Saturday, December 26, 2009

Friday December 25, 2009-Serendipity Bay RV Park

Here are some more pictures from around the park. As you can see, the marina is a busy place.

A sunset photo of some of the boats and the channel from the bay into the marina. I believe there was once a boardwalk or pier into the channel across from the marina. I'll bet there were a lot of fish caught there!

Another pretty sunset shot across the bay.

Christmas Day was very nice. The weather was awesome, cold at night and warm during the day with brilliant blue skies. We had a good time at Henry and Elaine's house with the rest of the family. We had our typical large Christmas meal and everyone was stuffed! The kids played outside all day and had a lot of fun. Man, these kids grow up fast! And big, they're almost as tall as their parents and only 10 years old.
Kim and I made a resolution that she'll quit smoking and I'll stop eating sweets to get my blood sugar down and keep my A1c levels in check. We'll see how this works out.
So long.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday December 24, 2009-Serendipity Bay RV Park

We woke pretty late this morning, having been up a lot overnight because of the howling winds. They rocked the trailer, caused things to go bump in the night, which made me put on clothes and go outside to check on what had hit the trailer. Someones trash can was in the street behind us and the power cord was slapping up against the trailer, causing some of the noise. It was a very worrisome night but we came through without any damage.

I went for a walk down the seawall. It's not the Galveston seawall, but then it doesn't have to protect the city from the Gulf of Mexico, only Palacios Bay. The seawall is about a mile and a half long with a pier and pavilion the reaches out into the bay. I noticed a plack that said that it was first built in 1936 and redone in 1988. The seawall runs from a small marina near this park to the east to the Baptist Encampment that has been here for many years. I went there for three or four years in my late teens when I lived in Galveston. As I recall, the buildings that we stayed in were wooden, two story buildings with no air conditioning, bunk beds with no storage and large open showers. The boys stayed in one building and the girls in another separate building. I don't remember how many buildings there were, but do remember meeting people from all over the state when we were there. I made a lot of friends there.

When I got back home, Stella was cooking for tonight's Christmas party at Jana and Chad's house. She put our gifts into bags and got everything ready. The weather remained cool and very windy all day. I went out late in the evening and took some photos around the park. When I get more taken, I will post them here.

It was good to see the relatives again. We sat around visiting and munching on the goodies that everyone had brought. We always joked about Stella's sister Elaine always being late, but she was there very early and almost an hour earlier than Kim and Jeremy and the boys. When they finally arrived, we had our large gift exchange. We got a nice weather emergency radio, which is one of the things we had asked for. The gifts are really for the kids, and they all loved it! Michael and Lisa's little girl Savannah opened her gifts right in front of me. It was very nice and fun to see a two year old tear into her gifts and the delight on her face as she opened them. This is what Christmas giving is all about.

I don't know how many fireworks were bought, but the kids all had fun going outside in the cold to pop firecrackers and set off rockets. I guess this is just one of the benefits of living out in the country, you can do fireworks to your heart's content and not worry about some city ordinance against them. I remember when I was a kid shooting fireworks and no one got hurt or set someone's house on fire and the fireworks then were much more powerful than those sold today. The roman candles hardly go 8-10 feet and the firecrackers only snap. Nothing like the ones we had.

I'll get off my fireworks soapbox now to wish everyone a


So long.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday December 23, 2009-Serendipity Bay RV Park

Today was a pretty nasty day all day long with rain showers off and on all day. The weather was still pretty warm, but the sometimes-heavy showers made it difficult to get anything much done outside.

I stayed inside most of the day today but did go out and meet another Heartland owner, John and his wife CC. They are from Michigan and have their home there. John is an avid duck hunter and carves decoys. His website, Jacducks Decoys is very interesting and shows some of his work. He showed me some decoys and they are very pretty. The details are amazing on these "birds" along with the paint. He has some very large sandhill cranes that he leaves out as decorations around his rig.

They have a Bighorn model 3385RL which is a model that we looked at when we bought our present trailer. It has a living room with exactly the same layout as our first Bighorn 3055, but has some differences that we didn't care for. It is a nice trailer and John said they love it.

The best news is that we have a buyer for our house. A man came down a couple of weeks ago and got Jeremy to let him in to look at the house and he made us an offer which we have accepted. It is less than we wanted, but with the economy like it is, we'll take it! We're still working out the details of the payment. HOORAY!!
This is such a relief, and it will be nice to be officially homeless. Now we can go where we want to without having to worry about the house, not to mention the expenses there.

So long.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tuesday December 22, 2009-Serendipity Bay RV park

Here we are in Palacios. We have stayed at the Serendipity Bay RV park several times in the past, both alone, with friends and with the Boomers. We have always had fun here and have had some memorable times. It is only about 12 miles to Blessing where Stella's family lives.
We are in one of the newer pull through sites with the marina behind us. I don't know exactly how many boats are stored there, but there's a lot. They don't seem to have suffered any long lasting damage from hurricane Ike.

Here is a better shot of the marina. As you can see, there are few open slips, and of course, the two in the foreground could be boats that are out in the bay fishing or simply riding around enjoying the warm weather.
Both Stella and I are feeling kind of poorly today. I hope it is only a cold for both of us. We are both taking a new medication called Airborne. At least it makes us feel better. I took Stella over to her niece's hair care shop where she works to get a hair cut. After getting her hair done, we went to Bay City to do our last minute shopping done. After getting that done, we returned home and hung out here for the rest of the day.
Later in the afternoon, we both were very hungry and went to eat at the Outrigger restaurant here in Palacios but learned that they are only open for lunch until the weekend, when they are open for supper. We went to the Baytown Seafood, where the food was very good.
I watched my television show and went to bed under a huge pile of blankets to try to sweat out my illness. Hope it works...
So long.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday December 21, 2009-Moving day to Blessing

I woke this morning and went down to have coffee with the guys for the last time this season. We will not be back here until April for the Heartland rally and by then, most of them will be gone. We had 11 down for coffee this morning, and ran out of coffee before everyone left. There were a lot of handshakes before I left.

I came back home and ate breakfast. I had been reading a book and wanted to get it finished, so I sat in my chair while eating and read. I had already turned my computer off and Stella had lashed the television down for travel, so soon after I finished my breakfast I got up and went outside and went back to work. I worked steadily, speaking to my friends as they walked by. There was a committee meeting this morning at 10 o'clock so I went down there and turned in my sign which got a few chuckles and told everyone on the committee goodbye. Then I went over to the office and turned my keys in to Crystal and had a chat with Gwen. We talked about the upcoming year and my plans but best of all, we talked about us coming back in the fall. I went ahead and booked a rally for Heartland here at Rayford for October 15-17th to get our name on some sites.

I came on home and we finished up getting loaded up and got ready to go. Several other friends came by and after many handshakes and hugs we pulled out. We made good time around Houston and hit hwy. 288. We stopped at the Buckee's store in Angleton and transferred some fuel and got a sandwich and coffee for lunch. We pulled into Blessing about 2:30 and found the park. This is a very small park with a few long-term guests. I knew the sites were very hard to get into because they are straight-in concrete runners with a small patio. They were even harder to get into with the longer trailer, so after getting aggravated I went to one of the pull through sites. I learned that the pull through was not designed or laid out for a long trailer, so after scratching the side of the trailer from low hanging branches, we decided to go down to the park in Palacios.

We pulled into the Serendipity Bay RV Park and got a space there for the next five days. We learned that with our Good Sam discount it would be cheaper than to take the weekly rate because they don't give the discount for the weekly rate. We have found that many parks give a better weekly rate and it works out to be cheaper to get that rate and leave early but not this time.

We were tired after the trip and setting up, so we went to the Dairy Queen for supper. When we got back home, I programmed the television-which I have never had to do before with this new television-and we watched TV for the rest of the evening. Although we paid for the cable, the reception here sucks. It is supposed to rain tomorrow, so we'll probably just stay around here all day.

So long.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday December 20, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today was a pretty laid back day for us. No coffee this morning since its Sunday, so Stella and I had our coffee and breakfast at home. I watched my car shows on television this morning and then watched the Houston Texans eke out a win over the St. Louis Rams by a score of 16-13. This should have been a cakewalk for the Texans, who are still in the playoff hunt, but their performance today didn't give too much hope of the playoffs being near the grasp of this team.

After the game ended, I worked on getting some of the outside items put away in preparation for leaving tomorrow. I got a good amount done today but kept getting interrupted by my friends coming by to see what I was doing. The weather was great all day long, so it was good to be outside. About three o'clock, Jean and Reta came by to invite us to go eat with a large group of our friends who wanted to spend some more time with us before we left. After changing the location a couple of times, we ended up going to the El Palenque, one of our favorite mexican restaurants.

We had a good turn out with many of our winter Texan friends with us tonight. Some of our new friends, Jim and Jenna rode to the restaurant with us. It was very humbling to have this many of our friends with us and we all had a great time. It made it harder to leave, but we have made our plans to go to Blessing to spend Christmas with Stella's family there and New Year with Bill and Ornell, Ricky and Dee and Harry and Judy. It will be our first time to miss the New Year celebration at Rayford since the park opened but we'll have a good time with our friends.

We have made many good friends at Rayford and look forward to next year when we will spend even more time with them. We don't plan to return to Rayford until April when we will host another Heartland rally there. Most of our Winter Texan friends will be gone by them but we plan to stay in touch.

So long.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Saturday December 19, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today, being Saturday, was breakfast in the park day. When I got to the Lone Star room, I found that someone had already made the coffee and it was almost done when I got there. I looked around but didn't see anyone else, so I guess the coffee fairy made it. I had already heard that yesterday, when I was not here for coffee, they had 14 for coffee,and that they had fought for my seat at the table. We had another large group, so we drank most of the coffee. There wasn't much left for the breakfast crowd, but Frank had made a full pot on his side.

We went over to Lakeview RV Park to visit Tom and Judy and Bill and Ornell, who had come over for Bill's treatment at the hospital. When we got there, we learned that David and Susan Gondren had come over to visit with Jim and Sheila, but they left the park so we didn't get to see them. David and Susan had just gotten their new Bighorn 3055 trailer. Heartland had given them the new one after they had many problems with their old trailer. The new rig looks really nice with the new graphics, slam baggage doors and touchpad lock for the front door. We didn't get to see the inside, but I don't think they have made that many changes.

While visiting, Bill told me that he had seen a few Dodge trucks for sale not far from the park. Bill, Tom and I drove over to the car lot where they were. They had a couple of trucks out near the street but I wasn't interested in either one. Then we found a 2008 four door truck that looked pretty good. I drove the truck and it drove and performed very well. I was very impressed with the power and performance of the truck and the handling was much better than my '02. I really liked the exhaust brake. When we go back to the mountains, that feature would really come in handy. I sped the truck up to 85 mph and slowed it to 30 without touching the brake pedal.

We returned to the lot and I spoke with one of the people in the office about the price of the truck. When we got there, another customer was there complaining that he couldn't get any satisfaction from the company. He said that he had bought a car from them and then learned that it had been in a flood. He said that they had promised to refund his money, but he had been unable to get in touch with the manager and had continuously gotten a runaround. I then met a man who said he was the manager. When I asked for a cash price, he told me that they are primarily a finance company and don't have a cash price on anything. I didn't understand that concept, but he quoted me a very good price on financing the truck. It was so low, it made me very suspicious. When we came back home I checked on the place and found a couple of online complaints about this place and one that said they are the type of finance company that sells at a low price, then if you are an hour late on the payment, send out the repo-man to pick up the truck and resell it. Based upon the other customer and these complaints, I think that this is not the sort of place I want to deal with, no matter what the price is.

When we got back home, I had time to take a short nap, but decided to catch up on some email that had accumulated over the last couple of days before we left for the Texas Opry in Magnolia. We went with 18 other couples of winter Texans from the park, and when we got there, Ted and Donna and Rick and Brenda also showed up. We knew that they had made plans some time ago to go to the Opry, but we were supposed to have left last week and didn't think we would be here, so we were glad to see them. We all sat in a reserved area, but Ted and Donna and Rick and Brenda sat right behind us. The Christmas performance was very nice and we are glad we were able to go. Carl had set this whole thing up, and we are thankful to him for finding us some seats.

Jerry and Diane rode with us tonight. It is our first time to spend time with them. They are a very nice couple from Canada who come to the park to stay. We had a very nice time with them. We were out until past 11 o'clock, which is the latest we've been out in a long time. I was proud that I was able to stay awake that late.....

So long.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday December 18, 2009-Kim's house-Texas City

Jeremy, Stella and Kim went to the Clear Lake hospital early this morning to prepare Kim for some out patient surgery. I stayed at their house and took the boys to school before going to the hospital. On my way to the hospital, I stopped off at a Valero station in League City where I bought fuel for the first time since we came back to town in October. I took 126.2 gallons to go 2172.6 miles for a 17.2 MPG average.

After staying in the room with her until she was taken upstairs, Jeremy went home because he didn't feel well. Stella and I stayed at the hospital where we read books in the waiting area until she was brought out and taken back downstairs to her room. We stayed there with her until she was released and we took her home. I went to the daycare and picked the boys up and brought them home. We left soon after making another stop or two, we returned to the park to attend the Christmas party.

Stella called in a to-go order of pasta from the Pizza Hut to take to the party tonight. While Stella wrapped our gifts, I went to pick up the food, which was not ready when I got there. Stella had given them the time that we would pick up the food, but somehow it had been forgotten. The manager gave me a good discount and I left to go back home to get ready for the party. We sat with some of our winter Texan friends and had a very good potluck meal (when have you ever gotten a bad potluck meal?). We had a fun gift exchange and I think I got most of the gifts at one time or another, but someone stole them from me, so at the end of the evening, Stella got some liqueur and I got a gift certificate from the park. We had a lot of fun, as we always do, and came home, tired from our two days away from the park.

Our time at Rayford is coming to a close and we will leave here on Monday. We have many friends here and we hate to leave, but time marches on.

So long.

Thursday December 17, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today we were to go down to Texas City for Cameron's birthday and to watch Tyler's first band concert. Before I went down for coffee, I sent a message to Kristine Schaffner, my former Fire Marshal in Manvel, in Facebook, to see if we could meet for lunch today. As soon as I got back to the trailer, I found that she had responded to me and we made a date to meet at Kelly's in Alvin. I knew that Mike Jaimes, my former Code Enforcement/Animal Control officer in Manvel had been fired, but didn't know where he was working now. She told me that he would meet us there, so I assumed that he was either not working or was working with her in Alvin. When we all arrived at the restaurant, I learned that Mike is not working yet, but is volunteering in Alvin and being paid for only a few hours a week. He is making valuable contacts in Alvin, so I am sure that when an opening comes up, he will go to work.

Mike and Kristine told me that I had left Manvel just at the right time. The administration there seems to have lost their grasp of reality. There are many instances of violations of employee's rights and violations of city policy.

After finishing lunch, we went to our house and picked up the mail and checked the house while we were there. We ran some other errands before we went on to Texas City to pick up Tyler and Cameron at day care. We took them home and before long, it was time for Tyler to leave for his band concert. We brought Cam with us to the concert which was held at one of the new Junior high schools. The parking was terrible, and we ended up parking on a sidewalk with one wheel on the sidewalk and the other in the street. It turned out that there were five school bands performing tonight with Tyler's band being one of them. With that many students and their families there, it was very crowded in the gym where the concert was held. Luckily Kim and Jeremy had gotten there early enough that we got very good seats. Also luckily, Tyler's band was the first to perform. The "performance" was them playing a set of warm-up notes and only one song. The band performed very well and of course, we were very proud of Tyler, but the entire event was poorly run and should have been held in a much larger room.

After leaving the school, we took Cameron out to eat for his birthday. He decided on IHOP for his meal. We all enjoyed our supper with him, and Jeremy arranged for him to get an ice cream sundae for his birthday. From there, we went back to their house where Cam opened his gifts. It was still a school night, so the boys soon went to bed in Tyler's room, allowing me to sleep in Cameron's bed. I didn't sleep well at all, and got up around 4 AM. Stella and Kim had not slept either, so they went to bed to try to get some rest before going to the hospital.

The procedure that Kim is having is relatively minor surgery and will be handled in the day surgery area of the Clear Lake Hospital in Webster. I will give you the details on how she came through in tomorrow's entry.

So long.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday December 16, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today's post will catch me up for the last week because I was too busy (lazy) to keep it up to date. I guess entertaining the friends we had last week kept me too busy to sit down and write something.

Tommy and Susan were here all week, Ricky brought the trailer up on Thursday, and Harry and Judy arrived on Friday along with the Texas Boomers for the Christmas rally. It was good to see all of our friends here and of course there were several in the Boomers that we don't see very often any more.

We had decided to have a fish and oyster fry on Friday night with Harry and Judy, Ricky and Dee and Tommy and Susan. Harry stopped at Hillman's Seafood where he bought a gallon of fresh oysters, so we had them, some of the rainbow trout that had been caught in Colorado. Tommy had bought some fresh potatoes which he cut up and fried. Tommy was very proud of his new french-fried potato cutter that he had just gotten as a gift. It really happy with it because he just stuck a peeled potato into the gadget and with the push of a handle, he had perfect fries, ready to go into the hot oil.

We had a great meal with our good friends with a nice campfire after our meal. The Boomers had a spaghetti supper that we didn't go to because the last time they had one, they had run out of food. No one had brought sauce or meatballs, so we had decided some time ago to just do our own thing with oysters and fish. I heard that they had plenty of food at the dinner this year. Don Allen had a large campfire (campfar, as he calls it), so we all had someplace to go to hang out with friends in the cool air.

The weather didn't cooperate with us this weekend. It was cold, cloudy and rainy all weekend but I think everyone had a good time anyway. The Boomers had a big potluck breakfast on Saturday morning. I got up and made coffee in the Lone Star room for the guys as usual. Frank tried to keep me from putting some tables together for the coffee drinkers, because of his pancake breakfast this morning, but I told him that we would be through before the breakfast crowd arrived. It all worked out just fine and everyone got plenty to eat.

Two of the Boomers, Jim and Judy, had just gotten married. They decorated their motorhome up for the holidays and later were announced to have been chosen as the winners of the rig decorating contest. There were a lot of pretty lights put up all over the park. Donna went all-out in her decorations. She had one tiny flamingo that she hung in the tree at their site but sadly, her work was not enough to win a prize this year.

The All-Y'alls (winter Texans) had been scheduled to have a mexican dinner/margarita get together in the afternoon, but the weather caused it to be cancelled and rescheduled for Monday.

Saturday night was the big party of the weekend for the Boomers. We had a huge potluck dinner and a gift exchange that everyone enjoyed. We went back down to Harry and Judy's site for another campfire and the Boomers went to Don's again. It wasn't that we were avoiding the Boomers, it was just that we had bought some firewood and could sit closer to the fire than we could have at Don's. It was cold again and began to rain later in the evening. I guess no one told Mother Nature about the party this weekend.

We woke Sunday morning to cool temperatures and cloudy skies. It was very damp from the rains overnight but Sandy-Madame Boomer-had fixed a big pot of coffee and had gotten some pastries and invited everyone to come by to say goodbye and have something to eat and drink before leaving. Even though I wasn't leaving, I stopped by and had some coffee. I had startled Sandy on Friday when I took off my cap and showed her my now-bald head. She, of course, thought something else, and was shocked to see my head but I told her of the reason for my baldness so she understood.

Harry and Judy were not supposed to leave today, so Ricky and Dee and Tommy and Susan decided to stay too. There was the afternoon mexican food/margarita party here in the park, so everyone was looking forward to it. It was still cloudy and cold, so the heaters and firepits were very popular this afternoon. Our friend Ed came down for awhile, but Sharon was still sick and didn't make it. Tommy and Susan had decided to go on home this afternoon, so they came down for the party for a little while, but soon pulled out and went on home. We were all sad to see them go but they said they wanted to get on back home. I went over to Ricky's to watch the football game and came home at the half. At least it wasn't raining when I walked home!

Monday morning I got up for coffee and then went to see Harry and Ricky as they got ready to leave. I told Dee that I would help Ricky to park their trailer at the storage lot. I drove over there so he wouldn't have to bring me all the way back to the park. This afternoon was the park's Margarita Monday get together. We made up a snack and went to it about 3 o'clock. We had fun with our friends here in the park.

Tuesday I took Stella down to Texas City for a doctor's appointment. This catches both of us up for our medications for the near future. We are planning to go to Mexico in February so I wanted the doctor to recommend any other medications that we can buy down there when Stella had her appointment. We returned to the park in time for me to see my one television show, NCIS.

Wednesday I learned that most of the other winter Texans had gone to Cheddar's Restaurant to meet Michelle who used to work here at the park but since we were out of town for the day we missed it. We're sorry we didn't get to tell her goodbye.

If you believe in reincarnation, you should try to come back as an RV'ers dog. I can't think of a better way to spend your life than sleeping all the time until your master takes you out to do your "business" and to get a little exercise. You have all the food you want and get an occasional treat when they eat.

This catches me up but I'll try to keep it up better.

So long.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tuesday December 8, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I slept in my chair a little later this morning and went down for coffee, secure that Jim had come down to put the coffee on. He had, so everything was fine this morning for the coffee drinkers. We all enjoyed our coffee time together, as always.

There was a pretty good sized rally in the park, the Lone Star Sams club, that included our friends Leo and Shirley. When they came in, I went over and talked to them because we haven't seen them in a long time. They are not full timers, but do go on extended trips from time to time. We talked about some of our travels and told stories of our adventures. It was good to see them again. They are staying in the park after the LSS rally ends for the Texas Boomer rally.

We just hung out in the park all day long and didn't do too much more all day. It was a nice quiet day here.

So long.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Monday December 7, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today is our anniversary so I let Stella sleep. I went down and had coffee with the guys and tried to stay away long enough for her to get a good morning's sleep. Tommy stopped by at the rally hall and brought us some croissants and kolaches, which hit the spot with the guys. When I got home, Stella had already started fixing us some breakfast, so I ate a small breakfast here too.

We had already celebrated our anniversary with Tommy and Susan, we didn't do too much more today. Stella stayed here and worked some and I hung out with her. We agreed several years ago not to exchange gifts for our birthdays and anniversaries, so even though this was anniversary number 30, we didn't do anything special. We decided that since we could just buy whatever we wanted, so there was no reason to do anything else. We did get a lot of happy anniversary messages on my Facebook page, which was nice of everyone. I learned that we have several friends that have been married much longer than we have. Our friends Ted and Donna have been married for 44 years but Dwight and JoAnne have been married for 53 years! And I thought I'd been married to one old woman for a long time.....

So long.

Sunday December 6, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Since today is Sunday, there is no coffee this morning in the rally hall. Stella and I went down in the rain to Tommy and Susan's for coffee but I didn't stay very long because my TV shows come on Sunday morning and I wanted to catch up on them. We stayed inside, dry and warm, watching football on television.

Susan called Stella and asked her to go shopping with her. They went to a couple of stores and to Wal Mart and did really well. They both bought the gifts for the upcoming Boomer Christmas party next weekend. After they came back, we sat around and later decided to go eat at one of my favorite places, James Coney Island. They advertise $.99 coneys on Sunday night, but when we got there, we were told that they don't have that special any more. We all had our hot dog meal, and enjoyed it a lot. I did get signed up on their email specials offer, so we can get a discount that is actually offered at the time.

It started raining again as soon as we got back home, so I went to bed pretty early and read a book.

So long.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday December 5, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We didn't have too many at coffee this morning because most of the guys didn't know about it I guess. One new guy, our friend Ed, came down and Jerry didn't have to work this morning, so he came down too.

Today was the park-sponsored brunch. The park served Mimosas and Bloody Marys and the individuals coming to the meal brought a potluck breakfast. It was good but I learned that I don't really care for Mimosas. I guess it's the champagne bubbles that I don't like. We had a nice visit with Jim and his wife Janet who were neighbors of Pete and Jean. Jim had a kidney transplant but seems to be fully recovered.

Today turned out to be a great day weatherwise. It stayed pretty cool all day long but there was a bright sun shining. As long as you stayed in the sun, it wasn't bad at all to be outside. I went for a walk in the morning but we stayed in most of the day.

We went to Saltgrass Steakhouse with Tommy and Susan for supper. We went pretty early to avoid the weekend crowd and had a very nice meal. We stopped off at HEB to buy some Blue Bell ice cream and some ice before we returned to the park and Tommy dropped us off about four spaces from our site. We all had a chuckle over this because we had just told him to go to his motorhome because we needed to walk after eating. He said no, he would drop us off at our trailer, but then stopped too soon, so we had to walk anyway. We didn't have to walk far, but it was funny at the time.

Tommy invited us over for some Pina Coladas using the homemade vanilla ice cream. Wow, were they good! He used a Pina Colada mix that he ordered off the Internet and they were GREAT!!! We stayed over at their motorhome until about 8:30 and let me tell you, it didn't take me long to go to sleep after Tommy's great dessert. We're glad they're back at Rayford. Wouldn't it be nice if they sold their house and stayed up here? Susan works right across the freeway, so her drive would only take fifteen minutes or so, she could come home for lunch and the savings on gas and maintenance would pay a lot of the cost of the park. We'll work on that...

So long.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Friday December 4, 2009-Rayford Crossing

It started snowing here at the park about 10 o'clock but it was pretty light. It really started snowing hard right after noon and lasted about two hours. Not much of it stuck in the grass but some did for awhile on the trucks and tables around the park.

A snowflake hit the lens just as I took this picture.

My Texas sign was laying on the table next to the trailer and you can see the snow on it.

Don't slip on the stairs into the trailer! There was a pretty good accumulation of snow on the carpeted runners on the steps.

We woke this morning to the news of snow that was coming to Houston. This was the earliest reported snowfall on record in the city. Although it didn't last long, it was fun while it lasted. I am constantly reminded from the folks around me that are from the north and east of Texas (snowbirds) that anything less than 6" of snow is not considered a snowfall and would not cause any problems for them at all. Houston area schools closed early, cancelled classes for the evening and many employees were sent home or advised not to come in due to the weather. Texans don't know how to drive on snowy or icy roads, so it is probably best that this happened.
Today Tommy and Susan celebrated their anniversary and since we will have ours in a couple of days, we went out to eat. Susan was tired from staying up late last night setting up the motorhome, so she wanted something quick to eat. We decided to go to Sweet Bella's restaurant near here. They serve good and inexpensive Italian food, so we went there again. As usual, it was good and we all enjoyed our meal. By the time we came home, the temperature was below freezing, so we went inside right away. We later met Tommy at the Lone Star room where Stella and I played bingo. The games were rigged again (LOL) and we didn't win. We had a good time anyway and after having a snack, walked back home in the very cold temperature.
We left the water dripping in the kitchen to keep the water line from freezing and had no troubles during the night. I guess I shouldn't have had the coffee to drink because I didn't go to sleep until after 11, but I slept very well.
So long.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thursday December 3, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We had still another good turnout for coffee this morning, even though a couple of the regulars didn't show up. One new park resident came down to join us and we had even more to talk about. Jim and I left a little early because Jake had called last night to tell me the truck was ready. When I got home he called back to tell me that he had found another small fuel leak which he worked on this morning.

We picked up Reta and Stella and left to go get breakfast at Compadres restaurant on Hannah, on the way to Jake's. After a good, cheap breakfast we went to get the truck. Jake met me at the truck and told me that there is no way to predict when one of the other injectors will go out. Someone on one of the RV forums had suggested just replacing all the injectors when one went out, but I guess they don't know how expensive those injectors are ($400 each). We paid Jake for the work and left and let me tell you, it sure is nice to get my truck back!

We stopped off at the grocery store, since we haven't bought groceries in a week or so. We spent a lot of money, but we have plenty to eat now. We stayed inside most of the afternoon because it was still chilly out. I went for a walk with Warren and Carl later and had a nice visit with them.

Our neighbor, Pete, was outside putting fresh water in his holding tank in preparation for tomorrow's predicted snow and cold weather. I'm not doing that because I don't think the temperature is going to be that cold long enough to freeze my water line. My underbelly is insulated and heated, and I can leave a water drip tonight, so we'll be fine. We were snowed on last December in Boerne and again here at Rayford and I remember having temperatures in the low 20's and nothing froze up. I have some water in the tank, plenty to flush the toilet if it becomes necessary. Time will tell if I'm correct.

Stella fixed us a pizza made using crescent rolls for the crust that was very tasty tonight. She just guessed at some of the ingredients and will make some adjustments on the next one she makes, but it was good and we'll have it again. We watched some television for the rest of the night.

So long.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wednesday December 2, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We had another full house for coffee again this morning. We should have had more but picked up some new guests at the park. We are all interested in how long Melissa will be able to work and when she will have her baby girl. There was a lot of speculation about it but she has a doctor's appointment later this morning so we should know soon.

Without a truck, we couldn't leave the park today. Jim had told me that if went anywhere today he would take me along, but he didn't come by. I walked around the park a lot today, getting some exercise and visiting with friends here. It was very cold outside all day, so there weren't many people out to visit with. While on one of my walks, a man stopped me and asked if I could use a sewer hose complete with fittings and a plastic hose cradle. He said that he had lived at Rayford last year and that he and his wife had moved back into a house. He said that she would not come back to the park with him again, so he was getting rid of some of his accessories. Of course I took the two items that he had and took them to the house and left them on the table for someone else to take. I don't need these because mine is brand new and I don't want to store it. Jim was the first person to ask about them and said he could use them, so I gave them to him.

Since the weather was so yucky, we stayed in and surfed the net (me) and watched television (Stella) all day. We ate leftover chili for supper. Everything on regular television was delayed due to the president's speech. I'm not going into a rant on the idiot in the White House and let it go at that. I am very worried about where the United States is going at this time.

So long.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tuesday December 1, 2009-Rayford Crossing

When I woke this morning, our neighbors Pete and Jean were about ready to pull out. They had a breakdown on their way into the park a week or so ago and had damaged the suspension on their trailer. Their insurance company picked up the tab for the repair and the local repair shop-Milstead Automotive-got the bid to do the work. That is nice for them because it is about as close to the park as they could have gotten.

They had made most of their preparations yesterday afternoon, so this morning all they had to do was close up one of the slides and pull out. Of course, they didn't have to pack up anything, just disconnect it and leave it on the ground.

Pete had loaned me some black streak remover so I used it to remove some stains on the front sides of the trailer. It works really well, and only requires rubbing it on with little scrubbing. I figured that when it started to rain it would wash it off if I missed a spot.

The weather was yucky today, rainy and cloudy. It looked like it was going to rain all day long but didn't actually start to rain until late in the afternoon, just when I had to walk down to get the clothes after Stella finished washing them. It sucks not to have a vehicle to carry the heavy clothes all the way to the laundry. It brings back memories of walking to school, uphill both ways, in the rain and snow of Galveston.

This was about the only constructive thing we got done today. I did get a call from Jake my mechanic, who told me that as I had feared, one of the injectors was leaking. I have read on some of the truck forums on the Internet about this problem and as far as I can tell, there is nothing that can be done to correct this except replace all the injectors. I would save on the labor charge because it would only have to be done once, but the injectors are over $400 each so it would be very expensive.

At least it's not snowing here, yet. Its cold here and I read that it is snowing in Dallas and west Texas and we're forecast to possibly have snow on Thursday night or Friday. If it does snow then it will be the earliest date that there has been snow in Houston. We'll see.

So long.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Monday November 30, 2009-Rayford Crossing

The start of another week.....
I began this morning with the usual coffee in the rally hall. One of our guys, Mac Willoughby had just returned from a bus trip to Branson Mo. for Thanksgiving. He said it was an enjoyable trip but their hotel on the way up in Little Rock was not up to par. He said he complained to the hotel manager and also to the bus company when they returned, and was told that he was not the only one that complained, so they would not be staying at that hotel again. It only reinforces my love for traveling in my trailer, sleeping in my own bed and eating my own food.

I got Jim to follow me over to Jake's Automotive. You may remember that I took it there for some repairs to be made when we returned from our trip to Colorado. He had found the fuel return lines were leaking and had repaired them. The truck has started doing exactly the same thing as before, so I had called Jake and brought it in this morning. It will be interesting to see what his diagnosis is.

After returning, I went for a walk around the park. It has turned off much colder than the past few days and rained all night long, but after the rain stopped I went for a walk. While walking through the park, I noticed a couple of trailers that needed attention. One had a bad water leak at the fresh water intake but coming out from the underside of the trailer. I had noticed this leak yesterday and had knocked on the door to tell them about the leak, but was told that they only needed to replace a gasket. When it was still leaking I decided to report it to the park. We don't have to pay for our water but I don't want someone to waste a lot of water and make all of us have to pay. I had also been told that there was a fifth wheel that had a bad waste water hose with holes in it. I found Gwen escorting a rig into a site and told her about the problems and gave her the site numbers. I don't know what she did about them but when I walked around later in the day, the water leak had stopped.

While walking through the park later in the afternoon, I talked to a couple of Deputies from the Montgomery County Sheriff's office. They were out to check on some complaints about gunfire in the woods behind the park on four wheelers. They said that they could not get a patrol car down into the woods as the complaints come in, but they were trying to verify that something was going on and to check for any damage. I didn't follow up when they came out of the woods to see what they had found.

Our neighbors, Pete and Jean are taking their trailer in tomorrow for some undercarriage work to be done, so today they are putting everything away in preparation. Late in the afternoon, Pete gave me some liquid black streak remover which I used on the front and sides of my trailer. I only did what I could reach from the ground and will continue tomorrow to get the streaks washed off.

I came inside and ate the chili that Stella had made. It certainly hit the spot in the cold weather. We stayed in for the rest of the night except for taking Cassie out. Stella said she heard more gunshots during the night but not while she was walking Cassie.

So long.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday November 29, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Here is Michael Maker playing yesterday. He really puts on a good show, although there are those that don't like his music or how loud he plays. Thanks to Rich for the photo.

I slept in my chair this morning until after 7 o'clock! Wow, that's late for me. Stella fixed us some biscuits and sausage that wasn't very good, but who am I to complain? Neither of these were something she made but its the thought that counts. There are lots of men out there whose wives don't cook.

We intended to go to the church service here at the park today, but there were so many of our friends here that were leaving this morning, the time got away from us and we missed the service.

We stayed home today and watched football of TV. The Texans started out like a house afire but they only smoldered in the second half and lost 35-27. Of course, that makes five times that Indianapolis has come from behind in the fourth quarter to win. Its a loss regardless.

The weather was pretty yucky today. It was cloudy all day and looked as thought it was going to rain but hasn't so far. The temperature is up into the upper 60's but the forecast is for cooler temps for the rest of the week,
Stella fixed some tuna for supper. She made cookies again this afternoon so I had to try one. It was good but she substituted walnuts for the pecans so the cookies weren't as crispy. They were still good and best of all, sugar-free!
We went to Walgreen's to pick up my medicine. We planned to buy some medications in Mexico but for these meds, we can't beat the prices. We came back home and watched TV until bedtime.
So long.

Saturday November 28, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I got up this morning and went down to have coffee with the guys again this morning, in spite of having Frank's breakfast lined up for today. We drank most of our pot of coffee and went in and ate our breakfast of pancakes and sausage. It wasn't bad but I've had better.

We came home to relax before this afternoon's happy hour/band. Michael Maker was playing this afternoon and he always puts on a good show. I got an email from Tommy and Susan saying they were coming up this afternoon. It has been awhile since we have seen them, and I knew they were coming in on the 4th for a week or more stay. It will be good to see our friends again.

I went down to the rally hall a little early and helped Michael and Billy unload Michael's equipment. Billy soon had to leave to go pick up some pizza for the kids in the rally hall, so I ended up working by myself. Michael did help me some but I hauled up most of his equipment. He rewarded me with a cold beer and later recognized me for helping him, dedicating the first song to me for my help. I didn't know I would become a roadie after retiring.

I watched Michael play for over an hour when Tommy and Susan arrived. They came in and watched Michael playing. A large group of the winter Texans had gone into the Lone Star room to get away from the loud playing by Michael. Susan went in and talked to them for awhile but came out and said she was hungry, so we went to eat. Tommy and I are good at obeying our wive's every wish so we were glad to take them to eat. We went to El Palenque again and had a very nice meal.

When they brought us back home, there was two groups sitting out, one at Warren and Judy's and the other at Jerry and Diane's. We went over and sat with Warren and most of our friends. We had a great time listening to Pete tell his stories. He keeps us laughing at the things that has happened to him. We sat out until about 9:30 when it started to rain a little more. Another nice night in the park.

So long.

Friday November 27. 2009-Rayford Crossing

We stayed here in the park all day long today, recovering from the Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. I walked a lot this morning, trying to walk off some of the calories.

Eddie and Kelly reserved one of the new Deluxe sites. The park has recently converted four spaces into Deluxe sites with smaller tables and two nice swivel chairs in them. They will also have firepits and possibly water fountains in each site, but for now, Kelly's site is the only fully equipped site. The others have the tables and chairs and fire pits.

Eddie and Cody went to their deer lease yesterday after dinner, so Kelly fixed supper for us as well as her nephew Michael and his family and her old boss Marty. It was one of those all-in-one meals where you buy the entree and the rest is free. It was supposed to have been a pork roast but turned out to be a pork loin. It was all very good and we had a nice time visiting with everyone. While eating, Kelly's cousin Belinda came up to spend the night with her. I was not feeling well after everything we had yesterday, so I left to go back home soon after we finished eating. Michael laid a fire at his site and Stella decided to stay at the fire with them. It was pretty cold tonight, so they didn't stay out very long.

So long.

Thursday November 26, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today is Thanksgiving Day and I would like to begin by saying that we have SO much to be thankful for. We absolutely love our lifestyle and wouldn't change a thing about that. We have our health, although there are challenges on the horizon. I know that we are all thankful for the military and for everything they do to keep us free, but I would also like to add a large group of people that also keep us safe and that is public servants. Not only the obvious Police, Fire and EMS but those employees that keep the streets, drainage and parks working and safe for us. Many of them have to work on holidays too, taking them away from friends and family.

The park is full today and a few "weekend residents" came down to have coffee with us. After finishing up coffee, I returned home and Stella fixed us some breakfast. She had already begun preparing her dishes for lunch, so we stayed in at home until time to go down for the Thanksgiving feast.

There was a very good turnout for Thanksgiving, an estimated 90 people. I know that both of the rally rooms were full but there was still some empty seats. One of the round tables had been set up near us and no one sat at it. We had a great meal and had some nice conversations with Kerry and Patti, Rhonda, and Eddie, Kelly and Cody who sat at the table with us. Everyone had a good time, although there was a report from Frank that some of his family got sick from something they ate. No one else reported this, so I don't know what they ate that was bad for them.

We came home and I watched football on television all afternoon. It was a nice way to end the holiday celebration.

So long.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday November 25, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We hung out at home after I finished coffee. Stella still had a few things she needed to do for her clients, so she worked on that in the morning. We went to the grocery store to buy for the Thanksgiving feast at the park and to buy groceries, which we haven't done for a few days. We came back home and put our groceries away and watched many other rigs pulling into the park for the holiday weekend. Eddie and Kelly pulled in and we talked to them for awhile before going home to get ready for bingo.

We went down to play in the rally hall at 7 but sadly we didn't win any money tonight. We still had a good time with our friends and congratulated the winners. Our friend Peg won the big pot tonight, and her grand daughter was cute, playing the game. There were several people playing tonight with children which is normal for a holiday time.

We went over to Eddie and Kelly's where they had started a fire. Kelly's nephew Michael and his wife Becky came over with their two children. The kids are very cute but it was cold for them to be out, so the kids didn't stay out too long. It was nice to catch up on Brazoria County news with Eddie since we worked a few cases together. Eddie is an Investigator with the Sheriff's office. Eddie and Cody, their son are going to the deer lease tomorrow after the Thanksgiving dinner, so I invited him to come have coffee with us in the morning.

So long.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tuesday November 24, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I went down for coffee this morning, as usual. Jim was not feeling well, so luckily I went down a few minutes early and made the coffee. We had another good crowd this morning. Pete always has a lot of stories to tell that keep everyone laughing.

I had a doctor's appointment with Dr. Merritt this afternoon, so we left about 10:30 so Stella would have time to go see Dr. Gulde for a consultation. I stayed in the truck while Stella and the doctor were talking at the hospital. Stella needed to go by Amegy bank to order new checks which took a lot longer than we expected. We just drove around Dickinson after finishing at the bank to kill a little time before my appointment. I got to the doctor's office and was soon brought in. A nurse took my vitals and started running an A1c test for the doctor to review. When Dr. Merritt came in, she scolded me because my test was high. I promised her that I will get better on my eating and will turn these results around. She gave me a prescription for a new medicine, so we'll see how that works out.

We went by the house on our way back to Rayford to pick up a few items. We didn't get away from the house until almost 5 o'clock, which meant it was almost 7 before we got back to the park. After walking Cassie, we stayed inside for the rest of the night.

So long.

Monday November 23, 2009-Rayford Crossing

The only thing we did today was that Stella worked in the trailer on doctor stuff. I tried to stay out of her way and stayed outside as much as I could. About 11, Stella decided to go down and wash clothes. I carried the clothes down for her and returned to the trailer to play on the computer. She called me about 3 to come get the clothes and bring them home.

We went to a Margarita Monday at 4 in the rally room. These are sponsored by the park and we bring snack foods to munch on. These are all about us just getting together and visiting with the winter Texans here in the park and anyone else that's in the park and wants to come. I am disappointed in the number of people in the park that don't come to these activities. They are free except for whatever food is brought, so money shouldn't be a factor. I guess there there are people that are not all that sociable. We enjoy getting together with friends. We sat at a table with Bob Anderson who is giving a seminar on Thanksgiving Day on writing your memoirs. He is an interesting man who ran a newspaper in Missouri before he retired. We enjoyed meeting him and his wife Carol. They are staying here until March, so I hope to see him again in the park before we leave. Its hard to believe that we've been here over six weeks and only have about three weeks left to stay here.

So long.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sunday November 22, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today is Sunday, so there is no meeting for coffee. Everyone sleeps in and drinks their own on Sundays. Stella and I slept later than usual and ate breakfast here.

Today is Tyler's birthday. He turned 13 years old today, can you believe it? It reminds me how old I am getting because I sound like my Grandaddy when I say I remember the morning that Tyler was born and how much he has meant to me since then. Tyler, the first-born son and grandson, and he will always have a very special place in my heart. I love all three of my grandsons but I guess like a lot of folks, the first one is a little bit special.

On our way to Texas City, we stopped off at Dickinson to pick up our mail and to check the yard. We had hired a company to come cut the grass and we needed to look at their work. The yard looked good, so after picking up the mail we left. We had plenty of time, so we went by the Via Bayou RV park where our friends Harry and Judy were staying. Judy recently had some foot surgery and we wanted to check on her. We have not seen our good friends in a long time but will soon see them at the Boomer rally at Rayford. We will also spend New Year's Eve with them in Louisiana.

Like many, we have a family tradition of letting the birthday boy choose where we go out to eat. Tyler chose the Texas Roadhouse, but changed his mind to Logan's Roadhouse. Kim, Jeremy and Cameron had eaten there on Halloween weekend when Tyler was with us at Rayford, so they convinced him that Logan's was better. The food was okay but I have had better. Tyler was surprised when the crew from the restaurant came out and recognized him for his birthday. It's not every day that a young man becomes a teenager.

We went back over to their house and Tyler blew out his candles. Kim only had three birthday candles-you know how it is, these special days just sneak up on you-but somehow Tyler blew them all out. Jeremy made a delicious cake from scratch, so we all had a piece of cake before we had to come home.

We had been gone most of the day, so Cassie was glad to see us. I still miss Ralphie but maybe someday I'll find another little Schnauzer/poodle and will name him/her Ralphie.

So long.

Saturday November 21, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I woke this morning and went down to the rally hall expecting to have to make the coffee because I thought Jim would stay home. He had asked me if I was making coffee, and took that to mean that he wouldn't be down. He was there when I got down there but had only made about half a pot of coffee since Frank and Nancy would be making coffee for the breakfast.

When Frank arrived, he immediately complained that someone had changed his timer and that it had not come on at the time he set it for. Neither Jim nor I even knew that Frank had left his timer in the cabinet and we were the only ones that were in the hall since he had left last night after bingo. He had a hard time finding a lot of his supplies, but he finally got it together and breakfast was prepared. We all had a good time at breakfast but several, including me, were a little disappointed that we didn't have breakfast burritos as promised but the pancakes were good.

It was cool and rainy today, so we just stayed inside. I watched my car shows on television and Stella did stuff for her doctors. I know she uses her phone a lot to exchange text messages with Dr. Gulde. Some time in the middle of the day, I had an idea to go to Mel's Diner for supper. I went around and spread the word to our friends in the back of the park, and ten of us agreed to meet around 5 o'clock. Carl and Faye rode with us, Pete and Jean rode with Warren and Judy and Jim and Rita brought their two grandsons from their school where they had gone to watch them play soccer. We had a great time at Mel's and while there, I remembered that today was exactly one year since I retired.

This has been a wonderful year for us. We left our house the day I retired and have only slept in the house twice since then. We have taken some nice trips, one to Tyler to visit my Aunt Frat who later passed away; to Albuquerque New Mexico for the Good Sam rally; to Elkhart Indiana for the Heartland rally there, then over into Ohio to meet our friends and back to Dickinson, visiting many interesting cities on the way. If you have just started reading this blog, please feel free to read past entries to learn about the places we've been. We went to the awesome Priest Gulch RV park in Dolores Colorado and after leaving there, stopped off at Albuquerque again for the Balloon Festival. We had to come back to Dickinson at the end of each of the trips because of the house. We did get almost everything out of it but left enough behind to sleep there if we need to. Now if we can just find someone to buy the darned thing!

Our first year of retirement has been great and we are looking forward to the next 20 or more years of retirement traveling.

So long.

Friday November 20, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We had another large group for coffee this morning and had to set up another table to hold everyone. I guess the entries onto the calendar are paying off. I came home and Stella was working on her doctor's work again, so we just hung out in the trailer again. I walked a lot today because I have to go visit the doctor for my quarterly checkup next week and I don't want to get yelled at.

Diabetes is a fearful disease because many victims are not ill and have few symptoms. I have type 2 diabetes which is treated with diet control, exercise and oral medications. I have been diagnosed with it for over 10 years and so far have been able to control it with a variety of oral drugs. I will find out next week how I am doing.

We had an unscheduled committee meeting this afternoon. There were some changes that I had talked to Diane about such as changing bingo night to another night to leave Friday nights for our "street parties". I want to include rallies into our parties because I know that there are a lot of people that come in on a Friday night for a rally, have worked all day and then had to drive to the park. They set up their rig when they arrived here and many times don't want to fix supper. Instead of going out, why not invite them to our party? It seems like a win-win situation to me. We would have more people for the parties, they will appreciate the efforts of the park to include them which will hopefully bring in more business for the park, and we will make many more friends. The street party will be listed as weather permitting, but we will have to contact the wagonmaster of the rally to get permission to use the rally hall for our party. I also suggested that Michelle contact the wagonmasters so there are no privacy issues over one or more of the committee members contacting someone without permission. Also the wagonmaster would be asked for a tentative head count for the party. We will ask anyone attending to either bring a dish to the potluck dinners or to pay a nominal fee for the party. I think that's only fair.

We also had a lot of discussion over a suggestion from Frank that the committee buy him a Sam's club card so he can buy the breakfast supplies there. The idea was nixed because it would be issued to a specific person who could use the card for their own personal purchases. It didn't take Frank long to find out that his card was turned down because about 10 minutes after the meeting ended, he was knocking at my door to go to Sam's to buy for tomorrow's breakfast. I don't mind taking him to the store and had offered to do so in the meeting.

We played bingo tonight. I usually don't play but decided late in the afternoon that I would play. I'm glad I did because I won the big pot of the night. Billy won the first two games and everyone joked that the fix was in, but when Nick won the third game there were really some eyebrows raised. Of course, Gwen calling the numbers made it even funnier, but I pulled out the win in the final game. We all had a good time and it was nice to play with many of our friends here in the park.

So long.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thursday November 19, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I went down to have coffee again this morning and got to thinking about our little group. If you think about it, a group like this one really could do some good when it comes to making decisions. All together, we have experiences in just about anything you can imagine. We have retirees from just about any field, military, public services like fire service and of course, law enforcement, many kinds of businesses, including business owners. I'm not sure what some of our guys have done in their life, but I'm sure it would be a great discussion some morning, just going around the table and talking about ourselves and our background. We've got some really smart fellows in this group.

Together we have traveled pretty much around the world and in every state of the union. Of course, the military guys have spent lots of time overseas, keeping us free and safe, but a lot of their time was done in wartime, so there wasn't much time to sightsee.

It is a real treat when we start talking about where we have been and what we like and dislike. We have discussed going on a group trip, and that may work out. Where would we go? Well, we talked about Alaska, but personally I would rather stay in the lower 48 states. I know that our friends Bob and Christina have an Alaska trip planned for next year and I'm sure I will talk to them when they return to find out how it went. I intend to keep in touch with all my winter Texan friends and keep them up about where we are.

There was not much doing in the park today. Stella worked on the computer and I piddled around. I went by Diane's trailer and talked to her about the committee. She asked me to talk to Joe Alessi who is staying right behind her, about doing a newsletter and email notices of upcoming events. When I went over to talk to him, I learned that he is the guy that hit a rock last year and drug it around by the office. He said he did about $5,000 worth of damage to his then-new Phaeton motorhome. It is all fixed now but he made a mess of it back then.

Stella and I have been doing good with our food intake. She has been fixing us a good breakfast, just a snack for lunch and then a good supper. I think we both feel better when we don't eat as much and I know it is healthier for us.

I've had a few comments about my new hair-do or should it be called lack of hair-do? Thanks to all of you. I don't know how long I'll keep it this way, but so far, I like it and as long as my friends are battling cancer, I'm keeping it.

So long.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday November 18, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Here I am sporting my new "do". I have wanted to honor my friends as well as everyone that is battling cancer, and this is my way of doing so. Some time ago, I got this idea when I read about a man that had shaved his head when his son was diagnosed with cancer. I don't have any sons, and luckily none of my children or grandchildren have been stricken with this disease, so this is my small way of showing solidarity with other cancer victims.

I walked around the park this morning after doing the "shave job" and was surprised at how much difference it made to be outdoors without hair and how cold the air felt. I stopped by and visited with Jimmy and Dana, one of the cancer victims here in the park.

Stella stayed inside and worked on her computer for her clients. She has been working a lot for them lately and I am very proud of her for doing this. Not only because we can use the money she brings in, but simply because she can remain focused on them and stick with their program and not just sit back in a retired mode and forget about the doctors and their practices. She could easily just sit outside and visit with people in the park but she stays inside and after her work and I am thankful for it.

About noon, I took the clothes down to the washateria for her. She read her book while our clothes washed. When she got through washing, she called me and I walked back to carry our now-clean clothes back home. It wasn't long after she got back home that we had to get ready to go down for the happy hour before the baked potato supper that was put on in the rally hall. We sat with our friends John and Jan and their daughter Ann who brought her children, ages 1 and 4. We had a nice time visiting with them and fun to watch the little ones with all their energy. John and Jan used to go to Durango Colorado so we had those locations and attractions in common. After finishing our meal, we sat around talking to our friends and came on back home to watch a little TV before going to bed.

So long.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday November 17, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I woke late this morning. I guess its because it was pretty cold this morning and I was warm and snuggled up in my blankie in the recliner. I woke about 3AM and was reading the news on the computer and went back to sleep.

We had gotten an email about an open house on "work kamping" that was being held today at the Woodlands Marriott hotel where a KOA convention was being held. We are just starting out in our work camping experience, so we are looking for any information we can get. We found the hotel after parking a couple of blocks away, following the directions of our GPS that I named SWMBO-She Who Must Be Obeyed. I don't know why she directed us to the parking lot where she did, but we had a short walk to the hotel.

We were immediately put off by the number of people wearing KOA shirts or vests that did not speak or would not even make eye contact with us. A few were friendly but many were not. There was no one at the table in front of the room where the open house was being held, so we just walked in. There were numerous tables in the large meeting room where different KOA locations had set up to talk to prospective work kampers. We spoke with one from Montana and were told some of the details of working at their location. We continued around the room but were soon directed to a lady who was the greeter. She explained the KOA policies to us. She said that We would have to pay $35.00 each if we wanted to work for their company to access their website to find job opportunities. We would be paid minimum wage, which is $7.25 for between 20-35 hours weekly. We were also told that the fee would also get us a card worth 10% off at any KOA park. After talking to her for a bit longer, we went back inside the room and talked briefly to some people from a park in Oregon, but I think our minds were made up at this point. Why would anyone pay to get a job for minimum wage? Most of the people we know are not big fans of KOA anyway, so I don't think we are interested in work there, so we left.

We decided to go to the Post Office to get our passports for a trip over to Mexico when we go back down to the valley in February. Stella had put her birth certificate away somewhere in the trailer for safekeeping and could not find it, so she had looked up the Harris County Clerk's office where we went and got certified copies of our birth certificates. We took these and the applications that Stella had already filled out to the Post Office in the Woodlands where we met a very nice lady there who took all of our information as well as taking our photo for the cards. It took her about 45 minutes to get everything done, but now we are finished and should have our passport cards in 4-6 weeks.

All in all, it was a very productive day. We learned that we don't want to work kamp for KOA, and got our passports squared away. The problem was, I forgot about having a committee meeting this afternoon. I'll make it up to them somehow.

We came home and Stella fixed us some leftover beans and cornbread and I watched my TV show. I went to bed early tonight so I hopefully won't oversleep in the morning.

So long.

Monday November 16, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We had another big crowd for coffee this morning. Warren's daughter and son in law stopped by on their way to work so we had to set up another table to handle the new folks.

Stella cleaned the big pot that we had used for the hobo stew after we had breakfast and worked for her clients all morning while I surfed the Internet. I am working on another Heartland luncheon in the valley in February and was in contact with Jim B. about some of the arrangements. This past Feb. we had 63 people at the luncheon in McAllen but I don't know how many to expect this year.

This afternoon, Stella cut my hair off. I have been wanting to go with a bald look for awhile because I like the look and because so many of my friends have been diagnosed with cancer and this is my way of honoring them. After I shave my head, I will take a photo to show you what I look like with a bald head.

I'm told that a man inherits his hair from his grandfathers. Grandpa Coffman had white thick hair and Grandaddy Chandler was almost completely bald with a small amount of white hair on the sides. I guess it's true because mine was a combination of the two; was very thin on top and most of what I had was white or silver. It is very very short now while I get used to it. I took a little kidding from my friends here in the park right after she got through but I like it so far.

We stayed inside and watched television for the rest of the night. Another peaceful night in the park.

So long.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday November 15, 2009-Rayford Crossing

There was no breakfast in the rally hall this morning and since it's Sunday, we don't do coffee. We all take Sunday off from discussing all of the world's problems since it IS a day of rest.

Stella and I decided to go out for breakfast this morning. She wanted to go to IHOP, but when we got there, the parking lot was full and there were people standing outside waiting to get in so we decided to try somewhere else. We ended up at Skeeters, the restaurant that Cameron doesn't like. Kim told us that the last time we took the boys there, Cameron came home with a list of things he didn't like. There was some good that came out of this review. He apparently shared his dislike with other kids in his school, so when his class started doing a newsletter, his teacher made Cam the restaurant reviewer. He now reports on places in and around Texas City. Perhaps he'll grow up to be a newspaper reporter. Cameron would have given another bad report on Skeeters. The biscuits, sausage and bacon were all cold and the orange juice was lukewarm. I sent in a comment card to the company. It will be interesting to see if I hear back from them.

We came back home and while I caught up on my blog and surfed the 'net, Stella got ready to go to Melissa's shower. I watched football all afternoon while Stella and most of the other women still here in the park went to the shower. When she returned, she said Melissa got many nice gifts. She is having a little girl this time (she has four boys) so she needed almost everything for a girl. It sounds to me like she pretty-much got it. We're happy for her.

So long.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Saturday November 14, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We started the morning having coffee in the Lone Star room. We were also having breakfast in the same room, prepared by Frank and Nancy, so Jim had come down and made coffee in the small pot for us coffee drinkers to sip on and Frank made his coffee for the breakfast in the bigger pot. There is a rally in the park this weekend but they are making their own breakfast in the Rayford room. Stella stayed down in the Lone Star room for awhile visiting with the other ladies there. I came home and watched television-I have a group of TV shows on Saturday morning-Powerblock TV. I have been watching these shows for a few years and although I like the theme of the shows, it has been very interesting to watch the change of the characters. Just about the time I get used to the character and think they are doing well, I turn the show on and the character is gone. I'll probably never understand.
Stella came home and made cookies for me. She makes the absolute best sugar-free cookies. Some she makes with chocolate chips and some are like the pecan sandies with pecans and sometimes she makes them with coconut and pecans. She can make them any way she wants because I LOVE THEM!!
I worked on the water problem that we had last night. I didn't find a problem with the water filter like I thought it would, so I put it all back together and it works fine now. The only thing I can think of is that I suspended the hose off the ground when the lawn guys came by on Wednesday and I must have gotten the hose in some kind of a bind that cut the water flow off. Stella made cornbread for tonight's Hobo Stew meal that we are having. It is another "street meal" with the park shutting down a small section of the road so we can set up heaters and fire pits and everyone eats around the fire. I was put in charge of the medal preparations, so I along with several others, brought chairs, tables, fire pits, heaters, the burner for cooking the stew and the stew pot. The park furnished the cooking equipment and the meat and the winter Texans furnished the veggies and desserts. It was a fine meal and everyone had a very good time.

Here is everyone getting ready to eat the Hobo Stew. Thanks go to Diane, Judy, Faye, Valle and Stella for fixing the stew and to all the other cooks that brought both ingredients for the stew and prepared food.

Everyone enjoying their food. The weather was just about perfect, with cool dry weather at night. The skeeters didn't give us too much trouble as long as we stayed out of the grass. When we didn't, they got all stirred up and bit the heck out of everyone around, so we pretty well stayed off the grass. When Jerry lit off the fire pits, that got rid of a lot of the skeeters too.

Diane and Jerry brought out their small Margarita machine. There were some leftover 'ritas that we had gotten out of the freezer, so everyone that wanted one had a cocktail.

Here is Judy serving up some of the stew. Actually, she gave this one to me and it was delicious. I put some of Stella's cornbread on top and chowed down.

We sat out by the fire until after nine, proving that retirees can stay out late. I still hate this new time, but I guess I'll get used to it eventually. Probably in April when we change back to daylight savings time.

So long.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday November 13, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Wow, we had a lot of guys in for coffee this morning. Several men from the Holiday Rambler rally group joined us, making it "cozy". We really had plenty of room but did have to set up a new table.

We stayed in again today and Stella worked on her client's books all day long. I just walked around the park, talking to people. It was a very nice day again weather wise, so it was nice to be outside. I walked down to the dog run and the children's play area and saw that everything has been replaced that was damaged from the storm. This was the last area of damage to be repaired.

I worked on the water filter in the afternoon. It has been awhile since I changed the filter cartridge, so I turned the water off and changed it. Later in the afternoon, Stella started getting ready to go to play bingo and while taking her shower, the water just stopped. She had been in the shower for a few minutes when it stopped, so I went outside to check everything. I didn't find anything wrong with the lines or hose, so I disconnected the filter, thinking something must be wrong with it. The water came back on and ran fine, so I don't know why it cut off. The only thing I can think of is that there was a kink in the hose that I didn't notice and somehow it got straightened out.

Stella went down and played bingo and of course she didn't win. Everyone knows those games are rigged! Our friends Warren won one game, his wife Judy won another and another family split the last two games. They're rigged I'm telling you!

So long.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday November 12, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today was a very slow day. I began with coffee as usual and came home to eat breakfast. I ate the leftover biscuits from yesterday because we were pretty much out of everything for breakfast foods. We have not been to the grocery store in a long time, so after finishing breakfast, we went to Sam's to buy soaps and other cleaning items that are cheaper and where we have not been since August. From there we went to HEB for groceries. We spent a total of almost $250.00, but as I said, it has been a long time since we've been to the store.

I stayed in the trailer all afternoon, working on the computer and surfing the net. We ate supper at home and went for a walk around the park. We stopped by Jim and Rita's to visit with them.

Ted and Donna and Rick and Brenda were supposed to have come over tonight to play a game but Ted had to go out of town for work, so they had to cancel. It was just as well because Stella has some projects that she is working on for her clients, so we called Rick and Brenda and cancelled altogether. We will re-schedule the game playing for another time when we can all get together.

So long.

Wednesday November 11, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I woke this morning and went to the rally hall for coffee as usual. About 7:30, I noticed Bob out loading their Smart car onto their truck Big Mama. I went out and watched him get loaded up and then walked down to talk to him and Christina as they loaded their trailer to leave. They made several of the men and and one of the wives come over to look closer at their rig I think most of the men want a big truck like Big Mama but like me, they can't convince their wife to buy one. I can justify one all I want, but with Stella's bad knees, I'll never get to buy one. I've been a good boy this year, so maybe Santa will get me a new truck. They pulled out shortly and make for a very impressive outfit.

They plan to drive about halfway to Harlingen and stop for the night. They can sleep in the truck, using their small generator and air conditioner to keep them comfortable. They really do have all the comforts in the truck, but I'm still not going to get one.....

After they pulled out, Stella and I went down for her to see Dr. Gulde at the hospital in Texas City. I sat in the parking lot and read a book that I had brought along. Let me tell you, the weather is spectacular this time of year. No rain, just a very few clouds in the sky and about 77-78 degrees with a nice cool breeze blowing makes it easy to sit in the truck reading. When Stella got through, we ran some more errands in the area. We went by the house and picked up the mail and called a company to check on getting the yard mowed. Since we have decided to keep the house until the market comes back a little more, we need to get it and keep it mowed.

We picked up Tyler and Cameron at the karate school where they go after getting out of school and took them home. Tyler wanted to go to Uncle Chan's for supper, so that is where we went. I can tell a definite difference in the boys and they are growing up. They still insist on whispering around me, so nothing has changed there.

I am so proud of these boys, they have their adult lives and careers all planned out. Tyler wants to be a veterinarian and of course Cam can't see anything other than playing baseball. Both of those careers make a lot of money, so perhaps they'll buy me my big truck. Maybe I should try to stay on their good side?

So long.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday November 10, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Here we are having a great lunch at the El Palenque restaurant.

I started out the day in the rally hall. We are having 11-12 guys down for coffee every morning. When I came home, Stella fixed us some breakfast while I talked with Bob as he loaded his motorcycle onto the trailer behind their Landmark trailer. They have decided to leave tomorrow instead of Thursday as they had planned. We will be very sorry to see them go but hopefully we will see them again soon when we go to Stephen F. Austin state park in January.

We had told Bob and Christina that we would go for a ride around Houston one day before they left, so we knew today would have to be the day. We got loaded up and took off around 11:00 and decided to go up to Huntsville to the Texas Prison Museum. Before we got there we stopped at the huge statue of Sam Houston which is on I-45 just before getting to Huntsville. The statue is modeled on a 10:1 scale, and since Old Sam was 6'6 or 6'7", the statue is 67 feet tall and sits on a 10' base.

Sam Houston was a very interesting man. He was the first and only man to be elected governor of two states (Tennessee and Texas), was elected to Congress in both states, and was the first President of the Republic of Texas. We toured two of his houses and the small museum on the grounds. When we got through there, no one wanted to go to the Walls prison unit. We did go spend over an hour at the Prison Museum in Huntsville on I-45. It was very interesting and I was able to give some more insights into some of the prisoners and events that have happened over the years when I was in law enforcement. I probably put more than 50 people in the penitentiary during my years as a cop. It was always very satisfying to lock someone up because I was always positive that they were guilty. Most of the time, they confessed or there was positive evidence that linked them to the crime, fingerprints or DNA.

We returned to this area to eat lunch/supper at El Palenque. Bob and Christina both wanted mexican food and this was probably the best in the area, so we went there.

We came back to the park in time to go to the ice cream social. This is something that the park scheduled and is manned by volunteers from the committee that I serve on. I wasn't needed for this one, but will be soon.

So long.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday November 9, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today was another stay in the park and hang out with our friends day. Stella and I did run one little errand and went to the bank to deposit our check from Camping World and stopped at Wal Mart to pick up a few items. When we got home, we went to the Rayford room where there was to be a Margarita Monday get together and then some games of LCR. Instead of chips, it is played with quarters (or dollars for the high rolling players). I seldom play but Stella loves to play and occasionally wins some money. She never shares the money she wins with me but it does make her happy and out of my hair for awhile.....LOL

When she got home from the games-she said she didn't win-we went to meet Ted and Donna and later Rick and Brenda at the Sweet Tomato restaurant in the Woodlands. It was a good choice because we all enjoy the restaurant. We came back home and watched television for the rest of the evening.

I didn't mention yesterday that I met another Heartland owner here in the park. I met Mary Ann, who had just come in from Eagle Colorado. She and her husband plan to stay here for awhile. They are the owners of a Bighorn 3055, similar to our old trailer that we traded in for this one. She said that they haven't had any major problems with this trailer but haven't been able to use it as much as they wanted to. Until now, that is. I gave them one of the Heartland contact cards and also one of my personal cards for contact information. I look forward to seeing them around the park.

So long.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sunday November 8, 2009-Rayford Crossing

There was no coffee in the rally hall this morning, so I just slept in. I slept in my chair until about 7:30, very late for me! At least I got caught up on my sleep this morning. Stella fixed us some french toast this morning for breakfast.

We stayed inside most of the day and watched football. It was very relaxing and that new television is GREAT!! I'm so glad we decided to upgrade. The picture is unbelievable and I haven't even had to do anything to "tweak" it.

In the early afternoon, more of our friends arrived. Pete and Jean arrived from Livingston where they ran into one of our Boomer friends, Barbara Spade. They had been expected to arrive yesterday but had a problem with their Hitchhiker trailer. In the spring when they took the trailer to storage, Pete had run off the road and had to be pulled back onto the road by a wrecker. Apparently when the wrecker pulled him back onto the road, it had damaged the suspension. When they pulled it into the park today, the entire left side of the suspension was loose and one of the tires had rubbed against the shock absorber. Pete said he had pulled into a veterinarian's office overnight and he had to sleep in the truck. They made it in today but will have to take the trailer back to a shop to be repaired.

We went to El Palenque again with our friends tonight and it was a great time. This group can certainly get rowdy! Kim once said that she couldn't believe what us "old people" do and talk about, and this group is the poster child for that!

We came back home and watched the Cowboys beat the Eagles, which Stella loved! I like to give her a hard time about her "Boys" but I'm secretly glad when they win. Sadly the Texans lost to the Colts but it was not unexpected. It began to rain just after I went to bed and it rained all night long, not a heavy rain but a soft rain. We really don't need any more rain but the farmers are probably glad for it.

So long.

Saturday November 7, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I went to the rally hall this morning but found that they had locked the cabinets in the Lone Star room. The Rayford room was also locked, so I called Jim to see if he was coming down for coffee, but woke him up. He said he would come down and soon arrived. I made coffee for us and a couple of other guys that came down. I had told Diane that I would make coffee for the potluck breakfast that was scheduled for 9 o'clock.

I went back to the trailer to check on Stella and saw Jerry and Joanne as they drove past on their way out. I stayed around the rally hall for breakfast and as usual, had a great breakfast. I've never gotten a bad meal at a potluck. You can tell from my belly that I've been to a lot of potlucks.

Stella and I came back home and got ready to go visit with our good friends that are being treated at the Medical Center. Bob and Christina were supposed to go with us, but Christina woke up feeling ill and decided not to go. Both Jim and Judy have lessened immune systems due to their chemo treatment, so it is better that Christina not go to keep from the possibility of infecting them.

When we got there, they were all sitting outside of Bill and Ornell's trailer. Bill had fixed some chili for everyone, so after visiting for awhile, we ate. Some ate chili pie with Fritos and a couple ate only the chili. It was good and we all had a good time. Both Judy and Jim ate well, which was good.

We had a very nice visit with our friends and left about 4:30. Traffic was bad and it took us about an hour and a half to get back to the park. Rick and Brenda called to invite us to go to the Opry in Conroe, but it was too late by the time we got back for us to go. We'll try to go later.

There was nothing going on in the park when we got home, so we went inside and relaxed and watched television for the rest of the night. It is cool and damp enough to sleep well under the covers but not too cool to require the heater on for comfort. This is my favorite time of the year.

So long.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friday November 6, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Wow, we had 12 guys for coffee this morning.

I came back to the trailer and Stella fixed us some biscuits and sausage for breakfast. Stella washed clothes most of the morning and came back home in time to cook her corn dish to take over to Bob and Christina's where we were having supper. It was Jerry and Joanne's last night in the park. They are leaving tomorrow for Red Bay Alabama where they will get to see their new Tiffin motorhome being built. They are buying another Phaeton but this time will get one a little longer and having a tag axle. I didn't ask Jerry too many questions about his new rig but it sounds very nice.

We went over to Bob and Christina's trailer and had a delicious meal. Christina said she had been up at 4 o'clock in the morning getting everything ready. Bob cooked the steaks on the grill and we all enjoyed our time together. Stella left to go play bingo in the rally hall and I went to check to see if there was anything I needed to do to help get the game going but there wasn't. I returned home and watched some television.

You know, I want to rant a little bit about the new time we switched over to last weekend. I can't get used to the new time and every night about 8:30 or so, I get really sleepy and several nights have actually gone to bed before 9 if you can believe that! It gets dark by 6 and it seems so late by 7 o'clock. Maybe after a few weeks of the new time I will get used to it.

Daylight Savings Time has been used by the United States and many European countries since World War I. The plan was not formally adopted in the US until 1918 and was observed for seven months. The law was so unpopular, it was repealed. DST became a local option and was adopted by a few states and several local cities. During WWII, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round daylight savings time for the duration of the war. From 1945-1966 there was no federal law regarding DST so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time and could choose when it began and ended.

On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. The laws and dates of the time change has been altered several times since, and was last modified to take effect in 2007 where it remains now. Now you know a little bit about the DST law.

I still don't like the standard time and wish we could switch over to DST and stay on it year round. Why do we only need to conserve time and energy in the summer? So much for my ranting and the small history lesson.

So long.