Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thursday October 31, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

Well, from yesterday's post, below you will find the winner! According to the reader's votes, this one was the popular winner. And thanks to all of you that cast a vote. I appreciate it.

Happy Halloween!

It rained all night long and more rain was predicted for today, so we walked the two circles that we still needed to work on and found that only three fire pits need work. They were still very wet, so we decided to put off our work until tomorrow. It turned out to be a perfect day with clear blue skies and low 70's temperatures, a great day for a drive!

There is a special Munzee game going on that ends tonight, so Stella and I drove over to Luckenbach to see Waylon, Willie and the boys, and most of all for me to capture an Eyeball Munzee and one more that was there.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            
Here is Stella standing on the porch of the Luckenback Post office. There were a surprising number of people in town today.

We went to Fredericksburg for me to capture the Munzees there and it took me a little while to find all of them. Fredericksburg is a very interesting town and I am thankful for all of my friends that deployed Munzees all over the place.
We decided to stop at the famous Bluebonnet Cafe in Marble Falls for a quick meal. The pictured items are not loaves of bread, but home made pies. I didn't get one today- you know, the diet and all that- but it sure was tempting.

Here are some cut pies that show the height of the meringue on the pies. Makes my mouth water...

We got back home and I built a small campfire outside. It was nice to sit out in the cool evening but it soon got chilly and we came inside. You can rest assured that we will have many more fires before we leave here....

So long.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday October 30, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

We had heard weather reports that some severe weather was coming in, so we stayed home for awhile with very cloudy and threatening skies over us. About nine o'clock, we decided the weather guessers were wrong (again) and went down and got a Gator and went to work. We made very good progress on the fire pit cleaning, but ran into one of the other hosts, who reminded us of a pumpkin carving contest at the store today. We knocked off a little bit early to go to the contest. 

Here are my favorites:





Please let me know which one you like best.

So long

Tuesday October 29, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

Our second day of work here was much like the first.I went down and got a Gator and came back to pick up Stella. She wasn't finished walking the dogs- they didn't like our new schedule and wanted to stay inside a bit longer- so I went back to the primitive section to check on a site that had been reported to us by Jim and Betty and sure enough, it needed some work. It didn't take long before I had it all cleaned up and came back and picked Stella up. 

We cleaned the cabin areas today and it went well. There was a group of female inmates from the nearby prison also working in the area and we didn't want to interact with them or get in their way, so we skipped a couple of the firepits in that area. This is easy enough work but if you haven't done any physical work in awhile, you quickly realize it. We've both been stiff and a bit sore, but we enjoy it. 

After finishing up our firepit cleaning, we took our load of debris over to the dump across the road and dropped it off and came back to the shop where I picked up a pair of limb loppers to trim some tree branches for beautification and safety in the park. Again it was easy work, but much different from sitting in my recliner, so I'm sure my body will be protesting my new activities. 

We finished up around noon and knocked off to come home and have some coffee and rest. We went to Marble Falls later to the Wal Mart and HEB stores and while Stella was shopping, I deployed a few Munzees in the parking lots. There aren't many Munzees in town, so it was fun spreading the game around for others to play. 

Our second day of "work" went very well and we will soon settle into a routine. Looking forward to it!

I did receive a telephone call from a friend of mine that is now a detective in Dickinson about the Galveston County District Attorney's office wanting to contact me. An assistant DA soon called and asked me to go over an investigation that I had done of the recovery of a skeletal remains back in 1985! Wow, an oldie! When I learn more about it, I'll let you know.

So long.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday October 28, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

Today was scheduled to be our first official day of work at the park. I had spoken to Betty about taking over for her and her husband Jim in cleaning firepits and she agreed that we could take their place. I went down to the shop and picked up our Gator and the tools needed to do the cleaning and came home to pick up Stella.

We started in the primitive section of the park and found things in good shape. Only one site was in bad shape and needed a good bit of work to clean up the firepit. It is amazing what people put into the firepits, bottles, cans and of course, lots of paper and cardboard. We worked for about three hours in the far end of the park and although we were tired, it wasn't that bad. 

After taking the Gator back and securing the tools, we came back home and sat outside to cool off. It was cloudy and overcast and looked like rain, but it never did. Several of the other hosts came by to sit with us and we chatted with them, catching up on things going on here. I did a few chores around here before we went inside for the afternoon. 

It was a good first day back and I think we're going to like it.

So long.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday October 27, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

Saturday night about 8:30, after I finished the blog entry, we got a knock on the door from one of the park guests who reported a 12 year old boy missing. He said that the boy's father was there but was not feeling well and that no one had seen him in several hours. Stella and I got dressed and went to Terry's house to report the incident. Terry called Tony Casanova, one of the State Game Wardens assigned here and we went back to the campsite to begin looking for him. When we got there, Tony was there and taking the information about the missing boy, and he asked me to check the restrooms on this end of the park. I checked three restrooms and then decided to stop at the fishing pier and there he was, fishing in the lake! I immediately knew it was him by his clothing and after verifying his name, I called Terry to let him know that he had been found. We gave him a ride back to his camp and watched as his tearful sister greeted him. I later learned that he had told his dad where he was going to be and his dad simply forgot. I think he was on some medications that may have knocked him out. At any rate, he was returned to his family, safe and sound.

Today was our last laid-back day. We ate a nice breakfast and watched football all afternoon. I took Tramp for a walk and spoke with Betty, another of the park hosts, and told her that since she and her husband are leaving on Tuesday, we would take over their "job" of cleaning firepits. She said that would be fine, so now we are set up! We'll start working on the firepits tomorrow morning. 

I also posted a trip into Burnet for a night out with the group at the Highlander restaurant. We ate there several times last year and the food was very good. One of the hosts from last year, Stan and Cheryl are in the area for some medical work to be done and they want to meet up with us at the restaurant, so it'll be a party! Can't wait...!

So long.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Saturday October 26, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

I was awake and up about 7 this morning. It was cloudy and overcast but the park is full, so I decided to go sit outside for awhile to watch people get up and about. There are a lot of Boy and Girl Scout groups here as well as a rally of Casita trailers. You know, those tiny little trailers that look like a giant white pill? There must be 30 of the little things here this weekend.

When I went into the bedroom to get my sweats, Stella asked me if I was going for my walk. As soon as Tramp heard the word "walk", he came clawing his way out from under the covers. He's not going to be left out of a chance to go outside! He came over to me as I got dressed but I reassured him that I was not going very far and he could go back under the covers. I know, it's one of those things that you have to be there to see, but it was cute and I thought I'd share...

We didn't do too much today, enjoying our time off. I watched my car shows this morning and worked on next year's travel plans. I have the first few rallies on my calendar and will keep on adding as they are scheduled. 

Our friend Becky came down and we sat outside chatting with her for awhile. Trampy whined and I let him come out so he could play with Becky's dog Scooter. The only problem is that Scooter didn't want to play... Tramp enjoyed his time out in the fresh air anyway.

The weather cleared off later in the afternoon, but the clouds returned and it looked like rain but it never did. We spent a good amount of time outside, watching the park guests going by. It was a nice way to spend the day.

So long.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday October 25, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

We woke to another cool morning, although it's warmer now than when we arrived here. I took Tramp out for some roadwork early this morning. I'm planning on dieting while we're here and also am beginning a new exercise regimen to go along with that. 

Stella had brought some park maps home that needed some warning notices stapled to them to be handed out to guests as they enter. She had done about half of the stack, so on our way to town, we dropped them off at the park headquarters. The girls on duty were very thankful to get them because it is tedious work that they apparently don't care for. 

I have been working on printing some more Munzees. This area has not had a lot of exposure to the Munzee craze and I intend to change that. Stella had been helping me to get them done but we ran into a small snag and had to "phone a friend" and our friends Michael and Kelly came through for us. We got my new supply loaded onto a thumb drive and took it to the local Office Depot store where we got them printed up. I capped a couple of Munzees in town before we went to the HEB store to do our grocery shopping. I cut out my Munzees while Stella shopped. 

One of the Munzees was at the Whataburger store in Marble Falls, so we went in and had a good burger for supper. Whataburgers are the gold standard for burgers and these didn't disappoint. It's good to be back in Texas!

We came on back home and put the groceries away and sat outside for awhile. Stella had worked pretty hard on the stapling job, but it was soon time for her to get back inside and get back to work (LOL), so we put the chairs away-rain is forecast tonight- and retired for the night. It was a good day but I'm planning to do some work around the park tomorrow and start earning our keep.

So long.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thursday October 24, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

We had to make a flying trip down to Bellville TX to get some personal business taken care of. Stella's handicap placard has expired and she found out that she would have to come in to get it renewed. Part of the problem is that she got the old one when we lived in Galveston and now we call Bellville, Austin county home. We loaded up both of the doggies and took off about 9:45. Of course the route we took had the most traffic and road construction and it seemed like it took all day to get there, but we really made pretty good time. 

I had called Galveston county to ask about the renewal and expected a big hassle when we got to Bellville, but everything went smoothly and we were done in about 20 minutes. While there, Stella got our new tags for both the truck and trailer, so it was a good day. It was a long way down but it was worth it.

We decided to go to one of our favorite restaurants while we were down there, Orlando's Pizza buffet in Brookshire. We ate here many times when we work camped at the Stephen F. Austin state park, and today was another good day for pizza there. 

The weather cooperated again, with clear skies and a nice day for driving. Now to come back and get to work at our park. Well, maybe one more day of relaxation before going to work...

So long.

Wednesday October 23, 2013-Inks Lake State Park

We had another great day here this morning. Since we are taking some time off, Stella fixed us a good breakfast of fried eggs, fresh-made biscuits and ham. What a great way to start the day. 

We went down and met with Dee Dee to get our uniforms and ID cards. She took us over to the storage area where the uniforms are stored and got us all fixed up with shirts. She said that Terry has the ID cards but he wasn't in at this time. 

We went for a ride around the park, just to look around. We stopped off and talked to Craig and Lin, two volunteers that have been here a long time. Craig is associated with the Friends of the Park group that supports the volunteers, and runs the firewood sales and other money-making operations and Lin works at the park store. Craig said that he has two couples that are taking care of the firewood right now but Lin said that they could probably use us at the store to rent boats again. 

We went by and sat outside with John and Becky at their place for awhile to get caught up on things around here. It was good to talk to our friends again. We came on back home to hang out for the rest of the afternoon and sat outside later in the afternoon. 

As I read through some blogs that I have been following, I found that Mike and Sandy Mills had visited the Gulf Coast RV Resort while we were there. They had visited some friends of theirs, Ed and Marilyn. When I saw a picture of Ed and Marilyn's truck and trailer, I recognized it as one that I had seen while we were there. In fact, some friends of ours have a Mobile Suites trailer and I had mistakenly gone to Ed and Marilyn's while looking for Tom and Judy's rig. I probably saw Mike and Sandy's Tiffin motorhome but didn't recognize it or them. They also went to Floyd's Cajun Seafood on Friday night when we had been there with our group on Thursday. If I had stayed up on my blog entries, we might have met Mike and Sandy while we were there. Bummer! Maybe next time...

So long.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday October 22, 2013-Inks Lake State park

The weather is spectacular here in Burnet! Low 50's at night and mid 70's during the day. Great!!

We went over to the Park Ranger office and talked to Terry Young, the Asst. Mgr. of the park and volunteer coordinator. We chatted about who was here that we knew and who was coming back this year. We learned that DeeDee, who had just started to work here is now in charge of uniforms and we will talk to her tomorrow when she returns to work. We also spoke to Ranger Chris Hall who said he was glad to see us back. He was happy to hear that I want to work on the deer hunt this year. I worked some on it last year and enjoyed it and have already talked to John, another volunteer, about working with him. Chris told us to take a couple of days off to get our feet on the ground and then we would talk about a job assignment. We went to the store to talk to Sue but she was busy with getting another volunteer signed up on the computer system so she can work in the store, so we'll have to come back.

With all of our "work" related errands done we came back home and Stella put some beef ribs in the crock pot for supper while I set up the porch outside. With the great weather, we sat outside for a couple of hours.

We put over 11,722 miles on the truck this summer! I would say that about 9000 of that number was towing miles. We had a very good summer trip but are glad to be back in Texas and will take some time to rest up before leaving on next summer's trip. I'm already making plans!

So long.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Monday October 21, 2013-Moving Day-Gulf Coast RV Resort to Inks Lake State park

We were up early as usual on a moving day but the park's breakfast was calling so we went down and met some of our friends for a last breakfast together. After finishing our meal, we came home and began working to leave. While packing up, I noticed the owners of a Landmark that had come in last night were outside, so I went over and talked to them. I had seen their owners club plaque on the back of their trailer, so I knew her name. I introduced myself and soon learned that we had seen them last year when we were traveling in Wyoming when they broke down along the road. At any rate, it was good to meet another Heartland owner.

We finally got on the road about 9:45 and made good time even though it started to rain on us. I continued with my new "policy" of driving a little slower and increasing my fuel mileage and we got well over 12 MPG. Our only stop was at the Bucc-ee's store in Luling. We got a couple of sandwiches and some coffee to tide us over until we got to Inks Lake. It was a good stop for me too because I captured most of the Munzees in the parking lot and got 186 points! Most of them were Mystery Munzees, which have varying values. 

We arrived at Inks about 5:30 and met our friends John and Becky. They showed us one of the open sites for volunteers and we were soon backed in and hooked up. We are next to Chip and Bunky who were here last year when we were. It got dark before I got everything hooked up, but I got it all done this morning.

I did have another one of those anomalies that have been bugging me lately. When I hooked up to the electricity, my Surge Guard started buzzing. I then hooked up to the 30 amp side and the same thing happened. It quit making noises soon, and I returned to the 50 amp service. Now I can use both air conditioners if needed. This is Texas after all, and although it isn't warm now, it can change quickly. 

We are still glad to be back in Texas.

Here's our home for the next several months!

So long.

Tuesday October 15 thru Sunday October 20, 2013-Gulf Coast RV Resort

Well, the south Texas was a great one, with old friends and new ones, gathering at a park that we have been to several times in the past. We saw friends that we haven't seen in a few years, some who have changed brands and now own another trailer brand.

We ate out once a day for the entire week. We ate at Cheddar's on Tuesday with Mike and Peg, Mexican food at Carmela's on Wednesday, some delicious seafood at Floyd's Seafood on Thursday with about 16 of our friends, Salt Grass Steakhouse on Friday and then returned to the park for an ice cream Meet and Greet where we all got to know each other and to revisit old friends. Great time!

Saturday night was the potluck dinner, changed from a lunch-time meal. Tom and I thought that many would want to go over to Louisiana to one of the casinos to gamble and then eat at a buffet or one of the restaurants there but no one showed any interest, so it was changed to a dinner. As usual the meal was great. Several of us sat outside because of the small rally room, freeing up a lot of room at the tables inside. It all worked out very well because everyone had plenty of room and we got a chance to visit during the meal. 

The park served breakfast every morning of biscuits and gravy, waffles, bagels and cop food (donuts), along with coffee and juice. The lady that serves the breakfast has been at this park since it was new, nine years ago. I remembered her from when she washed trailers to make some money, but she told me that she fell off one, injuring her back, so she quit doing that and now works for the park, serving breakfast and cleaning up.

Sunday was the sad day, as usual, with most folks having to head home, some to go to work and others just getting back home. We stayed another night here with five other couples. We all went out to eat some Chinese food at a new buffet restaurant that was having their grand opening. All the meals were $4.99 - half price, so it was a great value. We had our last meal together and had another great time, just like the rest of the weekend had been. 

Great rally and great friends!

So long.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday October 14, 2013-Gulf Coast RV Resort

We had an "interesting" night last night and more adventure this morning. Last night the propane detector alarm went off with a shrill noise, which caused Cassie to freak out. She hates loud noises like that and she made Tramp nervous too. 

Like most RV'ers, we are used to the smoke detector going off when the battery goes out, so it took me a couple of minutes to determine which alarm it was. When I figured out which one it was, I silenced it with a reset button but it kept on sounding off. The first thing I did was make a smell test both inside and outside the trailer. Stella had cooked a couple of hours ago using the stove but it was off and we could not smell propane. I went outside, thinking that one of the small propane bottles from the gas grill may have started leaking but they were brand new bottles and still in their plastic covering. Since Stella was done cooking for the night and the fridge was running on electric, I turned the propane bottle off, so there was nothing running off propane but the darned thing kept going off. The alarm said green light was operating properly, red light was alarm and yellow light was for replace the unit. The light was red, indicating an alarm but everything was off. I found no odor of propane anywhere outside, thinking that one of the neighbors may have had a leak, but smelled nothing. I decided to simply disconnect the wires to permanently quiet the thing and took care of the problem. We slept with the windows open as a precaution.

 Then this morning when I turned the television on, I got nothing, just a black screen! I went to the rooftop antenna and it worked fine, so I watched the local news and weather and decided to try the Dish antenna again and this time it worked. Thank Goodness! We don't need to buy a new television right now...

That was all of the drama for the rest of the day. We stayed home and rested but later in the afternoon we got a call from our friends Bill and Ornell. Some of our other friends, David and Susan, had come over to their house to hang out for a couple of days before coming here to the park for the rally. We drove over and had a nice visit with our friends. I'm sure that we will be spending more time over there before the rally begins. 

Some of our other Heartland friends will be coming in this afternoon from Canton. One couple, Mike and Peg, had just arrived as we were pulling out for Bill's house. It's gonna be a busy week, but in a good way...

So long.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Sunday October 13, 2013-Moving Day-Mill Creek Ranch to Gulf Coast RV Resort

We didn't get up particularly early this morning because we've only got about 250 miles to go today, and beside that, we just don't want to leave! We went down and had a donut and some fruit at the continental breakfast and had a nice long visit with several friends. 

It started out with just Terry, Dave and Nancy. I got some good news that Ann has accepted the new position of Chapter Leader of the North Texas chapter. This was her first rally to "run" as Wagonmaster and she did a fine job. I'm certain that she will do well as Chapter Leader.

After more visiting with friends we went and got packed and ready to leave. We made the rounds for hugs and handshakes before leaving. We didn't get away until almost 11 o'clock but again, we weren't worried because of the short distance. Once we got on the road, it seemed to take forever to get to our destination. There were no freeways to drive on, so we took state roads, but went through lots of little towns. We only took one break, at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife picnic area (that someone had forgotten to close and lock up due to the government shutdown). It soon became Stella's Kitchen, as she fixed us some sandwiches to tide us over until we arrived at the Gulf Coast RV Park in Beaumont. 

When we arrived, this place is under water! They had a few inches of rain yesterday and more last night and there is standing water everywhere! It was also very muggy, with ultra high humidity. We're back in Texas, so we'll just wait and the weather will change. It always does.

Here's that group picture that I forgot to put up on yesterday's entry. 

So long.

Saturday October 12, 2013-Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort

We started today's activities with a group photo at the fishing pier. I will include this photo in my next blog entry. 

From there we went to the Explore USA for a dealer open house and lunch of hot dogs with the trimmings. The dealership has added a couple of new buildings and a LOT of new concrete since we were here a couple of years ago. They have a good selection of new Heartlands in stock and there were a few folks that were seriously looking at new trailers. 

We came on back home and rested (napped) until time for the potluck. It rained later in the afternoon which sent some inside but it sure helped in my "resting" time.

 Everyone lining up for the feast! 

And before you knew it, the meal was over and it was visiting time. 

Terry was the proud recipient of the traveling sombrero. This was something that was started at the Wisconsin rally and now the authentic Mexican sombrero has come all the way to Texas. 

The party broke up pretty early because there are several of us that are leaving tomorrow. When we checked in, we learned that a mistake had been made in our reservation and we are one of the ones that must take off tomorrow. Oh, and remember the electrical problem we and Don had when we arrived? The one where the park maintenance man blamed our surge protectors? We learned that everyone on one entire row must either leave or move because a professional electrician is coming in to work on the electrical system. Told ya so!

So long.

Friday October 11, 2013-Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort

We had our normal Friday night Meet and Greet and for Stella and I, just one more reason to be glad to be back in Texas...  That's right, Blue Bell! The  BEST ice cream I've had in a long time. When I was just a lad, there was a creamery in Galveston called Purity that was absolutely the best but they've been closed for many years. Blue Bell is a very close second though...

We had four choices tonight, so what did I do? Yep, all four!

And the crowd came! As far as I know, everyone came to the M & G and it was good to see so many old friends and some new ones as well.

There was plenty of ice cream for everyone, but also lots of time to chat and visit. I guess that's why they call it a meet and greet.

Things starting to wind down but there is still plenty of fun ahead. Some of the women hung around to play with the new puzzles they bought in town. I came on back home so the dogs wouldn't get worried or lonesome and we went to bed pretty early. I was still tired from all the driving.

So long.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Thursday October 10, 2013-Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort

I woke this morning to see a very pretty sunrise out my window, so I went outside and took some pictures around the park. 

 There are a few of us here but our numbers will increase later today. There were probably 10-12 here this morning and we are expecting 23 total for the weekend.

Our trailer on the right and Terry and Carol's on the left. A very pretty sunrise!

This is the rear view of Don and Monica's trailer. He had an electrical problem when they arrived and while working on that, he found a water leak. The chores never end!

There is a nice little pond nearby. They have some tiny little signs warning guests of the presence of water moccasins and copperhead snakes. In my opinion the signs should be larger and not right down by the water, but that's just me...

Across the road from our site. It's gonna be a beautiful day!

As more and more arrived, around noon a group of us decided to go into town to explore the stores around the square and to get something to eat. 11 of us went to the Canton Bakery where we enjoyed a variety of sandwiches but the company was the BEST!

After finishing lunch, we walked around looking in the antique and junk stores. It was interesting to watch a crew of prisoners working around the courthouse cleaning up for some events this weekend. I'm glad to see the Sheriff's office using inmate labor. We returned to the park and some planned to get together to play games and to work on some jigsaw puzzles later. I wasn't feeling well and came on back home. Very nice first day of the rally.

So long.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wednesday October 9, 2013-Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort

It was a nice morning here in Canton, not as cold as it was in Minnesota or Iowa, but a bit chilly at 53 degrees. That fireplace is still getting a workout!

We had made arrangements to go over to visit my aunt Janie and uncle Gail today and were to meet here at the Don Juan's Restaurant in Carthage. The trip was about 100 miles but there was very little traffic until we got to Longview, where there were several oil field trucks on the road which slowed us down a bit. We were about 10 minutes late, but I don't think they minded. At least I hope they didn't!

We had a good meal and it is good to be back in Texas and good Mexican food. This food wasn't the best I've ever had but it was good ol' Tex-Mex and it tasted like home! We went back to their house in Center and had a very nice visit. The bad thing was that time flew by and before we knew it, it was time to get back home. I stopped off at a rest area for Stella and capped a couple of Munzees too!

We made it back to the park and found about 7 new Heartland rigs have arrived. I went out and visited for an hour or so but the skeeters were out and I came back inside. A few of us guys are going to meet in the "Grand Lodge" for coffee in the morning. I think it's going to be a good rally! It has started off well.

So long.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday October 8, 2013-Moving day-Checotah Lake KOA to Mill Creek Ranch RV Resort

We were up early again but again went to eat breakfast at the KOA. Our meal was delicious and much cheaper than a usual breakfast. On top of that, there were other regulars from the park eating and drinking coffee this morning who gave us advice on our route this morning. 

After a very filling meal, we were on our way. We don't set up too much, so it is an easy tear-down in the morning. It was about 9:45 when we finally pulled out but it's only about 200 miles to Canton.

We made good time on the route suggested by our breakfast-mates and in just a couple of hours we were nearing the Oklahoma-Texas border. We stopped at the last travel plaza on the toll road so Don could get fuel. I didn't mention my latest finding on fuel mileage. Don said he normally drives about 55-57 miles per hour to conserve fuel. He drives a Ford F-450 with a low rear end gear, so he has to do what he can to improve his fuel mileage. I slowed down to accommodate him and guess what? My mileage went soaring! Yesterday I got a high of 12.4, towing the trailer. Today was not quite as spectacular, but an improved 11.5 is not bad at all!

While Don was fueling up, I deployed a few Munzees in the parking lot and got some good exercise in, so it was a good stop for all. Bathrooms, snacks, Munzees and fuel, how much better can it get?

Here we are, crossing the Red River, back into Texas.... Yay!!! 

And here we are, all set up. We have stayed at Mill Creek several times before but things have changed a lot here. There was a new release for yard-work damages, a notice of public alcohol consumption, neither of which was used before, new security codes on restrooms and buildings. There is now a charge for WIFI use that was free in the past, and then when we got to our sites, my electrical service failed because of my surge protector. It is unknown why it tripped but soon reset and is working again. Don's, however was not so good. His surge protector would not allow an open ground situation to allow electricity into his trailer. Some men from the park came over and couldn't find anything wrong on either site, so Don bypassed his Surge Guard and now has good power. I hope it works out for him. My problem seem to have been a momentary spike with no further problems. Not a good way to start out. 

Then, Monica went to the washateria and found that there is only one washer and dryer now. When Stella went down to start washing, she found that the hot water smells terrible. I guess there is something wrong with the water heater. Now an even worse way to start our stay here...

So long.

Monday October 7, 2013-Moving Day-Peculiar Park Place RV Park to Checotah Lake KOA

We were all up pretty early this morning, but we had already decided to go to the Denny's restaurant that was at a Flying J truck stop nearby. We had a nice breakfast and went back home to pack up to leave for Oklahoma. We were soon ready to leave, but it was nearly 10 before we pulled out. We didn't have quite as far to go today, so it should work out.

Stella and I have been waiting to make reservations at our overnight stops until we get underway on the morning of our departure. We were supposed to go to a small park in Mc Alester Oklahoma but when Stella called to make reservations for all of us, she learned that they could not accommodate us. Bummer! I think this was a first for us, but we soon found a KOA near Lake Eufala in Checotah OK. We drove across Lake Eufala on our way to the park but we didn't have time to do anything on the lake.

This park is a nice little place. It is shady and very quiet, pretty typical of a KOA. As many of them do, this one had a pretty nice menu for both supper and breakfast. Don, Monica and Stella went over and ate but I wasn't hungry and stayed home. Stella did bring home a huge piece of chicken fried steak for dinner tomorrow. She bragged on it, so I'm sure it will be great. 

We had another cool night, making sleeping nice. It has been nice to have cool (cold) nights, but fall should be here soon and we should have more then. 

So long.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sunday October 6, 2013-Moving day-Amana Colonies RV Park and Event Center to Peculiar Park Place RV Park

Well, the dreaded day is here. We always hate to leave, but after this great rally, we REALLY hate to leave. We had so much fun meeting new people and making new friends. 

We will be traveling with our friends Don and Monica, who also traveled a long way to get here. They are the Chapter Leaders of Colorado but came here from the Wyoming rally in Vernal Utah. We were all up early to get an early start but it was cold- about 45 degrees- and no one wanted to get out to start working. I had some firewood that had not been used, so I decided to light a small fire to warm my hands on. I got it started and then people began leaving and I went to say goodbye and when I went back to my fire, it had gone out. I guess the wood was wetter than I thought.

We didn't pull out until 10AM, or about an hour later than we wanted. The weather stayed pretty bad with cloudy skies and cold temps. We ran through several patches of light rain, which, if the temperature had been a little lower, would have been snow! 

We made a pit stop and ran into another Heartland owner, Don and Kathy Swanson that had been at the rally, who had stopped at the same rest stop.  We stopped for lunch at the border between Iowa and Missouri in a rainstorm. It was really nasty with low 40's temps and rain. It didn't stop raining until just before Kansas City but when it did, the skies lightened up and the temperature rose to the mid 50's so it was still chilly.

We went back to the Peculiar Park Place RV Park where we had stopped on the way to the Missouri rally. We like the park, it is reasonably priced and not far from the highway. When we pulled in here, Larry and Gayle Kuykendall were also checking in. They had also been at the rally and had left just behind us. They were on the other side of this park. If we had known they were coming, we could all have stayed together one more time. 

We were pretty hungry when we arrived and Don needed to get fuel in his truck, so we decided to go find something to eat. We found a Pizza Hut but it was take-out only, so we bought a couple of pizzas and took them home. For some reason, the pizza tasted very good. I guess it's been too long since we've had one. Don and Monica didn't stay too long after we ate because we were all tired from a long day of driving. 

One more day of driving and we'll be back in Texas!

So long.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Saturday October 5, 2013-Amana Colonies RV Park and Event Center

Today is the last day of the Iowa rally. We have been having a good time up here, but we are TIRED! We've been going strong for the past three days and would like a day off to recover, but we leave tomorrow for Peculiar MO for an overnight stop on our way to Canton.

We furnished a breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee and juice with our friends bringing whatever dishes they want to share. Dave Tardiff, our friend and chapter leader from Wyoming, used his huge "cowboy" cooking pan to prepare the gravy. It was large enough to make two gallons of delicious gravy that went over very well on top of biscuits. 

Everyone enjoyed the breakfast and best of all, we bought just enough ingredients so we didn't have a lot of leftovers. There is probably enough left to make a good breakfast for a few folks but we won't be one of them. 

After breakfast and the cleanup after, we came home for some much-needed rest. In the afternoon we went next door to sit by the fire and chat with friends. The free firewood here really comes in handy! 

We had Ketelsen's RV prepare authentic German brats with all the trimmings for our supper tonight. We brought a potluck assortment of foods to go with the brats and it was great! There were several delicious desserts for us to try including a chocolate one that Ray and Sally made in a dutch oven. Man, what good food!

We gave away our door prizes, including a hand made blanket by Mike Kennedy's wife. Some items were from Kettlesen RV, some from Heartland (Jim B) and a couple that we had acquired. 

Kettlesen RV organized some games and fun races, then performed some skits with singing from their camping group. They have an active camping group and we are interested in trying to go to one of their get togethers. They had a rally at this campground in May and had 175 units in attendance. In other words, they Owned this park during that time. They are planning a trip to Hill City South Dakota in July, but we can't work that into our schedule. Maybe someday! You might want to check them out at . You may like to go on one of their trips.

So long.

Friday October 4, 2013-Amana Colonies RV Park and Event Center

This morning began with a bang! We had thunderstorms with loud thunder and then about 30 minutes of hail! It was marble size but sounded like boulders hitting the roof. When the storm was over I walked around handing out agendas for the rally and found out that the only damage was a couple of flag poles that had fallen. I later heard that one couple had a window knocked out but haven't verified that.

Stella and I had to go to the nearest Wal Mart to buy a few more supplies, so we skipped going to the Octoberfest activities in Amana. We went over to Coralville, where we found the store and made our purchases. We also filled the truck with fuel and ate a quick lunch at the Steak and Shake across the street.

We returned home and got a little rest before going over to the rally hall to begin preparations for the Meet and Greet ice cream social. We had plenty of help and everything went off without a hitch. There was a good turnout and with the folks that came from the Ketelsen club, all tables were full. In introduced David Lippe as the new chapter leader for Iowa as well as the other Chapter Leaders, moderators and of course Jim and Nancy that were there.  I believe everyone enjoyed the ice cream and toppings and we had a great time. Actually we were home by 9 o'clock, but we came on inside. Our firewood was soaking wet, so no campfires and we were tired, so we came in and went to bed pretty early. Great first day of the rally.

So long.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, October 1, 2nd & 3rd, 2013-Amana Colonies RV Park and Event Center

These three days were in preparation for the start of the rally. Tuesday we went to Hiawatha IA to Ketelsen's RV, the sponsoring dealer for our rally. There we met the owner, Gary Ketelsen who told us that he has a lot of fun planned for the rally. His dealership has a very active camping club and a small group within this group is going to entertain us after supper on Saturday. After getting the details worked out with Gary, we came back over (about 20 miles) to Amana to meet our friends Dave and Amy & Lou and Bette for lunch at the Ox Yoke Inn. There I had the best Reuben sandwich I have ever had. That genuine German food is hard to beat! And then on top of that, our friend Lou picked up the lunch tab for all of us. How nice was that? Thank you Lou and Bette.

We walked around town and went to the Visitors Center where we bought tickets to the Oktoberfest this weekend. We came back to the park and hung out for the rest of the afternoon. I managed to get in a nap before someone came by to see what we were going to do for supper but we were still full from lunch. We begged off but when they returned, we all met at Ken and Kathy Strong's place for another campfire and stories. This is probably one of the best things about rallies, the pre-rally get togethers and campfires.

Wednesday was another day of hanging out with our friends and greeting new arrivals. Club President Jim Beletti and his wife Nancy arrived this afternoon and organized a group to go out to the nearby Maid-Rite restaurant for supper. Four truck-loads of us went and we had a good meal and some fine fellowship. The Maid-Rite sandwich is a sort of sloppy joe with onions and pickles and was pretty tasty.

We came back home and had a nice campfire at our site with our neighbors. This park furnishes firewood to guests that comes from a cabinet shop. We use all of their scraps of various sizes of wood which burns up quickly, but since it is dry and untreated or unpainted it burns with almost no smoke. That's always a good thing because someone is always getting a face full of smoke at a campfire.

Thursday was spent with us driving over to Cedar Rapids IA to pick up the supplies and food for the rally. We bought the bulk of items at the Sam's Club store there but went next door to Wal Mart to complete our purchases. I had almost forgotten how hard it is to shop because Stella does ours while I sit in the parking lot or search for Munzees while she shops. We came back here and put everything away at the rally hall. There is a huge freezer with two refrigerators with small freezers so we have plenty of storage. 

Later in the afternoon we went over to Jim's trailer to see the inside of the new model (Savanna) and while there we had a small meeting with David Lippe, a prospect to take over the Iowa chapter and Don and Monica Ashby, the Colorado chapter leaders. 

The group had gone to the Pizza Ranch for supper but we went with Jim & Nancy, David, Don & Monica and Jim and Betty Posz to the Ox Yoke restaurant again. While there, David accepted the position of Chapter Leader for Iowa. After another great meal we came back to the park and enjoyed another nice campfire. Our good friends Dave and Amy and their Heartland Camp dog Tucker visited us. It threatened rain all night but we finally went inside about 10 o'clock. It was a very good day for us. Tomorrow starts the official rally and Oktoberfest celebration here in Amana. 

Monday September 30, 2013-Moving day-ABC RV Park to Amana Colonies RV Park & Event Center

Although we've had a good time in Branson, it is time to move on to our next rally destination. We were up early this morning (6:00AM!) planning to pull out around 8. There are several others that are leaving for Amana Iowa also but we all decided not to try to caravan up together. We all want to leave at different times and are all going pretty much the same route, but we never know what may happen along the way, so we decided to just exchange telephone numbers and stay in touch if necessary.

We pulled out around 8:30, pretty close to our planned time. We have about 440 miles to go, so it will be a long day. We made our first stop at a truck stop about an hour into the drive. We had not taken the time to eat before we left so we went in and bought a couple of Subway sandwiches. They will hold us better during the day-long drive, so rather than just snack we decided to eat a good breakfast. It worked because we were fine all day and didn't get hungry at all. 

After 3 more pit stops for us and the doggies, we arrived at the Amana Colonies RV Park and Event Center a little after 6. Our friends that had left before us were here as well as several other Heartlanders. After getting all set up, we joined them at their campfire and ate some of the food that they had fixed. Typical of Heartland folks to have food already fixed and ready to share.

We sat outside with them until about 9:30 and came on back home for a good night's sleep in the cool Iowa night air. It's gonna be a great week!

So long.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, 2014-ABC RV Park

Saturday was the last full day of the MO chapter rally and we had a good time. I was a bit under the weather, so I stayed inside much of the day, but we all did a lot of visiting all day. Saturday evening was the catered meal of turkey and dressing that was good. We all furnished side dishes and desserts, so it was another grand feast. We had the usual white elephant gift exchange and it was a lot of fun. We got one of those plastic balls that you add ingredients to and add ice to an outside section. When you roll the thing around, it makes ice cream. I can't wait to try it! 

A big bunch stayed in the rally hall playing dominoes until almost midnight. I was told about this because I went home feeling bad. I took some medicine and went to bed and actually did get to feeling better in the morning.

Sunday was the day we all dreaded, leaving day... A few were up really early and on their way to another destination. Most of the ones that were only going home went to the continental breakfast that the park furnished, along with most of those that were staying another day. They furnished sweet rolls, fruit and cut-up melons, along with coffee and juice. It was all good and we spent a lot of time chatting with friends that had to leave. 

Jeff and Joy, the new chapter leaders, told several of us to go to the rally hall to eat the leftovers from last night's meal, so about noon several of us went down. When we got there, the hall was locked and we soon learned that there had been a miscommunication between the park and Jeff. Jeff had told the park to donate any leftovers to a charity when we were through eating, not knowing that by park rules, when we left the hall, it ended our time to use it. When we went back the next day, everything had already been removed. It wasn't as much the rules- that no one else knew- as it was the attitude of the office employees. No one had good feelings about this park when all this happened, but we're leaving tomorrow, so it's not a big deal. I doubt that any of us will ever return here.

The group that is traveling to Amana Iowa tomorrow had a meeting to decide on a route to take. When that was worked out, we all split up to go say goodbye to a few that were later leaving and to visit among ourselves.

Later in the afternoon, Roy and I went out and did some Munzeeing in one of the large shopping malls. We had just about finished up when Stella called to say that we were going out to eat at a place called Mel's Hard Luck Diner, home of the singing wait staff. The food was good, but the singers were great! There was a young man named John Sager that we had seen in the Rio Grand Valley and a waitress named Sandy, who had a voice like an opera singer, but did a great job with the song Amazing Grace. 

We came on back home and Stella and I went to a gas station to fill the truck with fuel. It took over $300 to fill it up, but now we can travel a long way. Tomorrow's drive will be about 450 miles and then we have an 800 mile drive back to Texas. We're looking forward to our return to the Lone Star state!

So long.