Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday May 14, 2017-Bay Colony RV Park

After getting here on Wednesday-thank you again Dave and Nancy- we just took it easy on Thursday but did get in to see my Cardiologist where I got a generally good report. He gave me another prescription which should lower my blood pressure, always a good thing, and we'll see how that goes. 

Friday we went to the Ophthalmologist to see what is the matter with my right eye. They ran some tests on me and determined that I have something called Third Nerve Palsy which allows my right eye to not focus properly. This condition, long with my cataracts, make seeing clearly difficult and driving impossible. I already knew that but didn't know what it was called, so I know what the problem is. The bad thing is, it is not treatable and must run its course. Dr. Millstein did say that I need to move my cataract surgery up and we will do that next week.

Saturday was a much better day! We had not told Kim and the boys that we had returned, so we cooked up  scheme to meet them when they went our for Mothers Day. We included Tyler because he could keep a secret and it went off very well. We met them at the Topwater Grill in San Leon and took her completely by surprise. She said that when she stepped out of the car, she thought she saw her Mom but thought that she had talked to her earlier this morning from Arkansas. She had no idea that we were returning. We had a great time visiting with them and I ran into Charles Totty, a guy that I worked with early in my career in La Marque.

This morning, I told Stella that I would take her to one of her favorites, Kelly's Country Cookin' for breakfast. Cameron couldn't make it because he had plans with his girlfriend but we had a great meal and good conversation with them. We're looking forward to more good times with many friends and family while down here getting me repaired.

It is very hard for me to write this, so there may be some times when you don't hear too much from me until this eye thing gets fixed, but please bear with me.

So long,

Wednesday May 10, 2017-Moving Days-Mountain View Arkansas to Dickinson Texas

This post will actually begin on Monday May 8th, the day before we left Mountain View. We made preparations for leaving tomorrow, one of which was buying fuel for our truck as well as Dave's. Remember, he's taking our trailer to Dickinson for us. As usual I waited and waited for Stella to get ready and finally went to start the truck and cool it down a bit before leaving. Dave and Nancy drove and got a shocked look on their faces with me sitting in the drivers seat. I said (jokingly) that I thought I could drive but he said "no way, man. Of course I was kidding but my old habits of coming out and starting up had kicked in. Stella then came out and made it official, kicking me out of the seat. 

Tuesday morning we were up and working pretty early and Stella walked out of the trailer, ready to go at exactly at 9 am! We were soon on the road back to Texas. There was little traffic on the road and really, the only traffic we hit was on a loop around Little Rock Arkansas but it wasn't too bad. We pulled into the Motel 6 in Marshal Tx. about 3:30 and were soon checked in and relaxing in our rooms. The motel allowed parking for the trailer on their parking lot, saving us some money on an RV park for the night. It may have not been that much of a savings because the battery in the trailer ran down over night, making the refrigerator die and we don't know how much food was ruined yet.

Dave chose a restaurant called Cafe Italia in Marshal and it was a great choice. The waiter was excellent and the food was wonderful. Great choice Dave!

Friday morning, we found that the beds in both rooms had been lacking so we were all up early and packing up the few belongings that we had brought along and were on the road a little after 8. We had decided to push on without taking time to eat breakfast and I'm glad we did. We made great time through Houston with almost no traffic on the Beltway. The Highway Department had finally finished the road work on I-45 at the Beltway, eliminating a huge bottleneck that has existed there since the last century! Well it seems like it! Now it's a breeze to merge onto I-45 southbound and before you knew it, we were exiting for FM 517 in Dickinson.

After checking in, we soon had to turn down the first site that we had been assigned because it was not long enough to hold out trailer and park the truck, so we moved into a back-in site. It didn't take long to get set up and we are home for awhile. 

We will miss our friends at the Missouri chapter rally and the huge International rally in Goshen, but there will be more in the future and we'll be there!

So long.

Sunday May 7, 2017-Ozark RV Park

I got behind again due to some medical issues that I have developed in the last few days but will try to get caught up. 

I left off with last Friday which was the 28th of April. We didn't do too much except to go to The Angler Restaurant for supper. 

On Saturday the 29th Dave and Nancy and us drove over to the small town of Calico Rock where we ate at one of our favorites in Arkansas, The Printing Press Cafe.

Sunday the 30th it rained - a lot - and we didn't do much of anything. We did take a drive a drive down Arkansas Hwy. 9 North to see the high water at the Angler Restaurant where  we had eaten a couple of days ago. The water was up to the dining and picnic area and we had seen prior pictures of water up to the bridge over the White River. Our friends should start coming in soon, and things should pick up. 

Monday May 1st, our friends Mike and Peg arrived and Stella and Nancy  fixed a delicious supper for all of us. Stella made some beans in her new Instant Pot along with cornbread and Nancy made some good beef ribs in her Traeger grill. 

Tuesday the park has a potluck dinner that we all went to. As usual, the potluck was very good but just as we were finishing up, a group of the "park people" began putting up the tables and chairs. I know that has to be done, but it would have been nice to be able to visit a bit before putting everything away.

On Wednesday, Mike and Peg did some of their jalapeno poppers but I started feeling bad and suffered from double vision, probably from my cataracts. Stella brought me a few poppers but they would have been better while fresh but they were still good.

It had started to rain on Wednesday and it continued to Thursday so we didn't do too much. Some more folks arrived for the rally. Paul and his wife Mona and David and Brenda, who are all from Arkansas and were soon good friends. Paul and Mona had been at our Regional rally in Branson last year and it was good to see them again.I was still suffering from my vision ailment and didn't get to visit too much. About 6 that afternoon the power went out and stayed off all night until about 3am. It has been getting cold at night and we were glad to now our furnace worked without outside power.

Friday morning was the first day of rally activities. We had coffee and donuts for breakfast and 5 of us, Mike & Peg, Dave and Nancy and us went back to Calico Rock and the Printing Press cafe where they were celebrating their 2nd anniversary with free ice cream! Dave had to drive us over because of my double vision problem but he didn't mind. The chicken salad they serve is delicious and we all enjoyed our meals and the ice cream desserts but had to hurry back to the park for the Meet and Greet. By that time, more new friends had arrived, Jeff and Angela, a young couple that are in the service, Tom and Fay, all of them from Arkansas and Don & Joyce and Larry & Gayle, all from Missouri, so along with Billy and Janice, Chapter Leaders, that is our group for the Arkansas rally. We had started with fourteen and actually ended up with nine couples. I've got to tell you about how proud I was of them. We were sitting outside and chatting when we heard the rodeo that is being held across the street at the County Fairgrounds starting up. Someone began singing the Star Spangled Banner and everyone in our group immediately jumped up and saluted!! No one had said a word, and everyone was standing. It sure made me feel good.

Saturday morning began with a big breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits and a choice of sausage or chocolate gravy (yes it was good!) bacon and sausage. The club furnished the ingredients and several of us furnished the labor to cook. Great! That afternoon we were serenaded by a local group called Sibling Rivalry. This is a singing/playing group of three sisters and their brother, ages 12-16 who sing both old folk songs and modern country. They were very entertaining and if you're ever in the area, try to find one of their performances. You'll be amazed!

This morning, Sunday. we went over to the Iron Skillet restaurant,  located near the Arkansas Folk Center for their good home-style buffet lunch. After lunch, Dave wanted to drive over to Melbourne AR to check out the Cooper's Hawk golf course that he wants to play tomorrow. It's about 30 miles and a very scenic drive and we enjoyed the twisting/turning roads.

I've gotta let you know that I have decided to cut our travels short at this time. I cannot function with this vision issue and have decided to go back home to see my own doctors. I will be able to see all three docs, Diabetes, Cardiologist and of course my Ophthalmologist to take care of my eyes. Dave and Nancy have agreed to pull our trailer, leaving their trailer here in Arkansas,  and Stella will drive us back. Wish me luck...LOL

So long.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Thursday April 27, 2017-Ozark RV Park

I am determined to not get so far behind again, so here's a recap of this week.

Tuesday we were all tired, so we just stayed in most of the day. We spent a lot of time sitting outside but we are down here all by ourselves and Dave and Nancy are "up on the hill", we didn't see them until it was time for supper. Stella talked to Nancy and they decided that we would go to the 
Mi Pueblito restaurant that we had found last year when we visited here. The food was still good and based upon the number of patrons we saw, it is very popular. When we got home, Stella read on the park schedule that we had missed the park potluck dinner tonight. We will make it next week.

Wednesday it rained all day long. And by that I mean it rained all day, never letting up but alternating between raining hard and just raining, but it dropped a lot of water on us. We didn't venture out except to take care of Tramp but he only stayed out long enough to get his business done and run back inside. Our friend Doug came by for a short visit. Doug was a Heartland owner and that is how we met. He moved to Mountain View a few years ago and bought a house and sold his trailer.

Thursday (today) we drove down to the strawberry farm on the very windy Ark. 9 road. This is the same place we went last year to buy produce including strawberries picked fresh this morning. The road hasn't changed, with twisty-turny roads but at times it offers very nice views of the countryside. It's worth the drive but unfortunately today was not  good day for strawberries. They were all water-logged and inedible. The girls bought a few other items and we were on our way back to Mountain View. We did some more shopping at a large hardware store and of course Wal Mart before returning home.

Our friend Doug dropped by and invited us to go to the Arkansas Folk Center State Park, which is just behind this RV park and accessible by entering a gate through the fence separating the two properties. There we watched about 6 performers that were very good. Doug himself will be square dancing tomorrow night and we'll be sure to go over to see his performance.

This place is one of the most quiet parks that we've been in. Of course, during the week there are not that many other guests, but there are no trains nearby, the road out front is a quiet residential street with little traffic and we are enjoying the quiet. I'm sure that there will be some park arrivals soon and next week the other Heartlanders will begin arriving so things will change then.

So long.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Monday April 24, 2017-Moving Day-Water's Edge RV Park & Cabins toOzark RV Park & Cabins, Mountain View Arkansas

This is one of our favorites, both the town of Mountain View Arkansas and the park, the Ozark RV Park and Cabins. If you like good ol' country folks and their music, this is a great place to come.



We left Oklahoma about 9:30 this morning, right on time! Our traveling friends, Dave and Nancy are with us again and we are glad to have the company. The distance wasn't too bad, about 230 miles to our next destination, but it took all day. The roads were okay but there were many twists and turns and lot of little towns to go through and it slowed us down. Most of the roads were two lane with no shoulder, which is not our favorite, but we made it just the same.

We only made two quick stops, one for a Stella and Nancy stop for comfort and the second for a lunch break. Both stops only took less than 45 minutes, so we were good! 

We like these relatively short and uneventful trips. Since we've been here before, we pretty much knew where we were going, but we came in from a new direction, but it was pretty easy. 

We plan to hang out and do nothing this week, but the rally-goers will begin arriving next week and things will pick up. Please stay tuned.

So long.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday April 23, 2017-Water's Edge at Grand Town Lake RV Parkand Cabins

Well, another good rally is over. We've had a good time here in spite of the weather. It rained hard starting Thursday evening and continued to rain Friday when it slacked off to a drizzle. There was intermittent drizzle and showers on Saturday and on top of that, it turned cold! We had temps down in the upper 40's and highs in the lower 50's on Friday, warming into the low 60's on Saturday. Today (Sunday) the weather is about perfect but it's still cool in the shade when the wind blows.

We didn't get out during the rains but on Friday, Dave, Roy, Jason and I went over to Vinita OK to visit the Dixon & Sons Machine Shop and Guns. This was an interesting place that builds huge shop equipment and has a good selection of guns, ranging from Class 3 machine guns to regular weapons. Everything we saw was nice but rather high priced but the heavy machine guns were very cool. It's been a long time since I've seen 30 and 50 caliber belt-fed weapons on open display for sale. 

We returned home in time to rest up for a group trip back to Vinita to eat at Clanton's Cafe. This place's main claim to fame is that it was featured on the TV show Diners Drive-Inns and Dives but they did serve one of the best chicken fried steaks that I've ever had. 

Saturday I took Jason and Roy over to Claremore to visit the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum. This is a large museum of guns and artifacts ranging from German beer steins to an assortment of western saddles and a huge collection of weapons. It seemed to have every caliber, gauge and barrel length of the modern sporting weapons and a huge collection of old style flintlocks, and other early weapons. The museum bills itself as the world's largest privately-held collection of firearms and I believe it! I noticed that the Tulsa Police Dept. had contributed many of the guns on display. I also thought it odd that both Mr. Davis and his wife are buried in the building, saying that he wanted to be with his guns when he died.

We returned to a craw fish boil for our rally supper. Again, there was plenty of food for us and we were joined by several folks that own Heartland trailers that they live in or use for weekend homes here in this park. We all had too much to eat but after supper they played a game of Cards Against Humanity. Everyone said that it was a lot of fun.

This morning, we said goodbye to some of our friends that had to leave today but the rest of us stayed behind and hung out at Jason and Audra's place, enjoying the nice weather. It was still chilly in the shade and we moved around from the sun to shade to stay comfortable. It was a nice time but soon Jason and Audra had to get on back home so they could go to work tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is another travel day to Arkansas and the chapter rally there. Please stay tuned.

So long.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Wednesday April 19, 2017-Water's Edge RV and Cabin Resort

Well, it's Wednesday and almost all the attendees have arrived. Not much going yet and many are just settling in. Some have said that we are in the best site in the park and I have to agree. I guess there is something to coming in early and getting the pick of sites. 


As you can see, we have a great view of the Grand Towne Lake of the Cherokee.


A view from our neighbor's yard looking north on the lake. There are lots of permanent homes across from us.


A view in the other direction. 


The green area that goes from one end of the park to the other. The dogs all love the soft grass!


This park was originally designed for motor homes and someone apparently made a deal with one of the local propane suppliers for the large bottles. Someone used some imagination to paint this one decoratively. 

The rally will kick off tomorrow with  a Meet and Greet followed by a hot dog meal, and the fun begins...

So long

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Monday April 17, 2017-Moving Day-Tyler Oaks RV Park to Water's Edge RV Park and Cabins

Remember I told you about our plan to move from Center to Tyler? Well we did it with no problems/ It's only about 100 miles, so we made no stops and went right to the park. 

We went to church at the HUGE Green Acres Baptist Church and then went back to cousins Doug and Linda's house for a delicious Easter lunch. It was nice to sit around with family and visit.

Back to today's trip from Tyler to Vinita Oklahoma. I woke this morning about 5:30, came into the living room to read the news online and after a quick breakfast, went out to start getting ready to leave. We were on the road about 9:30, right on time!

Very little traffic on the road made traveling good. Most of this trip in Texas was on divided highways and we had no problems, except a couple of tricky roads through some of the small towns. We made it okay and got into Oklahoma about noon. 

We were soon on the Terrible Indian Nation Parkway bouncing along the highway. I had to drive most of the 40-some miles at about 50 mph to keep my teeth in my mouth. This s easily one of the worst roads that we've been on. Remember a long time ago when they sold those machines that jiggled your fat away? Well, a ride on this highway would knock 20 or so pounds!

Another thing I don't understand is their charges for the toll road. We paid a toll upon entering the highway and drove for about 40 miles before going through another toll booth. We paid another toll but only drove about a block before turning off to get on another road. I didn't get any value for the second toll, but I guess that old adage of "their road, their tolls" applies here.

This is a beautiful setting for a park, with all sites being back-ins but fronting on the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. The park was originally built for motorhomes which have their utilities set up exactly opposite from what a fifth wheel needs. Although the hookups are in the same location on each type of vehicle, a motorhome drives into a site where a trailer is backed in. Anyway, the park furnished a 50 amp extension cord so we could get electricity. Water and sewer were a smaller problem so it wasn't long until we were all set up. 

The weather is nice here and we missed a huge storm a few days ago. One of the other residents showed me pictures of some trailers that were blown over in the storm, so I'm glad we missed it. It is cool enough here for us to go without air conditioning and we slept with the windows open. 

Our friends will start arriving tomorrow, so I'll let you got for now but check back for more fun at the Oklahoma rally.

So long.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Monday April 10, 2017-Moving Day-Houston North KOA to Center RV Park, Center Tx.

Our moving day was somewhat anti-climatic. We are so accustomed to folding everything up and packing to move that it's second nature to us. Now mind you, we still pay attention to what we are doing, but it's pretty routine work. 

We pulled out around 9:30 and decided to drive back through Conroe, traveling east on SH 105 to US-59 to get to Center. Stella did very well and we only made one pit stop at the only rest area north of Livingston. 

We like travel days like this one. We went less than 200 miles today, with much if it on highways, with good roads and clear skies. Non-eventful travel days are great. We pulled into the Center RV Park about 2:00 and were soon set up and getting TV signals.  We've been getting Houston locals for our last four stops and we still get them here in Center. TV is the best thing that we get here. The Internet service from the park has gone down over the years that we've been coming here but there are more residents now than before. There are ruts and holes in our yard which I reported since they are safety hazards but of course nothing has been done about it. I hope that neither Stella nor I have an accident by turning an ankle or breaking a bone due to lack of maintenance and concern by the park.

We're looking forward to some good family time this week and plan to move over to Tyler this weekend for Easter weekend. Unless something interesting happens, you may not hear from me again until we leave Tyler for Oklahoma.

So long.

Sunday April 9, 2017-Houston North KOA

Well, the final South Texas chapter rally led by Tom and Marti is over and it was big and went off without a problem. Everyone had a great time, the weather was good and the food plentiful.

The rally began on Thursday with an ice cream social Meet and Greet. Of course it was a huge hit because who doesn't love Blue Bell? There were several newbies in attendance and I enjoyed meeting and talking to some of them. Names that I have read on the Heartland Owners forum that I am now able to put a face with.

Saturday was a "free" day and I used the time to talk to others in the park and to watch my neighbor Ed waxing his Landmark. I offered mine for him to do but I think he was tired when he finished his own. He did a really good job and his trailer looks great.

A crew from the Ron Hoover dealerships came out with a couple of demo units for us to look at, a Big Country with a small den for children with a loft bed above it, perfect for a small family, and a Landmark Oshkosh model that Stella and I liked....a lot... There are some things that we would change, but for the most this plan is a winner.

Ron Hoover also sent a portable barbecue rig complete with a chef to cook some delicious food for us. Including the door prizes that the dealership sent, Ron Hoover and Joe French, the General Manager of the Katy Frwy. store, have done another great job of showing their support of Heartland and our chapter.

Sunday is the traditional day of departure for many of our friends. We watched as several rigs left to go home or to their next destination. About noon, some old friends dropped in for a visit while they are in Houston for hospital visits. Tom and Judy attended our very first Heartland rally way back in 2007, so it was nice to see them and to catch up with them.

Old friends and family are what it's all about. We will go to visit my aunt Janie in Center soon and will see other family members later in the year.

So long.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Wednesday April 6, 2017-North Houston KOA

The weather has been nice here in Montgomery Tx. and this morning it was downright cold, about 52 degrees! We have been taking advantage and just kicking back and relaxing. 

Yesterday we drove down to Rayford Crossing to see our friends Tommy and Susan. We had a nice visit with Tommy until Susan got off work, and then went out to eat. Their neighbors at the park, Steve and Mary Jane, went with us and we all had a good time chatting. Steve and Mary Jane are also full timers and they have a Tiffin motor coach like Tommy and Susan's. We ate at a place called Beto's Mexican Grill and the food was good but the company was better. We returned to Rayford and sat outside visiting with our friends until the skeeters came out. 

Today we met our friends from Inks Lake, Chip and Bunky at Tailgaters for a nice lunch. While eating lunch, some Heartland friends, John and Aletha came in to eat. Ironic seeing them, because they will be at the rally tomorrow. We had a fun time with them, catching up on Inks Lake and common friends from there. Chip is helping his son rebuild a storage building at his house that was damaged in a storm a year or so ago. It's a huge undertaking for them but I'm sure that they will get it done.

We came back here to the park and while standing outside with several friends, a friend of mine from high school drove up. Donna and her husband Sonny were just driving through and stopped by to say hi. How nice of them to come by. 

There are several new folks in the park and more arriving, so the rally begins tomorrow. 

So long.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday April 3, 2017-Moving Day-Coushatta RV Resort to North Houston KOA, Montgomery Tx.

We had a terrible storm last night with lots of rain and wind, but it seemed to last ALL NIGHT LONG! I didn't get to sleep until after 3AM, but our trip today was very easy and I made it just fine.

We took our time this morning and left about 9:45. We went straight down US 165 to I-10, then west on I-10 to TX 105 which we followed to the RV park in Montgomery. We made excellent time and only stopped once at the Texas Welcome Center. It was an easy-peasy day with beautiful weather and cool temps. It was cool until we arrived here but it got hot a soon as I began to work to get set up. I was soon sweaty and sticky but it didn't take long to get everything done and we could relax.

There are 6 of us that came from Kinder and many more to arrive later in the week. We are looking forward to a good rally here.

So long.

Sunday April 2, 2017-Coushatta Casino RV Resort

Well the Louisiana is just about over and everyone seemed to have a great time. We ate at the casino a couple of times, once for the senior breakfast day on Tuesday and once again with Bill and Ornell. The group of us went to a local restaurant called Fausto's and enjoyed ourselves. 

Part of our group went down to Avery Island, home of Tabasco sauces. We have been there before and because Stella's knees were bothering her, we didn't go. They also went to the Mardi Gras Museum in Lake Charles. Everyone said it was fabulous but we didn't get to go, again because of Stella's bad knees. 

On Friday morning we had a great breakfast that was put together by one of the rally-goers and it was a huge success. The highlight of the breakfast was a fellow named Hebert (A Bear) and his wife who are from Louisiana that came over to make fresh homemade beignets (pronounced ben yea) for us. These are a cross between a donut and a fritter frequently made in Louisiana and particularly in New Orleans. they are made by deep frying dough and then covering them with powdered sugar but I am told that they equally delightful with honey. Ah yes, a diabetes doctor's nightmare!

We also had another delicious Cajun meal of gumbo made by our Chapter Leader Andy and his wife Jo and side dishes prepared by everyone else. It was another grand meal that was enjoyed by everyone. If it seems like all we do at this rally is eat, you'd be pretty accurate. It's just that Cajun food is soooo tasty and everyone seems to love it. 

It was another great rally in Louisiana and we can't wait for next year. Of course, that can be said about all of the South Central Region rallies.

So long.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday March 27,2017-Moving Day-Sims residence to Coushatta RV Resort, Kinder La.

We were up on time this morning but took our time packing up. First,we hated to leave our friends Bill and Ornell, second because we only have about 100 miles to travel and third because the park has a 2:00 check in time. If you arrive too much before that time, they charge for an early arrival.

We pulled out about 10:30 and went to the local Blue Beacon Truck and Trailer Wash where we got the absolutely filthy truck and trailer washed with the Rain-X rinse to make them both look as if they were waxed. They did a really good job and it's a bargain at $56 for both.

Traffic wasn't too bad through Beaumont and we made good time. I don't think we saw any Texas State Troopers today but I did see a couple when we got into Louisiana. Certainly different from the Mission/McAllen area where they were plentiful. We drive about 62-63 MPH so the Troopers don't scare me...

Since we had such a short distance to go, we arrived before 2 but they didn't say anything about an early arrival and we were soon checked in and parked. Getting set up didn't take very long and we were sitting inside, cooling off when our friends and fellow Heartlanders David and Donna drove up and parked right next door to us. We later sat outside with them and chatted about our travels since leaving Mission, when we had spent a month or so with them.

We are looking forward to more arrivals tomorrow and the rest of the week. It should be another good time in Louisiana.

So long.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday March 26, 2017-Sims residence

Our time with our friends Bill and Ornell is coming to a close for this visit. We always have such a good time spending time with them and this one was even better. We went out to eat a couple of times, the first being a small family-run Mexican restaurant called La Hacienda where we had a great breakfast. It is very similar to the ones we eat at in Mexico. The other restaurant is called the Pine Tree Lodge, where we had some great seafood. Our friends Jim and Sheila also came by to eat with us. The restaurant is located on a bayou that is full of alligators but we didn't see any on the day we visited. 

We had a storm overnight on Friday with heavy rains (7" in Bill's rain gauge), high winds and some hail, but we were safe and secure inside our trailer. There was lots of standing water in the yards and street but nothing flooded.

It was nice to just sit outside on the back porch and visit. One or more of Bill and Ornell's kids dropped by to check on them, sometimes accompanied by grandkids. We had a very relaxing time here but rallies are calling.

So long.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday March 21-Moving Days-South Llano River Resort to Sims residence, Port Arthur Tx

We slept a bit later Tuesday morning, sleeping in until after 7AM bit we still got  away about 9:30. Pretty good and I liked the extra few minutes of sack time. There was no change in the weather from yesterday but we had much more traffic when we neared San Antonio. There was a question of how to navigate San Antonio; I wanted to stay on I-10 through town but the Garmin, I Pad, Google maps and Stella ganged up on me and we took Loop 1604. I don't like the short stretch of the loop near the old air base, where you have to navigate lots of traffic and some traffic lights. It seems absurd to me for a major loop around a large city has to be controlled by traffic devices...

We made good time and arrived at the Houston West KOA in Brookshire about 2:30. We met our delightful neighbors, Van and Pat, who invited us over for some wine and chat, so we went over and stayed for a couple of hours. Van designed robotics and worked for NASA at one time. He went to work for a private company after and told us a story of an aircraft that had gone down in the ocean in what was believed to be about 6.000 feet of water. The Discovery channel wanted to recover the aircraft for a television documentary and approached his company to design and build a robotic submarine to perform the recovery. They agreed on a price and the unit was built and delivered. When it arrived on site, it was discovered that the depth of the water was 10,000 feet instead of 6,000 and when the recovery was tried, the extreme depth was more than it could handle and it failed. They again approached the company to build another recovery vehicle. This time they wanted to lease the vehicle for the recovery of the aircraft, but the company responded that this would be satisfactory and that they wanted to buy the original underwater vehicle back at the original price. Of course, that was met with approval, so the unit was built, taken out and the aircraft was recovered. The Discovery channel had their documentary, the aircraft and then the company recovered the original underwater craft, which was virtually undamaged, so they could sell it and make plenty of profit. 

We had a nice visit with them and perhaps we'll meet up with them again. They are from the Breaux Bridge Louisiana area and we occasionally go to the area, so it's possible.

Wednesday morning we again slept in but we don't have nearly as far to drive today. We didn't leave until after 10 but we breezed through Houston with only minor slowdowns along the way. We got  to Bill's house about 12:30 and were soon backed into his driveway to "moochdock" for a few days. I stole this term from our friend Howard Payne (RV-Dreams.com). 

We sat outside chatting with Bill for awhile after getting set up and I came in to write this and relax for a bit. It should be a good time here and we're looking forward to it.

So long.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday March 20, 2017-Moving Day-Lost Alaskan RV Park to South Llano River RV Park, Junction Tx

After another great West Texas chapter rally ended in Alpine, it was time to move on to the next location. We were up and moving about 7 this morning  for the approximately 260 mile drive. We watched many of our friends as they pulled out for their next destination, including our travel buddies Nancy and Dave. They are going home to Terrell and we are heading in another direction to the next rally in Kinder La. We will miss them but will see them in a few weeks at another rally. 

It was a spectacular day for traveling, cool this morning with blue skies and few clouds in the sky and warming into the low 80's later in the day. We didn't have much traffic and made good time, pulling into this park a little after 2. It is our first time to come to this park and it appears to be very new, with large piles of materiel all over the place. On their park map, they show lots of new sites, some of which are up but unoccupied at this time. There is a nice view of the Llano river and a nice bridge over the river in the background. The office closes from 12-3PM but they had thoughtfully left a packet out for us, since we had reservations. We found our site quickly and were all set up in just  minutes. This is going to be a nice park in the future, when they get a few things straightened out. Many good size rocks are scattered about, making walks rather difficult and there is nothing pretty here, but all that will change soon I guess. It is your typical RV park with spotty WIFI but this too can be fixed pretty easily. I'd come back for an overnight stay.

We've changed our plans a little bit and will go to our scheduled stop in Brookshire tomorrow but then we'll go to Bill and Ornell's house for  few days to visit our friends.

So long.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Saturday March 18, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

We had a nice time at the rally hall yesterday, with the official start of the rally with a Meet and Greet. It was nice to meet a few new friends and to see all of the old ones. 

After the Meet and Greet, we had a white elephant gift exchange. Everyone with a white elephant was allowed to get another one from someone. We got a sack full of assorted "stuff" that we didn't need, but there will be another gift exchange somewhere and someone else will own it. We saw a few things that we had gotten before and will probably get again. It was a lot of fun.


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Today we went to The Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine. The museum was good and showed many artifacts from the early days of the area. There was a very interesting collection of old maps of the United States, Texas and Mexico.

We then went to the Big Bend Brewing Co. in Alpine and sampled four of their beers. Some were good, others not so much but we had fun with our friends. Most of the large group went on a tour of the brewery but a few of us stayed in the hospitality room and sipped on a selection of beers. 

We returned to the park to rest for awhile before the rally finale of barbecued brisket, ribs, sausage and chicken along with all the trimmings for supper and then a fun time of door prizes and some raffles of larger items. What a fun time!

We are sad to see another West Texas rally end but there will be more chapter rallies coming up soon and there is always next year!

So long.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday March 17, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

Yesterday evening, a group of about 20 of us from the rally drove the 20 or so miles to the Marfa lights viewing area. We had driven past it a couple of days ago when we went to Terlingua, and thought it was a roadside rest area.


I did get a good photo of a beautiful sunet!

There were quite a few folks already there but there is plenty of parking space and we were soon set up with our lawn chairs on the elevated viewing area, waiting on the big show. We waited and waited, but the only thing we saw was some house lights and some sort of emergency vehicle flashing red lights that were way off in the distance. Bummer...

I hope to have some time to come back to check the lights again before we leave. I did some Wikipedia research and learned that the lights have been reported as ghost or mystery lights from an unknown source. Some scientific research decided that the lights were merely reflections of vehicle lights from nearby highway 67 between Presidio and Marfa. 

The first published account of the lights appeared in the July 1957 issue of Coronet magazine. In 1976, Elton Miles' Tales of the Big Bend included stories dating to the 19th century, and a photograph of the Marfa lights taken by a local rancher.
The earliest anecdote commonly cited for the observation of the Marfa Lights is that of the cowboy Robert Reed Ellison in March 1883. This was while he was herding cattle through the Paisano Pass southwest across the Marfa plain. The lights were next reported in 1885 by Joe and Anne Humphreys. Both stories appear in Cecilia Thompson's book History of Marfa and Presidio County, Texas 1535-1946.

Referring to the Marfa Lights View Park east of Marfa, James Bunnell states, "you might just see mysterious orbs of light suddenly appear above desert foliage. These balls of light may remain stationary as they pulse on and off with intensity varying from dim to almost blinding brilliance. Then again, these ghostly lights may dart across the desert...or perform splits and mergers. Light colors are usually yellow-orange but other hues, including green, blue and red are also seen. Marfa Mystery Lights (MLs) usually fly above desert vegetation but below background mesas.

Bunnell lists 34 Marfa lights sightings from 1945 through 2008. Monitoring stations were put in place starting in 2003. He has identified "an average of 9.5 MLs on 5.25 nights per year", but thinks the monitoring stations may only be finding half of the MLs in Mitchell Flat.

I suppose that since there have only been 34 sightings, we shouldn't feel too bad. Maybe next time.

So long.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Tuesday March 14, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

Today we visited the Big Bend National Park the Big Bend Ranch State Park and the ruins and ghost town at Terlingua. Stella and I and two of our kids visited Big Bend waaay back in 1980 or 81, but we had forgotten how wild and beautiful this area is.


The national park covers 801,163 acres (324,219 ha).[1] A variety of Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil organisms exist in abundance, and the park has artifacts estimated to be 9000 years old. Historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century.
For more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km), the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles (190 km) along that boundary. The park was named after the area, which is bounded by a large bend in the river, and Texas–Mexico border.


























No, this is not a group of illegals but are visitors to the Big Bend Ranch State Park. I'm pretty certain that they all have permits allowing them to float the river. 








These are photos of the ruins of some houses found in the town of Terlingua. I didn't see or hear any ghosts but there were plenty of ruined homes and buildings. 

At one time, Terlingua was home to the Chisos Mountain Mining Co. the Terlingua Chili Cookoff, both of 'em. Yes, now there are two!














I read online that some vandals damaged some walls of one of the ruined homes, but I don't know how you could tell that they were damaged. You can see from the photos that they are in-fact ruins, but I don't doubt that some ne'er-do-wells did damage something. I hope the Sheriff's Office can catch these bad guys and only wish Judge Roy Bean was still around to find them guilty.

So long.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Monday March 13, 2017-Lost Alaskan RV Park

Today we drove up to the Fort Davis National Historic Site, where the old fort had been established in 1854. The fort site was dedicated as a National Historic site in 1960.

Hoping to protect the garrison from winter northers, Smith tucked the fort into a canyon flanked on three sides by sheer rock walls. From 1854 to 1891, Fort Davis was strategically located to protect emigrants, mail coaches, and freight wagons on the trans-Pecos portion of the San Antonio-El Paso Road and the Chihuahua Trail, and to control activities on the southern stem of the Great Comanche War Trail and Mescalero Apache war trails. 

Thanks to Wikipedia for the above information.





This is a description on the original layout if the fort.


As you can see the sheer rock walls surrounding one side of the fort.


The ruined walls behind the house would have contained the kitchen, which was separate from the main house because of fire danger.


This two story building was one of the officer's quarters. We noticed in one of the other officer's quarter buildings that the two quarters were separated by a hallway that ran completely through the building, called a "dog trot" in a conventional house.


This was Lieutenant's and Officer's Row. Each house could house two officers.


Fort Davis is important in understanding the presence of African Americans in the West and in the frontier military because the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry regiments and the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry regiments, all-black regiments (known as the buffalo soldiers), which were established after the Civil War, were stationed at the post. Lt. Col. Wesley Merritt led Troops C, F, H, and I of the 9th Cavalry in reoccupying the fort on 29 June 1867.[2]:19 They rebuilt the fort, using limestone and adobe, outside the canyon walls.












This is one of the enlisted men's barracks that has been outfitted with uniforms, weapons and various military gear and equipment that was commonly used during the time. Everything has been covered with plastic due to the replacement of the roof recently.













 Notice the wooden slats to support  mattress that was about 1" thick. 


If you're ever in this area, this is an attraction that you don't want to miss. It is not hard to imagine what it was like back in the late 1800's and the hardships that these men and some with their families went through. Enlisted men made $13 a month and if their wives went to work at the fort, she could earn $5-$10 per month. Keep in mind that these brave men protected the area for that much money and today, fast food workers flipping burgers demand $15 per hour! Enough rant...

So long.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday March 10, 2017-Moving Day-Quail Springs RV Park to Lost Alaskan RV Park, Alpine TX

We stayed an extra day in Uvalde on Thursday to explore the area but didn't get much accomplished. We went to visit Fort Inge, the site of an old army fort from many years ago but when we arrived, the fort and museum was closed. The roads to the fort were dirt and pretty bad and the area around the entrance was very  neglected and overgrown but we were bummed about driving all the way out there to find it closed.

We did find a very nice restaurant at the airport in Uvalde called the Hangar 6 Air Cafe. A very helpful waitress helped us decide what we wanted to order and the food was very good. Our friend George S. had recommended a place called the Oasis Outback but we learned that it is only open for lunch and we wanted to eat supper. It was very good and we would advise you to try it, especially if you like airplanes and watching them take off and land. One interesting thing that we noticed was that the ceiling fans have blades that look like actual propellers from an airplane! 

This morning we were up and ready to go by 8:45. Today was a great day for a drive. It started out cloudy and overcast and we ran through a short rain, but it was more like a mist and didn't last very long. Our trucks and trailers are so filthy that it won't matter.

We arrived about 3, after what seemed to be a looooong drive. I guess it was a combination of no traffic and limited scenery to look at but we were tired upon arrival. We really made pretty good time.

As soon as we arrived, some of our Heartland friends that are already here came by. It was good to see them and after a short visit, we kept on working on getting set up. We had one little boo-boo when we were escorted to the wrong site. The gentleman doing escort duty today apparently misunderstood what site we were to go to and took us to #14 instead of #4. We soon got it straightened out and were soon set up. Everything worked as advertised and after having a park crew to trim a couple of tree limbs so they wouldn't rub on the trailer, we were set!

More friends came by for short visits during the afternoon. The weather is just about perfect here, with cool temps in the evening. It was warm this afternoon when in the sun, but once I got into the shade, all was well. We are looking forward to many others to arrive and I'm sure that we'll have a great time.

So long.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wednesday March 8, 2017-Moving Day-Cottonwood RV Park to Quail Springs RV Park, Uvalde TX

A bit of follow up before talking about our trip to Uvalde. We went to eat with Ted and Donna on Sunday to Cheddar's. As usual, the food was great but the wait to get into the restaurant was bad. As I've grown older, the less likely it is that I will wait to get into a restaurant, but I've learned that Cheddar's is worth it. We had a nice time visiting with Ted and Donna but were glad that we had this time together.

On Monday, Dave and Nancy and us went to PF Chang for lunch. We had all been wanting to visit one of these and were glad we did. The food was fresh and spicy and we all enjoyed ourselves. We will go back to this one!

Tuesday the four of us went to Gonzales Burgers in Donna, to get in one more great burger. We love the huge burgers and each couple always split one burger and still have plenty to eat. This time, the girls decided that we would also split one order of fries and onion rings and it worked out perfectly. We all had plenty of fries, so it was a good decision.

Now to today. We were up and moving by 7AM but with the work we both did last night, things went very smoothly. We actually pulled right on time of 9 o'clock. We stopped at the office and dropped off our final rent check along with payment for our electrical usage for the time we have been here.

It was a lousy day for traveling, with rain on us much of way. It actually began just as we pulled out but became heavier as we drove west. Another thing that made the trip bad was that we went through many small towns and they all had at least two traffic lights, some more than that. And the Highway Patrol certainly has a huge presence down here. Most of the first part of the trip runs near the Rio Grande river, so I suppose the number of State Troopers was to combat the influx of illegal aliens. We also saw two of the DPS gunboats that are used to patrol the river. They were probably being moved to a new location because they were being trailered and the boats had been stripped of all weaponry. I suppose they could be two new boats being delivered. I just don't know...

We made good time with light traffic. Both of the trucks and trailers are filthy from road grime, but it is senseless to clean them up until we arrive in Alpine. We arrived here at the Quail Springs RV Resort right on time at 3 o'clock. This is a very nice park located right in the middle of town. It seems to be very well kept and the only complaint that we had was the number of trees that interfere with TV reception. I got mine to work by sitting my antenna near the adjoining site, but there is no one in the site right now. Holding my breath that no one comes in and asks me to move it.

We're staying here for a couple of nights to explore a new area. Alpine and the first rally of the season will come on Friday.

So long.