Thursday, December 29, 2016

Wednesday December 28, 2016-Inks Lake State Park

So much to tell...

I missed last week's deer hunt because we had to go back to Texas City. Kim lost her Dad over the weekend and she, unfortunately, had to deal with all the details after he passed. She needed her Momma, so Stella agreed to drive down to help her. I didn't want Stella to have to drive all the way down there by herself, so I took off to drive her down.

We stayed (again) at the terrible Motel 6 in Texas City because it is the only motel that allows pets without a high fee. They are slowly remodeling this place but I hope that we are done with staying there. I won't go into the details of the place, but take my word for it, THE MOTEL 6 IN TEXAS CITY IS A DUMP!!

We made the 6 hour drive back here to Inks Lake on Wednesday without issues, although we did stop by to see our friend Joe French at the Ron Hoover RV dealership in Katy to look at a new model Landmark. No, we didn't buy, but it's a very nice trailer and would be a consideration if we were looking.

On Saturday, Christmas eve, we had a very nice Christmas celebration with friends John and Becky, Barry and Vanny and Don and Linda at the Big Chief RV Park. We all fixed some boiled lobster tails, which were found on sale at the HEB stores in the area, along with some veggie dishes that were shared, and had a great time visiting with our friends.

On Sunday we had another good time with the park hosts that stayed here for Christmas. We had some delicious ham and shared assorted vegetable dishes, followed by card and dice games. A good time was had by all.

There is no deer hunt scheduled for this week, so we are taking some time off, doing odd jobs around the park to earn our keep. The hunters return next week, so more reports and photos will follow.

We continued the Christmas celebration by driving to New Braunfels to visit Grandma Willie Mae, my step-mom. We had a nice visit with her and took her out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, Cooper's Barbecue where we had the usual delicious meal, enjoying more good conversation with her. We returned here to the park where we met with old friends Mike and Linda who had returned to visit for a few days. They have park hosted here in the past but were just passing through on their way to Mission Tx where we will see them again. 

Out stay at Inks has not been without controversy and issues which I won't go into right now, but we've been having a good time with the many friends that we have here. Time will tell how things work out here. 

So long.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Thursday December 15, 2016-Inks Lake state park

Today was the final day of the new novice hunt here at the Inks Lake state park. this hunt was for adults who have never gotten a deer before. It was both a fun and educational hunt for everyone.

Here is a picture of all of the novice hunters. My hunter, Barham, is the second from the left, wearing the solid green shirt.

Here are the hunters with their mentors, who went into the blind with them to help them. David was Barham's mentor.

Here is the campfire, where most of us spent our time. It was cold all week and we kept the fire burning all day. This really adds to the "deer camp" feel.

Here is Ranger Chris Hall, preparing to begin the processing of the deer that Barham got.

I don't know why this picture is rotated, but you can see that this was a donated buck that was used to demonstrate deer skinning and later the butchering of the meat.

One of my fellow park hosts Chip in the foreground. TPWD Director of Public Hunts, Justin, preparing to begin skinning this deer.

Justin was making good progress in removing the hide from the deer. Some folks actually tan the deer hide which than can then be used like leather to make clothing, belts and shoes etc.

Justin enlisted the help of one of the hunters, Mo, in skinning out the deer. The vital organs of the deer were removed and processed and Chef Jesse came down from his restaurant in Austin to demonstrate the butchering process. I took photos of this process but didn't include them here but if you are interested in seeing them and I will share them with you.

The novice hunt was a big hit and there were a lot of hunters that were interested in it, so I'm confident that it will return next year. I know it was fun for us, but it's a tight fit for two people in the small deer blinds.

So long.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday December 8, 2016-Inks Lake state park

We have finished our second ADA hunt and everything went  very well. 

This is our new site, right across the street from the maintenance area where we work out of. 

We like this site because we are near our friends that I work with and since it is so close to work and I can just walk across the street to get to work. 

This is our second group of disabled hunters. My hunter, Michael, is second from the left and is the only hunter who came alone. His wife didn't want to come along with him this time but perhaps she will change her mind.

This is Michael's 8 point buck that he took on Tuesday night. It is a beautiful animal, approximately 5 years old and very symmetrical. I think he decided to have a full shoulder mount done with his trophy. 
Good job Michael!

More to come in future hunts.

So long.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thursday December 1, 2016-Inks Lake state park

Well, our first deer hunt went very well. This was the first of two ADA hunts and by that I mean Americans with Disabilities Act hunts. 

Inks Lake state park has had deer hunts for many years. It is a lottery/draw type hunt that has always been very popular. I worked on the hunt crew for two of these hunts. 

We started these disabled-hunters three years ago when we had an inquiry from a woman named Charli, about hosting a disabled person to hunt. Charli had been an avid hunter but had sustained an injury in an ATV accident that left her a quadriplegic. Our boss, Chris Hall, the Lead Ranger here at Inks got the idea and was allowed to run with it. He got Roger, one of the park volunteers and an accomplished craftsman and builder, to build the first ADA compliant deer blind and within a very short time, it was ready to go. Charli's first hunt was a success and her Dad, Robert was so impressed with the program and he got together with several of his friends to further support the program. The next year we got two more blinds built, had state of the art deer feeders donated and enough deer corn to support us for the entire season. Another huge success! This year, through more funding, we got funding for four more deer blinds that were built by another park volunteer, Chip and his wife Bunky. I'll take some photos of the blinds before the season is over. 

I was lucky enough to get a hunter this year that I had for last year's hunt. Danny is a retired Deputy Sheriff in Burnet who lost one of his legs and is now confined to a wheel chair. It was good to see him and his wife again and catch up with them. Unfortunately, he didn't see a deer this year, but promised to return next year to try again. The rest of the hunters were successful and we ended up with 7 deer taken by 7 hunters, giving us a 100% average. We hope for a continued successful hunts for the rest of the season.

The hours are long on the hunt days, but we enjoy it and I expect to continue for many more years. We will have one more ADA hunt next week, so I'm looking forward to that.

Stella and I have volunteered to do site checks on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. We did it last Sunday and it wasn't too bad, so we'll see how it goes from here on.

So long.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Monday November 21, 2016-Inks Lake State Park

I know that I've gotten way behind again, but there is a good reason for this. Although we love being at Inks Lake, we haven't been doing anything interesting enough to write about. I have worked a little bit on the deer hunt, but Chip and others have done the bulk of the work in preparing the blinds. We did go out and fill the automatic feeders and checked the blinds and generally just checked them over to make sure they are ready for the hunters. We can't wait to get started!

We have been out to eat a few times with our Host group and enjoyed ourselves- a lot! We've been going to a place called the Dam Site Grill that is near the Buchanan Dam-hence the name-for their Friday night catfish nugget dinners and they have been a lot of fun. Just today Stella worked on preparation for the Thanksgiving feast that we'll have with the group. Yum...

Our big news to relate is today is our 8th anniversary of being full timers. We returned home from my retirement party at the Manvel Police Dept. and came home and hooked the trailer up to the truck and took off for our new life on the road. We never returned to the house to stay and a year or so later, we sold it and haven't looked back. As far as we're concerned, we'll never go back to a sticks and bricks home.

That's all I've got for now but I'll start back when things pick up in a week or so.

So long.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Monday October 17 through Wednesday October 19, 2016-Inks Lake State Park

We needed to head back "home" to the Dickinson area to do our "every 90 days" doctor appointments. We left here early Monday morning after I found Chris Hall, one of the Lead Rangers here to tell him of our plans. He was very glad to see us and said that it was no problem.

We had a bit if trouble finding a motel that would accept a pet but finally located one, the Motel 6 in Texas City. The last time we had noticed this motel, it was a La Quinta, and we have actually stayed here before. Stella read some reviews on this place and the reports were pretty bad, but, as I said, it was the only game in town. We found another motel that would take us in with Tramp, but they would charge a $75 non refundable "deposit" (read fee) for taking him. No way, Jose! We took Tom Bodette's place and let me tell you, the reviews were right! This place is a dump, and that's being generous. Lights didn't work, the fridge and microwave in the room didn't, nor did anyone answer the telephone to receive our complaints. We learned that Motel 6 had bought this location in 2013 but there is still a crew that is remodeling rooms. Our room looked nice, but there were the deficiencies... Actually we didn't learn about the fridge not working until after I had put a doggie box of leftover food in it and found it very warm in the morning. 

We had a nice meal with Kim, Ray and the boys at a Mexican restaurant. It was good to spend time with them and to see how the boys have changed since we last saw them.

We returned to the motel and found that the bed wasn't as comfy as ours, but it wasn't too bad to sleep in. Actually we slept pretty well and I didn't wake up until after 8 o'clock on Tuesday morning. It was probably because the room was very dark and cold inside. After refreshing showers, we were on our way to run some errands while we were down here. I had left a piece of the frame of our portable steps/porch with a friend (Ken) who had built it for us several years ago when I worked for the Manvel Police Dept. Ken lives in Manvel and I had made arrangements for him to repair it and that we would pick it up when we returned to the area. Because of a series of problems that had come up, Ken was not quite finished with the repairs, but was able to finish it for us later in the day, but we had made a trip over in the morning, thinking it would be ready, so we had to make another trip over later in the afternoon to actually pick it up. After returning to the Clear Lake area to go to the doctor and then returning to Manvel we ended up driving about 150 miles today! It never seemed like that far when I worked there.

We met my brother Phil and his wife Carol for supper at Kelley's Restaurant in League City. Their son Matthew had just returned from living in Wisconsin, so it was good to see him also. After a nice visit with them, we returned to the motel for the last night there. Again, it was a good place to sleep and although both of us woke a few times we still slept ate the next morning. 

We stopped by old friend Mike's house in Dickinson. Mike had suffered a fall that dislocated his shoulder plus he had an irregular heartbeat, which was corrected with a pacemaker. He has been feeling pretty poorly lately but he looked good and it was good to see him.  We only stayed a few minutes, knowing he didn't feel like having company and besides, we had a long drive ahead of us. Actually the drive back was easier than the trip up, but it's good to be back home and sleeping in our own bed.

Now to get into the swing of "working" again.

So long.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Thursday October 12 thru Sunday October 16-Moving days-Williams AZ to Burnet TX

Actually I left off the last day that we spent in Williams before beginning our trek back to Texas. We all slept in on Wednesday after spending the day before at the Grand Canyon. We all just piddled around in the park, some went to get fuel before leaving, but mainly just hanging out. Mike and Nancy broke out their Traeger grills and made some delicious hamburgers for us in the afternoon and we all enjoyed our last night together.

We ll started pulling out bout 7:30 Thursday morning. Most of us are going to Albuquerque NM but we'll be staying in different locations when we get there. Mike is staying behind to go to his daughter's house in Arizona, Lin and Phil are going to the American RV Park in Albq. and We are going to the High Desert RV Park with Dave and Nancy. Chris went to visit a friend from his working days. 

We went to get fuel but Stella and I ran into a problem with the purchase. The clerk somehow got our credit card fouled up and he had to credit the card back and voided the transaction. all of this activity on the card triggered some sort of security breach, so the card was denied, even though we had not made a purchase yet. He and Stella finally got it straightened out and we were able to make our purchase. What  mess! We ended up eating a nice meal at a Cracker Barrel. 

I would like to note that three of four rest areas in New Mexico were closed and fenced off. One of them was a welcome center to NM, but we didn't get a warm fuzzy feeling about there being closed. One maybe, but three! No Way!!

Friday we went with Dave and Nancy to Amarillo but I don't know where everyone else went. These days have been long but relatively easy days because it has all been driven on freeways, easy-peasy! 

We decided to splurge tonight and took a limousine ride to the Big Texan restaurant. This was something new for us, but we learned that the limo rides have been going on for some time. It was a nice ride and both of the drivers that we had were good drivers that entertained us with stories. No, we didn't have the 72oz. steak but did have some good food.

Saturday was another long day to Abilene. We didn't do anything noteworthy there and ate leftovers. Boring...

Today we split up with Dave and Nancy. They went home to Terrell and we came to Inks Lake. We had to dodge around a low clearance bridge. and had to backtrack which took an hour or so longer, but we got here and got set up with no problems.

We were on this site about four years ago. It is right next to a restroom and bathhouse, which bothers Tramp, but he'll settle down soon

This is our view of the lake across the street from us. There is a fishing pier and swimming area there, so lots of activity on the weekends. We'll see how it works out. We can always move later if a better site comes open.

Good to be back in Texas and at our favorite state park.

So long.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Tuesday October 11, 2016-Railside Ranch RV Park

Today we made the trip to see the Grand Canyon. We rode in a park shuttle bus to the Grand Canyon Railway depot for the 65 mile ride to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. I won't bore you with pictures of the train because everyone has seen a train. Feel free to click on the above link and you will find lots of pictures of the trains. I will get right into the photos of the canyon and the surrounding areas.

Photo proof that we were there!

I can't understand people that can't follow the rules and stay on the path.

This was the home of the Kolb brothers that took photos of people visiting the Grand Canyon in the early 1900's. 

Some People!!

Love the layers of the rocks.

It was a LONG walk but worth every step!

This little fella was about a year old when he was killed by a speeding driver.

I hope you enjoyed these few pictures as much as I did when taking them. As I've said before, they don't really do justice to being there. It was a wonderful experience and I feel certain that we'll return.

So long.