.  TOO LONG.  Too much traffic, construction, slow drivers, etc.  Screwed up coming out of Menard and took the road to Mason instead of to Junction - major screw up that probably cost us at least an hour - didn't realize it until we got to Grit and I knew I'd never been to Grit before.  Just wasn't paying attention.  It's not like I haven't been that way before. 

Balmorhea was really nice. Lots of nice sights too.  Water was cool and clean and about 72 degrees with a million plus gallons of spring water flowing through it every hour.  Mornings up until about noon, the pool was almost empty and was pretty much all ours.    Lots of fun feeding the fish bread and biscuits.   Even when crowded, everyone was well behaved - no loud music, fights, drunks, etc.  Pretty much families and scuba divers.   Must tip my hat to the TPWD rangers out there as they were incredibly nice and friendly.  I'd called them on the way in and they reserved us a really great pull-through site with a shade shelter.

Took a small excursion up to a Boy Scout encampment up the road towards Fort Davis.  My hiking buddy is leading his troop up there next summer.  Wanted to scope it all out, find out the best camping areas, etc.

Didn't make it up to Fort Davis or McDonald Observatory.  Tried to minimize the amount of road time as we'd already been driving a lot.   My hiking buddy had his new toy of one of them star finder identifier monocular and we played with that at the campsite.  Stars were nice.  Moon rose about 10pm and it was bright.  Got to see the Milky Way...

Went into Balmorhea itself for ice and they were having a street party/dance.   Lots of rough looking biker dudes and their mommas there.  Didn't hang around long.    Talked to Brian who used to be the HR guy at BIBE.  Had been hoping to cross paths with him and his wife and break bread (fajitas and tamales), but we had a failure to communicate and he would up in Fort Davis instead. 

Headed home early Monday morning.  Good record pace of about 9 hours.  Until we got just outside of Centerville when the transmission overheating message appeared.  Called the "worthless" Onstar lady who pretty much read the owners manual to me.  Let it cool down and made it to Centerville where it over heated again.  Had dinner and let it cool.  Limped over to the Trinity River bridge outside of Crockett where it overheated again.  NOTE:  checked the fluid - nice and red and full, no burning smell, no sound of gears self destructing, etc.  Punted at the Trinity river bridge and got a friend to come and pick up R2D2 and haul it home.  Limped into Crockett and left it at the Chevy dealership.  Fortunately, I've got GM Protection Plan Major Guard and the transmission is covered as the service department is  reporting that it's toast.  So, repairs or a new tranny will only cost me $100.  Last I'd heard, they had not dug into it yet, but all the diagnostics showed that all the clutches were fried.  Automatic tranny.  Even has a tranny cooler from the factory on it.  Looking at the www.chevyavalchefanclub.com website it appears that General Motors has been having some issues with the transmission.  It's not like R2D2 is heavy or anything, well within the bounds of the max. towing, weight, etc.  About 1/3 of the rated capacity.  Took every bit of 15-16 hours to get home.

Oh well.  Great trip.  Not sure I'd do it again for just 2 days on the ground.  Oh, heck, yes I would...

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« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 08:14:11 AM by SHANEA »

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BigBendHiker

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 08:52:33 PM »
Hi Shanea!
Good trip report; bummer on the transmission problem...but good thinking back when you bought it to get the extended warranty! 

Nice pictures, too.  The pool looked like it was fairly empty?  How crowded was the park?


BBH

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Offline Undertaker

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2007, 08:58:08 PM »
Blew out to BB Thursday with two friends who have never been, had great time including bear visit. Ran around Alpine, Marfa etc. Spent most of time in park with short hikes with everyone, never had much luck with auto trans even with coolers, thought they had problem fixed and was considering one when and if I get a new truck, fueled before we left and avoided the much higher diesel fuel prices in BB area up to $3.34, out and back still running, but I carry 150 gals of D.  Now everyone wants to go back, again.. 
« Last Edit: September 10, 2007, 03:25:23 PM by Undertaker »
Visiting BB since 1966, nothing like being lost and finding heaven.

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Offline Casa Grande

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 07:23:18 AM »
fuel prices in BB area up to $3.34, out and back still running, but I carry 150 gals of D.

ouch!

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Offline TheWildWestGuy

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2007, 05:32:31 PM »
Thanks for the trip report ShaneA.   This is my first post on the new board so lets see if it works.   I see a message icon selection box and a whole bunch of text buttons several of which I don't know what they do (e.g. teletype?).
Anyway it's a very good thing you got the extended warranty or you might have been out $3-$4K.   I have often thought about what I am doing to my truck driving for ~10 hours ~nonestop at ~80 mph.  My dashboard starts getting hot after about 6-7 hours and stays warm to the touch for the rest of the trip.  It can't be good to push a vehicle so long at such high speeds with the AC running the entire time.   So far no problems and it's been about 12 trips with the "new" vehicle... TWWG

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SHANEA

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2007, 05:43:48 PM »

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Ray52

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2007, 05:50:46 PM »
From your slide show it looks like food was high on your list of priorities.  Did you happen to stop at Woody's in Centerville (the one on the west side of the interstate)?  Its a must do whenever I go to Waco to see my son.  A lot of good food, but if nothing else, I have to get their German sausage wrap.  Delicious and cheap too.  

We had our own trip to Arkansas last weekend for a 3 day backpack.  The trail was beautiful but tougher than I anticipated and I'm still tired and sporting several chigger bites and some poison ivy.  

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SHANEA

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 09:50:36 PM »
Eating well is always high on the list of priorities!  :) 

Woody's - Over Labor Day weekend when we passed by both times and on both sides of the interstate it was beyond packed.  I do like the beef jerky.  Although, I find Bucky's to have better jerky. 

Been wondering where you were at, figured it was about time to get back to work.   We need to get another trip lined up as soon as I round up all of my equipment and take your kayaks out again.  SOON!

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SHANEA

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2007, 01:37:04 AM »
How about some videos...

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Offline Boojum1

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Re: Balmorhea Road Trip
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2007, 11:39:11 AM »
Quote
Took a small excursion up to a Boy Scout encampment up the road towards Fort Davis.

That was the location of my first ever hiking overnighter (not backpacking as we had a couple of mules).  The black trail kicked our butts but we did learn some useful lessons about water in the desert mtns and you can survive drinking untreated water from a stock tank.  The rest of the whole Boy Scout experience there was mostly BS.  Our country troop didn't mesh too well with the city boys.
Pithy quote free for years

 


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