Sunday, April 24, 2016

Saturday April 23, 2016-Moving Day-Sunrise RV Park to Branson KOA, Branson MO

We were up on time this morning, getting ready to leave for Branson. We have about 300 miles to go today but were in no big hurry to start. I went for a walk around the park before starting my chores.

Our neighbor had his truck running when I came outside and the truck continued to idle the entire time I worked, probably for an hour including the time I went for a walk, and I didn't see him. He finally came out, jumped in the truck and took off. I don't know whether he remote-started the truck and then forgot about it, or if he had come out and started it, but he let it idle for a long time. It makes no difference to me, just something I noticed and thought was odd.

We pulled out about 9:30 and were soon on the highway, making good time. We had several stops for Stella's comfort today, but I was glad that her medicine was working. It was her medicine that allowed her to get a good report from the doctor and even get to come on this trip.

Our last stop was at a small convenience store outside of Harrison Arkansas. Nothing very interesting there, except that when I was browsing the food for sale in the store, the nice clerk told me that she would make me a burrito while I waited. Now this is a first, a helpful clerk that is willing to put food together for a hungry customer. Then when Stella was interested in a cheeseburger, she offered to doctor it up to Stella's liking. Wow, you won't find service like that in most convenience stores. Maybe she recognized that she could actually make a sale to two old people that had just come in to use the bathroom with just a little work on her own. Or maybe she was just a nice young woman, willing to help a customer. 

We arrived here at the KOA about 4 and were soon set up and relaxing. We were tired from traveling two days. I guess we're out of condition since we've been staying at one place for a longer time. We'll bounce back but it's nice to be here for a week. Looking forward to having our friends arrive soon.

So long.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Friday April 22, 2016-Moving Day-Bay Colony RV PArk to Sunrise RV Park, Texarkana Arkansas

Stella went to the cardiologist yesterday and got a very good report there. She lost 23 pounds this week, but spent a lot of time in the bathroom. He told us that he'll see us in June when we get back from the rally trail.

We just couldn't get it in gear this morning and didn't pull out until 10, but it was a great day for traveling and we made good time through Houston, which was our biggest concern. No high water and light traffic made it a good day. We made our first pit stop around Cleveland TX at a small truck stop/convenience store. While stopped, I had a nice telephone chat with Jennifer and Melissa who are visiting the New England area, staying in Boston Mass. They are visiting Maine today and I guess they called because they are visiting some states that we haven't been to....yet. 

We pulled in here at the Sunrise RV Park about 4:30, and wow, what a change has been made with a change of ownership! When I walked into the park office, I noticed that almost all the RV accessories that are normally sold in the office were gone. The shelves are bare and I said something to the young lady clerk. She could only smile and giggle nervously but that was just the beginning. I had planned to use the park cable and not set out my Dish antenna to simplify things, but it didn't work. Stella called the office to ask about it but was told "he's working on it". It finally did come in somewhat better, but the CBS channel was terrible and that's the channel that I wanted to watch. Out of frustration, I set the antenna out and called in to Dish to change the local channels and had the usual hassle to get it done. It only took two calls this time but it was worth it. Gotta watch Blue Bloods!

The Internet service from the park was spotty and we both got kicked off repeatedly, so I set up our Verizon Jetpack as a backup. As I said, this park is going down in service but they have no website to complain about it. The previous owner used Facebook and has kept the site up, even though they no longer own the park and the new owner has done nothing to set one up. Oh well, there's always Trip Advisor or I'll pay those sites a visit soon.

Things are coming together well for the rally in Branson and we are looking forward to arriving there tomorrow.

So long.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Monday April 18, 2016-Bay Colony RV Park

We had a nice weekend, spending time with friends and family. Friday night e met old friends Mike and Patrice and Everette and Fay at the Center Buffet in League City for some good Oriental food. Both of the other couples are Heartland owners and we shared some old camping stories and talked about future plans. Nice time...

Sunday morning we met Kim and Ray and the boys for breakfast. We started out at the Cracker Barrel in League City but the line was way too long. Then we tried Kelly's, also in League City, but again the line was out the door. We finally went back to the original Kelly's restaurant in La Marque and got good service and great food. The old restaurant came through again! 

Sunday afternoon we met my brother Phil and his wife Carol at the San Laurenzo restaurant in League City, not far from our park and their house. We have eaten here before and the food is good with good service. After finishing our meal, we went over to their house for some delicious lemon cake that Carol had made.

The big news was the storm last night and into this morning. Houston had lots of flooding which made the national news and we had plenty of rain and I'm sure that there was some minor street flooding but nothing that affected us here in the park. We watched all the excitement on TV from the comfort of home. Another reason for me to be thankful for being retired, else I would have been out there in the high water.

This is the boat ramp on Dickinson Bayou at State Hwy. 3. Yes, there is a boat ramp under all that water.

Same location with a better view of where the piers are with the ramp beside them. Of course the highway bridge is behind.

The picnic table is probably 20 feet from the water under normal conditions. It would be hard to have a picnic today!

Some of the original settling families own homes across the bayou from the park. They normally have a very nice view of the bayou.

It would have been hard to do anything today! Well, you'd have gotten your feet wet if you needed to go...

Water up over the path and into the covered shelters. Not a good day in the park.

I didn't put my rain gauge out until after 9AM and in less than 2 hours we got 4 1/2 inches of rain. The rains pretty well stopped after I checked it and I didn't bother with another reading. It's supposed to rain every day for the rest of the week, but hopefully not like today. We'll see how that works out.

So long.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thursday April 14, 2016-Bay Colony RV Park

We arrived here on Sunday to have Stella checked out by medical professionals. She has been experiencing shortness of breath and cannot walk 10 steps before having to stop and blow. Thanks to Kim, her appointment was moved up from Wednesday afternoon to first thing Monday morning, and we are glad she did! 

We went to see Dr. Merritt, out primary doctor, on Monday and everything went pretty well. She made some recommendations of some new medications  and she gave her some samples to take. She then made an appointment with the same cardiologist that I go to for tomorrow morning. Man, it pays to know people!

He examined her and had her to come back tomorrow for the testing. I won't bore you with the tests given and their details, but we came back today to learn the results. She has been given some strong diuretics and heart meds, and we were told to return next week to see how she is progressing. I hope all goes well, because we really need to go to the Branson rally, but her health must come first. 

Please pray for her. And thanks for your friendship.

So long.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Saturday April 9, 2016-Moving Day-Cleveland County Fairgrounds Oklahoma to Bay Colony RV Park, Dickinson TX

We were up at 6:30 to go downstairs to have the continental breakfast at the motel. It was awful, but it filled us up and again, we vowed to not stay in a motel unless it is a last resort.

We went over and picked up the trailer with no issue, and were soon on our way south. We had worried ourselves sick, leaving our home sitting out in a parking lot but nothing bad happened and we were happy to be heading out.

We debated whether to drive straight through to Dickinson but that would have been close to 500 miles and way too far for us! We talked about staying at a small park near Madisonville called the Yellow Rose, but it is pretty deserted and right on the freeway, so noise would be a factor. Then we remembered that our friends Tommy and Susan were staying at Rayford, so we decided to bite the bullet and pay their high prices and surprise them. Stella called Susan while we were still in Oklahoma and found out that they had gone to their home in Deer Park to care for one of their dogs but would be back at Rayford later today. 

It worked perfectly! We pulled in about 4:30 and saw Tommy leaning against their Jeep, but by the time we pulled in (two spaces behind them), they had taken off to go eat. We got all set up and watched for them to return and walked down to surprise them. We had been in Oklahoma when they talked to us and now we were there! Perfect!!

We had a nice visit with them until I got sleepy from driving all day but they insisted on fixing a big breakfast for us. Tommy even went to the grocery store to buy more goodies! We stayed over there until 11AM but had to get on the road. 

We made a pretty easy drive to the Bay Colony RV Park in Dickinson. We got set up here and after relaxing for a couple of hours, called Kim and then had the fun of surprising her! Wow, two surprises in two days! It must be a record...

Kim was very concerned with her Mom's medical issues and later called Dr. Merritt to speed up her appointment from Wednesday afternoon to 8:00 tomorrow morning. I guess it does pay to "know people".

We went to see Dr. Merritt and things are better than we expected. What we thought might be a very serious issue turned out to be something that can be controlled with medication. She does want Stella to see a Cardiologist, and even called (herself) and made an appointment for tomorrow morning. Now I know it does pay to know people. We'll see what he says tomorrow, and I'll keep you informed. 

So long.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Friday April 8, 2016-Moving Day-Winstar Casino to Cleveland County Fairgrounds, Norman Oklahoma

We were up this morning to take a short 111 mile road trip to the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, where we were to meet John, an installer for Performance Trailer Braking, to have a set of disk brakes installed on the trailer. When we arrived, John and his son John went right to work.

Here we are, backed into a site in the parking lot behind the offices for the fairgrounds. Water and electric with no  sewer, but we're not planning to stay very long here. One night and out of here!

Goodbye to the old electric brakes. They will be discarded and probably taken to a metal recycler. They were in better condition than I figured with many mies on them. A couple of them showed signs of grease leaking inside the brake drum, which would have effected the performance of the brakes, but they did stop pretty well.

The new hydraulic pump and bracket for the new brake system. It was installed inside one of the propane storage compartments near the off-door side front of the trailer.

New wheel bearings are installed along with the new brakes. The bearings have been hand greased and installed, ready to be bolted on.

The new brake calipers with wheel bearings and caps installed. It won't be long now!

Here you see the new brackets that will attach the brake pads to the spindle.

Here they are, installed and ready to go. I didn't take a photo of John running and installing the new hydraulic lines. John and his son are much smaller (and younger) than me, so it was easy for them to get the work done.

A close-up view of the finished product. 

If you look close you can see the brakes installed behind the wheels and tires. Now to go skid my tires!

We decided to stay in a motel tonight because we didn't know how long the installation would take and thought that Stella and Tramp would be happier there instead of in a field at the fairgrounds. Big Mistake! The room was pretty nice, but our trailer is nicer. The television is smaller there and there were no chairs or recliners to watch from, nearer to the tv screen. The only viewing area was from the bed, and we didn't really want to lay down yet. I tried to watch "Blue Bloods" but went to sleep after 15 minutes of lying down. It is one of my favorite shows but I will catch it when they re-run it later. The bed was pretty hard, and we were really pretty miserable tonight. Most of all, Tramp didn't like it at all. He barked at every little sound, so when a loud group checked in, he had a fit! We won't make this mistake again, but keep in mind that we haven't slept anywhere but our trailer in a long time.

We are ready to go back to the Rocky Mountains, but it will have to wait until next year. We are booked for this year, with no mountains likely.

So long.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thursday April 7, 2016-Winstar Casino

As I predicted, we have not done much here at the casino this week. We did have a Rayford Crossing reunion of sorts. I went for a walk Monday afternoon soon after arriving and saw our friends Frank and Nancy, who used to stay at Rayford. I had a nice visit with them and we made plans to get together later. I had no idea that they were here but when I got home I had an email from Frank saying that they had left Houston and were heading for Montana for their summer. 

Frank and Nancy came by Tuesday afternoon while taking their walk and invited to go over to the casino for the free senior breakfast in the morning. We agreed to meet them at the shuttle bus pickup point about 8 to eat breakfast. Stella has been having some major mobility issues with walk, so in the morning, when it came time to go meet, she couldn't make the short walk, so I drove to the pickup point and drove back home and walked back up there. There will be more on this later. 

We had a nice breakfast with our friends and got all caught up with them. Most of our old friends that used to go to Rayford are dropping out. I had talked to another old Rayford friend, Mack, and had learned that he had told them he is quitting, along with three other couples. Wow!

While finishing breakfast, who should appear but Bob and Peggy, one of the couples that had recently given their notice to Rayford. They had just come in fr a couple of days stay here. While we finished eating, we had a nice chat with them and decided to come back in the afternoon to eat dinner. Frank and Nancy decided to come over to the casino to gamble, so dinner was just the four of us. We had a nice meal of burgers and again got caught up with these friends. 

We made plans to meet again in the morning for breakfast, but Frank and Nancy were leaving tomorrow and said they would be there to eat when they opened so they could get an early start but if we were there early enough we would see them then. Bob offered to come pick us up in the morning, so that was what we did. We had a good breakfast but missed seeing Frank and Nancy. They had gotten in early and were already on the road when we got to the buffet. We talked to them on the phone and wished them safe travels. Perhaps we'll run into them again. We're meeting Bob and Peggy for dinner again tonight. Not sure where we'll go but I'm sure it will be good.

I also met a couple that just bought a Landmark 365 Key Largo. The man's name was John, and he said that he had seen me at Kerrville last year at the Sweetheart Rally and had met Jim B. and had looked at his 365 there. They had liked it enough that they bought one of their own. Now if I could get Heartland to give me one, I could do the same thing...
They were gone this morning when I went back to see them again. Who knows, maybe I'll run into them again on the road.

So long.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Monday March 4, 2016-Moving Day-Oak Creek RV Park to Winstar Casino, Thackerville Oklahoma

Today was as easy a moving day as we've had in a long time! We were up pretty early but I can't use the "too cold" excuse today. It was pleasantly cool but not cold. I ate some breakfast and took a shower and didn't go outside to begin my work until after 8 o'clock. I took my time and visited with friends as I did my work. Everything went very well and we pulled out around 11, but we only have 111 miles to drive today and it's all freeway, so the drive should be easy.

It was a bright, sunny day, perfect for a drive! We made great time and didn't stop once. We pulled in here in Thackerville about 1PM. We were all hooked up and set by 2, but it's getting hot! Summer time will be here before we know it. 

The good thing is, we made the trip without any drama. We didn't see any funny or unusual cars and no accidents. A good trip!

Please don't be surprised if you don't hear much from us this week. We are planning to lay low and relax all week, so there shouldn't be much to talk about but if something does come up, I know where to reach you.

So long.

Sunday Marh 3, 2016-Oak Creek RV Park

Well the North Texas chapter of the owners club rally is over. We had a great time, meeting several new people while here. The rally ran like clockwork and as far as I know, everyone was very happy. 

Thursday night we ate out at the River Bridge Cafe again. We have eaten here in the past and the food has always been excellent. We put a strain on the restaurant and waitstaff, but they worked through it and everyone was happy and full.

Friday morning was the Frank Baker breakfast and we all had a great time! Frank likes a big breakfast and have it he did. He furnished bacon and sausage (cooked) and we all furnished the rest of the dishes. As usual, it was delicious and a huge success.

Friday night the rally officially began with a Meet and Greet with Blue Bell ice cream and lots of fellowship with our old and new friends. It was nice to finally meet Mike and Vicky, whom I have spoken to several times in the past when he had problems with getting onto the Heartland forum. I met a couple named Mike and Kim that are living here at the park in their new Landmark 365. There were other "newbies" at the rally, Jack and Lynette and a delightful young couple named Jason and Audra and their 14 year old son Colton. More on them later...

Our friends Lin and Debbie bought a new Landmark Orlando right after the Louisiana rally and I got to tour it. It's the remake of our floor plan, the Grand Canyon. It has some differences but I like it. Anyone want to help me out? I'd sure look good in a brand new Landmark!

Saturday, Stella and I went into Weatherford to go to the First Monday flea markets, but there was too much of a walk, parking was terrible and too many people, so we just blew it off and came back home. Dave and I later went to a couple of gun shops and he bought a new rifle. I looked but couldn't find anything that I wanted.

We had our evening potluck dinner with the club supplying barbecue from a local restaurant. All of the food was delish and we had a great time. A group got a domino game going and I stayed around chatting with Jason and Audra. This was their first rally and we had something in common. They are from Garland, as are my daughters Jennifer and Melissa and they even graduated from high school the same years as my girls, but from different schools. They went to the Garland High school and Jennifer and Melissa went to South Garland. At any rate, we stayed and talked until 9:30 or so, telling tales and stories. Fun times...

Sunday was the sad day in that many of our new friends had to pull out to go home. I still got some good visiting time in with Jason and Audra and others but it was still sad to see them go.

I did some maintenance work on the trailer. I pulled the anode rod from the water heater, which had some wear but was still usable. I cleaned out a LOT of crud from the WH and got it all cleaned up and put back together and didn't even have any extra parts! 

We had a nice potluck dinner of leftovers from the Saturday night barbecue and it was still very good. It was a nice ending to the weekend with friends.

So long.