Friday, April 30, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
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
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.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
Friday, April 23, 2010
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...
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.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
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!
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
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.
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.
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.
Friday, April 9, 2010
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.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
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 things....it 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!
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.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
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!
Friday, April 2, 2010
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!