Wednesday, December 28, 2011
When we pulled out, I decided to stop off at a new park in Sweeny that has been advertising for work campers in their park. When we got there we had a nice short visit with the managers but I've slept since meeting them and can't remember their names. The job description wasn't bad at all and we hope to hear from them.
We pulled into Rayford about two o'clock and it only took about 30 minutes to get everything set back up. Several of our friends came by to welcome us back and it was good to be back. We're going to miss this place. Our good friends Pat and Lorie are back also, and its good to see them again. I'm trying to talk them into full timing and perhaps traveling with us. We're planning to spend next summer with them or at least with their trailer in Creede CO. Our plans are still being worked on and I'll let you know more when we figure out what we're going to do. At least we'll be nice and cool at Creede.
We had a delicious lunch and visited with family for most of the afternoon. As I sat there in their house, I reminisced about Christmas times past. I guess that sometimes I go into "old man" mode and think back about the good times when I was a kid. My family consisted of my mother, father, brother Phil and sister Bobbye Sue, Momma's mother (MeMa) and father (Granddaddy), and her sister Janie, husband Herbert and their kids Betsy, Nancy, Steve and Linda. We were a close family and all of us grandkids were very close to MeMa and Granddaddy. On Christmas eve, we would eat together and then go to the individual houses for the gift exchanges. Then we would come home to try to get us kids to go to sleep for Santa to come to visit. It was nice to not have to travel very far during the holidays like we do now. Those were the good old days...
Stella and I came on back to our latest "home" in Palacios. So far, we haven't gotten tired of our nomadic traveling lifestyle and hopefully we won't for a long time.
I hope that everyone has a very merry Christmas.
Sunday, December 25, 2011
We are going to Palacios today to visit with family in the area. Its only a little over 100 miles so we aren't in a hurry. I don't remember if I told you but we took the trailer in for some service work and the motor on the electrical cord reel was found to be bad. They had to order the part and it hasn't come in yet. Its a big pain to hand-roll the cord onto the reel, so I got the bright idea to go to see my friend Joe at Ron Hoover to borrow an extension cord. That way, I can leave my cord rolled up on the reel and simply plug in the extension, so that is what we did. Its a few miles out of the way but it certainly will make traveling easier for me.
It rained on us all the way to West Columbia but we still made pretty good time. Traffic was heavy around the malls and shopping areas in Houston but we pulled into the park about 1:30. That included our little stop at the dealership, so it wasn't too bad. Let me tell you, they haven't done anything to improve upon this place. With the exception of the new sites put in about 6 years ago, nothing else has been done here. The roads are still bad and the sites hold water which was especially bad today because it was cold and wet feet made it feel even colder.
We got set up and came inside to dry off and warm up. Stella fixed some barbecued sausage to take over to the feast at Jana's house. It was nice to see the excitement in the faces of all the kids as they opened their presents. As usual, they popped about 10 zillion firecrackers and rockets but everyone had a good time. The good thing for us is that we get to celebrate Christmas so many times. We'll have another one at Kim's house later in the week and with Jennifer and Melissa at a later date.
Merry Christmas to all....
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
We went to Clear Lake to meet with Eric, the CPA that Stella worked for, to go over one of the client's taxes. April 15th will be here soon! Before we left, I was loading everything into the truck that we needed but couldn't find my phone. I looked inside but couldn't find it and went out to the truck to look. I couldn't find it there either so Stella called my number. We could hear the phone ringing but couldn't find it. I remembered that I had my hands full last night when we got home but couldn't locate it now. I pulled things out from under the seat and console but it wasn't there. I finally found it in my right side pocket. I guess when I came in last night I put it in the wrong pocket and didn't look there today. I know, I know, you're saying poor old Jay is losing it.... Stop Laughing!
Okay, it's Friday the 23rd. I intended to get busy and get all caught up today and found that I had started this log back on the 12th and hadn't finished it. Maybe there really is some truth that I'm losing it! I don't want to listen to Stella complaining about me asking her what happened two weeks ago, so I'm just going to skip over all that time and hit a few highlights from the past couple of weeks.
Last Saturday, the 17th, was Cameron's birthday so we drove down to Texas City to spend the day with him. He had decided not to go out to eat for his birthday and wanted a home-cooked meal so we stayed at their house and Jeremy cooked. He made chicken picatta and pasta and it was delicious. He also made a pie of some sort that was really good. It was a cross between a regular pie and a cheesecake with a white icing. It was very good but very rich and filling.
Sunday we met Tommy and Susan at the Monument Inn for our anniversary dinner. Our anniversary was December 7th and theirs was on the 4th. We have talked about doing this for a couple of years but just never got around to it. This year we did it and it was a grand meal with good friends!
This whole week has been cold and dreary. It rained a lot the other night, all night long. I know we need the rain but I get tired of weather like this very quickly. The old bones get stiff when the weather isn't warm. Old Arthur (itis) comes to stay with us too, so it makes for a lousy time in this house.
Speaking of old, I got my Medicare card in the mail the other day. Stella filled out all the forms for me and sent them in a month or so ago, so now I would be a card-carrying old man with his Medicare card except that she kept my card. I guess its because I'm not official yet and won't be until the 3rd of January when I turn 65 and a real-life oldster! She's a LOT older than me and I guess is jealous when youngsters like me make the grade to being aged. I'll probably show off that card all over town when she does let me have it.
Also along those same lines, I want to tell you that it used to bother me when youngsters in their 40's and 50's called me sir. Wait a minute, I'm not old enough to be called sir, that's for old folks! I guess I've earned it though. I've been down a lot of roads in my life and not all of them were paved. I earned every one of those gray hairs, worrying about all those people and the bad guys that preyed on them. I put a lot of villains away in my career and can look back on it with pride. At least I don't have to pack a gun around any longer, worrying about someone from my past sneaking up on me.
I'm sitting here watching the news on television and watching all these kids breaking down doors in malls to get in to buy the latest Air Jordan shoes. They waited in line all night long to buy these shoes for $200 and are hoping to sell some of them for up to $400. First of all, I've never wanted anything bad enough to stand in line in the cold all night. I used to dress pretty stylish but of course, those days are gone, but I wouldn't consider paying $200 for tennis shoes, and certainly not $400! There I go again, showing my age.
That's about enough for me right now but hang in there with me, I'll get back on track and keep the blog up better.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday morning was just cold. No rain this morning, but the temps were in the high 30's but we had a good turnout for coffee. We went to Tewbeleaux for lunch. They have a special of 20 wings (mixed flavors) for $10. I don't really care for wings that much but they were pretty good and best of all, Jerry and Diane picked up the tab for everyone. We stopped at Kroger and picked up some essentials and came back home. Another afternoon of fireplace and furnace.
Wednesday was another cold morning, 29 degrees here! At least it wasn't a hard freeze- down in the 20's -so hopefully no one will have any broken pipes. Our neighbors, Mark and Rebecca, have been having trouble with their propane heater in their Montana. Our friend Mack has been coming over to help them and has replaced their propane regulator which made the heater work again but they still have a propane smell. Today we got it fixed. There is another regulator on the other side of the trailer on the second propane bottle, that we discovered was bad. I took Mark and Mack up to Lone Star RV and bought the parts needed to make the repair, and now it seems that all is well! Mack had also worked on Roy and June's motorhome heater that had stopped working. He found that a reset switch on the CO detector had been kicked and was keeping the propane from coming on to light the heater. Friends have certainly been keeping him busy!
Stella and I went to eat with our Heartland club friends Tom and Marti at El Palenque. They are interested in taking over the south Texas chapter when we are ready to step down so we talked about it and decided to let them be the wagonmasters of the October rally next year. It will give them a chance to "test the waters" of organizing and putting on a rally. We are looking forward to working with them on the rally. I hope they will have as much fun as we have in being chapter leaders.
Thursday was another cold morning, below freezing which is unusual for this area this early. We typically see these temps in late January and February but not in December. After coffee and breakfast at home, I took the clothes down to the washateria for Stella. It turned out to be another cold and dreary day, so we just stayed inside and tried to stay warm. That evening we went out to eat with Jim and Reta and met Ed and Sharon at Tewbeleaux for their chicken-fried steak night dinner. We all had plenty to eat and had a fine time together.
Friday morning wasn't as cold as it has been but still chilly outside. We were invited out to eat with our neighbors Mark and Rebecca at Furr's buffet and had a very nice time with them. Mark is a retired US Marine, so he got his military discount as well as the senior discount, so he graciously bought our lunch. That made our meal even better!
Saturday morning the temp was a little warmer and I slept in this morning. We went to breakfast with the group to El Bosque mexican food for their buffet breakfast. We had a really good time at this outing and hope that there will be another one before we leave. After breakfast we went shopping for some of the Christmas gifts that we have to buy. I say "we" went shopping when it was Stella that went to the stores. I stayed in the truck to make sure that the truck didn't get stolen or broken into and read in the Kindle.
Sunday we ate a quick breakfast before leaving for Bill and Alena's house in Fulshear. They had stayed at Timber Ridge and Rayford after moving down here from Chicago. They bought a huge house and got moved in during the past summer and have been making improvements since then. They put in a beautiful pool and hot tub and just finished up on their outdoor kitchen. Tommy and Susan came up from Deer Park and we all had a great time visiting after touring their house. We took our doggies with us to play with Bill and Alena's dog Anya. Anya has recently been diagnosed with a tumor, so it was a bittersweet visit. Cassie and Tramp enjoyed exploring the new house and yard and were tired out when we left. While there we watched the Houston Texans triumph over the Cincinnati Bengals in a real nail biter of a game. Congratulations to the Texans for their best season record and winning their division. We hope to see Bill and Alena again when we return from our summer trip. Bill wants to go to the valley with us in January and I hope this works out. I will introduce him to my dentist over there. I am looking forward to getting mine finished up.
Monday, December 5, 2011
I came inside when it began to rain again and we watched football on television all afternoon. It was nice to spend the afternoon watching TV with the fireplace keeping us toasty warm. I saw a few of our friends here during the afternoon, but it was a good day to stay indoors.
We are back here and not doing much, so please don't be disappointed if I get behind again. I think I will do as one of my friend does on her blog (thanks Karen) and jot down some notes daily and post once a week. We'll see how that works.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
This was the Boomer rally weekend and it was good to see some old friends from the group. We were in the last site in the reserved group of sites and were surrounded by several of our original Houston Area Boomers group members. Seemed like old times....
Saturday, December 3, 2011
It was pointed out to me that I haven't put up any pictures of the new trailer, so here one is! We are really enjoying this new "home".
Thursday, December 1, 2011
After my breakfast of coffee and donuts, I went back home and finished catching up on some blogs and other computer work. We didn't begin to get ready to leave until about 10 o'clock because we didn't want to get in too early and have to pay for an extra day for an early check-in. We left around noon and made the grueling drive north, making it here before 1. Tommy and Susan were already here and just after we got pulled into our site, who should drive up but Ted. He was in the neighborhood and decided to stop by. He and Donna will be up tomorrow but it was nice of him to stop by to see us.
We are here for the Texas Boomer Christmas rally. We have been members of the Boomers since about 2004. I was the Houston area leader for about three years and got my start with being the wagonmaster for rally groups with them. We always have a good time with the Boomers and we are looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends.
As soon as we got set up we all decided that we needed to go eat a good lunch, so we went to Vernon's Kuntry Catfish in Conroe. Along the way we all noticed the very low levels of the lake. I didn't have my camera but will take it with me tomorrow and take some pictures of what was once waterfront properties that is now beachfront property. This drought has called unbelievable damages in Texas!
More to come in the next few days.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
I took Stella down to the washateria to wash our clothes and all the linens and towels that the boys had used. It took her a little longer because of all the additional stuff but she got it done. We have talked extensively about buying a washer and dryer for the trailer but she'd rather spend a couple of hours in a washateria once a week than to have to wash every day in the trailer. None of the washers available will wash a full load, so it doesn't make sense to spend the money on a washer/dryer along with the expense to run them.
Tuesday was another cold one, not quite as cold as yesterday but still in the high 30's. We've been having good crowds at coffee and there are still a couple of Canadians that haven't come south yet.
We went to the grocery store today, buying ingredients for this weekend's Boomer rally. It has been a long time since we've been to a Boomer rally and we are looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends. Tomorrow's pack-up shouldn't take too long but we don't need to leave here real early. It's only about 30 miles to the park. The truck should barely get up to a normal operating temperature.
Monday, November 28, 2011
After the ball game, Stella and I came back home, alone at last!! Their stuff just seems to junk up the trailer, mainly because they are so sloppy. We don't have them enough to try to work on that, and I really don't want to make a stay at Me-Maw and PePaw's house a training camp. We love 'em, but thank goodness they're gone.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
We have had several events here in the park and we went to several of them and had a good time. Frank has begun fixing a breakfast on Saturday mornings again, so that will be getting back to normal.
We went to Texas City and picked up Tyler and Cameron last weekend and they have been with us all week. We love them and want them to come as often as they want, but they sure do make a mess with all their stuff.
Wednesday Ted and Donna and Mike and Patrice all came in for the weekend. Our old friends Rick and Brenda came over from their work camping job at the Livingston State Park and we all went out to eat at a new place called Tewbeleaux. Its a sports bar that specializes in cajun food and was very good.
Of course Thursday was the big Thanksgiving feast here at the park. There weren't as many people as we expected but there was plenty of good food. We are all thankful that the park furnishes the turkey and hams and hope that the turnout doesn't affect their participation.
Friday, instead of shopping all day, we stayed around here and Donna and Patrice furnished us our supper meals. Donna made a taco soup and Patrice fixed a roast with all the fixin's. Stella made cornbread, so we all had plenty to eat and some good visiting. It's always good to be back with old friends. We played bingo that night and Cameron won the big pot. He was a proud boy!
It rained all day Saturday and started turning cooler, so we all stayed inside most of the day. We all went to Furr's for breakfast and had a very good meal there. There were several activities for kids today so that kept Cameron busy. Saturday night there was a "hobo stew" meal that we all brought ingredients for. Rayford furnished the meats and we all brought a variety of veggies and it turned out very well. After eating, we all had bought tickets for a drawing for several items and of course, we didn't win.
The boys are going home tomorrow, so things should get back to normal soon.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
We drove over to pick up the truck, and it was a good thing I called them when I did. The time on the delivery of the rental car was only about 45 minutes after we got back to the dealership, so we were close to having to pay for another day's rental of the car. It wasn't my fault that they were slow in installing two small parts... just sayin'
Then when I got the receipt for the work that had been done, there was an inspection that they had done that mentioned "rec. the rear differential", "ck alignment of front end" and "air conditioner service". None of these suggested repairs had been mentioned when I spoke to the advisor. If he had told me about something needing service, I would likely have told them to do it since the truck was already there and we had a rental car, but nothing was said, so the work didn't get done. That would have made an easy sale for someone, but they didn't take advantage.
On a happier note, we played bingo and I WON!!! I only won a small pot, but it was enough that we got to play for free, but it was nice to win. There was a low turnout and I don't know why. Most of the winter Texans are in but only a few came to play. Oh well, there's always next week.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Monday afternoon was the first of the winter Texan meetings/block parties. Gwen made some announcements and introduced the staff again, including the new girl that is working at Timber Ridge. Last night was the potato bar in the Rayford room, and as usual, it was a lot of fun and good to see everyone back together again.
We took the truck over to Tomball Dodge today to have the leaking windshield washer reservoir repaired and a small plastic trim piece replaced both under warranty and to have the tires rotated under the maintenance contract that we bought. We were there at 8 o'clock in the morning (forgot how hard it is to get up that early!) and sat in the waiting room until about 1, when one of the service advisors told us that they needed to order some parts and arranged for us to get a rental car to drive home. The parts should be in this afternoon, but we didn't want to wait any longer. We got our rental and came on back home.
Please hang in there with me because there isn't too much for me to talk about, so it may be a few days before I add anything here. We'll only be here until the 8th of January when we leave for the valley again, and there will be plenty of things to talk about then.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Cam's team had beaten the team from Galveston a day or two before by a score of 13-1, so they must have been overconfident and got beaten this morning 6-4. It was a crushing defeat for the young men because they didn't get to play any more today but their season isn't over yet so there's next weekend for them.
We went over to Kim's house to watch the football games and hang out for the rest of the afternoon before we drove home. That's what I want to talk about, the drivers that we have been encountering. Is it just me, or are there a lot more crazy drivers on the road these days? As I said in another post, this is the Lone Star motorcycle rally weekend in Galveston and all weekend we have seen lots of very fast bikes weaving in and out of traffic in a big hurry to get to Galveston but why did we see so many today, going back to where they came from? They are not only down here; just the other day I was passed by a small blue car. He continued on until he was about a quarter mile ahead of me when all of a sudden he began to spin around in the road. He didn't hit anything or anyone else, but I'm sure that he had a mess to clean up after that... just sayin'
We made it back home without any incidents and stopped by the grocery store before coming back home.
Monday, November 7, 2011
After coffee, I returned home and managed to get Tyler up and about so we could leave for Center TX and the 80th birthday party for my Aunt Barbara. We had a good trip up there and only stopped for a donut for breakfast and for a rest stop around Diboll. When we got to town we went to Janie's house for a burger with her and Gail and then a pretty short visit with them before we had to leave for the party.
It was good to see so many family members and to visit with them. I was rather surprised at how many of them knew of our travels and it was fun to talk about some of our trips. Everyone was surprised at how tall Tyler has gotten. The last time Janie saw him, he was about 3 years old, so it was quite a change in him. The party didn't last all that long before it was time for us to make the long drive back to Houston. I forgot my camera, so I didn't get any photos of the party, but it was a good time and we enjoyed it.
We had an easy drive back and went through Livingston to check out a new RV park there that I had been recommended to look into for a park hosting job. We looked at the park but were not too impressed with all the bare dirt in the sites and the fact that there are many trees that need to be trimmed back to make it easier for patrons to get into their sites. I think we'll pass on this one, at least for now...
We made it home before 7 and again the doggies were very glad to see us. They remembered Tyler and didn't bark at him at all. Maybe he made a better impression than I thought, or maybe their memories are better than I think. He's a pretty memorable young man...
We had "orders" from Tyler to come to his football game tonight to see him march in the band down Palmer Highway for the last time. The band hall is across the street from the football stadium and it has been a 50 year tradition for the band to march on Palmer Hwy. to the game but tonight is to be the last time. We were glad to be there for this historic event, so we left in plenty of time (we thought) to drive down and pick up Cameron to go get something to eat before the game began. I forgot that this was the Lone Star motorcycle Rally weekend in Galveston, so traffic was awful all the way down. We left at 3 o'clock but didn't make it to Texas City until about 5:30 and had to be at the stadium at 6 to watch the band, so we barely had time to pick up Cam and get him home to put on some warmer clothes and go.
We made and got to see Tyler march and then followed the band into the stands. We sat right beside Tyler's row and it was fun to watch him and others in the band dancing and having a good time. Tyler also was awarded the "Freshman of the Week" award tonight. This is something that is given to a different freshman each week and I learned that Tyler had said that if he won, he would like to have it awarded on this week when we would be in attendance. It was an honor for him to win, but especially to have it on the week that you asked for. We are so proud of all our grandsons, but especially when they win an honor like this.
Sadly the Texas City football team lost the game with Friendswood 35-34 but it was a really good game. It has been a long time since I've been able to go to a high school football game and just watch. For the last 30-something years, I worked the games and couldn't watch.
When the game ended, Cam and I came back home. Kim and Stella had left after the half because Kim was cold, but Cam and I stayed to watch the end of the game. Tyler had to stay after to put all the band equipment away but as soon as he called, Jeremy went to get him and we soon came back home. Cameron had a big baseball game tomorrow, so he couldn't come home with us. It was very late before we got back home, but at least there was no traffic through Houston. We are going to Center TX for a family birthday party tomorrow, so we all were in bed soon after getting here. Tyler liked the new trailer and the brand new air mattress bed. We all slept well tonight.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
We can sure tell that the winter Texans have returned because there were 14 for coffee this morning. We had one man, Andy, that no longer lives here and even sold his motorhome, but he still lives nearby and comes once a week for coffee with us.
We didn't do much today and didn't leave the park. We did change the chairs with the couch to make the trailer more livable. It will take some getting used to, but we like it so far. We put the couch on some sliders that we recently bought to make the move easier and we already had the two recliners on a slider, so the move was pretty easy.
Later in the morning I got a call from Joe French, our friend that is the General Manager for Ron Hoover RV's. He told me about an offer for someone to put on a seminar at the next Boat and RV Show in January. I called and after learning what they wanted, I agreed to put on the seminar on full-time RVing on Saturday January 7th at 3 PM at the Reliant center. If you're going to the show, please stop by and say hello.
I promised to do a recap of our summer trip through Michigan, so here is a part of it. We traveled a lot of miles this summer but I'm not sure exactly how many. I had kept one of the trip odometers on my truck that recorded the miles for the entire trip but at the last oil change/service, someone at the Ford dealer in Canton that did the work reset the trip odometer for some reason, so I lost the mileage count. I believe that we traveled over 11,000 miles this summer.
We covered a lot of new territory in Michigan, Wisconsin Ohio and Pennsylvania and met a lot of new people at local Heartland rallies in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, the RV-Dreams rally in Hershey PA, the huge Hershey RV show that we worked in the Heartland Owners club booth, the Heartland National rally in Goshen Indiana and the Passport America rally also in Goshen IN. We also helped the local Heartland dealer in Elkhart with a small RV show. They actually sold 27 trailers at the show and we met some new friends there too. We returned to Texas and hosted our chapter rally in Canton TX and had a good turnout. This rally was also instrumental in the formation of the new Oklahoma chapter of the Heartland Owners club.
Of course, the high point of the trip was when we came back to Houston and bought the new Landmark. We tried to make the purchase before the rally so that we could surprise everyone with our new trailer but we just couldn't pull it off. Mike and Patrice did surprise us with their purchase of a new Landmark at the rally and I thought it would have been funny if we had been able to get ours too. Too bad it didn't work out...
That's probably enough of a recap for today but I'll put some more information together and share it with you soon.
We had chores to do today and errands to run, so we were up and had breakfast pretty early. We were on the road before 10 o'clock and finished up our errands around here pretty quickly. We went to the bank, the post office and were on our way to Bellville to get new license tags for the truck. We had been out of the state when the tags expired, so we had to go to the county courthouse to get the tags. On the way we stopped off at the Stephen F. Austin state park to get some names for references for future park hosting applications. While there, we took a short ride through the park because the office was closed for lunch, even though their time was up. When we worked there the office didn't close for lunch but I guess things have changed. They have certainly changed in the appearance of the park. There were hundreds of trees and large limbs down throughout the park and it looked very bad. It has always bee a state policy to not allow visitors to pick up fallen trees and limbs for firewood but it certainly detracts from the look of the park.
We soon found Carmen at work in the office but saw no one else out in the park. She gave us the information that we needed and we verified that they do not need anyone to work there, as we had heard, so we took off. We went to Bellville and got the tags in short order and returned to Sealy where we stopped off at Tony's restaurant for a quick snack of coffee and pie. They have some of the best pies that we have ever eaten and today was no exception. After our coffee break, we went to Ron Hoover RV to pick up the license plate for the trailer. We also needed to get some advice on a couple of issues that we had found on the trailer and to pick up some replacement light bulbs. The new trailer uses halogen bulbs in most of the lights in the trailer and four of them have burned out along with two spotlight bulbs. We got most of the items we needed except the bulbs which were out of stock.
We had a nice chat with Joe French while we were in the store and he asked us to do a short video about our purchase for their company website. The video hasn't been posted yet, but if you want to check it out, please do and let me know how you like it.
We came on back home and the pups were very glad to see us. We hadn't planned to be gone all day but they were fine when we got back and were soon taken care of. We just relaxed for the rest of the evening. Jim and Reta came over to see our new trailer and liked it. It was good to be back at Rayford and we'll miss it when we leave.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
It is only 124 miles to Rayford from here, so we didn't make any stops along the way. I had thought about stopping at the Buccee's in Wharton but there was no need, so we just sped on by. The truck and trailer were very dirty and dusty, so I decided to find the Blue Beacon truck and trailer wash on the 610 loop in Houston. After enduring some traffic and construction delays, we finally got in line for a wash. After an hour, we had our truck and trailer washed and treated with a Rain-X rinse. I thought it was a good value for only $37, so we were soon on our way with a sparkling clean truck and trailer. I knew the guys at Rayford would admire the clean rig.
When we arrived, we found that there were four of our friends that also arrived today, so we had a nice reunion with several of our friends. Men's coffee here will be fun tomorrow. We will have a lot to talk about.
I am going to recap our summer trip in the next few days, so you might want to check back. Excitement will be running high!!
We got started about 7:30 and found that many things were much better to pack up in order to leave. We were ready to go a little after 9 and after hugs and handshakes from Tom and Judy (no hugs from Judy-she's still sick) we pulled out. I still marvel at how easy this new trailer pulls. Even my fuel mileage is up, with over 11 MPG for most of the trip today.
We only made one stop today when we found a Subway just outside Raymondville. We picked up breakfast sandwiches and coffee and went on our way to Victoria. We made good time and pulled into the Gateway to the Gulf RV Park about 2 PM. Our friends Dan and Karen, the folks that we had stayed with in Michigan, were here waiting for us to arrive. We were excited to be able to show off our new trailer as well as seeing our friends.
We also met some new friends here, Larry and Ginnie. They are also from Michigan and had met up with Dan and Karen here yesterday. They are all going south to Aransas Pass where they will spend the winter. We will see Dan and Karen again in Mission when we have a couple of get-togethers in February.
Karen and Ginnie had made plans to have hot dogs and brats for a mini-potluck dinner. We contributed some of Stella's goulash and we all had a fine meal. We sat outside and chatted for awhile after eating, which was nice with our new friends. It was a good travel day.
Monday, October 31, 2011
We stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some fresh meat so Stella could fix her famous goulash later this afternoon for us. We returned home in time to watch football for the rest of the afternoon. After watching the Houston Texans win their game, I went outside to find that Judy was feeling a bit better and was sitting outside. The weather is just about perfect right now, so we all sat out under the clear blue skies and enjoyed chatting. Stella's goulash was ready to eat soon, so the four of us sat outside our trailer and ate supper. Judy and Tom enjoyed the meal and took enough of the leftovers for another good meal. I know how good that soup is much better the day after it has been prepared, and am sure that they will enjoy it. There isn't a much better way to get over a cold or the flu than with home made soup.
Tom showed me how to lubricate the new pin box on the trailer and later he and I made very short work of taking the porch and steps down in preparation for leaving tomorrow. We will be sad to leave but at the same time, glad to be returning to see our friends at Rayford again. The winter Texans are coming in soon and some are already there. We will miss them after this season.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
We had thought about going to eat a burger at the Gonzales Burgers but I got out too early for that, so we went to Martha's for breakfast. It was delicious as usual and we had a good time chatting with some of the other winter Texans that had come in to eat. It had turned chilly this morning and we were sitting right beside the front door, so we got a blast of cold air every time the door opened, but it wasn't that bad.
There hasn't been too much to report going on down here in the valley but we will be leaving here soon and then perhaps we'll have more to talk about.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Tuesday Tom had to take Judy to a doctor's appointment and Stella and I went to visit Dustin Hoover at the Ron Hoover dealership where we are having an open house event in February. We talked out some of the details of this event and after leaving Dustin's office, we did a little shopping in the parts department. We ran a few errands and stopped by a Luby's restaurant for a snack, which was a mistake. Their prices are outrageous but lesson learned! We returned to the park and hung out with Tom and Judy for the rest of the afternoon. Of course, you know what Tuesday night is, yep, NCIS night. I got to watch my show and was a happy camper...
Wednesday we didn't leave the park all day. I got caught up on my blog and took care of a lot of Heartland business both online and on the telephone. Stella worked on getting some boxes of assorted things that hadn't been put away yet taken care of and we enjoyed a day of just hanging out at home. The dogs loved it too.
I learned today that we'll be starting a new work camping job at the Caddo Lake NWS park in February. We're looking forward to a new adventure there. More to come...
Monday, October 24, 2011
Our friends Ken and Maureen came over in the afternoon and brought our supper of baked spaghetti. Stella and Judy made a salad, garlic bread and a dessert, and it was all yummy! We had a nice visit with them in Tom and Judy's trailer and after eating the girls went outside to play Pegs and Jokers and we guys stayed inside and watched the end of the football games. After they left, we all sat outside in the cool evening breezes for awhile before getting tired from the day's activities. Another great day in the valley!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
We went for a long ride down to Hidalgo and the Mexican border there. I didn't realize that there are many small houses that literally have the border fence in their back yard. There are huge fields of vegetables, fruit and sugar cane, most of which have made it through the hot weather and drought. I expect that we will all see much higher prices for fruit and veggies because of the bad weather. Only time will tell.
Ken and Maureen, some friends that used to stay here at Mission West came by to visit when we returned home. It was nice to see them again after running into them in Ypsilanti at one of our first stops in Michigan. We had a nice meal with them in Michigan and planned another meal together tomorrow afternoon. Maureen said she will make some baked spaghetti, so Judy will fix a salad and we'll make garlic bread and a dessert. Can't wait for some yummy food!
We sat outside in the cool breeze with Tom and Judy after Ken and Maureen left. We stayed out until darkness fell but the skeeters didn't bother us tonight. I guess the breezes kept them away, but whatever it took, it was very nice to be out again.
Ken and Kathy came over here this afternoon to see Tom and Judy's new Mobile Suite trailer and of course, our new Landmark Grand Canyon. They liked both units, but I like to think they liked the Grand Canyon better. The MS is a very nice unit but I really can't see the price difference in the two. Well, maybe I am just a little bit slanted...
After they left, we sat outside with Tom and Judy for awhile until the skeeters ran us back inside. Another nice day in the valley.
Friday, October 21, 2011
We need a new lamp for the trailer, so we stopped at the Wal Mart to shop but didn't find one that we liked and will keep looking. We stopped at the HEB store and Stella and Judy picked up a few items. When we got through shopping, we decided to stop by Ken and Kathy's house again and this time they were home. We had a nice visit with them and they were surprised to learn that we have the new trailer. After a very nice visit, we left to go eat supper. I decided to eat better but still try to stay with soft food. I did okay but my mouth did start to bother me, so I learned that I'm going to have to be more careful about my food for the next few days.
After a very nice day we returned home about dark. We have missed our friends.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
The interesting thing today was the news that a man had let out "dozens" of exotic animals including lions, tigers and bears. Police officers had to kill most of these dangerous animals, which was sad, but necessary. The interesting thing for us was, that was one of our stops on our way back toward Indiana. As near as I could tell, we were about 5-6 miles away at the Wolfie's Campground. Glad we came back when we did!
Not much to report today, but at least I'm back on track on the blog.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Stella and I crossed the border into Mexico this afternoon for my first appointment with Dr. Flores, my dentist. We went over the plan for my teeth and he took impressions for the work to be done. We made an appointment for tomorrow to begin the work, which was much quicker than we had thought. I guess it was because there are so few winter Texans down here, but he accelerated the process. That's okay with me because we'll be finished sooner.
We returned on Tuesday morning for an 8 o'clock appointment. Man, I had forgotten how early that is. Been a long time since I've had to be somewhere this early. Dr. Flores didn't waste any time, and almost before I knew it, we were done. I was very impressed with the doctor and his staff. They took great care to insure that I was comfortable and in no pain. I know that is has been pretty controversial for American citizens to have dental work done across the border, both in Mexico and in Canada, but my experience has been very positive. And that isn't taking into consideration the amount of money I saved by having my work done here.
We came on back home before noon and I rested, taking my medications. My mouth was sore but I was glad to have it done. I will be on a liquid diet for a day or so and I am not looking forward to that, but the outcome will be worth it.
We ran into some friends, Jim and Sina, who have been to a couple of our rallies before. They are picking up their new Landmark Key Largo this morning, and there was another couple that were picking up a new Big Country that wanted to talk to us. We waited for this couple to get done with their document signings and talked to them about our chapter rallies and gave them information on joining the owners club and forum.
We were finally on the road about 11 o'clock and man, what a difference this trailer is between the Bighorn. It pulls like a dream, and I literally didn't feel it behind me. We had thoughts of driving straight through to Mission, but since we both were so tired from the move, decided to stop in Victoria at the Gateway to the Gulf RV Park. This would have been a very easy-in park except that I drove right by the exit for the park and had to drive another couple of miles to turn around.
We had so much stuff that was stacked on the bed and in the bedroom that we only moved the necessary things to get into the bathroom and slept in our recliners. Actually, I made the doggies move from the couch and slept there for a few hours. I don't think either of us slept very well, so we left pretty early for Mission.
We made an easy drive to Mission and pulled in here about 2 o'clock. This place is virtually empty because of some internal squabbling over the previous manager and some of the contracts he entered into. Our friends Tom and Judy are here and we pulled into a nice concrete site right next door to them. I can't believe how easy it is to set up the Landmark. Everything is electric or hydraulic and it only took me about fifteen minutes to get everything set. Gotta love it!
Tom and Judy took us to one of our favorite restaurants here, Furr's Fresh Buffet, for supper. It was good to be back with our friends and back in the valley.
We finally got through and began to switch our belongings into the new trailer about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. I had made arrangements to sleep on their lot tonight, but when closing time neared, the store's forklift wouldn't start to move the Bighorn so they could close the gate. They had parked the two trailers door to door to make it easier. Since it was now impossible to secure the lot, I told them that I would block the lot with my truck and would keep an eye on the lot during the night. Stella and I worked until after midnight before stopping for the night. We finally got to bed about 1AM but were woke up by the Houston Police who had noticed the truck parked in the drive with an open gate. We were glad that he had stopped by to check. I have been in similar situations countless times in my career and know how dangerous this can be.
We went out and had a good breakfast before getting back to work. We spent all day again moving stuff from trailer to trailer. At least they had a wooden bridge that made it easier to walk between the trailers and keeping me from having to walk up and down the steps. We were still exhausted but we got it done. We didn't actually get finished moving until early Saturday morning, but the Bighorn was empty at last! I didn't realize how much stuff we had accumulated in the last couple of years. Some of it needs to go away and we'll work on that soon.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
We only stayed one night in Nacogdoches before traveling on to Rayford Crossing in Spring. We surprised several people there by dropping in. It was good to see the friends that are either already back for the winter season or didn't leave this summer. I enjoyed having coffee with the few guys that are there.
On a sour note, I learned that we are not working at Timber Ridge any more. We began running the park for Gwen a couple of summers ago and knew all along that they wanted someone to work at the park year-round, but Stella had talked to Gwen about six weeks ago and was told that they were still filling in with girls from the Rayford office to run it, so we both assumed (I know what that word means) that we would still be working there when we returned, so it was a shock when I was told that someone else is now working there. We should have been told.
We stayed two nights at Rayford and left for Ron Hoover RV on Wednesday to pick up our new trailer. WE ARE EXCITED!!!
After the football games were over, a group of us decided to go eat some pizza at the local Pizza Inn. We all had a good time and had plenty of pizza to eat later. I forgot to tell you that it had begun to rain this afternoon and continued into the night. The rain cut down on our sitting outside, but it had been a good weekend and the rain was very much needed. Lets see now, since we came back into Texas, the weather got cooler and now it is raining. We probably should have come back earlier...
Monday, October 10, 2011
Although many had already arrived, there were still some that didn't arrive until Friday afternoon/evening, so we all decided to go out on our own to eat supper and then return to the park to "meet and greet" in one or more of the sites. We had a good group at our site and sat outside until almost 11 o'clock, chatting and enjoying ourselves.
Saturday was another good day, thanks to our new friends at Explore USA. We had planned a good breakfast, but Explore offered to fix us a fish fry with all the trimmings, so we took them up on it. We looked at several new trailers and had a good meal. We are glad this worked out and everyone had a good time. Congratulations to Jim and Sheila & Rex and Stacey for winning the two 32" televisions that were donated by the dealership.
Saturday afternoon we met in the rally hall to talk about some new chapters in Oklahoma and north Texas. There was a lot of interest in the OK chapter and later discussion of co-leaders in the north Texas area. I hope these two new chapters take off!
Saturday night we had our potluck dinner, which was delicious. Potlucks are probably my favorite meal because there is so much good food. Some stayed after the meal and played games and the rest went out to sit outside with new friends. We had originally planned to use the nice pavilion for our gathering but there was a class reunion on Saturday night that used it, so we had to change our plans. It all worked out very well and all had a great time. We are looking forward to the next rally in April.
Monday, October 3, 2011
These few days were spent hanging out with our Heartland friends both old and new. There were five rigs from Oklahoma that all came in together and it was nice meeting them. They will be the nucleus of an Oklahoma chapter, so we will be looking forward to that.
Stella fixed some pancakes one morning for everyone but the GFI circuit went out in the trailer. The GFI circuit covers the outside plugs, and the refrigerator, so it is something that I will have to get working again soon. The fridge works on propane but thats pretty expensive. I later went to Wal Mart and bought another plug but that didn't fix the problem so I found the breaker for the circuit was weak. I located a breaker and Mike and I installed it but again, it didn't fix the problem. I got one of my new friends, Jim Hutt, to help me check out the individual plugs on the circuit but they all checked out okay, so I am at a loss about why it won't work. I was able to run an extension cord to the fridge to power it, so all is well for now, at least for the fridge. We moved the coffee maker inside to another plug, so we'll make do. You may as well hear it now, we've bought a new trailer, a 2011 Landmark Grand Canyon. We'll pick it up next week!
Bill and Ornell made some delicious gumbo on Wednesday night. We all enjoyed it but most of all, it was nice to sit around with our friends and visit. The weather has turned off pretty nice with cooler temperatures at night and in the morning, and we even had a little rain. Not enough to catch up with the drought, but rain anyway. Its a start!
We drove over to Nacogdoches to meet Janie on Thursday and it was nice to see her, as always. We spent a couple of hours with her at an oriental buffet restaurant and had a very nice visit. On our way back to Canton, I stopped to check on a fellow that had a blowout on his Big Country trailer. Since it's a Heartland trailer, I thought it might have been someone coming to the rally, but it wasn't. The man had called for a road service to come help him out, so we continued on our way back to Canton.
I'm sorry for the delay in getting this posted, but we've been very busy lately. Thanks for following along with us and I'll get all caught up in the next few days to bring you up to date on our adventures.
Sunday, October 2, 2011
We returned home and hung out inside the trailers, resting up from the mornings shopping spree. The only buying we did today was a couple of tee shirts for me. Stella couldn't find anything she wanted but we'll be back...
None of us were hungry this afternoon, so we just ate some cheese dip that Mike had made up and Patrice warmed for us. It was good to just sit outside in the pleasant weather (for a welcome change!) and just snack.
Saturday morning, Jennifer, Melissa, Jay and Ian were supposed to come over to the sale, but they ran late. I was expecting them about 9 o'clock but they didn't come over until almost noon! Stella and I had ridden the shuttle over because Patrice wanted to get an earlier start, but we all met up at the Arbors area and walked around for a bit before we all decided that we had enough of shopping and came on back to the park. Of course, as soon as I got home and relaxed, Jennifer called to tell me they were here and wanted me to come back over. I rested for a few minutes and caught another shuttle to go back over to the sale. I got there and finally found them-its very hard to find someone in hundreds, maybe thousands of people-but I got 'er done. I did a little shopping with them before Ian needed a nap and I volunteered to take him back to the trailer. None of us really thought he'd go with me but he surprised everyone by taking my hand and going with me. We caught another shuttle and rode home. Ian was reintroduced to Tramp and Cassie and after a short time, he was asleep in the bed.
I wish I'd taken some new pictures of Ian because he has really gotten tall! He's a good little boy but a bit of a handful at times. I had forgotten how active a three year old can be. When he woke from his nap, I took him outside to sit with our friends and he was constantly up and looking around for things to get into, but overall, he was very good. His Mom and Dad and his aunt 'Lissa soon came back from shopping.
We decided to go to eat at the Papadales restaurant again and again had a good meal. We had a nice visit with the kids and everyone left full and happy. It was good to spend time with them, especially Ian whom I can't spend enough time with. Monday is Jennifer's birthday, and I promised to give her a call on her big day. We brought them back to the trailer to get some gifts of Hershey's chocolates that we had bought for them and after hugs and handshakes, they left for home. It had been a very good day.
Friday, September 30, 2011
Stella wanted to wash the sheets on the bed and decided to go ahead and wash the clothes today, so I took her to the washateria that is only a short distance from us. We have been very impressed with this place so far, and I'm sure we'll have a great time when the rally-goers arrive.
Speaking of arrivals, Jim and Sheila Gratz came by a little before noon to tell me that they had arrived. They have been coming to our rallies from the very beginning, and it was good to see them again. They had decided to go over to the First Monday sale area but I told them that I didn't think we'd be over there today. Not long after they arrived, Mike and Patrice Fogarty arrived in the brand new Landmark trailer. They had just picked it up last weekend from the dealership that is just down the road. What a surprise!
We hung out with Mike and Patrice for the rest of the afternoon, and since today was Mike's birthday (Happy Birthday buddy!) he got to choose where we went to eat supper. He took us to Papadale's Grill where we had a very good meal. We returned to their new trailer and chatted with them for awhile before turning in for the night. It's good to be back with our good friends that we have many good memories with.
More of our good friends will be here for this weekend, so the fun is just beginning.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
We could not believe the drought damage that we saw as we came here. There were many dry ponds and cattle tanks that we saw and a lake that normally comes to the edge of the highway was about a quarter mile away due to the lack of water. I'm pretty sure that we'll see plenty more damage when we travel further south. This is not to mention the terrible fires that have ravaged the state.
Our friends will start arriving tomorrow, so there should be more to talk about then.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
About ten minutes later we were BACK IN TEXAS!!!
This was the longest either of us has been out of state, and it is good to be back "home". We made good time down the highway and only made one brief comfort stop. I did try to find a truck/trailer wash that I had seen on a billboard but it was somewhere off the road and we didn't take the time or the trouble to find it and we continued on. Maybe I can wash the truck and trailer after we get to the park. I forgot about the water rationing that was going on because of the extreme drought.
We got all checked in and processed and while setting up, Wendy Matthews, the rally coordinator for the park, dropped by to say hello. It was nice to finally meet her after talking to her so many times on the telephone to set up this rally. She invited us up to her office in the Grand Ballroom and when we got there, we were blown away with the beauty of this facility. They really have their act together here!
When we got through in the ballroom, we took a ride to look at the outdoor pavilion and have decided that this is where we will spend much of our time with the rally here. We came on back home and since we were tired from several days of traveling, we just stayed inside and relaxed. It was really too hot outside to do much else. Welcome back to Texas. Its supposed to cool off for the weekend and hopefully next week as well.
I got on the computer and let everyone know that we have arrived. We have some friends that will be in for this weekend's First Monday fun, so I hope I will be able to keep up. Wish me luck1
Monday, September 26, 2011
We made good time down the highway and when we programmed in our destination, the I-30 RV park in Benton Ark. we realized that we would be there before 2 o'clock. We decided to push on to the Sunrise RV Park in Texarkana Ark. We have seen this park a few times on previous trips and thought it would be a good place to stop. It was one of the nicest parks that we have stayed at since we left Rayford in May! It has full hookups including cable and free wifi Internet service. NICE....
I neglected to mention a couple of days ago that I had received an invitation to stop by and stay at Sam and Donna Weibel's house in Missouri. Sam is an ex Chief of Police and writes a nice blog that I follow. It was nice to get the invitation but we were not traveling in their area, so we had to pass. Sam and Donna are making plans to go full time at some point in the future. I wish them all the luck that we have had in our travels.
I plan to make a recap of our summer travels in the next few days. If you haven't read everything I have written or if you just joined up, please stay tuned.
The best news for us is that we are nearly back in Texas. Tomorrow's return to Texas soil will mark our longest trip out of state ever.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
It stopped raining somewhere between Indy and Terre Haute IN but it didn't take long for it to start raining again. It rained on us most of the way to our destination at Sikeston MO. We got here about 3 o'clock, but remember, we gained an hour due to the time zone change. This park is pretty nice and we have stayed here several times before.
Not too much else to report, just cool weather and wet roads. I hope the rain stops overnight!
This morning Mack and I decided to get out early and build a fire to sit beside and drink our coffee. Mack spent all summer remodeling his house and had a lot of wood left over and that is what we have been using every night to burn in our campfires. We finished it up this morning! It was nice to sit out by the fire and chat. Stella even came out to sit with us for awhile.
After coffee, Stella wanted to go to the washateria to wash up our clothes in preparation for leaving tomorrow. I came back home and kept the dogs company and watched a little television between naps. .
When Stella got through washing, I went and picked her up and Mack came over to say that he had some errands to run. I told him that I wanted to fill the truck before we left, so we all piled into the truck and we took off. I don't know why Indiana service stations are allowed to advertise no tax fuel, but they do. I had noticed diesel fuel for about .30 per gallon cheaper at a nearby truck stop, so we went to check it out. Of course, the actual price was in line with everyone else in the area but we did save a few pennies and went ahead and filled up. We then went into Carmel to run errands and to get something to eat.
We went to the Ponderosa Steak house, which Mack said had started in this area. The chain of restaurants has grown to 225 locations and the food today was very good. We had another nice meal before we left to do a little shopping. We returned home and I took down our porch in preparation to tomorrow's leaving. We soon went over to Mack and Mattigene's motorhome to play a domino game called Train. Mack and I had played one game at Rayford and Matti had never played, so Stella and I gave them a short instruction on the game and we all had a good time. I actually won the game, but we all played pretty well and had a great time. We will look forward to more games when we all get back to Rayford.
It was a good thing that we hadn't planned another campfire tonight because it started to rain as soon as we got inside the motorhome and rained pretty hard until just before the game broke up. Its supposed to be another chilly night here. Wish the folks in Texas could get some of this rain too.
Friday, September 23, 2011
A very warm campfire that felt really good tonight.
As you can see from the photos above, we had another nice campfire tonight. Mack did some extensive remodeling at his house this summer and we have burned up the scraps of wood that he had left over.
We have had a great time with Mack and Mattigene this week and look forward to more time with them when we all get back to Rayford next month.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
We went into downtown Indianapolis to see the canal that was originally dug as another boat route from the Great Lakes to the Ohio River. Only eight miles of the canal was completed before they ran out of money.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Here is our new yard sign that we bought at the Hershey show. It has our names, a fifth wheel trailer, our Heartland Owners club sign and even a pink flamingo from the Texas Boomers.
This is the Indy 500 museum building. There is a very impressive collection of Indy cars as well as other interesting vehicles and photos of all the Indy 500 race winners.
It was a nice day at the museum. We rode into downtown Indianapolis after the museum tour and Mack pointed out some of the interesting buildings including the state capitol, Lucas Oil stadium and others.