Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday October 29, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We woke to rain that lasted all day long. I managed to miss enough of the raindrops to get to the rally hall for coffee with Jim. The rest of the coffee drinkers will be in this weekend and next week, so we'll have lots of company soon.

As I said it rained all day long. It rained hard, it rained softly and it only stopped for a few minutes at a time. We had no flooding here in the park except the usual toward site #84 where Tommy is staying. That is where the drains were placed but they cause water to back up in the area. It runs off quickly but makes it hard to walk down the road with 4-6 inches of water across the road.

I met a man named Jerry who is staying here in the park. His son lives in Houston but is being treated for a brain tumor and is not doing well. He took a fall last week and broke his arm and had a nasty cut on his head. Jerry is very worried about him, and I offered to help him in any way I can. It makes me feel so bad with several of my friends, both here in this park and of course Judy and Jim who were with us for the Heartland rally but moved to Lakeview to be closer to the medical center for their cancers. I wish there were more that I can do.

Although the rain kept us inside most of the day, in a way it was nice to stay inside and hear the rain on the roof. I can tell you that it makes for good sleeping....

Tommy invited us over to eat soup tonight. Stella fixed some cornbread to go with it and we had a very nice meal with our friends Tommy and Susan. Susan works in the Woodlands and has said many times how nice it is to be much nearer to work. I again suggested that they just stay here instead of going back to Deer Park, but they plan to leave on Sunday.

We came home after awhile and watched a little television. About 9:30, our friend Christina came knocking and said that they smelled smoke inside their trailer. I immediately went over and found Bob outside opening the storage looking for the fire. We soon found some electrical wires that had melted near the battery, so he turned the battery isolator off, stopping current from going into the batteries. This took care of the problem for the moment but it will have to be investigated more in the morning when it is light. Nothing seemed to be damaged, so Bob will check it more tomorrow. A little excitement for the night.

So long.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wednesday October 28, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today was another stay in the park day for us. We had missed Johnny, the technician from Northwest RV who had come by on Tuesday to replace the bad circuit board in our refrigerator. It seems to be working now, but occasionally goes into error mode, so it needs to be changed out.

When we went to the house the other day, I got a couple of bottles of cleaner that we had accumulated over the years and had not used. One of them, something called Advanage, claims to be a superior product for removing stains and grease. I remember that it was expensive but I bought it anyway from one of those door-to-door salesmen because of his demonstration on some grease stains on the driveway. Of course, those stains had to have come from somone else's car because ours have never leaked in the driveway.......not!

Tommy fixed a luncheon for some of the men here in the park. Me, Billy, Jim, Ricky, and Les all came to Tommy's place to eat beef tips and mashed potatoes. It was a great meal with some really good friends. We stayed down at his place until Ricky had to go back to work (nasty four letter word). I came back home and took a nap and played on the computer.

Stella and I went back down to Tommy's about the time Susan got home and we all decided to go eat a sandwich at Schlotsky's on Sawdust. They make a very good grilled sandwich and we had a good time with our friends. It had started to rain again, so we didn't sit out tonight but came inside and watched some television.

So long.

Tuesday October 27, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today Stella needed to go down to Clear lake to see her clients, so after finishing my coffee we left. We made a quick trip down the freeway and got to Dr. Merritt's clinic in Webster about 10. We then went to the Mainland Center Hospital about 11:30. I stayed in the truck while Stella went to see her clients and read a book. I like doing that because I don't get to read all that much in the trailer.

When we got through at the hospital, we went back to Dickinson to go by the old house. Along the way, I found some diesel at a cheaper price (2.539), so I stopped and filled up the small tank. I took 22 gallons to go 373.3 miles for a 16.9 average. This is still not up to the old mileage, but still better than most gasoline engines.

We went by the house and picked up our mail and a few other items and came back to the park. We had been invited over to Bob and Christina's friends Jerry and Joanne's house for supper of hamburgers. Joanne made a cranberry salad which looked like a red cole slaw to me, but it was very good. Perhaps my cook (Stella) will get the recipe and make it for us?

We stayed inside and chatted with them for awhile before coming back home. Another peaceful night at Rayford Crossing.

I should mention here that I got an email invitation to something called Desktop Dating that apparently got into my email addresses and sent out email invitations in my name to everyone in my book. I am very sorry for this mistake and can only tell anyone that got one of these from me to discard it as it is spam. I haven't done any dating in a long time because my wife doesn't like it when I go out on Friday or Saturday nights. Especially when I leave her at home to cook and clean while I'm out "dating". Women are funny that way.

So long.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday October 26, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I began the day with coffee as usual in the rally hall. It rained all night and day long and the weather guessers on TV advised everyone to stay at home if at all possible, so instead of going down to see Stella's clients, we stayed here.

I went over to talk to Bob and Christina and while there, our friend Ted Rogers dropped by to say hello. He and Donna had just gotten back from a trip to Europe, documented in their blog here. They just returned from a long trip around the country, ending in Idaho at Yellowstone National Park before leaving for Europe, so they are officially our world traveling friends.

After Ted left, Rick and Brenda came by. They had stopped off here after arriving at Timber Ridge and finding their site occupied, so they came over here. They had just gotten in from their long trip of the summer and were here to work camp at Timber Ridge. They had traveled most of the way with Ted and Donna. Donna had acted as their "tour guide" for the trip, which we would have made with them if the house had sold as planned.

It was a nice day to visit with them all and we hung out here at the park until supper time when Tommy and Susan asked to go eat with them. We decided on mexican food and tried out El Palenque restaurant. Tommy and Susan had eaten there before but we had not. It was some of the better mexican food that we had gotten and we will go back.

It was too wet to sit out tonight, so we all went home and relaxed.

So long.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sunday October 25, 2009-Rayford Crossing

No coffee this morning because many of the drinkers go to church on
Sunday morning. I stayed at home and drank my coffee here. Stella made us breakfast here,.

Bob and Christina are going to the Texan's football game this morning and stopped by to ask if we would take their dog Mackie for his walk today. Of course we agreed to, so they are set to go. They said they are going to tail gate but it seems to me that their Smart Car is waaay to small to tail gate in. I also believe they should only have to pay half price for their parking because they could park two of them in one space. Bob is a huge 49'er fan, so it was a major thrill for him to get to go to Reliant stadium.

Bob and Christina's rig is a sight to see! They pull their 39' Classic Landmark trailer with "Big Mama", a 2001 Volvo tractor. Their truck is a retired over-the-road rig that has had one set of dual axles removed from the rear with a ramp installed between the cab and the trailer hitch for their Smart Car, which they use to drive around when they arrive and get set up in their site. Bob recently added a swivel-wheel trailer on the rear of the trailer to carry his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Bob has a Man's Man truck , pulling a big trailer and carrying Christina's car with Bob's motorcycle on the back. What a rig!

We stayed here in the park and went down to Tommy's motorhome to watch the football games on his outside TV set. The weather started out good, with sunny skies, but it soon became cloudy. There wasn't as much of a glare on the TV screen with the clouds, but it just wasn't as nice outside. Stella and Susan fixed us some snack of cheese dip and taco meat for nachos for our half-time lunch.

There was a group from the park going to a local restaurant for supper and a wine tasting. The restaurant had a special supper deal of five wines with a five course dinner for $35.00 per person. Since we don't drink that much wine, the four of us (Tommy, Susan, Stella and I) decided not to go but to stay here and figure out something to eat here. We later decided to go get some hamburgers at the Whataburger. We all think that they make the best hamburgers, so we all got a good meal. We came back to the park and sat out at their motorhome. Tommy gave us some more of his flavored coffee and we had some Blue Bell for dessert. Another nice day and night gone by.

So long.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday October 24, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today I went down and made the coffee, thinking that some more would come down, but only Jim and Frank came. Frank had been barbecuing all night long and brought in the brisket that he had done. It sure made me hungry, smelling all that meat....

We ate in the trailer this morning and just piddled around. I went for a short walk but kept running into folks that wanted to chat, so I didn't get as much walking in as I did chatting.

We went down to see Tom and Judy and Jim and Sheila this afternoon. Jim and Judy are undergoing treatment for cancer at MD Anderson. Judy hasn't gotten any treatment yet but will start on Tuesday when they do a biopsy to plan the attack on her cancer. Jim has started his treatment three days ago and said he feels poorly. We sat out at Tom's trailer and had a very nice visit. Jim told us some stories from his career as a Houston Police officer. He worked in the video-taping unit and had many stories to tell us of taking photos and videos of notables and radical groups.

We decided to get something to eat, so we took everyone to Cafe Adobe on Westheimer. Jim decided not to go since he has started his treatment, so he is more susceptible to infection and doesn't want to be around a lot of people and risk catching something. Everyone had a great meal and we enjoyed the company.

As we drove around Houston, both going down and coming back, I was able to show Bob and Christina some points of interest. We made plans to go for a drive next week so that they can sightsee and I will drive them around.

We came back to the park about 8:00 and found that there was a big party going on at Jerry and Diane's site. In fact, they had shut down a part of the road so that everyone could sit on the concrete and stay off the soft grass. We went by and found that another couple, Bob and Peg, had just arrived. They are also winter Texans, so it was good to see them again. I came back home about 9:30 and Stella followed shortly after. I was tired from driving and not having much of a nap this afternoon LOL. It was a very nice day.

So long.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Friday October 23, 2009-Rayford Crossing

This morning I got up to go down to the Lone Star room to make the coffee but when I got to the restroom area, I noticed a man standing in the pavilion next to the barbecue smoker, which had smoke coming out of the stack. I didn't know why someone would be out at 6:30 in the morning, cooking barbecue, so I walked over toward him. Just as I did, I saw another figure coming out of the darkness toward the man. It turned out to be my friend Frank, who then introduced me to his son Donald, who was cooking briskets this morning. Frank said it was for the park, so that they would have some meat that was cooked for upcoming meetings. I left them to go put the coffee on, but realized that I had left my key at home. I went and got it and returned to make the coffee.

Later in the morning, I went for a walk with Nancy, Frank's wife. The weather is spectacular today with cool temperatures in the morning and about 70 degree days with no clouds in the sky. This is Chamber of Commerce weather if there ever was.

Billy and Gwen came by the trailer this afternoon with my new Committee Member sign. I volunteered to be a member of the committee that plans some of the activities for the Winter Texans in the park. Billy and Gwen have graciously given the committee $400 as seed money for our activities again this year. Last year's committee raised enough money to pay for a very nice meal for the group. I'm sure that we'll do just fine this year.

Dee contacted us to invite us to go out to eat with she and Ricky tonight to celebrate his birthday. We went with Tommy and Susan and met Jerry and Diane at Hyden's Restaurant in Conroe to help celebrate. Ricky's Big 50 birthday. It was a total surprise to him to see all of us in the room waiting for them. Great fun......

We came back to the park and sat outside at Tommy's site at a campfire. I had brought my firepit down to Tommy's this afternoon in preparation for this, and we all had a very nice time, sitting out and visiting.

So long.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Thursday October 22, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I woke about 3 o'clock this morning because of the heavy rain. It had been raining lightly when I went to bed, but the rain had gotten much harder during the night. It rained and rained, so about 5, I went back to sleep in my chair. I decided not to go down to have coffee because of the rain, which turned out to be the right decision, because I later learned that Jim was the only one that went down this morning.

We just stayed inside this morning and I got caught up on my Facebook pages. I have been adding many friends on Facebook in the last few days, so this was a good time to take care of this. Since I get an email every time I add a friend, I have been getting lots of mail.

Tommy and Susan arrived in the middle of the afternoon. I went down to see them but when they didn't need any help in setting up, I came back home and took my afternoon nap, typical day in my life......

Stella and I went for a walk late in the afternoon and stopped off at Tommy and Susan's motorhome. We sat outside with them for awhile and Gwen, Billy and Nick stopped by. We had a nice visit with them and made some recommendations to Nick about the kind of car he should get when he gets his drivers license in about five months. Gwen wants him to have a truck, but Tommy and I recommended a Corvette. How cool would that be? To be 16 years old with a Corvette?? Somehow I don't think Gwen is going to go along with our idea.

We went back home about 7:30 when it started getting cool outside. After the rain, the weather has been spectacular.

So long.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wednesday October 21, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I got up for coffee again this morning. Others soon arrived and we had good conversations, avoiding religion and especially politics. In the past, there have been some political discussions with some of the people getting upset, so now we try to avoid talk about the crooks that are in office.

I came back home and ate some cheese and crackers for my breakfast. Stella worked on some of her client's accounts and stayed busy. We went to Wal Mart for our grocery shopping. While going, we stopped off at the Big Lots store to look around but didn't find anything to buy. We stopped off at the bank and deposited some money I had gotten after I sold one of my pistols to Bob and he paid me in cash. I would like to sell some other guns but haven't found a buyer yet.

It began to rain while we were in the store, so we came back home and watched the rain. Heavy squalls continued all afternoon, so we didn't get out again. There are some low areas in the park where water stands, so we were quite content to stay inside, warm and dry.

Awhile later, our friend Christina came over to make plans for the next few days. We decided to go out to eat on Friday night and to go visit Tom and Judy and Jim and Sheila at the Lakeview RV park near the medical center.

We watched television all evening and I worked on my Facebook account. I'm not sure how many friends I have now, but there's a bunch. I have been blessed all my life to have so many friends and it is fun to catch up with them again using FB.

So long.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday October 20, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I guess you can call me the coffee-meister since I have made the coffee every morning since we came back. I am usually up anyway and I like meeting the other guys in the morning.

I cleaned the truck up this morning. It was filthy from the trip and the mud around the repair shop, which is at a private residence. I guess the good thing about having a light film of oil and diesel fuel on the truck was that water just rolls off. It cleaned up pretty well, but will take some time for the oil to wear off. I used Dawn soap to wash it but it didn't cut through the grease like I thought it would.

Bob and Christina rode down to Galveston today with their friends. They asked us to keep an eye on their trailer and to take their dog Mackey for a walk in the afternoon. Stella took him before she took Cassie out for her afternoon walk.

I received an email from Jim Fenner at Heartland about the repairs to the trailer. He said that they will take care of me in Elkhart but since they are booked up until November, we can wait until spring to bring it in to have the repairs made. I told him that we will being it in after the April rally and he assured me that he doesn't think any further damage will occur by letting it go.

Our old friends Jerry and Diane from Canada arrived this afternoon. I went over after they had gotten set up and visited with them. Our refrigerator tech, Johnny was also there and I gave him his service manual back. He had left it on the picnic table behind the trailer and the owner of the motorhome that was parked there had brought it over to me to keep.

I sent an email to the Surge Guard company about our electrical protector. The wire bundle is pulling away from the protector box. I will have to see what their warranty is.

We stayed in tonight and watched television. It is so nice to be able to watch local television. When we were in Colorado there was no local television reception and we only got partial service on the Dish so it is nice to be able to watch NCIS and the other shows that we have missed. Not to mention being able to watch football.

So long.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Monday October 19, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Since most of the Heartlanders had left, there weren't many people at the coffee this morning, only two of us.

Bobcat was soon ready to leave and right behind him was Jerry and Diane. We visited with both of them before they left, but both were gone by the noon check out time. That leaves only us and Bob and Christina.

We stayed around the trailer most of the day but there was a winter Texan meeting this afternoon at 4. I invited Bob to go with us and he accepted. We heard about many of the plans that are in place for the rest of the year. I was elected to the committee that meets to decide other activities for the year. When we didn't think we were going to stay here that long, I notified Gwen and they found a tentative replacement for me. We have changed our mind and are planning to stay here until the middle of December, so I can still serve on the committee. I just hope Bob was impressed with the events coming up here at Rayford.

We all brought snacky foods, so we had something to eat before we left. It was good to see some of our old friends with many others on their way here to the park.

So long.

Sunday October 18, 2009-Heartland rally, Rayford

Today is the final day of the rally. Most of the people will be going back home or to another park. A few of us met in the rally hall before the exodus began. We had one couple in a Cyclone toyhauler that had come in and immediately told us that he had a post on the Heartland Owner's forum that had been removed because he had been very critical of his trailer and some problems he had. They had not participated in any of our activities or meals, and they left early this morning. I stepped out of the rally hall to tell them goodbye, but he sped off without stopping. He rolled his window down as if to say something to me, but he never stopped. At least I tried to be nice to him.....

One by one, our friends began to leave. I got around to most of them to have a last visit. I missed spending a lot of time with Tom and Judy or Jim and Sheila but they are just going to another park in Houston that is near the medical center. Both Jim and Judy have recently been diagnosed with cancer, Jim in his esophagus and Judy in her bladder. They will begin their treatment next week so they can beat this disease.

Almost everyone got on the road by noon, which is the normal checkout time. Charles and Ruth had gone to church and were leaving later, but Bobcat and Pat and Jerry and Diane are leaving tomorrow. Bob and Christina are going to be here at the park for a month.

After everyone left, I hooked up the truck to the trailer to demonstrate the damage and to take photos. I emailed the photos to Heartland and Camping World and copied Jim Beletti to keep him abreast of what was going on.

It was a tiring day to visit with and see our friends leaving but we are pretty used to it. We have always found it interesting to see everyone loading up and leaving and we get to stay here.

So long.

Saturday October 17, 2009-Heartland rally, Rayford

We got up this morning to much cooler temperatures and met several of the guys at the rally hall. Berry had volunteered to make biscuits and gravy for everyone, so we all watched him cooking. I made plenty of coffee for the group, and we all had a nice meal. It was really good of Berry to fix breakfast for everyone.

We all went back to our trailers and hung out until about 12:30 when we met at the rally hall for a roundtable discussion of our trailers. Several of the new owners asked questions but no real issues came out of the discussion. In the past, many people had complained about factory issues, but since we had no one from the factory here, no real complaints came up.

We all met at the rally hall for a potluck dinner. As usual, it was delicious. We had waaay more food than we needed and no one went away hungry. We went over to Bill's trailer since it had turned cooler and sat around the campfire. We sat outside until after 10 when people started turning in. Unfortunately, almost everyone is leaving tomorrow. It was a very nice ending to our rally.

So long.

Friday October 16, 2009, Heartland rally-Rayford

We began the day with coffee in the rally hall but Bobcat had already planned to fix breakfast burritos for everyone. He brought all of his makings to the Rayford room and made delicious burritos for anyone that came down for breakfast.

We watched the last of the attendees arriving during the day. coming in were Tom and Marti Mangum, Billy Holt and his family and their friend Don McGee in SOB (some other brand) along with his family, and Bill's son Tommy along with his wife and son.

Tom and I took his truck to Planet Ford to have the fuel filters changed out. He has about 17000 miles on it and it was time to get it done. Tom and I browsed around the lot looking at trucks but didn't find anything we couldn't live without. The bad thing was the price the dealer charges for the filter change, $182.00! This seems outrageous to me, since I know the filter can be bought for about $80. Like the GM dealer charged me, there was a $27 charge for "environmental and clean up parts". They charge for disposal of the used fuel filter and the shop towels that are used by the mechanic. Ridiculous!!

Johnny from Northwest RV had come back to look at the refrigerator again. He found some corrosion on one of the circuit boards in the refrigerator. He said he would call Dometic on Monday to order the part and that it will take a few days to come in. The refrigerator is still running and holding about 36 degrees, so all is well, at least for now.

We came back to the park and almost everyone decided that we would order pizzas for supper. I called my friend Don at Donnelly's Pizza on Rayford Rd. and he discounted the prices for us, so we placed our order with them. We had a nice meal and after, a group of us decided to use the karaoke machine in the rally room. Me, Jim Gratz, Ken and Kathy Adams and Bob and Sue sang songs and acted silly until we all sang everything we knew and then went over to Bill's trailer, where most of the gathering had gone on all week, to hang out with the rest of the group that was still awake. I didn't stay too long because I was tired, and came on home.

I later learned that Bill and Ornell and Dee had gone into the hot tub later but were soon asked to get out by the park's new security guard. There has been trouble with outsiders using the hot tub and pool, so now they lock them up at night at 11:30 on the weekends. There was no problem with them being asked to leave because he is just doing his job.

The rally is off to a good start.

So long.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Thursday October 15, 2009-Heartland rally, Rayford

Today more of our Heartland friends are scheduled to arrive. We met some of the new folks coming to their first rally, Buddy and Maureen Riddle, Jaime Gallegos and his family, Charlie and Peggy Harris, Charles Bland and Ruth Fauss and old friends from previous rallies, Jim Glasgow, Joe Grundmeyer, and Dick Savoie.

Stella and some of the other girls went to Hobby Lobby and some other stores to shop while us guys stayed in the park and napped or hung out. It was nice to just relax and spend time with our friends.

When they got back, we decided to grill our supper on the propane grill at his site. We all had a nice meal and sat around visiting after our meal. It was still very hot so we didn't have a campfire.

Today was the first day of the rally, but the rest of the folks will be here tomorrow. I took a count of the rigs in the park and there were 17 here tonight.

So long.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wednesday October 14, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Another day began with the coffee drinkers at the rally hall. We hung out in the rally hall until almost 9 o'clock before we came back to our trailers. We all had breakfast at our homes. We didn't do too much all day except that I rode with Tom to get his truck serviced. While at Planet Ford we looked at trucks-what else would two guys do at a car dealer?

We came back to the park and later Tom and Judy and Bob and Christina and Stella and I all went to Hooters for our supper. It was a very quiet day, but we still enjoyed it.

So long.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tuesday October 13, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We had the usual group for coffee this morning. Its a great way to greet the new day and I'm up anyway, so why not go down and make coffee?

I'm having trouble getting my network enabled to be able to access the internet without using the park wifi. I don't know what I've done wrong, but I'll get it figured out and be my own "hot spot" soon.

Jim and Sheila and their friends from Louisiana David and Susan arrived this afternoon, as well as Jerry and Diane. This brings us to nine that are here early for our rally. Most of the group went to have mexican food at the Casa Imperial, and we all had a very nice meal. We came back to the park and sat outside at Bill's trailer. Another nice night with friends.

So long.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monday October 12, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Today began with coffee again. Our little group will get bigger and bigger as the winter Texans arrive. Of course, many of the Heartland owners will be with us this week, so we should have a better turnout then.

I came back home and we took our truck over to Jake to have the repairs made on it. We dropped it off and went to to Cracker Barrel in Conroe to eat breakfast. We went by the Park on the Lake RV park and Omega Farms to check out the RV parks for future reference. Neither one looked all that nice, so we came back to the park.

I came inside to take a short nap and when I went back out, I found that our friends Bob and Christina had gotten here and had already set up and Tom and Judy had just arrived. It was good to see our very good friend had arrived. I offered to help Tom set up but he said he didn't need any help. Bill and Ornell were moving from their site into one of the premium sites up front, so I helped them get moved. After resetting the Dish, Bill couldn't get it locked in, but he changed some of the settings and finally got it all locked in.

The power went out in the park this evening, but we all just turned the breakers off while we went to eat, so nothing would come on unexpectedly until we returned. We don't know what our refrigerator will do when the power comes back on, but we brought our little fridge back from the house as a back-up. We hope we don't need it but have it just in case.

We all decided to go eat at Pitmaster Barbecue tonight. None of today's arrivals had much to eat, so we all piled into trucks and cars and had a very nice barbecue meal. We came back to the park while some went to the grocery store. We sat out at Bill's watching the Monday Night Football game for a little while. We turned in pretty early tonight but the fun will resume tomorrow.

So long.

Sunday October 11, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We began the morning with coffee in the rally hall. I'm sure that this will be the norm every morning until we leave. We added John, another long-term resident of the park, to our group. Again we solved many of the nation's problems this morning before we adjourned and returned to our homes.

Bill and I set up my Dish this morning. Sunday is one of my favorite days for television with a group of car shows in the morning and football in the afternoon. I had been able to watch the car shows while we were in Colorado but had not been able to watch football.

I had just begun to watch the football game when the phone rang with Dee calling to invite us to their house to watch the game and eat supper. She had fixed some bean and sausage soup, so we got our stuff together and rode over with Bill and Ornell. We had a very nice meal and watched Dallas win and Houston lose a heartbreaker. We were all full when we got back home, so we didn't sit outside tonight.

Stella talked to Kim this afternoon and learned that they had gone to Lisa's house in Blessing for Savanna's birthday party. Cameron had strep throat and had stayed home from school the latter part of the week, but I want to see the boys as soon as I can. I had hoped to see them today but it won't happen now.

More of our friends will start arriving for the Heartland rally next week, so things around here should change soon. We can't wait to see our friends!

So long.

Saturday October 10, 2009-Rayford Crossing

I made coffee for the guys in the rally hall this morning, although only 4 of us showed up, Jim, Bob, Bill and I. I made some extra this morning because I had talked to one of the men from the rally group that was here at the park this weekend and had invited them for coffee along with us, but they didn't come over. When we left, Jim and I told them that if they needed some more coffee, to help themselves since we had a lot left over.

Bill and I went to a local store and picked up some breakfast tacos after we finished our coffee. It was nice to just sit outside with our friends, eating breakfast and enjoying the weather.

We just hung out here in the park in the cold weather. The cold front had made it and it was cold all day long. We didn't do too much of anything today but went out to eat at the Casa Imperial for supper. We came back to the park and had a small fire at Bill's trailer. It was cool enough to enjoy the fire but not cold enough to make it uncomfortable being outside. It was a very nice day.

So long.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Friday October 9, 2009-Rayford Crossing

We woke this morning to warm temperatures-again-but with change coming by this afternoon. A cold front was on its way which should change things a lot. I talked to Bill, who said he was going to wait to start driving here until after the storm had passed.

I met Bobcat and Jim H. in the Lone Star room for coffee this morning and it was nice to meet with friends and to solve many of the world's problems there. This will continue to get better as more of our friends arrive for the winter.

We stayed inside most of the morning, especially after it started to rain with the front coming through. It rained very hard but we were snug and dry inside the trailer.

Johnny, the refrigerator repair man came out about 3 o'clock to check the fridge. He showed me a thermal reset switch on the rear of the unit that may be bad. He reset it and the refrigerator started working. He was unable to duplicate the problem and said to let it run all weekend and to let him know if it quit working.

Bill and Ornell arrived about 4 this afternoon. They didn't need any help in getting set up, so I just hung out with them for the rest of the afternoon. Stella had fixed her smothered steak and potatoes for supper for all of us and Ricky, who was batching it with Dee working out of state this week. We had a delightful meal and sat around chatting for awhile before turning in for the night. It was too wet and cold to sit outside. This is going to be a fun week with some of our closest friends coming in for the Heartland rally.

So long.

Thursday October 8, 2009-Rayford Crossing

Oh yeah, it's great to be back at home! We didn't do too much today except to see old friends that are already here like Jim and Rita H. and Jim and Danna F.. Jim and Rita work here in the fall and winter doing odd jobs around the park. Jim F. works at night as the security guard. There has been a rash of thefts and mischief done in the park, so now he rides around in the golf cart and makes sure everything is safe for the rest of us.

I walked down to the storage area near the office where Jim H. was working on a new bird cage for a new Macaw that they are buying. I helped him get some of the cage put together until I saw a Landmark trailer coming in. I went to the office to greet the man who was checking in, but I soon learned that he was here for another rally and was not interested in hearing about the Heartland rally next week. I went back by his trailer but never saw him outside again. The other rally group was not all that friendly, so we pretty much stayed away from them for the weekend.

Stella and I went to the Texas Truck Center where we looked at a 2007 Ford truck that they had for sale. After looking it over, we realized that it would not fit our needs, so we left. We went to the China Bear restaurant for some oriental food, which was one of the ones that we had missed on our trip to Colorado.

I did get a key to the Lone Star room so we can have coffee in the morning again. It will be like old times again to be able to hang out with the guys in the morning over coffee. It's great to be back.....

So long.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday October 7, 2009-Mansfield-Rayford

Almost home! It won't be long now.....

Since we have a problem with the oil pressure, I decided to get up early and get the oil changed, so we should have good oil pressure on the last leg of this trip. We used the GPS to find the nearest oil change place and pulled in and were immediately taken into the service bay and the work done. Upon completion, we returned to the park and hooked the trailer to the truck and were on our way. Now we have 40#+ of oil pressure, or where we need to be.

We made an uneventful trip down to Rayford where we met Melissa, Shelly and Michelle. Gwen was in her office so we had a nice visit with all of them before we went in to get set up.

Wow, I had forgotten how hot it gets in Houston. The heat and humidity took its toll on me before I got everything done. I was drenched in sweat, but everything but the satellite dish was set up. I'll do it tomorrow.

We continued with our problem with the refrigerator. When we arrived it was not working, in spite of being on all the way from Mansfield using propane. It would not come back on, but we had taken most of the items out and put them into an ice chest and added two bags of ice, so most of our food was protected. I called a service company that offered in-park service to get some help in figuring out what was wrong, but before they could call me back, the fridge started working again. This is getting really irritating! I turned it to AC and it continued to work, but about 9 o'clock, Stella checked it again and it had quit again. Now none of the control lights worked but the light in the refrigerator came on and seemed to be cool. We went to bed, not knowing if the fridge would work all night or not.

When we woke in the morning, everything was off again. I called the mobile service again and made an appointment for them to come out as soon as they can get us scheduled. We will have to pay the fee for the service call but not for any work done since they are a warranty service for Dometic. My choice was to take the entire trailer to a dealer and wait a day or two for them to have someone look at the trailer and everything would be paid by Dometic or for me to pay the service call charge and have the work done here in the park. I have friends already here in the park, so my choice was to pay for the service and have it done here. I had called the Dometic hotline but there is an endless list of service providers but none in this area were listed.

At least we're back home and in familiar territory. We love our traveling lifestyle, but its good to be home.

So long.

Tuesday October 6, 2009-Amarillo-Mansfield TX

Today was the worst day of the trip, so if you don't like crying, don't read today's post.

Remember the first day of this long trip when we found the oil leak on the ground at Rayford? The overnight oil leak had stopped for awhile and didn't return until we started back home. I have religiously checked the oil level and it has remained full, even though I had seen an occasional spot on the ground. I never parked in the same place at Priest Gulch, so I could not see a pattern of an oil leak. As we traveled back home, I noticed that the oil pressure was dropping and checked the level on the road, but again it showed to be full. By the time we left Amarillo, the pressure was at 20#, or the first mark on the oil pressure gauge. I watched it like a hawk all the way to Mansfield but it didn't waver but I did notice a lot of light oil residue on the truck and the trailer. It seemed to be worse on the passenger side of the truck. There was not a large enough film of oil to really be concerned about oil leaking but it was still irritating to see this light film of oil all over everything.

We pulled into the park here and while checking in, I left the truck running, as normal, and when I came back, I was surprised to see the oil pressure was actually below 20# at idle, not good! We pulled on around into our site and the pressure came back up to above 20 when under power. We got set up in our site without problem but I started doing some reading about the oil pressure problem. I learned that if one or more of the fuel injectors begins leaking, the diesel fuel will leak down into the crankcase, diluting the oil. Fuel injector problems are the one thing my particular model of truck is noted for, so I should not be surprised to learn mine are bad. I am no mechanic, and certainly not qualified to trouble shoot engine problems, but I can read pretty well and can see that there is a problem. I intend to take the truck to have the oil changed in the morning, leaving the trailer here in the Texan RV Ranch in Mansfield. This should allow us to get back to Houston without doing any damage to the engine.

Now to another problem. I have been noticing a few little problems with the trailer, a delamination on the front end near the front storage. This has already been pointed out to Camping World when we had the television replaced (the television is another story that I won't go into now because it is still being worked on). Now there is another problem with the fiberglass on the front of the trailer that needs some attention. I called CW and spoke with Frank, one of the service advisors there. He told me to bring the trailer in so they could look at it and would order any parts they need and I can bring it back when the parts arrive and then sleep in the trailer in their parking lot. All is well so far.
When we got to Mansfield and got set up, Stella went inside and turned the refrigerator on. We had a discussion just before leaving Colorado about this and had decided that we didn't travel far enough before stopping to make it necessary to leave the propane on to power the fridge. She had started turning the fridge off while driving and had turned it back on when we arrived and were hooked up to power. Today, the fridge wouldn't come back on for us. We checked everything, there was 110 volt power to the refrigerator, no 12 volt fuses were blown, so all of the power to the fridge was working, it just wouldn't come on. The park owner came by to see if he could help, and gave me the telephone number of a man he knew that could help us, but after talking to him (Don) for about 30 minutes and checking everything he told me, we couldn't find anything wrong. I put in a call to a mobile RV service company but never got a call back from them. We took all the meat and cheese out and put it into an ice chest with ice in it to keep it from spoiling and just figured that we would just have to lose anything that we didn't have room for in the ice chest when Stella noticed that it had come on, on propane power! Hallelujah! The fridge had warmed up to about 58 degrees but the freezer had stayed cold so although some ice cream we had in there had gotten soft, it had not actually ruined. The fridge got cold again (it gets colder faster on propane) so we should be all right until we can get back to Houston and get it worked on.

What a day! At least we are back in Texas and tomorrow will be back in Houston. Please wish us luck for the last 250 miles of our trip.

So long.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday October 5, 2009-Coming back to Texas!!

Today is the day we return to Texas. We are both ready to get back to some warm climate and our friends at Rayford. We got everything done and pulled out from the park at 9:45, just about on time. We only have about 285 miles to drive today, to the Oasis RV park in Amarillo.

We had a little excitement before we left. I had heard sirens nearby and then had seen two news helicopters circling around overhead and knew that something was going on. When we left, we saw several police cars, an ambulance and a couple of news crews standing in the intersection. Of course, we didn't know what had happened but guessed that there had been a serious accident, possibly involving a fatality. Stella guessed that a prisoner had escaped from a nearby jail, but we didn't know for sure. She had heard of an accident at the balloon grounds in which someone had fallen out of one of the balloon baskets when it hit the top of a tent. She said that one of the newscasters on site had actually seen the person fall, but at the time, no one knew the extent of his injury. When we arrived in Amarillo, I found out that a car had run into a bus carrying prisoners and 14 of them, a guard and two people in the car had all been injured, but no serious injuries had been reported.

We made good time to Amarillo and after a couple of stops, we arrived at 4:30,
Texas time (3:30 Albuquerque time). We got set up and relaxed under the air conditioner for the first time since we left Houston. I don't remember if we used the a/c here when we left or not, but it was pretty cool at night.

We decided not to stay two days here in Amarillo or tomorrow night in Mansfield. Stella called Rayford and got permission to come in on Wednesday the 7th, so one more night on the road and WE'RE HOME!!!

So long.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday October 4, 2009-High Desert RV Park

I woke early this morning as usual and turned on the television. I learned that last night's "evening glow" had been cancelled due to high winds. Now keep in mind that this is balloon high winds of 23-25 mph, so there was nothing to really worry about if you aren't going up in a balloon. We didn't miss anything by choosing not to go last night. I could still hear the wind howling out here at the RV park, so we didn't go back to the launching this morning. As it turned out, that was a good choice too because they postponed the launches this morning until after 8 o'clock and several balloons decided not to launch. We watched the ones that did lift off on the television. It wasn't quite the same, but it was nice anyway, and we weren't cold and weren't standing in a long line.

We stayed inside today and I got caught up on my sleep. I spent a little time outside because the weather here is wonderful! It was cold this morning, about 41 degrees, but it warmed up nicely to about 70, although it was windy all day. We went to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials and came back home and watched Sunday afternoon pro football for the first time this season. When we were at Priest Gulch we got no local channels, so no football. I did catch last Monday night's game, so I can't say I haven't seen any football at all this season, but it sure was nice being able to see Dallas get beat on Sunday!

We went to the Furr's Fresh Buffet that is near the park. It is not a buffet like we were used to in McAllen, but a cafeteria style serving and if you want something else, you can ask your server for it or go back and get it yourself. We got plenty of food on the first go-round, so we didn't overeat as we usually do at a buffet. The food was okay, but nothing to great. The food in McAllen was much better.

We came back home and watched more football and I wrote this entry. We are planning to leave by ten or so in the morning.

So long.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Saturday October 3, 2009-Balloon Festival

Welcome to our pictorials of the Balloon Fiesta 2009. This is one of the first views of one of the first balloons to go up before the mass ascension began. I got a shot of the balloon with the burner on, which is very loud but beautiful when they are aloft.

Here is another balloon with the burner on. As you can see, it is getting light but the beauty of the balloons as they drift is very evident.

Here you see the referee who controls the takeoff of the balloons, giving instructions to one of the pilots of the Lituanica balloon. I will give you a brief description of the steps in launching a balloon. I'm certain that there are several major details that I don't know about, but here goes....

They begin by laying the balloon out on the ground with the basket attached. They add air to the balloon using the fan, to begin filling it.

They fill it and fill it. I'm not sure how much air one of these things hold, but its a lot!

They start warming the air in the balloon using the huge burners. These thing will frighten both adults and children if they are not aware that they are going to light them. They also throw off a great deal of heat, which feels good in the morning cold.

As the air heats up, it starts to stand the balloon up, with the basket attached. The basket appears to be a wicker basket, but I'm sure there is some sort of reinforcing material on it.

Here is the referee walking ahead of the launch path, clearing the way for the launch of the balloon. They use a police whistle to draw attention to the path to clear the spectators.

And here we go, liftoff!

As they gain altitude, they add more heat to the balloon.

And here they are, floating in the air.

They join the many, many other balloons that are floating above us. I have read that there are to be 550 balloons here for this event. I couldn't count them, but I believe that number! You can see a line of 12 or more balloons preparing to launch and more than I can count behind, already floating beautifully in the crisp air of Albuquerque.

Here you can see one of the specialty balloons that has just lifted off. There are still many balloons set to launch.

Here is another of the specialty balloons, the Pepsi Cola balloon. All of the balloons are very colorful and I can only imagine the skills necessary to build one of these thing.

Here is Nemo, with the famous ReMax balloon behind it. This is probably not the same Remax balloon that we see in their ads, and I'm sure they have more than one.

Another shot of just some of the many balloons in the air this morning.

A ladybug balloon, just one more specialty balloon. I am amazed at the imagination of the balloon builders and their creativity. I heard on the news that there are three specialty balloons that were shipped from China and are being held in Chicago after they cleared Customs.

Here is a beer stein balloon. The last time we came, 1996, there were several specialty balloons that we didn't see this time.

This is the U.S. Army Signal Corps balloon. I'm not going to make a comment about the use of taxpayer dollars to buy a balloon and to keep it going but it is a good way to advertise. Maybe they'll bring back dirigibles and blimps instead of spending billions of dollars on jets. What do you think?
Yeah, I doubt it too.....

This is one balloon with two baskets under each of the bumblebees. Again the imagination and creativity of these designers.

If you think I'm going to make a comment about anyone I know resembling this balloon, you're crazy......

This is a German beer and wine importer's balloon. It is just a different style of balloon that we found interesting.

A cow balloon. Nothing personal toward anyone, just another creatively designed balloon.

A little close-up of the Nemo balloon.

Some sort of a gremlin that is very detailed. It is kind of cute but it's not scary. I would hate to wake up with something like this, but I'm not making any comments. Again.....

The last photo of some of the balloons. We enjoyed the show but it was very tiring. I read that the grounds are 54 football fields long and make up 78 acres. We walked a lot of it seeing the balloons. The really tiring part was waiting for the bus to leave. We stood in line for over an hour but considering the number of people there, that's not too bad I guess.
We were tired when we got back home and took naps this afternoon. We decided not to go back for the evening "glow" and since there is nothing new to be seen tomorrow, we probably won't go back in the morning.
The Balloon Festival is very nice and if you get a chance to go, it is definitely worth it. Now that we have seen it twice, we probably won't go again unless there is a good reason.
So long.

Friday October 2, 2009-High Desert RV Park

Today was our first full day in Albuquerque, so we decided to go eat some breakfast to take in some of the local flavor. As you can see from this photo, Stella is still fascinated by the artwork that the city has added to their overpasses. She noticed these the last time we were here in April and she still loves to take the photos.
We saw this lone balloon floating around on the west side of town, some distance from the balloon festival. of course we don't know where this one came from, and it is likely a part of the fiesta that begins tomorrow but its the first one we saw, so she took a picture of it.
We ate breakfast at a little local restaurant named Mac's. We ate there primarily because we saw ambulances, city trucks and a fire truck at the cafe, so we figured that if all these city workers ate there, it must be pretty good. The food was actually pretty good but the wait staff was badly understaffed, so we got pretty poor service.
After eating, we went exploring out toward the Balloon Festival grounds. This is where the entertainment portion of the Good Sam rally had been held in April, so I remembered how to get there. We saw the parking lots that were several blocks from the site, which reinforced our plan to catch a transit bus in the morning. We had picked up a sheet from the park office about where to go to catch the bus, which we also rehearsed. I figured it is better to check it out now in daylight than to wait until early in the morning.
I stopped off at a truck parts store and bought a new cap for the auxiliary tank. The old one is badly rusted and looks terrible, so I replaced it. We returned to the park to play with Cassie and to take a nap in preparation for getting up very early in the morning. We stayed in and watched a little television for the rest of the night. Tomorrow's the big day!
So long.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thursday October 1, 2009-Moving Day

Cassie was very cold this morning. It was 29 degrees here, although the weather guessers had said it could be much colder. The closest town to us is Rico and the temperature there was forecast to be 14, so we were glad they were wrong. We got up later than we wanted to but still got everything done and pulled out before 10 o'clock. We bid the mountains goodbye in great weather, cold but clear.
We saw some pretty rock formations across New Mexico desert on our way to Albuquerque. Stella said this one looks like a big office building. The roads on Hwy. 491 were very bad but we endured them and once we got onto Hwy. 550 the road got much better.
We decided to stop at a truck stop in Bloomfield for fuel instead of transferring fuel like we normally would. We took 13.1 gallons of diesel to go 153 miles for an 11.6 MPG average. Fuel there was $2.449 per gallon, while it was $2.669 at the City Market in Cortez where we had filled up. If we had known there was this much of a price difference, we would have waited to fill up.

Here is another rock formation that we saw along the way. Stella said this one looks like a big church. At least we got out of the desert and into more vegetation. There were some color in the trees here but nothing like what we had just left in Colorado.
It was a long day of driving but we made it here by 4 o'clock. We got all set up including the porch by about 5 and all of us were tired, especially Cassie:

It was hard work for her to get us here and she got some well deserved rest when we arrived. We had leftovers for supper and just chilled out in front of the television. I got caught up on my blog posts and went to bed early. Tomorrow we scout out where the transit bus will pick us up for the balloon festival.
So long.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday September 30, 2009-Priest Gulch campground

Here is Stella & I and Gene and Linda sitting at the Argentine Grill where we had supper tonight. We had a great meal and wished that our friends had been able to go with us before they had to leave.

Stella and I stayed at the trailer today and put things away in preparation for leaving tomorrow. I got many of the outside things put away and Stella made good progress on the inside of the trailer.

We had discovered that the pump on our auxiliary fuel tank had stopped working. I suspected something was loose on the new connections an employee of the Auto Zone, and after inspecting the work, I found that not only was the connection on the alligator clip loose, the entire new ring clip on the positive post of the battery was loose and needed to be replaced. We had stopped the day before while on our drive and bought the parts to replace the alligator clip with a ring connection but then I found that I didn't have an electrical crimper to make the connection. Richard, one of the park employees, said he had a crimper that we could use, but when we got to his trailer, he could not open the drawer in his toolbox because another tool had become wedged in the drawer and he couldn't open the one he needed to get the crimper tool. We decided to drive into Dolores or Cortez to find a tool but on the way out of the park I saw an RV repairman who was working on a trailer. I stopped and asked him for help and he not only used his crimping tool, he installed the ring clip and now the pump works! We decided to drive into Cortez to fill up both tanks so that we could start out tomorrow with full fuel tanks. It took us about an hour and a half to make the trip, but at least now we are full of fuel. We took 64.2 gallons of diesel to go 1110.8 miles for a 17.3 MPG average.

When we finished our meal at the grill, I made a call to the Internet provider for the park, Amerispot, complaining about our lack of Internet today. The lady that answered the telephone was not helpful at all but I guess my complaint accomplished something because when we got back to the park, neither of us even had to log on to access the Internet. When we got back to the park, we all decided that it was too windy and too cold for a fire. The weather had turned much colder today and it had been very windy all day long and we were all worried about low temperatures tonight. We all turned in early tonight and let water drip so that our water lines wouldn't freeze.

We had a very nice visit to the Priest Gulch and in spite of not having cell phone service and spotty Internet, we will likely come back. We have made some good friends here and we will visit with them again.

So long.

Tuesday September 29, 2009-Priest Gulch campground

Today we took a ride up through Ridgeway and down through Durango, making a 240 mile loop by the time we got back to the park. Here you see one of the mountain views on Hwy. 145 between the park and Ridgeway.
I took this shot at the Bear Creek area.

Here is Bear Creek plunging out of the mountains, under the highway and down into the valley below. Again, the pictures don't do this justice.
Here is Ouray Colorado, the Little Switzerland of the Rockies. This is a beautiful little town high in the mountains.

Here you see some of the color in Ouray, seen from the highway coming into the town from the east (from Durango).

It looks as if God painted stripes onto the side of the mountain in the form of trees.

More beautiful golden trees amid the green pines. Gorgeous!

Here is a real treat, the yellow and gold trees, orange shrubs on the side of the slope and green trees in the background.

More yellows and golds on the side of a mountain.

More gold slopes with blue skies and white fluffy clouds as the background.

This was taken at the site of an old mine shaft, the remnants of which can be seen among the gold trees. We can only imagine what this must have looked at years ago when the mine was in operation.

Before we left on our drive, our friends Peggy and Len left for Albuquerque and soon after Dick and Eugena also left. It left almost all of our end of the park empty. Gene and Linda said it was the emptiest they have ever seen the park.
When we finished up our drive, we went home and ate a light supper and went to Gene and Linda's where they had built another campfire. Some other friends Don and Marilyn came by to enjoy the fire with us. They are staying in a cabin at the park and were leaving for home the next day. Linda made us some of her "special deluxe coffee" which was decaffeinate coffee, powdered chocolate and Carolann's liqueur. They were quite tasty and were especially good in the cold mountain air. We stayed at the fire until about 9 o'clock and turned in.
So long.