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RE: toll charges

There are a few toll roads in Oklahoma, and Kansas. Much of I-35 across Kansas is a toll road. Kansas Turnpike Much of I-44 from the Texas border to the Missouri border is a toll road. And the Indian Nation Turnpike as you mentioned. Oklahoma Toll Roads The toll process is moving away from toll booths where you pay cash. Automated sensors which activate direct billing if the vehicle has a toll device (We have three - NTTA Toll Tag for Texas (OK & KS), Sunpass for Florida and EZ-Tag for IL-Mass/ Maine-NC Your account already has basic information on your vehicles and link to a payment via credit card or direct bank transaction. When you pass through a toll booth, the system automatically charges the toll and that's it as far as you are concerned. The other technology uses optical recognition of your license plate and a bill is sent to the address where the vehicle is registered. Most toll authorities charge a higher fee for vehicles which to not have automated sensors and accounts. One WARNING - toll bridges are very often not linked to other systems, and may require cash tolls. Bridges are exempt from the 2011 national law over interoperability (for which the full implementation has been pushed back again). Normal fees are 1x toll amount for a two axle vehicle, 2x for three axles, 4x for four axles - such as a truck towing a TT or a 5er, or a motorhome with a toad. We do not use toll roads while towing, but do use them in some places where it makes sense - without the trailer. Personally, I do not need to use toll roads except near north east Oklahoma (I-44) In that area of the state of Oklahoma south of I-40, I use US-75/ US-69. Or if east of the Turnpike, I use US-271 or US-259 or OK-2 - all are slower than the Turnpike, but heck, I'm an old retired fart and not in a hurry.
PawPaw_n_Gram 03/08/21 08:01pm Roads and Routes
RE: And so it begins. (In North America).

Small independent gas stations died in the US years ago. Over the past years of full-timing we've noticed a couple changes from our youth. The best two corners in any area with much traffic have a CVS and a Walgreens sitting on them. Followed by banks or a Starbucks. While the oil company owned stores are still around, they are much more interested in selling you a cup of coffee, a soda, beer, or something to eat. In Texas I'm seeing brands bringing more food offerings and such into their gas stations. Clean restrooms is a big driver of gas station usage in Texas. Exxon with their Texas Best branded locations, GEFCO. Of course they are trying to offer something similar to Buc-ee's just on a less than mega store size. About 6 years ago, I saw several Exxon, Shell, Valero stations adding EV charging stations in northern and eastern Texas. Most of those have removed the charging stations now. I've seen few charging stations elsewhere, but we haven't been to CA since 2017. I still say the EV 'switch' in the US will not happen until at least 2030, likely closer to 2040. 5,000 EV per day in the US equals about 140,000 new cars in Feb 2021 - a bit less than 1% of total new car sales in Feb 2021 - Source Okay, 5,000 new EV each day in the US against 555,000 new not EV vehicles every day in the US. A surprisingly high total IMHO, but I only found the source. I haven't counted the titles. Even if the high number is ten times higher than normal, non EV in the US are still outselling EV 10 to 1. With those proportions, I don't see EV threatening to make non-EV fuelstations disappear anytime soon.
PawPaw_n_Gram 03/05/21 05:22pm Around the Campfire
RE: Nascar Follies

Yes, a guy who wins his heat after starting on the pole only gets 10 points. A guy who starts eighth but finishes third will have 13 points - 8 for his finish position, and 5 'passing points'. At the Chili Bowl where we would have 10-12 heats, not all the heat winners would make the A feature. Several had to start the B. Where I've seen the system used at the Chili Bowl and dirt tracks around Oklahoma and Texas, the critical point is the position of the cars when the FIRST green flag is thrown. The lineup can change if a car has trouble making the start, or such. The lineup that takes the green flag is used to calculate passing points - not the lineup posted before the race. But a guy who has a near the front starting spot, cannot choose to fall to the back and start there to gain more passing points. Assuming 36 cars with 9 per heat, it is too much of a risk to fall back and try to make up all the positions in 15 laps just for the passing points. Everyone will make the race if there are 40 entries or fewer. While the system could be manipulated, folks who use it, promoters and race officials, know how to spot the 'cheaters' and there are penalties in the rules.
PawPaw_n_Gram 03/04/21 11:33am Around the Campfire
RE: Unknown National Cavern outside Cody

It was created as a national monument by President Taft on Sept 21, 1909. In 1954, the local government convinced Congress to turn the management (or mis-management depending upon which version of the story you read) to the local government in Cody. After "years of neglect" the former NM was returned to the federal government in 1977. During our trip through the area in Sept 2017, I checked with BLM about making it a short stop on our trip. They told me that I could not get to the site while towing my trailer, no place to turn around, and I needed to dedicate a full day to the process. Wyoming History Org It is now called Spirit Mountain Cave. Located about 4 miles west of downtown Cody, Spirit Mountain Road is a twisty dirt / gravel route climbing the mountain south from US-14/ US-16
PawPaw_n_Gram 03/04/21 11:23am Public Lands, Boondocking and Dry Camping
RE: Nascar Follies

Notes on NASCAR page about qualifying for Bristol Dirt Track Race. If you were/ are a dirt tracker, you will recognize the system. Each series will have four qualifying heats of 15 laps each. Heat field size will depend upon the size of the overall entry list. So, if there are 44 cars, there will be 11 cars in each heat race. Only green-flag laps will count. No overtime rule will be in effect, but free-pass and wave-around procedures will remain. Qualifying heat assignments and starting positions will be determined by a random draw, conducted in order of current team owner points standings. The starting lineup will be determined by a formula that weighs finishing position plus positions gained during each heat. Drivers finishing first in their heats earn 10 points, second place earns nine, third place earns eight and so forth. Additionally, drivers earn one passing point for each position gained in their heat; there are no points deductions or “negative points” for drivers who lose positions in their heats. Also, these points are merely used to calculate the starting lineup and do not count toward the championship standings. Ties in these combined points totals will be broken by current team owner points. For about 12 years, I did the draw, heat lineups, passing points calculations, and feature lineups at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa. Nice to see the Bristol race is going to be a real dirt track race. PS - I won't get to see the Bristol Dirt Track race as it runs - granddaughter's wedding.
PawPaw_n_Gram 03/04/21 09:52am Around the Campfire
RE: Texas winterizing...

Texas was a multiplex cascade failure. That is what engineers are for. Direct them to design and implement a grid interconnect for a specified environment. Multiple NG plants studded throughout the system can bear quite a load if industry has a plan for load shedding. One does not run to a NG plant turn the key and start it up. It allows for boilers turbines and cooling towers to warm up. Many of these functions can be automated. Cost of this is borne as recurrent operations. I cannot see where California would not incur the same effect with similar outcome. The natural gas problem in the recent Texas failure was largely having to shut down operating NG plants, because the pipelines could not supply NG to the plants. Once the plants burned through their ready stocks in the first day or two, they started going off line, faster than other sources were being brought on-line. The pumping stations for the pipelines, the pipelines themselves and many current supply well heads were not insulated or protected against extensive cold. Yes, this should never have been allowed to happen. But with NG currently so cheap, no power company was willing to pay a slightly higher price for NG from providers who had done due diligence to protect their supply. An additional problem was that the supply of NG was cut so low, that the gas companies had to make a decision. Cut off NG flow to homes and businesses that used it as their primary heat source. That would be to push what NG they had into power plants. Damned if they did and damned if they did not.
PawPaw_n_Gram 03/02/21 09:20pm Around the Campfire
RE: Exxon lost $20.1Billion - the beginning of the end for oil?

A large part of the public in the US believes that the more oil wells drilled, the lower the price of oil will be, and someday if the government keeps from messing stuff up, we will be see retail gasoline prices under $1 per gallon. They cannot comprehend that the oil companies would lose money at those prices. Cheap oil is long gone, used up, in the US. New drilling is expensive. Deep and has to be extremely productive. Knew a fellow on a dirt circle track racing forum whose family had close to 100 wells on the extended family property in East Texas. He would track for us how many wells were in production based on spot price for oil. At $53 per barrel, all 100 wells would be pumping. At $30, about 20 wells, below $28 - ZERO wells pumping.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/24/21 01:29pm Around the Campfire
RE: CG in Central FL With Golf Cart Access to Stores

Gulf Air RV in Fort Meyers is next door to a Walmart, with a restaurant on the Walmart pad. Publix is right across the main highway, about 1/4 mile, but I haven't seen golf carts there.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/22/21 09:02am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CG in Brooksville Fl

Is this a FL thing? Maybe, but you can see the same situation in South Texas, Arizona, and some other places around the country. Basically that is mainly a retirement area. And long term 'residence' type campgrounds fit the old model retiree lifestyle choice. In some states, 'Age Qualified' communities are not allowed by state law, in other states, they are protected by state law. Now, most of the 55+ RV places, and even the 55+ S/B communities, do allow short visits and overnights for folks under 55+. After all, us old farts have kids and grandkids we occasionally like to have visit us. But you have to talk to each one individually.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/22/21 08:56am RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: CC&R dated 1973 says no RVs, trailers, boats can be stored

Don't buy there. Not worth the costs. And it will be expensive to try to get things changed. If you win, you will have neighbors who dislike you and feel you have harmed them.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/22/21 08:50am General RVing Issues
RE: Nascar Follies

Second week in a row, a driver wins his first Cup race. There is not doubt that Bell is a top driver, and now with a top team. McDowell didn't too to bad finishing 8th.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/21/21 04:31pm Around the Campfire
RE: CG in Brooksville Fl

I don't know how far is too far for you. When we stayed in Clerbrook a couple winters ago, we would drive over to Brooksville to have lunch or dinner with friends. It was 45 miles each way, about an hour, with NO toll roads. Some other options where friends have stayed and enjoyed the stop. A quick check of web sites says nothing about 55+, and the friends who stayed in those were under 55, but it has been a few years. Covered Wagon - Homosassa Sumter Oaks - Escapees - Bushnell Blueberry Hill - Bushnell Campers Holiday - south Brooksville Rock Crusher RV - Crystal River Rock Crusher was very popular with come folks on this forum in the past. While staying at Crystal Isle, we visited the park, and it looked quite nice.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/21/21 03:36pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Where to watch rocket launch in or near motorhome?

Better than me. We saw one from that park in 2019. Right now we are in far south Texas, 73 miles from the Boca Chica pads, and 68 miles from the best watching point. But the past week's weather had put a hold on all major activity. We hope Starship Sn10 will fly during our stay. But without needing an orbit window, they just run tests. As long as they don't hit a no-go, the countdown continues. So folks never know when it will fly.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/20/21 10:08pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Your worst nightmare

Not my worst nightmare, though I did see a Cottonmouth come out of an outhouse once. I divorced my worst nightmare in 1984.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/20/21 04:26pm Around the Campfire
RE: Looking for campsite in southwest usa

For Texas, you have to get north of I-10, I believe. Which means you will have a couple spells of freezing weather each winter. Despite my rant on another part of the forum, most years, the cold spells are short and mild. In Arkansas, like Texas, most of the better lakes are COE, and very difficult to impossible to get long term lakeside spots. You have to find non-COE lakes. A couple possibilities - Hot Springs Arkansas - Lake Catherine - Catherine's Landing: Lake Hamilton RV Resort; Treasure Isle RV Resort; Leisure Landing RV Texas north of Houston Lake Livingston - Lake Livingston/ Onalaska KOA; Wolf Creek Park; Longhorn Valley RV Lake Conroe - Sunset Shores; Park on the Lake; Thousand Trails Lake Conroe - which does have seasonal sites which may not require a TT membership, or might Lake Texana - near Edna - Texana Park and CG; Brackenridge Park and RV Lake Calaveras - near San Antonio - Calaveras Lake Park Medina Lake - west of San Antonio - Medina Lake RV Resort (Not the Thousand Trails Park) - Medina Lake is frequently extremely low. A water front site and be a couple hundred yards from water, or 20 yards from water. Part of the Colorado River lakes between Llano and Austin Lake Buchanan - Big Chief RV Resort, Burnett, TX Lake LBJ - Heart of Texas Lake Resort, Burnett, TX; Rio Vista Resort & RV Park, Kingsland, TX; Bullfrog Cove at Twin Isles RV Park, Kingsland, TX; Sunset Point on Lake LBJ, Marble Falls, TX; WARNING - I have not stayed at almost all of these parks. Some I have seen and they looked good. I picked these off of the higher rated parks on those lakes from RV Trip Wizard. This just to give you and idea of where to look and do research. I have no idea about rates, or availability of long range storage on site or in the park. Also, as mentioned by 2oldman above - look at the Lake Havasu area of Arizona/ Southern California. We drove through the area from Las Vegas to Blythe, CA back in late 2016 and it looked very interesting. From campgrounds in Bullhead City all the way down to Blythe.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/20/21 04:22pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Spring Break West Texas?

Maybe stay at Lajitas and a day trip to the park. Lost Alaskan at Alpine is a good base. If you can get reservations for Carlsbad, I understand it is not crowded. Yes, there will be fewer travelers, but they will overwhelm the available spots at the National Park, state parks at Fort Davis and Balmorhea. Might check on Monahans SP. I found the dunes interesting. My experience with NM state parks this past summer was unpleasant, them being closed suddenly, and the reservation fee that they kept for each reservation. Not sure staying in NM would be a good idea.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/19/21 09:15pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
RE: Texas winterizing...

Sam, A lot of Texas people, a sizeable percentage of voters, don't even thing Covid had caused widespread deaths and suffering. Unless it happens to them personally, it's just a media myth.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/19/21 06:03pm Around the Campfire
RE: wind power

Got a first cousin who is part owner of a company making a great deal of money building new power plants. They get the contract to build the 'peak demand' thermodynamic power plant necessary whenever a large solar farm is added. Because battery technology is not available to supply the level of power necessary when the sun drops low enough into the sky to cut the production of the solar farm. He figures it will be 20-30 years before battery technology gets to the level it needs to be. But those natural gas, coal or even oil fired electrical generating power plants will always be needed. Also, the increase focus on electric vehicles will make the battery technology better, but will increase the price greatly until the big mines and super level power plants can be built to create the batteries. Covid has changed things a bit, putting peak power demands earlier in the day. Seems that providing A/C to all the homes in Arizona, California and Georgia is much more of a power demand than cooling office buildings and schools. It also leads to high demands going longer into the night because so many people and kids are not doing their work during the 'work day', but late into the evening. Sure, his grandchildren probably won't have a job doing the same thing, but his kids should have a full career building extra NG, coal and oil power plants.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/19/21 05:56pm Around the Campfire
RE: Texas winterizing...

Can somebody tell me though why their water pipes are in their ceiling? I've only seen/ heard of that in a few homes. Mostly older homes not on concrete slabs, like the home where I was raised in Arkansas. Bare pipes hanging below the floor in an open crawl space, or in a semi-heated ceiling space. Now my dad put the plumbing in the house, and he wasn't climbing in the attic. Maybe more in the southern part of the state. Around Dallas where all new construction since the 70's has been on concrete slabs, the pipes are buried in the slab. We had one breakage in the severe cold spell (9 degrees in a north Dallas suburb in 2011) and that was an outside water faucet. But several other homes in the newish subdivision built after 2005 had pipes in the slabs freeze and break. Tearing up a slab to find, replace broken pipes if EXPENSIVE. And I understand they had this deep freeze in 1977. So why did not bother and someone in state leadership teach them to winterize or empty their water pipes? Two things. We had freezes this bad or worse in some places in 1989, and 2011 - in my time in the Dallas area. Was in Meridian MS in 1977 with the US Navy. But no previous freeze/ winter storm has ever put all of the entire state into below freezing temperatures. Or as much of the state down below zero. As far as state leadership - that is a political suicide concept, the state telling people how to build their homes, how to winterize, etc. A man's home is his castle in Texas, provided he has 40+ acres and can stay out of a Special Utility District. Probably half the counties in Texas do not even require permits for electical, plumbing or such work. No inspection of new homes being built. Some places there are minimal restrictions about well drilling if the land is over an aquifer. Folks in Texas complain if they are close enough to a water supply lake and have to comply with EPA standards for septic systems. Now, if you live in an area covered by an HOA, well HOA's have more power than the National Guard or FBI in Texas. My understanding is a different type of gear oil for the wind turbines (likely cheaper) is used in Texas due to the high Summer heat but freezes when cold. Maybe. ERCOT and Gov Abbot say that 79% of the wind turbines in Texas stayed in operation with no problem. After 2011, the state of Texas did support requiring wind turbines to be upgraded to standards to protect them in temps down to 20 degrees. Less than 1/4 of them were upgraded, and only new turbines installed in the past few years had to be up to that standard. ------------------------- Everything in Texas is about costs. A year from now, almost no one will care about winterizing, preparations, making the power grid more reliable. Especially is they are stuck with high power bills for this past week or the next week. The utility companies have ZERO incentive to plan and build for extraordinary occurences, cold, heat, flood, drought. Because the 'wonderful' competition for electric providers and lower rates, means basically everyone wants the bare minimum. Higher safety, reliability, protection - they are not going to pay one penny per KWH more for that. Cheap, cheap, cheap -is the mantra in Texas, and every other state we have visited.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/19/21 12:55pm Around the Campfire
RE: Spring Break West Texas?

We were campground hosts at Chiso Basin CG at Big Bend from Apr to Aug 2014, and at Davis Mountains SP from Oct 2014 - Jan 2015. Both places told me that Spring Break was their busiest time of year, with every reservation taken, and lines of people waiting for non-reserved campsites to empty each day. We experienced that happen on Memorial Day weekend 2014 in the Basin CG. I do NOT expect COVID restrictions to lift until late spring/ early summer for National Parks. For one thing, I'm seeing much fewer than normal volunteer positions open in federal campground locations. If they are not scheduling the volunteers, they won't have the staff to handle lifting restrictions. The Hot Springs are closed IMHO because that tends to be a gathering place. Unless they post a ranger as a guard to monitor the number of people at the place. Over crowding there did cause some issues while we were at the park.
PawPaw_n_Gram 02/19/21 12:39pm RV Parks, Campgrounds and Attractions
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