Sunday, January 31, 2016

Saturday January 30, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

We've been doing some research on who to choose for the entertainment for our upcoming Regional Rally in Branson. Being able to see many entertainers is one of the main things we like about coming to the Rio Grande Valley. A couple of years ago we were able to help Jim B. choose the Gold Wing Express for the National Rally in Goshen Indiana.

We are looking at two acts, John Sager and Southern Anthem. We like both acts and I would like feedback on what you think about them. There are selections of their performance on the links above and I would appreciate hearing from you if you have a preference on either. Leave me a message here or email me your choice.

So long.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday January 25, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

We decided to finish the project on the trailer suspension. The only remaining job was to replace the off-door-side shock absorbers. Stella and I went back over to the Camco store to buy the parts. There was some discussion with employees over the price we had paid on Saturday when they thought we had gotten the first two shocks for half price. The shocks came in a box containing two and today they said they should have been sold separately. Not wanting to cause a scene, I agreed to buy the two new ones and brought them back home. 

Dave had already started to get his tools out when we got home, so Stella came inside to get ready to slide in the room and we could get started. The prep took more time than doing the work, so before long, everything was installed and we are ready to tow. We can't wait! Again, I need to give thanks to Dave for doing the bulk of the work and to Corbin for adding his expertise. He is a member of a Corvair car club and has extensively worked on his three cars to keep them running and maintained.

We came back inside to clean up and rest. I intended to go to some of the nearby RV parks to tell the Heartland owners there about our upcoming dealer open house, but after taking a shower, I sat down and went sound asleep. Imagine that!

Yesterday we had spent most of the day watching the league championship football games. We were all glad to see the Broncos come out on top and not really surprised to see the Panthers win their game. I think Peyton Manning is the sentimental favorite but we'll have to wait a couple of weeks for the Super Bowl. 

Nancy grilled some boneless ribs and Stella and Flora made side dishes and we had a fine meal over in Corbin and Flora's place. It was a fun way to end the week.

So long.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Saturday January 23, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

Today we decided to finish the installation of the new suspension system on the trailer. After somewhere around 50-60,000 miles (at least) the suspension was just worn out. This new system by Dexter will smooth the ride and make the trailer last longer. It was a bit spendy but I think it will be worth it in the long run. We plan for this to be our last trailer.

The suspension attaches to the springs and acts as a pivot point when going over the bumpy roads throughout the United States. 

As you can see, the rubber equalizer is cracked and deformed. There are plastic bushings inserted into the three bolt holes that were worn out and replaced with much stronger brass bushings that are also lubricated using what is known as wet bolts. The bolts all have zerk fittings so that grease can be inserted, increasing their longevity.

A comparison of the old and new items. Also note the change in the shackles-the two old ones on the lower left beside the much beefier new one next to them. Also note the deformation of the bolt holes on the old ones.

And here it is, installed and ready to have the wheels hung back on and hit the road. Also note that we put new shock absorbers on as well. Can't wait to pull out now. 

So long.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Friday January 22, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

The three of us guys, Dave, Corbin and I decided to do some "guy stuff" today and go to a local gun range for some target practice. We went to the Shooters Alley that is only a few miles from us here. We had a bit of trouble finding the place because of some road construction in the area but we finally found it. 

It felt good to get in some practice time and I learned that I haven't lost my touch. I shot my .357 magnum revolver, practicing more "tactical" shooting of double taps from shorter (5-7 yard) distances out to a longer distance of 21 yard, double action rapid fire shots at the targets head. I kept all the shots in a 2" pattern, all kill shots. I was very satisfied with my shooting and we plan to go back soon. We learned that the gun range has a luncheon and we'll probably come back for that.

We came back home and Dave and I spent about an hour cleaning pour weapons. We took the rest of the afternoon off to rest. Dave and I went over the things we need on hand for tomorrow's planned work on my trailer. We believe that everything is in place to complete this project barring something unforeseen. We have been eating very well for the past week, so we decided to just stay home and eat lighter tonight. Felt pretty good...

So long.

Thursday January 21, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

This will fill in what we did this week until Thursday. We've been pretty busy and I just haven't sat down and done these entries.....until now.

Sunday morning we went with Dave and Nancy to the Furr's Fresh Buffet for their delicious breakfast buffet. As usual, we overate but in fairness to us, it was the only meal that we ate that day. We came home and watched the football playoffs.

Monday, Stella and I went to Wal Mart for Stella to get her hair cut and to buy groceries. I got out in the parking lot and chased some Munzees, which is something I haven't done in awhile, but it just doesn't feel the same. Maybe I'll play the game again but not right now.

The weather was great on Tuesday and I walked run the park for about 2 miles which is a bit of an increase in distance. I have been walking every day for at least 30 minutes per my doctor's orders but with the good weather I decided to walk a bit more. 
Tuesday evening we went to another RV park down the street to see the Gold Wing Express, a group that we have seen before and at the Goshen rally a couple of years ago. We enjoyed their performance with Dave and Nancy.

Wednesday, Donna came and picked us and Nancy up to go to the Winter Texans ExPo in McAllen. It was a big show for this area with booths for us Winter Texans. There were plenty of RV parks, medical services, including hospitals and clinics that gave free blood pressure tests and other light services. For the record, my blood pressure was 132/82 pretty good numbers. There were plenty other booths of interest to us and we saw some pretty good performers there too. We saw a group called Southern Anthem perform and were so impressed, we intend to find one of their shows to see before we leave.

We came on back home and decided to head over to the Don-Wes flea market. I wanted to talk to a fellow with a booth there about becoming a vendor at our rally in Branson but I learned that he had prior engagements already. I did buy a new double water filter for the trailer. This was something I've been wanting to do for awhile and I can already taste better water from the tap. 

We came back home and picked up Dave and went to Cheddar's for supper. They have really good food at reasonable prices. Dave had played golf today and was tired and we had had a busy day, so it was a treat for all of us.

This morning, Stella went down to the laundry and washed clothes while I worked around the house. I ran the vacuum inside and swept out the dust that has accumulated. I worked on getting my new water filter set up and got a few other chores done. When Stella came back home, we worked on getting the trailer re-positioned on a more level area of the site. This should make the rest of the suspension replacement easier to do and gives us a better site placement. We'll see how this works out.

Nancy and Dave wanted to fix burgers on their Kraeger grill, so we all contributed the fixin's and burger patties and we had a fine meal. It was nice to sit out with our friends but as soon as the sun went down, the temperatures fell, so it cut our visit time short. 

So long.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Saturday January 16, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

Today was a busy and tiring day but we got a lot accomplished. Dave had offered to do the work of changing out the suspension on the trailer, and we had gone over to a Camco store that sells the parts and bought the kit, a Dexter Ultra Flex, a very heavy duty replacement kit for the suspension that replaces the standard pieces that have a lot of wear on them. I estimated that our trailer has 50-60,000 miles on it! I never thought about it until now.

Right off the bat, I took my camera outside to record the work being done and it wouldn't turn on. I thought that the batteries must be dead but changed them out and still nothing. I bought this camera soon after going on the road in retirement and it isn't a high-priced brand, that I used while working and I will research getting it repaired or replaced.

We began working about 9 and worked steadily all day and finished one side about 4. It was a lot harder to do than we anticipated but we got it done. Several things came into play during this project. The site is basically sand and dirt and very uneven. We had a front blow through while we were working and the winds were high and gusty and of course, sand got into everything. The unevenness didn't really hurt anything except my blocks that go under the levelers. The rubber pads that are attached to them came loose but they are easy to repair. I plan to move the trailer anyway, so when we recover from today's work in a couple of days, that shouldn't be a problem again. The last, and certainly not least, problem is that all the sites are covered with grass burrs. Some are large and easy to see and remove, but most are very small and the only way to find them is by having one stick in your hand, foot, or any tender area on your body. They entire Valley has lots of these little buggers and up until now, they were only a problem because we tracked them into the trailer and only found them with our bare feet on the carpet. I can't tell you how many bad words were spoken by us and others about them.

Of course, during the course of the day, curious neighbors came by to check on what we were doing and to offer help or tools. I've said many times that the best way to attract attention is for a man or group of men to work on anything around a trailer and they will come! It's like a magnet.

Corbin came down to help and was soon pressed into service to take me to a store to buy more grease. I had enough to get started but soon ran out. My truck was attached to the trailer for safety, so he offered to take me. He helped as needed and we all were tired at the end of the day. I'm sure that Dave, who did the bulk of the work, was exhausted.

After finishing up the off-door side, we stopped for the day. After getting all the tools picked up, cleaned and put away, we came inside for a much-needed rest. When Dave sat down in his lawn chair, he immediately jumped up because of grass burrs that had stuck in the seat of his pants. Ouch!

Our friends Ted and Donna had picked up some tickets to the Red Head Express show tonight. We have seen the group of four sisters several times in the past on other trips to the Valley. They tour with their parents, who started the group, and their three brothers, who also perform as The Walker Boys. Three of the girls have small children, so they travel with the family of 9 (four girls, three boys, Mom and Dad), three husbands of the girls, three mother-in-laws (probably to care for the babies) and the three babies-all in a motorhome and a van pulling a trailer with gear and equipment. Wow!
The performance was great and if you ever get a chance to see them, I urge you to go.

So long.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Saturday January 15, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

It has warmed up considerably but it's still cool in the early morning. Today it was about 55 this morning and warmed up to about 85 in the afternoon. Now this is more like the valley we came to visit.

We had a veterinarian appointment for Tramp at the same office that we took him and Cassie to last year. In fact, it's the same office that we took Tramp to when we got him in 2010. Today was a routine checkup and to have his shots brought up to date. We also wanted to have his toenails trimmed by the professionals. He can be a handful when you try to do things to him that he doesn't want you to do and today was no exception. Stella said she heard him growling and barking when they took him into the other room and knows he probably tried to bite someone. At any rate, they did everything and he seems to be okay but stressed out.

We brought him home and rested for a bit and decided to go to the RV show in Mercedes at the fairground. This is a very small show so it didn't take long to see everything we wanted to see. 

We decided to go to Martha's Taqueira Del Sol in Donna. This has been one of our favorite restaurants in the Valley for several years and it has only improved with age. Martha now has a couple of grandkids but she still does a great job with the restaurant. 

Another great day in the Rio Grande Valley.

So long.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Thursday January 14, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

We didn't do enough yesterday to make a report on. It was cold and cloudy all day. I thought we were coming to the Valley for the warm weather. It hasn't been warm at all, although we had a couple of decent days, nothing outstanding.

Dave had some errands to run and we went with him and Nancy. The only thing we did that was constructive was stop by one of the convenience stores in the neighborhood and bought some Powerball tickets. Gotta take some chances on winning that 1.5 Billion dollars. 

We had made plans to go over to Mexico this morning, so we were up and moving and left about 10AM. The drive over was uneventful, freeway most of the way. The price to go into Mexico is .50, up from .35 last year but the price to get back into the Estados Unidos is still .25. Somehow it doesn't seem right... Stella and I got pedicures but Dave and Nancy wouldn't get one. I tog hooked on them a couple of years ago and have been going back every time we come to Mexico. They make my feet feel so good and they have a medical reason too. I am diabetic and need to keep an eye on my toes to prevent ingrown toenails, so what better way than to have a professional do the maintenance on them.

We bought some medicines there and saved a LOT of money. I won't go into detail but it's worth it. We also bought some vanilla for us and others. It is also very cheap down here. And before you chastise me about buying medicine in Mexico, we have been buying different products here for several years and have had no problems. And hundreds of thousand other old folks also take advantage of their prices with no effects either, so there!

As an update, of course we didn't win the Powerball money. You would have heard me hollering if I'd won. That thing is rigged!

And for the record, I was going to buy you something nice if I'd won...

So long.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Tuesday January 12, 2016-Cottonwood RV Park

Going back to catch up, on Sunday we went to the Don-Wes Flea Market to look around. We also went to the fruit market across the street where we bought fruits and vegetables and then went out to eat a late lunch with Dave and Nancy. We drove down to Martha's in Donna but it was closed and ended up at a place called Rosy's here in Mission. We have eaten here before when it was called Tio Chuy's and man, what a change they have made! It went from a family-owned and run Tex-Mex restaurant to a full-on Mexican cafe with all menu's in Spanish and only Spanish spoken. The waitress apparently didn't speak English, so we had to decipher our orders and ended up with passable meals that gave Stella and me indigestion. It tasted okay but we won't be going back here.

Ted and Donna came by soon after we got home and we had a nice visit with them, getting caught  up with our good friends and made plans to attend a concert next week with them. 

On Monday we went over to Bert Ogden Chevrolet, where they also have an RV service area. I had called them to inquire about doing some repairs on our trailer, but had not been able to get in touch with the man who could help. He was again out, so e just gave up and went to the Ron Hoover RV store in Donna to check on our upcoming dealer open house. We met with Dustin Hoover and everything is on track for it. While there I spoke with their service manager and found a trailer supply store in McAllen to buy the parts needed to make the repairs on the trailer. We went there and found out what information I would need to get to make the purchase.

Today we went with Flora, Corbin and Nancy to a new flea market that is out here. It is way different than the one at Donna, with more stuff and much more junk but really more interesting. This place caters more to the Mexicans than Winter Texans but we liked it. We bought some odds and ends like charging cords for my phone and the I Pad, a cheap case for my phone and some avocados that will go well for a supper. 

We had a quick lunch at a nearby Dairy Queen before returning home. I got Dave to ride over to the Camco Trailer Supply store to buy the parts for our trailer. Dave has offered to do the labor to make our repairs so now we are ready to go. We will do the work later in the week. Again, it's nice to have good friends...

So long.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Saturday January 9, 2016-Moving Day-Inks Lake state park to Cottonwood RV Park, Mission TX

We were up early to get things ready to leave Inks Lake. Actually I went outside at 7 and the sun hadn't risen over the trees, so I had to bump around in the dark for a few minutes. It was a chilly 46 degrees this morning but a light hoodie jacket felt just right.

We made really good time in getting packed up and we were ready to go about five minutes after eight. Both Dave and Corbin were ready before me but they haven't been here for over two months. we said goodbye to our neighbors but most of our other friends weren't out yet. I guess it was too warm in their trailers...

We made good time down highway 281 and only had minor slowdowns when we went through the towns. No big deal, and we decided to make our first "comfort" stop along the road before we got into San Antonio. We thought that was the best way to go and we had decided to make our one long stop at a Love's Truck Stop in Three Rivers. We were there longer than expected, but since it was the last stop before arriving in Mission, it was well worth it. 

We had no incidents or problems and made it to Mission about 3:30. Delia, our park owner, had just gone home for a break, but we found our sites and began backing in and getting set up before she came over. I had some trouble getting into this site but finally got in. I came in apprehensive about leaving ruts in the site like I did last year, but the ground was very soft because of recent rain. Today my problem began when I accidentally pulled the pin on the emergency brake on the trailer. Hard to pull a 16,000 pound trailer with the brakes locked! At any rate, we got that fixed and after a bit of back and forth, we were in and began setting up. 

We made it in in time to watch the second half of the Texans-Chiefs football playoff game. I was glad we made it, but after seeing how the Texans played, I'm not so sure. 

Last year we had an orange tree beside us but we changed sites and now have one across the street. As you can see, it is loaded with fruit. I can't wait to try some!

And here we are! All set up and ready to enjoy some warm weather. Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature because it was chilly last night and downright cold this morning but I'm sure that warm weather will be returning. 

So long.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Friday January 8, 2016-Inks Lake State Park

Well, here I am again, over a month behind on my blog entries. I have been busy with guiding deer hunters, and have been very tired at the end of the hunts. We put in more than 30 hours on the three day hunts, and I am always just too tired to write. It is tiring but a lot of fun, both for us (the guides) and the hunters. We have been having excellent results, with over 100% for most of the hunts, but the last one was lower. We don't know if the weather is the problem or the fact that so many deer have been harvested and we are thinning the herd.

We have enjoyed this park so much that we have signed up through the 2019-2020 season. One reason for the long-time sign-up is the number of park hosts here this year. There are an extraordinary number of people here to host and we wanted to be assured of a spot for the future.

We had a nice Host dinner for Christmas, with one couple bringing a large ham and the rest if us bringing side dishes and desserts. We had a great meal and after we played a dice game called Farkle. This is a fun dice game that we have played before several years ago. We enjoyed playing with some new friends. 

New Year's Eve was celebrated at our house by staying home. We almost never go out and nothing had been planned here except a few campfires but it was on a Thursday night, the last day of a deer hunt, so I was very tired and didn't feel like doing anything so we just stayed in. Party Poopers!

We had some more friends visiting us here. Dave and Nancy came in on January 4th and Corbin and Flora came in on the 6th. They will stay here until we leave for Mission on the 9th. We are looking forward to our visit to Mission.

Please stay tuned...

So long.