Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday April 29, 2010-Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

The famous gold done at Notre Dame.
A beautiful wall mural on campus.

The Notre Dame football stadium. How many famous athletes have played here?

A sculpture in the river in South Bend.

A huge old building in South Bend. I'm sure that someone that is familiar with this area will tell me what this building houses. It had no signs that I saw.
We woke again this morning in this tiny little motel room. I'm not claustrophobic but this place seems to be getting smaller by the day. At least we have our own coffee pot and don't have to go to the office for coffee any more.
We decided to go over to White Pigeon Michigan today to look at Quadra Mfg. where they make the Big Foot hydraulic leveling systems for trucks, motorhomes and trailers. Our friend Ted has this system on his trailer and we thought we'd look at it while we're up here with nothing to do. This system looks much heavier than the competition and much more robust. It is more expensive, but is probably worth it in reliability. We will talk about it since we're not doing anything else to this trailer until the repairs are made and we see how it will hold up.
We went over to South Bend and the Notre Dame campus. Is it called Noter Dame or Notre Dahm? I don't know. It's a beautiful campus but there was so much traffic and so many students walking around, it was hard to stop and take photos.
We came back here and walked over to the Menard's store that is right next door. It's an interesting place with everything from groceries to lawn supplies. Kind of like a Wal Mart on steroids.
CJ and JD Wigley invited us over for supper tonight. We had given them some frozen chicken and a turkey breast to hold onto for us while the trailer is in the shop, and they bought some potato salad and other goodies and we all ate well. We stayed over there until about 8:30 and came on back to this little motel room. It was nice to just be able to sit in a trailer again. We'll be glad when our's comes back!
So long.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday April 28, 2010-Red Roof Inn

As you can see, there is more damage to the trailer than first thought. The front cap has been removed and the bedroom slide can be seen on the floor beside the trailer.

Much more damage. The living room slide has been removed and is laying on the floor.

They are preparing the dining room slide for removal.

Even the rear cap will come off. The ladder has been removed in preparation for the removal.

I got a call pretty early this morning about the trailer repairs. It seems that once the back wall was opened water damage was found. The water was traced back to the roof, where a rubber boot that should have secured the antenna cables had slid upwards, allowing a 3/4 inch hole to be open and allow rain to enter the trailer. When this was discovered, Keith, the technician doing the work said he could not guarantee that any repair short of replacing the entire back wall would work out-long term. Heartland took the high road and elected to do the work the right way and re-skin the back side of the trailer. This will mean that the entire front cap, off door side skin and rear cap will have to be replaced. This is a huge job and will require our trailer, once the pieces are removed, to be brought back to the original assembly line for all the fiberglass to be replaced. They have scheduled an entire assembly-line crew to come in on Saturday to do the work. It also means that it will be late next week before the trailer is ready. I told Jim that we would be at the plant this afternoon to help in removing everything from the trailer.

We had lunch with Coley Brady, Vice President and Director of Fifth Wheel Sales for Heartland. He had told Jim Beletti that he wanted to meet with us this week while we are in town. We had a very nice meal with him with a lot of interesting conversation. He, like most of the Heartland executives that I have met, is very nice and easy to talk to. He listens to all suggestions and is glad to listen.

We went to our trailer and along with four Heartland employees, moved almost everything out of the trailer and stored it in a store room which was padlocked. I called Gwen at Rayford and explained that we will be delayed in getting back to run Timber Ridge. She told me to come back when my work here is done. I am so glad she is easy going. We are looking forward to working for her soon.
We came back to the motel and brought in some more stuff from the trailer. We didn't have nearly enough clothes, medicines and other things, so we picked up hopefully what will be enough to last us. When we got here, we met a very nice couple from Weatherford Texas. He is an RV transport driver, so we probably won't see them again. It brings back memories of my time as a driver. Someday I'll tell you about it.
So long.

Tuesday April 27, 2010-Moving day-Elkhart Campground to the Red Roof Inn

We woke this morning and began getting things ready to go. We hated having to pack up clothes, toiletries and everything that we needed, to move out but Stella decided to remove most of the things we have in the refrigerator and freezer because we don't want to take a chance on it thawing and ruining our fridge. Jim had first told us that we could run it on propane but I had asked about plugging it in. Not only that, but we had to put things away and get the trailer ready to move. This sucks!!

We left the park this morning about 9:20 and drove the two miles to Heartland. We drove to Fenner's office and. Heartland owns a huge complex now, of I don't know how many buildings and plants. Anyway, I went inside and got Jim and we followed him to the customer service building. We got to meet the technician that was going to do the work on our trailer. He seems to know what he's doing, and didn't see anything unusual. He promised to take care of our home and said it should be ready to go by Friday.

We stopped off at Perkins for Stella to eat breakfast. I had eaten a leftover sandwich so I wasn't hungry. When we got through, we tried to get into our motel room but the person that was already in the room wasn't out yet. We waited until after noon and finally got into our room. We actually got a room with a small refrigerator and microwave, so we had a place to put our cold stuff. I had left a couple of the larger items from the freezer with JD and told them to eat them if they wanted.

The Wigleys were coming over to this motel to set up their stay here, so when they got here, we decided to go over to Valparaiso Ind. to see some trucks at Classy Chassis. It took us about an hour and a half to get there on the backroads route that the GPS took us on, but we made it. The dealer was somewhat of a disappointment to us because they had no inventory of new trucks, only used ones. I'm sure they would have built one for me if I had asked, but I wanted to look at something now.

We drove back to Elkhart on the toll road, and it was a much shorter route. I forgot that I had set my program on the GPS to avoid toll roads, so I will have to keep this in mind when we do any more traveling. It would have been very expensive if we had the trailer with us, so to save money I will continue to avoid the toll roads.

When we checked into the motel, they gave us some discount coupons for some local restaurants. We all decided to go to the Texas Roadhouse for supper and had a very good meal.

We returned to our motel room to watch NCIS on television. Let me tell you, we can't wait to get back into our trailer. When you just use a motel room to sleep, as we had done in the past when we would visit family, it seemed to be a nice size room, but now that we're using it to watch television and actually "live" in it, we realize how small it really is. I hope they get our trailer fixed soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday April 26, 2010-Elkhart Camground

We woke this morning with lots to do today. We are supposed to take the trailer in on Wednesday for the work to be done, and there are a lot of things we need to do first.

We ate breakfast in the trailer of some muffins that we had bought at Perkins Restaurant and left to run errands. I had received a message from Ed Weidig, one of our Heartland Owners club friends from Texas. He is in Elkhart for a meeting for work. He is delivering RV's, which I did about 10 years ago. He wanted to meet us for coffee, and we met at the Goshen fairgrounds, mainly because that was a location that we both knew. We had a nice visit with him over coffee, and exchanged stories of delivering RV's. Ed attended one of our Houston rallies and said he would try to come in October.

Stella and I went to Lambright's Furniture to look at some recliners. This place is way out in the boonies near Shipshewana. The store is run by Amish people and we got their name from Rick and Brenda who had bought some chairs here last year. They make nice chairs, but we were not impressed with some of the features on them, so I think we'll keep looking. They're nice chairs and certainly worth a look, but they didn't quite fit what we need.

We were going to eat at a small restaurant near the flea market in Shipshewana but it was closed today. We ended up at The Blue Gate, a famous Amish restaurant, and had a great meal there. While there, we ran into the Wigleys again. Small world! Here we are, 1300 miles from home, and have already met with one fellow that we know from Texas and are parked next to another friend who are from Arkansas that we met in Texas. I guess that's to be expected when you live our lifestyle of traveling all the time.

I have been playing phone tag with Jim Fenner, the service manager at Heartland, about a time for getting our trailer in on Wednesday. We drove through some beautiful country on our way back to Elkhart, and just stopped in at Jim's office. We met with him and he said to bring the trailer in tomorrow instead of Wednesday, so we went home and started getting things ready to go.

We first thought of staying in one of the cabins here at the park, but when we looked at them, they are very basic little cabins with nothing in them. We would have had to bring in our own lines, towels etc. and then walked over a block to go to the showers and bathroom. We decided to go to the Red Roof Inn, nearby, where we would at least have our own bathroom.

So long.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010-Elkhart Campground

Man, we slept last night! I didn't go to bed until after 11, even though I was tired from five days of driving and of course, the hassle of the break-down yesterday. I didn't wake this morning until 8:30 and Stella didn't get up until after 9! We were both tired out and just stayed inside most of the day. I worked on catching up on my blog and she worked and played on her computer inside. I did go get us checked into the park and went over to visit with the Wigleys about 1:30.

I came back home and worked more on the computer and took a short nap in my chair. Hey, I'm still tired...We agreed to go out for supper with JD and CJ. They took us to a place called Perkins restaurant in Elkhart. We all had a good meal and bought some muffins for breakfast in the morning. We returned home to more rain, and went back inside.

A relaxed day of rest was certainly called for. I think we earned it!

Saturday April 24, 2010-Travel day, Terre Haute IN to Elkhart IN

Here we sit, broke down on the side of the road. The right rear wheel brake caliper malfunctioned, causing brake fluid to spray on the brake rotor and pads and causing a lot of smoke.

Here is a closer look at the broken caliper. The caliper is the large on the right side of the hub and had to be replaced.

We stood around so long waiting for the mobile repair guy, I took out our lawn chairs and we sat there on the side of the road. If I had some lemonade, I could have opened a stand and made a little money as we waited. :>)

Today is the final day of our journey. We are both getting into this short driving days and slept a little later this morning. We did get up in time to go have breakfast at the park, the first hot breakfast we have had all week. Again, we made good time and stopped at a rest area just before we got to Indianapolis for our break.
We got through Indianapolis and at some point, my brakes on the right rear began to smoke. I stopped as soon as I could and found fluid coming out on the inside of the wheel hub. We called Good Sam road service and they sent a mobile repair guy out to work on the truck. The guy came out, but told me that I had to pay him $90 per hour from the time he left his house until he got through with the work. Since I was broke down on the side of the road, what choice did I have? I told him to get to work. He looked at the damaged wheel and determined that the brake caliper was bad and that he would have to go to a parts store about 20 miles away. Again,no choice, so away he went. It took him an hour and fifteen minutes to go to the store to buy the parts he needed. Then he starts to work and finds that he doesn't have a tool that he needs to take the caliper apart to replace it. He has to go back to the parts store to get this tool, but says he may be able to find someone closer to help him. I questioned him about why I had to pay for him not having the tools to get the job done, but his reply is that if I hadn't broken down, he wouldn't have needed the part. Nothing I can do but let him go and then be prepared to pay him when he gets back. I forgot to tell you that he only takes cash, no checks, no credit cards. Luckily, Stella was able to walk across the highway to the ATM machine and draw out enough cash to pay him. Who carries a large amount of cash with them on the road? We ended up paying him $570 for about 30 minutes of actual work, not including his travel times He charged me $169 for the caliper but I looked on the Auto Zone website and found the exact same caliper for $39. Wow, what a ripoff! You can rest assured that I will be in contact with Good Sam (what's good about this?) to discuss this issue.
We made it into Elkhart and found the Elkhart Campgrounds We pulled in beside our friends JD and CJ Wigley, who are also in Elkhart for work on their trailer. It had started raining on us in South Bend and rained all the way into Elkhart. The weather has been miserable, with rain and cool weather. I hope it clears up later in the week.
So long.

Friday, April 23, 2010, travel day-Sikeston MO to Terre Haute IN

I woke this morning, still full from Lambert's cafe. I did eat a little cereal before we took off, but we're getting later and later We didn't leave until after 10 this morning! We made good time and made it into Indiana before we stopped for a break. I saw another of the FEMA trailers in the rest area. The only signs I saw on this one was the warnings about hooking up water and sewer. Other than a lot of black streaks and some hoses and wires hanging down under the trailer, it seemed to be in pretty good shape.

I forgot to tell you about an older man in the service station where we stopped for fuel. We were pulling out, coming from the diesel truck fueling area behind the station. This guy pulled out from the front of the station and never looked right nor left, pulling out right in front of me. Thank goodness my brakes are good and I was able to stop. Then he gets to the highway and without slowing down at all, he just pulls out into the road, right in front of a van, who laid on the horn for him. He's just driving, not paying attention.

We pulled into the Terre Haute KOA about 3 o'clock. This is a pretty little park where we stayed for two days last year on our trip to Goshen for the rally there. The little donkeys are still there and they added a stray puppy that someone dropped there. They are keeping it for animal control to come out and take it away. I feel sorry for animals that are abandoned like that, but we don't need another dog right now.

It rained some on us today, which just keeps the bugs off the front of the trailer. It made it cooler than it was in Texas, but not too cold to make it uncomfortable. I am liking these travel days more and more.

So long.

Thursday April 22, 2010, Travel day-Benton AR-Sikeston MO

We pulled out of Benton this morning about 9:30. We seem to be getting into the swing of this short trip days, and just took our time getting away. The last time we were here, there were two Heartlands in the park but they are gone now. We were the only one there today but thats okay. They'll learn that the more Bighorns and Landmarks there are, the more attractive their park is.

There were no mishaps today, and we pulled into Sikeston and the Hinton RV Park about 3PM. There is a free shuttle between the park and Lambert's (home of the throwed rolls). We rested a bit after getting hooked up and went over to the office and they called for the shuttle for us. When we got through with our meal, I was glad the van had a very large sliding door, because as much as I ate, I needed the extra room to get in. I'm surprised that the van didn't turn over when we got in! Lambert's is well worth going to and there are three cafes, and I'm sure that all are equally good.

When we left in the morning, we decided to buy fuel at a truck stop near the park. They had the lowest prices that we've seen, so we filled up. We took 70 gallons to go 708.9 miles for a 10.1 MPG average.

So long.

Wednesday April 21, Travel day, Marshall TX to Benton AR

Today was a very uneventful day of traveling. We woke pretty early and ate some cereal before leaving. We pulled out about nine o'clock and soon got back onto Hwy. 59. There was a little confusion between what the GPS was telling me to do, what Stella was telling me what to do and what I was seeing on the road signs. I am more afraid of Stella than I am of the GPS, so I followed her directions and we found the roads we needed to get back onto the highway.

We again made good time on the highway, stopping only at the welcome center into Arkansas for Stella to get another map to add to her collection. We pulled into the I-30 RV park about 1:30PM. I am beginning to like these short travel days. When I planned this trip, I kept each days travel to less than 300 miles, so we don't have to start real early and still be able to get where we're going and set up well before dark each day. Many of our full-timer friends use the 2/2 or 3/3 methods for traveling. They travel 200 miles or 2 o'clock before stopping or 300 miles or 3 o'clock. It works for them and I am liking it so far.

So long.

Tuesday April 20, 2010-Road trip to Marshall Texas

Today is our first moving day on our trip to Elkhart to have some much-needed work done to the trailer. We woke and got started without much ado, and were able to leave Rayford a few minutes after nine, pretty much a record for us. One thing that helped was that we had said goodbye to everyone yesterday, and we were up and working early, so we made an early exit.

We made good time without incident until we decided to stop at a little convenience store/truck stop near Lufkin. When I pulled over to turn into the parking lot, I hit a bump just as we were turning and the trailer brakes immediately locked up! What the heck? I went back to look at why the safety pin had come out and found that the safety pin cable had somehow gotten between the trailer hitch and the base plate and when I had turned, the cable was pulled. This is a freak accident that could probably not ever be staged. The cable had to be in just the right location to fall into the tiny crack between the hitch and the base that opened when we went over the bump in the road. At least we were turning into the parking lot and not out on the road. We jacked the trailer up to take the weight off the hitch, and I was able to pull the cable out and reattach the safety. It could only happen to me...

We finally got into Marshall and found the Marshall RV park. I don't know how we found this place, but don't worry, we won't be back! It's not a park that I could ever recommend, but it was a place to pull into for the night and feel relatively safe. The sites are very narrow and there are a lot of people that live here full time. The fellow to our right had his dish antenna sitting in our site, but when we pulled in, the dish faced right into our trailer. He seemed mad when he got home from work and couldn't get any TV reception, but we were in our site and can't help where he chose to set his dish. He moved it but never said a word to us, so I guess he realized that he was in the wrong. Also, he knew that we will be leaving tomorrow, so he can put his dish back then. The roads into our area of the park are covered with broken pottery, the brown stuff that you see for planters. I don't suppose the edges are sharp enough to cut a tire, but they sure can't do then any good, and we are glad we only stayed one night there. Early in the morning, a group of the local residents woke very early to go to work. They are very loud and ran their loud trucks for a long time. I'm sure they didn't do anything on purpose, but they are very disruptive to good sleeping. This place isn't listed in RV Park Reviews, so I am not able to let people know about this place but here is your warning.

So long.

Monday April 19, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

I woke this morning and had coffee for the last time with the guys. Since we leave, first thing in the morning, I won't have time to come down here again, so I said my goodbyes here. I returned to the trailer and hung out with Stella. We both have agreed to get a lot done today before we leave tomorrow. In the afternoon, I cleaned out the tanks on the trailer, took the porch and the Dish Network receiver down and took them over to Timber Ridge where we will be staying for the next three months when we return from Elkhart. Gwen told me that the green storage building would be unlocked so I could store my stuff inside there, but when we got there it was locked. The office was closed and I tried to get in touch with Chuy, the cleaning lady for Rayford, who lives here at Timber Ridge, but she wasn't home. Oh well, I guess I'll have to bring it over in the morning, which will delay our leaving.

We had talked to Ricky and Dee and were meeting them for supper. They told us to come over to their house instead of at a restaurant and I'm glad they did. When I told Ricky about my storage problem, he offered to let me use his garage, so we unloaded everything and put it into his garage. Its nice to have friends with big garages to store our stuff...

So long.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sunday, April 18, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Today was the last day of the Heartland rally, so I made some coffee in our big pot and a few people came by and drank some with us. A couple of people left pretty early, but they lived nearby and were trying to make it to church. I got to tell them goodbye as they left.

Jim Beletti called and asked if Stella and I would rather have breakfast or lunch with him. Since we planned to go down to Texas City to see the boys before we leave, I told him we chose breakfast. He said he would come by and pick us up, so I told Stella and went to talk to as many of my friends as I could before we went to breakfast.

We had a very nice breakfast with Jim and talked about some very exciting news that I can't go into right now, but it's going to be fun for us. Stay tuned here and when I can, I'll tell you what it is. We came back to the park and talked more to Jim in our trailer. When he left to catch his airplane back to Chicago, we went to TC to see the kids.

We had a very nice time with the boys and of course, Kim and Jeremy too. We ended up going to Ryan's and had a fine meal there. While there, we saw Louis Gill, an old friend from the City of Dickinson. Louis was on the City Council for a time when I was a Police Officer there. He was a good friend to me and it was good to see him.

We returned to the park and found that there were still a few folks left from the rally. Some will be leaving tomorrow and of course, we leave on Tuesday. The adventure continues...

So long.

Saturday April 17, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Saturday morning began with coffee for me, both in the rally hall with some of the Heartlanders as well as the "regulars" that come down and at my trailer. A few folks came by and had some coffee but we didn't do anything for breakfast. We just hung out with our Heartland friends.

Several people looked at the two display units from Ron Hoover RV's. There was a beautiful gray Big Country fifth wheel and a conventional white Big Country that had been traded in by one of our attendees. This used one was to be used by the salesman to sleep in but his wife was ill so he left the park to go home to care for her.

About noon, we all went to the rally hall for the lunch of sandwiches and chips that was furnished by Ron Hoover RV's. Unfortunately, some of the sub sandwiches were still frozen but people put then into the microwave to warm them and everyone enjoyed their lunch.

After lunch, Jim Beletti told us about his news from the factory. He gave a brief history of Heartland and of their present standings. They are a six year old company and are currently at #3 in fifth wheel sales. Overall, they are showing increases in sales in all lines and recently bought the rights to some of the Fleetwood names, so there will be some new Heartland trailers with old familiar names someday.

Jim Gratz showed us some videos of trailer maintenance that he got at a class he took. Some were very good and some were basic knowledge but I think several people stayed to watch them.

We all came back to the rally hall at 6 o'clock for our potluck dinner. As usual, the food was great and there was more than we could eat. Most of us ate more than we should have but it was sooo good.

After supper, we had more entertainment from DannyLee and Sue Jean. Jim and I were also joined by Bette McGee, who did very well for herself. It was a great way to end the last night of the rally.

So long.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Bob agreed to make his delicious breakfast burritos this morning. Here is a shot of Bob and I bringing some of the ingredients to the rally hall.
Here is Bob, hard at work over the hot griddle, making breakfast for many of us. Everyone enjoyed our food and the fellowship was good too.

Here are just a few of the folks waiting for breakfast to be made. If you look really close, you'll see the rectangular plaque on the wall is from our first Heartland rally at Rayford in October 2007. Wow, has it really been that long ago? This is rally #6 for us and we have enjoyed all of them.

Here are more waiting to eat. The wait was certainly worth it!
Today was the arrival day for the rest of the people coming to the rally. Bighorns were again well represented with four units (Jim & Gloria, Jim & Ginger, David & Susan, and Dannylee and Sue Jean), and one in a Big Country (John W.) Five couples had to drop out and they were missed, but they certainly missed a good time. Ron Hoover RV sent two Big Country units to show at the rally along with Kevin, one of their salesmen. It is ironic that one of the units was new and one was used. The new unit was exactly the same floorplan that John W. has (only bought a month ago) and the used unit was his trade-in.
Heartland Director of Owner Interests, Jim Beletti arrived around noon. He flew in because he has been in meetings at the factory and didn't have time to get his rig and come down, but he got to come and that is what counts.
After everyone arrived, we visited some in the afternoon and come supper time, we decided to go to Pitmasters Bar B Cue because that is one of Jim's favorites here in Houston. About 20 of us went there to eat, and they sat us out on the patio. It was very pleasant outside and we all enjoyed our barbecue.
We went back to the park and had entertainment from Dannylee and Sue Jean. Dannylee is a Johnny Cash man and does a good imitation of him as well as singing karaoke. He brought his own tapes tonight and had approximately 3500 songs to choose from. Jim Gratz and I also looked silly by singing a few songs but we had a good time. Jim really enjoyed singing and it was good to see him having such a good time. He is recovering from cancer of his esophagus. Congratulations to him for pulling through.
Today was Jim McGee's birthday. We celebrated it by having Dannylee lead us in singing Happy Birthday to him and got him a great-tasting cake, which completely surprised him. It was a nice way to end a night with good friends.
So long.

Thursday April 15, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Here is a photo (thanks Bobcat) of one row of trailers that were attending our rally. The Montana next to mine isn't a part of the rally but was parked there prior to us arriving. You can also see Stella walking down the street toward Bill and Ornell's trailer.
Here is a group that is sitting around at Bill and Ornell's trailer. This is just one of the trailers where people hung out.
Several people arrived today including one Big Country (Jaime and his family), five Bighorns (Bob & Ann, Tom & Marti, Ken and Denise, Charlie & Peggy and Gary & Michelle), two Landmarks (Tom & Judy and Terry and Carol) and one Trail Runner (Jason & Tammi). We are getting a good group together!
We watched the arrivals all day and then in the evening, we decided to go out to eat. One group went to CrabbyDaddy's for seafood and a smaller group went to Hooter's. Guess which group we went with? Yep, gotta love those hot wings...
We all came back and hung around in the park until retiring for the night around 10 o'clock, and yes, I stayed up that late!
So long.

Wednesday April 14, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Today was the first big arrival day for the Heartland rally, with four couples getting here. Two Bighorns (Buddy and Maureen & Jim and Bette), one Landmark (Tom & Judy) and one Cyclone (Pat and Lori) are here today with many more to come tomorrow and Friday.

We just hung around the park all day, watching everyone coming in and getting set up. We were a little more spread out than we expected to be, but there had been another rally scheduled for Monday thru Thursday, so they had to juggle everyone around. Then today, some people dropped out of our rally, which further fouled up the planning and placing of folks. I think all-in-all, Melissa did a fine job of keeping us together.

A large group of us went to the Casa Imperial for mexican food for supper. As usual, the food was very good and we all had a nice time. We came back home and sat outside for awhile chatting and visiting with old and new friends.

The party has started!

So long.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Today was another nice spring day here. It is a little chilly in the morning, so I have to wear long pants or sweats when I go have coffee with the guys. It warms up nicely, and so far, no rain.

We were invited to go to lunch with the Winter Texans today but had made plans for Ted and Donna to come by. We called them and they wanted to go too, so off we went. We had the entire back room to ourselves and had a grand old time. We spent over an hour and a half in the restaurant, just visiting with our friends and exchanging travel plans and itineraries. It was a very pleasant afternoon. When we got finished, we walked down the block to an Amish furniture store. It was more of a "any little knick-knack that looks Amish" store than anything, but there were some pieces of furniture that we looked at. Of course with us living in an RV, there is no room for the heavy wood furniture built by the Amish, but the craftsmanship is about as good as it gets.

We drove back over to the park and sat outside until about 9 o'clock. Of course, I took a break when NCIS came on, and was surprised to see that Donna hadn't gone home to watch Dancing With the Stars, but they had stayed and we had a fine visit.

So long.

Monday April 12, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

I woke this morning and went down to have coffee with the guys in the rally hall. We have some lively discussions at times but try to avoid some things like politics and religion. Gwen has agreed to buy us a topological map that shows roads and highways so that we can actually see where we are going when we leave here. I am looking forward to seeing it.

I had to take some of my "stuff" down to Kim's house to store it while we are gone. We have decided that this will be a light load trip. We intend to leave as much as we can here if it won't be used, including the porch and television dish. We won't be at one location long enough to use these items, so rather than lug them along, we decided to leave them.

Bill was going to ride down with me, but he got a call that a friend of his in his union hall had died and he had to go to the hall to pay his respects. I made a pretty quick trip down but stopped by the house to see what progress had been made. A hispanic man was there to make an estimate on some of the work, but I didn't talk to him too much due to the language barrier. It didn't appear that anything has been done yet but I'm sure it won't be long.

I came on back home and found out that TxBobcat, one of my Heartland RV friends had arrived. I hung out with Bill and Stella and went to bed.

So long.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 9, 10 & 11, 2010-Rayford Crossing

I'm sorry for being so far behind but here's my first catch-up entry.

Friday, Stella and I went to the grocery store to buy supplies for the upcoming week and to make her goulash soup for tonight. Bill and Ornell are coming early for the rally, so we will have supper made for them when they arrive.

When they got here, it had been raining on them just about all the way and it was chilly, so we ate outside and all went in for the night. A very short and uneventful night, but we are glad our friends are here.

Saturday morning, we went to eat breakfast with the remaining Winter Texans that are still at the park. We wanted to go to Big E McGee's restaurant in Old Town Spring, but they don't serve breakfast until May 8th, so we went to The Egg and I. It was a very enjoyable meal with many of our friends. Bill and Ornell went with us, and after we ate, we decided to go look at some Dodge trucks at Spring Dodge Bill has been looking at the new Dodge Ram trucks for a while and Ornell has been surprised that he hasn't bought one yet. Of course, I looked too but didn't see anything I liked enough to inquire further.

We came back home and just hung out in the park for the rest of the day. It's still a little cool in the evening so we didn't stay out very late.

We got up Sunday morning and drank our coffee outside. It is so nice to sit outside in the morning with friends and so many friendly people coming by. It makes for a very pleasant morning. Stella made us some pigs in a blanket for our breakfast. We hung around the park all morning and didn't do too much. Sadly, Ornell had to leave to get back for work tomorrow. We were sorry she had to leave, but we promised to keep Bill out of trouble and away from the Dodge dealer.

Bill, Stella and I went to Red Robin for supper. We were all hungry for a burger and this place is close and very good, so we drove down there. We came back home and sat outside for a little while but the cool weather sent us back inside soon.

So long.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thursday April 8, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

I went down to have coffee this morning and somehow didn't make any mention of selling the house. Maybe it was a premonition or maybe I just didn't think about it (NOT!!). Anyway, I didn't say anything about it, and took the clothes down to the washateria for Stella when one of the ladies at the title company called and told me that I had not signed one of the forms. I thought that I had, and Stella thought the same thing, but as soon as she got through with the wash, we drove back over and sure enough, I had forgotten one little signature. It would have held things up but it shouldn't now. So I guess a WooHoo is in order here. The house is sold and the check is in the mail. Well, not in the mail exactly, since everything is done electronically now, I guess you'd say the check is in the electronic mail. Stella will keep her eagle eyes on the bank account to see when it shows up.

We decided to go out to eat again today and saw a billboard for the Blue Water Seafood Restaurant on FM 1960. Wow, what a traffic jam on 1960! I hated driving in the traffic, but the food at the restaurant was really good, so it was all worthwhile. Luckily for Stella, I was able to stifle the WooHoos while we ate, but I sure felt like it! I think the other patrons in the restaurant would have understood if I had let loose with a little Woo Hoo, or maybe just a woohoo?

We came on back home and relaxed for the rest of the evening. I walked around the park some and chatted with some of my friends here. I really love this park, not only because we know so many folks here, but because everyone here is so friendly. It wouldn't take someone very long to meet new friends here, and of course when the Winter Texans are here, there are a lot of activities, so you shouldn't get bored.

The weather has been great, with cool nights and mild days, so hopefully the rally should have good weather. Crossing my fingers, toes and eyes for that to happen.

So long.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Wednesday April 7, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Today is the big day, closing day on the house! We began the day in our normal fashion, me going to have coffee and Stella and Cassie sleeping in. The last of the winter Texans will be leaving next week and I am not sure if we will still have coffee, but my Heartland rally people will be coming in, so we will have coffee here at my place if not in the rally hall.

We did the "Rayford shuffle" this morning. I knew that we would have to move when we got here, and today is the day. I ate a quick breakfast when I returned and we got busy. It only took about 45 minutes to get everything ready. I took the outside things over in the truck and by the time I had everything done outside, she had the inside ready to close up and be moved. We didn't bother to put a lot of things away, since we were only moving a block away, so it went very quickly. I got Warren to help me load up the porch into his truck, so we were done in less than an hour and a half.

We both cleaned up and went to the title company office to sign away our house. It closed without any problem, since we are the only owner of the house. We bought it almost exactly 26 years ago, and while we are sad to leave our home, it opens a new chapter in our life. Living in our RV full time has been everything we had thought it would be, and we are looking forward to many more years of traveling and seeing the country. I probably embarrassed Stella by yelling WooHoo on the sidewalk in front of the title company, but man, was I happy!

We drove over to Timber Ridge Village, where we will be living for the next three months as soon as we return from Elkhart. The park looks okay, but it's not Rayford. We don't know which site we will be in, but someone else has moved into the site where Rick and Brenda had been in. We know the couple and they are building a new home nearby, so perhaps they will move sooner than we think. We'll work it out to find a nice spot to stay in.

We stopped off to eat at Mel's Country Cafe for our lunch/supper (lupper?). We have eaten here many times in the past and it was just as good today. Remember me telling you about my good friend Bill eating the double Gonzales burger? If you look at the Mel's mega burger, I think you'll agree that it would be very difficult to eat one of those is made up of one and one half pound of ground meat, one pound of bacon and a quarter pound of cheese, plus a lot of lettuce and tomatoes. This thing is HUGE! Look at the pictures on their website! It's about a foot high! You must eat everything on your plate in two hours to get your name on the wall as someone that has done it.

We came on back home but I couldn't stop yelling WooHoo! over the sale of the house. We are very excited to have gotten this done and only wish we had been able to do it a year ago. WooHoo!

We sat outside for awhile in the cool evening, but the wind came up and it looked like rain so we came inside, WooHoo! I went to bed and did another couple of WooHoos before I went to sleep. I woke at my normal time and startled the sleeping Stella with another WooHoo but it wasn't as loud as the ones before. WooHoo!!!

So long. WooHoo!

Monday & Tuesday, April 5 & 6, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

Monday, we stayed around here in the morning. Of course, I went down for the morning coffee meeting, but came home and went for my walk around the park. We left here about 11:00 to go to Dickinson for a last look around the house. We had other errands to run while we were in Dickinson, so we got them all done. We went to the Post Office to change our address to our new one in Bellville. We got that done and stopped by City Hall to try to get the trash cans picked up, but after more run around, we learned that we needed to be on the other side of the building to go to the Water Co. to stop the water service and to get the trash cans removed. Now keep in mind that the City of Dickinson and the Water Co. have been together since I worked there, and they just built and completed a brand-new building, but there is no way to go from one to the other without leaving the building and going into a different entrance. And I always thought customer service meant something...

We made our last look-round at the house and picked up a few more items to go to storage and back home. We left an awful lot of "stuff" in the house but we are both tired of looking at it and through it but it will be someone else's problem soon.

We went over to Kim's house and we all went out for supper before we returned home. It ended up a busy but productive day.

Tuesday, Ted and Donna came over and we went to a new place in Old Town Spring called E McGee. It is a boarding house style restaurant and the food was very good. We came back here to the park and sat outside chatting until time for our respective television shows. The end of another good day.

So long.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Friday, Saturday & Sunday, April 2nd, 3rd & 4th, 2010-Rayford Crossing Resort

It's good to be back at Rayford and many of our friends. We found out that other of our friends here left yesterday but we missed them. At least the guys are still having coffee in the rally hall in the morning. It was like old home for me!

I got a call from our buyer that the closing will occur on Wednesday at 1 o'clock. We will get a call from the title company for confirmation and directions to their office in the Woodlands. Yippee!!

We went get Stella's hair cut and to the grocery store on Friday morning and came back here and hung out at the park. Stella made some brownies for bingo tonight while I took care of computer matters in my chair. Thats a polite way of saying that I took a nap. We ate some Reuben sandwiches for our supper and went down and played bingo but of course, I didn't win. Everyone knows those games are rigged! Just kidding... We had a good time and visited with several people after bingo and came back home.

Saturday morning I went to have coffee and after, we had one of the Saturday morning breakfasts that Gwen and Billy fix. As always, the food was good and we met another couple from Canada who sat at the table with us. We had some nice conversations while we ate. We went to Sam's and to Wal Mart and came back home. There was a potluck dinner Saturday night that was fun. Even though most of the winter Texans are gone, there was a good turnout for the dinner. The park is full and there are a lot of children here.

Sunday morning we stayed in and didn't plan on doing anything. We were sitting around when someone came to the door and guess who it was? Our friends Harry and Judy. Harry just had some medical problems and they were in the neighborhood and dropped by to see us. They are leaving soon for Idaho where they have accepted a work camping job at a park there. It was good to see them again.

Less than 30 minutes after Harry and Judy left, someone else came to the door. Our Boomer friends, Bernest and Pauleen came by to see us. We haven't seen them since my retirement party with the Boomers in Boerne. It was really good to see them too, and we had a nice visit with them.

Later in the afternoon, we went to Pappas Barbecue where Stella had found a deal on a rib special plate. She loves ribs, so naturally I took her to eat her favorite food. Such a good husband!

We came back home and watched Extreme Makeover on the Beach family from Kemah. Since this is only about five miles from our house, we should be familiar with the area. Should I have said from the house we used to own? No, its still ours until Wednesday but if you listen about 1:30 on Wednesday, you'll hear me holler!

So long.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday April 1, 2010-Moving day, S. F. Austin SP to Rayford Crossing

Stella and I began our moving day by sitting out in the early morning cool, drinking our coffee and watching the birds and squirrels eat and play around the bird feeder. It is so peaceful here at the state park, especially in the spring when the trees start to fill out. Only a few people are out this morning and everyone is so friendly.

Stella made some new friends last night. Two trucks came into the park towing Casita trailers and parked across the street from us. These are the cute little oval trailers that look like an oversize capsule. Stella took Cassie out around 1o for her last trip outside when she saw a copperhead snake on the pavement near the front of our trailer. She didn't have anything but her flashlight and doggie pooper scooper in her hand, so she beat the snake to death with the plastic scooper. One of the men across the street saw it and called Stella his hero. Heck, she's my hero too because I'd have probably screamed like a girl and run to get her if I had been out there with the poisonous snake! I guess I better get her one of those portable bear lights for use when we are in snakey areas.

We got loaded up without any problem, but my new platform to hold the porch gave me a fit until I figured out how to stack everything. I had to put it in three times before everything fit just right and it rode just fine. We didn't get away until about 12:45, but we only have 60 miles or so to drive, so we weren't worried. We have been moved into site #87 temporarily until our permanent site opens up next week.

We are so glad to be back here, with several of our friends still here in the park. I learned that the guys are still meeting in the morning for coffee, so I have to get up early and go down to the rally hall in the morning.

I was pretty tired from knocking everything down and putting it back together today, so I took a shower and turned in early. I forgot that it will likely be dark when I walk down to the rally hall and I didn't have time to get that bear light. I hope a big ol' diamond backed, copper headed cobra doesn't get me in the morning. If I don't make any more posts here, you know the snake got me!

So long.

Wednesday March 31, 2010-Stephen F. Austin SP, last day

This was our site at Stephen F. Austin this month. We were parked near the firewood and ice machine for convenience sake and it turned out to be a very nice site. The only problem turned out to be the surrounding trees, because when they began to bud out in the spring, it made my Dish reception go away.
This is the street side of the trailer with all my signs. It was an enjoyable experience to have done the park hosting here and I'm sure that we'll do it again.

Here is one of my buddies, the squirrel. He is in the tree above my chair, barking at me to move. I guess I was sitting too close to the feeder and it made it difficult for him to dominate the birds at the feeder.

He finally made it to the feeder and is starting to eat. You cannot imagine how much these wild animals can eat! I had to fill the feeder at least once a day, and sometimes twice a day.

The birds could not get on the feeder with the squirrel, but they had plenty to eat off the ground. The squirrel as well as other birds were very messy and what didn't get into their mouth went on the ground for the smaller and younger birds to eat.
Today, being our last full day in the park, I got some things put away in preparation for leaving tomorrow. It was our day off anyway, so it was kind of pointless to have stayed but we hadn't planned to leave until the first. I ran into Larry and asked him to pick up my Park Host sign, since I couldn't carry it in my golf cart. He soon came by and picked it up and took it back to the shop. In the afternoon I took the cart and my other gear that I had been issued, so my time here is officially over. Our good friends, A.D. and Dee came by and we decided to go out to eat at Orlando's Pizza in Brookshire tonite. We had a very nice meal and they came over later and we had a nice chat over a campfire. It was a very nice way to end our stay here.
So long.