Friday, April 4, 2014

I've been thinking about some past experiences that Sally and I had in some of our more than 10 yrs of RVing. 
Now I'm going to recap some of them with as many pictures as I can.
Probably our experiences at Tex Creek WMA in the 2 summers we were there, were the pinnacle of the years on the road (at least for me).

 Sally standing at the gate to Tex Creek Wild Life Management Area (WMA) headquarter's compound. This is after a interesting 13 mile trip off of the main road to get to it. I've always told everybody we had a 13  mile long driveway. Which we did, but the county maintained it pretty good. Then when you went to town and got to the main road it was only another 15 miles into town.

 Our living quarters. Very nice accommodations I'd say that was/is maybe 70 by 16 foot wide modular housing. 2 X 6 walls very well insulated, Thermopane windows, wood and/or propane heat, 2 bedrooms, 2 full baths, nice kitchen with a gas refrigerator and range and a washing machine (brought in while we were there). A propane generator large enough to run the everything. All in all a really great place to hang your hat. There were 2 other buildings like this and one was for the interns with the same setup we had and the other was the Headquarter's Building set up for some sleeping arrangements for the higher echelon, meeting space, cooking etc. Both of these buildings also had their own generators. The 3 buildings being relatively close together shared the same propane fuel tanks which was them piped to the dwellings.

  This is the  little John Deere 45 hp diesel lawnmower. It was used in the compound and out at the various camp sites in the surrounding area. You could spend all day on that and still not get everything done. LOL

These pictures shows our living abode in the lower level.The headquarters is the building on the right. The small yellow building housed firewood all neatly stacked and split. Also it contained a cottontail rabbit and ground squirrels  that gave Aimee (dawg) a lot of exercise. Note the 2 propane tanks for these 3 buildings.

Also this the headquarters building from our front door. 

This next building is the workshop! A self contained shop for repair and whatever had to be done to anything. I also had its own large generator, 110/240 and hand tools galore. The 6 X 6 has a 500 gallon water tank that is used for watering some of the plants. Also it is kept full all the time in case of fire.
This below, shows the tractors that were used almost daily as Craig and Trent restored the ground to the way it used to be, before the area was open to settlers. 
 Planting prairie grasses and the like. The flat tillable ground you see in the distance is called a bench. The semi arid ground has great gullies (erosion/old rivers) and at many different levels.

This picture below shows most of the compound area that you can see from the road. Not shown is the old original barn, still being used and Quonset hut. Near the old barn is the well with its own generator that supplies water to the buildings and a couple of yard hydrants.

This is a picture of the Quonset and beyond you can see the well house and the peak of the old barn. 

Inside this building I was surprised to find this machine. It was used in pulling a large sled filled with hay to the wintering herds of elk. They discontinued using this because of Brusolosis (sp). It is on a Dodge Power Wagon drive train of some kind. (No I didn't play with it, darn it) 

Below is a "Morman" Cricket. When they hatch they march, thousands of them if not millions. As they walk they eat whatever is in their way. You can actually hear them chewing. Like an army they go over hill and dale. I was trying to give you an idea of the size. That is my jack knife lying there to compare. 

It is hard to believe that in this semi semi arid land there are moose. Quite a few of them. This is a younger one that I saw near the road.

Here is another bull, just a little larger making himself scarce.

Below are 3 moose out in a barely field. A cow and 2 yearling calves that were just grazing and messing around on a nice day. Also this gives you a better idea of the "benches" where the farmers tried to grow their barley or winter wheat. Each of those fields you see are about 350 to 500 acres in size.

 Below is Honey and Aimee, our dog. Honey belonged to Walt and Sue and these two dogs were pretty good friends. Honey was adept at catching honey bees and eating them. Aimee on the other hand only tried once that I know of. She didn't like the sting.

 Semi arid or not! On June 3, 2001 this is what we awoke to. Now something I haven't mentioned is this ground is what I call cleche (Clee-she). Very hard and dusty when dry and then a few sprinkles of rain it becomes gumbo. If you drive in it with a 4 X 4 you chain up the front tires to pull you through it. When it quits raining, in about an hour, you have dusty conditions again.

I don't have any pictures but here I'm following Craig down the road (our main) as he was pulling the "weed rooter" to take it up to the bench where he was working.Those wings must be about 12 feet in length and are raised and lowered hydraulically. The pin holding the left wing up came out and also the hinge pin left wing of course came down and dangled out over the canyon. As you can see there is no room to stand on the left and he was quite perplexed as to how we were going to raise it. So I (really did) showed him how to use the hydraulic on the right and with a chain (we happened to have) we could pull up the errant left wing and get everything back in place. One nice thing was we did not have to worry about traffic. In less than an hour we were on our way with another adventure to talk about.

                   Part of the 13 mile drive into Tex Creek WMA.

 This is another of the drive in and out of Tex Creek. These sections are called "dugways" and were started by hand of course from a foot path to a horse and then to wagons. The white on the right is white volcanic ash. Very soft and porous. On the left at the shoulder is a very deep drop off. Deep enough that there are a few wrecked cars down at the bottom 

This picture will you give you some idea of the lay of the land. You can see in the lower center of the picture an old elk trap that was used in the 40's and/or 50's and it is about a mile or so away from where the picture was taken.

 On one of the patrols this is what I found at one of the gates. At first I thought some hunter or hiker had just neglected to put the gate back up. On further observation I could see where some critter (a bull I later found) had decided he wanted out or he just got caught. I replaced the one broken post and fixed a couple strands of wire on this one. And then spent 2 hours getting him back on his side of the fence.

Below is a cowboy "Line Shack" that was used in days gone by. 
The shack is a one room with a sleeping area, a few utensils for preparing food and a sort of modified root cellar (shallow) for storing some goods. Outside to the left and out of sight is a spring where the water does flow, and through the years a refrigerator shell has been placed so that it makes a reservoir for keeping things cooler. The building out back was for a horse and a place to hang tack and a bale or two of hay. I did talk to a local rancher that told me he spent a day and half in their once waiting for a snow storm to let up so he could get back home. In fact he said he brought in some of the magazines that were now scattered about. Through the 2 summers we were at Tex Creek I spent an hour or two just "pondering" about the past and what it all might have been like back then.

 One day this couple came in to visit. Merlin and Juanita Delo from Hesperia. We did spend a few of nice days with them and Merlin even helped me on a project I had going. Fixing OLD fence at one of the campsites. I think I worked him to hard, ha-ha. 

 So we took them for a ride. One of the things I'd discovered was this old sheep herders wagon. Still mounted on wooden wheels but fixed up
inside to be sort of a SMALL cabin.
   Also one morning we had another guest "Supersize" showed up. Lost, tired, dirty,skinny really hungry. A white Pyrenees. A large dog the sheepherders use in their work. We called him SUPERSIZE because he was so much bigger than our little Bichon.

It was a Thursday morning and the interns offered to take him home for the weekend  but we insisted on keeping him there. 
  We soon found out we did not have enough dog food for him. Each one of his bites was like a days worth of food for our dog.
 It all worked out as Sally said "time to clean out the refrigerators", ours and the headquarters. Well she cooked up some kind of hobo stew for this gentle beast and he felt a lot better.
We started asking around and found out a large flock of sheep had passed through the area 2 days before. So we contacted the rancher and he affirmed that he was missing one. So we gladly returned him as our cupboards were nearly empty and he really needed some sheep to protect.
  It was hot and dry, red flags were flying on open campfires and everybody was on the look out for smoke. Young John came in and said we've got a fire over yonder!
Over yonder can mean anything from a hundred yards to several miles in this neck of the woods. So we hopped in the patrol truck and went to the scene and this is what we could see from the top of the "bench"

The fire started down in a canyon several hundred feet below where we were and was reaching the crest when we got there. The Grease Wood and Sage Brush was adding to the fire by being readily consumed. The flames probably reaching 45 to 50 feet in the air as each bush flamed up. We hurried up and went back and John headed off with the tanker and I filled the little 250 gallon sprayer with water and followed him. Of course nobody would answer the radio and cell reception is/was very spotty. I found a spot and called the boss and he wanted the GPS co-ordinates. I told him he had the GPS and I described the location as as best as I could. I pulled up behind John at the fire and he walked along spraying the ridge to keep the fire out of 2 or 3 hundreds of winter wheat
 John spraying the sage trying to keep the fire out of the wheat!

Soon a spotter plane was overhead and then a couple of crop duster started doing their jobs. And the Fire fighters showed up and were a bunch of swell guys.

 We found out that they were trustees and they were putting out fires for the obvious reasons. Some of them would later become smoke-jumpers etc.

 Load after load of retardant was dumped to slow it down. Then a helicopter showed up and lifted basket after basket of water and dumped on the "hot-spots". It would take 2 days for the fire to be completely put out and on the 3rd day they left. After it was all over I realized I didn't get a picture of the chopper.
All in all there was 200 acres burned and as you can see somewhat in the picture below the steepness of the canyon which made it so difficult.

The fire was started by a couple of cowboys that were going to boil some crawdads for lunch when the fire got away from them. They were responsible for all the damages and replanting. Sage will not reseed it self naturally. The seeds are carried by animals and so they have to be manually planted from a state nursery.

No comments: