Thursday, April 30, 2009

Thursday April 30, 2009

We took things pretty easy again today. We seem to be in a habit of doing this every two or three days now that we're retired. I got up and drank some coffee and ate a couple of biscuits for my breakfast and went for a walk around the park.

The storage place where we have some of our stuff stored called day before yesterday and asked us to come check our stuff because of water having gotten in. We drove up there today and discovered that he was right, we had water damage. The only things we could find that were damaged was one box that had kitchen "stuff" in it and an old bed comforter that was soaked. I took the comforter our and laid it on the hood of the truck and watched the water running out of it. The box of "stuff" was not really damaged but we brought it back to the trailer so that Stella could go through it and clean up anything she wanted to keep. The manager was out in the lot, so we had to call him back later. He said we could change into another storage room, but we will stay here for now. It is convenient to get in and out of, so we'll stay here.

After leaving there, we went to Ted and Donna's house to visit with them. We soon went out to eat at Willy's Icehouse in the Woodlands. It was good, although all we had were burgers and fries. Donna had a coupon for free onion rings, so we had those for an appetizer.

After finishing up our meal, we left and came back to the park. It is amazing that we've only been gone a few months and the changes that have been made. There are new stores, strip centers and a nice big Shell gas station on 146 that wasn't there before. I can't wait to leave for four or five months to see the changes made.

We got back to the park and while Stella was walking Cassie, a Dodge pickup truck pulling a Grand Junction trailer came in. The truck was making a lot of noise as if the transmission was having a problem.

Back to work on the house tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday April 29, 2009

Stella woke me this morning about 7:30. It's getting easier to sleep in every day. If she hadn't woke me up, I don't know how late I might have slept.

I read on the Internet of the plan to give retirees their "share", $250.00, of the stimulus package. Let's see now, I've been paying taxes now for about 50 years; our president signed this stimulus package for $787 billion dollars (I don't know if I can write out that number!) and we retirees get $250! It seems to me that we should get the biggest share of the money. Who deserves it more, people that have faithfully paid into the system for many years or greedy corporations that can't manage the money they already make and can't produce a product that people really want and need, is reliable and a good value? If the government gave each of us a million dollars, we could truly stimulate the economy!

I'll get down off my soapbox now.

Via Bayou, the park where we are staying for the month, is a pretty nice place. It is as quiet a park as we have ever stayed in. Most of the people in this park apparently work nearby, so the place is pretty well deserted during the day. I walked around today to check out the rest of the park and found a lot of interesting things around here. For the golfers, there is a course nearby. When I took up golf a few years ago, I discovered that I didn't need to play golf because I had already learned how to curse.

The company that owns this park spent a lot of money on the bulkheads around the bayou. They went to the trouble and expense to put in metal bulkheads and to cap many of them with heavy lumber. They have installed a new pier into the bayou and piers in a small sheltered bay area near the park. We spoke with a couple that was fishing off the main pier and were told that the fishing is generally good there.

The park suffered major damage from Hurricane Ike but most has been repaired or replaced. The only thing that I would like to see them put in is a cable or TV dish to make more channels available to guests.

Back to our journal, Stella fixed us some delicious tacos for supper, which I finished up with a couple of her no-sugar chocolate chip cookies.

It was a good way to finish up the night.

Tuesday April 28, 2009

I guess I am getting used to being retired because I stay up until 10 or later and sleep until 7-7:30. We began the day with coffee and biscuits. Stella is really getting the hang of the new half time oven, and her baked goods are great!

We went back to the house this morning to meet the exterminator. I started cleaning up the garage and
Stella started in the back bedroom. We worked for a couple of hours when the exterminator arrived. I walked around the outside of the house with him and he pointed out the two areas where he saw evidence of termites. We talked about the estimate and he told us how much the entire package of work would cost.

When he left, Stella said she was ready to leave, having filled three large bags with clothes and having an additional three bags being ready to be put into bags. I had filled all the trash cans and had taken them out to be picked up by the trash service, so we left a little before noon. We got a pretty good start on the house.

Stella needed something else from the grocery store, so we went to the Kroger store in Texas City. I was too dirty to go inside the store, so while she went in and shopped, I stayed out in the truck. I called the Blue Spruce RV park where we will go this summer, to check on the availability of sites. The man that answered told me that there should be plenty of sites for me and anyone else that wants to come with us.

I have been exchanging emails between Rick and Donna about our plans for our summer trip starting in the mid-west and ending in Colorado. We have made three reservations at some parks in South Dakota and Idaho; Badlands RV Ranch in Interior S. Dakota, Custer's Gulch RV park in Custer S. Dakota and Valley View RV park in Island Park Idaho. This way, we have confirmed reservations in three of the more popular parks. It's exciting to make these plans and I am very thankful to have good friends to go with. I am especially thankful for Donna for doing all the research on parks and attractions. She really missed her calling -she would have made a great trip planner!

We came back to the trailer and Stella started making some more cookies for me. She makes the best sugar-free chocolate chip cookies! Jeremy called me and asked if we could pick up the boys from the karate school. He had to work late and Kim had something to do after work, so we went down and got them and took them home. We stayed there until Jeremy and Kim got home. They ordered a pizza, so we stayed and ate with them but came back home after eating. We watched some more television before retiring for the night.

So long.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Monday April 27, 2009

Today was another slow day for us. Stella needed to go to work for awhile, so I took her to Dr. Gulde's office where I dropped her off. I returned to the trailer and piddled (napped and watched television) around here until she called me to come get her.

We went to Sam's club for a few items today. We specifically needed some large trash bags to put clothes into at the house. We only buy a few items at Sam's and I am questioning the need to keep our membership, since we really can't find room for many of the items there. We'll have to make that decision soon.

We returned to the trailer and Stella made us some coney islands for supper. We just hung out here for the rest of the night.

About eight o'clock, Stella put the trash out for me to take to the dumpster when I took Cassie for a walk. It had been windy all day long and threatening rain, so when I went outside, I decided not to go to the dumpster right now. I hadn't even gotten back to my recliner when it started to rain-hard! The winds blew, shaking the trailer and the rains came and came.....
This is the only time that I want the security of a house back. I could feel the trailer move every time the wind blew hard, but we didn't have any trouble over night. Cassie and I made it through the night, asleep in our bed.

Another day done.

Sunday April 26, 2009

The boys stayed overnight with us last night. I woke about 6 and went in to read the papers on the computer, and Cameron soon woke up. He sat up in bed and looked at me with those big blue eyes and immediately laid back down and went back to sleep. I guess he was just checking to see if someone was with them.

I like my new trailer very much. This floorplan gives me enough room to move around and even recline in Stella's recliner with the boys asleep on the couch. Of course, very soon we won't have them with us, but its nice when they are here.

When Stella woke, she made us breakfast pizzas to eat. As usual, they were good and me and the boys enjoyed them. The boys love to come with us because we let them drink coffee. Stella mixes it about 50-50 coffee to milk and of course sweetens it with sugar, so they really don't get that much caffeine.

Cameron had another baseball game, so we took them home a little after 1 o'clock to give him plenty of time to get ready to go. Kim and Jeremy had just gotten up, so they were moving slow still. I watched some television (I guess I miss cable more than I realize) while they got ready. Jeremy made some pizza, so everyone had a small slice of that for a snack.

Kim and Jeremy weren't ready, so we took Cam to his ball game so he could warm up with the team. His Dad was to be at the game, so both boys were excited about seeing him. He did finally show up but didn't speak to any of us.

Cam's team got behind but made a comeback win 7-5 to give them a little better season. This gives them two wins for the season!

Mark kept the boys after the game so we went back home. We needed to go to the grocery store so we went to the Krogers in Dickinson. We have been eating out a lot, so we haven't been to the store and needed some basic items.

We returned home and watched some television until bedtime.

See ya,

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Saturday April 25, 2009

We slept late this morning since there's no reason to get up early. I made coffee and drank some, then went outside to see how dirty the trailer was from the trip down here. Since it rained last night so most of the bugs and road grime was off the trailer. There were a few bugs and some black streaks on the sides of the trailer, so I mixed up some soap and started washing the trailer down. It was really windy, so most of the water I sprayed on the trailer came back at me. I washed the front of the trailer off and the off-door side, but got tired of getting soaking wet, so I gave up on washing the entire trailer. I'll finish it up when the wind stops, or at least slows down.

We just hung out inside and Stella fixed us some breakfast of sausage and eggs on tortillas. It was very good and she spiced it up just right.

We stayed here until time to go watch Cameron's baseball game. He pitched in the game today and got started slowly. He walked in a couple of runs in the first inning, but he soon settled down and the rest of the game was pretty good. Cam was hit by a pitch the first at-bat, got on base with a single the second time and was intentionally walked on his third time to bat. He is a very good hitter and they had two on base when Cam was walked. They were playing the #1 team in the league and ended up losing the game, but they played well and only lost by three runs.

We went back to Kim's house after the game and ate some brisket that Jeremy had gotten from his lodge. It was very good, and he made mashed potatoes and peas to go with the meat.

We brought the boys back home with us. They haven't been here with us for a long time and it was good to have them here.

So long for now,

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday April 24, 2009

We woke today to high winds in Burleson. We are heading back to Dickinson to get the house squared away and hopefully closed and sold. The last time we spoke with Jeremy, he said he is scheduling a termite inspection and if the house passes, the closing date will be set.

We left the RV Ranch about 9AM, a good time to be leaving. We should miss the bulk of the traffic both here and in Houston this afternoon.

We made very good time through Alvarado, Waxahachie and Ennis and hit I-45 just north of Corsicana. This was kind of ironic because this is where we turned off I-45 to go to Tyler at the beginning of this latest adventure.

The only unscheduled stop we made was at the state rest area, south of Corsicana. It was ironic that we chose that location to stop because guess who was there also making a rest stop but Bob and Grace Stewart, our full-time friends from California. They are on their way to Livingston to the Escapee's park there for a few more doctor visits. We told them where we stopped overnight and they said they had stayed at a Corps of Engineers park.

We stopped for fuel at the Love's truck stop in Fairfield and took 19 gallons at $2.19 per gallon to go 175.1 miles for a 9.2 mpg average. Not too bad with the winds blowing like they were.

We got into Houston (actually into Conroe, but it all runs together any more) and immediately ran into traffic backing up. This is typical of Houston, so we saw that nothing has changed in that respect. Since we've been gone, we haven't experienced this kind of traffic, so it was kind of unnerving. We really had no problems getting through, but its been awhile since we seen this kind of traffic.

While traveling through Houston, we realized that its been three months since we've been to Dickinson. The last time we went down there, we had truck problems and didn't make it to Dickinson. We noticed a lot of changes to I-45 in the northern part of Galveston county, around League City. An entire strip mall has been knocked down at the corner of Nasa Rd. 1 and I-45 and a new UTMB clinic has started up just north of 646. I don't believe we even saw preliminary work being done there, but they have made considerable progress in erecting this new building. We didn't see any other major changes around Dickinson but we stayed on FM 517 and didn't do any exploring.

We found the Via Bayou park without a problem. The lady that checked us in said that the park changed hands a couple of years ago and they have wanted to change the name to the Galveston Bay RV Park, but realized that the park is not really on Galveston bay but on Dickinson bayou, so the Via Bayou name is really better.

We got all set up without a problem and everything is working well. The park wi-fi is down because they need a new antenna, but as soon as it is repaired I can get off the air card and use the free service here.

I bought a new adjustable regulator for the water supply from the RV Water Filter Store while we were at The Rally. When I got here, I put it on the water line and immediately noticed a very low pressure of 10#. While I was at the office, I mentioned it to the lady and she said that no one else had complained about low pressure. We returned to the trailer and when Stella turned the faucet on, she got no water. I went outside and removed the regulator and found a good flow from the spigot, so I took the regulator off and turned everything back on and all is well. I will get in touch with the store to see about returning the bad regulator.

After getting cleaned up, we went to the karate school where Tyler was sparring for his next karate belt. He has a red belt and should be up soon for a black belt. We went over to Kim's house to see them before we went out to eat with them at Uncle Chan's oriental buffet. We haven't had any Chinese food for a long time, so it was good to get back here. The boys wanted to come back home with us, but we were too tired after the long drive back from Amarillo, so we will have them over another night. We will be here for a month, so there will be plenty of time.

After eating, I went to get fuel after the trip. We took 19 gallons at $1.99 per gallon (great to be back here with the low prices) to go 213.6 miles for a 11.2 mpg average. Much better, even with the slow down through Houston.

I was in bed by 9:30 and slept like a log. That traffic and the setup of the trailer just takes it out of me sometimes.

So long for now,

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Thursday April 23, 2009

I woke about 5AM and got my stuff ready to go shower and clean up in the shower house. By the time I got back to the trailer, Stella was up and about. It wasn't even daylight yet, so I came back inside and helped her get things inside straightened up to go.

We are heading back today, all the way to Dickinson to the Via Bayou (it has a new name now) RV park. It is between Dickinson and Texas City, so it should be convenient for us to work in the house and go to see the boys. We have told Kim that we will come to Cameron's next five games.

We pulled out at a record time for us, 6:50AM!! By the time we stopped by the Love's store to get coffee it was 7, but still a record for us since we've retired. We made excellent time through Amarillo with no slowdowns at all. Nothing like good old Houston traffic.....

We continued to make great time, but around 8:30 Stella decided that we needed to stop somewhere between here and Dickinson because she thought we would be too tired when we got in. She started calling RV parks and found us a spot at the RV Ranch in Burleson for the night. She called Via Bayou and told them that we wouldn't be in until tomorrow.

We stopped for fuel at Quanah Texas. We took 13.1 gallons at $2.19 per gallon to go 154.2 miles for a 11.7 mpg average. Still good mileage!

After getting filled up with fuel and because we had plenty of time now, I decided to drive 55 mph for this leg of the trip. Let me tell you, that's no fun at all! It seems like you are just coasting along with the rest of the traffic blowing by. I hated it, but kept it up until we stopped again for fuel.

While driving down the road, I noticed a Bighorn trailer coming up behind us, and guess who it was? Bob and Grace Stewart. I think they are going back to Houston for more doctor visits.

We stopped again for fuel and I was surprised to find that it had taken more to go this far at 55mph than at 62. We took 13.6 gallons at $2.19 per gallon to go 139.4 miles for a 10.25 mpg average. This is very interesting, and I can only think that the reason was because we were towing the trailer and the extra weight offset the lower speed. I noticed that when going up a hill in overdrive and cruise control, the truck would have to downshift twice to make it up the hill. Anyhow, I know now that going 62 is better!

We pulled into the RV Ranch at about 2:30. They have improved this park a lot since we've been here. They have added many more RV spaces and several cabins. Two of the cabins-actually they are a duplex-were open and we went inside. They have one big room with a fireplace on the far end, a large bathroom with what appears to be a space for a jacuzzi tub and a very large shower that is big enough for two people. There is no provision for a kitchen, so we really don't understand the floor plan.

We came back to the trailer and watched some television until going to bed. I talked to Kim and she ragged on me for not remembering the day of the week. I told her that we would see her tomorrow but wanted to wait to go out to eat until Friday. She said that since I don't have a job, I can't remember that tomorrow IS Friday.

I still love being retired, even if I don't know what day it is.....

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday April 22, 2009

I woke this morning freezing. The temp was 50, but I was really cold. When I went to bed, the air conditioner had been on, but at some point during the night it got colder and Stella turned it off. I turned the heater on and all is well now.

I heard a couple of rigs leaving about 7:15, so someone was up and busy this morning. We are going to check out the Palo Duro Canyon this morning. We didn't make it to the Grand Canyon, so we'll take the next best thing here in Texas.

We were slow in getting started this morning and didn't leave the park until about 10:30. We went to the Big Texan, famed for their free 72 ounce steak, for their breakfast buffet. I found a coupon in one of the Amarillo brochures in the office, so we got two for one pricing. The buffet ended at 11, but they let us eat anyway. The food was still good and plentiful, and actually there were a couple of people that came in after we did and got the buffet too.

We left the restaurant and went to the Palo Duro State Park. We don't go to enough State parks to justify buying their Golden Passport for $50.00 per year. It cost us $16.00 to get into this park and was definitely worth it! I'm not sure how deep the park is, but it seems like a half mile to the bottom when you're driving it. I did manage to keep the speed down on the down trip, and didn't have any trouble at all going uphill. This diesel is great! I have been so impressed with it on this trip.

We stayed about two and a half hours in the park and took a lot of photos. When we left, we went into Canyon on the West Texas A & M campus to the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. This was very interesting and claims to have one of the biggest museums in Texas.

FYI-the Passion Play, presented in the PDSP doesn't start until May 1. They have stopped the year-round presentation.

We came back to Amarillo and stopped at the Cadillac Ranch which is only about a half-mile east of the Oasis park. It was certainly different, and again we took some pictures.

After finishing up at the buried Cadillac museum, we stopped at the Love's for fuel. We got 13.7 gallons at $2.149 to go 209.7 miles for a 15.3 mpg average. Wow, this is great!! Only about 50 miles of this trip were not pulling the trailer, so our average pulling is way up there! More accolades for the diesel truck.

We returned to the trailer and watched some TV and relaxed after a day of walking around and seeing new things. Still another wonderful day, living the life!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday April 21, 2009

Moving day is here again.....We have to move out of the High Desert park because of others coming in. That is to be expected, since that's what happened to us when we got to the park. I saw a couple of rigs come in and then go back to the road where we slept our first night here.

It was 41 degrees when I got out of bed this morning, but it warmed up quickly. We're going to miss these cool mornings soon.

While I was getting ready to leave, I talked to Frank who was cleaning his trailer with some of his new products. He came over and used his cleaner to take some oil streaks off the front of my trailer and the bugs off the front end. That was very nice of him to do that for me! I gave him a couple of samples of Streak-X and Clean and Glo for his trouble.

Judy fixed us some breakfast tacos this morning. They were delicious and very filling. We didn't feel any hunger until late in the afternoon. It's nice to have good friends!

We got away about 11 o'clock, a little later than we had wanted to, but we're only going to Amarillo, a 285 mile trip. We stopped at a Chevron near the park before we pulled out and got fuel. We took 14.3 gallons at $2.189 per gal. to go 196.5 for a 13.7 mpg average. Not too bad, considering that most of this tank was used pulling the trailer. Since we switched off with Harry and Judy with driving to the rally, we only had to drive twice.

We made good time through Albuquerque, with almost no traffic. It is nothing like Houston traffic! Just after Santa Rosa, we saw a bad accident where a fifth wheel trailer turned over. It looked very bad, the whole fiberglass body of the trailer was gone, splintered by the accident. There was a clean up crew picking through the debris and we saw the frame of the trailer sitting near the accident scene. I hope no one was injured.

We stopped again at a rest area for a stretch-the-legs break. It was good to get out of the truck, even though we didn't "need" to stop. We have realized that we are retired and have the time to take our time.

We stopped again for fuel in Tucumcari at the Flying J. We took 15.4 gallons at $2.149 per gallon to go 184.2 for a 11.9 mpg average. Much better than coming up here!

While in the store, I bought a car charger for my cell phone. My phone is getting old and needs to be replaced. I charged it up overnight and after talking on the phone for about 15-20 minutes, I get the low battery signal. Stella also bought us a couple of pieces of pizza from their deli. It was really good, and now we won't have to fix supper tonight. We continued to make good time, but saw another accident in New Mexico. Apparently a Mustang had lost control and hit something. It didn't look like the car had overturned, but it was a bad accident. At least I saw the Trooper walking around talking to a young man, who I assume was the driver.

We pulled into the Oasis RV Park about 5 o'clock. They were super busy with several rigs that had pulled in prior to us and then four rigs pulled in behind us. It looks like this park will be full tonight, mostly from people who came from The Rally.

While outside, I met our next door neighbor, John Joseph. John is a sales representative for Passport America and a new Heartland owner. He bought a Bighorn 3600RL but it won't be delivered in time for the national rally in June.

Stella washed our dirty clothes-for free! This is the policy in this park for now. I'm sure that when the new wears off this park, they will charge the normal fees for washing. It's a really good deal, and Stella talked to others who knew of this policy and stopped here for that purpose.

When I went over to the laudromat to get the clean clothes, I saw that my new friend, John is gone from the site next door. I don't know what happened to him but he's gone now.

We're planning to stay here until Thursday. We will go to the Palo Duro canyon tomorrow to check it out. Neither of us has ever been there.

So long for tonight.

Monday April 20, 2009

It was 43 degrees here when we woke up. We had cereal for breakfast and got ready to back for the last day of the rally. By the time we were ready to go, it had warmed up really nicely. It turned out to be a beautiful day.

When we got to the rally, we went to the Coliseum to check to see if we had won the Grand Prize by trying a key to unlock the treasure chest. The line was completely out the door, so we just went to look at a few more exhibitor booths. We just looked around and were surprised that several vendors had left already. One had a wax product that I wanted to look at again, but they were gone.

Then we went to the seminar by Chris and Jim Guld, the Geeks on Tour on using Picasa for picture and video storage in your computer. It was very interesting and we all learned a lot.

We had a couple pf items that we wanted to buy before we left, so we went back across the street to the exhibitors to see if we could find them. I bought a new pressure regulator with gauge and a Y valve from the RV Water Filter Store. These are items that are really helpful and necessary for our water system. By now (after noon) most of the stores were closing down and there were few shoppers left, so we decided to leave.

We were all hungry and stopped at a little restaurant/bistro that Harry and Judy knew about that also had wine tasting. We decided to forego the wine tasting and get something to eat and just have some wine with our meal. I had the onion soup and a spinach salad and Stella had a pasta dish. Both of them were very good, but a little bit pricey. The total bill was $45.00.

We came back to the trailer and took naps before it was time to go to the last concert. Once we got to the fairgrounds, our friend Jim Gratz called and said they had saved some seats for us. We found them and then we all enjoyed the group Papa Doo Run Run. They are a group that sounds a lot like the Beach Boys or Jan and Dean, two groups that brought back a lot of memories for all of us. They were very popular in the 60's and their music is still very popular today. It was a very nice finish to the rally.

When the concert ended, we walked over to Tom and Judy's trailer to see Tom's new Utility Body Works Ford truck. I knew he had been wanting a new, larger truck and I really thought he was going to get a big truck, but they saw this truck at the show and bought one. It is an F-450 with all the bells and whistles and is very very nice. This is a truck that I have wanted for a long time, but just can't justify.

We returned to the trailers and had some more of Stella's dessert from yesterday. It was even better today but frozen solid. Harry and Judy took their's home and we had our's in our trailer.

Overall, the rally was a very nice experience with good friends.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday April 19, 2009

It was 41 degrees outside this morning, but nice a cozy inside. Both heaters are working very well in keeping us nice and warm. I'm glad we brought along the little electric oscillating heater instead of leaving it in storage like we thought about doing.

We decided to take today off from the rally. We have been walking so much, we were all tired, so we stayed home today. It was really kind of nice to just stay in, taking it easy instead of getting up and going all day long like we have been doing.

Stella fixed us some pigs in a blanket for our breakfast, and I finished my last Tom Clancy book, so we just watched some TV and hung out here. Stella later made some more sugar free chocolate chip cookies.

Around noon, Judy called and asked if we wanted to go to the grocery store with them. We did, so we all drove over to the Albertsons to shop. There was a car wash going on, so Harry got his truck washed. It looks pretty good. We all finished our shopping and agreed that we would have supper together about 5.

Judy fixed a meat loaf and had some mashed potatoes and Stella made some squash, so we had a very good meal. Stella also made a killer dessert with ice cream sandwiches layered with fruit and other goodies. Boy were we full when we finished all that!

Stella and I went to the concert tonight, which was the Osmond brothers. They are good entertainers and Wayne Osmond is really funny. They are worth seeing, but had no hits of their own to do for us. It was worth going to, but not as good as the other entertainers that we've seen and heard about.

We got back to the trailer about 9:30, which is 10:30 in Texas. We are in Mountain Time here and I am proud of myself for staying up as late as I have been.

So long for now,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday April 18, 2009

I woke pretty early this morning and checked the computer as usual. I ate cereal for my breakfast and drank coffee. It was 35 degrees when I woke, but at least it didn't snow any more last night.

I went down to the office about 8:30 and had one of the propane tanks filled. It is certainly reasonable here, only cost $13.06 to have it filled. I had both filled in Donna for $15.00 each and thought that was a great deal. Guess I was wrong about that.....

We are going back to the Expo center where the rally is being held this morning. We left here just a little after 9 and went to the center. Today was the day for everyone to check their numbers to find the matching numbers to win a prize. Everyone was given a sticker with a large four digit number on it and the idea was that there were three other people in attendance that had matching numbers. Harry soon located one of his matching numbers on another rally attendee. They went to the booth where the numbers were checked and information given to the volunteer on duty in the booth. We were not as lucky and neither Judy nor I ever found our matching numbers/people. We continued to go through exhibitor's booths and while taking a break from shopping, Stella and I went outside and saw Bob and Grace Stewart eating their lunch. While chatting with them, Stella and Grace were found to have matching numbers. As soon as they finished their lunch, we all went over to the booth and reported that matching numbers had been found. Stella and Grace were given the choice of a shopping bag or a cap. Stella chose the bag because I have plenty of caps. They were registered and were to return at 3:00 to be there for the grand prize drawing.

We walked around a little more to look at the displays. Stella bought a pink shirt and had a pink flamingo, the mascot of the Texas Boomers, on the front. I found a long handle squeegee to dry the truck and trailer when I wash them. She will have to go back to get her shirt after they put the flamingo on it and I will pick up my squeegee.

We went to the prize drawing for the matching winners, but of course, none of us won anything. It was fun to watch the winners being picked and Camping World gave away some very nice gifts including some nice chairs, recliners, inverters, converters and a very nice sleep Number mattress worth about $1,900. Wow!

After we missed out on all the prizes, we went back and got our purchases and left for the day. It was a very tiring day, with long walks and lots of time on our feet.

I was given the choice of where we would eat supper. I remembered a Cracker Barrel restaurant on I-25 when we were on our way to the entertainment venue, so that was where we went. It was a nice meal and a good way to end this day. We all decided not to go to the Rita Coolidge concert tonight.

Midway through the Good Sam rally.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday April 17, 2009

I woke this morning and checked emails and played on the computer. We didn't make any coffee in the trailer because we are meeting Harry and Judy to go eat breakfast before going back over to the rally site. The exhibitors will be set up today and we want to start looking. We are also planning to go to one of the seminars this afternoon.

It is not as cold this morning, only 39 degrees. The weather guessers on television are still saying it may snow, but I don't see it happening here, unless it gets much colder.

We went to eat breakfast at Weck's for breakfast. It was a good place to choose, and we all got more food than we could eat. I had a short stack of pancakes and they were huge! I ate about 2/3 of them and gave it up. We got to the rally expo about 10:15 without problem but it was still cold. We walked through the first building where the Camping World exhibits were. There were probably 50-60 booths to look through including CW. Stella bought some things for Cassie, a portable water bowl and a name tag with my telephone number on it. We extended our Camp Club USA membership. We had gotten our year's subscription when we bought our trailer, so we just extended it for another year. We got to spin a prize wheel and won a CCUSA blanket. Very nice! Stella bought a The Rally tee shirt and we both looked at several other items, but nothing was bought.....yet.

When we went outside to go to the next exhibitor building, it was snowing! A very light dusting of snow that didn't stick but it was snowing!

Went into the second building and walked through much of it before leaving to go to the Traveling to Alaska seminar. The man who put on the seminar runs a caravan company, so his presentation was kind of slanted to his caravan, but it was informative. I'm not that impressed with an Alaska trip, but I could change my mind. I left the hall before the presentation ended because my back was hurting from the chairs. We have all been unimpressed with the seating arrangements here. the chairs are all hardback and are all tie-wrapped together, so you cannot separate from your neighbor to make room. I don't know if they are afraid that someone will steal one of the chairs, or if they are trying to conserve space in the halls, but their methods are not working for the comfort of their guests.

We came back to the trailers when the seminar was over to let Cassie out and to rest up for the entertainment tonight, Neil Sedaka. We planned to leave here about 6:30 for the performance. On the way we saw a lot of snow that had fallen on the Sandia Mountains which are just east of town. The clouds were still very low and it was very pretty.

The Neil Sedaka show was very good, and brought back lots of memories. He has been writing songs since he was 13 years old and said it has been 57 years. He looks very good and still sounds the same for a 70 year old man. He sang a duet of one of his songs with his daughter, who was seen on tape. She is a beautiful girl and now sings in New York. He danced on stage and was very spry for a man that old.

There was a couple that sat down behind us that was from Canada. They both had been drinking and brought beer with them. They kept talking loudly and disturbing all of us. They finally got up and stood in the rear of the hall, which suited us just fine. We planned to move if they had come back.

I looked over at one of the side doors to the hall and saw a lot of water coming off the roof, but when we got outside, it was lightly raining, and at times it felt like sleet. I know it was cold outside, but we had dressed better for the cold so it was not that bad.

We returned to the trailers after making plans for going back to the rally site in the morning.

It was another good night but we hope it warms up tomorrow.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday April 16, 2009

It's coooold here this morning. the temp was 30 degrees on my thermometer. The TV weather guessers said there were snow flurries here in Albuquerque over night. We didn't see any but we went to bed early last night.

I had another bad night because of my hand. I went to bed about 8:30after taking some medicine but woke several times and finally got out of bed around midnight. It was cozy and warm in the trailer, and I covered up with my throw blankie and slept (fitfully) all night.

Stella woke before I did and turned the coffee pot on. She later made us biscuits for breakfast but admitted that she hadn't made the adjustment for the altitude here and the biscuits were very flaky. They were good, but had to be eaten with a fork.

We went over to the rally site this afternoon. Today was the first day that we came over for a seminar. We wanted to see Jim and Chris Guld, the Geeks on Tour couple that I had seen in Branson at the Heartland national rally last year. They gave this same seminar there, and are one of the reasons that I began this blog. Harry and Judy want to start their own blog and this should help.

None of the exhibitors were set up yet but will be tomorrow. We did look at some trailers that were in display including a New Horizons unit that was very nice. New Horizons are custom made and are very well built, and also VERY heavy. The unit that we looked at weighs about 23,000 pounds and costs a whopping $154,000. A little out of our range. Our truck and trailer don't weigh as much as thhis rig.

After leaving the rally grounds, we stopped off to eat at Fuddruckers before we went to the nightly entertainment at the Balloon Festival grounds. This is where the main group of RV's are parked. we are very glad we made the decision to stay in a full hook-up RV park. The attendees staying in this park only have a generator for electric power, no water and no sewer service. They have a water truck that will come by and fill the water tank on their trailer and then have a suction truck (honey wagon) come by to drain their waste water tanks.

We sat with Tom and Judy, Jim and Sheila Gratz and their friends David and Sue Gondren. They are all staying on the grounds nearby and had come in together and luckily found us. I thought I saw Trula, a lady we had met down at Donna, but I couldn't be sure and I couldn't get close to her.

The entertainer tonight was a group called Lala and the Hubcaps. They play music from the 50's and 60's and all the male members of the band wore wigs like Elvis and were very good and a lot of fun to watch. We enjoyed the group very much.

We lagged behind the large group leaving the park and had no trouble getting out and back onto the freeway to come back to the park.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday April 15, 2009

I went out for a walk about 7AM. I wanted to see if the people in our site have moved out yet. I knew that they are working the rally and are going to the fairground to park for the rally. I did talk briefly to the man in our site, but didn't say anything to him, I could see that he was moving out soon. There were about four rigs that had already pulled out, so I knew it wouldn't be long before a large group pulled out. I did meet two men that were in Bighorn trailers. One of them, David Schimpp, gave me his address in Minnesota but I didn't get the other man's name. They both said they would go onto the Heartland Owners Forum.

Sure enough, Harry and Judy called us and asked us to come drink coffee with them and eat some sweet rolls that Judy had made. WE spent about an hour or so over there with them and noticed that about half the park was leaving. There was a huge traffic jam as they prepared to pull out. As soon as they got out, we went back to our trailer and got things ready to move over into our site. that took about fifteen minutes, so we didn't wast any time in getting moved in. One of the first things I started on was to hook up the electrical cord. As I turned to take the box with the cord in it, I tripped over the concrete apron around the sewer line and fell, scraping most of the skin off the back of my left hand. I take blood thinners, so I bleed a lot. My hand was soon covered with blood and I stopped the hooking up process to care for my hand. We went inside the trailer and washed my hand off and while doing so, Frank and Nancy came over. They saw my hand and immediately helped Stella to take care of my injury. Frank drenched the scrape with hydrogen peroxide and after drying it off, Nancy put a large bandage over it and secured it with some tape.

We finished up the utility hook-up with Stella doing most of the work. She insisted on doing it because she didn't want to take a chance on getting my hand infected. What a gal....!

I did set up our porch, which caused the tape and bandage to come loose. After getting it set up, I came back inside and set up our Internet connection while Stella took a shower. When she got through, I took a shower and cleaned up and we met Harry and Judy and went to the rally site to get our name tags and rally instructions.

The rally site is in a large horse racing facility. We had to park in the outside parking area and had to walk a long way into the registration area. When we got there, there were long lines to get registered. We stood in line for about 20 minutes and when we finally go to the window, the man told us that we needed a card that was only used for people staying onsite. We told him that we hadn't gotten a card and he very rudely told us to go across the room to get the card that we needed. We went across and talked to a very nice lady who took us over to the registration desk. She went to the box where the registration packets are kept and immediately found our information. She brought it back to us and handed us our ID cards and the other packet items. Not a very good way to start the rally. Harry and Judy had a similar problem but they had a little bit more cooperative person that was finally convinced to look for their packet. We finally got through with the process, and very unhappily left. We did go out and bought some tee shirts and a cap for me.

We left the rally and went to get something to eat. We found a good Mexican restaurant where we had a good meal. We stopped off at Walgreen's after that and got more medical supplies for my injury and came home. I started to hurt from the fall and decided that I am going to take some pain medication and go to bed and hope that I am feeling better in the morning.

Not a real good way to start off our rally attendance.

Tuesday April 14, 2009

We slept in this morning in this very nice park. We both went down to the shower house to clean up, so we didn't get away until about 9:30. We made very good time on the road, with little traffic. I blew my horn at the KOA park in Tucumcari that we used to stay at, and stopped for fuel and took 14.8 gallons at $2.149 per gallon to go 119 miles for an 8.04 mpg average.

The good thing about this trip in the diesel truck was that on the long hill climbs, we didn't lose speed and even passed some 18 wheelers. This is quite a difference from my old gas engine truck that would get down to 25-30 miles an hour and be passed by kids on bicycles. Just kidding! :)

This going uphill and fighting a fierce headwind sucks!! We stopped again for fuel at Clines Corner. We took 13.8 gallons at $2.599 to go 115.9 miles for an 8.4 average. Up a little bit but still bad mileage.

We got into the High Desert RV Park in Albuquerque about 2:30. Harry was already here and came out to the freeway to meet us and lead us into the park. It is kind of tricky to find the road the park is on. We had called ahead and learned that there was a foul-up with our reservations and didn't have a site until tomorrow. The lady in the park said we could stay on a dirt road beside the park, along with about five other rigs for the night. We pulled over there and put all the jacks down for stability. Since there was nothing else to hook up, it didn't take long to get done.

Judy had fixed us supper of chicken and dumplings which were very good. We sat with them for awhile in their trailer before I got tired and went home to our trailer. Since we didn't have any electricity, I didn't want to run the battery down in the laptop, so I read for a bit and went to bed. Remember, we're on Mountain time here which is an hour earlier than Texas time, so my watch (Texas time) said 9:15 when it was 8:15 here. We were expecting a cold night, so we added another blanket to the bed, but I couldn't get comfortable, I would wake up hot and kick off the covers, then get cold and cover up again. I got up about 4:15 MST time and read my book on the couch. I went back to sleep and finally got up about 7AM and went for a walk around the park.

So went our first day in New Mexico.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday April 13, 2009

Stella set her alarm for 5 o'clock this morning. We intend to be on the road between 7:30 and 8, so we want to get an early start. I went outside and did everything I could do, leaving only the water and electricity and ate a breakfast croissant. When I finished eating, I went back outside and finished my work. We left the park right at 8 o'clock, a record for us!

We made very good time down I-20 until we got to the junction with Hwy. 287. Almost as soon as we got on the highway, I noticed an 18 wheeler truck that was blowing a lot of smoke, and when we got nearer to him I found that he was also blowing soot and oil out of the exhaust. The nasty oily stuff completely covered the front of the trailer and the windshield of the truck. It was so bad, I couldn't see out, so I turned on the windshield wipers, which immediately made it worse. The oil smeared and made a film over the windshield that was almost impossible to see through. I was able to get a small area on the lower part of the windshield cleared enough for me to see. Thank goodness the truck soon turned off, and we were able to drive pretty slowly in the right hand lane until I could find a service station to pull into in Haslet Texas. I needed fuel anyway, and I used the squeegee and plenty of paper towels to clean off the windshield. I took 18 gallons of diesel at $2.159 per gallon to go 156.7 miles for a 8.7 mpg average.

As soon as I pulled back onto the highway, I found that there were still streaks of oil on the windshield that I couldn't see in the station lot. It was also freezing cold, so I finished up as soon as I could. I soon pulled into a Flying J truck stop. I knew that truck stops have the long handled squeegees that will clean the windshield much better. The windshield wipers were also soaked with oil and I didn't even try to clean the truck or trailer but the windshield was much much better.

We continued on toward Amarillo and still made very good time. We made our second fuel stop in Vernon Tx. and took 16.8 gallons at $2.199 per gallon to go 147.7 miles for a 8.8 mpg average. Again, not very good, but we are bucking a head wind and going uphill toward Amarillo.

We took a stretch break at one of the nice new "safety rest areas" as the state is now calling the roadside rest areas. They are so much nicer than they used to be, and are all, or mostly all, wi-fi hotspots. This makes it very convenient for travelers to stay connected on the Internet while on the road.

We made it into Amarillo and made our final fuel stop at a Flying J. We took 20.4 gallons at $2.159 per gallon to go 164.9 miles for an 8.1 mpg average. This is worse, but at least we're pretty consistent. Today;s overall average is 8.5mpg.

I was sick of looking at this filthy truck and trailer so I found a Blue Beacon Truck wash. It cost me $58.50 to have both the truck and trailer washed and they both look much better. After driving down the highway to the park, I found many small areas that needed scrubbing or wiping, but from a distance they still look much better. I will clean both of them up when we get to Albuquerque.

We were very pleasantly surprised by the Oasis RV Resort. This is a brand new park that is set up beautifully. It has blacktop roads, long pull through sites and full hookups including wi-fi and cable TV. The best parts are the introductory offers of $17 per night for fifth wheels and class C motorhomes and $20 for full size motorhomes and best of all-free laundry service. It's true, the washers and dryers have coin slots that are temporarily disabled while the park builds clientele. This park is a member of the Jewels network of parks, and includes Buckhorn Lake in Kerrville, Tom Sawyer park in W. Memphis Arkansas, RV Ranch in Ft. Worth and Sunset Point in Marble Falls. These are some premier parks, so I believe this park will be outstanding in a short time.

We ate our sandwiches for supper and Stella went down to take advantage of the free laundry. I stayed in the trailer after carrying the clothes down to the laundry for her and watched television and checked emails.

All-in-all it was a very good travel day except for the oil. We made good time all day and took enough breaks that we were not exhausted when we got here. We plan to stop here again on the way back to Dickinson.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday April 12, 2009

I woke about 3AM and got up to check the weather on the computer. I stayed up until about 4:30 and went to sleep in my chair. I didn't wake until about 7:30, much later than I wanted to since we were supposed to be leaving Tyler this morning.

About the time I turned the coffee on, the weather took a turn for the worse. We had been told about the rain that was coming, and it certainly came! It rained very hard, and at times it sounded like light hail. I didn't go out in the rain, since I had been told by the TV announcers that it wouldn't last that long. When the rain hadn't slacked off by 9, we decided to just stay here another night and leave early tomorrow and drive all the way to Amarillo.

Since we were staying, Stella called the office and learned that this wouldn't be a problem, so after taking a shower, I walked down there and talked to Lonnie, who knew Stella from the bank. He and I talked about workkamping, both here and other jobs that are out there. He said he and his wife Pat had thought about selling ads for Woodalls, traveling about six months out of the year to different parks, and making good money. I told him that since we're drawing our Social Security, we can only make so much before it costs us money.

I also had Lonnie fill one of the propane bottles on the trailer. I looked at the long-term forecast for Albuquerque and it will be in the 40's every night, so we'll need the propane to run the furnace. The price for propane here is $24.75 for a 30 pound bottle. they don't partially fill bottles, they simply weigh them and cut off the flow when the weight reaches the limit.

I went back to the trailer and checked on Lonnie's work of putting the propane bottle away and everything was fine. We stayed in the trailer until about 3 when we went to the store for bread and some other essentials. Stella is going to make sandwiches for us to eat on the road and we bought some breakfast biscuits to eat in the morning when we leave.

We came back home and watched television for the rest of the day. I called the Oasis RV Park in Amarillo to make a reservation. They told me that it wasn't necessary because they have plenty of room. The office is open until 8 o'clock and they have a security guard that can show us to an empty spot when we get there.

Stella fixed us some kind of goulash using hamburger meat and veggies that was very tasty. She also made me some sugar-free cookies, so now I have dessert for several days.

I talked to Tyler and Cameron on the telephone and late last night, Kim called her mother. They chatted for a good while before hanging up. Stella actually went to bed before 3AM! She usually dozes in the recliner until I wake her when I wake or her snoring wakes her and she gets up to come to bed.

Our time in Tyler comes to an end.....we'll be back someday.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday April 11, 2009

Well today started out all bad. I woke up at about 3:30AM and got up to find the Internet connection from the park was down. I found the air card and tried to log on, or at least tried to log on. I had to download some new software for the air card but it only took a few minutes to get online. Then about 4, the power went out. It was cold last night, about 47 degrees when I got up, so I just covered up with my blankie and went back to sleep in my recliner.

I stayed in my chair until about 7:30 and went outside to see if I could figure out why the power was out. I had heard a pop when the power went out, so I figured it was something around here. I soon found a transformer breaker tripped, and about the same time, I ran into Pat, the manager of the park. She said that there had been an accident involving a truck that had hit a light pole which caused the outage.

I came back to the trailer and found Stella awake. She got up and grumped around because we couldn't even get any water because the pump was electrically operated. We decided to go out to eat, since our oven is electric. We found a place called Sweet Sue's Restaurant that had a great breakfast buffet. We had a huge breakfast and it didn't cost very much at all, so we made the right decision.

We stopped off at the Wal Mart to buy Ian something for Easter. We got him a little bunny rabbit (very cute) and a couple of other things. On our way back to the park, we decided to stop at Sam's to look at lawn chairs. I have been wanting to buy a couple of director's chairs. We saw them last season for $15.99 and I passed on buying because we had four chairs. One of our chairs broke, so we are down to three, and I want two more and like the director chair design. They had some at Sam's but they are $39.99, so we didn't buy them. We did pick up a pair of denim shorts for me and a pair of denim pants for Stella.

Jennifer, Melissa and Ian arrived about 1:30. Ian is very cute and loves his Pop! He is almost walking and crawls at the speed of .....well he crawls really fast! He is starting to make a lot of little sounds, and in no time at all he will be talking and I'm sure he'll say Pop before anything else. They didn't want to take Ian to the hospital because he can get very loud and doesn't understand the word "No" yet. He is another of my "boys".

We had a very nice visit at our trailer, although Jennifer did park (at my suggestion) in the parking space for the trailer next door. They haven't been there the whole time we have been here, so i thought she would be fine but the lady in the park office came by and asked her to move it.

We decided to go back to Sweet Sue's Restaurant where we had breakfast. They had a lot of down home cooking, fried chicken, chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, green beans etc. the kind of food I love. We had a nice meal and Ian flirted with all the waitresses. I'm telling you, a single guy should hook up with Ian, .he's a chick magnet!

We bid them farewell at the restaurant and went to the hospital to visit Aunt Frat. She didn't look very well tonight, but she was awake. She had a lot of trouble talking and has a lot of congestion in her chest that she can't cough up. One of the nurses came into her room just as we were leaving to give her a breathing treatment. I hope it works because she will come down with pneumonia.

We left her and stopped at the Wal Mart where we got fuel. We took 19.7 gallons to go 329.8 miles for a 16.7 average. About 80 miles of this was pulling the trailer, so the average is still pretty good. We came back to the trailer and I dumped both the blackwater and gray water tanks, just one thing I won't have to do in the morning.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday April 10, 2009

Today was another great weather day here in Tyler. The weather was cool this morning but it was clear and not as windy as it has been. I guess we had better enjoy these cool mornings because summer will be here soon.

We went over to Canton today to check out the Mill Creek RV Resort. Bill went to the First Monday not long ago and raved about the park. We have to agree with him, this is a great park and probably worth the $50 per night fee for the First Monday weekend. They have a shuttle bus that runs every 30 minutes and serve a barbecue supper to their guests on Saturday night. We will definitely come back to this place! We also went back to the Canton RV Park where we used to go with Mike and Patrice. Man, what a dump that place has become. They have torn down an old building that was on site, and there was only one lonely trailer in the park. The place really looks bad, but we met the new owner who promised to improve the place. We'll see....

we ate a huge lunch at the Ranchero restaurant. They bill themselves as having a "World Class" buffet and we have to agree it is a great place to eat and pretty cheap too. We both ate for $16.00or so, not including tax. To have the variety that they offer would cost much more if we tried to duplicate it at home.

We drove on down to the hospital to visit Aunt Frat again. When we got to her room, she was asleep, so we went to sit in the waiting room. I had gotten a call from Thomas that they were leaving to go get something to eat just before we went to eat too. Then we had the drive back to Tyler from Canton, so we were surprised when no one else was at the hospital. Thomas had told me that Frat had a bad night last night, so I figured they had given her something to let her rest. There was a new waiting room on her floor, so we sat in the new chairs, but there was no television and no magazines yet, so we went downstairs to the lobby where we found some magazines to read. We stayed for a little more than an hour and left.

On our way home, we saw a sign for the Tyler State Park and decided to go check it out. It was 9 miles to the park but it seemed to be 20 miles because of the twisting, turning road. We finally got there and a very nice lady camphost let us in for 30 minutes to check on the park. Some of the sites were very nice and right on the lake, but others were too short for our trailer. The park was full to capacity this weekend, so we didn't stay very long.

At the intersection of the park road and the county road we had taken to get to the park, we saw a sign for the Whispering Pines RV park. We knew that this was where our friends Bob and Pat (TX Bobcat) were staying. We drove out to this park and soon found them and went in and had a short visit with them. Their daughter, her boyfriend and her children were visiting them so we didn't stay very long. It was good to see the Bobcat because we don't know when we'll see him again this year. His travels are going other ways from ours.

We returned to the trailer to our dog, who was glad to see us and to allow her to go outside. She was inside since before noon, so she was ready....

Thursday April 9, 2009

We stayed in the trailer this morning but got out in the early afternoon. We decided to go to the local Historical Aviation Memorial Museum which is located at the airport. This was a very interesting museum, with many scale models built out of plastic, wood carved and metal. The docent that led us through, Jerry Jordan, was very knowledgeable and informative about the museum, having been a crew chief on a jet fighter while in the service. He told us that the museum allegedly has more model airplanes than the Smithsonian. I don't know about this claim, but there are plenty of airplanes to look at.

The weather was threatening rain, so he took us out to the outdoor display of eight different airplanes, from small trainers to the largest single engine fighter/bomber in the Air Force inventory. All of the airplanes have had their engines removed when they were turned over to the museum by the originating service, to keep the airplane from ever being flown again. Of course, all of the weapons were removed, but I noticed what appeared to be some barrels sticking out of the gun port on one of the Vietnam-era planes. Jerry said that they had made the "guns" out of PVC that had been painted flat black. They were very realistic and if he had not told me, I would have thought they were the real thing.

While we were at the museum and outside, an Army Blackhawk combat helicopter came in with a problem with the rear propeller. They sat on beside the museum on the tarmac and repaired the prop, and soon took off. Jerry told us that it is very common for aircraft, especially helicopters, on their way overseas to fight in the Middle East, to fly into the Tyler County airport if the weather is bad or if there is a mechanical problem. He explained that the crew flies the craft to Beaumont where the rotors are removed or folded up and then loaded onto a transport ship for transport to the war. He said the crew will fly back to their base, and after about a week, they fly overseas to find their aircraft and put it back together and go off to war.

It is humbling to see these brave young men as they prepare to go off to battle in foreign lands. Although my career in law enforcement had many dangerous moments, they pale in comparison to what these men and women face daily.

We went to the hospital to see Aunt Frat after completing our museum tour. She was much worse today, probably from her medications. We understand that she had a bad night last night, vomiting several times. Today, she slurred her words and seemed lethargic, and later went to sleep while we were there. Burch, Thomas, Misty and Sunny all came by and invited us to Butch's house for supper. We told him that we would be there about 6:00, but got delayed by the bad traffic in Tyler. We got there about 6:20, not too late, but after the time we had said. Butch's wife Cathy greeted us with their other daughter Mandy, who was there with her two sons, along with Thomas and Misty and Sunny. Mandy had fixed a King Ranch Chicken casserole and Cathy had fixed a green salad and a great cherry/pineapple dump cake with Blue Bell. Yummmmmm

We visited with Thomas and Misty for a while and learned that he has 14 years in the Marine Corps and plans to put in his 20 and retire. He has gotten promoted to 2nd Lieutenant and hopes to get promoted again in July to 1st Lt. He said he hopes to make Captain before his retirement. He told me that his plan is to retire and find another career that he can retire from. Misty intends to find a career of her own and they will have three retirements when they finally retire. They are a young couple with good plans made for the future. Thomas said he will have to deploy overseas in a combat zone at least once before he retires, so we wish him well when he does go in harm's way.

Thomas and Misty are very interested in our lifestyle of living in our RV and said they would like to do something similar when they retire. They made plans to come by the trailer tomorrow to see how we live.

We returned to the trailer and had another good night.

Wednesday April 8, 2009

Today was our travel day. I didn't go to the rally hall but drank my coffee in the trailer. I ate a bowl of grits for my breakfast and went outside and began getting things packed up and ready to go.

We got away from the park about 10:15AM. Since we had gotten fuel last night, all we had to do was hit the road. We made very good time on the road and decided to follow the GPS (Gertrude) route to Tyler. Well, we adjusted the route a little bit, but still pretty much went with her way to get to Tyler. We only stopped once for fuel in Palestine. We got 13.4 gallons at $2159 per gallon to go 141.3 miles for an average of 10.5 miles per gallon. Not too bad considering we are carrying our house with us!

We got to the park in Tyler about 2:30 and got all set up without problems. I came inside and immediately was grateful that we had the second air conditioner because it was already pretty cool inside. I sat down in my recliner and immediately went sound asleep. I woke about 5 and took a shower and got cleaned up to go see Aunt Frat. I spoke with Janie and learned that she is in the UT Hospital on the north side of Tyler. We got to the hospital about 7 and had a nice visit with Frat. Butch's daughter Misty and her husband and daughter got there about the time we left. Frat's color looks good and her mind seemed to be as sharp as ever. She said that they have run lots of tests and can't figure out whats wrong with her. I don't know whether she is in denial or really doesn't know what her problem is.

We stopped off at a restaurant near the hospital, Vaughn's Catfish. We got plenty of food to eat, and it was delicious. I had the shrimp/oyster dinner and Stella had the all you can eat assortment which gave her some catfish fillets with the shrimp and oysters. We took enough for another meal for both of us in a doggie box. I was able to get the box because Stella couldn't get one with the all you can eat dinner.

we got back home about 9:30 and watched some television. There are so many channels on the park cable, it took me over an hour to eliminate the channels we don't want. This is a nice park for a short stay. There are lots of long-term people in the park. There was one Bighorn, one Landmark and one Sundance in the park. If I get a chance, I'll try to talk to them before we leave.

Tuesday April 7, 2009

Today I woke and made a small pot of coffee in the rally hall. Only Bob came down, but Tom came by and had one cup. He didn't want to drink too much because he was leaving and didn't want to make any more stops than he had to. I walked down to his trailer and helped him a little bit in getting ready to leave. They pulled out about 8:30.

Stella and I had lots of errands to run today, we had to drop off some items at our storage, had to go to the Amegy bank to cash a check, dropped off some clothes at the Goodwill collection box at the old Wal Mart store location, get fuel and get something to eat. We got everything done, and got our fuel at the Kroger store, which, with the Kroger card discount, had the lowest prices in the area. We got 13.2 gallons at $2.069 per gallon to go 227 miles for a 17.2 average. This is not too bad considering it is mostly stop and go around-town driving. While out, I got a telephone call from the #1 RV Park in Tyler asking if we were coming in today. I told the lady that we would be in tomorrow, but later realized that I had made a mistake and that we should have left today and stayed in Tyler until Sunday when we will leave for Amarillo on our way to Albuquerque. Oh well.....

We ate at the Sweet Tomato restaurant, one of my favorites. We returned to the trailer and started making preparations to leave tomorrow for Tyler.

Monday April 6, 2009

I woke this morning and made coffee for the guys in the rally hall. Only a few came down, Bob, Bobcat, Tom, Bill and me. We had a nice chat and plans were exchanged about routes to various locations. Bob is from Ontario Canada and said it will take him about a month to get home. He must arrive by a certain date in order to maintain his insurance.

Most of the remaining Heartland owners left today, but again it was nice to be able to just sit back and watch. Bill and Ornell had to leave because she has to get back to work. Ray and Lin left a pair of sunglasses on the picnic table, but after I sent Ray an email to tell him that I had the glasses, he told me that he had found them on the electric box on his site and that they didn't belong to him. I later threw them away.

Terry and Carol had asked me where I got the bad fuel and I told him of the Chevron station on Rayford. He said that he had gotten fuel there today but emailed me later and told me that he had gotten to New Orleans without a problem, so he figures he is okay with their fuel now.

We went to supper with Tom and Judy at the Hooters restaurant nearby. We took Judy to the Hooters in McAllen and she loved it. We came back to the trailers and went inside to watch TV and soon to bed.

Today pretty much ended the Heartland rally, and the best one so far.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sunday April 5, 2009

Today was the day we all dreaded. The last day of the rally and the day that most had to go back home. Two rigs pulled out very early, one even before I got up and the other about 7:30. I made coffee in the Lone Star room for the guys that came down, and we had another nice visit.

One by one, many of our friends left to go back home. Thirteen rigs stayed behind, so we still had a good representation in the park. I took a good nap in the afternoon and Stella fixed us some grilled ham sandwiches for supper. Everyone had so mucch food last night at the potluck dinner, none of us were very hungry.

We had our last campfire tonight, and I used up most of my firewood. That firewood has lasted a long time, it came to me from Ricky when they moved out of the park to move into their new home. I didn't use it for several days so I gave it to Harry to use. We were still under a burn ban and he was going to Dickinson for a few days and I thought he might want to use it. He returned to Rayford for my retirement rally and gave it back to me for the Heartland rally, so we used it up.

Til next time...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Saturday April 4, 2009

I woke very early this morning to go over to meet Gene Roblyer, the chef from Camping World. When I got to the rally hall, I put coffee on in both the Lone Star room for the early-morning coffee drinkers and in the Rayford room for the breakfast. It was a good thing I made two full pots because they both ran out and I had to make a second pot in the small pot.

Gene's breakfast was very good and everyone left full. We all went back to our trailers for awhile and returned at 10:30 for a Camping World seminar on parts and service by Joseph Govea, Manager of retail sales at the Katy store. Joseph introduced the new service manager at the store. I spoke with him briefly but didn't get his card or his name.

Dean, the technician from Camping World came out and ate breakfast with us before he started working. He stayed busy all day and took care of most of the problems that were given to him. He didn't work on my two main problems, a squeak in one of the inside stairs and a toilet that won't hold water. He didn't have the parts needed to do the toilet and didn't have time to do the squeaking step. Like last year at the October rally, he stayed in the park until after 10, getting the work done.

Jim B and I went shopping for give-away items after the potluck dinner. We went to Lone Star RV and bought several items and then to Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy kitchen and bath items. We spend well over $300 on the various items and Lone Star gave us two nice recliners to give away. Camping World also brought several items to give away, and EVDO Alex from the 3-G store sent a very nice Cradlepoint 1000 router to give away to some lucky person.

When we came back, I went to the trailer because I was tired from getting up so early this morning. I sat down but didn't get a nap because of all the activity in the park. I finally went back outside and hung out with some of my friends.

We had so much food, I couldn't believe it on the tables. We almost ran out of room on the serving tables, but we got it all out and everyone had plenty to eat. The door prize raffle went very well too. I used two decks of cards to draw the matching numbers. The drawing was fun and Ray LeTourneau won the new router.

We had another campfire at my trailer, so everyone went home tired but having had a very good day.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday April 3, 2009

I overslept this morning and Bobcat beat me down to the rally hall for coffee. We had another good group, with Bobcat, Bob from Canada, Bill, Jim B and later Larry all having coffee.

Thursday, I told Jim about Bill and I going over to the KOA in Montgomery on Monday and seeing the Mor Ride truck and display trailer at the Carriage rally that was going on there. Jim knew Gary Wheeler, the Mor Ride representative and called his cell phone. He invited him over to Rayford to give a short seminar on the Mor Ride suspensions and brake parts. Gary (Mor Ride) arrived about 8 o'clock. There was no one in the office yet, so he drank some coffee with us while waiting. It's good that he came as there are a few people that may want to talk to him about his products. He is going to put on a small seminar this afternoon and will be available all day for questions.

Stella and Judy went to get their hair cut and to the grocery store. Jimmy, the wash man, came and started on Jim's trailer. I told him to wash mine too, as well as Tom, Jim G. and Bill's trailer so we could get a reduced price of $85. He did a pretty good job on mine, but I really think I got just as good a job in Donna and had the trailer waxed too for an additional $25. Jimmy told me that the wax that was on the trailer wasn't very good, but of course, this is coming from a guy that's trying to sell me a wax job for $200.....

We watched as about 20 rigs pulled in and got set up all afternoon. I went around introducing myself to everyone as they arrived, and gave them a rundown of what was going on during the weekend. I met Gene Roblyer, the cook for tomorrow's breakfast. I agreed to meet him between 5:30 and 6 in the morning for him to start breakfast.

Gary Wheeler put on his seminar, which was very interesting and several people talked to him afterwards. Bobcat did schedule to have the independent suspension and disc brakes installed at the factory some time in May. Ray LeTourneau wanted Bob's old axles to be put on his trailer and they scheduled that work too.

The group split up to go eat tonight. We went to the Crabby Daddy's restaurant with Jim and Nancy and Gary Wheeler. We had a very nice meal but were a little late in coming back to the park for the round table discussion. When we got back, we had a nice discussion about problems and issues on various Heartland products.

After the round table was over, we returned to our trailers and I set up another campfire in my fire pit. About 20 people came by and sat outside with us until about 11 o'clock. It was a very nice ending to the first night of our rally.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday April 2, 2009

I woke this morning to rain and gusty winds. It was pretty nasty out, with temperatures in the low 50's but I made it to the Lone Star room and made coffee for everyone. Me, Bill, Bobcat, Tom and later Jim sat around chatting and enjoying our coffee. We all went back to our rigs for breakfast. I had a bowl of cereal and learned that Jim had fixed eggs and bacon for Tom and Bill. I guess my phone was broken because I didn't get a call to come eat.....

I had been exchanging emails with Joseph Govea from Camping World about donating door prizes for the rally. We finally decided that we would just buy some items and let CW furnish whatever they want to donate. Jim and went shopping at Lone Star RV, a new dealer for Heartland and picked up some small items. they donated two nice recliners for the rally. We went to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up some kitchen and bathroom items. We ended up spending over $250.00 on door prizes.

We came back to the park and watched others arriving throughout the day. There were 9 scheduled arrivals today and they all made it. Jim B had spoken with his friend Gary Wheeler from Mor Ride Technology who is in the area for a Carriage rally. Gary wanted to come to our rally and we were able to go to the office and find him a space, the last one in the park.

We just hung out with our friends all afternoon, and decided to go eat some barbecue at the Pitmasters Barbecue. I called ahead and told them about 20 people would be coming to eat with them, and sure enough, 19 of us showed up.

We passed Tom and Marti as they were arriving. I invited them to go eat with us, but they didn't show up. When we got back to the park, I learned that a motorhome was parked in their site, so they had to wait until it left to set up and by then it was too late to come eat with us.

We had another nice fire in my fire pit. A good group came over and sat around and visited. I was tired, but stayed at the fire until Bill went in and then I went in. I was determined that he was not going to stay up later than I did.

It was a really good ending to the night. The rally starts tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday April 1, 2009

I woke this morning and went to the rally hall to make coffee. Bill was already down there but had not started the coffee. Other soon started to arrive, Jim, Bob and the Bobcat. We all said goodbye to Jim and he left to go get ready to leave for home today. I had seen Mack from Indiana leaving this morning while I was walking to the rally hall.

Tom and Judy arrived from Matagorda and got set up quickly. It was good to see them again, after we left Donna last month.

Ricky came by to visit for awhile, taking a break from painting the interior of his new house. Bill had gone back to Port Arthur to pick up Ornell. She had taken off this afternoon and all day tomorrow and Friday.

People from the Heartland club should start arriving today, so the party begins. Berry and Janet Sanders arrived in their Sundance trailer. I helped him get set up because he had open heart surgery in January. Around three o'clock, we saw three Heartlands coming into the park, two Landmarks and one Bighorn. Jim Beletti was in one of the Landmarks. Martin and Heather Pope, from Canada were in the other Landmark and Larry and JoAnn McCullen were in the Bighorn. The Popes and McCullens were both in the valley and are heading back to their summer location.

We sat beside my trailer and watched Jim get set up. Once he got set up, we sat around talking and decided to go eat at the Casa Imperial mexican restaurant. We all had a good time and had plenty to eat.

We returned to the park and I set up my fire pit for a small campfire tonight. It was very nice sitting around outside, the temperature was cool but it was damp. We sat outside visiting until about 10 when everyone started going home. Stella and Ornell sat out by the dying fire until about 11 o'clock.

Til next time.....