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STOP #271

Last night THE POD was rockin' and rollin' all night long, but not for the reason you're probably thinking. The 55 MPH wind gusts lasted all the way into the early morning hours.

At 2:00AM it went from just gusty winds to winds and rain. It sounded like there was an entire high school class outside pelting THE POD with pebbles. Or course there wasn't, but the tempuratures were near freezing and it could have been sleet hitting the trailer windows.

We just got back to sleep and then at 4:00AM our weather station alarmed letting us know the outside temperatures had dropped to 30°F and it was time to turn off our electric space heaters and fire up the propane furnace to heat the holding tanks so they don't freeze over and crack our pipes.

By 8:30AM we were off the campsite and headed to town with THE POD, we didn't even unhook fron ROVER last night, to eat breakfast at McDonald's in Levelland. I guess we did spent a little bit of our money in town after all.

This must be a relatively new location because the interior was awesome. There was lots of seating, some even looked like desks with electric for those who take advantage of the free WiFi. Even the parking lot was large enough for us to park the truck and trailer at the rear row of spaces. We knew this in advance by checking on Google Map's satellite view. There was a BBQ joint across the street that doesn't open until 11:00AM so that parking lot was our backup plan if McDonald's lot didn't work out.

We have another planned stop before we reach our new campsite. Tricia now feels she has rounded out her Alaskan wardrobe with several new pairs of long pants and long sleeved shirts. Those of you that follow Tricia on Instagram already know where I'm going with this story.

Duluth Trading Co. has just 64 retail locations nationwide, with 6 of those right here in Texas. As Tricia's luck would have it, one of those 6 locations is just 30 miles from Levelland in Lubbock, TX. It also just so happens to be on our route today, so we planned the stop for 10:00AM when they open. Why stop at Duluth you wonder? I tried a pair of their flannel lined jeans and I loved the fit so much I wanted the same jeans unlined. And ordering online means guessing how long they take to ship. Much easier to stop in since it was on the route!! -T

Now it's time to push through the 100+ miles we still need to travel to reach our new home. The winds had died down considerably to 25MPH, but still enough to push these massive wind turbines. We saw all across the horizon on our travels today. A full 20% of Texas' electricity comes from these turbines. They generate more wind energy in Texas than the next three highest states combined, partially due to the vast amount of space they have to install them over.

It was very interesting seeing all these wind turbines sometimes sharing the same field as several oil derricks (aka pumpjacks), which would seem the best of both worlds. That's not to say Texas doesn't take advantage of solar energy, they rank 8th in the nation for solar power.

A couple hours later we arrived at Caprock Canyons State Park for our six day visit. When checking in I was informed that the park was home to the Texas State Bison Herd and that they freely roam the entire park, including the campground. She also informed me they have the "right of way" on the roads in the park.

We drove halfway through the park to the campground and quickly got setup on our site.

We have a large site and are nestled back in a private corner.

Most sites come with a covered picnic table and fire pit.

We were barely finished setting up when we witnessed just what the Ranger explained to us upon check-in.

A small portion of the herd wandered into the campground.

I'm glad we didn't reserve Site #34, because it looks like it's currently occupied by the bison.

I'm not going to be the one to approach them and ask them to move along,
not even the little ones like this guy!

SATURDAY - Today we drove five miles deeper into the park along the Scenic Drive. There are several great tent camping opportunities deeper in the park, but trailers over 15 feet are not allowed. We took a few photos but with the harsh afternoon sun they didn't come out well. We'll plan to get up early tomorrow and repeat the drive and sneek in a short hike.

Tonight we attended a 1-hour long Ranger Talk at the park's amphitheater which centered on the topic of the Texas State Bison Herd which calls Caprock Canyons State Park home. The herd was originally only 36 head back in the late 1990s, now their numbers are around 250.

Once a year in the winter time the park corrals up the entire herd and puts them through physicals, vaccinations and DNA testing. The DNA testing tells them if they need to introduce some new "bull bison" from another herd to lend a little variety to the new offspring's parent pairs. This protects the herd from the consequences of inbreeding.

SUNDAY - We didn't get out into the park as early as we hoped, but the lighting late this morning was still better than yesterday's afternoon sunlight.

We also managed to get in that short 1/2-mile hike we mentioned yesterday, but it was a bit of a dissappointment. The park's brochure says there is a natural bridge under the trail that you can pass through to the other side.

Well I guess you could, if you were only 3-feet tall and possibly hoofed like a goat or something.

You'll see the pictures, I'll let you decided if you'd like to try and make it through!


These photos are far superior to yesterdays. The early morning sun really brings out the deep red color in the canyon walls.
That white layer in the wall is gypsum. It is mined all over Texas and used to make fertilizer, chalk and drywall.
Those gypsum layers can be found all over the park in the exposed canyon walls.
Red clay makes up the layers just below the harder top layer of caprock.
The canyon walls really light up and come alive this time of the morning.
Eagle Point stands above the horizon from this vantage point.
We begin our short hike down the Eagle Point Trail to the location of the natural bridge.
From this side it looks like you could actually pass through and under the trail.
Even up close it looks doable.
The problem is the other side leaves you 30-feet above the canyon floor and nothing but a pile of rocks to scramble down. No thank you!

After our morning hike and picture taking we were headed back to our campsite when we came upon a sizeable portion of the bison herd. They were enjoying a morning drink of water from one of the many troughs scattered throughout by the park.

This big guy came right up to ROVER's passenger door and gave Tricia the "Evil Eye".
I believe he may have been thinking "Move It Or Lose It" there buddy!

Tricia shot this video while standing up in the passenger seat
and hanging her upper torso out of ROVER's moonroof.

You'll see about 20-seconds into the video I start following with ROVER,
that is until we hit a "Bison (Traffic) Jam".

We didn't expect this experience until we arrived in Yellowstone!

I guess when you've got an itch, you just have to scratch it however you can!

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