Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday December 25, 2012-Oasis RV Resort

We woke to a warm morning this morning but it was very windy. The wind blew HARD all day long but it rained just a little bit around noon. We just hung around the park until the middle of the afternoon when we went over to Kim's house to spend Christmas day with them. 

The boys were at their other grandmother's house to visit her and their dad, who was coming down for the day. I expected them home, but they stayed over there so we didn't get to spend any time with them.

Kim had gotten some snacky foods, so we watched some movies on television and "grazed" all afternoon. Of course, I had to get in a small nap during the movie, but I wasn't too impressed with it anyway. The movie "Red" is a Bruce Willis film about a retired CIA agent who must reassemble his team to keep from being killed. I'm glad I didn't spend any money on this thing!

Stella and Kim got some more good visiting time, which was a good thing. I know that they have missed their time together. It was a nice way to spend Christmas. I tried to call Ian, my other grandson but couldn't connect with him. I'm sorry we couldn't spend time with him and my girls this season, but we should get some time with them next year. At least, I am planning to...

So long.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday December 24, 2012-Oasis RV Resort

Since getting here to the Oasis Resort in La Marque, we have been busy visiting with friends and family. Since we have been gone for so long, we have a lot of catching up to do with our dear friends in the area.

The main thing I want to say is:





So long

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday December 19, 2012-Moving Day-Ron Hoover RV to Oasis RV Park, La Marque

We didn't do much of anything on Tuesday. We spent the night at Kim's house and both of us were stiff from sleeping on uncomfortable recliners and not in our nice soft bed. We made it through the night all right but left right after the boys went to school. We made much better time going back to Houston than we did last night coming down here in the evening traffic.

The technician assigned to work on the trailer came by soon after we got back home and found that the motor in the stabilizing jack had failed and a new one had to be ordered. We had another small issue with one of the window blinds that had broken, but it will have to be custom made for us and will be arriving soon. Some of the other issues that we had I was able to get taken care of.

We spent an uneventful night in the parking lot and left on Wednesday. Again, we were in no big hurry and left about 11:30, but have such a short distance to drive to the Oasis RV Park in La Marque where Hoover has another dealership at this park. You may remember that we stayed here in the spring, leaving on our summer trip from here.

I called Tommy and Susan this morning and we are meeting them for supper at Kelly's restaurant in La Marque, one of our favorites. We had a very nice visit with them and of course, a great meal. We are so glad to be back "home" and in the area where we lived before we embarked on this adventure. We wouldn't change a thing about our lives, but it's still good to be home.

So long.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday December 17, 2012-Moving Day, Inks Lake State Park to Ron Hoover RV Houston

Thank you for cooperating with my surprise of Kim, Jeremy and the boys. It worked perfectly and was a complete success. I'll tell you more about it in a few minutes.

We woke about 7 this morning but just couldn't seem to get started with packing up. I had done the usual, taking down the porch and putting away some of the outside gear but there was still a lot to get done. We had several visitors, but finally managed to get away around 11:15. Let me tell you, it was MUCH easier to get out of the site than it was to get backed into it. At any rate, we left much later than we wanted to but made good time and only made one stop at the Buccees store in Bastrop. Can't pass by one of those! The trip went well until we hit the traffic in Houston, which slowed us down considerably.

We pulled into the Ron Hoover dealership just before 4 and before you knew it, we had been put into our place for the next few days by one of the workers on a forklift. I talked to the Service Manager, Tony, and got everything in place for the work to be done. Tony gave me his key to the gate lock so we could come and go as needed after hours.

Today was Cameron's birthday, so there was another reason to come down to Texas City. We planned to surprise them at supper but Houston traffic again slowed us, but when we got near, Stella called Cam and found out that they had already gone to eat and were at the ice cream store so we decided to stop and get something to eat and to surprise them at home. You should have seen their faces when we knocked on the door! It made the drive worthwhile but we are sorry we will miss seeing our other grandson, Ian. They live in Garland and we will see him when we can and celebrate Christmas again with him. Maybe Santa will leave a Christmas gift with us to give to him.

So long.

Sunday December 16, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

It was cool again this morning but not as cold as it has been. The old blankets felt pretty good and I slept until after 8 o'clock! I'm likin' the cool weather and the quiet woods here in the state park. The work schedule has been very quiet lately and not much activity going on. I guess the hosts are taking off for the Christmas break.

We were supposed to meet Pat and Lori in Llano today for lunch but Lori called and said she was not feeling well and that they wouldn't be coming over. They came in from Los Alamos to Kerrville where they will stay until just before Christmas. We are sorry that we didn't get to see our friends but hopefully we'll see them at the Sweetheart rally in February.

I forgot to mention that Melissa, my youngest daughter, had a birthday on the 14th. It's hard to believe that these kids are growing up right in front of my eyes and I don't get any older at all...Hope you had a Happy Birthday Liss!

We didn't do too much of anything else today. I put some wax on the front of the trailer to keep any bugs off when we leave and Stella washed our clothes and some sheets and blankets, so we won't have to do them in a laundromat.

We watched football and congratulations go to the Houston Texans who won their division and clinched another title this year. Stella was glad to see the Dallas Cowboys win in overtime, even though it has no playoff implications.

We had another nice campfire in front of our trailer tonight. I'm sure that we won't have any more for awhile because most of Texas is suffering from a drought and under fire bans. We are under a ban in this county but the state park is exempt. We enjoyed it while we can. Gonna miss that cedar and mesquite smells from the firepit.

So long.

Saturday December 15, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

This will catch me up again with my blogging. Thursday was a same old-same old day of resupplying firewood and picking up the recycle materials. Just another routine day in our lives. 

The only thing different about today was that we turned in our notice to leave here early. We have some warranty work that needs to be done on the trailer and we got a call that we could bring it in next week and get the work done. I won't be posting this entry until next week so that we can surprise the boys when we drop in on them.

Friday was another one of those too, except it was cold, cloudy and windy, so when we went to work at the boat rental booth at the store, they said that they hadn't even unlocked the boats today because of the weather and said that if we didn't want to work today, to just go home and if the weather improved and people started coming in to rent boats, they would call us. 

We went home and hung out for the rest of the afternoon. We had planned another eat-out night at Cooper's Barbecue in Llano and we all left by 4:30. Some of the others had already left, and when we pulled out of the park, Becky got a call from Bonnie telling us about a big car accident on the highway to Llano and that traffic was badly backed up. She suggested that we not come over there and to find someplace else to eat. We made a unanimous decision to go to the Highlander, so we went and waited for Dan and Bonnie to get there. We were sorry that the group got split up but we didn't have phone numbers for the new couple from Oklahoma or Mike and Cathy. We had a nice meal and came on back home without any further drama. 

Saturday morning we got up and after I went for my walk, went into Burnet to have the empty propane bottle refilled. While out and about, I decided to get my tires checked at the Discount Tire in Marble Falls. Stella wanted to go to the grocery store, so we made one trip over and got everything taken care of. The guys at Discount found the right rear outside tire on the truck was flat, so we stayed while they repaired it. They found a small nail or screw in the tire. I had seen a police car that was blocking traffic around a box of nails or screws that had fallen onto the road into Burnet, so that may have been where we picked up the nail. At any rate, it was good that we stopped. 

The grocery store was packed but we didn't need very much, so we weren't there too long. Stella got a new calendar from Discount Tire and I marked down the dates and locations of the rallies that are scheduled while I waited for her. It turned out to be a good day.

So long.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday December 12, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Today was the day for the park's potluck Christmas dinner. We all met around noon at the park store. It was nice to be able to get together with most of the park employees and all the volunteers for a meal. Of course, the food was great, but then aren't all potlucks good? When is the last time you got bad food at a potluck? We had a nice visit with the volunteers before it was time to go back home.

I had made a walk through this end of the park and there was no firewood need, so we didn't go out today. The recycle will wait until tomorrow. The deer hunting has been cancelled until after Christmas, so there was nothing to do there. With this many hosts in the park, and due to the season where no mowing is needed, it is getting difficult to find something to do around here. Don't worry, something will come up...

My friend John was cooking some venison shoulders that another of the host volunteers had brought for us to eat for supper. He used the large outdoor grill that we had used a few weeks ago for the potluck. They had seasoned the meat, added carrots and onions and wrapped the shoulders in bacon before wrapping them in aluminum foil and putting them on the grill. John had cut some mesquite trees down and trimmed others, so we had plenty of good wood to smoke the meat. We threw in some tortillas and everyone had a nice late evening snack instead of a meal. We were all still full from lunch! The guys sat around talking about hunting and guy stuff and the girls sat around talking about whatever girls talk about. It was a good time for all but when the sun went down it started getting cold and we all went home. A very nice day.

So long.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Tuesday December 11, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

My day began with a bang this morning. When I turned the television on to start checking the news, the receiver decided not to come on. It showed me a "repairing hard drive" screen like it had done a while back when we were traveling back to Texas. The problem with today's alarm was that it didn't reset and apparently couldn't find the antenna because it came up as not receiving a signal. I went through the resetting process several times but it just wouldn't work. I gave up on it for now and went about my business but when Stella got up, things got much more serious. When she couldn't watch Price is Right, I knew the receiver was doomed. Sure enough, we took it into Marble Falls where I had seen a Dish Network store. When we got there the lady told me that they only sold new Dish Network subscribers and did not service existing customers. She referred us to another Dish store in nearby Kingsland, Satellite Station. When we got there, the lady was much more curt and seemed in a bad mood when she informed me that they would ONLY serve their customers and since we had not bought from them, there was nothing she could do for me. Wow, what a total lack of customer service! As soon as we left, I called the Dish Network and spoke to a very nice lady there who agreed that the receiver had gone out and took my information so they can send me another receiver. I told her about the lady at Satellite Station but she said it was up to individual dealers to take care of outside customers. I told her that this was a reflection on the company but she had no comment. At any rate, we should have a new box in a couple of days.

On a brighter note, I came back home and after fiddling around with the box, turning it off and on and jiggling the wires (and saying a few bad words), the receiver came back on. It started and stopped a couple of times, but we had television reception again. And best of all, I didn't miss NCIS.

This afternoon I went on the nature trail hike with some of the ladies in the park. It was a beautiful day for a hike, with temperatures in the 60's and bright sunny skies. Several of the other hosts here have been coming here for years, and one couple, Mike and Cathy, are from this area. Mike told me that he has been coming to the park for 60 years! Cathy was with us today as well as Sue, another who has been coming here for 10 years or more, so they led us on our trek. Two other ladies, our friend Becky-along with her little dog Scooter- and another lady who is a visitor in the park and just wanted to make the hike (didn't catch her name) went today. Fresh and ready to start the hike, we decided to walk the .4 mile to the park headquarters where the hiking trail was. We later paid the price when we completed the hike and had to walk back...

Before we go too much further, I told you the other day that I would take photos on this hike but decided not to take my camera for fear of dropping it or falling and damaging it but I did take my phone. The photos just didn't make me happy, so I am not including them. Trust me, there were some beautiful views that we saw and I wish I could show them to you. Maybe Becky got some good shots that I can get. I'll get back to you on that.

The hike went very well and we only took one wrong turn. The trail is marked with painted dots alongside the trail. There are red dots, blue dots and our trail, with yellow dots. At one point, we came to a fork in the trail and briefly went down the wrong path but soon realized the error, so we turned around and got back on the right one. I'm not saying we were lost, only on the wrong path. Of course, if I had been leading, it would have been said it is just like a man to not stop and ask directions. Just sayin'....

We walked about 4 miles today and I think all were pretty tired when we got back. I know I was! I was glad to have gone on the hike and will look forward to another hike in the future.

The Dish receiver was not working when I got back home, so I sat outside and had coffee while reading in my Kindle. Stella had been washing our clothes while I hiked, and when she got back home was when we went inside and worked with the Dish receiver and got it going again. You don't realize how much we rely on the television set until you don't have it.

I was tired and feeling every foot of the 4 miles that we had walked, so I went to bed about 8:30. Imagine that, an old retired man going to bed in prime time! Of course, I was awake at 3, having gotten my night's sleep. I hadn't been up long when the propane ran out, so I was forced to go out and switch the bottles out. It was either that or face the wrath of Stella and the cold doggies. You can see what I did because there is no blood on this paper.

So long.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday December 10, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

Winter has arrived here! I woke about 3 this morning to what sounded like hail on the roof but it was the wind blowing acorns out of the oak trees. I wouldn't be surprised if there is damage to the roof either from the acorns hitting the roof or the sheer weight of them piling up!

I got up and started reading the news online but it wasn't long before I got cold and curled up under a blanket and went back to sleep. I have been sleeping later in the mornings and don't usually get out of bed until 7:30 or 8, which is much later than my normal times.

We chose to clean up campsites and shovel out the debris left in the firepits, which turned out to be a mistake because of the high winds. The wind whipped those ashes up and I think I was dirtier today than when I mowed. The work wasn't that hard but it was cold down by the water. We ran into a man that had spent the night in a tent. He said the wind storm woke him and he went outside to take his awning down but it blew away. He said he went back in and tried to go back to sleep but the wind blew his tent over, bending some of the supports. He was trying to figure out if he needed a new tent and if so, he planned to buy a lower profile tent and was going to change sites to one that was sheltered from the wind. I'm glad we don't have to do that any more, but then we're not "camping" any more.

I was invited to go on another hike tomorrow, so I'll try to get some more pictures to share with you. Talk soon.

So long.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sunday December 9, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

No, I didn't die from working so hard up here at the State Park. We've got plenty to keep us busy around here but it's not really all that hard. I did start a new "job" here, working with a couple of other guys on deer blinds. Not really on the blinds themselves, but putting out corn for bait and getting things ready for the hunters. We must have done a good job because they killed a lot of deer. So many that they cancelled the hunt until after Christmas. It was good exercise, walking up and down the hills to the deer  blinds. I have learned a lot about the trails around the park. I will miss them when we leave.

I learned a little about the history of the park, Longhorn Caverns and the Buchanan dam. The Caverns were discovered and used as a speakeasy during Prohibition years as an underground dance hall with live music included  for the patrons. The state of Texas began building a campground around the caverns, using Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Work Progress Administration (WPA) workers to erect buildings and improve the entrance to the caverns.

The park was established in 1950 and covers approximately 1200 acres. I have been told that the park itself sits on about 370 acres with the rest of the property remaining wild and overgrown with a few hiking trails and the deer hunting area mentioned above. We covered only a very small part of this property when preparing the hunting grounds. The park is located in the eastern edge of a Mesoproterozoic exposure within the Llano Uplift. The rocks of the park are named for the park as the Inks Lake Gneiss, a granitic gneiss (pronounced nice) dated at 1,232 million years old. This information comes from Wikipedia, but I have always questioned how they come up with exactly 1,232 year. Why not  1,231 or 1,233? How can they be so precise? Inquiring minds want to know...

Buchanan Dam was built starting in 1931. The first construction company to start building the dam went under during the Great Depression but in 1934 the Texas legislature approved the Lower Colorado River Authority and the dam was completed. The dam is named for U.S. Representative James Buchanan and is pronounced Buckanan as the family name is pronounced. Buchanan was able to get some federal money to help with building the dam. The small town of Bluffton was relocated by the erection of the dam but the drought of last year uncovered the old town site. I would love to have seen it.

As you know, we have had several visitors while we have been here and this weekend we had some more. Our old friends Jim and Kitty came over from their home in San Antonio for a visit to the park while we are here. We met them on our first Texas Boomer rally and they were the very first people we met with that group. It was good to see our friends and we were able to spend some time with them. On Saturday Kitty prepared some dutch oven cooked stew with bread pudding for dessert, also cooked in a dutch oven. It was delicious and we enjoyed our visit with them. They came over to our place on Sunday and we had another nice visit. It sure made a nice weekend.

So long.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Saturday December 1, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

One of the other park hosts, John, invited me to go with him on a deer hunting blind check this morning. John is the host in charge of the deer hunt that is being held on park property, near the park. There are a total of 16 blinds that are available to hunters that are chosen by lottery. This past week was the first hunt and four deer were killed. Statewide, the TPWD takes in millions of dollars on hunting licenses and permits to hunt on state-owned land.

It was very interesting to visit the blinds and to check out the fields where the hunting was being done. John and others cleared the blinds and mowed the grounds to give the hunters a clear field of fire. We distributed corn around the blinds to help the hunters who will return on Tuesday for more hunting.

I enjoyed the hiking and views from the high points around the area that John took me to. I walked up and down many game and hiking trails today but, although I have hunted deer a long time ago, the conditions were nothing like this. I hunted in the piney woods areas, not the high hills. It is most interesting to me that John is able to make these hikes. He lost a leg in an accident when he was young and wears a prosthesis but if he was wearing long pants, you might not even notice it. John and I got along very well and we plan to get together with him and his wife next summer. They own a home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and when we come there in August, we hope to see them again.

Boy, let me tell you, with the hikes I have made in the last couple of days, I am getting plenty of exercise. I have enjoyed it, but tonight I am tired. I don't think I will need to be rocked to sleep tonight!

So long.

Thursday and Friday November 29 and 30, 2012-Inks Lake State Park

When I went for my walk on Thursday, I saw Carol, the park's nature interpreter, came by and invited me to take a hike with her and a couple of the other park hosts up the Black trail which is above the Devil's Waterhole. I agreed and soon met with her, Anne and Becky and off we went. It was a strenuous hike but we got it done. I was really amazed at how much all the ladies knew about the park, animals and plants that were here. It was a great day for a hike and we all enjoyed it.

After returning home, I decided to take the truck in for it's service before the warning light came on to tell me when it was time to get it done. We will be leaving in about a month and with the Christmas holidays coming up, I wanted to get it done now. We found a Dodge dealer in Marble Falls but when I called to make an appointment, I learned that their service department is located in Lampassas. What's up with that? We found another Dodge dealer in Burnet and had the work done there.

By the time this was all done, we both were hungry but really didn't want to eat this early, so we stopped at the famous Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls for a piece of their fabulous pie. I had some coconut cream and Stella had some German Chocolate and both lived up to their reputation. The coconut was some of the best I've ever had but I think the next time I'm going to get the German Chocolate. It really was that good!

Friday we were scheduled to work at the boat rentals at the park store but I had found out that Burnet County is under a burn ban as of  November 27th and I wanted to find out if we needed to pick up the firewood. When Stella went to the store to begin working there, I went to the maintenance shop to talk to Terry about the firewood. He said that the park is exempt from these rules and that we would be fine to continue with sales. That was fine with me because I really didn't want to pick up all the wood that we had worked so hard to get put out, so I went down to the store to help Stella. It was a very uneventful afternoon but we rented a few boats and enjoyed the weather. It has been delightful here, with cool mornings and warm days.

I had set up a "date" for the group of park hosts to go out to eat at Highlander tonight. They have a seafood buffet on Friday night, so about 12 of us went over there and had a fine meal. We came back and had a campfire at our site and sat outside until after 9 with our friends. It was a very nice way to end the day.

So long.