Sunday, January 31, 2010

Thursday & Friday January 28 & 29, 2010, Stephen F. Austin SP

Here are some of the many birds that feast at our bird feeder. These pictures were taken by Stella from the side window of the trailer. What a view!
One of the redbirds eating some of the food that was thrown on the ground by the other birds.

This squirrel was also eating on the ground. He had been climbing up the metal pole to get at the birdseed until I put up a paper plate to keep him down.

Hey, who the heck did this to me? Can't a poor little squirrel get something to eat around here?

Maybe I can just pull this thing down and climb over it. There's plenty of delicious food just inches away. Hmmmm maybe I can just eat the edges off this plate and get up there!

I'm tired, gonna go find a snack on the ground. I'm sure those birds knocked a lot of food off for me to eat.

Made it! Now to dine!

Oh boy, oh boy....!

These two days we didn't do anything but do our chores. Pretty boring stuff. It is fun to just sit and watch the birds, and of course, there is the herd of deer that lays down in the high grass behind our site. We leave next week for the Rio Grande Valley for a month but we'll be back here in March. I don't know if we'll have this same site, although it would be all right with me if we did. We'll just have to wait and see whats available when we return.
So long.

Wednesday January 27, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

We woke this morning to warmer temperatures, but thats gonna change soon! The weather-guessers on television have all be excited over another cold front thats on its way. I'll believe it when I see it. We've been disappointed before by them.

We went out the first thing this morning to check the bathrooms. It doesn't take all that much to keep the bathrooms clean when you keep them swept out and the trash removed. This is a pretty easy gig when we check them often.

I've been staying in touch with Jennifer and Melissa because of the impending cold weather. I would hate to find out that they turned into a big block of ice. We haven't heard much from Kim and the boys. Since she just started a new job, we are hesitant to call her at work but have left her several messages on her phone. She either doesn't listen to her messages or somehow they get lost. I don't know...

We made another couple of checks of the bathrooms in the afternoon because there are several people in the RV section of the park. There are no people in the tent or shelter areas, but we check that bathroom anyway.

Stella has been working steadily on shredding our old records from the house. She is making a lot of progress but it leaves a lot of small shreds on the floor where she is working. I have been sweeping the trailer, trying to help her keep it clean. We have been using the built-in vacuum cleaner, trying to conserve space used by the old vacuum from the house. It has been working well but we'll soon have to find some more bags for it.

We were sitting around, watching television when we had some visitors drop by for a visit. Billy and Gwen, owners of Rayford Crossing and Timber Ridge. They had been checking out some parks around San Marcos and were on their way home. It was good to see them again. We will see them again in April when we return to Rayford for the Heartland rally, and of course, we are working at Timber Ridge from May-July. We really love it when our friends drop by.

So long.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Monday & Tuesday, January 25 & 26, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

Our days off were again filled with errands and chores. We began on Monday morning with a meeting of all the park hosts in the dining hall. Larry, the host coordinator, thanked all of us for the job that we are doing. The main purpose of the meeting was to distribute and discuss our assignments and days off.

After the meeting, we went back home to see Ted and Donna off. Sadly they have things at their house that they have to get done, so they left today. We will see them again when we go to Mission next month.

We ran a few errands around Sealy and decided to go up to Columbus for lunch at Schoebel's restaurant there. This is a relatively famous buffet restaurant that we just never got to go to. The food was good, but to me, it was nothing special. After lunch, Stella wanted to go over to Bellville to visit her uncle Sonny Herreth. We spent a couple of hours at his house visiting with him and his wife before we came back home.

Tuesday we got up pretty early and went to Clear Lake and Texas City for Stella to meet with clients and other work-related things. We stayed down there most of the day but returned in time to pick up one of the propane bottles to refill it. It ran out the other night in the middle of the night, as they are designed to do, and since there is the threat of more cold weather this coming weekend, I didn't want to take a chance on running out. We returned home in time for me to see NCIS, so all is well with the world.

So long.

Sunday January 24, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

We woke this morning to warmer weather. We made our first bathroom checks before meeting Ted and Donna and Tommy and Susan for breakfast at, guess where?......Tony's in Sealy. We had eaten breakfast here before and knew it was good, as everything we have eaten here has been. Tommy and Susan had to leave (sob) today, so they had to return to the park to pack up, but check out here is at 2 o'clock, so there was no rush for them to leave. After a short time, they were ready to go. Stella and I had made our second check of the restrooms and were just finishing up when they pulled out. We are sad to see them go, but Susan must go back to work tomorrow and Tommy had some work to get done this week, so they had to go home.

Ted and I watched the football playoffs this afternoon. We watched the first game between Indianapolis and the New York Jets here at our trailer and the second between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at Ted's. There is definitely a lot of difference between the new High Definition televisions and the old tv's. Ted is trying to decide on a new trailer or a motorhome. Either one should have a new style television in it, but he did say that he may just improve some of the features in his old trailer and just keep it. I don't really have an opinion on which for them to buy because there are features on both that would make them attractive.

Congratulations to the Colts and the Saints as they prepare for the Super Bowl.

Stella fixed a pork roast and Donna fixed a salad and some baked sweet potatoes, so our meal was ready about halfway through the second football game. It was a great meal with our friends and we enjoyed it. It ended a very nice weekend with good food and good friends at a nice state park. Life is good...

So long.

Saturday January 23, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

It was cold again this morning when I woke, but nothing like a few days ago. We began our hosting chores early since the park was full. I think every site was full except for the two that were being repaired. We worked in the bathrooms three times during the day, but we kept them clean and had three people that complimented us on the cleanliness of them.

Some of our old Boomer friends, Jim and LeAnne came by this afternoon to visit Ted and Donna. We went over for a visit soon after they got here, and it was good to see them again. Ted and Donna had brought some steaks and Ted cooked them on the grill. Susan's sister had come by for a visit but she had to leave before we ate, so she missed out! We had a nice time with our friends and were sorry to see them go home. Jim and LeAnne have a fifth wheel trailer but have decided to sell it because they don't use it very often any more. If anyone is interested in a nice 28' Cougar fifth wheel might want to look at this one.

We stayed outside until almost dark when they had to go back home and it was getting cool again. After hugs and handshakes, we bid them good bye. We miss many of the friends we made in the Boomers and hope that we can run into them sometime in the future.

So long.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Friday January 22, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

We woke this morning to see people pouring into the park today. Being the first pretty weather weekend since we've been here, it was much different than our other weekends here. We had to clean the restrooms twice today, which is much more than usual, but we got it done. Stella went to the women's side and I did the men's and it didn't take too long.

Tommy's sister Peggy and her husband Lin came by to visit around noon. Tommy fixed hot dogs with all the trimmings and hamburgers on his outdoor grill. It was good to see Peggy and Lin, since we hadn't seen them since we were in Colorado. We all enjoyed our meal and had a nice visit with everyone.

We helped a man get his truck unhooked from a brand new trailer that they had just picked up from Camping World. Apparently they didn't do a pre-delivery inspection and walk around of the trailer because he had many questions. He was very appreciative and we invited him to ask if he had any further problems.

We went to Tony's for supper with Ted and Donna and Tommy and Susan. We had another great meal and visit with our friends. We really love this restaurant!

It was chilly tonight and I sold some firewood to a couple of people that came by our trailer. At least they stopped coming by before it got too late. One of the other park hosts said people have come to his rig as late as 11 o'clock and I am thankful that no one has bothered us that late. So far we have enjoyed being park hosts here.

So long.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thursday January 21, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

We got up this morning to go see Bob and Christina and Jerry and Joanne as they pulled out for Blanco state park. This will be their first stop on a long summer trip into Canada and ending in Alaska. After hugs and handshakes, they pulled out around 9 o'clock.

Some of our other friends are coming in today, Ted and Donna and Tommy and Susan. Ted and Donna arrived first, but Tommy was only about 30 minutes behind them. We had gone to the office to reserve their sites, but when Tommy got here, he changed his mind and changed to site #21, right behind us. We had put Ted and Donna into #25, which is right in front of us, so we are in a row with a huge area for our yards. We really didn't need all that, but its nice to have it. We have had a herd of deer that has been sleeping in the brushy area behind our site and they returned tonight.

After everyone got set up, we sat around and visited in the afternoon before going inside to take our naps. Stella had fixed some of her soup/goulash and some cornbread, so supper was made. Donna had made some Bisquik shortcakes to go with some strawberries and blueberries that she had left over from one of her meetings, so we had everything for berry shortcakes but no Cool Whip or whipped cream. Ted and I decided to go try to get some for us and went to a very small store here in San Felipe, the truck stop/grocery store also in San Felipe, another service station that had groceries in Sealy and finally, after no one else had it, Wal Mart in Sealy where we finally found it. Susan had called Tommy when she left work in the Woodlands and we barely beat her back to the park from our search for Cool Whip. Ted bought a couple of bottles of wine for Donna, and I wondered what the Wal Mart employees thought about two good looking older men buying wine and whipped cream.....

We came back here and had a very nice meal with our friends and sat around for a little while outside until the skeeters ran us back inside. The weather is still very cool at night, although not nearly as cold as it was a few days ago. We're looking forward to a fun weekend with our friends.

So long.

Wednesday January 20, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

It is still cool in the mornings here, but the daytime temperatures are pretty moderate now. I'm sure that this will change at some point and winter will return, but its nice now. We ate a quick breakfast here in the trailer and went on the restroom rounds. It hasn't been too bad so far with the restrooms but at least we have a cart to ride around in. I am still getting my walks in but they are strictly pleasure walks now and don't have work attached to them.

Bob and Christina had taken their trailer to Camping World yesterday to have a hole drilled into it for a new TV cable to Bob's new Hi Def TV. He had bought a new HD antenna and needed a new cable, so he took it to the store's service department to have the hole drilled in and then sealed. Bob certainly deserves to have a nice hi definition television, so now he has everything he needs to watch the big games in hi def.

Bob had also ordered new tires for the trailer and went back to the store to have them installed. when they finished the tire installation, they told him that the wheel bearings were bad, so he had to bring the trailer back today to have them installed. They are going to Alaska this summer (lucky dogs...) and need to make these preparations for that long trip.

When they got back to the park, we decided to go out to eat tonight for our last meal together before they leave tomorrow. We got together with them and Jerry and Joanne around four o'clock and decided on the Texas Roadhouse for supper. We all had a great meal and a very nice visit with our good friends. We will certainly miss them.

So long.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday & Tuesday January 18 & 19, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

We again used our days off to run our personal errands that required us to be out of the park.

On Monday we went to Camping World to get a replacement screen door latch because ours had broken. Of course, they have a right hand and a left hand latch and we didn't know which one to get. I chose the right hand one, but it turned out to be wrong. In fact, neither one would work on our trailer because there a slot on one side that makes the latch sit down into the screen door frame, so I'll have to order one from Heartland.

We ran into Bob and Christina and Jerry and Joanne at CW. Bob wanted to ask if they could drill a hole through the trailer for him to run his new HD antenna, and while there we looked at some trailers. Although none of us want or need a new trailer, we still like to look. At least they didn't have a salesman to lead us around and we could look at and comment on any trailer that we saw on the lot. Bob is having trouble with his television and I am having trouble with my Internet connection. I had decided to install an outside antenna for some increased reception, which Bob has already done with the exact antenna that I wanted. He told me that I could buy the antenna at the Flying J truck stop, so we decided to stop by and pick one up.

Before we did this, we decided to go eat some lunch at the Cheddars restaurant near Katy. Although there was a wait to get in, we decided to stay. It was well worth it because we all enjoyed our meal. After finishing up, Stella and I went to Sam's club to buy some supplies that we will split with Bob and Christina. When we got that done, we stopped off at the Flying J and made our purchase there and came back home.

Tuesday I looked at the antenna that I had bought at Flying J and decided it would not work, so we took it back when we went back to Camping World to return the screen door latch. Let me tell you, it exhausting being retired and having to run all these errands. There isn't enough hours in the day to get all this done and work too.

So long.

Sunday January 17, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

Today was a very laid back day. We planned to just veg out and watch the football playoffs today, but we began with breakfast and what we thought would be a quick check of the restrooms, but we found them pretty messy. We washed down and swept both restrooms and got through about 10 o'clock. I came back home and started the football bonanza for today. I got to watch some of my car shows first, but at noon the football games began.

Congratulations to the Minnesota Vikings and the New York Jets. There are a lot of Cowboy fans around Texas, especially here in this house. I made a bet against the Cowboys with Christina because I really wanted the "old man" Favre to win. I got razzed a lot about betting against the Cowboys, but Favre was just too sharp for the 'Boys. Christina was very gracious in paying her bet, and my money was taped to the front door when we woke the next morning.

I have started sleeping later in the mornings. I still wake in the middle of the night, around 3 AM but have started going back to sleep either in my chair or going back to bed when its cold and sleeping until 7 or 8 o'clock. I can't explain why I still wake so early, but guess its just a habit that I've grown accustomed to. I get plenty of sleep and don't feel tired but I still get a nap in my chair in the afternoon when we're not busy doing other things.

My dilemma now is who I am going to root for in the NFC Championship game. Do I pull for the "Who Dat" Saints or the old man again and the Minnesota Vikings? Right now I don't know who it will be but I will make up my mind before the game starts.

We checked the restrooms again late in the afternoon and had to do some more work there. We really can't complain about the amount of work we have had to do since being here. The cold weather pretty much kept everyone out of the park for the first 12 days and rain at the beginning of this week kept some of the others out, so we've had a pretty easy time of it so far. I'm sure this will change before we leave here if not this month, in March for sure.

So long.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday January 16, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

We woke this morning to cold temperatures but no rain. We had been forecast with at least a 50% chance of rain all day today, but it didn't show up. It's pretty mushy outside and we really don't need any more right now. I had an idea one time to try to figure out a way to save these rainy times when they're not needed and use them during the summer when its hot and dry but nothing ever came of it. It's probably true what they say about not fooling with Mother Nature...

While making my morning restroom checks I ran into Christina who told me that she and Joanne were thinking about going to a movie this afternoon. I came home and told Stella of their plans. When I finished with my chores around here, I got all settled in for an afternoon of football. Today is the second round of the playoffs and congratulations go to those "Who Dat" New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts.

Stella called around five o'clock, telling me to go pick up Bob and Jerry and for us to meet them at Orlando's Pizza in Brookshire. We did after I unloaded several boxes of papers that need to be shredded. Everyone enjoyed the buffet and we even got to watch more of the football game there. We came back home and watched more television until bedtime.

I like to read the obituaries. No I'm not morbid but since I've had a few more birthdays than many, I'm checking to see if I made the list but nobody told me. I want to check to see if any old friends or acquaintances have passed on so I can pay my respects. I also miss some of the old timey names that people were hung with, not the fancy-schmancy names that the younger generation uses. Sturdy names, historic names, biblical names, unusual names and sometimes downright funny names. People today use more popular names and there are several websites for names. Facebook even ranks names by popularity and years that that particular name was popular. I'm pretty happy with mine and don't really care how it ranked back in the day.

So long.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Friday January 15, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

I woke to cold rain falling that lasted all day long. The weather never got above about 56 degrees, not very cold when you remember that last weekend it didn't get above the freezing mark all day on Saturday. The temperature was much better, but with the rain, it was still pretty miserable. In the afternoon, I checked the rain gauge and found almost 4 inches of rain had fallen overnight and all day today.

I only checked the restrooms in the RV section since no one was in the tent area. I had learned yesterday that there is a 15 tent group coming in today, even in the rain! They weren't here yet, so I only checked one set of restrooms. So far this job has been great, with only clean restrooms that didn't need much attention but I'm sure that will change soon.

Our good friends Tom and Judy came up from the Lakeview RV park where they are staying while Judy gets treated at the M.D. Anderson hospital nearby. Judy looked very good, considering she has just finished up her chemo treatment. She tires easily, so we didn't do anything but sit around in Bob and Christina's beautiful classic Landmark trailer, admiring her new additions. Jerry and Joanne came over to visit for a while but Joanne had a doctor appointment and Jerry went back to their motorhome. The six of us decided to go get something to eat at where else but Tony's in Sealy. Everyone seems to love the country style restaurant and they didn't fail us today. We had a great waitress named Linda, who gave us some great service. We have been waited on by Linda before, so we knew service was not going to be a problem and the food is always good here, and there is always plenty of it. In fact, the last time we were there. Linda came by and looked at our portions. She said that if we had not gotten enough to eat, she would go back and get more. Believe me, we had plenty of food!

We finished the meal with some wonderful pie and cake. I know, those of you that read this and know of my fight with diabetes will wonder how I can eat sweets and keep this boyish figure and my blood sugar in check, but trust me, it's happening. Without going into details and getting in trouble by releasing confidential medical records (HIPPA laws you know), my blood sugar is well in check. My daily blood sugar levels are just a tiny bit high, but not too bad and nothing like they have been.

We had a nice visit after finishing up our meal, and some of the employees noticed how much fun we have. We explained to them that we are all full time RVer's and had met a few years ago. We all have the same brand trailer (Heartland) but different models. Three different families from three different states and traveling in different areas of the country but meeting once or twice a year at an RV rally really give us a lot to talk about. We talked, laughed and cut up to the delight of the restaurant employees. We always have a great time with our good friends.

After hugs and handshakes, we departed the restaurant and came back home. On the way back home, I decided to go over to the tent area to check the restroom. Believe it or not there were two tents set up over there. One was right across the street from the restrooms and I noticed that the back side of the tent was actually in standing water. I couldn't believe anyone would stay there overnight, but there was the proof. The other tent was a little further away from the restroom but it was there and set up for the night. I picked up a little trash in the restroom but it didn't need any other attention. We drove through the group camping section but no one was there yet. I stopped to check the RV restroom and had my first experience with fining a lady in the restroom. I am particularly careful when entering the women's restroom, knocking first and listening for a reply. I only open the door a crack and call out before opening it further to call out again if there is no response. When I cracked open the door, I saw a lady who was completely dressed, drying her hair. Embarrassed, I left and got Stella to go check inside for me. She said the lady asked her if that had been her husband and she told them that I am a park host and was only checking the restroom. They came out laughing at me, so I guess I'm not in trouble. I later heard on my park radio that the tenters had left, giving in to the cold rainy weather. I don't blame them.

So long.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sunday January 10 thru Thursday January 14, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

Sorry I haven't been keeping the blog up, but I will try to do better.

On Sunday, we just hung out here at home, watching the football playoffs. It was still way cold and below freezing in the morning, but it was warm and cozy inside. We are eating better and have been doing well eating only two meals a day.

Monday is our first official day off. I had gotten an email about our friends Bob and Christina and Jerry and Joanne coming in today so we looked for them. We went into Sealy and washed our clothes and when we got back, Jerry and Joanne had arrived and were set up. Bob and Christina arrived later in the afternoon. We went over and looked at the improvements they made to their trailer while in the Rio Grand Valley. They got new carpet, new wooden blinds, and had their couch reupolstered and some new trim that matches everything. Their nice trailer is even more beautiful now.We all went to eat at Tony's restaurant in Sealy. It was another great meal and everyone was full when we left.

Tuesday, Stella and I drove down to Texas City where we picked up some papers that Stella needed to work on for her clients. We went by the house and picked up our mail and looked around again for anything that we needed. We still haven't heard from the man that is going to buy the house to get a closing date. Hopefully he'll call soon and give us the big date. We can't wait!

I have forgotten to put my fuel down here. Diesel prices are slowly going back up, but I found a little station in Texas City that has some good prices. On January 5th, I filled up both tanks, taking 122.4 gallons to go 1520.8 miles for a 12.4 average. Keep in mind that much of these miles were towing the trailer, so I guess that's not that bad. Today, while in Texas City again, I filled up from our running errands and our trip to Texas City. We took 17.1 gallons to go 308 miles for an 18.0 average. Much better!

Wednesday I went back to "work", checking the restrooms, both the RV area and the tent area. Neither one needed much work, but I did pick up some trash and leaves that had been tracked in. Since I don't have a golf cart yet, I walk around the RV loop and then walk over to the tent area to check that restroom. the walk is about a mile and a half, so I get my exercise and my work done at the same time.

Thursday it began to rain in earnest. I didn't take my walk, but we needed to go into town to get propane because one of the tanks had run out last night. I don't know how they program these tanks to always run out in the middle of the night. Every single time ours has run out, it is between 1AM and 4 AM, usually raining when I have to go out to change the tank over. I could set the tank to automatically switch, but then when one went out I wouldn't know it and when the heater stopped working, we would be completely out of propane. Can you imagine the chewing-out I would get? I have enough knuckle bumps on me from disagreeing with Stella, so I don't need any more.

Larry came by and asked us to come to a safety meeting in the dining hall. This is a mandate from the state of Texas for employees and includes us as volunteer workers. It was a good chance to get together with the other park hosts and go over a few things. I was told that I will get a golf cart tomorrow. We'll see how that works out.

When we got through with the safety meeting, we drove over to Brookshire to refill the propane tank. It's about 8 miles down the freeway but the propane is a little cheaper there. We have to watch our pennies now, living on a fixed income. After finishing up this chore, we were both hungry so we stopped in at Orlando's Pizza. They have an all day pizza buffet and let me tell you, it is some of the best pizza I've ever eaten. I was apprehensive that there wouldn't be much selection at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, but there was a surprising number of people eating and a great selection. They even asked if there was a special pizza that we would like, but we found everything that we liked.

It's still cold, though not nearly as cold as last week. It started to rain again today and is supposed to rain most of the weekend. I had forgotten about this being a holiday weekend, with Monday being the Martin Luther King holiday. It is kind of ironic because this used to be one of the weekends that I planned rallies in, but now that I'm retired, I had forgotten about it. I guess some holidays don't mean that much any more.

So long.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Saturday January 9. 2010-Stephen F.Austin SP

It was 17 degrees in the park this morning but we made it through without any problems. I had wrapped the water line with insulation. I had bought a water line heater strip but it turned out to be for hard lines so I didn't use it. I didn't want to melt my water line.

I got an email from our friends Tommy and Susan that they were coming by for a visit later today. I went on my Park Host round, checking the restrooms both in the RV area and the tent area. After checking the RV area, I walked back into the group area and found a large group of scouts that had spent the night in their tents. Oh to be young again.....Their restroom didn't need any work, so I checked the tent area where another small group had spent the night in one of the screen shelters, but again everything was fine. I stopped and chatted with some of the other campers along my path and a couple of them said that their water lines had frozen. We talked a bit about their plans to solve their problem and I went back home.

Tommy and Susan arrived around noon. We walked around the area where we are parked and they made up their mind about the sites they would like to have when they return near the end of January. With that done, we went into Sealy to get some lunch. We went to the best restaurant in town, Tony's restaurant. They serve a cafeteria-style lunch that was very tasty. We all enjoyed our meal and after finishing up, we all had some of the great pie that they serve. Man, that some good stuff!

Tommy took us to find some more propane for our tank that had run out overnight. We went to the hardware store but all they do is sell full bottles. We drove down to Brookshire to the propane store there but they had already closed so we went to the Flying J service station where we got all filled up. We returned home and they left to drive back to their home in Deer Park. We will be glad to see them return to the park to visit.

I went on my second Park host round and checked all the restrooms but found nothing that needed attention, so I returned home and into the warm trailer. Today is our trailer's birthday. We picked it up from Camping World a year ago today. It still looks good for a one year old.

So long.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Friday January 8, 2010-Stephen F Austin SP

We woke to 28 degree weather today. It stayed near the freezing mark all day long, never getting above 34 on our outdoor thermometer. It made my outdoor times pretty quick but I did get my patrols of the RV area and the restrooms in during the day. They were cold walks but it felt good to get out of the trailer and in the clear air.

I did talk to Larry in the afternoon and learned that the golf cart that I was to have gotten would not take a charge on the batteries, so he had left it at the shop. This brings up one of my pet peeves about the state and the way parks are funded. I have learned that everything bought at a park must come from Austin. That doesn't sound too bad does it? That way all materials can be accounted for by the bean counters and they can take advantage of buying in quantity and get discounts on the materials. But take it to the local level. Let's say you are working on a lawnmower or leaf blower. You need a couple of bolts and nuts or a belt to finish your job, but if there aren't any in stock in the shop, you have to fill out a requisition form, send it in to Austin and wait for the shipment from headquarters. That may be an extreme example, but you get my point. Why not give each park a certain amount of money, say $250.00 to buy small items locally. As the money is spent, more money is requested from Austin. In the case of the golf cart, it appears to me that it may need new batteries. There are 6-6 volt batteries on the cart, which would be over the limit, but why make it so difficult for the people in the parks to do their job? The state is getting free labor in the form of Park Hosts so why not give them the equipment they need to work?

Enough of my rant, off the soapbox now.

I chatted with some of the other hosts here in the park during the day. Everyone is hunkering down due to the cold, but since we're in Texas, just wait a few days and the temperatures will be in the 60's or 70's.

So long.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Wednesday & Thursday, January 6 & 7, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP

Well, today (Wednesday) is my first day on the "job". We went to the meeting at 9 o'clock, which by the way, is a wonderful time to have to be at work. We met with Larry, the volunteer coordinator, to learn what will be expected of us. There was another couple with us, AD and his wife Dee, who went through the indoctrination routine with us. They are more experienced than us at being a Park Host but everyone must go through it.

The main things will be to pick up trash around the park, to clean the fire pits and to keep the rest rooms clean. Our first assignment is to keep up with the restrooms in the tent area. That should be real easy this week with the forecast weather of freezing temperatures all weekend long. Larry also showed us around the shop, the supply areas and the equipment area. We signed the expected agreements and notices that we are not state employees and have no rights to insurance or any other benefits, so be careful! We went to the tent area restroom to actually see one of the restrooms and the supply closet there. This doesn't look too hard to me, but I may change my mind when lots of people come into the park and leave a mess behind....

The first thing we actually had to work on was taking the Christmas decorations down at the main headquarters. We met the other Park Hosts, Don and his wife, AD and his wife, who all worked on the decorations. There is another couple, Leon and his wife who are both being treated at MD Anderson for cancer. They were involved in a bad traffic accident recently and are slowly recovering. They are parked in the tent area in the only RV hookup site.

After getting everything down and loaded onto trucks, we took it back to the shop where it was unloaded and stored. Larry and I also worked on one of the golf carts, but it wouldn't take a charge on the battery, so I won't have a cart to drive around to do my chores. The park ranger took the others over to the day use area where the water lines were drained and secured against the cold weather.

On Thursday, I walked around the circle on my way to check the restrooms and picked up some trash. So far, I like this job, but of course, there's not many people in the park. In fact, there were nine trailers in the park and there are five of us doing Park Hosting. Surprisingly, several more trailers and a couple of motorhomes came in late in the afternoon. One of the new rigs was an A-frame trailer. I know they will be using the restrooms, so tomorrow should be a little busier than today was.

So long.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monday & Tuesday, January 4 & 5, 2010-Stephen F. Austin state park

This is our new home for two out of the next three months, Stephen F. Austin State Park in San Felipe Texas. San Felipe is the Birthplace of Anglo-American settlement of Texas and the original home of the Texas Rangers. There is a lot of history in this area of Texas with the original city founded in 1837. The park is 664 acres with two parts, one recreational and the other historical.

Here we are, all set up in site #23. We had our choice of sites and picked this one because it is level and we can use our porch and steps. We missed being able to use them in Louisiana. Cassie especially hated coming up and down the regular steps.

Here's a picture of our yard. We have an even larger area that is allowed to grow up that is behind the yard for the wildlife I suppose. The best thing about the yard is that I don't have to keep it mowed.
Monday we went into Sealy and ran a few errands and Stella washed our clothes. We didn't go too far away today but on Tuesday we went down to Dickinson to move a few more boxes to storage and then loaded the back of the truck with records and other papers that Stella wants to go through. She will shred the ones that are no longer needed and we will return the others to storage.
Tomorrow is the big day for me to start my park hosting job.
So long.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sunday January 3, 2010-Moving day-S. Toledo Bend SP to Stephen F. Austin SP

Today was the day that everyone dreads, going home day or in our case, moving day to another park. Of course, Harry and Judy were doing much the same as we are, but in their case they were returning to the Via Bayou park. We are going to the Stephen F. Austin state park in San Felipe TX. We will be park hosting there and are looking forward to it. I dropped off an application for S. Toledo Bend with Connie one of the park rangers for next year.

We left the park about 10:30 and made good time back. We made a couple of pit stops along the way and got to SFA about 2:30. We spoke to the same lady that hired me in the office. She told me that the park rangers are off on Monday and Tuesday, so for me to come in to work on Wednesday morning about 9 or 9:30. Wow, just got to work and have two days off. I like this gig already!

We got all hooked up including the porch being put up, so we're home for a month. This is a nice little park but there is no wifi and we must be nearly out of range for the air card because the reception is very slow. At least I got good signal strength on the dish, so we've got good television reception.

Today is my birthday. I got calls from Jennifer and Melissa and got about 40 Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook account but no one bought me that new Nikon camera that I want LOL. I'm sure it's being shipped and is in the mail. A better present for me would be for the man that's going to buy the house to call and tell me his check is ready so we can close and be rid of it. Actually, I feel so lucky to be living the life that I want to and traveling where I want to go. Everyone should be so lucky.

So long.

Friday and Saturday, January 1 & 2, 2010-So. Toledo Bend State Park LA

We went for a ride with Ricky and Dee to see the bald eagle nest and this is what we found. The large nest is very high up in a tree and well off the road.
Here is a little better shot of the bird in the nest. Although we didn't get to see this one out of the nest, Ricky and Dee said they had seen it sitting on one of the tree branches before. I guess we'll have to come back to see it again.

Here is a little better shot of the bird. This is the only nest that we saw but I suppose there must be others somewhere in the area. Dee and I walked out into the field to get a little closer but didn't get too close so we wouldn't get in trouble with the park rangers.
Since we had all turned in pretty early on the rainy New Year eve, we got up pretty early and relit the fire in our gathering area between Bill and Ricky's trailers. We had another great breakfast and then hung out by the fire. Most of us took naps in the afternoon and Judy, who was still sick, stayed inside to get better.
I think this was one of the best new year parties that we have ever had. Everyone seemed to have a great time among friends, and we look forward to many more in the future.
So long.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thursday December 31, 2009-S. Toledo Bend state park LA

Here is the trailer, all set up at the South Toledo Bend State Park. Its a back-in site that faces toward the lake.

Here is a view from the front of the trailer. We are facing a "cut" in the lake that is very popular with boaters and fishermen.

Another view of the lake from the front of the trailer. We have seen huge amounts of ducks in the lake in front of the rig. We even saw an eagle that had caught a duck but it happened to fast to catch it on a camera.

Ricky and Dee's site had a nice deck on it. We learned that the park is building these decks on sites that are very unlevel. It makes a great meeting area for our little group.

Sunset across the lake!

Another sunset. This is a beautiful lake and we will surely be back here at some point.
We snacked on sausage and cheese, boudain, boiled shrimp and cheese dip all afternoon to the point that no one wanted anything else to eat. We sat around the fire and visited, although Judy was under the weather, so she stayed inside most of the weekend and missed the party. New Year's eve turned out to be a bust for us. We had a great fire going but about 8 o'clock it started to rain harder and harder so everyone went in. We decided that 8 was now our midnight, so we called it a night. It was a rainy and cold night, but we all had a ball before getting rained out.
So long.

Tuesday & Wednesday, December 29 & 30th 2009-Moving days-Via Bayou RV Park to S. Toledo Bend SP

Today we moved from Via Bayou RV Park to Bill and Ornell's house in Port Arthur. We plan to stay there only overnight and to go to the South Toledo Bend state park in Onacoco Louisiana the next day.

We left Via Bayou a few minutes after 12 and made it to Bill's house about 2 o'clock without incident. We didn't unhook the truck from the trailer so we can leave first thing in the morning. Bill backed the trailer in for me because he is so much more familiar with getting into his driveway. All I had to do was hook up the water and electricity for the overnight stay. We used the air antenna for television.

I guess I'm just getting paranoid about the truck, but now I notice every little noise or misstep of the truck. I hope to be able to put off buying another truck for a few months, preferable a year or more after we finalize the sale of the house. Hope it lasts that long....

We hung out with Bill all afternoon but when Ornell got home we went to HEB with them to buy our groceries for the weekend. After getting the groceries, we returned to their house and put everything away before we went to eat some good mexican food at one of Bill's favorite restaurants.

It had begun to rain in the afternoon and continued all night long. Poor Ornell got called out to work during the night but she made it to work in the morning. Bill and I woke pretty early and went to the local donut shop to get a couple of donuts for Stella and I for breakfast.

It was pouring rain all morning but we pulled out around 11 o'clock. We made good time to the state park in Louisiana. This is our first trip over here and we look forward to a very nice time at this park. It will be good to see our old friends Ricky and Dee, Harry and Judy and Bill's neighbors Will and Tammy and their son Garrett. Bill's son Seth and his wife Diana and their girls Lily and Lexxie are coming for one night and will stay with Bill and Ornell.

So long.

Saturday December 26-28th. 2009-Moving Day & packing up

We left Palacios on Saturday to go to Dickinson to finish packing up our stuff that was still in the house. We have reached a deal with an investor to buy the house and we hope that it will close by the middle of January. We made the trip to Via Bayou RV park between Dickinson and Texas City where our friends Harry and Judy have been. Stella managed to get us a site right next door to them, so we surprised them when we came in. They had no idea that we would be coming there, since our plans had changed. We were supposed to have gone to Port Arthur to visit Bill and Ornell at their house for a few days before we went to Louisiana for New Years eve.

We thought we'd gotten most everything out of the house, but we soon learned how much we had left behind. We knew that all of our old bank records were there but didn't remember how many there actually were. It seemed like we loaded and loaded on papers and took them to storage, with the intention to go through them and shred everything we can, but that will wait until we get to Stephen F. Austin. We will go down on one of our days off and get them and bring them back to the park and will sit outside and shred for as long as it takes.

We got to spend some more time with Kim, Jeremy and the boys before we left, so that was good. We won't be back down here for a long time, in May when we will be at Timber Ridge and can see them again.

That's all we did through Tuesday, work in the house and get it ready to go. We will be so glad to be rid of the house. If there is one thing I could wish for in my retirement is to have been able to get the house sold before we retired so we wouldn't have to do all this. Its all working out, but please pray for us that this sale goes through.

So long.