Sunday, October 31, 2010

Assorted Photos

Here is our site for the Heartland rally weekend. I'm proud that I remembered to hang my banner out. A couple of times, I have forgotten to put it up, but this time I hung it from my awning. We used the firepit in this site both nights, and everyone had a great time.
Here you see one of the rows of Heartland trailers, including the two display units from Ron Hoover.

Here is the group, eating our catered barbecue on Saturday night, compliments of Ron Hoover RV in Katy.

Here is Cameron pitching a baseball game on the Saturday of reunion weekend. I apologize for not posting these at the time, but I didn't download them until this weekend.
This is the interior of Jerry and Diane's new Tiffin Zephyr motorhome. VERY NICE!!! This is one of the nicest motorhomes that I've seen. The attention to detail is unbelievable and the customer service from Tiffin is unbeatable. Although I have no interest in a motorhome, I would not hesitate to recommend this company to anyone.

Friday October 29-Sunday October 31, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

Michael played for us this weekend and gave his usual great performance. It did seem as if he has toned his music down a little bit, but it was still a good time had by all.

Here are some of the mixed-drink-makers getting ready for the judging. The drinks had to consist of at least 25% beer with the rest being a liquor of their choice. I didn't judge this one, since I'm not supposed to drink. Stella was working, so she couldn't participate either.

Here are the judges, many in their costumes, sampling the drinks. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Here are the two female costume finalists, dancing around as they prepared for the final judging. Debbie, in the white "trailer trash" costume won the trophy.

Here are the men entries in the costume contest. Everyone had a good laugh at the costumes and guess which one won?

Yep, here's the winner! John was a knockout in his g-string and pasties, but the cigar in his mouth made the costume complete.

Here are Mike and D'Arcey with their son the policeman, winners of the family costume event.
We went out to eat with Ted and Donna and Tommy and Susan at Mel's Country Cafe in Tomball on Friday night. We came back here and had a very nice campfire and sat outside in the cool night air until about 10:30.
After all the festivities on Saturday afternoon, I was pretty full from judging the chili cookoff and wasn't real hungry, so we went out to eat at Double Dave's Pizza with Tommy and Susan, Jim and Reta and Pete and Jean. It was a very good time with our friends, and we got back in plenty of time to go to the street party. We sat out by one of the firepits until almost 10, when the party started breaking up.
We all had a great time this weekend and you missed a good time if you weren't able to come to Rayford. The rest of the Winter Texans will be in this week, so the gang will be back together again. Let the fun begin...

So long.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monday October 18 thru Thursday October 28, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort-catching up

I'm very sorry for falling so far behind in my posting on this blog, but I have been busy and not really in a mood to write anything. I have had a lot on my mind lately because of my truck and the problems I have had with it.

A quick recap-On Friday the 15th and the day our Heartland rally began, Stella noticed the truck running very rough. When I drove it that evening, I found nothing wrong with it, but when I went to pick up firewood, it ran badly for me too. I didn't drive it again all weekend and on Monday morning, I knew I would have to put it in the shop to be repaired. My friend Jim here in the park gave me a ride to the Enterprise Rental store near the park. We have rented a car there before and were familiar with it. After getting the rental car, we returned to the park to take the truck to Jakes Auto Repair where we have had work done before.

Jake was very busy and didn't get a chance to look at the truck until Tuesday, and what he found was disastrous. He found the harmonic balancer had come loose from the crankshaft, where it is used to reduce crankshaft vibrations on the engine. The balancer is fastened to the crankshaft of the engine by a "keyway" and a bolt that holds the front of the balancer onto the crankshaft. The bolt had apparently not been tightened enough to keep it from vibrating loose when the water pump had been replaced while we were in Mission. I had told Jake of the work that had been done. After talking to Jake, I immediately called the South Texas GMC dealership in McAllen and spoke with the service advisor, Chapa, that had helped me there. When I told him what had happened, he told me to have the truck taken to a GMC dealer to have it checked by them. He also advised me not to drive it but to have it picked up by a wrecker. I also told him that I had already rented a car since we needed transportation, and he said that was fine. I told him that I expected them to pay for the rental and he said he would have to talk to the manager about it but didn't see a problem.

I called Wiesner GMC in Conroe and spoke with one of their service advisors named Bill. I explained to him what had happened and he said he would send their wrecker to pick my truck up. I later learned that the wrecker had not been able to pick up the truck until the first thing on Wednesday morning due to other obligations.

When the truck was taken to the Wiesner shop, they checked it out and found that when the harmonic balancer came loose, it got into the fan damaging it. They suggested replacing the crankshaft or replacing the entire long block engine. They forwarded this information to McAllen for their review. The service manager called me back after a day or so, telling me that he wanted to bring my truck down there to have the repairs done there. I told him that I would be interested in finding out how much they would give me for the truck, either a buyout or a trade-in. He said he would get with the used car manager and let me know.

I later learned that they came to Conroe about 7 o'clock in the evening to pick it up. I got a call from Bill, who told me that they had brought a trailer and a technician, who got the truck started. They actually drove it onto the trailer. They had been told that the truck wouldn't run, but this probably came from the mechanic at Wiesner, who had seen it come in on a wrecker and assumed that it would not run.

I got a call from Chapa who told me that they had decided to merely repair the crankshaft after taking measurements and noting that there was little damage to the crankshaft. They had contacted GM Technical Services and learned that the specs on the crankshaft were within limits, making replacement of it unnecessary. I am skeptical of this repair, but don't have a say since the repair is being done on warranty for the water pump replacement. At least I will have a 12 month-12,000 mile warranty on the truck.

I did ask Chapa if they would drive the truck from McAllen to Spring to give it a good road test and he said they would. If its going to break down, I'd much rather it happen to them and not us. Holding my breath...

So long.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Monday thru Sunday, October 11-17, 2010 Rayford Crossing RV Resort (Heartland RV Rally week)

This week was a blur of friends arriving and hanging out with them as they arrived. We have been anticipating this rally for several months and it is finally here.

Bill and Ornell were in on Friday and Ricky and Dee came in over the weekend, so we all went out to eat Sunday night at the Steel City Pizza here in Spring after we got back from my reunion weekend. It was a very good time with our old friends and the pizzas were delicious as usual.

Monday was our regular day off, so we tried to get some errands done, but it was also Columbus Day, so the banks and government offices were closed. You know how those bankers and Feds are when it comes to taking every available holiday. Bill and Ornell went back home for the day and of course, Ricky and Dee were working (ugh, that word!), so we ran our errands and stopped off at the El Palenque to eat.

Our Heartland friends began arriving on Tuesday and I did my best to meet with each of them as they arrived and spend some time with them.

Wednesday, even more of our Heartland friends arrived and we all had some good visit times during the day. A large group of us, about 18 people, went to the Casa Imperial for supper and we came back and sat outside talking and catching up with each other.

By Thursday almost everyone had arrived. We all visited all day but when supper time came around, we went to eat a hamburger with Pat and Lori at the 3-B's saloon and hamburgers. Their burgers are about as good as they come in this area and we had a good time. Again we returned home and sat outside, chatting with our friends.

Friday was the big day for arrivals, with the last of the Heartlanders arriving. Since we were all on different schedules for arriving and eating, we all went our separate ways for supper. My big news for today and as it turns out, the rest of the weekend was my truck. Stella took it to work this morning and called to tell me it was running real rough and had almost died at one of the traffic lights. I went to supper with Tom and Marti and a new club member named Karen. Pat and Lori came in their truck and we all went to Timber Ridge to get Stella. I drove my truck and it ran just fine. I just figured that it had some trash in the fuel that had gone on through and it didn't give any more trouble tonight. We all had plenty to eat at Mel's, although we didn't have a very good waitress for the first time here. We came on back to the park and had a campfire at my site. We stayed outside until after 10 o'clock again, so that is one of the reasons that I got so far behind on my blogging. Thats my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Saturday morning, I got up and drank coffee with the guys in the rally hall and made coffee in the Rayford Room for the rally breakfast. As usual, the potluck breakfast was great and we all had a very nice time. After breakfast, Pat and I went to get some more firewood in my truck. When we got in it, it ran very bad and vibrated something fierce. We only drove it a couple of blocks before we returned to the park and took Pat's truck. I don't know what is wrong with my truck, but will take it somewhere on Monday to get it looked at.

I had to promise Lori that I would wash their truck because they had made an appointment with Dr. Detail to come wash their truck and trailer. As it turned out, Dr. D never showed up, so it is very likely that we won't use his service again.

The catered meal on Saturday night was very good. It was furnished by Ron Hoover RV's, who had brought a couple of trailers out to display. Both trailers were not very well equipped and had some small issues with them that should have been caught by the dealer before bringing them out. They didn't do so, and the salesman and his wife didn't seem too interested, so it was a slow weekend for trailer looking and of course, no sales were made. Its funny that when Camping World was our servicing dealer and participated in our rallies, they consistently sold trailers, but this is twice that Hoover has been here and no one even looked at the trailers with buying on their mind.

Sunday sadly everyone, with only a couple of exceptions, had to leave to go back home. With many hugs and handshakes, we saw everyone off. We returned to our trailer to rest up after the long and late-hours rally. We had a great time and hope that everyone else that came did also. I am making plans for another one in April.

My main focus is getting my truck running right again and that will be my first priority on Monday.

So long.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Friday to Sunday, October 8-10, 2010-Class Reunion Days-Galveston

Friday morning, I found that my truck had a flat tire. I got Bill to take me and Stella to work and he and I went to look at some trucks. We looked at Munday Chevrolet but they had no dually trucks in stock, so we came on back home. I added air to the flat tire and took the truck over to Discount Tires to have the flat repaired. They did an outstanding job of getting me going again, so I had time to come back and pick up all the stuff we carried to Kim's house for the weekend. We made the trip to Texas City without incident and had time to visit with the boys for a bit before we had to leave for Galveston. When we started to leave, Cameron asked where were WE going, and we told him to Galveston for my reunion. Tyler gave us a curfew of 10:00 to be back home, so with these instructions, we took off for Galveston.

We went to Gaido's for supper tonight. Gaido's has been known for many years as an excellent seafood restaurant, and tonight was no exception. The food was wonderful and we had a really good turnout for our 45th reunion. There was probably 150 people here tonight and we had a great time. We didn't make it back to Kim's house on time to make our curfew, but we weren't too late.

I took the boys to pick up breakfast on Saturday morning at a taquiera in Texas City. They recommended a certain breakfast taco, so since there were 6 of us eating breakfast, I bought 10 tacos, not realizing that they cost $3.29 each and were HUGE! After suffering shock when told how much the bill was, we came on back to Kim's house and had breakfast. They were very good, but for that much money we could have all eaten a full breakfast.

We went to watch Cam's baseball game that he pitched in. His team won (of course) and he did really well. He hit a double and two runs scored and he made a couple of good defensive plays. It was good to be back down there to watch him play. I know he has missed having us at his games.

Saturday night's reunion dinner was at Willie G's restaurant on Harborside n Galveston. There was an even larger turnout tonight and we had another great time seeing my classmates, most of whom I haven't seen since graduating from high school. Many of them were interested in our lifestyle and said they wished they could do what we're doing. I gave out some of my cards and told them to contact me if they want to come here and visit.

We were again on a curfew, but were later getting back to Kim's house tonight but everyone was still awake when we got there. I slept in Cameron's bed both nights and he went to sleep with me. I expected Stella to get him up and move him to another bed or the couch, but she let him sleep all night with PePaw. Let me say that he can kick like a mule, and that's all I want to say about that (Forest Gump voice)!

We got up Sunday morning and went to Ryan's for breakfast. It was good but not outstanding, and we all got very full. We went back home about 11 and made good time back to Rayford. We spent the afternoon moving into our rally site, #95. This is one of the premium sites in the front with a large patio, firepit and gas grill, so we are now set for the rally next weekend. We're looking forward to a good turnout and another great time with our friends.

So long.

Wednesday October 5 thru Thursday October 7, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

Not much going on up here these two days. Stella drove to work on Wednesday and I stayed around the park and hung out with the guys in the park. Nothing much to report there.

Thursday I took Stella to work because Bill and Ornell were coming over to Rayford from Lakeview and she might need a ride from me. She just had surgery and wanted to ride as smoothly as possible, and with the trailer loaded on their truck they were afraid that it would be too rough for her to ride comfortably. Bill called and said she would be fine so I didn't need to pick her up. I decided to take the porch to Manvel to drop it off to be re-powder coated. After dropping it off, I stopped by the First National Bank there to see Beverly about some information that she had called me about concerning the last bank robbery. I verified that an FBI agent had called her back and had a nice chat with her, catching up on what had been going on. When I left the bank, I went across the street to visit the new City Hall. I saw several of my former coworkers including Aaron Bell, who was Captain of the Police Dept. and is now the Fire Marshall and Code Enforcement officer. We also caught up on city news and I had a nice chat with him.

I came on back to Rayford and hung out with Bill and Ornell for the afternoon. After picking up Stella, we went back over to their house and hung out with them before we got sleepy and came on back home. It's good to be back with our friends again.

So long.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tuesday October 5, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

Today was our first day back to work at Timber Ridge. When I returned home this morning, Stella was ready to go, so we left a few minutes early so she could stop in at the office here to pick up some stuff to take to TR.

On my way back home, I went by Parkway Chevrolet to check their inventory. They didn't have anything I was interested in but I did talk to another salesman who didn't know what he was talking about. Imagine that, a car salesman that doesn't know the line he is selling...

I came back home and used the new vacuum cleaner to clean the living room and kitchen. I had come home with an upset stomach, so I took it easy the rest of the day and just watched some television until time to go pick Stella up from work. She got off late tonight but wasn't in a mood to talk about it, but we made it back home. Tonight is my television night, so we won't be doing much tonight.

So long.

Monday October 4, 2010-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

You know, I've said it before, it's great to be back here at Rayford. I got up this morning after having to change the way I've been waking recently. I usually wake very early to read the newspapers and catch up on the blogs that I follow before going back to sleep until 7:30 or 8, even as late a 9 once or twice. Now that I'm back here, I go down to have coffee with the guys again, so I'm trying to sleep a little later and shower about 6:30 or so and go down for coffee about 7.

I came back home and Stella was up and ready to go down to our storage to return the small fridge to get it out of our way. We didn't actually leave here until almost 11, but we got it done and made good time to Texas City, got our refrigerator dropped off and picked up the old vacuum cleaner. We went to a repair store because this one had stopped picking up like it should, so we were going to have it repaired. The man at the store explained to us that our old one never had real good suction and offered to make a trade for one of his new ones that had greater pickup power and was much lighter. We made the deal and were soon on our way back to Houston.

We stopped off at the Lakeview RV Park where Bill and Ornell were. She just had some surgery done to her neck and was recovering nicely. They have decided to come to Rayford on Thursday, so I called the park and made their arrangements. We had a nice visit with them and later came on back home. It had been a long day but we got a lot done.

So long.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sunday October 3, 2010-Moving day, Serendipity Bay RV Park to Rayford Crossing RV Resort

We woke to a delightfully cool morning with clear blue skies and dryer humidity. It was a great morning to be on the coast and later for traveling. We went over to the Fogarty's to drink some coffee with them. We had talked about going to the Blessing Hotel for lunch today, but they had learned that Ryan, their grandson, had a ball game this afternoon and we really wanted to get on back to Rayford to settle in, so we all just loaded up and took off.

Before leaving, I met a couple that had been staying in the park in a Sundance trailer. We had a nice chat and I learned that they are going to Rockport for the winter. I told them about the luncheon that is planned in February, so I hope to run into them again down there. They said they want to move up to a larger trailer and want to stay with a Heartland product, so I referred them to Jerry at Ron Hoover RV's in Donna. Maybe they will do some business with him.

We pulled out of the park a little after 10. We were in no big hurry to leave because we only have 130 miles to go today. We took a different route today also, Hwy. 71 to 59 and into Houston from there. It was a much smoother way to go and we enjoyed the trip. We took our time and arrived at Rayford about 1:30. It's good to be back home...

We talked to Gwen for a long time when we got here and went down to our site and got all set up. I didn't set up the porch yet because I'm taking it back to Steve Van Dusen in Manvel to have it re-powder coated. He did the job for me awhile back and it didn't last, so he agreed to do it again.

I visited with several old friends that have come in before us, and watched the Texans football game (we won!!) and ate a pizza for our supper. It turned chilly tonight, the coldest night so far, and it sure made for some good sleeping. I am having coffee with the guys again, so with the exception of some of the winter Texans not being here yet, things are back to normal. We'll be going back to work at Timber Ridge again on Tuesday and things will truly be back to normal soon.

So long.

Saturday October 2, 2010-Serendipity Bay RV Park

We woke this morning to cooler temperatures than we have been having, but then it's the beginning of the fall season here in south Texas. We enjoyed it and I took a walk around the park to celebrate.

We heard from Mike and Patrice this morning that they are coming in this afternoon from Donna where they picked up their new Bighorn 3580 from Ron Hoover. They just bought a used Bighorn and a used Ford truck but Patrice decided that she didn't like the truck, so they traded it back in to McRee Ford in Dickinson for a new Ford Dually F-350. This is the truck they took on vacation to Colorado with us, and I must say, it's a very pretty truck. I love the pearl white color, which I'm told, isn't available in other brands of trucks. It is available in half-ton trucks but not the one tonners. I guess I don't understand why they won't try to accommodate their customers...

They kept their first Bighorn from July until now and found the model they liked at a price they would pay down in Donna at the Ron Hoover dealership there, so they came down and bought it. When they got here with the new trailer, it has a lot of features that we like,, we're not buying a new trailer right away.

This afternoon we went to Stella's class reunion in Blessing. It was a huge affair, with about 180 people there. The classes at the Tidehaven High School were very small, but the reunions are open to any graduates in the decade, with one class being honored. It was very nice and I saw a few people that I recognized, but of course Stella knew everyone there. It was a fun time and we had a good time. I even ran into a guy that I worked with at Big 3 but I don't know if he remembered me. After all, I left there in 1982, when I went to work for the Dickinson Police Dept. Ah yes, I remember those days....

We returned to the park and tried to sit outside but the skeeters soon ran us inside the new trailer. We visited and reminisced with Mike and Patrice until we got sleepy and went back home. It has been a very nice day that we will remember forever.

So long.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Friday October 1, 2010-Moving day-Bentsen Palms RV Resort to Serendipity Bay RV Park

I woke about 7:15 this morning and Tommy and Susan were gone! I hadn't heard them up but they were gone. We got busy and packed things up and pulled out a little after 10. We don't get in that much of a hurry because we're not going that far today and we like it that way. We understand that others that are still working have to be at their destination but we have the luxury of traveling as we please.

I was very apprehensive about getting out on the road with the new water pump in place, but everything was fine. The temperature gauge never wavered and we made good time. We made a couple of pit stops and pulled into the park here in Palacios about 3 o'clock. It was a very uneventful drive and a good day to travel. We noticed a lot of RV's coming south to the Rio Grande Valley, and it will soon fill up. We are finalizing plans for another Heartland luncheon and will return in January. We can't wait!

So long.

PS-It was brought to my attention that I made a mistake the other day when I told you about the steak dinner. Tommy actually bought and cooked the steaks and Donna fixed a pork tenderloin for Ted's birthday dinner. When I make mistakes like this, I feel very bad about it but this is what I get for falling behind in my blogging. I'll try to do better.

Thursday September 30, 2010-Bentsen Palms Village

Today was our last full day here in the valley. Ted, Donna and Susan went to the butterfly gardens in the morning and Tommy and us stayed in the park. Mike and Patrice came up last night to pick up their new trailer from Ron Hoover RV and they came out to spend some time with us in the park. When the butterfly garden tour was over, we decided to go eat at Furr's Buffet again. Ted and Donna had to go back across the border to return some of the medications that she had bought. Mike and Patrice went to pick up their new trailer and we went by South Texas GMC where I had left my truck for repair to the water pump. It wasn't ready yet but they told me to call back later in the afternoon.

Tommy took us for a drive over the levee behind the park. We had not been up there and it showed how close to the border this park is. I can see why the Border Patrol spends so much time up here and why we see so many helicopters monitoring this area.

We hung out at the park for the afternoon until I got the call from the dealership that my truck was ready. Ted, Tommy and I went to get it while the girls found a place to eat supper. About $1,700 later I picked up my truck, but at least it is fixed and the dang "low coolant" light should not come back on now! That will be a big relief, but very expensive. We went to eat at a place called McAllister's Deli and had some good food. When we got through eating we began to put things away in preparation for leaving tomorrow. We had not put out too much stuff but we were ready to get back home. Ted and Donna have decided to stay here for a couple more days, but Tommy and Susan will be leaving early in the morning.

We have had such a good time here and I am sure we will return.

So long.