Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday however was a much busier day. It had rained most of the night and continued to rain all day long and with the mid-50's temperature, it felt very cold. I took Stella to work and returned home. Our friends Tom and Marti were coming in today, and Tom dropped by after he got in and got his trailer all set up, just to let me know that he had arrived. About 1:30, I went outside and did some chores and when I came back in, I had a call from Stella that some friends had come to the park to see us and couldn't get in touch with me. My friend Mike Tinklin, his wife Donna and their son Ben soon arrived at our home. They are fellow Bighorn owners from Toronto Canada who are visiting Texas to scout out places to come in another year or so to visit. They had been in Corpus Christi and North Padre Island looking at RV parks and had come to Houston to look at Rayford and to meet me. Mike and I have been messaging back and forth on Facebook and took time out to come by for a visit. We had a nice time together and they asked some questions about our lifestyle. I showed them around the park and they met the office personnel and said that they plan to return to Texas in January-February. Melissa recommended that they contact the park as soon as they can to reserve a site at the times they wish to book. They had already gotten a brochure on the park, and said they would contact her closer to time for them to make their reservations. After hugs and handshakes they left for their hotel and tomorrow's trip to San Antonio. It was good to finally meet them and we are looking forward to seeing them again in Goshen.
We had decided to take Reta to eat supper with us tonight before playing bingo. We went to Marcos with a coupon that Donna had given us, and it sure came in handy. All three of us ate for around $15, and we figured out that it was cheaper to eat out than fix it ourselves.
Of course, none of us won at bingo but we did have a good time. Tom and Marti came and we all sat together and had many laughs during the game. One of these nights, someone is going to mess up and I'll win but I'm not holding my breath.
Monday, December 27, 2010
I did chores all day, running the vacuum to clean up Mr. Tramp's mess on the living room floor (the inside stuffing of one of the toys) and went outside and insulated the water line. If it freezes up now, it's not my fault!! I'm sure that it will be said that it's my fault anyway, that I left a gap in the insulation or it wasn't heavy enough...sucks to be me, doesn't it?
We went to the Mai Tai Monday at the Rayford room and had a good time visiting with other guests at the park. Reta invited us over to her house for chili tonight and when the Mai Tai party was over, we went by and had a delicious meal with her. Jim is out of state with relatives, so I told Reta to call me if she needed anything. This is just one of the many things I like about Rayford and all the friends that we have made here. Just this afternoon, I learned that Roy and June had broken the screen of their laptop and I was able to steer them to a computer repair shop that is getting their computer back in one day instead of weeks that Best Buy had told them. It is all about being good neighbors...
It is supposed to be cold tonight but not nearly as cold as the last couple of nights, and we shouldn't see any below freezing temperatures for a few days. We brought back our large storage box of winter clothes and coats from storage, so we probably won't have any more cold weather.
I know that you have been waiting patiently for my fuel usage reports. I have saved them up and will give you the results now. You have waited long enough...
On December 11 I took 28 gallons to go 417 miles for a 14.89 MPG average.
On December 17 I took 33 gallons to go 285.4 miles for a 14.7 MPG average.
On December 22 I took 25 gallons to go 437.6 miles for a 17.5 MPG average.
On December 28 I took 25.7 gallons to go 446.6 miles for a 17.3 MPG average.
There were a couple more fuel tickets but sadly I didn't put them away well and my little buddy Tramp ate them. We had a little chat over this and I think he understands the importance of leaving my papers alone and to eat his own food that I bought especially for him. We'll see how long this lesson lasts.
to finalize Christmas.
Last week it was fun to watch everyone scurrying around buying last-minute gifts. I shopped a little bit trying to find a Kindle for Stella. Kim had given me a suggestion for a gift for Jeremy, so I went out and found one for him and at the same time, she had complained that she didn't know what to buy for her Mom. I told her that we had discussed buying a pair of Kindles that would save both space and weight for us in the trailer and Kim thought that was a wonderful idea. Of course, but this time everyone was out of them, so she printed a picture of the Kindle to give to Stella with the promise that as soon as they become available, she will get one.
It's cold down here in Spring! The last couple of days, the temperatures haven't gone above 55 degrees, and looking at the thermometer right now shows the temp at 28 degrees. Yikes! For south Texas, that's really cold.
I have been working on the beginning of our summer trip. We will be leaving here in May and are going with Tommy and Susan to Elkhart Indiana to show them around the area. I have two routes planned, so now it's time for us to decide which way to go. From there, we are planning to go to the Heartland National rally in Goshen IN and then have the boys flown up and we will take them to some areas in the midwest for their vacation. We haven't really decided where we will go from there, but it will be fun!
We hope you had a very Merry Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Tuesday we took Tommy and Susan out to eat at El Chaparro in Magnolia where we met Ted and Donna. We all had great food and after finishing our meals, went to T & D's house for dessert. She made some great butter cookies and served us flavored coffee and peppermint ice cream. We played a WII bowling game on their new game console. It was fun but Tommy beat me badly. It has been years since I've bowled on the WII and decades since I've gone bowling in a bowling alley. It was fun and we all had a good time.
We missed the baked potato bar at the park Tuesday night. We had planned our night out with the group for awhile and beside that, I don't need all the starch in a baked potato.
Wednesday was another routine day. We went out to eat at the Fish Place for supper and found another good place to eat. Tommy had the ettoufee and the rest of us had fried fish. It was all good but Stella didn't like some of the seasoning that was used on the catfish.
Thursday was a very routine day with nothing out of the ordinary that day. Tommy and I worked with Tramp on some new commands, Come and Sit in the doggie park here at the park. He is coming along really well with his commands but still lacks in his behavior when left alone at home. He began by gnawing and chewing on papers, wires, shoes, belts, just about anything not picked up. If it was within his reach, he chewed it. He ate the end off my connection between my Wilson Trucker antenna and the aircard. It could have been worse, he could have chewed the antenna wire, ruining it, but he only got the connection. One night he found an old box of Kleenex that had come out of the old truck. When we returned after supper, it looked like it had snowed inside the trailer with little tiny pieces of tissue covering the floor. Just last night, he found the Christmas wrapping paper and tore up about half of the package of tissue paper, covering the floor with red and green. I respect Stella for not murdering the little boy.
Friday began normally with coffee with the guys and taking Stella to work. When I returned to the park, I noticed Chuy going around picking up trash. I knew that she has a knee that is bad and she is saving money to have an operation on it. She is a Mexican National with a green card but she doesn't make that much money, so its going to take a long time to save up the $25,000 for the operation. Jim helps her with trash pickup when he can, and I figured that today was my day. It wasn't hard to walk along beside the golf cart and throw plastic bags of trash into the little trailer and I know it was easier on her.
After I picked up Stella from work, we were supposed to meet Tommy and Susan at James Coney Island for a quick supper. We got started to meet them and learned that there was a terrific traffic backup on Rayford. They had only gone a short distance before Tommy called and said that they were held up. We decided to meet them at the Fish Place again and had another nice meal. We came back to the park and three of us went to play bingo in the rally hall. Of course I didn't win again although I came close a couple of times. Too bad we weren't playing horseshoes... Susan split one of the wins with two other people and we all had a good time.
We stopped by Tommy and Susan's motorhome for some pecan pie after bingo. We visited with them for awhile before I got sleepy and went back home. Me and the dogs were soon fast asleep, imagine that...
Monday, December 13, 2010
During the past couple of weeks, we been out to eat several times with friends. We found a new Mexican restaurant, El Chaparo in Magnolia. They have very good food with entertainment on Friday nights. We went on a Saturday night and the guy either didn't show up on time or he was only there on Fridays, we don't know which. Bob and Christina left last Thursday but Tommy and Susan came in on Friday so we still have friends here in the park to go out with. We took them out to the restaurant last Friday and they liked it too.
Saturday night was the annual Winter Texan potluck dinner and white elephant gift exchange. As always, the food was great but the fellowship and fun was even better. Although we have had some bad experiences with the length of time taken to finish the white elephant exchange, this one wasn't bad at all. Most of the gifts were nice enough that many didn't want to give up what they had and we all had a lot of fun stealing a few of the items, all liquor...
Sunday we went down to Texas City to take Cam out for his birthday dinner. We all knew where he would want to go, Gringos restaurant. We all had good food and it was good to be with the boys again. Tyler is growing like a weed and is taller than Kim and almost as tall as I am...
I played a joke with Melissa about her birthday. A few years ago, I made a mistake and said that her birthday was the 12th of December when it is really on the 14th. I called her yesterday and today as if I didn't remember again and we both got a good laugh about it. Now to remember to call her tomorrow when it really is her birthday.
There have been a couple of the guys here at the park that have had hernia operations recently. Jim had his done last week and is recovering nicely and Roy had his operated on today. I have had one for several years now and it hasn't given me a problem so I hope its not contagious. I guess I'll just have to deal with it if I begin to have problems.
I intend to do better with my blog so hopefully I won't get so far behind again.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
We went to eat breakfast tacos this morning in the Rayford room. Billy went out early this morning and picked them up and brought them back for everyone to eat. It's a shame that someone called the health department about the breakfasts that we were cooking here, but it's fun to have tacos.
After Santa came, we went back to the hall for a white elephant gift exchange. I got a 6 pack cooler and Stella picked one of the gifts that we had brought, some New Canaan Farms salsa that is delicious. We were glad to get the gifts that we ended up with. Billy made some Christmas punch using cranberry juice and bourbon that was really good. I had a couple of glasses and was glad I didn't have to drive home. Our friend Debbie had made a huge assortment of jello shots, and I tried one of them. It was really good because she didn't use a lot of liquor in each shot.
When we got back home, Mike and Patrice wanted to go out to eat Chinese tonight, so after a short time in the trailer, we went to the 88 Buffet for supper. Mike and Patrice are leaving tomorrow, so this was their farewell dinner, but I know we'll see them again soon.
When we got finished eating, we returned home. I had thought about having a campfire, but I guess those drinks were getting to me and I was really drowsy. I watched a little television and turned in before nine. I guess that proves that my party days are just about over!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Sunday was our day off and we had promised the boys that we would come back down and show all of them the new truck. We had kept the news of the truck from Kim until that morning when Cameron spilled the beans. It's all right because we kept our secret for a long time.
Everyone ooh'ed and ahh'ed over the truck and the boys demanded a ride around the block in it. We drove around for a bit and I made them change places so they could both ride in the front seat. We went back to their house and followed Kim, Jeremy and Stella to Uncle Chan's restaurant, which Tyler had chosen because his birthday is tomorrow. It's hard to believe my boy is 14 years old. He's taller than his mom and almost as tall as I am!
We had a great meal and visit with the boys before we had to return home. We knew that Mike and Patrice had come in today for the Thanksgiving week, so we wanted to get back in time to spend a little time with them. When we got back, we sat outside for awhile before calling it a night.
Monday, Mike and Patrice wanted to go over to Old Town Spring but when we got there, almost everything was closed. We were bummed, but decided to just ride around the area. We drove over to Tomball where we ate at Neal's family restaurant there. We didn't get too much accomplished today except getting Cassie and Tramp (remind me to tell you more later about Tramp!) new collars and halters. Oh, and Mama Stella bought both of them overcoats to wear when it gets cold. She just can't stand the thought of those little puppies getting cold when they have to go outside.
Tuesday I ran around trying to find a three-way switch for my air horn on the truck. The guys at Master Hitch had wired it in so that the electric horn blows along with the air horn on one side and just the electric horn on the other side, but I want only the air horn to blow. I went to all the auto parts stores around here and couldn't find the switch I wanted. I returned to Master Hitch and Zack told me to try a boat supply store. I checked at both the boat stores and didn't find what I wanted but stopped at a Radio Shack store and although I came close to finding what I wanted, it wouldn't work after all. I went back to Master Hitch to verify this latest switch wouldn't work and Zack just found what he needed online and ordered it. It will be in on December 2nd, and he said he will change it for me then. I was tired after driving all over the place looking for parts, so I went home and took a short nap before I had to pick up Stella after work.
Wednesday I returned two of the switches that I had bought and came back home. Stella had started a stew this morning for us and we had invited Mike and Patrice and another Mike and his wife Barb to eat with us this evening. I had asked Bob and Christina but they had already started fixing something for their supper. I tended to the stew throughout the day and we all had a great meal when we got back home. After supper, we went to play bingo in the rally hall and again I didn't win. I think those games are rigged...
Today is Thanksgiving and we had a fine meal with our extended "family" here at Rayford. There was plenty of food and we all overate, as usual. Isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about? I came back home and watched football on television all afternoon. A cold front moved through, dropping some rain and then the temperatures. It's beginning to feel like the Christmas season.
I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
I took Stella to work and did my little chore of robbing the money out of the laundromat machines. It sure makes a difference if I'm late in getting the money out. My little coin bucket was full today!
I came back home and fired up the computer to check on some of my normal websites that I monitor every day. Of course, I had to play a few games too, but that just makes the time go by better LOL. At some point, I conked out and napped right through a meeting of the Rayford committee that I was supposed to go to at 1 o'clock. I just simply forgot about it, and feel bad about it. I was relieved to learn that I wasn't put in charge of some activity that I know nothing about when I was absent from the meeting. I could just see me trying to teach others how to make doilies or painting a picture without using numbers as a guide.
Tonight was a big night for us, bingo night! We went along with many of our friends, down to the smaller Lone Star room for bingo tonight, and when we got there, Valle asked me to call for her. She said her feet hurt and she didn't feel like calling. Don't ask me how the foot bone connects to the mouth... I got through the night without any major problems, once I figured out a few things and I think everyone had fun.
Saturday morning began with more guys at coffee again. I volunteered to come down and check on the coffee pot to make certain that it had started and the coffee was making but Jim beat me to it. I hung out with him as the guys came in and we all had a good time together. I took Stella to work and on my way back home, I stopped off at Master Hitch to buy a turnbuckle to secure the fuel tank. I had a long talk with Zack about other trailer and hitch issues. He is very knowledgeable and volunteered to come have coffee with the guys one morning to talk about his store and the services they offer. I will try to set something up.
I came on back home but soon got a call from Scott that my porch was finally done and ready to be picked up. I hurried on down to Manvel and got it and then hurried back to the park to get it set up before I went to get Stella so I could surprise her when she got home. What a good husband...!
Our old friends, Rick and Brenda came by to visit and to see my new truck. They said they like it and before they left, we made a "date" to meet them for supper on Monday afternoon. They are just returning to Texas from Washington state where they spent time with their family.
Bob and Christina rode with me to pick up Stella and we went out to eat at the El Charro restaurant that Ted and Donna took us to. We enjoyed a fine meal but were too early to hear much of the singer that is there. We will wait until later in the evening to go in the future.
We came on home and I gave Stella her surprise of the porch and stairs back in place. It will make a huge difference for us getting into and out of our house. Hopefully the powder-coat finish will last better this time. At any rate, thanks to Scott for getting it done for us.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The trip started out badly, with Stella remembering that she had left the electric heater on in the living room. She was afraid that one of the doggies would knock a blanket off the couch onto the heater and we didn't want the trailer to burn up, so we turned around and went back home and turned it off. Then after we had only gone a few miles down I-45, we ran into a 4-5 vehicle accident that had traffic backed up. We made it through and onto I-10 toward Port Arthur when we ran into a detour to the 610 loop. This slowed us down again, but after negotiating the small detour, we made good time to Bill's house.
When we got there, Bill called his son Billy and his next door neighbor Will to put the tank back into the truck. It was completely empty, so it went in without any problems. Everyone complimented me on the new truck and of course, I'm very proud of it. I can't wait to get the rest of my gear installed.
Bill and Ornell had fixed some gumbo and potato salad for lunch. We had a great meal with them and then watched the football game on television. Their grandkids came over to Will's house next door for his son's birthday party and they decided to eat some of the gumbo too. We had a nice visit with them before we had to leave for home.
Like last weekend, we called Tommy and Susan to meet us at the IHOP for a snack on our way home. They liked my truck too, and we learned that Susan recently bought herself a new car, a Chevy Malibu. They had gone to look one night and before you know it, they had bought it. She said her old Chevy had been a good one, so they bought the new one.
Monday, we ran errands all day. I called Master Hitch and made an appointment to have my other stuff installed tomorrow at their shop near the Galleria. Their new store opened today just a few blocks away from Rayford. This will be much more convenient for us if we need any more hitch work done. While we were out, I stopped off and filled up to get a feel for my highway mileage. I took 17.3 gallons to go 270.9 miles for a 15.6 MPG average, a far cry from the computer's estimate of 19. I'm sure that the mileage will pick up when we get more miles on the truck.
When we got home, Ted and Donna came over to see the new truck. We had a nice visit with them and of course, Ted and I compared notes on our new trucks. He complained of his new Ford not getting good mileage, so I was quite pleased with mine. We talked about our summer plans for traveling but sadly, it looks as if we won't be traveling the same directions next summer. I'm sure that at some point, we'll go somewhere together.
We took Jim out for supper tonight at Pitmaster Barbecue, since he offered to take me to Master Hitch tomorrow. This is both his and our first visit to Pitmaster this year since we've been back and it was very good, as usual. After our meal, we all returned home for the evening. The weather has turned off cool, and it was chilly tonight. It's a good time of the year to be outdoors.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Well, the saga of the drama of buying a new truck just goes on and on... On Friday, I was on my way to the EZ Tag store to get another tool road sticker for the new truck when I stopped by the dealership to speak with their resident diesel expert in the service department because I had some questions about the new truck's maintenance and a few other questions. After getting my questions answered-there are A LOT of maintenance requirements on these new diesel trucks-I left the dealership to find the EZ Tag store. After driving down the beltway for a way, I realized that I didn't have a MVI sticker on the truck. This is a requirement, and I know it should have been attached, so I promptly turned around and went back to the dealership to see about it. One of the service advisors said it would be about 30 minutes, so I went to the lounge to wait. The longer I sat there, the madder I got. I decided to go see the sales manager and tell him about the problems, including the wrong mud flaps on the truck. Long story short is that, although I didn't get any relief from the sales managers, one of them had already noticed the flaps and before he could call to get them changed, my new best friend Charron Marshall, who works in the service department also, had already gotten it taken care of. She was very helpful in another matter, the fact that there are no valve stem extensions for the wheels, which means that it's very difficult to check the air pressure in your tires. She made a valiant effort to try to help me but we couldn't find anything that looked good that would help. At least she tried. Before I left, I spoke at length with Kent, my finance guy, about all my problems and issues with the purchase of my truck and he promised to look into it and will get back to me. We'll see what he can do, but I'm not holding my breath. At least I got my safety sticker.
I was at the dealership all day long, so when I left to pick up Stella after work, I got into a heavy traffic jam after a rail crossing arm had come down and was now blocking the road. The cars and trucks had to dodge around the arms but it caused a huge traffic backup. I finally picked her up and we went home and stayed in all night, forgetting about the Friday night bingo in the Rayford room.
Saturday, there was a potluck breakfast at the park. We got into the line first, so I could take Stella to work and came back home and sat in my chair and napped for most of the day. I had spent most of my week in the car dealership and was tired, so I used Saturday to rest up. I did manage to wake up in time to pick her up after work. We stopped at the James Coney Island for supper. I was in charge of the karaoke night at the park, so we had to grab a quick bite and get on back home and I could go get things ready. We had a pretty good turnout for our first time, and instead of asking for individual songs, we just let the CD play and sang along with it. We all had a good time and stayed down there until almost midnight. I feel certain that we will do karaoke again but I don't know when.
It was a very eventful week for us and we are both exhausted. We only have a few more things to do to return the truck to full use and we should be able to get it done by next week. Wish us luck.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
We wanted the six passenger interior, so we can take two other couples with us when we sightsee or to go eat. The seats are very comfortable and have plenty of storage. We should have plenty of room to store "stuff" in this truck.
Wednesday I took Stella to work and called the dealership to check on the truck. Jeannie told me it had arrived and was going to have the bedliner installed soon. I asked her if I could come by to look at it and check it out myself and of course she said I could. I thought it was even better looking with the chrome strip and pinstriping, so I am very happy with our choice.
Scotia". She made a delicious seafood chowder with fried pepperoni and fish patties and everyone had a great time.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
We spent all day at the dealership, but they finally found the one we want, and it is on order. We signed all the contracts and they gave us a loaner truck to drive home, and we will come over on Wednesday to get our new truck. Hopefully, nothing else will mess up and keep us from getting it.
The folks at Tomball Dodge are very accommodating and have worked well with us in buying the truck. They have searched all over Texas to find us a truck equipped the way we want. Now, to get it home and start driving it. I can't wait.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thursday night was the first street party after all of the winter Texans arrived back for the season. It was decided that the party would be moved indoors because it was cool and very windy. There was a good turnout and it was good to see all of our friends together. After the party was over, I hosted a campfire at our site. We sat outside in the cool night air until the fire died and everyone got sleepy and went home. It was the perfect way to end a very nice day.
The coffee drinkers have certainly returned. I guess we have drunk so much coffee, we have worn out the brand new coffee urn that Gwen bought for us last season. The coffee doesn't get very hot and we are sure that one of the burner elements is not working, so Gwen promised to buy a new one for us.
Stella had gotten a call from Enterprise that they needed to get the car back because it was getting too many miles on it. I had told Jeannie, the saleslady at Tomball Dodge, that I would be in today to work on the purchase of a new truck, so it put me in a bind for time. I had to drive to Timber Ridge (near Tomball where the car dealer is) to get the car, drive back to Enterprise (on I-45 near Rayford) to change cars, then drive back to Timber Ridge to get the truck and go back to the dealership. It never occurred to us to merely exchange vehicles. At any rate, I got it done!
I got to the dealership and learned that the truck that we wanted had been sold, so we were back to square one. We drove around and looked at everything they had but there was nothing that appealed to me. There were two more trucks at other dealers that I might have liked but the dealers wouldn't trade them. She finally found a truck that would work and we finally made a deal. It took all day long, but I bought a 2010 Dodge (or Ram as they call them now), 3500 crew cab with the diesel engine and automatic transmission. Sheesh, I didn't remember how hard it is to negotiate the purchase of a new truck.
I came on back home and tried to rest a bit, but I had forgotten that I had signed up for bingo tonight. When I got here, I found that our new friends here in the park, Ernie and Debbie, had spent all day fixing barbecue brisket, so supper was fixed for us. Thank heavens! Debbie had also made a huge crockpot of cheese dip that she wanted to send down to the bingo night, so our food was done. We had a good time at bingo and of course, I didn't win (they've got to have it rigged) but we had fun playing with our many friends here.
Saturday morning I got up and made coffee for the guys. Everyone at coffee was interested in what I had bought and we discussed our dealings with car dealers. I won't go into our thoughts about cheating car dealers and manufacturers but it wasn't very pretty for them. They rank right in there with politicians in our estimation. No offense to my Dad, who was a long-time Ford dealer.
I went to Master Hitch to have the hitch removed but when I arrived, they told me that they could pull off everything that I wanted removed while I waited, so that's what I decided to do. I got to watch my car shows on TV while the work was being done. My friend Tom was on vacation but I'll see him when I return to have the hitch and other items installed.
While I had been driving to Master Hitch, Cameron had called me asking where I was. He wanted me to come down to see them, so when I got through I drove on down to Texas City to visit with the boys. They agreed to come help me move the tool box and a few other things out of the truck into our storage room, so when we got done, we went out to eat at Gringo's restaurant in Texas City, one of our favorites. We had a very good time together. It has been a month since I have seen them and both seem so much more grown up. Wow...the changes!
When I got back home, I was too full to eat again and was feeling poorly with the onset of a cold. I went in and laid down about 8:30 and the next thing I knew it was midnight. I got up about 4AM, which is very common for me and immediately found that Mike had mentioned me in his blog Homer and Lucille. Mike made some very kind comments about me and my blog and I thank him for them. Its nice to know that others appreciate my writing. I want to thank everyone that follows us in our travels and adventures. I'm sure that at some point, we'll stop traveling but we'll have this to look back on and remember our good times. I urge all of you to think about starting a blog, even if you're still working and feel like you're not doing anything noteworthy. It might be interesting to look back on your thoughts. Thanks again.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, Stella and I ran errands on our day off. I went to look at some accessories for the new truck that I am looking at. I had to go by the computer parts store to order another power cord for my computer. Tramp and Cassie have started running and chasing each other and one day late last week, one of them got tangled up in the power cord and pulled the computer off onto the floor, bending the power cord so it doesn't work any more. I had only had this one for a couple of weeks when it was damaged.
I started trying to contact someone at South Texas GMC early this morning. I called Chapa and he was "with customers" every time I called. I called the service manager and he was on jury duty; I called the general manager of the dealership and he was "unavailable" and when I asked for the owner, I was told that he only comes to the dealership occasionally. So much for customer service!
We came home and watched the Houston Texans getting beaten by the Indianapolis Colts on one channel and the World Series on the other. What a bummer of a night for Texas teams.
Tuesday, Stella drove to work and I stayed home. I contacted Chapa at last and was told that his aunt had passed away but the truck was ready to go and that he would be bringing it back himself on Thursday. He said he will call for the address of the park and should be here sometime in the afternoon. At Last!
I have been drafted into the committee at Rayford again to plan activities for the winter Texans. I guess technically, we are now winter Texans too, but I digress...
We have several things planned for the month of November that will be fun and will give us something to do and look forward to throughout the month. When the meeting was over, we met several other couples at Big E McGee's in Old Town Spring for supper. One couple, Terry and Lena, are out of the park for now, but may come back when his job changes back to this area. We all had a good time together and we returned home in time to watch my show, NCIS. It began to rain lightly before bed, so it was good sleeping weather.
The men's coffee group has grown back up to 12 people every morning. Its good to have all of our old friends back.
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
A quick recap-On Friday the 15th and the day our Heartland rally began, Stella noticed the truck running very rough. When I drove it that evening, I found nothing wrong with it, but when I went to pick up firewood, it ran badly for me too. I didn't drive it again all weekend and on Monday morning, I knew I would have to put it in the shop to be repaired. My friend Jim here in the park gave me a ride to the Enterprise Rental store near the park. We have rented a car there before and were familiar with it. After getting the rental car, we returned to the park to take the truck to Jakes Auto Repair where we have had work done before.
Jake was very busy and didn't get a chance to look at the truck until Tuesday, and what he found was disastrous. He found the harmonic balancer had come loose from the crankshaft, where it is used to reduce crankshaft vibrations on the engine. The balancer is fastened to the crankshaft of the engine by a "keyway" and a bolt that holds the front of the balancer onto the crankshaft. The bolt had apparently not been tightened enough to keep it from vibrating loose when the water pump had been replaced while we were in Mission. I had told Jake of the work that had been done. After talking to Jake, I immediately called the South Texas GMC dealership in McAllen and spoke with the service advisor, Chapa, that had helped me there. When I told him what had happened, he told me to have the truck taken to a GMC dealer to have it checked by them. He also advised me not to drive it but to have it picked up by a wrecker. I also told him that I had already rented a car since we needed transportation, and he said that was fine. I told him that I expected them to pay for the rental and he said he would have to talk to the manager about it but didn't see a problem.
I called Wiesner GMC in Conroe and spoke with one of their service advisors named Bill. I explained to him what had happened and he said he would send their wrecker to pick my truck up. I later learned that the wrecker had not been able to pick up the truck until the first thing on Wednesday morning due to other obligations.
When the truck was taken to the Wiesner shop, they checked it out and found that when the harmonic balancer came loose, it got into the fan damaging it. They suggested replacing the crankshaft or replacing the entire long block engine. They forwarded this information to McAllen for their review. The service manager called me back after a day or so, telling me that he wanted to bring my truck down there to have the repairs done there. I told him that I would be interested in finding out how much they would give me for the truck, either a buyout or a trade-in. He said he would get with the used car manager and let me know.
I later learned that they came to Conroe about 7 o'clock in the evening to pick it up. I got a call from Bill, who told me that they had brought a trailer and a technician, who got the truck started. They actually drove it onto the trailer. They had been told that the truck wouldn't run, but this probably came from the mechanic at Wiesner, who had seen it come in on a wrecker and assumed that it would not run.
I got a call from Chapa who told me that they had decided to merely repair the crankshaft after taking measurements and noting that there was little damage to the crankshaft. They had contacted GM Technical Services and learned that the specs on the crankshaft were within limits, making replacement of it unnecessary. I am skeptical of this repair, but don't have a say since the repair is being done on warranty for the water pump replacement. At least I will have a 12 month-12,000 mile warranty on the truck.
I did ask Chapa if they would drive the truck from McAllen to Spring to give it a good road test and he said they would. If its going to break down, I'd much rather it happen to them and not us. Holding my breath...
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Bill and Ornell were in on Friday and Ricky and Dee came in over the weekend, so we all went out to eat Sunday night at the Steel City Pizza here in Spring after we got back from my reunion weekend. It was a very good time with our old friends and the pizzas were delicious as usual.
Monday was our regular day off, so we tried to get some errands done, but it was also Columbus Day, so the banks and government offices were closed. You know how those bankers and Feds are when it comes to taking every available holiday. Bill and Ornell went back home for the day and of course, Ricky and Dee were working (ugh, that word!), so we ran our errands and stopped off at the El Palenque to eat.
Our Heartland friends began arriving on Tuesday and I did my best to meet with each of them as they arrived and spend some time with them.
Wednesday, even more of our Heartland friends arrived and we all had some good visit times during the day. A large group of us, about 18 people, went to the Casa Imperial for supper and we came back and sat outside talking and catching up with each other.
By Thursday almost everyone had arrived. We all visited all day but when supper time came around, we went to eat a hamburger with Pat and Lori at the 3-B's saloon and hamburgers. Their burgers are about as good as they come in this area and we had a good time. Again we returned home and sat outside, chatting with our friends.
Friday was the big day for arrivals, with the last of the Heartlanders arriving. Since we were all on different schedules for arriving and eating, we all went our separate ways for supper. My big news for today and as it turns out, the rest of the weekend was my truck. Stella took it to work this morning and called to tell me it was running real rough and had almost died at one of the traffic lights. I went to supper with Tom and Marti and a new club member named Karen. Pat and Lori came in their truck and we all went to Timber Ridge to get Stella. I drove my truck and it ran just fine. I just figured that it had some trash in the fuel that had gone on through and it didn't give any more trouble tonight. We all had plenty to eat at Mel's, although we didn't have a very good waitress for the first time here. We came on back to the park and had a campfire at my site. We stayed outside until after 10 o'clock again, so that is one of the reasons that I got so far behind on my blogging. Thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
Saturday morning, I got up and drank coffee with the guys in the rally hall and made coffee in the Rayford Room for the rally breakfast. As usual, the potluck breakfast was great and we all had a very nice time. After breakfast, Pat and I went to get some more firewood in my truck. When we got in it, it ran very bad and vibrated something fierce. We only drove it a couple of blocks before we returned to the park and took Pat's truck. I don't know what is wrong with my truck, but will take it somewhere on Monday to get it looked at.
I had to promise Lori that I would wash their truck because they had made an appointment with Dr. Detail to come wash their truck and trailer. As it turned out, Dr. D never showed up, so it is very likely that we won't use his service again.
The catered meal on Saturday night was very good. It was furnished by Ron Hoover RV's, who had brought a couple of trailers out to display. Both trailers were not very well equipped and had some small issues with them that should have been caught by the dealer before bringing them out. They didn't do so, and the salesman and his wife didn't seem too interested, so it was a slow weekend for trailer looking and of course, no sales were made. Its funny that when Camping World was our servicing dealer and participated in our rallies, they consistently sold trailers, but this is twice that Hoover has been here and no one even looked at the trailers with buying on their mind.
Sunday sadly everyone, with only a couple of exceptions, had to leave to go back home. With many hugs and handshakes, we saw everyone off. We returned to our trailer to rest up after the long and late-hours rally. We had a great time and hope that everyone else that came did also. I am making plans for another one in April.
My main focus is getting my truck running right again and that will be my first priority on Monday.
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday morning, I found that my truck had a flat tire. I got Bill to take me and Stella to work and he and I went to look at some trucks. We looked at Munday Chevrolet but they had no dually trucks in stock, so we came on back home. I added air to the flat tire and took the truck over to Discount Tires to have the flat repaired. They did an outstanding job of getting me going again, so I had time to come back and pick up all the stuff we carried to Kim's house for the weekend. We made the trip to Texas City without incident and had time to visit with the boys for a bit before we had to leave for Galveston. When we started to leave, Cameron asked where were WE going, and we told him to Galveston for my reunion. Tyler gave us a curfew of 10:00 to be back home, so with these instructions, we took off for Galveston.
We went to Gaido's for supper tonight. Gaido's has been known for many years as an excellent seafood restaurant, and tonight was no exception. The food was wonderful and we had a really good turnout for our 45th reunion. There was probably 150 people here tonight and we had a great time. We didn't make it back to Kim's house on time to make our curfew, but we weren't too late.
I took the boys to pick up breakfast on Saturday morning at a taquiera in Texas City. They recommended a certain breakfast taco, so since there were 6 of us eating breakfast, I bought 10 tacos, not realizing that they cost $3.29 each and were HUGE! After suffering shock when told how much the bill was, we came on back to Kim's house and had breakfast. They were very good, but for that much money we could have all eaten a full breakfast.
We went to watch Cam's baseball game that he pitched in. His team won (of course) and he did really well. He hit a double and two runs scored and he made a couple of good defensive plays. It was good to be back down there to watch him play. I know he has missed having us at his games.
Saturday night's reunion dinner was at Willie G's restaurant on Harborside n Galveston. There was an even larger turnout tonight and we had another great time seeing my classmates, most of whom I haven't seen since graduating from high school. Many of them were interested in our lifestyle and said they wished they could do what we're doing. I gave out some of my cards and told them to contact me if they want to come here and visit.
We were again on a curfew, but were later getting back to Kim's house tonight but everyone was still awake when we got there. I slept in Cameron's bed both nights and he went to sleep with me. I expected Stella to get him up and move him to another bed or the couch, but she let him sleep all night with PePaw. Let me say that he can kick like a mule, and that's all I want to say about that (Forest Gump voice)!
We got up Sunday morning and went to Ryan's for breakfast. It was good but not outstanding, and we all got very full. We went back home about 11 and made good time back to Rayford. We spent the afternoon moving into our rally site, #95. This is one of the premium sites in the front with a large patio, firepit and gas grill, so we are now set for the rally next weekend. We're looking forward to a good turnout and another great time with our friends.
Thursday I took Stella to work because Bill and Ornell were coming over to Rayford from Lakeview and she might need a ride from me. She just had surgery and wanted to ride as smoothly as possible, and with the trailer loaded on their truck they were afraid that it would be too rough for her to ride comfortably. Bill called and said she would be fine so I didn't need to pick her up. I decided to take the porch to Manvel to drop it off to be re-powder coated. After dropping it off, I stopped by the First National Bank there to see Beverly about some information that she had called me about concerning the last bank robbery. I verified that an FBI agent had called her back and had a nice chat with her, catching up on what had been going on. When I left the bank, I went across the street to visit the new City Hall. I saw several of my former coworkers including Aaron Bell, who was Captain of the Police Dept. and is now the Fire Marshall and Code Enforcement officer. We also caught up on city news and I had a nice chat with him.
I came on back to Rayford and hung out with Bill and Ornell for the afternoon. After picking up Stella, we went back over to their house and hung out with them before we got sleepy and came on back home. It's good to be back with our friends again.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
On my way back home, I went by Parkway Chevrolet to check their inventory. They didn't have anything I was interested in but I did talk to another salesman who didn't know what he was talking about. Imagine that, a car salesman that doesn't know the line he is selling...
I came back home and used the new vacuum cleaner to clean the living room and kitchen. I had come home with an upset stomach, so I took it easy the rest of the day and just watched some television until time to go pick Stella up from work. She got off late tonight but wasn't in a mood to talk about it, but we made it back home. Tonight is my television night, so we won't be doing much tonight.
I came back home and Stella was up and ready to go down to our storage to return the small fridge to get it out of our way. We didn't actually leave here until almost 11, but we got it done and made good time to Texas City, got our refrigerator dropped off and picked up the old vacuum cleaner. We went to a repair store because this one had stopped picking up like it should, so we were going to have it repaired. The man at the store explained to us that our old one never had real good suction and offered to make a trade for one of his new ones that had greater pickup power and was much lighter. We made the deal and were soon on our way back to Houston.
We stopped off at the Lakeview RV Park where Bill and Ornell were. She just had some surgery done to her neck and was recovering nicely. They have decided to come to Rayford on Thursday, so I called the park and made their arrangements. We had a nice visit with them and later came on back home. It had been a long day but we got a lot done.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Before leaving, I met a couple that had been staying in the park in a Sundance trailer. We had a nice chat and I learned that they are going to Rockport for the winter. I told them about the luncheon that is planned in February, so I hope to run into them again down there. They said they want to move up to a larger trailer and want to stay with a Heartland product, so I referred them to Jerry at Ron Hoover RV's in Donna. Maybe they will do some business with him.
We pulled out of the park a little after 10. We were in no big hurry to leave because we only have 130 miles to go today. We took a different route today also, Hwy. 71 to 59 and into Houston from there. It was a much smoother way to go and we enjoyed the trip. We took our time and arrived at Rayford about 1:30. It's good to be back home...
We talked to Gwen for a long time when we got here and went down to our site and got all set up. I didn't set up the porch yet because I'm taking it back to Steve Van Dusen in Manvel to have it re-powder coated. He did the job for me awhile back and it didn't last, so he agreed to do it again.
I visited with several old friends that have come in before us, and watched the Texans football game (we won!!) and ate a pizza for our supper. It turned chilly tonight, the coldest night so far, and it sure made for some good sleeping. I am having coffee with the guys again, so with the exception of some of the winter Texans not being here yet, things are back to normal. We'll be going back to work at Timber Ridge again on Tuesday and things will truly be back to normal soon.
We heard from Mike and Patrice this morning that they are coming in this afternoon from Donna where they picked up their new Bighorn 3580 from Ron Hoover. They just bought a used Bighorn and a used Ford truck but Patrice decided that she didn't like the truck, so they traded it back in to McRee Ford in Dickinson for a new Ford Dually F-350. This is the truck they took on vacation to Colorado with us, and I must say, it's a very pretty truck. I love the pearl white color, which I'm told, isn't available in other brands of trucks. It is available in half-ton trucks but not the one tonners. I guess I don't understand why they won't try to accommodate their customers...
They kept their first Bighorn from July until now and found the model they liked at a price they would pay down in Donna at the Ron Hoover dealership there, so they came down and bought it. When they got here with the new trailer, it has a lot of features that we like, so....no, we're not buying a new trailer right away.
This afternoon we went to Stella's class reunion in Blessing. It was a huge affair, with about 180 people there. The classes at the Tidehaven High School were very small, but the reunions are open to any graduates in the decade, with one class being honored. It was very nice and I saw a few people that I recognized, but of course Stella knew everyone there. It was a fun time and we had a good time. I even ran into a guy that I worked with at Big 3 but I don't know if he remembered me. After all, I left there in 1982, when I went to work for the Dickinson Police Dept. Ah yes, I remember those days....
We returned to the park and tried to sit outside but the skeeters soon ran us inside the new trailer. We visited and reminisced with Mike and Patrice until we got sleepy and went back home. It has been a very nice day that we will remember forever.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I was very apprehensive about getting out on the road with the new water pump in place, but everything was fine. The temperature gauge never wavered and we made good time. We made a couple of pit stops and pulled into the park here in Palacios about 3 o'clock. It was a very uneventful drive and a good day to travel. We noticed a lot of RV's coming south to the Rio Grande Valley, and it will soon fill up. We are finalizing plans for another Heartland luncheon and will return in January. We can't wait!
PS-It was brought to my attention that I made a mistake the other day when I told you about the steak dinner. Tommy actually bought and cooked the steaks and Donna fixed a pork tenderloin for Ted's birthday dinner. When I make mistakes like this, I feel very bad about it but this is what I get for falling behind in my blogging. I'll try to do better.
Tommy took us for a drive over the levee behind the park. We had not been up there and it showed how close to the border this park is. I can see why the Border Patrol spends so much time up here and why we see so many helicopters monitoring this area.
We hung out at the park for the afternoon until I got the call from the dealership that my truck was ready. Ted, Tommy and I went to get it while the girls found a place to eat supper. About $1,700 later I picked up my truck, but at least it is fixed and the dang "low coolant" light should not come back on now! That will be a big relief, but very expensive. We went to eat at a place called McAllister's Deli and had some good food. When we got through eating we began to put things away in preparation for leaving tomorrow. We had not put out too much stuff but we were ready to get back home. Ted and Donna have decided to stay here for a couple more days, but Tommy and Susan will be leaving early in the morning.
We have had such a good time here and I am sure we will return.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
This is not something I would like to do every day, but it is a sight to see! A person could make money at this by having garage sales, but its not for me or Stella. We enjoy going once while we're down in the valley but that's enough for us.
Monday, September 27, 2010
We went outside and drank our coffee with the rest of the group and while there, I met another resident of the park, Don Robidoux. He has been down visiting his son who is moving here from Mexico. We had a nice chat and he left to go meet his son. There aren't many others staying here right now but that will change next week when the early snowbirds start arriving.
We stayed here until after the Dallas-Houston football game and went into Donna for supper. We went to one of our favorites, Martha's diner which we found the first time we came down here, staying at Casa Del Sol. The diner is right next door to the RV park, so it was really convenient for us, but today it was closed until October 17th when they reopen for the winter Texas season. We ended up going to El Palenque at the suggestion of our friend Bob Wurch. The food was very good and not the usual TexMex food that we are accustomed to but still very good.
Speaking of Bob, I learned that his motorhome was broken into at the storage lot, with approximately $22,000 in damage and stolen items removed from it. He was supposed to have come down here this week but after the damage, he is staying at home. We will miss him.
We returned home and sat out in the covered patio across the street from our sites. It is so nice to have everything in the park to ourselves. We visited Ted and Donna here in January when we were down here and know that this is a very nice park during the season, but it has been nice now, during the off season. It has been warm but except for some rain, pretty nice here.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
We started our day by taking Tommy and Susan to Gonzales Burger for lunch. We have eaten here several times before and just because it is the off season for winter Texans, they still serve some of the best burgers you've ever eaten. The meat is about a 3/4 pound patty and cooked to perfection. T & S were very impressed. We learned that many of the attractions that we wanted to show them were either not open or had been closed due to high water in the Rio Grande river, so we're going to miss several interesting sights here. They will have to come back with us one day during the peak season.
After lunch, we went to the Don-Wes flea market which is mostly closed because there are so few people to shop there. This is where we adopted Tramp, so the rest of the afternoon was spent trying to find doggie stuff for him. We got him a doggie bed and a very small collar, but no leash as yet.
We came back home and ate a great supper that Tommy had brought us of steaks, baked potatoes and all the trimmings. We also introduced Tramp to his new home. Cassie freaked out when she first saw him, but they are getting on just fine now. So far he has been taken out on a leash several times and does his business every time. He has started to eat and drink but we'll have to get him his own dishes because Cassie doesn't want to share. It's going to be a learning process with a puppy to train and to get used to. Wish us luck...
We got out of the park about 9:40, later than I wanted but still not a bad time to leave. We only made one stop, in Odem, for fuel and a potty break. It rained on us all the way down which slowed us down some but the trip was pretty much uneventful. We pulled into the park right on time, an hour behind the rest of the group, Ted and Donna and Tommy and Susan. The lady in the office told us that she had been waiting for us to arrive, and as soon as we got checked in, she closed the office and went home.
It took us just over 5 hours to get here, or just about what we figured. I realized that we needed to make one more stop to stretch and we will make this adjustment on our way back here next weekend.
It began to rain on us again so we didn't get the porch and steps set up but everything else was done. We were tired and wet, so we just knocked off and later went to eat at Furr's Fresh Buffet in Donna, one of our favorite restaurants up here. We had a very enjoyable meal, however there was one rather funny but sad man that came in while we were eating. He is apparently homeless and was pushing a small cart, like the ones used at flea markets with a mesh type container that apparently contained all of his belongings. It began as funny to see all of the food that he had stacked up on plates but I soon realized that this was probably his first meal in some time. He is probably one of the unfortunately homeless individuals that has to sell aluminum cans or other discarded items to make money, or beg from others to make enough to be able to eat. I did not speak to this man, but I have seen many like him in the past. It was still funny to see a plate full of chicken, plates of vegetables, rolls and a plate containing five or six pieces of chocolate cake. There is no telling how long he will have to sit here to eat all of that food.
This man reminded me again of how lucky we are to be able to live our traveling lifestyle like we do.
We came home and tried to sit outside but the skeeters were terrible and we didn't stay out very long. With all the rain they have had the mosquitoes are very aggressive now. We'll just have to deal with them as best we can. I guess our cans of Off will get a good workout this week.
Tuesday was warm and sticky from all the rain we have had. We decided to go to the Blessing Hotel for lunch, which was great home cooked food that we have loved for a long time. Stella had a nice chat with Helen, owner of the restaurant, about many of their common friends including most of Stella's relatives who still live near Blessing.
Wednesday we met Chad and Jana and their kids Gracie and Grant for supper at the Palacios Mexican restaurant. The food was filling but tasteless but we had a nice visit with them. We talked about our trip to Colorado, comparing it to their own. They met us in Las Vegas New Mexico on their way home, and on our way to Colorado Springs. We enjoyed reliving the two trips and the kids especially loved it.
Thursday we went to the Outrigger restaurant, a seafood restaurant that we have been enjoying for a long time but the food quality has gone way down. They used to use fresh fish and shrimp but now they have begun using frozen, farm raised items that are tasty but not as good as fresh. We had been given a coupon from the RV park when we checked in for a "buy one get one free" deal at the restaurant. We presented the coupon when we paid the bill and nothing was said but the lady owner followed us outside telling us that they had stopped honoring the coupon some time ago. She said that she would take ours but wanted to know where we had gotten it. We, of course told her, and suggested that she remove all the remaining coupons so this will not come up again. It certainly won't come up for us again.
The bad economy has certainly affected this area. We have noticed many closed businesses including all of the major manufacturer car lots in Bay City and numerous small businesses that have been shuttered. We can only hope that the area will recover soon.