Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tuesday May 31, 2011-Moving Day-Elkhart Campground to Red Roof Inn, Elkhart IN

It is much warmer here than the places we just left. Thats unusual because we remember cool weather last year in late April into May. Maybe there's something to that global warming???

We didn't eat any breakfast this morning because we are meeting our friends for lunch at 11 o'clock. JD wanted to drive, so they came by and picked us up. He wanted to go look at a new truck, so we drove down to the Dodge dealer but the truck he wanted to look at was gone, I guess it was sold. CJ told him that he didn't need a new truck anyway, so we just went to eat at Ryan's for a quick lunch.

We all got plenty to eat and came back home for Stella and I to get packed up to leave for the Red Roof Inn where we'll stay for a few days until our trailer has some repairs made at the Heartland factory. We have an appointment set for Wednesday morning at the factory, so we'll go to the motel and drive over to the factory, about two miles away.

It still sucks to have to pack up your stuff to leave, even though it's very close and we can go by and get anything we forgot. We got all checked into our room and I packed all the stuff that we're bringing to the room. It's HOT here today! It didn't seem that our room air conditioner was working all that well, so I went to the office to report it. The clerk on duty sent the maintenance man to our room and he made some adjustment to the a/c and it seems to be working a bit better.

This room isn't too bad but its not home and I miss my recliner. I did lay down with the pups and take a short nap in bed. Its not my own bed but it will have to do.

I'll stop whining now...

So long.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Monday May 30, 2011-Elkhart Campground

Today is our first full day here in Elkhart. We had seen our friends JD and CJ last night in the park. They have been here for some time and will be attending the Heartland rally in June. We went to eat breakfast with them but many of the restaurants are closed for Memorial Day. We ended up at the Perkins Family Restaurant and Bakery and had a good meal. Perkins specializes in many varieties of delicious muffins and today was no exception. I think all of us had different types of muffins and we all enjoyed them.

We went for a ride after eating to the Goshen Fairgrounds where the rally will be held. It's a good way over there but JD showed me a back way thats a lot faster and easier. Of course there was nothing going on in the fairgrounds now and there are no rallies coming in until the Heartland folks begin to arrive in a couple of weeks. We did see our friends Howard and Linda (RV-Dreams.com) but we didn't want to intrude by dropping in unexpectedly so we didn't stop. It was a nice day for a ride and we enjoyed ourselves.

After returning home, we sat around watching television when our old friends Bob and Grace Stewart came by. We met them at one of our first Heartland rallies in Spring and they have been back a couple of times. Bob and I have been messaging each other on Facebook, so we knew that we were in the area at the same time. It was good to see them again but we were sad to learn that they have sold their Bighorn and bought a Carriage trailer. We had a nice visit with them and we hope to stay in touch with them.

Stella and I went out for awhile to reconnoiter the route that we will take to the Heartland factory on Wednesday. I think we have it down now. We stopped off at Wendy's and had a burger for supper. I miss Texas and Whataburgers already and we've only been here one day.

So long.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday May 29, 2011-Movimg Day-KOA of Terre Haute to Elkhart Campground

We enjoyed last night here in the KOA. It was like many years ago when we first started camping with the sights and sounds of children running around, having adventures that will last a lifetime, the smell of campfires and food cooking outside. Stella and I don't camp out any more, this is now our home; we are RV'ers, not campers. We miss the old times but life moves on and we wouldn't change a thing. Well, maybe a few things, but in general, our lifestyle is great!

We got up this morning and went to eat breakfast in the cafe here at the park. We had good breakfasts before we got on the road and didn't have to fix anything or clean up. We made good time and left the park about 9:20, or right on time. We made good time on the road until we got to Indianapolis where we missed the turnoff to the loop because the regular exit was closed due to road construction. The GPS was at fault because he told us to go to the old exit which was now closed but then he redeemed himself by taking through downtown Indy, and by the way, right beside the Lucas Oil stadium where the Colts play. It was kind of scary, driving through old residential sections of Indianapolis with low hanging branches and a good bit of traffic due to the Indy 500 being run today, but we made it without problem. We came out exactly where we wanted to be, on US 31, the road we needed to be on. We made it into Elkhart a little after 2 in the afternoon. We got set up at the Elkhart Campground in a new section that was being put in last year when we were here. It looks as if we are the first guest in this site.

Lets not forget that it's Memorial Day weekend. I want to thank all the veterans, past and present and may God Bless you for your service.

So long

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday May 28, 2011-Moving Day-Hinton RV Park, Sikeston MO to KOA of Terre Haute IN

We are getting better at getting up, eating breakfast and packing to leave. Today we pulled out at 9:00. It was very cool again this morning, just another great weather day. It was cloudy and threatened rain all the way to Indiana and when we arrived here, the first thing we saw on the weather channel was a severe thunderstorm warning but it was for the Indianapolis area and missed us here in Terre Haute.

We crossed three states today, going from Missouri, through Illinois and ending here in Indiana, traveling less miles than we would have driven from Houston to Dallas. Its amazing how many states you can cross once you get out of Texas.

Stella took some good photos of the high water at the Mississippi river around the border between Missouri and Illinois but somehow they got lost between the camera and downloading them to my computer. I think she got some pictures of space aliens and close-up pictures of their UFO, along with pictures of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and some other cool stuff, but I lost it! I really don't know why they didn't download but I'll be more careful. I'll probably get calls now from the National Enquirer and the Star asking for copies of the pictures but now I don't have them. It will be cool to just get the calls....

So long.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday May 27, 2011-Moving Day-I-30 RV Park to Hinton RV Park, Sikeston MO

Here we are, all packed up and ready to pull out from the I-30 RV Park for Sikeston MO. We did pretty well this morning, pulling out about 9:15 and after a couple of pit stops, pulled into Hinton RV Park about 2:30. We had a good drive up here with no problems and not bad traffic. The roads in Arkansas need some work. I am surprised that nothing fell off the trailer or out of the cabinets when we got here.

Tramp wasn't too worried about the bad roads. He slept in the front seat a good part of the trip. I'm not sure what has happened to him because he and Cassie sleep in the back seat in their beds but he has started to come into the front seat. I guess he's lonesome.

There was still a lot of high water. We haven't crossed the Mississippi yet and I hope we can get some good photos of that to share with you tomorrow.

We passed a couple of miles of sandbags stacked up beside the road. When we got here to the park, the manager said that the intersection where we turned off the highway had flooded and the park had a lot of water in it, but it's all gone now and all is back to normal.

After we got here, we had intended to go to Lambert's Cafe, home of the Throwed Rolls for supper, but Stella picked up one of their menus and the prices have gotten outrageous! At least we thought so and since we have been there a few times before, we decided to stay home and not overeat at inflated prices.

After supper, I went for a walk around the park and its cold! I can't believe the temperatures the last couple of days. It was very nice in Tyler but it was nice and warm. It turned cooler last night and we haven't had to run the air conditioner since we left Tyler. I like it, but its cool tonight. I hope the nice weather holds out. These people in Missouri deserve it.

So long.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Thursday May 26, 2011-Moving Day-#1 RV Park of Tyler to I-30 RV Park, Benton AR

We did good on getting packed up and ready to go this morning. I had done most of my outside chores, so I had plenty of chat time with our new friend Trace and the other-side neighbor Jackie. Trace and his wife Terry had decided not to travel with us after all because they would be arriving in Elkhart two weeks before the rally began and with all the weather problems in the midwest, they decided to stay in Texas for a few more days. We will be sorry that we don't have some company, but can certainly understand why they made their decision.

We pulled out of the park about 9:30, which is an okay time to leave since we don't have all that far to go today. My water leak has returned but I believe it is related to the rain we had the other night. I'll get it checked at the factory when we arrive there for our appointment.

We made good time today with the outstanding weather we found this morning. It was in high 60's or low 70's while I loaded up and didn't get above 76 on the way up here. When we arrived here at Benton AR, there was a cool breeze and partly cloudy skies. The lady in the office said they had some rain last night but no tornadoes. We hope this forecast lasts through tomorrow at least. We opened the windows and turned on the fans and are completely comfortable. Stella fixed us a sandwich for supper and we will just hang out and relax. Tomorrow will be a longer day.

I've got to give you a review of the last two parks that we've been in, the #1 RV Park of Tyler and this one, the I-30 RV Park. Both of them have changed a lot since we stayed in them and not in a good way. The site we were in at #1 was very small and tight. We noticed that Trace, who was right beside us, could not open his awning at all because of the motorhome beside him. In fact, he had a hard time getting out his door. Ours was not quite that tight but we were closer to our neighbors on both sides that we wish to be. I also noticed that there are a lot of long-term people in the park in some run-down trailers including several FEMA trailers. One has a garden planted in front and all along the side of their trailer. Others have furniture, freezers and one has a compact gym set. Overall, it makes the park look bad. The I-30 park has never been a beauty but its a good place to stay overnight at low rates. They have raised the rates but not improved the park at all. Old, junky trailers with lots of "stuff outside, and more FEMA trailers. You can always tell the FEMA trailers because they are always travel-trailers with no markings on them. It seems that in both parks, the FEMA trailers are parked all together. I suppose that there are workers that need a cheap place to stay and they probably all work together. I met a couple of the other long-term residents who told me that they have been disturbed every morning when the workers leave because they seem to have diesel trucks that must be warmed up before moving them or sports cars that must peel out when they leave.

RVParkReview.com here I come!

So long.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday May 25, 2011-#1 RV Park of Tyler

I woke this morning to find that it had rained-stormed even-last night and I slept right through it. We didn't have any serious storms but did have some thunder and lightning and it had rained pretty hard for a few minutes. Nothing like the poor people in Joplin MO experienced. I talked to Melissa last night and learned that her power had gone off and she was scared. I don't blame her, with tornado warnings out and bad weather coming in and no way to monitor it. I told her what I knew, but at the time, the weather channels were much more interested in the Joplin area, so there wasn't a lot of news about the Dallas area. I heard from her again this morning and she sent me some pictures of her car that was damaged by the hailstorm, but they didn't have any tornadoes. I spoke to Phil this afternoon and found out that he had talked to Bobbye Sue. She told him that a tornado had come within about five miles of their house.

After breakfast, we decided to go to the rose gardens that Tyler is known for. When we got there, some big civic program was going on today because I saw lots of people in dress clothes and some city officials cars in the parking lot. Since there was so much going on there, we decided not to go, and did some shopping before we leave tomorrow. We went to Sam's club and Wal Mart and returned home for Stella to go to the laundry to wash our clothes.

While she was washing, I returned home and took the stairs and porch down and dumped the holding tanks in preparation for leaving tomorrow. I got all my chores done and waited on Stella to call me to come get the clothes, but she walked back over without calling me. I had called my cousin Linda and we agreed to meet at their house about 5:30 with Janie and Gail and Gail's son Mark. We went to BJ's Pubhouse but there was a long wait so we went to Clear Springs of Tyler for our supper. We all had a good meal and enjoyed the company. They were all interested in our lifestyle, and we got to tell them about the fun times we have had. It was a nice way to end our week here in Tyler.

So long.

Tuesday May 24, 2011-#1 RV Park of Tyler

Another laid-back day in Tyler today. We stayed home most of the day and took it easy. While taking my walk this morning, I saw a mobile dog groomer in the park, so I stopped by and arranged for Cassie to be all prettied up. Stella took her over while I took the clothes and shoes that we had gathered up yesterday to the Goodwill store.

Remember that microfiber bath mat that we bought last week? I noticed that it looked really dirty, with footprints and marks on it. I quickly learned that it wasn't dirt but just the material. When you smooth the material back down, the marks go away, so I am relieved. I would hate to think that we spent $30 on a bath mat that showed dirt that bad.

Man, theres a lot of traffic in this town! Its almost like we're back in Houston. I guess its good that we're out here in the boonies. We've had a good time and the relaxation because we know we'll be busy when we get to Indiana for the rally.

Stella wanted mexican food for supper, so of course, being the good husband I am, I took her to the Jalapeno Tree restaurant. It was a very nice place and we enjoyed our meal. It won't be long until we won't have good mexican food. Those Amish folks in Indiana don't know anything about salsa and jalapeno peppers.

I've got to go get ready to start packing up to leave soon.

So long.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday May 23, 2011-#1 RV Park of Tyler

We got more cleaning up done around the trailer today. We both went through our shoes and clothes and got rid of the old shoes and clothes that we don't wear any more. This is something we do from time to time to keep down the clutter. We will take them to a Goodwill drop box so someone may get some use out of them.

One of my old workout partners, Smokey Culver, sent me some pictures of our powerlifting days. This picture was taken at a powerlifting meet somewhere, but I don't remember where it was. I was spotting for Smokey, who is doing the bench press.
As you can see, I wasn't always white headed! Thats me standing over him in my favorite tee shirt. I still have most of my trophies that I won, put up in my storage building. Tyler and Cameron have a couple of them, and I plan to leave them to my grandsons. They are too big and heavy for me to carry them around with me now. It seems like a lifetime ago, and it was, but it brings back a lot of memories.

I know this has nothing to do with what we're doing now, but I wanted to share something of my past with you.

So long.

Sunday May 22, 2011-#1 RV Park of Tyler

We woke this morning and went to church with Linda and Doug and other members of the family at the Green Acres Baptist Church. This is a huge church that takes up two full city blocks and an even huger (is that a word?) congregation. I remember as a kid, getting all dressed up in my "Sunday Best" clothes to go to church, but thats not the case here. We saw people in everything from worn out jeans to very short skirts in this church. It is one of the most laid-back Baptist churches I have ever been in. They have a large choir and a full orchestra. Another nice touch is that you don't have to use your glasses to see the small print in the hymnal, the words to the songs are on the video screen. Kind of made me feel presidential, with the teleprompter and all...

Janie had been working hard the past few days on the party at Linda's house, so she and Gail stayed in their hotel room from church. We all went over to Linda and Doug's for a pizza lunch and had some more fine visiting with family and friends. After finishing our lunch, we exchanged hugs and handshakes as we all left their house, us for the RV park and others for their respective homes. It had been a fine weekend.

We came back home to find a huge pond under the trailer. My first thought was "what else will go wrong on this trip?" but I changed into some shorts and crawled under the trailer to check on the problem. I found water running out of the underbelly, in the area where the guys at Genuine RV had worked on it. This had not been running when we left this morning for church because water had run over into the grass under the porch, and we would have seen it this morning. I removed one of the bolts that hold the belly material and a steady stream of water ran out. I couldn't figure out where the water was coming from so I left it alone for awhile to drain. I came back out in about 15 minutes and the water was still running but not as fast as before. I decided to drain all the tanks to see if that helped, and sure enough, as soon as I drained the gray water tanks, the leak slowed and finally almost stopped. Bob at Genuine RV had told me that they had drained the #1 tank, but I suspect they only drained a little bit out and left the tank either full or almost full and by now the tank was over full and may have leaked at the vent tube out the top of the tank. I watched the leak for the rest of the afternoon and it had slowed to a very small drip in an hour or so, and I hope that my diagnosis is correct. I will call Bob at the shop tomorrow to check with him about it, but am pretty confident that the problem bas been solved.

Later in the afternoon, I was outside checking on the water leak when another Bighorn trailer pulled into the site next door. I waited a few minutes for them to get set in the site and went over and talked to the man. It turns out that I know him from the Heartland Owners forum as TandT. His name is Trace and his wife's name is Terry, and they are Heartland owners club members, on their way to Goshen also. We had a nice chat and Stella brought our two doggies out to meet them and their two Yorkies. They are full-timers too with a house in California that they rent to their son. We decided to travel together to Goshen, since they have never been there. It will be nice to have someone to travel with. We sat outside later in the evening after it started cooling off and talked for a few hours. When the lightning got closer and we felt a few raindrops, we called it a night. Its a small world...

So long.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday May 21, 2011-#1 RV Park of Tyler

It had rained all night, or at least it was still raining when I went to bed at ten, and it was cool again this morning. I have to say, the weather has been cooperating for us on this trip. It has been refreshingly cool at night and mostly just warm in the daytime, not the searing hot that we usually get in the spring.

We went over to Bullard, a small town outside of Tyler to look at another park that recently opened up there, the KE Bushman Campground. Its a long way over there and the signage of the park is not very good. When you get to the top of a hill, the park is right there. There is also a winery there, and there are highway signs for that, but no advance warning or signs exist. Beyond that, the park is pretty nice, but there is a lack of concrete in a brand new park. There are runners for the wheels of your truck and trailer or motorhome but no patios. There are no picnic tables, so if you want to sit outside, you will be in the grass, and probably be sitting in mud when the park gets a few visitors that can't keep their wheels on the concrete. When you first get to the park, all you can see are back-in sites but on the other side there are pull-thru's. The pull-thru sites are very long, giving you plenty of space for your tow(ed) vehicle, but it will be interesting to see what it looks like after a lot of visitors.

As I said, its a long way outside of Tyler and if you are visiting there, that may come into play, but we'll likely try it sometime in the future. One good thing is that I found two service stations that have diesel fuel for $3.79 per gallon, so I stopped at one and filled up both tanks. I carefully filled the big tank, watching for leaks, but didn't see any, thank goodness. It looks like we probably lost about 14-15 gallons out of the tank when the leak occurred. Thats not as bad as I first feared, but still, 15 gallons at $4.00 per gallon is a lot of money. That almost enough to take us on one leg of this trip.

We returned to Tyler and did a little shopping at Sam's and Wal Mart. Gotta do our part to keep the Walton family among the richest people in the world. We came back home and relaxed for awhile before going to Linda and Doug's house for their 30th anniversary party. Janie did herself proud with this party. There was plenty of food and drink and all had a good time. It was good to see the family and many that we haven't seen in a long time. We sat at the table with Jack and his wife Laura and had a very nice time chatting and exchanging stories with them. The weather turned out perfect! Janie had stressed over the rain forecast but everything worked out very well. It was cloudy which kept the temperatures down and there was a nice breeze. Linda and Doug have done a great job of landscaping their back yard and it certainly paid off today.

We came back home and guess what? Tramp hadn't torn up anything! Sometimes we leave and he will find a small piece of paper and shred it or one of my shoes that he loves to disassemble, but not today. He was a good little boy and glad to see us.

So long.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Friday May 20, 2011-#1 RV Park of Tyler

Today was mostly a stay home and relax day for us. We had been forecast for rain today and it looked like rain all day long. I got my walk in this morning and when I got home I ran the awning out, both to air it out and to give us shelter when it does start to rain. Of course, the only rain we got this morning was a very brief shower.

We went over to the Sleep-Inn where Janie and Gail are staying to meet them and some other family members for supper this afternoon. We all went to the Olive Garden that is near their hotel and had a fine meal. It was good to see everyone and spend some time with them today. It began to rain about the time we left for the restaurant and continued through the meal. We hope that the rain plays itself out tonight so the party tomorrow afternoon won't be affected.

Man, Tyler is a big city! I didn't realize how big it is until we came into town and saw two different population counts on two different signs. One said 95,000 people and the other said 106,000. I don't know which is correct, but its a big place here.Maybe I'll do some research and give you a report later in the week. Give you something to look forward to...

So long.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday May 19, 2011-Moving day-Paradise Lake Resort to #1 RV Park of Tyler

We got a lot accomplished today. We woke pretty early, 7-ish, and got started putting things away and getting ready to move. Our neighbor had pulled all the way into his site with his motorhome, which made it difficult for me to pull straight out, so I ended up having to back out to exit. It was no big deal and I know he was thankful that I was able to get out without him having to move his rig and the towed (toad) vehicle. We actually left right at nine o'clock for our appointment at Genuine RV to have the gray water valve worked on.

When we arrived, Bob, the Service Manager was waiting for us. He actually drove my truck with the trailer attached to the shop and backed it in and then brought the truck back to us. I asked him about a welder in Nacogdoches and he recommended Thomas Welding, located near their store. After going to eat some breakfast, we went to the welding shop and learned that they could work on it while we waited. They helped me to slide the tool box down and got right to work. I was surprised that they would weld on the tank with fuel in it, but then diesel has a high flash point and when I asked them about it, they said that they had worked on heavy equipment that had holes punched in the fuel tanks and had welded them with fuel actually running out the hole. I was very impressed with their work and then they pressure tested the new weld with air and found no leaks, so now we can refill the big tank and have plenty of fuel aboard.

Bob called me about the time we got through at the welding shop, so we went and picked up the trailer. They found that there was nothing wrong with the cable or the valve but the cable had gotten twisted and got in a bind and wouldn't operate. They straightened the cable out and lubed it up and we were good to go, so we were back on the road about 11:30.

It was only about 75 miles from Nacogdoches to Tyler, so we got here a little after 1. We got all set up and I cleaned up the front overhang of the trailer. It had diesel fuel all over it and was filthy, but a little Dawn and water cleaned it right up! I was tired after the long grueling drive over here and the set-up, so we both came in and watched a little television. I later went out and set up the Carry Out antenna instead of using the cable. I guess we're spoiled to HD television and being able to see what's coming on later. While I was setting it up, my neighbor made a comment under his breath as he walked by about the amount of "crap" I had set up. I don't think we've got THAT much stuff and it made me mad. I asked him to repeat what he had said but he just walked off. I came inside and cooled off and then decided that I would tell the park manager about what happened. He told me that as long as I didn't intrude on his site, it was none of his business and if he had a problem with my stuff to come to the office and he would straighten him out. I hope there is no further problem with this guy, so I plan to avoid him and hope he leaves soon.

I came back inside and relaxed, watching my Hi-Def television and walking up and down my cool stairs. The guy next door doesn't have any cool stuff.

So long.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday May 18, 2011-Paradise Lake RV Resort

First of all, I need to make a correction from a few days ago. Remember when I showed you the pictures of the bird and nest that was on our site in Terrell. I called the birds sparrows, when in fact they were killdeer. A comment was made about them, and then I got an email that described the exact actions of the birds, so I must stand corrected. Sorry about that!

This morning, we both slept in again. I guess getting back to retired mode instead of getting up to drink coffee with the guys and getting up to go to work mode is catching up with us. Anyway, we decided to go out for breakfast this morning, so about 9 o'clock, off we went. Trying to find a little cafe that served great east Texas breakfasts, and relying on the GPS to find a restaurant, the first two places we went to were only open in the afternoon. They are near the college, so I wasn't really surprised. Not too many college students get up to eat a good breakfast I guess. After getting aggravated, we decided to go to the I-Hop where we knew we could get a good breakfast all the time. Of course, it was a good meal and we enjoyed people watching while there.

On the way, we went into the historic downtown area of Nacogdoches. The brick streets brought back memories of my childhood when we used to come to Nacogdoches to visit and drove over those same streets. Nacogdoches bills itself as the oldest town in Texas. According to Wikipedia, there is evidence of a "town" at this location dating back 10,000 years. Personally, I have always been suspicious of such claims. How do they know it was 10,000 years? Could it have been 8,000 or was it 12,000? I'm sure that there is some scientist out there that will correct me, but I'm just suspicious by nature.

The town of Nacogdoches was designated as a "pueblo" or town while under their control in 1779, thereby making it the first town in Texas. Colonel Antonio Gil Y'Barbo laid out the original street in the town and built a large stone house for use in his trading business. The house, or Old Stone Fort as it's known today was the gateway from the United States to the great Texas frontier.

The town has been under more flags than the State of Texas, with nine. In addition to the six flags of Texas, it also flew under the Magee-Gutierrez Republic, the Long Republic and the Fredonia Republic. So much for your history of Nacogdoches lesson. No test will be given.

We came back here to the park and Stella washed our clothes at the laundry near the office. We had a chat with the resident manager about sone of the issues at this park. She said that she would give our information to the owner. We'll see if anything comes of this. We just sat around and watched the NCIS marathon on USA network.

So long.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday May 17, 2011-Paradise Lake RV Resort

It was cold here again this morning. I woke up and it was 55 degrees inside the trailer, so I just snuggled deeper in the blanket. I finally got up about 8 o'clock and it had warmed up. After eating breakfast, I spoke with Janie and made arrangements to meet her at a store where she was running an errand.

We met her and went with her on some more errands and then had a delicious lunch at the Ocean Buffet oriental restaurant. It was a good meal and we had a nice visit with Janie. Janie is my mother's sister and we had a lot of reminiscing to do. I am sorry that I lost track of my family, but I'm trying to make up for it.

Stella and Janie got in some "retail therapy" at a couple of stores and I just walked around while they shopped. Poor, poor me...

We came back home and chilled at the house. This is a very quiet park and there is very little traffic here. The amenities could be better with at least some paved, smooth roads but for the money its not that bad. We will come back here in the future.

Not much to report today.

So long.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday May 16, 2011-Moving Day-Bluebonnet Ridge to Paradise Lake RV Resort, Nacogdoches TX

We got moved to the Paradise Lake RV Resort today. Here is the truck and trailer, all set up for a few days. There is plenty of room between the rigs because there is only one other trailer on the row that we are on. This place was a dump, but is under new ownership and things are improving.

Here is the view out the front door of the trailer. This makes up for a lot of little things that we found wrong here.

I really hope my luck on this trip turns around! Remember I told you about the trailer wiring that gave me a problem on the way up? Well today I learned that it is a problem with the new plug that was installed. I plugged the trailer into the factory plug and everything worked perfectly and no messages, Yes, I called the store where it was installed.

We didn't leave until about 10:15 because we only had about 118 miles between Terrell and Nacogdoches, so why hurry? Last night, Stella discovered that the kitchen sink drain was full and wouldn't drain. This morning I went out to drain all the holding tanks and the #1 tank (kitchen) didn't have a flow, so apparently the valve is broken or more likely, the cable that controls the valve has come loose. I will find a shop either somewhere along the road or when we get to Elkhart. Not too much of a problem. (Update)-I found a shop here in Nacogdoches that will repair it for us on Thursday morning, the day that we leave.

When we arrived here in Nac. (got tired of typing Nacogdoches) I had a truck bed full of diesel fuel. I couldn't tell where it was coming from. We pulled into a site and found no electricity at the site. I flipped the breakers and went to the office and had Bubba come out, but he couldn't get the juice to turn on. He said he would call an electrician.

We left the park, trying to find a shop that would check the diesel leak. We found Wright's Automotive. He came out and we moved the tool box and found a broken weld along one side of the tank. As long as I can keep the fuel level low enough in the tank, I should be able to use it. We filled up the truck and took out some fuel, but I'll have to keep an eye on it.

We returned to the park and learned that we had to change sites. We had already got set up in the first site, but it was still a hassle to have to move. We got it done and finally got to eat the burgers that we picked up. They were cold, but we were so hungry they could have been....well use your imagination! and we would have eaten it.

I spoke to my Aunt Janie and learned that she had burned her arm while she was cooking for me. I guess it was a bad day for everyone. Hopefully tomorrow will be much better.

So long.

Sunday May 15, 2011-Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park

We slept in this morning. The weather here has been spectacular! It has been very cool in the morning and only got up into the low 80's during the day. It had been 52 degrees yesterday and was 58 this morning, so it was good to just snuggle up under the covers.

I went for a short walk this morning around the park. This is a nice park, but honestly, if we didn't have the kids nearby, we wouldn't stay here. There are plenty of amenities here and even though there are gravel roads and sites, it's nice here. There are a surprising number of people living full time here.

Melissa came over a little after 2 this afternoon and Jennifer and Ian came about 3:30. They said that Jay had to stay home and do yard work. We had a very nice visit with them and grilled some steaks on our Weber grill. Stella did another outstanding job of cooking and we all had a very nice time. Ian said we were having a picnic because we ate outside at the picnic table. The weather continued to cooperate with warm temperatures and a nice cool breeze. I had a good time with Ian after finally convincing him that our dogs, especially Tramp, weren't going to hurt him. Tramp was excited by someone that is his size and could jump up and kiss him easily. Ian was really afraid of them when he first arrived but soon warmed to them and was fine before they left. Ian and I walked around the park and to what he called a playhouse, which is actually a small trailer that is parked in a site. Ian was ready to just march inside, but I stopped him. I didn't want him to walk into someones house, so we kept on walking.

We had a nice visit with the girls and we wish we could have more time with them, but we must move on soon. We'll be back!

So long.

Saturday May 14, 2011-Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park

When we arrived at this park, I noticed that we had a "squatter" in our site. Can you see her? She's hard to spot, but there is a small sparrow that made a nest in the rocks in our site.

Here is a closer look at the momma-bird. She only fussed at me, not at Stella. Of course, Tramp had to chase her when he escaped (twice) but he never came near her and he didn't see her nest at all.

Here is what she is sitting on. Four eggs that seem too big to have come from her. I was surprised to see her nesting in the rocks, but she apparently moved some of the larger rocks and made herself a nice little nest in the rocks.

Well, guess what? You can see that one of the eggs has hatched and a tiny sparrow baby bird is sitting under his momma.

This is my first time to see one this soon after it is born. I monitored the nest for the rest of the evening, but no more were born while I was outside.

I got up pretty early this morning and went into Terrell to buy donuts for an open house that we had at our site. This is one of my Heartland Ambassador duties, and will be our first open house. I hosted a donut breakfast for the guys at Rayford, but this is our first for the public.

I had gone around the park and knocked on doors of every trailer that had signs of people being there yesterday, either an open door or car in the driveway. I talked to a lot of people and invited them, and sure enough, ten of the couples came over this morning. Several of them only came for breakfast and coffee but one couple, Joe and is wife, was interested in our trailer and took a tour of the inside. They seem to be interested in the Heartland brand, so my job is done.

The open house was over at 11, and after getting everything cleaned up and put away, we came back inside to rest and relax. I had been talking to another Heartland owner, Erika Dorsey ane her husband Tony, who live here in Terrell. Their trailer had been damaged in a storm and they were going to pick it up from the repair shop this morning, so they had to miss the open house, but we agreed that we could get together this afternoon with them.

They took us to a Mexican restaurant, Carmona's, that isn't too far from our park here. They came by and picked us up and we had a good meal together. They drove us around the small town of Terrell and by their 111 year old church before we went to their home. We liked their Elkridge fifth wheel trailer that was sitting in the street in front of their house. Remember, they had just picked it up and wanted to get it cleaned up before taking it back to storage. We had a very nice visit with them at their house, and they brought us back home. They came inside and looked around our trailer, before they went back home. It was a very nice time with some very nice people.

They are interested in our lifestyle and hope to go full time pretty soon. We wish them well and plan to see them again at our rally in Canton, which is only a few miles from here. We will be looking forward to it.

It had been a long day, so I turned in soon after our guests left. We had fun with our first open house and had met some very nice people, so it had been a good day.

So long.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Friday May 13, 2011-Bluebonnet Ridge RV park

The weather has been spectacular since we've been here, cool at night and clear, sunny and warm in the daytime. We haven't had to use the air conditioner until the afternoon when it warms into the high 70's-low 80's. Whoever ordered this weather did good...

We drove over into Terrell just to check out the town and to see where the donut shop and stores are located because we are having an open house in the morning and want to be prepared. I found some fuel at a good price, so we filled up. We are getting around 10 MPG, but we ran into a heavy wind while on the road because of the front coming through.

We went into Garland late in the evening to meet Jennifer, Jay, Melissa and of course Ian at Babe's restaurant. We ate here with them the last time we came over, liked it and returned. We all had a variety of entrees, and everyone enjoyed the meal. It was a little too noisy to carry on a good conversation, but we had a good time.

After supper, we came back home to take care of the puppies. It was good to see the kids and always good to see Ian. He's quite a little boy.

So long.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Thursday May 12, 2011-Moving Day-Rayford Crossing to Bluebonnet Ridge RV Park

I am proud of myself this morning. I overslept until about 6:30AM, but went down for coffee with the guys anyway. Surprisingly, Roy and Jimmy were already there, but soon after John and Ed arrived, so the group was complete. It was kind of sad because I'm pretty sure that men's coffee will end until the fall.

I went back home about 7:45 but most of my outside stuff had already been done, so I was pretty much through by 9. I went inside and ate a quick breakfast and to cool off a bit and went back out. I talked to John and learned that the road had been closed due to the re-surfacing that was being done. I told Stella, so we took it easy with everything else and actually pulled out of the site a little after 10. By the time we stopped at the office for me to turn in my rally hall keys and give them our final electricity numbers, we talked to Francis and Valle about the road closure and they offered to guide us out by the back roads. It was a bit scary, going under low tree branches and low-hanging lines, but we made it. We finally left about 10:50, so we weren't all that late in getting away. I was proud of myself because I was through with my work so early, even after having gone down for coffee with the guys.

We made good time down the highway and the only stop was made at the Buccee's store in Madisonville. We like to stop at Buccee's because they have huge parking lots for RV's and a great selection of both snack foods and lite meals. While we were in the store it began to rain pretty hard. It had lightly rained on us from just north of Huntsville but it started in earnest now. We need the rain badly, so it was worth it.

We had something strange happen to us along the road. The truck started giving me an error message that there was a problem with the brake wiring from the trailer, as if it had come unplugged. I got out and checked everything and all seemed to be okay. We kept getting the message and I will have to find out what happened. The brakes and lights all worked, and it is very intermittent, but I'll get it looked at and repaired.

We pulled into Bluebonnet Ridge about 3:30 and got all set up by 4:30. We were pretty tired, and came in and got the dish aligned and sat back to watch some TV. I think I must have drifted off to sleep, if you can imagine that, and Stella warmed up some leftovers for us to eat. We made a few calls and made arrangements with the kids for the weekend.

I forgot to mention yesterday about meeting the owner of a New Horizons Majestic trailer before we left Rayford. We had looked at one at The Rally in Albuquerque and long-time readers may remember me mentioning it then. New Horizons are very expensive trailers that are custom built in Kansas. they are very big and very expensive. I must say that if one has the money and a large enough truck to pull one, it would be hard to beat. When I win the lottery...

Pete, the owner owner, is a very nice man that works for one of the large oil companies (are there any other kind) and is temporarily in Houston on a project. He said he expected to be retired by this time but the company needed him and he came. The ironic thing is that I noticed his Ford truck with the large tow body and remarked that I had seen a trailer like his being pulled by a truck like his at The Rally. He told me that he had also been at the show and his trailer was similar to the one there, but his truck was the same one that had brought the demo to the show. He said that when he ordered his trailer, they offered him the truck, which was a demo with low mileage and at a good price. He told me that he will still be at Rayford when we return in October and we can talk more then.

So long.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday May 11, 2011-Rayford Crossing RV Resort

Well today is our last full day here at Rayford. I went to the donut shop and picked up some kolaches for the guys this morning and of course, picked up some croissants for Stella to munch on. Tomorrow will likely be our last men's coffee until the winter Texans return in the fall.

I put away some of the outside items during the day and then washed the truck. Since Plum Creek in front of the park and Geneva is being re topped, it is muddy and dusty, and my truck was filthy. It took awhile, but I got it done. Of course, it looked like rain all day and in fact this evening it did rain. Of course, when we left to run our errands, they had come in and put fresh oil down in preparation for the asphalt that will probably be laid tomorrow. I only got a little bit of oil on the truck and it shouldn't be too hard to remove but I'll wait until we get to Terrell or maybe all the way to Tyler.

We took some more clothes to the Goodwill box and dropped off two sacks of paperback books that belong to Donna at her house. We missed seeing her but I'm sure we'll see them somewhere in Michigan later in the summer.

We ate supper at the brand new Furr's Fresh Buffet that just opened today on I-45. The food is as good as ever and I know we'll return there. Ironically, I met the new store manager, Gary Davis. Gary is from Galveston originally and told me that his father, McKinley Davis was the Principal of Ball High school around the time that my brother Phil was going there. It is indeed a small world.

I filled the truck up with fuel and returned home, now ready to hook up in the morning and pull out. I took the porch and steps down and put them away in the truck, so I am as ready tonight as I can be.

I am anxious to get back on the road, but also a bit apprehensive. It's just the routine jitters and worries about things breaking or falling off... I'll be fine as soon as I get out on the highway.

So long.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday May 10, 2011, Rayford Crossing RV Resort

This will be a recap of the time between the Heartland rally that ended on April 17th and today. Up front, I want to tell you that I apologize for leaving out something or someone but it's been a few days since I've added to my blog and the old memory gets a bit fuzzy sometimes.

On Sunday after most of the rally-goers had left, we went out to eat with our new friends Doug and Judy. This had been their first rally and they decided to stay for an extra day before moving on. We went to Cheddar's and were very surprised by the good food and great prices. They graciously bought our meal, which we didn't expect but certainly appreciated. We hope to see them again at the Heartland rally in Goshen.

On Monday afternoon, we took our New Mexico friends, Pat and Lori, to meet Tom and Marti at a new restaurant named Santa Fe Flats. We were all impressed with the Santa Fe motif and the good food that was served. We had a great time with our good friends.

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful. Pat and Lori left on Wednesday but by then, Stella had gone back to work and we were back in our routine. Gwen gave Stella Saturday off, so we went out to eat breakfast at Luby's with several of our friends from Rayford. We all had a good time and good fellowship. Saturday afternoon, we went to the Houston North KOA, formerly Haven's Landing RV Resort, where we met Ted and Donna who were attending the Boomer Easter rally. It was good to see old friends, but there were a lot of new faces and the group seems much different now.

We took the trailer to Master Hitch to get it ready to go on our summer trip. We had the wheel bearings packed and the entire undercarriage checked out by the experts at the store. After dropping the trailer off, Stella and I went to eat breakfast at I-Hop and went to do some shopping.

Later in the week, I was invited to go with John and Jan on a group outing that their church put on. We went to the Washington-on-the Brazos park where we checked out the museum on one of the first capitols of Texas. We had a very nice time and stopped off to eat at Vernon's Country Catfish restaurant. I enjoyed myself with this group and wish we could have done more with them.

We stayed around the house on Sunday and Stella did laundry. On Monday, April 25, we drove down to Texas City to watch Cameron play baseball. He got a couple of good hits and made a few good plays in the field, but they got beaten badly. The team is much better than last year's team.

We ate a few times at Double Dave's pizza, sometimes with others from the park and sometimes alone. Tommy and Susan originally took us here and we are thankful that they did. Bill and his wife Alena took us out to eat one time to repay us for my walking their dog for a weekend while they were out of town.

We went back down to Texas City on May 2nd to watch Cam play ball again and the vehicle pictured below was seen on the freeway.

I think this was a Chevrolet van when it was built. It looks like the current owner tried to modify it to look like some kind of animal with a curved back and some weird sort of spine down the middle. With the curved back, it looks kind of like an armadillo crossed with a pre-historic animal with a pickup bed. Only in Texas...!

Later, we went to Gus's barbecue restaurant in Texas City. It was our first time to go there in their new location. Their old location burned. This had been one of our favorite restaurants in Texas City and the new store is nice.

Last weekend, we heard from our friends Ricky and Dee. We have not seen them in awhile and they invited us to come over to their house for supper on Saturday. We had already made plans to meet up with Tommy and Susan so I called Dee back and she said they were welcome as well. It was good to be back with our friends and we had a very good meal. Dee outdid herself.

This past weekend, we began to try to hang out with our friends here at Rayford. Thursday night we went to El Bosque with Ed and Sharon in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. The food was great but they had a mariachi band that was great! It was probably one of the best bands that we have heard. Friday night we went to Mel's Country Cafe with Ed and Sharon and Bill, who is temporarily batching it because his wife is out of the country visiting her parents. Saturday I took Stella to work and then helped her to get the place cleaned up and spotless. Today is her last day to work and we wanted to leave things spic and span. She locked herself out of the office, so I had to go to the Rayford office to get another key to let her in, but noooo, I didn't make any contacts.....not me! She was tired when she got off, so we went to 3-B's for hamburgers.

Sunday was Mother's Day, so we went to Texas City to spend some more time with Kim, Jeremy and the boys. We were delayed in getting to their house, but we did arrive and had a nice lunch with them at Logan's Roadhouse in League City. Kim got a little emotional when we talked about how long we'll be gone this summer, but she'll be fine.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms that are reading this.

Monday we ran a few errands in preparation for leaving on Thursday and Stella washed our clothes. We met Ted and Donna at Sweet Tomato and had another great meal with them. They are from Michigan and gave us some great advice on places to go this summer. When we got through eating, we decided to go down to Texas City to watch Cam again. He was supposed to have pitched tonight, but when we got there, he was playing third base and doing a fine job there. They got beaten, but Cam did spark a huge rally in the fourth inning to pull within 3 runs of the lead, but ended up losing.

This brings us up to today. We stayed around here most of the day and did a few preparations for Thursday. Stella took Cassie to the vet to get her shots caught up. We are going to a rally in Pennsylvania and have already been told that we would have to have up-to-date shot records for our pets. We are all caught up now and ready to go to the rally.

I almost forgot to tell you about my adventures with my computer. About three weeks ago, the computer stopped working for me. I took it to Rhino computers and learned that the mother board had gone out. I told them to repair it and in a day or so, it was repaired and back to me. Only a couple of days later, it again displayed the dreaded blue screen. I again took it to Rhino and learned that the hard drive had failed. They gave me a really good deal on replacing the drive and restoring my data, so I told them to fix it. They returned it to me in a couple of days, but it again "blue screened" me. By now, I was pretty upset, especially when I was told that the mother board had again failed. This time, it should be covered by warranty, but it is Toshiba's warranty policy for them to check the board out before replacing it. I had the choice of sending the old board back to them which could have taken up to two weeks or to pay for a new board, then when it was determined to be defective, my money would be refunded. I took the second choice, since I needed my computer back and besides that, we are leaving soon and might have been gone when it was returned. The thing is, I am still money ahead in the deal. The price for a comparable computer now is over $1,300 and even with the repairs, I only have a little over $1,000 invested in this one. I just hope this thing continues to work.

Sorry for the loong post, but it covered a lot of time.

So long.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April 15-17, 2011, Rayford Crossing RV Resort

Here is our happy rally group.

We had a total of 21 trailers in the park and had a great time. I think this was one of the best rallies that we have had.

Here is a shot of just a few of the trailers in attendance. We had many Bighorns and two brand new trailers, one Cyclone and one Landmark . Ron Hoover RV sent out two Landmarks, a San Antonio model and a Key Largo.

Everyone came over to my site on Friday night and cooked their choice of meat on the grill. We then sat around and chatted while we ate.

Saturday morning we had a potluck breakfast that everyone enjoyed. As always, there was plenty of food and fellowship.

This is one of the demo units from Ron Hoover, a Landmark Key Largo. Wish it was mine...

So long.